Once every couple of years I decide enough is enough. Looking around the house, and especially the room I refer to as my office, it strikes me that I have too much 'stuff' and that there is an awful lot of this stuff I can do without.
The recent drum kit arrival prompted me to do what is called, by some people, a "life laundry," that's the sorting out of the necessary from the 'I'm never going to read/watch/play that'. Of course, necessary is subjective but life has taught me over the last decade that you need some 'me' time and it's the music, books, ephemera that can help you wind down after a day at work.
Having filled three supermarket 'life' bags with Cd's I headed for the nearest independent record shop, in fact the only one within 25 miles. A shop that has seen fashions come and go and yet remained a site of pilgrimage for those seeking the vinyl version of The Incredible String Band's debut album or that essential 12-inch release of Depeche Mode's 'Personal Jesus'. Anyway walking into the shop I realised that everybody and his dog in the area must have, at some time in the previous ten minutes' decided it was also time for a "life laundry". The shop was filled with the usual bins of vinyl you find in these places, wall shelves full of cassette tapes, and the walls decorated with album covers and 7-inch singles in those plastic covers us vinyl junkies used to buy in their hundreds from W.H Smith back in the day.
Behind the counter, or rather behind a Berlin wall of CD jewel cases, sat the owner. He's a former DJ, about five years older than me and the sort of guy who can tell, by the catalogue number, which version of Bowie's ChangesoneBowie has the sax reworking of 'John I'm Only Dancing" on it. He looked depressed, the man for whom supply was far outstripping demand.
I lowered my three bags to the floor, "Can you see if any of these are any use, I'm not after any money, just need the space."
"I'll look, but don't hold out any hopes, the market is dead at the moment."
He picked out a handful of Cd's and read the jewel case spines, checking the artist and album details.
"No, sorry," he said after a quick rifle through each bag. "If there was something ultra special I'd take it but look around you."
It was a Christopher Wren moment, so poetic and yet so sad at the same time. This man was trapped in a monument to his life's work and passion. Vinyl was no longer vital, cassettes no longer craved for, Cd's no longer curious acquisitions. The shop was in danger of proving Archimedes principle by displacing part of its load onto the street outside, only the security grill on the window preventing an outbreak of The Specials debut album on Boscombe's streets.
"I'll take them down the tip then," I said lifting the three bags up before walking out of the shop and back to the car.
Down the tip (or council recycling centre as it is officially known) a different economy exists. There's an area where you can leave items which aren't damaged or broken where members of the public can buy them from the workers who run the site on a daily basis and who are allowed to pocket anything offered. The three bags were placed in this section and before I had driven more than about ten yards somebody had decided that all of Madonna's Cd's up to American Life (nine of them excluding her Greatest Hits compilation)were what they wanted to make their Saturday a little better. I felt good as well, I'd got rid of my 'rubbish' and somebody had got the beginnings of a Cd collection for probably less than a tenner.