Monday, 5 October 2009

What Value a Music Collection?

What is your worst nightmare? Nuclear war? Trapped in a dark basement full of spiders? Going blind? Or is it the one where you’re naked and….well, never mind. High up on the list of my darkest moments would be losing my entire music collection comprising as it does, not just LPs, CDs, Downloads and Cassettes but all those bootlegs and collectors’ items like rare versions, acetates and picture sleeves that have been lovingly assembled over the years. Well, that’s what going to happen to Radio DJ and TV personality, Mike Read.

Read has just been declared bankrupt for the umpteenth time since his heyday in the 1980s and as a consequence must sell his entire collection comprising approximately 120,000 items in the hope that it will raise £1M. Like John Peel, a large part of his residence is given over to storing all this stuff and now it’s got to go. I have no truck with Read, but I have to sympathise with his plight even though my own collection is less than one percent the size of his. To lose my collection would be like cutting off my own arm.

It is a part of me that has grown over 40 years of my life. It has become a diary of events, cataloguing the social history of not just me but society as a whole. Sixties protest, the summer of love, punk, the eighties boom years and the rise of technology are all represented in musical form. All my choices are laid bare from the inspired to the downright silly although admittedly some of the latter have been expunged from the record over the years.

Anyone looking my collection would have a pretty good insight into me as a person and this is why it is so difficult to part company with it and why I will clutch it to me until the day I die. I have no idea how Mike Read feels about it but I would guess that he is pretty devastated. But who will buy it? It’s a bit like buying someone else’s shoes – they’ll never quite fit and will mean nothing to them in the long term. No doubt most bids will come from the asset stripping community, keen to sell off the most valuable items and send the rest to the nearest charity shop. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

What’s worse is that my own children as inheritors of my precious collection will probably do exactly the same.


Alan said...

Given that Mr Read has gone bankrupt due to a failure to pay his taxes, I have no sympathy as it was his own fault.

However, I do agree that the loss of any collection gathered over many years would be a hard one to have to suffer. This would apply whether the collection be records, books, photographs etc. Perhaps harder to take would be the loss of the ability to enjoy the collection due to going deaf or blind.

Maybe Mr Read is not so badly off, after all.

drewzepmeister said...

One of my darkest moments would to lose my music collection. I've collecting since I was 12, so therefore I amassed a quite a bit. It's my baby. The good thing is, my 12 year old son loves music as I do. I wouldn't mind seeing him carrying my collection into the future and adding his new stuff along the way.

musicobsessive said...

Alan - apart from the loss aspect, I never did like Mike Read that much although Frankie probably owe him a few beers, haha!

Drew - sounds like your son is on the right track. I just need to get my two interested to carry on the good work rather than trash the lot when I'm gone.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

My son is more like your kids, he does not appreciate the good music.

musicobsessive said...

Barbara - we'd better enjoy the music while we're still here eh?