When the floor collapses. Which is what happened to me in what I call The Bungalow of Doom. The Bungalow of Doom is where I live. Though the floor has been fixed now, I haven’t started lugging the records back into the room. I feel it’s time to downsize. But I’m a real hoarder. I’ve always collected things. When I was a child I used to collect Dandy and Beano annuals. And He Man figures. And Lego. Now I’m older I collect Dog Paintings, weird postcards, records and Ted Glen figures (from Postman Pat). The Ted Glen thing is because I was scared of him when I was little. If I ever own a house with a spare room, it will be known as The Ted Glen Suite. Decorated in his colours, there will be hundreds of the same Ted Glen figure, like the Terracotta Warriors. And looming large, a huge Big Brother style painting of him will be hung on the wall. Ted Glen Is Watching You.
There’s nothing wrong with collecting things until you run out of room. Then it becomes a problem. Even though I don’t collect most of the things I did as a child, I can’t imagine getting rid of them. The He Man figures live in a suitcase, except Castle Grayskull, which naturally wouldn’t fit. But it’s easy enough to keep them out the way. Records, however, grow like a virus. In the unlikely event a hipster may read this, mark my words, you think it is cool when you’ve got a hundred, but when you end up with thousands, you will feel disgusted with yourself. I couldn’t possibly listen to them all. Couldn’t, wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t.
A few months ago I had an epiphany. It was a beautiful sunny day, and yet I was in a record shop in Bristol. I was on the hunt for The Fall LPs that have so far eluded me, when I noticed a young man frantically flipping his way through a box of records. Next to him stood his patient girlfriend. They looked like a couple from an idyllic American teen movie. And as he flipped, I wanted to go over to him, halt his flipping, look him in the eye and say “Stop”.
“You’re looking for something, a record of importance to you, but pause a moment. Take a look around, your beautiful girlfriend waits patiently for you, the sun is shining and you have youth on your side. You don’t want to be doing this. You feel it’s important that you find what you’re looking for, but you will never truly find it. Once you have it, the buzz will subside, and there will be another record calling you. You will never be content. Walk away, into the sunshine, and never return. You’ll have a better afternoon. You’ll have a better life.”
And then I found ‘Grotesque’, The Fall’s 3rd studio album and I forgot all about it. It’s a good album, not an easy listen, but definitely worthwhile owning.
The truth has been slowly dawning on me though. This needs to stop. So that’s my resolution for this year. I’m still going to buy records of course, but I’m going to make room for the new ones by letting go of some of the old ones. A few years ago I was forced into putting all the records into genres because I could no longer find anything. I then ended up having to come up with sub genres. My kid’s music section got split into music ‘by children’ and ‘for children’, my Religious section into religions (you’d be surprised how many synagogue records are out there) and my World music section got split into continents, and then into individual countries. Today I picked up a record from the European section as an initial attempt at downsizing. It was ‘Yodels of Switzerland’. I decided to keep it in case it might come in handy one day.
This isn’t going to be easy…