I’m an obsessive collector and cataloguer of music, but you already know that. My records sit there all proud and loved on my shelves, most in nice plastic covers and all scrupulously organised alphabetically and then by date – it’s just the way I roll. It makes me happy but I do have a nasty little secret, when I stand there surveying my vinyl Smörgåsbord my eyes automatically slide past a certain point: I can’t look at the area behind the armchair. I just can’t look down there at all because there’s a glitch in my personal matrix, a troll under my bridge of tranquillity.
Down there …
no, I can’t bring myself to type it. No I will! I must – you have a right to know my shame. No amount of Lego can buy me out of this one.
Down there live my singles. I don’t know how many of them there are, THEY’RE NOT EVEN ALPHABETICALLY ORDERED!! Because they are difficult to store and I hate the idea of boxing them, they are just jammed onto the bottom shelf in about 3 long rows. My turntable requires me to take the wheel off and physically move the belt in order to set it to 45RPM, which doesn’t make things easier. They aren’t in any real order. (sobs uncontrollably for about 20 minutes).
I know I’ve banged on about this before but I loved 7″ singles, okay so there are some real collector’s ones in there but mostly they were just disposable fun for me, I’d buy whatever I liked the sound of that week/fortnight, totally free of any concepts of ‘cool’, clan, or any other pretension at all. I’d never have bought a Roxette LP, but there’s a copy of The Look* in there somewhere … somewhere. Queen Jazz was my first LP, but I’d been buying singles for a while before that, in fact the first record I ever bought under my own steam was the single, Robert Palmer Addicted to Love a brilliant track (just go ask Sonic Youth), which I followed up with the less-than-stellar Falco Vienna Calling (the crap follow-up to Rock Me Amadeus) but purely from memory ^ my third single was Run DMC Walk This Way, or even Van Halen Why Can’t This Be Love.
Singles were what I spent my pocket-money on, we all did. The charts mattered back then, some of us more obsessive types followed them, umm, obsessively. We used to take them round to each other’s houses, to parties even., they mattered. At some point I need to dust them all off and bring them back to light, show them a bit of love – which in my slightly twisted worldview involves ruthless cataloguing on my PC and fascistic ordering by name and date; its how I show love, just ask the cats (you’ll find them neatly stacked and filed in the spare bedroom).
I only mention all this because four, or five had slipped off the shelf** and I had to tidy them up again. I picked them up and realized they were damn good too:
- Slunt – The Best Thing (picture disc – pure filth)
- Beck – Sissyneck (great B-side ‘Feather in Your Cap’)
- Charlatans – One to Another (just a great tune)
- Foo Fighters – For All The Cows (Blue vinyl)
- The Zutons – You Will You Won’t (another great tune)
So there is loads of interesting stuff down there, as well as a healthy quota of crap. I need to do something about this. As a great man once wrote:
Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to obsessively collecting and ordering stuff^^
164 Down (still)
*from memory it contains the brilliantly nonsensical line ‘tasty like a raindrop’ which I always liked.
^please don’t check the release dates and tell me I’ve been lying to myself all these years, I don’t want to know.
**or had jumped off by their own volition Toy Story-style in a last-ditch gambit to get my attention.
^^it’s what he meant to write.