1.) Why do you think people become obsessive about records?
I think it takes a 'special' type of person, somebody who is maybe obsessive/compulsive in other parts of their life. It could also have something to do with man's need to hoard, to gather. As for why specifically records? Is it that different to books? Not really, although there is something marginally more acceptable and less 'trainspotty' about somebody who buys a lot of books. I don’t think there is any one single thing that makes a 'record obsessive'. I have looked for a common denominator amongst friends and ex-colleagues but nothing really stuck out aside of a love of music from an early age. I was hoping to find a repeat pattern: torturing neighborhood cats or collecting the hair clippings of female classmates, no such luck. At this point my career as a record collector profiler has hit a brick wall.
2.) Would you class yourself as obsessive about records?
Yes I believe I would, it is not a label I like but it's marginally better than being called a record collector. There is something about the word 'collector', it suggests to me at least that you buy for financial gain.
3.) Do you have any 'rules' regarding what you will or will not buy? ie: certain labels, re-issues, bands you have an issue with regardless of liking them, shit sleeves etc...
Nothing on the '4 Men With Beards' label... Ever. Same applies to the majority of reissue labels including 'Get Back', ‘Bam Caruso’ etc. Soul Jazz however is a bit of a grey area. I own stuff on that label, solid label. Bands I have an issue with, too many to name. Shit sleeves, absolutely. If the sleeve is shit it's out.
4.) How many records do you currently own?
Hard to say without counting. Somewhere in the region of 1000, it evolves, stuff comes in, stuff goes out. I believe it’s important to edit, to filter to cut off the dead wood.
5.) What is your most played record ever?
Duran Duran ‘Rio’ is up there.
6.) What do you think your record 'collection' says about you?
To some extent my record 'collection' represents the person I aspire to be rather than who I actually am. As for what it says about me it would be something along the lines of 'here is somebody who is meticulous, fastidious, into some really fucking good music, half of which he never plays, some of which is painfully cool and equally as painful to listen to' but more importantly I think it says 'here is a man with a problem'.
7.) Favorite sleeve?
This is a good sleeve. Sadly, it's a completely average record.
8.) If the creator of the cosmos could see you record collection what do you think he would say?
'Holy shit did you ever miss the point of 85 years on Earth, now get me a Heineken and let’s discuss the subject of ‘wasted opportunities’.'
9.) Which record that you don't have would you most like to magically appear under your pillow?
Pretty much everything is in reach in the age of the internet and because of this we are running out of ‘Holy Grails’. If you have the money, with very few exceptions, you can have any record ever produced in your hands within a week (or up to 14 days if it’s sent media mail). Anyway, any record? The copy of ‘Double Fantasy’ with the Mark David Chapman finger prints on it. Not a massive fan of the record but it is such a potent symbol of bloated and over blown art versus reality.
10.) Is there a visual side to your accumulating of records?
Why yes there is! It' s almost as if I wrote this myself. Regardless of music if the sleeve is amazing it has a chance of staying in the picture, if only temporarily. This is because much of my obsession is visually aesthetic and not just aurally. If it was just about the music my only problem would be where to store all of my C90s and what bit rate to download at. I think with records you are dealing with artifacts as much as anything else, weird little things that have traveled through time, from the past to be with you here in the present day as reminders of cultures gone by.
11.) Can you pinpoint an event in your life that has gone some way to shaping your listening habbits and subsequent accumulating of records?
My interest in music started because my uncle was in a NWOBHM band called Reaper, they did a demo tape, it had a song on it called ‘Make Mine Hard’, that catapulted me into the black hole that is ‘Heavy Metal’. Then for some reason a friend of my mums gave me a Linton Kwesi Johnson album and as much as I didn’t get reggae or dub at the time it did open my ears… right up until I traded it in towards a copy of Kiss ‘Dynasty’. Prior to that I was Duran Duran all the way, it was the hair.
As for the collecting thing: Highly competitive childhood friend bet me that he would have more 7” singles than me by the end of 1985. I took up the challenge regardless of the fact that he forgot about ever setting it.
12.) Do records make you happy?
I think the purchase of records releases the same drug inside you as purchasing anything else, say shoes or a $600 hand bag, but that happiness is massively fleeting. The accumulation of records has the potential to make me happy in the same way as say a fridge stocked with everything you need food wise, but the downside is that instead of say like with a fridge you stop when you have all of the food that you realistically need for a specific period of time. With records you just keep going, stuffing yourself and getting fat… and not really enjoying the metaphorical music food any more right? Right? I think that’s a pretty good analogy but it needs some work.
13.) Record shopping wise what's given you the biggest buzz?
It was the pre-Ebay days and I was working in a record shop having a conversation with a colleague about the one record I was really after at the time, it was the Mathematiques Modernes LP, anyway, a customer waiting to pay for something said ‘Oh I’ve got that, you can have it for twenty quid.’ Even though that was book price at the time I was massively happy that that search was over.
14.) Do you ever dream about record shops or record shopping? if so please expand.
I have a reoccurring dream where I am naked and in bed with early 90’s porn starlet Selena Steele only her face is actually the sleeve of Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and I don’t know whether to have sex with her or tell her that the Isley Brothers version of ‘Lay Lady Lay’ is better than the one Bob did.
15.) What is your favorite record store ever?
16.) Having worked in a record store for some time, describe the 'amusing record shop based event' that springs most quickly to mind.
The guy who came in asking for something by ‘Milky Robinson and the Miracles’ always made me chuckle, but regarding personal amusement rather than something that might make a powerful anecdote for a particularly poor book, it would have to be when we used to play the ‘Ultravox’ game: One of the later Ultravox albums ‘U-Vox’ came in a pink slatted gimmick sleeve that meant that whatever record you hid behind it was massively obscured but still, if you were an attention to detail head, it was just about recognizable. So we would take it in turns at guessing the sleeve from the back of the shop. This was too easy so we moved the game across the road, which involved guessing the sleeve through four lanes of London traffic and an intersection.
Oh and there was the Bowie box. Which was basically a cardboard box with a crudely drawn felt pen likeness of Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust on it, we would take turns in putting it on our heads and talking like David Bowie to pass the time. Happy fucking days.
17.) How will you dispose of your collection when you die?
Right ,what I mean is ‘How will my record collection be disposed of when I die.’: I would like to think I had the good sense to trade it in towards a beach hut in Manila way before then but it’s more likely that I will die, stray cats will get in through a broken window and I’ll be found weeks later a chewed and partial torso surrounded by a monumental case of cat piss based sleeve damage.
18.) Name three records that you believe have shaped the universe around you.
I can’ do that as I intend on reviewing them at a later date. Although like for pretty much everybody my age who isn’t ‘Rave music’ Slint –Spiderland had a colossally profound effect.
19.) Name one album that you believe represents the pinnacle of human musical achievement
Primal Scream – Screamadelica – Gigantically cod answer yes, but apart from the part that goes off into what sounds like a Tampax advert it’s a pefect 10. Total fluke, right producer and the right drugs at exactly the right time.
20.) Most over-rated record ever?
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. That would have been a pretty incendiary response going back ten years but I think that people are slowly realizing that it really isn’t the ground breaking first that it is supposed to be.
22.) If somebody offered you a full cash refund on every record you ever bought, would you take it?
I don't know. The cash would probably go on something equally as futile if I did.
23.) Do you think that your obsession has had a negative effect on your social life?
Without a doubt yes.