Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Big Decision

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.


C said...

Wow, yes that IS a big decision! I know one or two people who have kept every single record/CD/tape they ever bought - the consequence of which is of course that most remain unplayed! But they are there "just in case"... And others who have got rid of all physically, tangibly formatted music and have it all on their hard drive or ipod or whatever. Well, neither seems entirely satisfactory to me - I think maybe it's best to have a middle ground (this is typical me, though, always looking for something in between two extremes!) Anyway...if it's any help, it seems to work in this household. We got rid of all our vinyl, but replaced perennial favourites with CDs, things that we are likely to want to hear most often and that our collection just shouldn't be without (e.g. Clash first) But then we chop and change other stuff - get something and keep it for a while, then maybe go off it and so replace it with something else. There are some albums we've bought several times over because we've changed our minds over the years! And some we've got on a whim that haven't stayed here for long, were just brief diversions and and have never come back. So our CD shelves are rarely exactly the same year after year. (In addition to this, Mr SDS archives one-off tracks to minidisc, but that's another story...!) For some reason the idea of having all our music digitally has never appealed - there is something about the quality I think. Anyway for now a constantly changing, relatively limited CD collection with a few core favourites seems to work for us. The ceiling hasn't started cracking yet....

Good luck with whatever you do!

The Swede said...

Ah, you make it sound so easy and straight forward C! The problem being that in my head I consider the collection is already pared down to the core faves - all several thousand of them!

I had a little rummage through some boxes this afternoon, determined to start condensing......one bloody CD is all I could muster as a goer! I'm a lost cause! This is why I thought it might be easier to sell the lot rather than agonize over what stays and what goes - I'm fooling myself though!

Plan C: I wonder how much it will cost to get the ceiling strengthened.....?

Greatest Hits