By the end of the Eighties I'd taken up writing for the first time since my early teens, more or less given up playing guitar, and was buying fewer and fewer records. The last album I ever bought in vinyl, I think, was White Zombie's Astro-Creep 2000 sometime around 1995. By that time I'd gone to dozens, more likely hundreds of gigs, but as the Nineties progressed I attended less and less. Even so, as I moved into different flats in and around Glasgow's West End, sharing with different people under different circumstances, I hauled my ageing record deck and vinyl albums after me, even though I rarely listened to them any more. They finally stopped being moved around when I used a fat chunk of the money I received for Angel Stations to place a deposit on a flat in the early '00's. The records went into a cupboard, along with the stereo, and they've remained there ever since.
I could listen to music, perhaps, when I'm writing - as many do - but I'm one of those who finds any kind of sound above a barely audible murmur tremendously distracting during the creative process. Most of the time, I write in total silence. Sometimes I listen to SomaFM.com's 'drone' channel, to get a certain mood, but even that only very occasionally.
Of course, I don't need a vinyl collection any more. About ten years ago I burned a significant chunk of them to MP3 format, and still have them ready for whenever I want to listen to them. Even that isn't necessary any more, since I can usually find pretty much anything I want to on either Spotify or Grooveshark, and in seconds.
At the moment, a few feet away from me are my signed Joe Satriani albums, purchased sometime in the late Eighties. Also the first album by Faith No More - I have a very vivid memory of hearing We Care A Lot for the first time in my kitchen, on the radio, circa 1988, and thinking it was a sign that the Eighties were finally, thankfully, on their way to the trashbin of history. I felt vindicated when Nirvana appeared on the scene. It isn't just that Nirvana were a good band - they were necessary, within the context of the time. There are albums by Budgie, acquired at various record fairs throughout the Eighties when I went through a blues-rock phase - and their stuff still holds up (some of you might be interested to know they were enormously influential on Metallica, who even recorded an EP of four Budgie tracks sometime in the mid-Eighties). There's an album by Tomita, a delightfully weird-sounding Japanese solo electronica artist, left behind at my house by a friend of a friend. It sat around for a year before I listened to it, and it turned out to be superb (Snowflakes Are Dancing, if you're wondering).
Then there's Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (of course), and albums by various goth bands like The Nephilim and The Mission who, for some inexplicable reason, I really rated about two decades ago. A shedload of Zeppelin and Sabbath and...it goes on.
Anyway. A couple of years in the Far East does wonders for breaking the bond between a man and his vinyl collection, especially if he doesn't even own a stereo to play them on any more. That makes the vinyl so much useless dead weight. But, it still has some emotional value to me, hence this entry. Sometime in the next week or two I'm going to call a local record shop to come around and make me an offer on them. Given the experience of others, I think it's fair to say I'm not anticipating getting very much money for them at all, but to make myself feel better about it I'm putting whatever I get towards eventually getting myself an Ipad.
Original vinyl of first Jane's Addiction album, complete with ribbed rubber sleeve (because the record shops freaked at the actual cover)