As a young girl, I collected stuff. Mainly little animals. First the Britains plastic farm animals you could buy from the toy shop each week, and then the ceramic Whimsies. In each case, there was a sense of building a collection that would, with effort, money management and time, be complete.
That idea of getting the whole set must be an innate human thing. A friend’s elderly mother, who grew up in Ireland, told me about her childhood in the 1930’s.
“We had nothing. Certainly no toys. I would make dolls out of stones. I lined them up and counted them, and I was always getting new ones.”
If you choose carefully what to collect, then you can have lots of fun on the way. Choose to collect all the stones in the world and you are bound for vexation and madness.
The best record collection to have is the one based on this premise:
“I’m collecting the music I like at the time, that’s available to me, for the money I happen to have.”
But the need to have a perfect set of something gnaws away, until you start thinking:
“Small Wonder released only 28 singles and I’ve got quite a lot of them…. Maybe I should try and complete the set.”
“I’ve bought all the 7″s that Debbie Harry did, so maybe now I should get the Japanese releases or the picture discs, too.”
“I really liked the tracks on that ‘obscure punk compilation CD’. Maybe I should source the original 7″s.”
The most dangerous sign is when you have lots of different collections on the go, meaning that you can go into an Oxfam shop or trawl ebay and be certain of finding something that fits in with one of your ongoing lists.
So, on Record Shop* Day 2018, here’s a challenge to all vinyl addicts. Before you buy another record, listen to your whole collection all the way through.