Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Spin on Relationships

Think that your record collection can just share space with a spouse, close family member, roommate, the neighbor's dog?  Think again!  Even if your significant other is into vinyl (if not, you have chosen poorly), getting to a healthy balance of packed shelves takes work, patience, and at times a thick skin.  You can't just assume that the other party is interested in having your super-amazing vinyl co-habitate with their substandard fare.  More to the point, the other party may not feel your super-amazing vinyl is so super-amazing and vice-versa.  It's ok not to agree on everything.  What to do?

In a significant number of musical arenas, VVer #1 and VVer #2 have melded minds on taste.  That's probably 60% of the time.  30% is "live and let live."  The other 10% is a knock down, drag out, carnage fest of warrior rage that goes something like this:
VVer #1 arrives home from work, pops on (insert great 90's alternative album here) and begins to cook dinner.  Just as he starts to hit a thrashing groove musically (as well as rocking it in the kitchen).
VVer #2 arrives home from work.  "WARRRRMMMM.  WHAT is this awful NOISE?  Aghuughhhh!"
VVer #1 "You can put something else on if you like."
VVer #2 "Aghhuuughagh!!!  Off!"

As wholesome as this back and forth must sound, the VVers are hoping to minimize bloodshed in their home and, in turn, help others out there who may be having similar dilemmas.  How to get along?  Here are a few questions to help you with those areas of avoidable misery:

  1.  When does the record come from?  If it's from an era that you grew up in, say the late 80s and not of your significant other, say the late 90s, there could be some conflict.  You may even be labeled as "living in the past."  Horrifying, right?  What can you do?  Try and show interest in the significant other's era.  Don't pigeonhole yourself by being a completest on every band from your favored era.  Be selective.  You don't need every single release from that indie label that came out between 1988 and 1991.  No, you don't.

  2.  Where did the record come from?  If it was purchased in a dusty estate sale or thrift spot, be mindful of what level of dust, scuzz, and fuzz you might be introducing to your home.  The quickest way to sour an impression on a purchase is if you disrespect the home (and more importantly the turntable) with a filthy record.  Take a few moments to inspect your purchase before it crosses the threshold.  Clean it outside if needed.  Do not force the issue.  Certain lines should not be crossed.

  3.  How much?  If you plunked down some hefty dough on a record or two, you better be able to back that up with some earnings, some solid playtime, or both.

  4.  How long?  Did you spend hours in a dumpy thrift store sifting through their Barbara Streisand albums looking for treasure?  Were you scouring the internet for rare platters?  Did you spend half your weekend driving to random and far flung yard sales hoping to find something special?  Digging for albums may be fun at times, but remember that the Pinocchio picture disc you found may be worthless compared to the time you spent in discovering it.

  5.  How many?  Any time you dedicate real estate to new arrivals you have to be very clear about your plans.  "I am going to listen to this once because I am curious and then I am going to donate this to (insert charitable thrift shop here)," or perhaps, "I am going to listen to this record all of the time and probably blog/DJ/make it my new favorite/wear it like a hat."  Stacking them up by the player and in front of the stereo, and next to the fish tank, and in front of the closet door, and in the closet, and (things can get out of hand very quickly) -- this is a losing proposition.

  6.  When are you playing it?  "When I get home it's not necessarily that the music is bad it's that I'm home and I need some peace and quiet and it BLARGH AGH CRASH RRRAAAAGHHH!!!"  This is very relevant.  Everyone has a comfort zone and if you're not paying attention to this, it doesn't matter what the record is in the slightest because you are going to lose that fight every time.  Sometimes music with too much multi-tonal activity is too much for the morning.  Sometimes jazz flute is a little too much like Christmas.  Sometimes you should just not play that record around the other person.  It's not worth the hassle and you are not going to convince your flatmate to like that album by bludgeoning it into their skull.

A smidge of advice:
  1.  Pay attention, dumbass.  Does this one really need an explanation?  If so then this entire write up isn't going to help you.  Dumbass.
  2.  Be respectful.  Timing matters.
VVer #1 "Would you like to hear record?"
VVer #2 "Yes"
VVer #1 "Is there something you would like me to play?"
VVer #2 "Play something I like."

Makes sense.

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