I started collecting records in 2005. I always loved them in theory, but when I was in my late ‘teens and unaware that you could actually obtain new releases on a vinyl LP, my fascination with records went as far as getting a novel thrill out of playing my mother’s old K-Tel discs.
It was a hot summery day in April 2005 (which seems odd to say now, considering it is April 20 today, and we have yet to see a day above 15 degrees) and I was out walking with one of my friends down Whyte Avenue. Exams had just finished and everything in the world seemed and felt delightfully peaceful and joyous. We decided to make an afternoon of window shopping and frozen chai lattes. On our walk, I noticed – for the first time, actually – a record store: Blackbyrd Myoozik. We went in.
What I found at first glance to be striking about the store was the shelves of records; not CDs, but RECORDS. Vinyl LPs. Record albums. Whatever you want to call them. I was stunned by this (so naïve) and as I was browsing, I stumbled upon a vinyl of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals’ “Cold Roses”. It was $34.99. I’ll never forget that amount because I only had about $40 in the bank at the time, and yet, I was in awe of this record; the navy blue western-style designs on the cover were embossed and shiny and as I ran my fingers over it, my eyes widened; and I purchased the record. That was what I bought with the last of my cash. It was the first record I ever purchased for me (my mom’s hand-me-downs notwithstanding).
When I listened to the record for the first time, I loved the raw, marred hollow sound of the music. I love how it allowed me to feel and become such a large part of the music and how manual and careful I had to be with the large plastic disc; records’ good and bad qualities do nothing but contribute to how music makes me feel; that it is something to be held and treasured and showcased and participated in. After ‘Cold Roses’ I was hooked, and that was how my record collection got started.
Collections are interesting from a psychological standpoint; why do we collect? What do we gain psychologically from a collection? Is there a type of personality that is more prone to collect than others? I’ve always been a collector, and perhaps someone (myself included) might say that this insistent need to procure belongings that, in the grand scheme of things do not contribute fully to one’s life and in fact only become cumbersome, expensive shelf-fillers is due to the feeling of isolation and aloneness, and the need to fill one’s life with stuff in hopes of repairing a hollowed channel of communication and societal normalcy…
I know this about myself – I know the stigmas of collectors and yet, my eyes light up when I stumble upon a particular must-have collectable; I will often disregard price, necessity or other cautionary factors in lieu of obtaining that lustrous item that I can almost visualize as part of my growing, ever-important, coveted collection. If I want an item, I will be unable to stop thinking about it until it becomes a part of my collection. I will have dreams about it, I will stare into its picture on my ebay screen and think about it. It becomes almost like an extension of myself.
Records though, are an extension of myself. Those who know me (even for those who don’t and happen to browse through my blog or glance even briefly at my facebook page) are fully aware of the impact that music has on my life, on my outlook towards life and myself, and my hobbies, interests, goals, my main life events. Music is the metaphorical “place” where I find my happiness and my meaning, the source of and result of all my memories and moments of significance in both my good, and bad, history. It is music. And the more tangible and sought-after the music I obtain is, the more I lust over its majesty and feel it become an indelible part of myself. It is for these reasons that my record collection is more than just a pile of plastic discs; what is on those discs are ancient documents that aid in the ever-changing, constant search for who I really am, or who I’ve always been.
Thus: Class Mythology, the coveted Ryan Adams Record Store Day release – is now purchased by me, and it was pricey, but good GOD, it was worth it.