IN these digital days of downloads and streaming, it seems like a truly ancient pastime to seek out old chunks of vinyl. Two new books get into the motivation and culture of collectors who amass 78s and 33s.
I’ve not read either, but this New York Times review makes me want to check them out. It also reminds me how lucky I was to come of age at the tail end of the era where one could hunt through used stacks to find rare or overlooked gems. Used-vinyl shops, of which my town, Los Angeles, offers a decent choice, still give some of that thrill.
The books in question are Amanda Petrusich’s DO NOT SELL AT ANY PRICE: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78 rpm Records and Eilon Paz’s DUST & GROOVES: Adventures in Record Collecting.
Reviewer Larry Rohter begins her review by describing how Petrusich got bitten by the same collecting bug as the collectors she was interviewing:
“Eventually, I started to want what they wanted,” she writes. “For me, the modern marketing cycle and the endless gifts of the Web had begun to feel toxic,” its surfeit of always-available music leading to a response that surprised her: “I missed pining for things. I missed the ecstasy of acquisition.”
Anyone remember the blues record collectors from Ghost World?