Despite having retired from my music business job several years ago, and having my “freelance music consultant” income fall to laughable levels, I’m still buying and consuming recordings at roughly the same rate, except now I have to pay for more of the CDs and downloads I used to get free. “The same rate” means I’m acquiring music much faster than I can possibly listen to it. Right now I have about 800 CDs I haven’t listened to, including some I just had to have which are from about 15-20 years ago, still waiting on the shelf for me, I imagine not very patiently. (You know, like that reportedly earsplitting 1996 album Kaddish from Towering Inferno that I read about in some mag and had to hear immediately!!)
I’ve been dealing with this addiction for years, sometimes swearing when I go into a store that I’m not buying anything and sort of waking up at the cash register with another $100 in purchases. I’m sure many other have this problem, I don’t imagine that I am especially bad in my lack of control. Or maybe I’m one of the worst. (All my discussions about this problem seem to be with other music addicts, who all excuse our collective behavior, saying for instance “well, we could all be obsessed serial killers instead, this isn’t so bad.” Maybe I should bring this up with some real people, who will just matter-of-factly tell me I’m insane.)
Yesterday I had an experience that made me stop and think a little more about how easy I’m been treating myself. Like maybe I do need some sort of intervention.
For over a month I’d been looking in my collection for my copy of Antony & The Johnsons I Am a Bird Now and I couldn’t find it — under A, J, anywhere. So last week I bought a(nother?) copy, convincing myself I’d hallucinated owning it, or just lost it, it was “behind a cushion,” or I loaned it out (very unlikely). Yesterday, looking at the more-or-less randomly stacked 75-or-so CDs in my “have to listen to right now” piles in my office (separate from that 800 stash in the music library) I decided to organize them into some sort of sense so I might actually get to them on some kind of schedule (I’d become one of those people who buys the latest probably-not-essential album by Maximo Park or Bloc Party or Primal Scream without having listened to the previous one). And in the course of that reorganization I found I Am a Bird Now, in a stack that’s probably been there over a year — in my highest priority stack.
So now I’m buying CDs I own but have forgotten I own.