Having Your Dreams Come True Can Be A Disaster.

I was over on Cheryl’s site and her post on dreams coming true made me think.

Back in the pre-digital age life was very different. I am a record collector who had no money but adored vinyl records and Rock, Blues, Folk, Reggae and R&B. Every Saturday I would head off into town and go round the second-hand record shops hunting out gems. They were few and far between. I usually came back with a handful of OK stuff but rarely a real capture. But that was the fun of the hunt. When you did come across one of those great albums there was a real jump of joy. My expertise in recognising it and luck at finding it gave me a real adrenaline rush.

Every Saturday I’d go home with my cheap but  exciting hoard of discs, study them, read the covers while playing them, and really enjoy the whole process. Those vinyl albums were loved and enjoyed.

Apart from that there was the social side. Every week I would meet up with a similar bunch of nuts engaged in the same exercise. There was a competitive edge and sharing of enthusiasms. We show each other our captures, do swaps, discuss them in depth and enjoy the whole process. There was a lot of fun and laughter.

A lot of my friends were music nuts too. We’d get together to play and talk about music. It was the focus of everything in life. All of life was reflected in that music, either in the lyrics or music or associated with the times. The whole universe was reflected in those discs.

I used to dream of being able to get my hands on all those hundreds of albums that I lusted after. That seemed like heaven.

Now we have digital, ebay and Amazon. Every album is available at the push of a button. The dream has come true (at a price). Some of the financial value has gone down. Some have gone up. But all the second-hand record shops have gone. There is no thrill of the hunt anymore or fun of chasing down a bargain. I no longer meet up with all my friends and paw over our finds. Neither do I meet up with friends and play music anywhere near as much. The albums are simply not valued as much as they were. Even the rarest is available at the press of a button any day. It has cheapened them and the music. Where some of my friends developed great knowledge and spent a lifetime on a mission to put together a collection (one was trying to accumulate every Chess Label single and had tracked down all but three) that was no longer a challenge. Imagine, back then, the thrill of, after having spent thirty years hunting, discovering one of those three singles? Now you can go on line and find them all in twenty minutes. The thrill has gone. Not only that but someone with no knowledge or real feeling for the music can download every track ever recorded by Chess Records on to their phone with the push of a button. It means nothing.

Dreams coming true can be a real loss.

18 thoughts on “Having Your Dreams Come True Can Be A Disaster.

  1. All I can say is that it’s an entirely different deal when you’re at the other side of the counter. After a certain length of time they’re just like cans of beans, thousands of cans of beans. You can play and hear anything at anytime and having heard somewhere in the region of 50,000 albums, I honestly would be pushed to select 10% of them to take home. Which means that’s just five out of fifty.
    It’s not just the finding a title which gets me a rush, but finding a copy in sparkling condition. That’s the problem with 2nd hand shops, they’re full of junk and you have to ask to see the quality stock which more often than not isn’t visible to the punters. I never bought them for myself unless they were near mint. I like the fact that I can buy online from good sellers who can provide a decent condition copy. The fact of living in the one town and only having a few outlets to chose from automatically means you’re buying choices are extremely limited – unless you work the counter and are sold into. We’re the only winners in the game. We get first picks, punters get the damaged scraps.
    Actually you’ve given out some bad info there as last year saw an increase in the opening up of 2nd hand vinyl shops right across the UK, as well as a swell of a 40% sales increase with new vinyl pressings to where vinyl is now outselling CD’s. You should check out HMV and see.

    1. Thanks for that Bob – all true. I have a number of friends who worked in the shops and certainly creamed off the best. But there was always a limit on what they took. And certainly the condition of the album was part of it and the first thing you checked when you found something. The best places were the ones run by people who didn’t really care about music or know what they were doing.
      Yes there is a big increase in vinyl and second hand record shops. But they are not the same. The price is extortionate and you cannot find the bargains you used to. It’s a different experience.

      1. Ha, ha, and I thought I was the one that was jaded by it all! But in truth I’ve every right to be. I’d say if they didn’t care or know about music, then they weren’t running a record shop, and they’d be running a general 2nd hand emporium thing that also had some records, at least I never met anybody running a shop – and I mean anybody in this game who didn’t know what they were doing.
        They are the same or pretty close to what they always were as many people who have been hoarding and waiting for the the eventual turn-around as per now, have loads of copies of the same albums. You can pick up big selling albums for a pound, or 6 for a fiver in some cases. But would you ever expect to find say Zappa’s first for a couple of quid? I doubt it, so it’s still horses for courses and same as it was. Come to think of it, I recently paid 13 quid for 2 original United Artist label UK pressings of early Man albums in wonderful condition throughout from a walk in shop. I even got 10% discount with a voucher I’d cut out the local rag. I thought that was a steal. Generally speaking most shops are also a bit better organised these days too, and you’ll find price band options for the very same LP, depending on the usuals such as pressing, condition etc.

      2. Bob – that is where I have an advantage. There is a second hand record shop out on the edge of town where the guy does not have a clue about records, doesn’t care about music and just buys in in bulk and puts out cheap. Most of it is rubbish but you do get some incredible deals. I bought forty original immaculate Blues albums of him for forty quid. Always worth a look in.
        I’ve never been into the real essence of collecting. The edition and serial numbers mean little to me. I just like having a great album with great music.

      3. That sounds like a really great buy but I would be thinking there’s a reason as any joe-soap can press a button to see what they sell for. My gut feeling is these records were always a budget price and they’re mass produced and with you not being into the head-games stuff angle… Still 40 for 40… You sure it wasn’t Woolworths?
        What label they on? I’ll know immediately.

      4. I’m talking a range of labels here – Red Lighting, Chess, Charlie, Oldie Blues, even five Folkways. All in immaculate condition with some great artists. I have picked up some great other stuff there too from John Mayall to Canned Heat and Incredible String Band for a few quid each. As I say he doesn’t seem to want to get to grips with the real value – just as long as he turns over a profit. My kind of shop.

  2. Oh, Opher… Such a sad post, and I know exactly what you mean. It WAS the process that made the whole experience valuable. I feel like that with movies, too. Used to be I’d get so excited when I’d run across The Wizard of Oz while flipping TV stations. No matter WHERE it was in the movie I’d drop what I was doing and watch it. Now I own the damn thing and can watch it any time. It takes ALL the fun out of it. 😦

  3. I don’t buy vinyl albums often now. You know that Opher because you bought about 1000 from me. Most of the 3000 I owned I bought in the 90s when no one wanted vinyl & they were for nothing 2ndhand. I bought Pesky Gee in about 1970 for about 10p in a bargain bin because it had some cover tracks I liked. Remember you laughed. I sold it a couple of years ago for £30. I do buy occasionally if it slots into my favourite category. There’s a 2ndhand shop in Selby, Benson’s Bargain Stores, near the bridge. I have known him since the 80s and some time ago he purchased a massive collection locally from a deceased radio dj’s estate. Those I have seen or bought are in excellent condition or even unplayed. The problem is since the revival of vinyl he has started checking asking prices on Ebay. Another place I have bought some decent albums is Todmorden Sunday market. Give it a try. Digital availability is fine for playing music if you doing something like diy but a true listening experience means you need to sit down; place the vinyl on the deck; make a coffee; read the sleeve notes and relax. You put that viewpoint to me a few years ago and I endorse it.

    1. I remember that Pesky Gee well Bede.
      I so agree. There is something about the whole process of getting a vinyl album out and putting it on that creates a proper reverential listening experience. Music deserves proper full attention, doesn’t it?

  4. Record albums: a bygone era. Wave, not WAV, goodbye to record stores, video stores, newspapers, luncheonettes, bleacher seats, sports heroes, conversation…..

      1. It’s age too. But the rapidity of technological “advances”, and marketing strategies is staggering. Some very basic psychological changes in identity, language, and social norms are happening too. Yikes.

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