My mother once asked me why I needed to buy so many CDs. “Haven’t you got enough?” was her perfectly reasonable question. Seeing as she died 20 years ago and my purchasing habit hasn’t diminished, she would be aghast to see my collection now.
In 2018, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York decided to start charging $25 for out-of-state visitors and it also made nearly 100 people redundant. There was a $40 million deficit which needed addressing. There was never any consideration given to selling any of its 2 million objects including the greatest collection of Islamic rugs in the Western hemisphere that nobody has ever seen because they are all in storage.
As well being about Dar Williams, this blog is about hoarding. In “The Hobbit”, J.R.R. Tolkien created a dragon called Smaug who guarded a vast hoard of treasure for 150 years. In her blog at lanternhollow.wordpress.com “Melissa” writes that “Possession is not generally considered a good thing for Tolkien. His greatest heroes – Aragorn and Beren and Faramir – are the ones who refuse ownership of the Ring. While to own something is not necessarily to be evil Tolkien’s representation of possession is more like “possessiveness”, and it often leads to secrecy, hoarding, and jealousy. Possession makes such virtues as self-sacrifice and generosity much more difficult.”
In “Revisionist History”, Malcolm Gladwell interviews the psychologist, Randy Frost, who says that the impulse to hoard has three motivations.
1) instrumental – something might be useful at some point in the future. I might want to listen to a piece of music. Try searching for the album “Albion Doo Wah” by Cat Mother And The All Night Newsboys on Spotify and you’ll find it isn’t available. To actually be in possession of a CD or record means that I can listen to it whenever I want to. On the other hand, I’m not sure the instrumental value is that important as I had completely forgotten that I had this CD until an hour ago. Over the past few years, it’s never occurred to me that I must play Dar Williams.
2) aesthetic – an object might make the environment more beautiful. A year ago, I sold 150 CDs that I didn’t have room for but I kept enough to fill up the shelves. So I guess that the aesthetic value of the CDs is important to me. When I watch “A Word In Your attic”, the video cast with Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, I am in awe of the record collection that David Hepworth is sitting in front of. It’s become a bit of a thing in on line meetings to choose your background carefully. I must admit that I try to ensure that my background shows off my collection.
3) emotional – an object has an emotional connection with the hoarder. I can clearly remember a very pleasant evening in The Komedia with Richard when we went to see Dar Williams. Listening to this album reminds me that soon after the gig, I bought this CD. Of course, the emotional aspect of hoarding all these records and CDs is clearly important. It’s what this blog is all about!
Dar Williams was born in New York state in 1967 and has released 20 records. I guess there are plenty of valid reasons why I’ve kept (or hoarded) this CD. Listening to it over the past couple of hours, it’s very good indeed. She is an excellent songwriter with a lovely voice. On this record, she has some very well regarded support from (amongst others) Bela Fleck (on banjo – a prolific session musician ), David Mansfield (on violin – he played in Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review) and Alison Krauss (helping out on vocals).
It’s easy to state that The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York shouldn’t hoard so many artefacts that it is never going to put on display. It’s easy to state that collecting objects for their own sake makes such virtues as self-sacrifice and generosity much more difficult. I agree with those statements but don’t tell me to stop buying CDs – I need to carry on doing this. I need to listen to new music, they look good on the shelves and many of them have an emotional resonance.