It was over breakfast when I actually spoke the words I'd had rolling around in my head for some time. My partner's spoon hit the table - closely followed by her jaw.
'I think I might get rid of all my Records and CDs'
Come to think of it, hearing myself saying it out loud probabley caused my own jaw to head southwards a few inches.
I've been buying music in all it's increasingly varied formats since 1971 and as recently as 2009 my haul of CDs for that year alone teetered around the 300 mark. I'm a collector, a completest....ok a hoarder. So what's happened?
The idea was that the middle room upstairs in our new home would house our records, CDs, books and magazines, we'd even taken to referring to it as the library. Problems became apparent after I'd moved approximately a third of the above mentioned into the space. Sitting downstairs eating dinner later that evening I glanced upward to see ominous cracks in the ceiling where no cracks had previously been. I guess that was the moment that started me thinking about other options, the most promising of which was removing the CDs & packaging from the plastic casing, thus reducing the overall weight.
Very slowly though, I began to ponder the possibility of continuing to enjoy music without owning the physical product. At any other period of my life I would have laughed you out of the room, thrown you out of the house and released the hounds to see you out of town at the mere mention of the suggestion.
Due to prolonged legal machinations, our move last year suffered many delays and reschedules. We were all packed up and ready to go in April and didn't actually get the keys until October, since when we've been in full redecoration mode and are, to a large extent, still living out of boxes. One of the many consequences of this is that I haven't had access to any of my physical music for nearly 11 months....and I'm surprised to find that I'm coping OK.
Let me emphasise that this is not a quiet house. Between us we have four MP3 players, two laptops, a PC and two external hard-drives all of which are crammed with tuneage and being added to all the time. We play music constantly, to the extent that we haven't owned a TV since 2005.
But could I actually go through with the act of discarding a lifetime's obsession? Can I continue to put up with the inferior sound quality inherent in compressed files on a hard drive?
I've got to make a big decision.