Most people who know me know that I’ve always been slightly obsessed with music. I can’t remember the last time I went more than a week or so without buying music in one format or another. It may not have always been new music. I’ve spent countless hours wandering around charity shops, second hand stalls jumble sales and car boot sales looking for music.
Over the years I’ve built up massive collections twice, having to start from scratch in 2001. Since the dawn of mp3s I’ve rarely gone anywhere without an mp3 player, and have ran out of space on pc’s, laptops, and external drives on more than one occasion.
I’ve always been a vinyl junkie, and since vinyl has been taking off again over the last few years, when I’ve bought new music it’s normally been on vinyl. Most new releases tend to come with download codes, so I have the physical thing of beauty that is a vinyl LP, and the portability of listening to it whilst on the move. I’ve probably bought a new release every week.
However, this year it’s not been like that. I haven’t been in a record shop all year. I’ll qualify that by saying HMV isn’t really a record shop, and I’ve been in there a couple of times to get presents for people, but I haven’t bought anything for myself. I’ve not looked at the offerings in the supermarkets. Sainsburys, Asda, and even Aldi have vinyl selections, but I’ve been walking straight past. Charity shops have been getting short shrift as well. Crawley’s vast array of charity shops must have seen a substantial downturn in earnings so far this year. Not even Amazon has seen any musical action. I haven’t listened to a single thirty second track preview.
It got all the way through to week twelve of the year before I bought any music for myself. Even then it was only the ubiquitous Now That’s What I Call Music release. Number 99 in what is now a never-ending sequence. I have them all, either on Vinyl through to the early twenties, or then on CD from the twenties on. It’s more out of habit now than anything else. I may have bought it, but I’ve only listened to the first four or so tracks.
I still have a backlog of tracks to listen to from albums I bought at the back end of last year. I just don’t seem to have the time or inclination to listen to a lot of music. I rarely travel that much nowadays, the hours of having the iPod plugged in to block out the general public as I walked, bussed, or got the train anywhere has shrunk down to probably an hour or so a week.
The decks sit on top of the unit next to the sofa I sit on in the living room. Yet it barely gets used. Thousands of records adorn the units on the opposite wall, yet the sense of apathy around playing any of them seems to grow by the day. So much so that I’ve committed to having a thorough sort out and selling a number of them. Something else that I’m struggling to getting around to.
Part of me wonders if I’ve hit that stage where music is over for me. A constant companion over the years, especially as I had no television for several them, it has now drifted away into a casual background acquaintance that I barely seem to recognise. Or is it that this writing I now find myself doing has taken over? Do I avoid playing music and using my senses to accept incoming stimuli so that I can concentrate on outputting streams of consciousness instead? Or is it somewhere in between the two?
I hope it is not the end of my musical fascination, it would be a terrible way for it to end. Yet it is not something I can force, I think I’ll just have to wait it out and see if it does come back to me, hoping that the apathy will depart.
Perhaps once I’ve sold some of these records and CD’s that I’m sorting out, and had that kind of cathartic clear out, it will clear my mind out and it will all come back to me.
Listening to Now 99 too much isn’t necessarily going to help.