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The Joy Of Less

September 30, 2020

The Joy Of Less

A house revamp necessitated me putting all my records, books, CDs and DVDs into storage. A year later and they are back and I am delighted to be reunited with my old friends.

However before they went back on the shelves I did some thinning and ejected around 80 items, a combination of books I don’t read, DVDs I don’t watch and music I don’t listen to. Some went to charity shops and some went onto eBay where I am about halfway through the selling process and have made over £500 thus far.

The real joy of editing my collection in this way is realising how much I love what is left. If I like a band my tendency is to buy everything they have done. Very few bands can justify this type of investment. I can count the bands whose entire output I own on the fingers of one hand – the Only Ones, the Replacements, the MC5. For everyone else being selective is crucial. Be honest: just because you love The Who Sell Out do you ever want to hear It’s Hard again?

The other thing I ditched is innumerable recordings of gigs I attended. I have kept the professionally recorded versions such as the Stones in Hyde Park but endless audience CDRs of the Stones at Wembley? Life is too short. I advertised the CDRs on fan forums – you can have them if you pay my postage and make a donation to Oxfam. I have made some Stones, Tom Petty, Clash and Who fans very happy and raised some cash for a good cause.

And I have been really tough on box sets. I don’t need to sit through multiple versions of the same song to realise that the band released the right one. Yes, I am looking at you Stooges Fun House Complete Sessions. When I will I find the time to listen to 28 takes of Loose? Does “never”” sound good to you? Honourable exceptions of box sets that survived the cull: Roxy Music First LP, Tom Petty Live Anthology, Clash On Broadway, Big Star Third Demo, Replacements Dead Man’s Pop and Pleased To Meet Me. Memo to compilers of 35CD box sets: please don’t.

Give it a go. Less is more. Keep the stuff you really love. Get rid of the compilations / Greatest Hits / solo albums / imports with a different cover photo.

Then you will have the space to buy more stuff.

(written for Record Collector magazine)


From → Music

  1. Mike Baess permalink

    I have about 80,000 MP3 albums, plus 2000 CDs, 2000 vinyl albums abd about 700 7″ and 12″ singles.

    After having a chat with my 12-year-old daughter I don’t think there is any way that outside of a few albums by The Beatles
    and her ‘mate’ Ronnie Wood who visited her school last year that she will even try to sell my valuable collection once I peg it.

    That thought has given me sleepless nights. I’m not sure of the value of my collection but if I sold it disc by disc I’m sure I could get more than £20,000
    for it. My mint copy of Odessey & Oracle and 1st pressing of Dark Side Of The Moon are apparently worth around £1000 erach let alone all the punk picture sleeves
    and other psych collectibles.

    But I can’t bring myself to get rid of them yet even though all the vinyl is in storage and doesn’t even get as much as a tender, occasional look. I’ve also gots loads of
    record company promotional posters and hundreds of 10×8 promo pix going as far back as a great collection of Decca Stones’ handouts.

    It’s not an easy choice to make.

    My only redeeming thought is selling them individually when retirement comes in a few years.


    • Simon Wright permalink

      Your Dark Side Of The Moon makes it into the RC “Most Collectible” article this month!

      There is cash in your collection now but what happens as those old enough to appreciate it begin to peg it? Elvis Presley memorabilia is worth less than it used to be because his fans are no longer with us to buy it.

      Having now cleared out three parental homes I am determined to leave as little stuff behind me as possible. I think our possessions should peak in our middle years and then gradually diminish

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