Alan Zweig’s Vinyl documentary – a record collector’s expose

A few weeks ago, I watched the Netflix documentary Jack of All Trades, which purported to discuss the trading card industry and instead morphed into a saga over a son’s relationship with his sportscard-trading father.  It was a little of each and not enough of both.

And it reminded me of a documentary that, as a former vinyl record collector, I both laughed at and cringed over.

That documentary was called Vinyl, and I’ve embedded the documentary in this blog post.

What’s interesting about Vinyl isn’t that there are people who collect LP’s and 45’s and the like.  What Zweig discusses in Vinyl is the reasons WHY people collect …and how these people develop an emotional attachment to their collections.  So much so, in fact, that their collections become more important to them than other human contact.

We also see various levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder in this film – like, for example, the man who plays all his records in alphabetical order (and cleans them with solvent and velvet brushes after each play).  There are also signs of hoarding in the Vinyl documentary – for example, there’s the man whose tiny apartment has more records than there is air space, where he has to move piles of albums from one pile to another just to sleep or to go to the toilet.

I have to personally admit that I was a record collector / hoarder.  it was a nasty habit.  It was only during my divorce that I actually found enough mental strength to cull my collection – a third of it went to Goodwill, a third went on eBay, and eventually I whittled the monstrous collection down to only a few dozen LP’s and 45’s.  I think that the Vinyl documentary showed me that I was on the path to the dark side of this overly obsessive hobby.

But here’s the thing – if you’ve developed an unnatural relationship with any sort of collection, where it’s gotten to the point where you can’t sit on your couch because there’s four stacks of LP’s on it … If you own the complete run of Barry Manilow’s 45’s and you can’t stand Barry Manilow … then you need to clear the collection.  And those records weren’t even getting played.  It was a hoard.  I admitted to myself that I had a problem.  And I took care of that problem.

Even today, I feel that I did the right thing.  I kept the records that were most important to me, and cleared out the ones that had no personal or emotional attachment.  In other words, I acknowledged my hoarder status and did something about it.  Sometimes it takes tough love.

And although some people might think I did the wrong thing, they don’t understand that when that fateful day arrives and God knocks on your door and says, “Your ride’s here, let’s go,” you don’t get to pack a bag with all your stuff.

Although it is possible to be buried with your favorite or meaningful albums.

Heck, I’ve got a whole blog category, “Albums I Want To Be Buried With,” for that very reason. 😀