Description: On the attachment to objects: cleaning out my records
Date: 26 March 2004
Given the reference to "records" cheek-by-jowl with "Archives," I actually thought this might be about my file cabinet. However, I never have purged those files. Note that I nominated this for the worst post to date. It doesn't seem that bad now, just kind of quick and blurby. Tomorrow I'll follow up, perhaps, with the complete purging of physical musical artifacts.
There is a genre of narratives about getting rid of your record collection, near the end of which this present instance surely must come. My collection was after all assembled in the age of the cd, when limited demand and large supply ensured a cheap and for a time wide ranging supply. I had a few from high school, but I really got into it during college. I'd spend hours in a store called Golden Oldies, going up and down aisles, flipping through the long cardboard boxes. The cooler store across the street was maybe 1/3 records at the time, until they finally decided to reconfigure the floor plan. They had an on-going 99 cent sale, and I bought stacks and stacks. Buying in quantity is thrilling; because any record could change your life, it's a kind of reverse Russian-roulette.
We've carted these records, around 400 of them, through several moves, the last one halfway across country. We don't really listen to them that often, so we have records that we haven't heard in years. In the kind of narrative I'm talking about, it's usually the wife or girlfriend who issues an ultimatum, and that's the case here as well, but it just makes sense. I half-heartedly tried to sell them all as a lot, but have since decided to winnow the mass down to those that play well, and are played at all, which comes down to about 175. The rest are right now are leaning against the wall in grocery bags, sorted by type, waiting to go. I know full well that there's only a tiny market for records, so haven't decided if we will sell them to a merchant or look for a friend to sell or give them too. It doesn't really matter, because even if they all go together, the connections that have built up between them and other records I'm keeping will be lost. This is the value of an archive: to not only preserve documents (records!) of the past, but to preserve their relationships. The connection between Dio's sword-and-sorcery lyrics and early seventies folk-rock? Dissolved into the ether. The continuation from "Come On Baby Let's Rap," an earlier quiet storm type thang to "Gangster Boogie" to Ice T's "Number One Record," all twelve inchers I found in a cluttered back room in Holly Springs? Out the door. And yeah, maybe these particular connections aren't that crucial, but I still think I'll miss knowing I have a buttload of classic rock a few feet away.
reading: Selected Poems of William Bronk. Cook's Illustrated & Gourmet. Snicket's Vile Village
listening: goodbye Jandek! goodbye Icicle Works! goodbye Keith Jarret!
watching: Sopranos, Fog of War
post-script: You know, I felt while writing this that we finally have a clear candidate for worst STL ever. Sorry, maybe I'll be better next week.