Monday, September 8, 2014

A compact life

I just spent this afternoon and early evening moving my CDs from the stands I've kept them in for about 10 years, to a compact little square that can be carried around like a suitcase. I took the opportunity to weed through the ones I never listen to, never have listened to or simply feel flabbergasted that I ever owned. I'm certain I don't have to explain my attachment to these discs; I've carried them with me over decades of my life, from one living situation to another. They have, for the past four years assumed their place inside two column like racks on the side of my fridge and it has become high time to make space and lighten the load of my life. So I made the executive decision at 2am the other morning to buy a case on ebay in which to house (and likely bury) my CD collection, such as it is. The entire endeavor only took a few hours but it took me back years.
Some observations:

  • I have a small army of marvelous people in my life who, over the last 20 or so years have made me mix CDs full of music that has pretty much comprised the DNA of my life's memories to date. I have kept every single one and will continue to do so. I even had people I NEVER MET in real life make me CDs because we were virtual friends. Thank you thank you thank you, you know who you are.
  • I have a sneaking suspicion that someone at some point just dropped off a handful of their CDs surreptitiously and left them in my collection. How else can I explain the presence of five Devandra Banhart CDs??
  • CD production and design used to be so nice. I have a special edition copy of Neon Bible that came equipped with little flipbooks of an actual neon bible and one of synchronized swimmers. The Queen anthology I got for Christmas one year has pretty remarkable photographs in the liner notes. The double album by the Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is basically a small work of art. And then there were stupidly designed ones. An old Dave Matthews Band CD has one of those magic eye pictures on the front, managing to be both dated and ugly. Though I love the album intensely, I was never a fan of the photos on Pearl Jam's Vs. cover. It actually skeeves me to this day.
  • I distinctly remember the very first CD I ever bought. It is kind of embarrassing, so please find it in your heart to forgive me: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Swing Kids. Yes, the film was utter dreck and not every recording is a gem but I must say I still thoroughly enjoy the version of Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen on that soundtrack. It reminds me of being 15.
  • I was in possession of 20 sample CDs and not one of them was good. Not one. All those poor musicians.... Also, how the hell did I get all these samples?
  • I came across the CD single by the Strokes, New York City Cops that I bought at a music store situated right next to a multiplex in Kips Bay about 10 years ago. Not 20 minutes after I bought that CD I actually saw Julian Casablancas at the movies and asked him to sign my CD. I remember being so excited by kismet. Looking at the CD now, I can barely read his scrawl. But I swear it happened. My sister will attest!
  • It is so strange to think that all my music (minus the thousands of songs I have on my iPod of course) fit into this:

Therein lies almost my entire adolescence and adult life, compact with a convenient carrying handle. 

Naturally the more organized and/or space worshiping of you will question my desire to hang on to these little silver discs at all. I tend to agree with that notion but I simply can't let them go. Not yet. Getting rid of the cases was one thing. And, true, I have most of these uploaded. But I'm an old ass lady who enjoys the tangible feel of a CD, of lying on my stomach on my bedroom floor, reading liner notes and lyrics and singing along. Really, I feel like you should just let me be.

Quick question though: what in the sam hell do I do with these jewel cases??

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