Completing the Set

17 Responses

  1. Ian Marchant says:

    Thank you Mark. We’ve got our five; some of them thanks to contributors here…
    My pal Chris pointed out recently that Plynlimmon is miles down the list of Wales high mountains. I argued that I meant it was the third mountain of Wales in a cultural sense…

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Ian,
    Lots of people collect mountains and hills. There are endless different lists which baggers tick-off. You can almost certainly find completists for the Wainwrights, Marilyns, Birketts, Nuttalls, County-Tops, Grahams, Corbetts etc. etc. on the internet blogging about the experience.
    I know a couple of people who have completed the Munros – whether they would want to be interviewed or not I don’t know (but I could ask).
    I was taught at University by a chap called Will McLewin who was the first Britian to climb all of the Alpine 4000m peaks. Wrote an excellent book about it too. (‘In Monte Viso’s Horizon’).
    Lots of collectors now seem to be at it in order to write a book – see all of the British….Butterflies, Red-list birds, Islands etc in a year, then write about the experience. I presume you are just after the dyed in the wool fanatics who do it just for the hell of it?
    I like the idea of collecting things but am much too bone-idle to actually get the set. I do have all of That Petrol Emotion’s LPs. Does that Count?
    I thought that I had read all of your books – well I’m reading ‘The Longest Crawl’ at the moment – but I discover from your website that I’m way behind since I’ve not read ‘Men and Models’ or the one about Underground London.
    Very much enjoying ‘The Longest Crawl’ my inner pedant won’t be silenced and insists on pointing out that Plynlimon isn’t Wales third highest mountain. I realise that plenty of other tedious bores have probably already done the same, and that it’s not much use to you now that the book is out there already.
    Do you know ‘Coming Down the Wye’ by Robert Gibbings? He clearly set out to follow his very succesful ‘Sweet Thames Run Softly’ but was so enchented by the top end of the river that half the book is about his time spent living in a very basic cottage half-way up Plynlimon.

  3. Peter Everett says:

    As Ian’s producer and fellow-researcher I’d like to invite anyone who can offer contact details for completists (especially Helen’s Empire-magazine-collecting friend mentioned above) to email me direct at Thanks!

  4. Andrew says:


    I can probably find you a few LEGO people who have every set from a particular theme – Space, Castle, City. Let me know.

    Love the video by the way!

  5. LucyMae says: is full of folks who would be SO spot on as subjects of your Radio Four thingy. High functioning Aspies who just love a good ol’ full set of Star Wars figurines, etc.

  6. Ian Marchant says:

    Hmmm… maybe you have a point. My pal Chas advocates starting a Festival Ticket checking service run by people with this condition. He wants to call it ‘Autickets.’

  7. LucyMae says:

    I wasn’t being rude or flippant!! Seriously. Some of my best friends (and family) have Aspergers (I’m not even joking…). It’s just a fact- being “Completist” is a major part of the condition. Well, being an obsessive collector is…
    Just trying to be helpful 🙂

  8. LucyMae says:

    I think you need to get in touch with your local Aspergers Network/support group/society whatever! Guaranteed to find a load of “Completists” on their books…

  9. Ian Marchant says:

    Big thank you, Dan and Helen…

  10. Helen Morris says:

    I do happen to know a ‘completist’ – is that a word? It actually suits her very well…… She’s definitely got a complete set of Empire magazine. She’s also got lots of other ‘stuff’ including lots of 1970’s Jacky mags, complete sets of her fave authors etc etc

  11. Dan says:

    Another one occured to me – a while back I read about a group of people who had set out to visit every pub in the Good Beer Guide (except it seemed to be the 1974 guide or soem such – when they had 1st decided) – can find a link – but instead here is one to another chap with similar ambition.

    Apols in advance for this link to the DM – if you need to delete it I won’t be offended!

  12. Ian Marchant says:

    I have been talking with Richard. Sadly, he is a changed man; collecting insects rather than insect collecting is now the order of the day…
    and Dan… I love you!

  13. Dan says:

    Ian – surely you need to find someone who completed the full London Underground network in a day? (or the whole BR network)

    In theory this should be a simple job – but I bet it’s not:

    Then this chap must be a hero:

    There was a bloke on antiques roadshow (last year?) who seemed to have got a ticket from every station closed by Dr Beeching (or nearly every one….)

    I think chap who owns this publishing imprint might have collected every Railway Bradshaw.

    Then you’ve got the music genre (every release by such and such an artist….)

    But these people are legends – if you dare take the mick you know you will feel guilty for many years to come.

    I trust you will be able to ensure a gender balance… good luck with that element of the project!

    Other themes: every matchbox model car, every star wars figure, complete set of Avengers programmes (on Betamax – natch). Something related to sport….

  14. Graham says:

    Good luck with that one Ian. Hasn’t Richard Jones’s dad collected and mounted just about every insect in existence?

  15. Ian Marchant says:

    Do you know anyone whose close?

  16. Paul says:

    Great idea; I wish I could help. I don’t know anyone who’s ticked off that last one. There’s a few who’ve died in the saddle I guess…

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