Hi my name is Dado and I’m a record collector.
Are you a record collector? I’m a record collector. I have been since as long as I can remember. It used to be collecting key rings as a kid, now it is all things music. In fact I think I am right in saying that I went to my first record fair when I was 14. I used to go to local ones in my childhood hometown of Hull. Then I read Record Collector magazine. That particular publication opened up a whole new world to me. I would spend hours browsing through the endless listings of record shops and the different collectables they had for sale. After reading just one issue I realised that there were much bigger fairs away from Hull. I yearned to live elsewhere. After a while I took the plunge and ventured further afield to Nottingham, Manchester and London. I can remember now the excitement of travelling to the venue, seeing the little signs around the town pointing towards some random hall or if you were lucky the actual City Hall (they were always good) and then entering the venue and seeing hundreds of fellow record collecting nuts. These were my people.
In my day many collectors (whether they were of the record, gaming or comic, variety) seemed to be loners. Through the power of the Internet this ofcourse has changed and people of like mind can find each other with ease (not always a good thing). It wasn’t so simple in my day hence the fairs were so exciting. As it happened I was luckier than most as I had a fellow record (and Queen) nut living all of a few hundred yards away. It’s fair to say we egged each other on when it came to buying records. We consciously or sub consciously tried to collect more than the other. I will admit at one particular fair my jealousy got the better of me. Why? Well he went and purchased the Kind Of Magic picture disc. What…A…Bastard. It was out of my price range at the time. I seem to remember ignoring him for a while afterwards. Prick.
Record fairs for me have always been about Vinyl. Yes I get CDs (I have over a thousand at the last count) but there is little fun in getting the shiny little feckers, not when you can buy beautiful 7 or 12 inches of plastic that smell…well that smell beautiful. I think I have a sexual attraction to the smell of vinyl. Is that allowed? I think it may not be. Anyway leaving my sexual deviation aside for the moment I must say that it will always be ‘Record Fairs’ for me. There was a stage where they called them ‘Record and CD Fairs’ but I’m glad to see that this happens less frequently these days. A record is a record no matter what the format.
I was always a Queen collector. Still am in fact. I often bought bits and pieces from other artists such as Bon Jovi, Springsteen and The Stones but Queen was my first love. There was however an odd period of about 2 years where I was in love with Wendy James from Transvision Vamp. I collected everything they did. In truth that was not that hard as they only had three albums, however to this day my CD of Baby I Don’t Caresits proudly in my collection. I remember picking it up at one fair and paying the, what seemed extortionate, price at the time. An actual picture CD (common place now, not so then)…..my how I stared at that for weeks on end…I was 15 remember and so Wendy James was in my dreams quite frequently. Too much information?
I have always been a collector…a wannabe completest…although that is virtually impossible when it comes to Queen (Transvision Vamp less so). It’s not just records where this affects my life; a few years ago I bought my wife a few cookery books by a well known Essex Chef. Since then I have bought every single one including rare paper back ones that were done for charity. They are cookery books FFS! Why I felt the need to make sure the other half had everything ever written by the great man I have no idea, but I did. My OCD type qualities have rubbed off on her though as she has the date of the next release pencilled in her diary…good girl.
I love records. I love collecting. There was a period where it was care free, somewhere around my 19th birthday I think it was. I had money to spend and lived away from home. Before that the parents would frown upon my ‘habit’. And now the mortgage needs paying and the wife is looking over the shoulder. It is not as easy to buy as much as I would like but life really does get in the way doesn’t it? Strangely I have never been to a record fair in Dublin, even after living here for 12 years. That’s not to say I don’t buy records. And no I don’t mean I buy everything on the internet (where is the fun in that?) instead I venture into small independent record shops, the few that remain, and browse the vinyl there for hours whilst getting stared at and questioned by the Bill Bailey type rockers behind the counter. Woe betide you if your music taste differs to theirs. I much prefer those guys though to the 16 year kids who often man the major record stores (plural? I can only think of one) who have never heard of Pink Floyd, or worse the supermarkets (I am yet to buy music in one of those awful, awful places) where the music choice is generally Susan Boyle, Jeremy Clarkson driving compilations and the latest boy band craze.
Let’s face it vinyl is still the only way to collect records which is why it is great to see so many bands releasing albums on that format again but in reality record fairs will soon die out. It will be a real shame but I don’t see there being an equivalent for the download generation. What they don’t know they won’t miss I guess. Yet maybe there is hope. Instead of collecting records they can accumulate other music related paraphernalia. Ok it isn’t the same as vinyl but they could collect concert tickets (as do I), programmes (yep I do that) or general memorabilia (ditto). These things won’t go away will they? Well actually Dado (I must stop talking to myself) concert tickets are on the way out (replaced by electronic bar codes that you print out...hardly worth keeping) and only the big artists produce programmes these days. So in fact there isn’t much hope for the collector after all…tell me it isn’t so.
Maybe future generations won’t care about such things. Alas I get the feeling that will be the case. It is becoming a sad fact but music really is becoming throwaway. Here today, gone tomorrow. Well while they still exist I for one will continue to collect records (even when laughed at by people of a similar age who think I should grow up) and they will continue to fill the house, because buying records makes me feel good and collecting them makes me feel bloody fantastic.