The Birth and Growth Of A Metal Collection
Right at the end of my last blog yesterday, I fleetingly mentioned my CD collection. Now, at risk of sounding like I’m bragging or full of puffed-up pride, this is a collection of which I am very proud. But then again, I bet I’m not saying anything that surprises you; indeed, I am sure that the vast majority of you reading this will feel much the same.
My collection currently numbers around the 2000 mark although it may be a little more than that now. It’s not the biggest collection in the world but to me, it is something from which I derive a great deal of pleasure.
As the collection grew, my geeky side took hold and I decided that it would be a good idea to log all of my CDs on a spreadsheet. The principle reason for this was to keep track of everything and to ensure that when I lent one out to a friend or family member, I knew where it was. Well, that’s how I justified it and, to be fair, I had lost a few over the years by lending discs here and there. If I’m entirely honest however, it was more to appease the inner nerd and to give me a chance to record them all and put the discs in some kind of order. The trouble was, I didn’t stop there and I even had a column for ‘comments’ where I’d metaphorically puff my chest out and note whether the CD in question was a special limited edition or rare in any particular way. As you can imagine, the spreadsheet took a long time to compile but it turned into a labour of love and I enjoyed doing it. Unfortunately, I have been slack over the past two years and so my spreadsheet is woefully out of date. A job for the winter I think.
My very first CD that I bought, at the age of about 14, was in fact Dire Straits ‘Money For Nothing’. At this point, I was still very new to music, so I bought something with which my Dad had made me familiar. However, I soon began to branch out and discover new bands. Meat Loaf (shudders) and Aerosmith were early purchases, as was Def Leppard.
In the early days, without the benefit of the Internet, a lot of my discoveries were based on blind luck. I either recognised the name from somewhere via a recommendation or, as was often the case, I employed a carefully-planned, scientific ‘choosing strategy’; the artwork. Countless times I would walk into a record store, head for the ‘rock & pop’ section and scrutinise the band names, logos and the artwork that accompanied it. Most of the time, I would not have heard even a note of the chosen band, but if the artwork was good, I’d invariably give the album a bash.
This is how I found the likes of ‘Youthanasia’ by Megadeth – the old lady hanging babies on a washing line by their feet was too bizarre to ignore.
Or Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’. I was staying with family in London and went to the flagship HMV store on Oxford Street one day. I remember walking in there and being confronted with what seemed like the biggest collection of metal CDs I had ever seen gathered in one place. It is no exaggeration to say that I stood in that section of the store for the best part of two hours, staring wide-eyed at row upon row of albums, the vast majority of which I had never heard of. Today, the same section does not seem as exciting as I have explored almost every band contained therein and, to be honest, the choice is not what it once was.
I trawled the shelves for ages and eventually, ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’, with its mysterious green cover won over and I decided to buy it ahead of many other candidates. The other factor was that I was beginning to get into black metal at the time. Within seconds of listening to it for the first time on a discman late at night when I should have been asleep, I realised I had made the correct choice. I couldn’t wait to wake up and listen to it again. To this day, this album remains one of the very best in my collection.
On other occasions, this scientific approach failed spectacularly. Paw’s ‘Death To Traitors’ looked interesting with it’s stallions adorning the cover but the content disappointed me.
I shall refrain from turning this into a diatribe of bragging by listing all those rare (and in some cases, expensive) discs that I now own. Instead, I shall pick out a couple of highlights: my Katatonia collection numbers 30-odd including two copies of the original ‘Saw You Drown’ EPs and I have two copies of Agalloch’s wooden box edition for ‘Ashes Against the Grain’, one with the bag of ashes, the other with the bones. I also have a first-day embossed cover of Machine Head’s ‘The More Things Change’, thanks to the efforts of my mum getting me to the store after school with two minutes to go until closing time.
I could go on, but I won’t. I’m sure many of you reading this will be able to point to those items in your collections that are special to you – if nothing else, perhaps this post will remind you of how special a person’s record (or CD!) collection is.
Thanks for reading!
The Man Of Much Metal