- The review I read was really positive 1
- The price was a lot less than Discogs 2
- It’s my birthday 3
- I’ve never seen it ‘in the wild’ before 4
- The cover art is nice 5
- It fills a gap in the collection 6
- It will be my birthday in 10 days / weeks / months 7
- Owning the CD doesn’t really count 8
- I haven’t bought any records this month / this week / today / since lunchtime 9
- It could be worse, I could have a problem with drinking / gambling / (insert vice of your choice)10
- Fortunately, reviews can be sourced from various media: newspaper, magazine, blog, on-line site, social media post, overheard conversation on the train…
- Cunning post-hoc deployment is most effective. Example: bring home a bunch of albums, choose the one having the highest on-line price, trumpet your find as an example of shrewd purchasing skills. Strategy operates equally well in reverse, ie: ‘Found one cheap on Discogs’.
- Self-indulgence is timeless.
- The ‘rarity’ argument. Can be utterly destroyed with three simple questions, only two of which are included here due to the danger of anyone (Hello Ms Connection!) having such unlimited destructive power. (a) Have you actually been looking for this? (b) Does ‘rare’ equal ‘necessary’?
- Despite its apparent naivety, this is effective as a long con, as the body of ‘artistically valid’ purchases builds its own momentum, making cover art a self-sustaining justification all on its own. e.g.: ‘Hey, a Hipgnosis cover I’ve never seen before!’ (note combination of #4 and #5)
- Possibly the most hollow, self-serving and indefensible excuse on the list, yet one that gets deployed with great frequency. What hole? Most collectors’ shelves are so crammed the records are in danger of suffocating.
- Self-indulgence plans ahead.
- Depending on who you are lying to at the time. Demonstrates mature restraint. Maybe.
- The last-ditch rationalisation of the record-obsessed lost soul.
- There is one more case, a personal one, that gets prosecuted with great frequency in my imagination: “I’d really like to write about this album at Vinyl Connection”. Given the name of the blog, the CD is insufficient, hence, “I must have it on vinyl”. Usually I win the mental litigation very quickly.
Have I missed something?
Of course! What about upgrading a copy of an album? An original to replace a re-issue (where both are retained, of course)… Something released on a favourite label… Music my partner might enjoy… And so on.
Readers (both addicts and their long-suffering nearest-and-dearest) are most welcome to propose additional categories and add personal confessions in the Comments below.
In the meantime, as a kind of vinyl divulgence, here are some Vinyl Connection examples from recent months.
1 The review I read was really positive 1
Richard Pinhas—Reverse (2017)
Love Pinhas, been meaning to write about his music since VC began. But do I want to begin with his latest noise-infused work or the much more accessible early album I first encountered? Stasis results.
4 I’ve never seen it ‘in the wild’ before 4
Given the endless river of albums out there, the chances of seeing something unfamiliar float past while browsing is pretty close to 100%. What this excuse really indicates is that we’ve happened across an album we’ve been aware of, perhaps intrigued by, for a while. Not enough to seek it on-line, perhaps, but enough to grasp it gratefully when it appears under our fingers.
5 The cover art is nice 5
Like the album, love the cover. Is this not superb?
7 It will be my birthday in 10 days / weeks / months 7
Probably the best/worst example of this desperate ploy was springing for a five-LP set of Soft Machine Live in 1970. Turns out, it’s a vinyl re-issue of two 2-CD set released some years back (one of which I have), plus an anonymous fifth side. The sixth side? It’s an etching of the band.
8 Owning the CD doesn’t really count 8
A substantial grouping. Does that surprise? A couple of examples (where I really do want to write a post) must suffice:
Univers Zero—Heresie (Dark Belgian RIO chamber prog instrumentalists)
Peter Gabriel—Us (My favourite ‘adult’ relationships album. Ever.)
Guru Guru—Känguru (Crazy Germans freak out with a kangaroo. Wanted since 1975)
9 I haven’t bought any records this month / this week / today / since lunchtime 9
Some fine detail on how this works. You pick up a restrained two albums at lunchtime. Later, after the household is asleep, you find yourself browsing an on-line retailer. Any click-purchase after sundown is technically not day, ergo, not to-day. A spot of shopping next morning yields three charity shop finds. You announce the very reasonable sounding ‘just a few this week’ while actually having purchased six albums in under 24 hours.
Longer term, you can also choreograph when the purchase is counted—when the PayPal account is debited, when the item is dispatched, when the LP actually arrives, when it gets filed. Such temporal paradoxes are handy for muddying the waters of excess. Yet really this is all about as convincing as ‘My imaginary friend wants to hear it’.
11 Buy to write, write to buy.
The overlap with category 5 is obvious, meaning this list could easily fill a page all on its own.
More than a tactic, this conundrum is a long-term experience. Back in the days of presenting radio shows in the early 90s, need (for albums) and purpose (radio presentation) coalesced so perfectly it became impossible to work out which came first. Same with the blog.
Herewith a sample from the last six months, none of which have actually made it to Vinyl Connection thus far.
David Matthews—Dune (for a planned Dune series that is looking problematic for this year)
Dungen—Allas Sak (A band I like hugely but do not know any of their albums well enough to write about. Yet.)
Love—Forever Changes (Re-issue on white vinyl. Purchased for the 1967 series. Even though I have a perfectly good CD and actually don’t rate the album as highly as many.)
As a timely finale, the package below arrived in the post yesterday. Utterly excessive, completely unnecessary, totally desirable. To claim your Vinyl Hunter-Gatherer Professional Development points, simply nominate which category (-ies) this acquisition best fits into.
Over to you…