I’m either cool, or old. Mostly old.

As my audiophile friends often bemoan, buying vinyl used to be about discovering music, rediscovering classics, sorting out the original pressings from the cut-outs, or the never-ending (and never cheap) quest for the Beatles ‘butcher‘ cover.

Now vinyl is a “scene”. Many more record stores carry new releases more than used, and overall, record stores can mark up their merchandise because indiscriminate shoppers drive up demand without having put in the work of determining value. My friends say it’s less fun than it used to be, and being thought of as “cool” isn’t worth the hassle.

I also dislike the term record “collector”. Yes, to many folks, vinyl records are relics on par with with Meissen figurines. Most of the vinyl adherents I know don’t “collect” – purchasing simply to accumulate, the sheer ownership being symbolic of some status of cool. These folk listen to music they love/are interested in, and vinyl is their preferred format.

Me? I enjoy all sorts of music, but I’m not as fanatical about my vinyl as some purists. I like funky sounds, and am a sucker for weird album art. Mostly, I’m fond of records and record-hunting as a cultural/anthropological experience. More simply put, I like stuff that belonged to other people. I wonder if their histories are etched into the grooves, folds, and smells. Rooting around discount bins, sometimes you stumble onto a memory, or get excited about making new ones. It’s fun to get caught up in it, the hunt, the nostalgia. But sometimes the musty smells get into your brain, and you forget that you already own that.


It’s possible you’ll forget multiple times that you already own that record. (Still worth the $15 I spent collectively!)

I love the idea of being connected to someone else, a stranger, a friend, through something tangible, not just because of the whole shared universal human experience thing. I like knowing that sometime back in 1984, someone bought this General Public record (any of the three) because “Tenderness” is an awesome sad-happy song to fall in love to.

And I hope they did.


All the rage, indeed.