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If you are 50 or older (or a little younger) you have all had, or still have, vinyl records. These black plastic discs, or sometimes coloured ones, for which you tightened your belt to be able to buy. The new album of your favourite band. These objects so fragile and so resistant at the same time. These black circles on which your favourite music is engraved, and which rocked your childhood. Thanks to these you learnt to dance – probably in your room.
They accompanied your evenings with friends, your sleepless nights, they made you depressed, or, sometimes, helped you out of depression. Or, like me, they made you want to start your own band with friends and create your own music. These objects, so dear to your heart, have withstood the years better than you!
I will never sell them!
How many times have I said this phrase to others, or promised myself when talking about my vinyl collection, “My LPs? I will never sell them! Never!”
Yet, in October 2017, I broke my promise and what was to happen, happened. I sold almost all my records! I can assure you that this was one of the worst moments of my life! This isn’t something I’d even wish on my worst enemy! And even if I don’t wake up in a sweat at night because of it, and even as the song says, I don’t regret anything, I’m still a little sad to be separated from them.
And two years later, I’m still a bit melancholy when, thanks to modern technology, I listen to a song from one of these albums on my computer.
However, I console myself by telling myself that I have surrendered my records to people who will revive them by listening to them, and pampering them. That they will again turn on a turntable, and perhaps find themselves being played to liven up evenings with friends, or even in bars!
I’d like to point out to those who think of me as a monster because I sold my vinyls, I won’t blame you because I agree with you a little bit. I won’t encourage anyone to do what I did. However, I have at least one extenuating circumstance.
My new life
As you probably know, since 2009, after a busy Parisian life, I have been living in Moscow. When I left France, I left with just a suitcase. The weight of my luggage being limited, I had to choose between 23kg of discs, or 23kg of warm clothes to protect me from the Moscow winter. So it was with a big jacket, gloves, a scarf, woollen socks, fur-lined shoes, a hat and a whole lot of sweaters and other clothes that would allow me to survive the Russian cold that I filled my suitcase. You’ll agree that I made the right choice, I’m sure.
When I left Paris, I left all my records with my friend Patrick, who put them carefully on a shelf. During all these years, he has rarely put them on his old turntable! Which means that they haven’t been anywhere, unlike me.
I can already hear people saying, “Yes, but you could have taken them when you came back to Paris!” Yes, it’s true. I could have taken some with me each time I visited Paris. But let me tell you, when I’m in Moscow, I don’t miss my LPs because as I said earlier, I listen to them on my computer.
No, what I miss most is the wine, the cheese, the baguettes, the croissants, the different pates and sausages. Even the pickles I miss! So when I return to France to see family and friends, I feed myself with good products of French gastronomy. And then, when I return to Moscow, the excess weight of my luggage is largely due to these products above, because even if they can be obtained in Moscow, they are either very expensive or of mediocre quality.
You must also know that despite the years spent in Russia, I haven’t acquired Russian nationality and that means that Moscow is not my final destination. One day I will have to leave this city and this country. Therefore, I will have only 23kg of luggage!
And what about the future?
Again, I hear those who will tell me, “Well then, you could have left your records at your friend Patrick’s place, and recovered them on your return to brighten your retirement in France!”. Yes, that’s true again, but my wife prefers to retire in Australia. And I must confess something to you – me too! The grass is greener. It’s rarer too, it’s certainly true, but the life of a retiree seems easier in Australia than in France. The sun shines there most of the year. And, unlike in Paris where the winter is cold and wet, the winter in Australia is not like winter at all!
But when I leave Moscow, even if I don’t have my records with me, I will still have to sort through my belongings. And since I’ve been living here, I can tell you that I have accumulated a mess! I don’t know how I’m going to select what to keep and what to sell, give away, give, throw away, give up and all the synonymous verbs. Especially as you may know, I have my Spiderman collection too! And it doesn’t fit in a suitcase! It will therefore be necessary for me to separate from it as well.
I already know it will be a bad time for me! But I have no choice. Or rather, the choices I made in the past have put me in this situation, so I can’t complain. Maybe there are a couple of things from the past I’d change, but not most things, and I certainly wouldn’t change coming to Moscow and selling my records – even if it hurts me to say it. They belong to other people now.
And what about you, have you ever had to separate from objects that you really wanted to keep? Do you regret doing it?
Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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