I've been away for a few weeks with flu that turned into second stage SARS, and decorating duties that turned into second degree murder.
This week's rhubarb has been inspired by a work colleague. While I may toil within an utter quagmire of office banality, and with the very worst examples of bottom-feeding, two-faced managerial arseholery, there are a few people that have somehow managed to avoid being perverted by the company - it is to one of these poor wretches I give credit for this entry.
In a world dominated by MP3 and digital download, the compact disc is seemingly destined to become the secondary medium for delivering music to the masses. With a similar future to that of a silver-coated coaster, its fate is perhaps sealed (only to be purchased as part of a limited print collector's edition, and even then, rarely played). And so, in an attempt to embrace the digital age and fascist minimalism, and with sufficient 'back-up's' of all my albums, I recently decided to dump my entire CD collection to the local charity shop.
You see, I moved into my new house just under a year ago, a move that forced me to not only pack all my CD's into several boxes, but also to suffer the misery of unpacking the lot onto some very expensive shelves in our spare room. This endeavor occurred a few months ago, and it turned out to be the last time I touched the sodding things.
My CD's have become modern equivalents of those fucking awful ornamental plates old people hang on walls, or worse still those tiny Lilliput cottages that have real working lights and incidental bits and bobs that make you go, "oooh, look, an old wellington boot is outside the backdoor, and it has a tiny spider-web on it, how cute."
However, whilst sorting through the hundreds of CD's, I couldn't help myself from taking certain albums back out of the box. A few Nirvana albums, Meat is Murder by The Smiths, The Kinks, Blur, Talking Heads - the selection continued.
The physical albums were not particularly special, nor had any kind of associated memories harking back to a first girlfriend, a first kiss, or the day Domino's Pizza opened a franchise in town. They were just albums far too precious to give away - after all, how the fuck could I give away Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens? This CD issue is worth at least 50p on EBay!
A gestalt sentiment kicked into over-drive, and with the fevered intent of a seasoned drug addict looking for his works I ended up fishing out about fifty CD's of no particular note that went back on the shelves, no doubt to be ignored until the next house move.
Reciting this story back to said work colleague only compounded my bafflement. His response, "I wouldn't get rid of any of them, you need to be able to look back through them when you're eighty!"
Why? It's not like vinyl, where the artwork was represented on a big, square, piece of cardboard, and the disc lovingly pressed and housed within a separate paper sheath. We're not talking about albums created by the Simon Cowell/Victor Frankenstein abortions we get these days. Souless little shit-birds that learnt the fucking guitar via episodes of Hannah Montana, and cry on national television after dedicating some fuck awful song to their sick mother who is also their sister.
Putting musical tastes aside for a moment, vinyl 33" and 78"s have to be an even bigger provocateur to the subliminal music 'user'. I know this is more sentiment, but I recently rescued my father's vinyl collection of original Beatles and Rolling Stones albums, which are now kept safe and untouched by human hand.
And arhhhh… there is the rub. After a few swipes at CD's and lumping them in with pension money shit that wouldn't sell on Cash in the Attic, I've turned into the editor of The Daily Mail and gone back on everything I said earlier. To cast aside plastic is easy, but to dump my precious vinyl… not a chance in hell!
Is there an answer to all this? Maybe it's just some kind of Pavlovian response certain music junkies get from certain drugs. The more hardcore addicts moving up from the casual CD high, and mainlining vinyl in the hope of salvation.
I refuse to look back on shitty CD's with their cracked covers and fading little booklets, but I'll happily sell a kidney to keep my Radiohead vinyl in vacuum-sealed containers - preserved forever with my unremitting love and loyalty.
Perhaps there is no answer, just yards of shelving to be utilized for beautiful vinyl… and entire Lilliput villages.