The Rituals of a Collector
Saturday mornings were my time. I’d take Henry, my youngest boy, with me and we would tour the second-hand record shops in search of treasure. There were five main ports of call.
E&M Mart on Hessle Road was always good for a look. Eddie seemed very indiscriminate with his pricing. You could often find a bargain lurking in amongst the dross. Sheridans was next, in the centre of town. They were a bit more discerning but had a rack of 25p albums where you could often find things of interest. I once spent £21 of 25p bargains and would often go off weighed down with full carrier bags of vinyl. Then it was over to Princess Ave, Norman’s Place and GO Discs which were conveniently right next to each other and then down the road to Pool’s Corner. These were a bit hit and miss but there were always things of interest to be plucked out of the bins.
Searching through the racks was a thrill. I would pick out old favourites and peruse them with a smile, familiarizing myself with gems I already possessed and playing the tracks in my head. I would look for unusual or rare albums that I did not have and keep a beady eye out for those obscure jewels that I was constantly searching for. There was nothing quite like the feeling of discovering something special that had been hidden away in among the boring and mundane and nobody else had spotted. That took a level of knowledge that was beyond the ordinary. That was the jag I was looking for, the delight that kept me searching. You would sift through and then, there it was, an album you had been searching for these last decades, revealed in all its glory. My eyes would light up. Heart begin to race, as I lifted it out to examine it, check the condition of the vinyl, check out the back cover, revel in the ecstasy of handling that rare beast.
That made it all worthwhile. Ebay and Amazon browsers can never know the thrill of that hunt.
But it was not just about hunting, tracking down and discovering albums. There was the social side too. You met up with a number of like-minded people. You talked about your discoveries, what you were looking for, your likes and dislikes. You shared your obsession with other equally obsessed individuals. You traded knowledge, information, views and opinions and engaged in gossip. There was many a band, style or singer that I was introduced to by these mad aficionados. They traded their excitement and passion. Some I am still friends with and others have become lost in the wisps of time.
Saturday mornings were special, precious and life-affirming. It was the time for religious rituals of a serious collector. I came home energized and cleansed clutching my prizes to paw over, play and delight in. The cover had to be read, the pictures absorbed, the music concentrated on and the words deciphered. Then they could be filed away with the rest of the collection. These were the rituals that inspired me and set me up for the week.