Here's the other memory thing I've been meaning to blog about for a while - Belts!
Or, to give it its official name, the New IAM Levels System. It looks like this:
What you can do is go to the site here and type in your best score in each memory discipline. For each one you get a number of points based on the highest level you've achieved, and your overall level is the average of the best ten of these - with at least one discipline having to come from each of the five groups (numbers/cards/names/words/miscellaneous).
The whole thing is just a proposal rather than an actual thing yet, but it's a very cool idea. It naturally leads (in my mind, at least) to coloured belts as in martial arts, with level 10 being the black belt and any levels above that being 'dan' rankings for the ultimate memorisers. There currently aren't any ultimate memorisers according to these tough standards - two black belts (Alex and Simon), and two brown (Johannes and Marwin), and a few people (like me, as above) on purple. It's genuinely very motivating to know that I could bump myself up to the next elite level by slightly improving my top scores in three disciplines!
The proposal also sticks with the "grandmaster" title, which I think is a mistake. It would be fine if not for the fact that there are HUNDREDS of people out there who have already qualified to call themselves a grand master of memory, by different rules, and so there's no way an "IAM Grandmaster" title could ever be meaningful to anybody. I think we should have actual physical coloured belts - imagine the photo opportunities! Local newspapers around the world would lap it up.
Admittedly, some people have said the Belt idea is "slightly corny", and admittedly the people who say this include the two black belts themselves, one of them being the current world champion and the other being the main person who decides things like this in the IAM, so it's just possible I won't get my actual purple belt... but come on, just imagine the coolness! They could be thin (inexpensive) coloured fabric belts with little metal clasps on each end, bearing the IAM logo. So desirable! I might have to make my own.