I already sold a bunch of CDs.
But I kept, you know, the favorites, the best friends. And I also kept the ones that for no reason, logical or otherwise, I just didn't want to release.
Oh come on, you have them, too. I know you do.
And I'm not talking about the emotionally charged remnants of relationships past. Those CDs, that music, those songs...those are in an entirely different and distinct Stuff of Life category. And I'm not touchin' that with a ten-foot cattle prod. (I've let go of most of mine. I'll tough-love you through the elimination process if you want help.)
I'm talking about the unemotionally charged music that manages to escape downsizing and purging, sometimes remaining through several moves and shelving changes.
You never play them, you never even really liked them, you may have even had buyer's remorse an hour after the original purchase.
Or maybe they were gifts. Or promo giveaways (which explains a huge percentage of my former CD collection.)
Or maybe they were an old roommate's and you meant to give them back but then the roommate moved across country and you haven't heard from them in two years and...but...it just feels "wrong" to get rid of them because they don't really belong to you.
I'm boxing up the last of the few possessions I have and putting them in storage. Space is limited. So. I am forced to get rid of anything that is even in the proximity of detritus. If it's even only detritus-ish it's gotta go.
Those inexplicable CDs that have survived a bunch of years, several moves, and a lot of reorganizations have to go. Sorry, Virus 100, I know you're a rockin' collection of Dead Kennedys covers. I always meant to listen to you. I always thought you'd make a great soundtrack and I have mused about what that movie would be...but I haven't played you since, um, crap, 1994? '95? I honestly don't remember the last time I even popped open your case. Why?
Not "Why haven't I gotten rid of it?" but "Why haven't I played this, not even one song, in like 16 years?"
And. More to the immediate point: Why am I struggling to toss it in the box going to the used record store?
I'm clearly not going to play it and if I ever want to finally nail down a movie that it can soundtrack there's always iTunes.
And yet...I struggled to release it, toss it in a box and take that box to the used record store where, if I'm lucky they'll give me 50¢ for it.
And then there's the ultra-special promo CD of Björk's "Army of Me" from Tank Girl. I like Björk. I like the song. Grrrrl power and all that. And I really love the graphics on the back cover. But I already saved plenty of other Björk music, including the full Tank Girl soundtrack. And it's taking up real estate in my storage locker - precious space.
And yet...like Virus 100, I struggled to release it, relinquish it to The Box.
And what of The Box? Were any CDs easy to toss into the used record store box?
Don't ask me why I have Messiah's Rotten Perish. (I didn't buy it.) And really don't ask me how it survived even one move, let alone the seven it's survived since 1993. (Cripes. I've moved seven times since 1993. Is that weird? Is my "number" high? Am I a residence slut?) I meant to sell it years ago. I thought I sold it in a huge batch sell-off right after I was laid off. I could swear I already sold it. But there it was and there it went, poof, straight into the sell to the used record store box. Ditto the soundtrack to Birdy AKA Wherein Peter Gabriel Composes Music For Suicides.
Yes I'm a huge music fan/geek/maven/lunatic. I know this. And honestly, given my proclivity to listen to just about anything and my flea market habit it's testament to my will-power and self-restraint (and low income) that my music collection isn't bordering on something you'd see on Hoarders. I've always been fairly disciplined about not letting my music collection get too, you know, unwieldy. iTunes helped tremendously. I long ago purged the CDs that contained only one or two songs I liked. I had a huge Rip and Release party years ago. I ripped the songs I wanted and then set up a table with the CDs I no longer wanted. I then invited friends over for a party and told them they could take any of the CDs they wanted. I unloaded a ton of crap, I mean CDs that night. The CDs that no one wanted were then taken to my used record store of choice wherein I was given $20 for 30 CDs.
But now, the end is near, and so I face the final packing.
I fearfully suspect part of the reason some of these CDs remained in my possession is that they reassure me that at some point in my life I was hip enough to know the bands existed and open-minded enough to listen to their music and give them a place in my collection.
Yes. They're false-sense-of-security blankets.
I was never cool. Never. Not once. Not one second of my life. I have been "hip" to new stuff, "hip" in the "aware" definition of hip. But never cool. I love music, and truly, I will listen to just about anything. But craving music, going to concerts and hanging out at record stores does not make you cool. It makes you someone who loves music and goes to concerts and hangs out at record stores. Yes, I can rattle off names of super big bands I saw for a $5 cover on Buck-a-Beer night at seedy bars before they were super big. Woo hoo. That doesn't make me cool. It makes me cheap with a dash of lucky.
But those CDs (let's not get into vinyl right now) gave my self-esteem a little salve. People who came over to my place(s) would peruse my shelves and pull out a selection or two and either ask, "What the heck is this?" or "Wow, you listen to (whomever)?" Until iTunes I was the go-to music info source among my friends. A music matchmaker. A band whisperer. A song sommelier. (Which, by the way, is what I would have named iTunes (or at least Ping).) I know my friends and family well enough to know what sort of music they might like. They'd ask, "I heard this song/band the other day, do you know anything about them? Are they any good? Would I like more of their stuff?" Often I could hand over a CD or at least point them in the musical direction they would like. Again I say, I have never been cool. I just listen to a lot of music and know my friends well enough to gauge their musical preferences. It's too bad I can't get paid for this skill because I like to think I could make a fairly decent living at it. And that's my point. My music collection is my false-sense-of-security blanket. No one is going to pay me to choose music for them. I know this. But in my imagination I am capable of making a viable living by choosing music for people who can't figure it out for themselves.
Part of me wants to give the Messiah Rotten Perish CD to my head-banging stoner neighbor. Not as a peace offering or farewell present. More as a, "You're a stoner jerk with bad taste in music, you'll love this CD," joke's on him kind of thing. I'm pretty sure it would shock the pot out of him to find out I even know who Messiah are let alone have Rotten Perish in my possession. The reason I won't give it to him? Because until I'm evicted I'd have to listen him play it at wall-shaking volume. And my other neighbors already hate me enough because of my inability to pay my mortgage and dragging down their condo values, I don't need to add Rotten Perish to the reasons they'll show up at my door with pitchforks and torches.
I'm striving for the enlightened "this is good catharsis" mindset. Getting rid of those CDs will mean getting rid of my false-sense-of-security blanket and that's good. It's time. And truly, I am not going to pay to store these CDs. When it comes down to thinking of storing my life in a small locker making these decisions is easy. Homelessness gives you clarity that you cannot imagine until you have to make choices about what you want to pay to keep in storage. Sometimes it is like Sophie's choice. "My gran's silver or my mother's china? I can't keep both." But when it comes to music the choices get easier. "If I keep the Birdy soundtrack I have to get rid of another CD. Who will it be? Am I willing to sacrifice Thin Lizzy for Peter Gabriel?" Ah, no.
Sorry, Peter Gabriel, I know you're Very Special and Important and I love the movie Birdy, but I'm not cool enough to enjoy sitting around listening to the
depressing drone esoteric lushness of the soundtrack without reaching for a couple bottles of pills and a fifth of Jim Beam. Space in my storage locker is prime real estate and you're not making the cut. I think this is best for both of us. Maybe in time, someday, we can be friends. I know there's someone out there for you, someone who appreciates you more than I do will snatch you right up the very second you hit the market. You won't be in that used record store bin very long. I'm sure you'll have an esteemed and coveted place in another music collection, someone might even play you once in a while. You'll feel more needed and wanted than you did with me. And I, well, I need to let go, I need to stop clutching my false-sense-of-security blanket.
Labels: CDs, false-sense-of-security blanket, homeless, music collection, Unemployment, why do I own this CD?