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Book: Turntable Stories

Chapter: Rid of Me: Vinyl Records, Personal Histories and the Burden of Collecting

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.46292


There are records in my collection I simply cannot part with. Much ink has been spilled by authors and journalists espousing the role of record collecting as curating identity – this is not that. Rather, I want to consider the records that I cannot remove from my collection for reasons other than the ‘grand project’ of record collecting. There are records in my collection that, beyond being about my personal taste, mean a great deal to me, much like Davies’ Darling, They’re Playing Our Tune phenomenon. There are other records that were gifts whose quality range from the perfectly judged to wildly off-base – what if the gift-giver pops in for coffee and wants to see your record collection? Surely, they’ll look for their contribution to your life’s passion. There are other records that were handed down from friends and family now passed: being the custodian of those LPs is done out of love and respect rather than what it says about your own personal taste. What about that Santana record where the shop owner gave you the wrong record? You now have the wrong record in the wrong sleeve and no way of correcting it without buying both records. There are, however, other records that simply cannot be allowed back into the wild –records with sexist covers, inappropriate or outdated ideas, or even a peculiar Brazilian percussion record that, upon getting it home and inspecting it properly, features someone in blackface in the background of the cover. In fact, what about every record you’ve ever owned? If you send them to landfill, they will take millennia to degrade and leech incredibly dangerous chemicals into the ground water. Record collections are an emotive passion and constant burden.

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