It's bigger than a really big house, it weighs more than a planet (probably) and if you were going to count each record on a seperate finger you would need 3 million fingers. And it's for sale...
Or should I say, it's STILL for sale. Why hasn't it sold? Because it's shit. Okay, it's not all shit, but the vast majority of it, realistically 95% of the worlds biggest record collection is utter donkey doo. Why? Because Paul Mawhinney (proud owner) never learned the word 'Filter'. Filter, filter, filter.
When the collection was originally listed with 'a modest' starting price of $ 3million I followed with interest on Ebay wondering if anybody might be stupid enough to buy it. Somebody did, but then they 'failed to come up with the money'. Or was it because the buyer got to inspect he lot first hand and realized that maybe only one in every two or three hundred of those records had a realistic street value of over $1.00.
Yes Paul will proudly show you the copy of his Rolling Stones 'Promo Only' LP (see above - here he is checking that it's still there) and excitedly explain that this is one of those 3 million records and that it has a list price of $10,000. (a more realistic value is actually between $800 and $1200 US) But what are the other highlights, the gems that stop this being nothing more than (admittedly well kept) garage sale fodder? Well according to the video footage and various interviews not very much really...
Paul's shop went into administration shortly after the sale of the records was announced, apparently due to the fact that the record companys were screwing the small guy out of business - The whole sale prices offered on product were not low enough for him to compete with the mega-stores. It's the same sad story that has seen 40% of the UKs record shops vanish over the past four years. But then the other unfortunate record shops didn't have 3 million records in the basement, 3 million records that they could have laundered through their store front to save the shop and maintain a steady income. So why didn't he do that?
'Paul? Why didn't you do that?'
'Because it's the biggest record collection in the world.'
...Because he doesn't want to seperate them. Because he want's to keep it as the 'Worlds Biggest Record Collection' despite the fact nobody wants it, despite the fact that it mere existence is totally missing the point. The point being F.I.L.T.E.R Filter. He's created a monster, the records no longer exist as individual items, they are now a single entity, a hive mind - 'The Worlds Biggest Record Collection'. How did this happen?
Paul claims to have kept one copy of every record sold though his shop 'Record-Rama'. Given the musical ups and downs of the past few decades this surely means that besides it being the biggest it is, if you care to examine those spines the shittest.
If I owned a book shop and had kept a copy of every book published in the past 30 years what would I have? I would have a couple of hundred stone cold classics, a few thousand readable books and millions of volumes of utter, utter fucking shit - Cookery books, self help, autobiographies of Z-list celebrities, 'My Little Friend' by Donna Tart.
In fact, even if I had kept every single record I had ever bought I would be staring at a ridiculous and confused wall of whatthefuck? My Doug Carn and Sonny Sharrock diluted by Stryper picture discs and a 7" of Five Star's 'System Addict'. Yes it would be about ten times it's current size but would it be anything to talk about? Fuck no, I'd have to throw a huge piece of tarp over the top of it and pretend it wasn't there.
Still I shouldn't rag on the guy too much, he may have been the nightmare obsessive husband from hell and amassed some laughably kack vinyl but he is credited with playing a small part in the career of one David Bowie, in insisting that a friend of his who worked for RCA re-release 'Space Oddity' in effect re-igninging the Bowie flame, so hats of for that.
But as for the record collection.
'Many millions of dollars have been invested in the acquisition and storage of the collection.'
I dunno, maybe it's insured? Faulty wire, electrical fire, signed cheque for the 'estimated value' of $50million US. Happy wife, weight lifted from shoulders, ridiculous obsession over forever, done and done.