Saturday, 22 November 2008


Much pleased this morning to receive a bumper double call from the postie, containing some belated birthday gifts as well as a few of the musical treats documented yesterday. My thoroughly modern mum had read my blog and between fielding my thank-yous she had a few cautionary words against my spending too much of the combined birthday and artist's fee windfall on records. So what can I say in my defence? Here goes:

It’s a sellers’ market and yes it’s an addiction, but as addictions go it’s surely not such a bad one. Drugs, drink and gambling are all a drain on the wallet and you’d not come away with anything to show for it beyond your own physical and emotional degradation. With records, at least you come away with a big pile of records. Over the many years I’ve spent collecting these things I’ve learned that, like so much else in life, you get better at it with practice. Back home in Leeds there’s an attic filled with hundreds of old deep house 12”s that will never ever be listened to again in this or any other lifetime. Today in Scotland aided by a refined pair of ears, I can honestly say that I’m proud of owning the vast majority, a few of which have drastically increased in value since their purchase. Though why would I ever want to sell my copy of Bagarre, Lemonsweet (disco version) or Bubble Sex by the Seebach Band? I’m not stupid.

Given the brave new world of techno-fantasia with downloading and filesharing and all the rest of it, you can readily carve out a perfectly respectable laptop DJ career without buying a single record. But it seems to miss the point somehow. The experience of music is so closely tied to the object, a fetish to focus the pleasure of listening, an elusive surrogate to pursue and own for oneself. Every record comes with its own individual story, its own thrill of the chase, its own artwork and its own condition according to the universal sellers’ code from Mint+ to Poor-. It is the record rack of Babel; no matter how many records, no matter how rare and marvellous its contents might be, no matter, the collection will never be complete. And that’s only the Italo section. Don’t get me started on minimal wave.

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