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article imageMan collects belly-button fluff for 26 years, sets record

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 26, 2010 in World
Perth - After 26 years of collecting the lint from his belly-button, an Australian man's unusual hobby has gotten him into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Graham Barker’s collection of fluff weighs 22.1 grams (.77 ounces), and he has sold three jars of it to a museum for an undisclosed sum.
The 45-year-old librarian, from Perth, can clearly remember how his hobby began.
“It was on the 17th of January 1984 that I found myself under-occupied in a youth hostel in Brisbane,” he says on his web site. “The night was steamy and stormy - too wet outside and too hot inside to do very much, and my attention drifted to my belly button. There it was ... fluff! I must have seen it before that night, but this occasion was the first time I ever picked it out and wondered about it.
“I became curious about how much navel fluff one person could generate (enough to stuff a cushion, maybe?), and the only way to find for sure was to collect it and see. My first piece of navel fluff was stored in an empty film canister, and the collection had begun.”
He said removing the fluff from his navel became a habit, and he puts it in a jar before he has his daily shower.
The amount he gets each day depends on what he wears, with thermal underwear producing the most lint.
He said if people ask him why he collects fluff he responds, “Why not?”
He feels his collection is unique, rare, and in mint condition – as he removes any body hair from it before placing it in a jar. He also considers it to be “a bit like having the full set of a country's currency,” since he has been collecting it consistently.
According to Barker’s web site, Guinness Book of World Records had previously recognised his collection in 2000, which resulted in some television appearances and news stories at that time.
“Collecting navel fluff has certainly brought me some fame ... but I'm still waiting for the fortune!” he said.
In 1999, he set up an online survey with question about a person’s “age, abdominal hair, depth of the navel, whether or not lint was found in the navel, its regularity, quantity, colour, and whether the colour was consistent or varied according to clothing.”
He received more than 5000 responses and some of the most entertaining comments supplied by respondents are on a special page on his website.
Barker has come across a few other navel fluff collectors, but none who had been doing it for such a long period of time
"One guy might have persisted, but he got married and his wife ordered him to stop,” The Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
Barker has also collected his beard clippings, a list of fake names he has used, and printed paper bakery bags.
He describes himself as an “inquisitive collector, photographer, writer and God-fearing weather-geek.”
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