Musical Ramblings


Organising vinyl is part of the culture of the dedicated music fan. Of course, the practice is not reserved to vinyl. CD and tape collectors have their own issues. Digital fans do it on a micro level. Paul Rigby, though, wonders if he might have gone too far…

I have a horrible feeling…that I’m weird. 

(“But we’ve been saying this for years!” I hear you cry.)

OK, but besides that. I’ve been pondering. And the conclusions I have arrived at are not pretty.

It’s all to do with my vinyl collection. Actually, most things in life can be rooted in one’s vinyl collection. So maybe that pronouncement is not particularly startling in itself. 

It’s not just the fact that I have several thousand of the things. It’s not what they are. It’s how they are.

Actually, before I get to that point, I’m worried. Weird and worried? For this first part, I want to give you a bit of background to my realisation. In the next and final part? We’ll get to the meat of the matter. Let me talk about the ‘worried’ thing first because it will make the ‘weird’ bit easier to digest and to understand. 

I have a relationship over an above the one I enjoy with my lady wife. Both are above board and legal, I hasten to add but this one is Swedish. Steady now.

I – like many vinyl fans out there – have an intimate knowledge of Kallax. The popular storage unit sold by the retail giant, IKEA which happens to be perfectly designed to hold a host of vinyl albums. Kallax can be bought in various sizes too which means that you can insert this storage unit against walls but also in numerous nooks and crannies (Really now, what exactly is a crannie?) 

In fact, Kallax is my Nemesis. Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty. I have Kallax. ’In my time™’ I have built so many Kallax, I not only do not need the instructions, oh no. Not only do I actually have an improved system, a faster method, of building Kallax than the one promoted by IKEA. I have even been known to dream of the things. That’s how many I have built. 

But it’s gone past that. I’ve built so many of these things, I have begun to loath them. Harsh, I understand that and I don’t fall upon this particular verb lightly but I am left with no other. As Sherlock himself said, “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” 

Familiarity has bred contempt. 

Constant Kallax building has triggered annoyance. The need for more storage. The fact that I thought I was done with Kallax. The realisation that no, I needed to buy more (and more) Kallax has finally turned my emotions towards a dark place. Such is my unreasonable view on Kallax. 

Kallax not only holds vinyl but books in my front room and ephemera in my office. If I added up the unread (unread mind you) books filling Kallax, I’m sure the number would hit…a lot. I have a book problem second only to my vinyl concerns, as you can see (I did try a Kindle but filled that up quickly so I’m back to the paper-based tomes now) So I have a Kindle issue to accompany my book problem that sits alongside my vinyl concerns.

Let’s restrict my growing neurosis to vinyl for a moment. What scares me about all of this Kallax is that they are almost full. I have no more wall space to add any more Kallax. And I’ve just turned 57. I don’t intend dying for a while yet, thank you very much. So, if I was sensible (Who’s laughing at the back there!?) I would say to myself that I should stop buying vinyl right now. Stop because I have next to no storage space left. Hence? I’m done. There’s no more room at the inn. No more purchases. That’s my final decision.

And there’s a little voice. Smug it is. That I can only just hear. It’s an echo on the wind. It says, “Who are you kidding?”

And this voice speaks of truths. 

My wife tells me, “It will take you the rest of your life to listen to all of these records, why even consider buying more? And as for those books…” But I promised not to talk about those, didn’t I? And she’s right. She’s absolutely correct. Did I also mention the thousands of CDs I own? I didn’t, did I? And the hundreds of cassette tapes? And the terabytes on my 15 hard disks? (I have a digital storage quandary that contrasts with a CD difficulty that nestles close to a tape cassette pickle that is friendly with my Kindle issues that accompany my book problems that sits alongside my vinyl concerns).

The thing is though and I know this for a fact and this is a serious point that I must make here and say it with an element of concern and urgency in my voice. The thing is, I know of at least 25 albums out there, sitting on someone else’s retail shelf right now, that I must own. I have to have them. Really. It’s incredibly important that I own them and, by the Power of Grayskull, its a task I must fulfil. 

Possibly. When my wife’s not looking. 

[To be continued – you can read more Music Ramblings here: musical-ramblings]

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  • Reply
    Ian Reynolds
    10th September 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Hello Paul,

    You have my sympathy, I have a very similar problem and I’m nowhere near as varied or as eclectic in my musical tastes as you have. I’ve pretty much stuck to classic rock, psych, folk, country rock, Americana and indie, with odd jazz, funk and soul classic, along with a a few classical records. I’ve got now very few CDs as most of the things that weren’t on vinyl in the 90s are available now and have subsequently been replaced. However my collection of albums is way in excess of 5000 and growing on a weekly basis. I have reached the limit of available wall space too and buying a bigger house really isn’t option, unless a large lottery win comes my way. My partner thankfully is fellow music obsessive with a decent size collection of her own and our 14 year old daughter has started buying records and wants a 2 by 4 Kallax for her bedroom. WTF does one do?

    A friend of mine, the owner of Birmingham record shop had a lovely shelving system constructed by a carpenter along one side of his house, this solved his problem for a while, until his house started to subside due to the weight of his records (he literally has tens of thousands). Having his house underpinned to solve problem cost him £12,000.

    Its not just you mate! Sometimes I think a smack habit would be cheaper and would effect my lifestyle less.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th September 2021 at 10:48 am

      Hehe – thanks Ian. It’s a ticking bomb isn’t it? I was hoping physicists would have sorted the time/space thing out by now so that IKEA could sell multi-dimensional storage units. But no. And that is the thing about vinyl. The weight. Like your friend, I knew a guy who stored his records in the attic and had to fit an extra RSJ because his ceiling began to bow under the combined weight of vinyl.
      I moved into this house from a smaller one and never, ever thought that I could even remotely fill this property. The idea was actually laughable. But here we are. I haven’t seen my walls in a long time.

  • Reply
    10th September 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Great article and you are not alone. I hope your next rambling might get even deeper or how you organize and protect your collection – alphabetical, by genre, dividers, sleeves, etc.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th September 2021 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Josep! And yea. Part 2 is where it might get strange.

  • Reply
    Joseph Solin
    11th September 2021 at 10:48 am

    I love strange and it’s a fitting for this vinyl and audiophile obsession many of us have. Looking forward to it.

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