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As you'll know, if you come to DJTees often, I'm a vinyl record collector. I love records to an almost unhealthy degree and it's been this way pretty much since I was given Manfred Mann's 'Doo Wah Diddy' single by my parents in 1966. When I bought my first album - The Best of Status Quo - on Pye, in 1972, the degree of excitement it gave me to just hold an album was an early sign that this was going to be a lifelong thing.
I must confess, I did have a period in the mid to late 90s when I bought CDs, but vinyl was a love affair that I couldn't be put to one side for long. So I've got thousands of albums now - over 4,000 in fact. And most weeks I'll add another 10 or 11 to it, more if I can find stuff I want.
Now, if this chimes with your own passion for records, you'll know that the first question anyone not interested in records will ask you is this: 'Do you play them all?'
This is a stupid question. Of course not. I frequently buy records and never play them. It's not about the music, or rather it's not just about the music. Owning the record, having it in your library, is just as important. Knowing it is there, is important. Knowing you have the option to play, say, any of the albums the Byrds recorded, makes me happy. It feels like I'm living life to the full, even though I'll probably only play a Byrds album three or four times a year.
As a writer, I tend to plunder my psyche for my novels and in doing so, I've often wondered why I feel like this about bits of plastic and card. I've come to the conclusion that it's a form of security blanket; a protection against the vicissitudes of life. Times change, people and things come and go, but the records are always there, waiting to be played should the occasion demand.
So that's why this weekend I added another 9 albums to my collection and was delighted to do so. I used to be a bit secretive about record collecting, fearing it made me look odd. Now, at the age of 54, I don't care about that any more and am happy to celebrate it as who I am. Age does that to you, I think. You care less about being hip or cool and more about being happy or at least content. I aim for content. It seems more regularly achievable than happy.
And when someone looks at me with that look of amazed puzzlement when I say I'm into vinyl records, I actually feel quite proud of it in a 'letting my freak flag fly' sort of way.