# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Miscellaneous - November 2007

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 20 / 10 / 2007

Miscellaneous - November 2007


In the latest in his 'Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll' column, Ben Howarth writes about, faced with having to move, trying to unsuccessfully reduce his record collection

I have never set out to ’collect’ records as such. I have simply bought lots. But, having left the comforting embrace of the family home, my collection has faced a serious challenge. Records like shelves, they like racks and they like to take up space. I now live in the traditional small North London flat, where there is barely room for a laptop, and record collections do not like such an environment. About a quarter of my albums have followed me to London. The rest are packed into boxes and hide away in Kent. It may finally have come the time to face up to the reality that if those boxes haven’t been opened for well over a year that they may not be entirely essential. Should, in fact, many of these pointless things have been sold or burnt years ago? This is a question many have pondered. I know of many relationships that have not weathered the storm. Frankly, any objective look at the situation provides a clear answer to what has really been going on. I have spent far too much money, and had I not, I may not be horrendously indebted to both Natwest and (to a greater extent) Barclays. And yet it is with the greatest reluctance that I have set about trying to reduce this sprawling, pointless mass to manageable proportions. I could still sell them, but that is a lengthy process. The continued hanging on to them, and ensuring I know where there are, until the sale is confirmed poses further unwelcome problems. So, here we are, black bin liner in hand, and it is time for a purge. There are hundreds and hundreds of CDs lying about here, most of which if I am to be honest, will never again leave their cases. I’m sure buying them seemed like a good idea at the time. But keeping hold of them in case I want to do that autobiography-by-record collection thing from 'High Fidelity' is quite obviously the worst idea in the world. Do I really need, for example, this Monster Magnet album? I do not. Out it goes… Many require not a second thought. Some are only in the collection because you are sure someone lent it to you, but you can’t think who. Is this your Ladytron album? Because it isn’t mine. Some were bought because of good reviews, or Mercury nominations. Some because you liked one album by the band and hadn’t realised you would never listen to six more. Bjork albums that aren’t 'Vespertine'? Goodbye. Nina Simone albums that aren’t 'Nina Simone and Piano' ? Ditto. All Clash albums that aren’t 'London Calling' ? Ditto again. Then there are the ‘great’ albums you’ve grown up enough to realise you actually don‘t like. I don’t need accepted wisdom determining my tastes. The Sex Pistols’ 'Never Mind the Bollocks', the greatest album of all time according to some. It’s the sort of album you admire rather than play. Packed in a box, I’m not even admiring it that much. Then there are those misplaced experiments, quickly forgotten. Those doomed attempts to ‘get into’ jazz or reggae - no thank you. Any world music - pish posh. All 90's dance music besides the Chemical Brothers and Underworld - on yer bike. This is starting to be fun. But then there are the albums with one good song, I’ll keep those. The albums that could grow on me, though they haven’t yet and I bought them in 2001. Ooh, I’d forgotten I had this, I might just play it now…. Post purge, and the visible effect to the record collection is minimal. Perhaps I will find time to listen to them all. Perhaps my parents won’t mind these boxes staying in their garage for the next 15 years…

Also In Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll

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