A hoarder, me; I have a cupboard filled with about 500 LPs and probably an equal number of 7″ and 12″ singles. Caroline is constantly telling me they are an anchor, mooring us in the dock of clutter. And I sympathise. I loved a story I read the other day on a Zen Buddhist site, about the man who limits himself to 600 possessions — each time he receives a gift or acquires something new, he selects an item to give away.
As pleasing as this idea is, I cling to my vinyl like a comfort blanket. Belying the rock journo cliché that pop music is “disposable”, this stuff is no more disposable than a family photo album. Though I get shirty with those guests on Desert Island Discs, whose collections seem to represent only memories — as if what’s in the grooves counted for nothing — it’s undeniable that these records are stamped with their context: favourite record shops, pocket money and student grants, bargain bins, favourable reviews in the NME or radio plays.
[As I write, I’m conscious this talk of grooves and record shops casts me in the archaic mould of my grandparents with their wireless and stereogram, but bear with me young reader; you’ll be here sooner than you think, with your cherished memories of the shiny silver disc!]
The last LP I bought was Neil Young’s Freedom, and the first CDs included Kate Bush – The Sensual World and Rei Momo by David Byrne. So we must have graduated to CD around October ’89. A strange boy, I moved backward through recorded history as easily as forward, and so reckon my earliest is a November 1933 release of Your Mother’s Son-In-Law by Billie Holiday. A fifty-odd year slice of recorded music.
Inspired by the lovely Eclectic Boogaloo I have resolved to sweat this asset. J-M.org will unleash choice cuts into the blogosphere under the usual ethical-if-not-quite-legal guidelines. If you like the music, buy it (unless it’s deleted, in which case tough luck mr. music mogul). MP3s will be removed after a limited airing of a week or two.
And the most delightful part of this plan is that it allows me to use a cheesy pun. Welcome to The Vinyl Countdown. Now read on…