Back in the days when The Guiness Book Of Records (U.S. title: The Guiness Book Of World Records) was still owned by Guiness and actually HAD sensible records in it (rather than today, when it’s filled with crap like “greatest number of hard-boiled eggs shoved up arse”) it had a listing for biggest record collection (held by the Beeb, in London, with about half a million).
But these days (at least, in my ’05 edition) it doesn’t even MENTION record collections. But then, this is not surprising. I mean, record collections were difficult enough to quantify In My Day. Like, if one guy has a thousand singles, while his friend has 500 albums – who’s got the biggest one?
The album guy will claim his material LASTS longer and COST more, while singles guy will point out that HIS collection contains only gems considered worthy of issuing on a single, rather than big disks containing mostly filler – and only the occasional worthwhile track. Also, you can’t put albums on your juke box.
But with all the standards available today, combined with those from the past, NUMBERS have become meaningless. Case in point: I have 872 x 78s (mostly 10″ – some 12″) 1,623 x 45s (mostly 7″, but a fair number of 12″) 408 x 33¹⁄³s (albums – almost all 12″, but a few 7″) 305 x audio-cassettes (about half pre-recorded, the rest recorded by me – not recognised commercially, but containing much toil and excellent material) 472 x video-cassettes (likewise) 319 CDs (most pre-recorded – includes a few MP3s) 23 VCDs (still popular in Thailand) and 620 DVDs (about half pre-recorded – the others, as per the tapes). I also have a boxful of old open-reel tapes.
At six hours a day, this material would take well over a YEAR to play. But how MANY… ITEMS is that? Well, not including the box of open-reel tapes – 4,642. A long way short of the collection in Auntie’s tombs. And when I peg out, it’ll probably all end up on a skip (even though the “gems” are worth thousands).
But as a collection – NOW – it’s custom-built by and for ME. It represents Man’s (and of course, Woman’s) most EXTRAORDINARY achievements in music, humour, drama and performance of every kind. If I’d just been after numbers, I could have acquired TENS of thousands of discs for almost nothing, back in the Sixties (although my bedroom floor would probably have collapsed under the weight – just THIS lot weighs over half a ton).
So what have we learned? Well, numbers don’t mean sh*t. As with EVERYTHING in life, it’s QUALITY that counts.