Sunday, 27 May 2007

Filing by stuff that's lying around

I guess most music collectors amongst you will remember the scene in High Fidelity (book and film) when the character rearranges his record collection ... alphabetically? No ... chronologically? No .... by genre ? No... perhaps ranked according to mood? No. He's filing it autobiographically, based on when he bought it. The experience of music, says the character, is the experience of a lifetime lived. Geek heaven maybe, but possible.

So if that's true, how about the CDs, tapes and vinyl that -- no matter which way you organise the collection -- just end up regularly lying around the stereo, stuff that gets played so often it just never gets re-filed? If our autobiographical filing shows us the experience of a lifetime lived, wouldn't our regular playlist tell us more about our current selves? Or does it just tell us we should dust more often.

Anyway, judge for yourself. Here's some of what's hanging regularly around my stereo at the moment, most of which never gets back onto the shelves; the detritus of too much listening. Those of you with iPods can talk amongst yourselves for a while.
  1. Primitive Guitars - Phil Manzanera
  2. Eine Frau fur die Liebe - La Pat
  3. Benny Goodman Small Combos 1935-1941
  4. Trinity Sessions - Cowboy Junkies
  5. Lost in the Stars - Music of Kurt Weill
  6. Modern Times - Bob Dylan
  7. Wagner Choruses from Bayreuth - Wilhelm Pitz & the Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra
  8. I'm Your Fan - Songs of Leonard Cohen by ...
  9. The Time Has Come - Christy Mooore
  10. Struck By Lightning - Graham Parker
  11. Dream of Life - Patti Smith
  12. No Friend Around - John Lee Hooker
  13. Giants of Jazz: Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker
  14. Atomic Swing - Count Basie
  15. Louis Armstrong (home-made CD compilation)
  16. Sounds of the 20th Century: Django Reinhardt
  17. Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus (Vol. 5) - Serge Gainsbourg
  18. I Am the Blues - Willy Dixon
  19. Piano Sonatas 8, 14, 17, 21, 23 & 26 - Beethoven
  20. Death & the Maiden - Schubert
  21. And His Mother Called Him Bill - Duke Ellington
  22. Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington
  23. Asylum Years - Tom Waits
  24. Henry's Dream - Nick Cave
  25. Wagner Piano Transcriptions - Cyprien Katsaris
  26. Cole Porter Songbook (Vol. 1) - Ella Fitzgerald
  27. Loaded - Velvet Underground
  28. American Caesar - Iggy
  29. Coleman Hawkins - Ken Burns 'Jazz' compilation
  30. Fragments of a Rainy Season - John Cale
  31. 16 Classic Tracks - Hoagy Carmichael
  32. Della by Starlight - Della Reese
  33. Songs of the Auvergne (Canteloube)/Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (Villa-Lobos)/Vocalise (Rachmaninoff) - Anna Moffo & Leopold Stokowski
  34. Callas & Di Stefano at La Scala
  35. Tom Verlaine - Tom Verlaine
  36. Dizzy Gillespie's Big 4 - Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Joe Pass, Mickey Roker
  37. Rolling Stone - Muddy Waters
  38. Pink Elephants - Mick Harvey
Yeah, it's a busy stereo, but when you work from home ...

Anyway, what does your stereo detritus say about you?


  1. At home, the PC is cabled up to the stereo and me and my girlfriend have about four hundred and fifty albums between us stored on the hard drive.

    While I miss the charm of opening up a CD case, and discovering another CD in there, and then opening up the case for that CD< and finding another CD, and then coming to the realisation that I should probably just listen to something else before every CD is out of every case, the convenience of having endless amounts of music at one's fingertips is worth it.

    Vinyl is another question. From memory we've got the Shaft soundtrack, an album by Wagonchrist called 'Throbbing Pouch' and a 12" by an outfit called Small Fish With Spine lying about. And my AC/DC collectors edition of Who Made Who which was playing last night for entertainment purposes.


  2. Cabretta by Mink Deville (includes the song Spanish Stroll), All Strung Out In A Bunch - Ritchie Pickett, Zalvation by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Your never alone with a schizophrenic, and All American Alien Boy and a live album (dont know what its called) by Ian Hunter, No more Shall We part - Nick Cave, Rain Dogs by Tom Waits. Radio Ethiopia by Patti Smith. These albums just never seem to get put away, and Cabretta is a cassette I purchased in 1977! and Radio Ethiopia not much after that, (and theyre still going!)


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.