Middle aged men like me will never sell their beloved vinyl records


I don’t have an exhaustive record collection – this is largely the product of my teens and twenties; more a collection of memorabilia than just recordings – but because I love music and, like Baker, worked at the New Musical Express as my first full-time job, I often come across those who are more obsessed with their collections of records: musicians, fans, promoters happily photographing their visits to second-hand record stores. It is joyful and excessive. It is also a world populated almost exclusively by men of a certain age.

A visit to a regular record fair at Spitalfields Market suggests that vinyl collectors are the modern day equivalent of the pre-crafted Camra beer archetypes. Black t-shirts, bellies and gray hair abound as they feverishly rummage through the deeply tidy vinyl stalls.

Some men see the record collection as a showcase of their emotions, their intellect, their tastes – their social armor, their creative pedigree. Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity, once said that “there is no point in pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections are violently at odds.” I don’t agree with him, but there is something special about the record collection that appeals to men – maybe they like to organize their collections more than just listen to them.

The pandemic has certainly been the catalyst for a further increase in activity. A director friend from the advertising world, who grew up helping his father’s record store, has made enough money trading vinyls with collectors for the past year and a half not to want to alert the tax authorities by revealing his name . “When the lockdown took place, all of my filming work stopped,” he tells me. “I was looking for something else to occupy my time and started to see a lot of people selling record collections online and at auctions. Because people were stuck at home, they started doing all the chores that they had had on their to-do lists for ages – like cleaning out sheds, lofts, and storage rooms – and discovered boxes of old records that hadn’t been played or watched for years. So they sold them.

He also, he said, noticed that many collections from the 1950s and 1960s were sold by children whose parents had died. “I started selling on eBay with no idea of ​​the market and it was amazing. A combination of people sitting at home in front of screens all day, saving money not to go out, and a new love of vinyl has seen records fetch incredible prices. I’m going to make £ 100,000 this year, with a profit of £ 50,000 to £ 60,000. No wonder, perhaps, that when Baker posted his tweet, 300 people immediately responded with requests for their jukeboxes.

For me, collecting music was a rope ladder that took me from my teens to my twenties; something that gave me excitement, a high, a sense of discovery and belonging. Music was a motivating fuel for what I wanted to be in life and where I wanted to be – mainly at a Ramones or Redskins concert, selling my homemade fanzines.

Vinyl, alongside DJs John Peel, Kid Jensen and Janice Long, was the delivery mechanism. I spent years with my records, lying on my bedroom floor while The Fall, Jam, Specials and Undertones played over and over again, reading the few lines of information on the covers, singing to them, making up the lyrics for pieces that I could I don’t understand, enter this three minute world that I have lived in and loved. I did several newspaper and milk rounds a week so I could buy the new single from The Cure or Stiff Little Fingers.


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