The Collector Begins

October 10, 2009

So how to begin an exploration of how music collections are created, and our relationship with them? After toying with a chronological account, randomness and complex equations, I’ve decided the best way to start is alphabetical – literally. For the first 27 entries, I’ll look at whichever album which comes first for each letter – (including that old quasi-letter “Various”). I’ve decided this without peaking; bar the first album in the collection, and having a strong inkling of who would come first in, say, “X”, I have no idea where we are initially heading out

But while we are on the topic – how about that old chestnut of how people arrange their collections. Mine is alphabetical for a rather boring reason – I find it the easiest way to find albums. Having spent seven years doing weekly radio, alphabetical was easiest way to grab music quickly. I usually organised a playlist organised in my head well ahead of time, but often the physical media was grabbed in the gap between work and radio station.

The collection may be in alphabetical order, I haven’t gone down the path of organsing an individual artist’s albums in chronological order. The only exception are my Mike Oldfield CDs, collected in my teens. Oldfield was an early obsession, and was the first artist of whom I owned multiple CDs. They were organsied chronologically at the time and have sat that way on the shelves ever since, having always been packed and moved in that order.

I never did this for any other artist, partially because I couldn’t be bothered remembering the precise order of release for, say, the Fall’s back catalogue, but mostly because I find it easier, having found “F” in my collection, to identify “This Nation’s Saving Grace” by the colour and design of it’s spine. Similarly, I find it is easier to find my Orb or Tom Waits albums by zeroing in small clutch of Island Records sitting in a line.

But I digress. In the next few days, I’ll post the first Collector piece, and will attempt at least one a week for the moment, maybe two. But first up, we get to look forward to…


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