Stacks of old CDR's of mp3's, binders of CD's long stashed in closets all containing unknown pleasures unceremoniously tossed into the scrap heap but a few years ago. Introduce a new 300Gb external hard drive into the relationship and all this dusty music awakes from hibernation, and slowly creaks into the bright light of Organization.
I used to obsess over the organization of my music library, wanting then in nice tidy Artist/Album/Song hierarchy with a separate folder of playlists set up so I could access them off a menu off the Start button. Stretching back about a decade, I had about 2,000 albums neatly arranged in arcane arrays in crates I built from 2x4's picked up in fits of Organization similar to the one I am experiencing right now.
There are gourmets and gourmands in the music nerd game. Gourmets have impeccable collections and can espouse the rarity and qualities of the music they have meticulously assembled. I love a gourmet's collection. I feel like I am 5 and experiencing Disneyland when I see records I've heard of but never heard neatly set up, shelf after delirious shelf. They also have incredible stereos.
I however am of the gourmand variety. I have soem decent Bose computer speakers and another Bose wave stereo in the living room. The stereos in my car is the cheapest one that will accept an iPod via a clumsy patch cable from Radio Shack. My one monumental record collection, clawed to valuelessment thanks to the attention it received from a parade of apartment cats, got halved over and over agin with each successive move across the country, until I was cleaning out the garage preparing to leave Kansas forever, only to find my poor albums sitting in a box at the bottom of other unwanteds a that only get touched when you are moving, so I brought them to the one relable used record place I knew of and traded the whole box for about 10 cd's, the second iron & Wine being the only one I remember. So long Tones on Tail, so long Yes albums I found in a trash can around the corner from my first apartment I had without stuff-filter of a girlfriend to prevent me from bringing you inside. It was good, you and me, but it was time to move on.
I think I have the taste buds of a gourmet, able to find refinement where most experience bitterness and even revulsion, while still not being to high on myself to enjoy grocery store fried chicken and bean burritos from Taco Bell. But I am more interested in the access rather than the purity of my larder. Rifling throug this stack of silver discs I've only touched in the last year because I knocked them over trying to get something else, I'm finding so many things. All these Stereolab albums! The Velvet Underground boxed set! A mile of dodgy dub tracks that got me through one particulalry brutal Kansas winter!
Letting go of the artifact has been the best thing that ever happened to me as a music fan. Sure there are some irreplaceable things that I have let go, but it happens. Arguably every moment past is a non-repeatable wonder, but to linger on these moments will only find you sitting on a dusty pile of memories, feeding scraps to your bloated pet albatross you keep on a tattered leash. I say sharpen that iPod to a fine point and sever that leash with it. let your albatross find its way to the sea and leave your cave to blink in the sunshine.