Record collecting can lead to obsessive behaviour. There ... I've said it now, and it's certainly true of many in the diggin' game. I never set out to be a collector, and have never considered myself a "collector" per se. I just fell in love with hip hop music at an early age (when 12" singles were the format of choice), and I wanted all the dope records AND to become the baddest deejay on the wheels of steel. OK so the latter part never happened, but as far as dope beats are concerned, I got big guns and lots of ammo! The good thing about having lots of records, is that every so often you will stumble upon a record deep in the racks that you forgot you even owned. It happens to me regularly, usually when I have the time to drop an LP, and leisurely peruse my racks (right now I got a Polish funk LP rocking in the background) I will spot something I may have forgotten about. Plus me being a fairly orderly person, I like my wax to be in the right place when I need it. I don't like to see piles of wax on the floor (like in the photo above) or records out of sleeves either. So shortly after buying stuff, I tend to clean them and rack them so I know it won't get lost or misplaced. Plus they're at arm's reach when I need them, but because of this habit I can sometimes forget what I have bought recently - hence a few remain there without being re-discovered until months or even years later. It's nice though when it happens.
But having lots of records also brings it downfalls. Here's a few obvious and some not so obvious...
NO ROOM - If it weren't for the Expedit shelving units from IKEA my place would just be a sea of records. It's amazing how racking them can free up your space (until you buy even more records and then have the same problem once again)
NO RENT MONEY - "Man, the bills can wait this month. So much you want for that promo only rarity?"
COMPULSIVE BUYING - You own a group's first 3 releases, so then feel compelled to track down their others, the LP and then all the promo 12"s and so on.
SUNKEN FLOORBOARDS - I currently live in a first floor flat, but if I buy any more records it may become the ground floor!
SLEEVE ODOUR - Due to the fact that old records are often stored in damp environments, hoarding second hand vinyl doesn't do a lot of good for the freshness of your home. Sometimes I come home to be greeted with a smell that I can only liken to the smell of my old school library. I guess it's all the damp and dusty paper sleeves. I don't mind the smell in small doses, but that's different to living with it.
MOVING HOUSE - Forget about it! A major muscle / transport / safety nightmare will only ensue.
PEOPLE GIVE YOU MORE RECORDS - I don't know why, but when
people know that you own lots of records, they always come to you saying "hey, my friend gave me some records that you can have" and then I'm confronted with two smelly old boxes of scratched 45rpm singles from the 80's pop scene. Do they honestly think that I collect ANY old records just for the sake of it? I'm not a vinyl graveyard! Then I have to politely explain that actually, I'm quite particular about what genre of records I care to own.
COLLECTION SIZE - Like any other testosterone filled male, once you have realised the size is getting big, you begin to thrive on it and do your best to stimulate more growth.
CATALOGUING NIGHTMARES - Keeping a track of what records you do own and don't own can become misty at times. It may sound like vagueness to others, but if your crates do run deep, then sometimes it takes time to locate stuff. In the past I have tried to keep a paper list, but within a week or two it was outdated. So what was the use of that?
But there are plenty more positives to be experienced than negatives. The joy of being able to lay my hands on this or that track from musical history has always been enough reward for me. To be able to play a friend, colleague, or fellow beatdigger any dope hip hop or funk track that I choose to. Forget bragging writes - that's for suckers. I always say that "it ain't what you got, it's HOW YOU ROCK IT!" anyway.
So given the choice, I wouldn't change a damn thing. I love my music and my obsessions whatever size the record collection gets to. It's part of who I am and I will gladly live amongst it, or on top of it if I have to.
Below is a soundclip of my lucky find in the racks for today. I love this LP but had forgotten entirely about how dope one of the joints was. I've added a clue in the link, but this time I'm giving no names.
straight from planet rock