From the day I was born, until I left for England in 1980, I’d never lived anywhere but Calcutta. That time was spent principally in two apartments, 70C Hindustan Park (1960-69) and 6/2 Moira St (1969-80). We weren’t particularly rich, but we weren’t poor either; life was good. So it was quite a challenge for me to pack 23 years of my life, and whatever passed for my inheritance, into a single suitcase.
I wasn’t really that much into clothes; anyway, I didn’t have much that was suitable for English weather. There wasn’t much else: all I had room for was a few copies of the family magazine, my references and education certificates, a handful of photographs, a few keepsakes. That was it.
That meant that I left behind all the books I grew up with, all the music I grew up with. It was a real wrench, but nowhere near as much as leaving everything I called home, my family, my friends, the neighbourhoods I grew up in, my school, my college.
Since coming to the UK, I’ve been gently building a decent book collection, so much so I’ve had to move home a couple of times just to make space for the books. Right now I’m waiting for a time when I have enough money to build a proper library … I have the vision, the space, the planning permission, even the books. But the time is not right, I just don’t have the spare money.
I’ve tried to do the same with music, but I’ve cheated: instead of collecting vinyl, I moved to CD. So I now have maybe 1700 CDs, pretty much everything I’m interested in. 90% of the CDs relate to recordings made in the 60s and early 70s. In fact over 80% of my collection is between 1966 and 1972, focused heavily on that wonderful space where the folk and folk-rock of the mid-to-late 60s merge with the heavier stuff of the late 60s and early 70s, creating a sound and feel best exemplified by Grateful Dead, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Who, Traffic and Blind Faith, by the Doobie Brothers, by Loggins and Messina.
Paul has built up a unique collection of over 1 million pieces of vinyl; at its peak the collection is priceless, he thinks it would be valued at $50m. Right now he’s aging (nearly 70), ill (he has diabetes and is nearly blind) and has been desperately trying to sell the collection for some time now. The price has come down, he’s looking for a paltry $3m now.
If I were a rich man, I’d buy the whole collection. Today. Not just for personal enjoyment, but to leave as a legacy. It’s not a collection, it’s a piece of history. The man that hath no music in himself….
So. Is there anyone out there with the spondulicks? [In fact, is there anyone out there who even understands what a spondulick is? Sometimes I wonder.]
Maybe it’s time for us to club together, set up a twitter fund to acquire the collection, use social tools to find a place to store the collection, digitise it, do a Google Books on it. Anyone from Google listening?
In the past it’s been about a Getty or a Gates stepping in. But surely that’s the old model? Surely today is about the way Barack Obama raised his funds, small pieces loosely joined?