VINYL ORGANISATION : WHEN WEIRDNESS STRIKES PT.2
14th September 2021
I explained how weirdness can be evoked during Part 1 of this Rambling feature. This time, I want to explain how weirdness is manifested. At least in my own case. It’s a variant that I’ve yet to see in others or hear about on social media or hear claimed aloud in recent medical journals
Last time, I talked about this weirdness and how it had taken a physical form via my vinyl collection. I also talked about the carrier of my weirdness, my Kallax collection. IKEA has a lot to answer for (in a Swedish accent), especially when I seem to have as many Kallax shelves as I do vinyl records.
So what is it then? What’s going on? What’s this ‘weirdness’ thing all about then?
I blame Christmas (obvious when you know, eh?)
As a kid, I loved Christmas and I loved the magic of it. I loved the multi-coloured lights, the tinsel, the brightly-lit shop windows in a winter darkness, the corny pop tunes, the classic carols, carol singers, singers who happened to be named Carol and the expectation of the event and the other-worldly feeling during the time itself and the differences it brought.
In my family’s case that meant Morecambe & Wise (oh, how I miss them), a rare game of family Monopoly, home-made trifle and Black Forest Gateau and the amazingly rare sight of half a tin of Salmon as part of a post-roast dinner salad. A particular cultural delight that was carefully divided into small morsels and divided (unevenly, kids got less) amongst us all. I didn’t know whether to eat my small bundle of tinned Salmon or frame it.
I still get the buzz now that I’m a big kid. I still believe in Father Christmas. I still get a buzz when I see the lights reflecting in dangling Christmas decorations and I still take visceral pleasure in replying to American friend’s soggy “Happy Holidays” with a loud and hearty, “Merry Christmas!” And startling callow youths at Sainsbury’s checkouts with the same.
And I love presents. I love buying, wrapping and giving presents. And I love to receive them too. It’s the surprise. It’s the not knowing. It’s the delight of the unwrapping. It’s the wonder and the magic of the thing.
That. All of that. All of what you see above. All of it. Can be applied to my vinyl collection and the organisation of the same.
When I discuss vinyl on social media. Wherever it is. There will come a time when the notion of organisation rears its ugly head.
“How,” they ask with a little trepidation, “How do you organise your vinyl, then?”
Upon which the usual chatter flows forth. What you normally get is a combination of well-worn themes.
One user will organise his vinyl alphabetically. Now I’ve seen Amazon sell black plastic dividers covering the entire alphabet for around £40. You can also get the same for 7” singles and CDs too for lower.
The Koeppel Design wooden dividers are very expensive but rather beautiful (https://koeppeldesign.com/products/horizontal-a-z-record-divider-stencil). I’m sure I’ve reviewed them in the past. Never got to keep them, though. Had to give them back after the review. More’s the pity.
Other vinyl fans will organise their vinyl in different ways. They’ll initially separate by genre and then alphabetise within each genre.
I’ve heard some people organise by decade: 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. If they’re a mad fan of a few groups, they might organise by those groups and then, within the group material, go alphabetically or by year and then dump the rest of their collection together and go by the alphabet there.
You can see a logic in all of the above, can’t you? It makes sense.
I do things differently. My method of organisation is this.
That’s right, I purposely do not organise my vinyl. If I see a naturally evolving collection of vinyl popping up then I’ll go in there and separate them and distribute them all over my other shelves.
Why? Because I love surprises. I love the whole, “Oh wow, I forgot I had this one!” feeling. It’s a thrill. I love the not knowing what will appear next. I love the variety too.
That’s inherent in my personality. Variety. I hate ruts (the state of being not the punk band). I hate too much regularity. It’s why I’m a freelance journalist. I could never do an office/desk job. I’d die of depression within three weeks, if I did.
That variety is another key factor in my vinyl (dis)organisation. I’m not the kind of guy who says, “I’m in the mood for 80s indie today!” I’m the sort who says, “OK, whaddya got? Give me your best shot!” I love the contrasts I get when running through one Kallax ‘cube’ at a time. And incidentally, that’s the only order I follow. If you can even count that as ‘order’.
I start on the top left cube, work left to right then head for the far left on the second line down. And so on from there.
And yes, it means I can’t locate a specific album if I need it. The one downside. But it’s a small price to pay because, in my listening room, it’s Christmas every day.
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