Sharp eyed readers of this blog may have noted that while I talk a lot about
wanting to buy things, this has not been happening lately. All talk. No action. Since I am working 6 days a week and am nowhere near having a record buying budget, I am
exploring options which experience tells me I may regret one day. But that’s only because I sport what I’ll refer to as the “collector’s gene.” I knew that I had this by age 5 when I encountered “Odd Rods” stickers. I had to have the whole series! Within two years I had begun my obsession with pop music, and when I found out you could buy recordings that
were not strictly contemporary, that changed the way I related to music. It became yet another thing to collect. The most precious thing to collect of all, really!
Once I learned about used record stores in high school, I had the occasional purge of the collection. I only bought back a pinch of the prog rock that I deep-sixed by 1980. But the advent of CD as a reality for me in 1985, drove some questionable acts which I’ve come to refer to as the Great Vinyl Purge. These took place between 1985-1987. When I discovered that I could trade in old records for new CDs, I made a lots of hasty trades! I naively assumed that within a few years, all of it would be reissued in the now preferred format. Mea culpa!
By the 1990s, I realized that perhaps I was too hasty, and found myself re-buying back many of the records that I had purged some years earlier. In 1990 you sure couldn’t hear The Buggles “Adventures In Modern Recording” on anything but a 12″ disc. The upside? Many of these records I bought for $4.99, then traded in for $3.00 worth of value, I could now find for as little as a dollar. And at this time I had lots of disposable income. Tempered by the experience, I looked back at relinquishing any record [even if I bought the CD of the title] as something to avoid as I had by this time crossed the line into “recreational” record collecting. That is to say, buying records I not only didn’t need for the music contained within, but would in fact never ever actually play! Alternative cover designs from different countries were like musical crack for me and I began to buy any records I liked just… well, just because!
I may have the CD to hear the music but a picture sleeve has its own rewards. If I had not moved and gotten off of my so-called career path a dozen years ago, it might still be the way I collected music now. But the fact remains, I earn now, after a dozen years of moving into another state, about what I earned in the early-to-mid-90s at the Big Multinational Corporations I designed software for. And my expenses are bigger than they’ve ever been. In response to these realities, I’ve been mulling over a sell-off of some of the collection. I have many records that I don’t actually need for any sane reason. I have core collections that I will probably leave untouched. The works of JAPAN, let’s say. But I have some Bauhaus classics that I also have on CD. And I don’t “collect” Bauhaus, so why not cash ’em in? There are lots of new things out there that I will derive more use from than having redundant 12″ records of.
Another area rife for culling are the artists that I used to collect, but who got jettisoned in the early 90s from the “core collection” status that they once had: Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush. I only even listen to these acts albums on rare occasions. Why not sell off the buckets of CD singles I have off rack, boxed, never to be listened to anyway? There is some rare stuff there that could yield major dinero if sold artfully. Quite frankly, the music that these acts made – mid 80s synth pop, by and large; I now view as somewhat tiresome and shallow. The ’85-’93 period wasn’t exactly a golden age to my ears. At nearly 50, I have a better idea of what gives me listening pleasure today. Much of this isn’t it.
Finally, there exist many unexplored tributaries in my collection that for one reason or another, I never followed up on for one reason or another. The odd album or single by someone I didn’t like enough to “collect.” These may add admirable depth to a collection that focuses thousand of releases on just dozens of artists, by and large, but to what avail? I can’t afford the things I really want, so why not dispense with the chaff; pleasant though it may be on occasion?
So with that off of my chest, I’ll only point out what keen eyes may have already noticed: the crass, animated button added on my sidebar labelled “Own The Monk’s Records.” If pressed, the viewer will be taken to my current auctions. I still haven’t worked out whether I will use the Discogs marketplace to sell in or not, but for now, I’ll start out with Ebay and see where the chips fall. At a certain point, collecting records for its own sake takes a rewarding hobby and makes of it a neurosis. I am also hoping that by cutting myself free of this music that does not repay my active listening that I can get to a point where I can buy that which will.
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