Is it wrong, wanting to be at home with your record collection? It’s not like collecting records is like collecting stamps, or beermats, or antique thimbles.There’s a whole world in here, a nicer, dirtier, more violent, more peaceful, more colorful, sleazier, more dangerous, more loving world than the world I live in; there is history, and geography, and poetry, and countless other things I should have studied at school, including music.
Tuesday night I reorganized my record collection. I often do this at periods of emotional stress. There are some people who would find this a pretty dull way to spend an evening, but I’m not one of them. This is my life, and it’s nice to be able to wade in it, immerse your arms in it, touch it.
These quotes come High Fidelity (1995) novel by Nick Hornby which was made into a film released in 2000.
The main character, Rob Gordon’s response to emotional distress is to reorganise his record collection. After being dumped by girlfriend Laura, Rob changed his filing system from an alphabetical to an autobiographical arrangement, according to when he bought or acquired the record. “What I really like about my new system is that it makes me more complicated than I am. To find anything you have to be me, or at the very least a doctor in Rob-ology. If you want to find Landslide by Fleetwood Mac you have to know I bought it for someone in the Fall of 1983, then didn’t give it to them for personal reasons”.
Nick Hornby knows a lot about collecting and the collector’s psyche – here is another telling quote from the novel.
The best customers are the ones who just have to buy a record on a Saturday, even if there’s nothing they really want; unless they go home clutching a flat, square carrier bag, they feel uncomfortable. You can spot the vinyl addicts because after a while they get fed up with the rack they are flicking through, march over to a completely different section of the shop, pull a sleeve out from the middle somewhere, and come over to the counter; this is because they have been making a list of possible purchases in their head (“If I don’t find anything in the next five minutes, that blues compilation I saw half an hour ago will have to do”), and suddenly sicken themselves with the amount of time they have wasted looking for something they don’t really want.
Contribution from Barbara S, librarian.
If you enjoyed this, you can read more at Collecting in pop culture. We would welcome further post about collecting in fiction, film and television.