Think a gym session in your lunch hour is good use of your time? Hamish MacBain says otherwise
Many of humanity’s greatest creations have taken years to form – even been life’s works – but occasionally some clever dick will come along and change the world before you’ve time to say ‘annoyingly talented’. Here are some of the best short, sharp successes.
(Images: Rex, Getty)
Cut their debut album in 12 hours
In early 1967, with The Beatles having been in the studio for three months working on what would become Sgt Pepper…, people were aghast as to what could be taking them so long. Three months is nothing, you might be thinking – but it was an age compared to the furious pace the Fab Four had set after their first album was cut in just 12 hours. John Lennon’s throat was even lacerated by the last track, making for Twist And Shout’s now-iconic vocal.
Came up with The Simpsons waiting for a meeting
Off the back of one of his Life In Hell his cartoon strips, Matt Groening had been asked to pitch an idea for a series. His plan, sensibly, was to pitch a series based around his Life Is Hell cartoon strips, but in the waiting room he realised he didn’t fancy signing away the rights to his life’s work. Cue a hurried idea for a series about a dysfunctional American family. We’re assuming the meeting went OK.
The artist’s paintings take less than 30 seconds
The Polish ‘King Of Schlock Art’ could also be called ‘King Of Not Messing About’. Known for his instant art – paintings finished in 30 seconds – for a benefit for the Boy Scouts Of America in 1987, he finished 103 paintings in 12 hours, and sold more than half of them on the spot.
Wrote 1997’s Song 2 in 10 minutes
Blur spent years trying to break the US, touring the blanket disinterest of the country, failing to replicate their enormous Britpop success back home. Cue a nice break, and a day in which 10 minutes “mucking around” in the studio – Damon Albarn’s “woo hoo!” was born out of having nothing prepared – yielding
a tune that decimated US radio.
Won a competitive chess game in three moves
Chess, even when played by the rubbish likes of us, lasts forever. You would expect the professionals to be faster in their prevarication, but still not counting on getting out before the post office closes. In 1984, one Z Djordević did much better than that, beating one M Kovačević in just three moves. What were those moves? We are saving that secret for ourselves.
Wrote The Running Man in three days
Under his pen name Richard Bachman, everyone’s favourite notoriously prolific author got even more notoriously prolific than usual in 1982, and managed to knock out The Running Man in just three days. It likely took Hollywood longer than that to decide the man best suited to portraying the “scrawny, pretubercular” lead character onscreen would be Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The White Stripes
Shortest gig, at 1 millisecond
Jack White slammed the Guinness Book Of Records after it did not recognise The White Stripes’ single-note concert in Canada in 2007 as the shortest ever. He did, however, get a “fastest released record” nod with a live version of Lazaretto in 2014.
Scored a hat-trick for Southampton in 3 minutes
His first goal for Southampton was credited as an own goal, then he was dropped for their clash with Liverpool after turning up late – this Senegalese winger’s first year in the Premier League didn’t start well. But, in mid-May, he bagged a hat-trick in 176 seconds against Aston Villa: knocking 1 minute and 37 seconds off Robbie Fowler’s previous record.
Wrote, rehearsed and filmed 1960’s The Little Shop Of Horrors in a week
Saving money can be a big driver to get people moving; this cult classic was written in a night, cast the next day, rehearsed for three days and shot in two. Why? A law change over actors being paid residuals.