In an effort to strip my life down to a state where I can become one of those untethered cowboys, circumnavigating the globe for years on end, I’ve been reviewing my inventory of possessions.
Everything comes back to the CDs. The Box of CDs is a problem because has a firm grip on my psyche.
A large CD collection is quintessential ‘stuff’. When you picture someone living in a state of clutter, disarray and possession, you imagine them having a collection of 9,000 CDs.
Large CD collections are immobile, space-swallowing lumps of stuff that require spare rooms and special racks to house them. In old age, they just get shifted between lofts, and cellars, and garages, where they can harmlessly sit near the bottom of the media food chain, forever anchoring the nineties.
My personal CD collection however, is a single box of about 60 CDs, in totality. Unabridged. Which is a pitiful number for a supposedly avid music lover, but underlines the obsessive manner in which I consume each piece of music.
It also points to lifelong fear of spending money, and an early adoption of ‘internet music freebies’. But let’s not think about those things, since they are neither sexy, nor legal.
I have an obsessive personality, you see. I’m the bastard that puts a song on repeat 19 times because ‘UGH, CAN YOU FEEL IT?‘
And since I’m a good 900 albums short of a mammoth CD collection, I can flip through my box and feel 15 years of emotion in 10 minutes.
Because that’s what a good collection is, right? A pile of records that had a profound effect on you, and provided a soundtrack to your life. Sure, I do have a few albums that mean nothing to me. Bought through peer pressure, or just curiosity. But I never collected for the sake of accumulation. I don’t own all the B-Sides. I never bought random Tina Turner albums so I could hit the ceiling with my pile. Hooray for me.
Once upon a time I had an inferiority complex about the
girth size of my collection, but now it feels sensible, like an adult curated it. Accidentally sensible.
It’s compact, and meaningful. You could call my CD collection Autobiographical.
For (almost) every CD in my measly collection there is an accompanying story, an era, a set of emotions. Yes – lots of pretension here.
And there’s chapters – the In Utero drowning in teen angst stage, the punk phase, the ‘I love this band so much I will defend them to death’ weirdness, the virtuoso guitarist bit, the Iron Maidenhead-ship, the Nu-Metal spell at the beginning that deserves no recognition whatsoever. Each chapter recalls something about who I was, who I thought I was. As a whole they recall love, fear, struggle, and teenage confusion. For clarity, teenage confusion is 15 emotions rolled into a ball and then booted off a cliff.
You know, I can look at old photos and chuckle. I can do the same with all the home video I recorded (albeit with a lot more cringing/hiding behind the sofa.)
But weirdly, neither of those things tell me how I felt at the time of capture.
The same applies with most of the other crap in my possessions. Books and Toys from when I was five. It all falls in to the ‘history’ category and represents nothing more than an age, an era where I was mindless, and probably quite happy.
My shitty CD collection on the other hand, is a box of feels. Wonderful, horrible, and otherwise.
But it’s also a lump of stuff. Lumps of stuff have no place in a new world of reduction, minimalism, the cloud, slimline devices, digitalization, mindfulness, Airbnb, not dwelling on the past, and Tyler Durden quotes.
My CD collection owns me. Can’t be having that, can we?
So I’m going to have to throw them away. If they were LPs, things might be different. But they aren’t. They can go in the recycling bin.
Or fuck it, maybe I’ll just have them buried alongside me in my grave. Or I’ll be buried alongside the the CDs. Being the owner, the CDs will get the headstone.
I’ll decide tomorrow.
Obnoxious Call-To-Action: Keep your CD collection. Celebrate your CD collection. Or sell it at a Car Boot Sale. I don’t care.