The Collector’s Sickness – Will Someone Please Explain… The Reason For This Strange Behavior?

duran-duran---strangebehaviorIT12A

EMI | Italy | 12″ Picture Disc | 1986 | 14 2017660

It was at a record show in… well, it feels like 1992, when I came across a dealer with early Duran Duran/Arcadia 12″ singles from the group’s imperial period. I had bought some of these back in the day during my on-again/off-again fandom of the group. Seeing a handful of them going for 2/$5.00 made me pick them all up without too much forethought. I had plenty of money to spend and the singles were beautiful, Malcolm Garrett-designed objects, mostly from the unimpeachably great “Rio” album. I thought to myself, that I should buy some more Duran Duran records. Particularly now that I had “finished” my Ultravox collection.

I can laugh at my naiveté now, but in that barely pre-internet era, deep knowledge of discographical information was a lot harder to come by. Still, those Duran records could be excellent and the group were so heavily marketed, that the nooks and crannies of the body of work would prove fascinating to collect. So I kept my eyes open and picked up things that I came across for the next few months. Then two things I couldn’t have predicted happened, and the Duran Duran collection came to the forefront in a huge way in 1993.

The first of these was that the band bounced back into the top 10 with their excellent “Wedding Album,” which featured two “mid-tempo ballads” that topped the charts all over the place. That saw the band’s stock rise so high, that their world tour lasted all year long. I saw the band three times on two different legs that year. That success completely re-energized the Duran mothership. The second, even stronger controlling factor was that I suddenly became friends that year with a plethora of other Duran Duran collectors. Then I certainly got caught up in the vortex of Duran Collectoritis. I crossed the line and began buying records that I didn’t “need.” Buying records for sleeve variations. Or just because it was “there.”

Prior to this point, I bought records/discs to listen to. If I “collected” a band, I wanted every song/mix/rarity. I was obsessive, yes, but still practical. I bought just the releases necessary to cover the music. By 1993, I was making a surplus of money and it was all too easy to buy these records just to amass a huge collection of Duran Duran records. That attitude spilled over into all bands in short time. It was around this time, that I would hit the amazing 45 bins at Rock & Roll Heaven and buy singles that I already had the music on just for the cover design variations. The more the merrier. Wow! …there’s the US 7″ picture sleeve for “We Live So Fast!” [grab]

Most of the really rare items were only available in the 6 point copy ads in Goldmine magazine. Every two weeks, I’d plow through the latest issue with a highlighter trying to find the records I wanted before other collectors around the globe beat me to the punch. Between 1992 and 1995, I amassed a large collection of Duran Duran before an imminent marriage/home purchase helped me put the brakes on this vinyl fetish. But the records stayed in the Record Cell for nearly two decades. This year, the DD collection is getting whittled down to what it would have been ca. 1992. I’m saving just the releases that offer music I don’t already have on CD elsewhere for listening. That would be about 8% of the late period collection. The rest, as typified by the Italian picture disc variation of the “Strange Behavior” EP [which also got a completely different release …only in Japan] have been on the chopping block.

duran duran - planet earthUSP12AMy big question right now is… how close to the bone do I go? I am inclined to keep a certain amount of the early material. I really like the first two albums. So, those records, at minimum, should stick around. However, Malcolm Garrett designed everything through the “Arena” period, and while the music may be lame, the covers are still some of Garrett’s creme-de-la-creme. The graphic designer in me still wants to hold on to those. I actually enjoy the “Notorious” period a lot; it re-energized my fandom after a few years of avoidance. The Frank Olinsky art is stark and minimal, but it has a certain elegance. Then there’s the issue of the Japanese EPs. Japan got a remix EP for every era through “Notorious” with the “Strange Behavior” EP. These are acmes of Japanese packaging and design. I have to keep those, even though I sold the Italian EP at the head of this post a few days ago. Then there’s collector catnip like the US promo only picture sleeve “Planet Earth” 12″ as shown at left. It’s from the first album period, but it was not designed by Garrett, and yet it’s the sort of release that the collector’s sickness within me inordinately responds to. Should it stay or should it go?

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graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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9 Responses to The Collector’s Sickness – Will Someone Please Explain… The Reason For This Strange Behavior?

  1. Tim says:

    I used to have the DD OCD.
    Got rid of most everything a while back, don’t really notice it’s absence from the music hard drive.
    When they’re on the mark their stuff is really good, as I grow older it seems to me that material that “hits the mark” by them is less and less.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – What hits the Mark DD-wise? “Duran Duran,” “Rio,” “Notorious,” “Big Thing*,” “Wedding Album,” “Astronaut,” “Red Carpet Massacre.” What doesn’t? “Seven and the Ragged Tiger,” “Arena,” “Liberty,” “Thank You,” “Medazzaland,” “Pop Trash.” I still have not heard the “new” one, though the hardcore love it. * On the fence with this one. The title cut is deadly awful, and almost slays this one from the get go, but it contains some of their most sublime work. I’ve also dumped a ton of Bananarama and Depeche mode. Can’t say I’ve missed it. I did miss the Pet Shop Boys B-sides, so a copy of “Alternative” corrected that issue.

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      • Tim says:

        Oh, lessee, I whittled it down mostly to album #1, Rio, Big Thing and bits and pieces from there on. Some remixes, official and otherwise, certain b-sides. There’s parts of certain albums that Iike more than others. I did the same with Depeche Mode, which I also had a serious OCD on through Songs of Faith and Passive Aggression. DM and DD were canon and neither far from my walkman in the 1980’s (along with ABC). I dunno, don’t miss most of the DD or DM stuff that I parted ways with,,,it just didn’t speak to me the same way anymore and even nostalgia wasn’t enough to keep it. When I sold a lot of the stuff I thought mostly that it’s just sitting there on a bookcase shelf and there are folks out there that would listen to this stuff day in day out like I used to. I hope I made a bunch of people happy when I sold the items that I did.

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  2. Brian Ware says:

    I’ve whittled my core collectible bands to a mere handful, and even with those I have personal rules that at least make sense to me. It should ultimately be about the music.. With Duran, keep the ones that really, truly move you. You could even take the sleeve scans I know you have and make yourself a coffee table book through Apple. Sell the rest off and reap the joys of more new music and concert experiences.

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  3. Echorich says:

    Collectoritis is such a very individual condition. There are bands that I have to have everything I can get my hands on – Echo And The Bunnymen, Heaven 17/BEF, Japan/David Sylvian/Mick Karn/Jansen & Barbieri, The Chameleons, The Comsat Angels, Pet Shop Boys, Everythin But The Girl, and there are bands that I love but collecting ended with their, as Monk would describe it, “imperial” period – Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, New Order… I’ve only purged my vinyl once in my lifetime and that was in the move from NYC to Tampa in 2005 when I found that 1/3 of the container shipping my belonging would be vinyl and cd’s and there was still clothing, housewares and furniture to still be put in it. That was an extreme situation for me and one I never want to repeat. I let go MOSTLY dance music 12″ vinyl and cds and still only found that about 15% of the collection moved. When I reunited with my music in Tampa I decided that would never happen again and my music collection was off limits to the needs of budget or space in the future.
    When I think back, I don’t miss ANY of the acid house and techo vinyl I let go of and I am sure there are still some DJ’s in NYC finding a use for most of that vinyl in their now retro sets.

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    • Echorich says:

      In reading back my quickly written comment it sounds like only 15% of my record collection moved to Tampa with me, in reality I only divested of 15% and 85% did move to Tampa. I found within a year that I could replace a good part of the dance vinyl with a few carefully chosen compilation and through downloads on Beatport and Traxsource, so I traded formats more than anything.

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  4. Steve Shafer says:

    Keep everything from the period of the first two albums (love that “Planet Earth” promo 12″)!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Steve Shafer – At the bare minimum that will happen. I am still unsure how much further I’ll go, but the Japanese mix EPs will stay, and other variations of “Carnival.”

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      • I lost the DD thread beginning with “Seven and the Ragged Tiger,” which I thought was a terrible follow-up to the great “Rio.” I have one version of the “Carnival” EPs that I picked up back in the day. I felt a little sheepish buying it, since the record shop I used to patronize (Mad Hatters in Yonkers, which always had a great selection of whatever New Wave/modern rock records were being played on WLIR) leaned more post-punk than New Wave pop (and the guy behind the register was all out punk). But the Night Versions are pretty great.

        BTW, the John Taylor autobiography is a good read. He’s a witty guy and a good writer (though I have to admit the book kind of peters out toward the end, as he deals with his drug addiction and reduced fame; but the first half of the book dealing with DD’s origins, their rise to fame, and everything through “Rio” is quite compelling).

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