When I lived in Boston in the mid-nineties I did a lot of record shopping with my friend Frank, who was just as obsessed with music as I am. One day while we were poking through stacks of CDs at a store called Disc Diggers he turned to me and said, “You know, I liked music a lot more back in high school when my collection was smaller but every record I owned was really important to me.” Those words struck a chord with me, but it wasn’t until I stopped writing for music magazines and started my own label that I tackled my out of control record collection and started honing it down to what was really important to me, instead of worrying about what records/genres I needed in order to have a ‘proper’ collection.
Writing my first novel, Wivenhoe Park, rekindled my love affair with music and gave me a creative spark that was missing after I discontinued Elephant Stone. The book is about a young man who immerses himself in the eighties English music scene and naturally I played a lot of my old records a ton to inspire the writing process. I remembered what Frank said to me and took it to heart, remembering a time when everything I owned was Gold — Bunnymen, Cure, Smiths, Jesus and Mary Chain. I remembered how fantastic it felt to hear records like Low-Life and Psychocandy for the first time. I wanted to feel that excited about music every time I stepped into my music room.
I have always been good with managing clutter with the exception of music. Even after several moves, I had boxes of CDs and records in storage that I hadn’t listened to in ages — hell, half of the stuff on my shelves in my music room hadn’t been played in years. In the same way that you’re supposed to donate clothes you haven’t worn in a year or two, I started going through boxes of CDs and records and tried to remember the last time I listened to some of them. I realized that I was keeping a lot around for that one good song, or because I might need it for DJing (never mind that I haven’t DJed since like 2005!).
Long story short, my music room is finally looking good and clutter free and I’ve set up a Discogs Store to sell stuff that I don’t want anymore.