Monday, June 22, 2009

The Vinyl Dilemma

Records. Pops used to play them. My sister had a fierce Menudo/New Edition obsession, so I was forced to look at greasy pop stars on 12" x 12 " covers by the boatload everytime I snuck my nose into her collection. I don't remember Ma dukes dabbling in them too much. She was a Lite FM loyalist. The radio was her thing. She couldn't be bothered with the steady handed skill it took to put the needle on wax and the continuous movement associated with flipping the sides. But pretty soon, all that was over. No one wanted to be bothered with it.

Tapes. Smaller. Dub-able. Clearly the logical choice for consuming audio treats. They had a good run. Vanessa Williams' The Right Stuff was my first, with many to follow.

CD's. The ultimate. Shiny. No rewinding. Wait. I can go right to the song I like? Nice.

MP3's. Impersonal but fortified with convenience and speed. Slowly but surely the music became faceless with these jammies and ended up fueling the A.D.D. and diminishing the music experience. So what? I can have my entire music collection on a fun little box with a screen. I'll get over it.

Back to Records. I have a problem...

My parents aren't collectors anymore so they gave all of their vinyl to moi a few years back. 300+ pieces. The quintessential blessing/curse. More classic music than I know what to do with, but also the burden of lugging and storing literally hundreds of pounds of material through 3 states and 7 moves over the last 8 years- not to mention my own additions to the collection. They're heavy, big and impractical in this new day, yet "real music heads" all over the world still collect. Cool for them, but why am I still holding on.

On occasion I'll take Herbie Hancock and CJ and Co. out for a much needed spin. And let's not overlook the warmth of the dust crackle as the horn blows on Kind of Blue. Or the sheer friggin' coolness of the photography on DJ Roger's It's Good to Be Alive album liner notes. No substitute for having these gems in your hands and I won't give them up. The truth is though, a lot of these records never see the light of day. I'm sure I could live a life worth saving without having 60% of them. Saying good-bye has become an obvious issue.

Unfortunately, at a time when I'm doing everything I can to simplify, these things are taking up valuable real estate in my diminutive living quarters. I actually contemplated signing another year long lease at my former apartment simply because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of bagging these joints up. Now that's real.

Am I being a pack rat? Am I just attached to the aesthetic aspect of having them displayed on a shelf and what they symbolize: a supposed true love and dedication to the authentic? Do I really need to validate my hugs and kisses for the classics? What's a man to do? Won't be able to sleep if I give them away. Not willing to go through the logistics of selling them on any real formal level. They're so beautiful though....



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