I ask this because I had a flashback to a garage sale we had – the one and only garage sale I’ve hosted/been to. My parents were moving to a new house oh, nearly 20 years ago now. And they wanted to get rid of some of the junk.
We were asked if we could donate any of our stuff to the cause too. I can remember finding three records that I had double-ups of. I can’t remember now what the other two were but one was definitely Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust. I love that album – clearly I loved it a lot, I had two copies of it on vinyl. Well, that happens from time to time, right? Anyway, I donated one copy of Diesel and Dust to the garage sale. And two other records. I can’t remember what they were but they were records I’d likely been given (more than once).
A guy that worked for my father at the time turned up to have a look at the garage sale – he and I had already chatted about his love of vinyl. He decided he was keen on a copy of Diesel and Dust. He wasn’t anything much of a Midnight Oil fan but figured this was worth having since the price was right.
The price was definitely right – we refused his 20c or 50c or $1 or whatever we had on the records (my memory is telling me right now that it was all three for $1 but he only wanted one of the three records on offer). So anyway, we told him that no money would change hands. So he goes to his car and gives me a copy of The Shadows’ 20 Golden Greats in return for the Midnight Oil record. I never asked the question then but have to assume that he drove around the weekend garage sales with this copy of The Shadows’ 20 Golden Greats as a ready exchange item.
Anyway, I didn’t already have a copy of it so a deal was done. I took that LP, added it to the collection.
But this guy was no cheapskate when it came to records. You see he told me that he once went to Australia for a holiday with his wife and bought two LPs – total cost: $1300. Again, I’m ruining the story slightly by only remembering one of the items rather than both – but anyway, one of the records he bought – for $700 (the other costing him $600) was a very rare early recording by Louis Armstrong. Possibly he had the real deal, some special thing indeed. Or it’s possible he was ripped off. He didn’t seem to think so. He was happy with his purchase. He had, he told me, a piece of music history. Something very dear to him. (As it were).
I just remember the way he told the story – he was very happy. He didn’t seem like he had $1300 to just throw away on two records. And his wife was apparently horrified to find that he had spent this amount on two records.
Recently I found one of the last sealed records in my collection. For a while there I was keeping a stash of sealed LPs, not collectible as such, just new albums I was buying, picking off. I’d keep them sealed and it was a bit of a party trick that visitors could choose one from the crate of sealed items, just one, to play. A bit like cellaring wine – well, my version of it. The records might not go up in value but it was a bit of a fun. And some of them even sounded “corked” – in that when you did get to hear what perhaps used to be an old favourite it wasn’t quite as potent, as lovely, as wonderful, as vibrant, as necessary as you imagined/remembered it.
Like I say – a bit of fun. If you think that sounds boring then so be it. We had a few fun nights where people drew out their shortlist of favourites and really couldn’t decide whether they wanted to hear Charles Mingus or Nirvana or Cat Power or Bob Dylan or Yo La Tengo or Bobby Fuller or, well, you (hopefully) get the idea…
And then a son came along. And there have been less opportunities to party. And there’s now (and forever?) less money/no money for records.
So I’ve started opening the sealed records and enjoying them for myself. Well, sometimes still when people do come around. But anyway.
Only the other day I found one of the last of them. Found as in I forgot that it was still sealed. The box-set version of Sonic Youth’s Goo. I’ve never played it. But I bought it to save for a special day, one day when I’ll work through all eight sides of it in one sitting perhaps. Oh I loved this album. Still dig it. It was my introduction proper to Sonic Youth. And that’s been a world of music that’s meant a great deal to me.
So I realised – finding this in the record cabinet (I knew it was there, just didn’t know it was still sealed, still brand spanking new) that it is the most money I’ve spent on one single music purchase. Not all that much either – it is after all four LPs. It cost $100. And that’s what I paid for it.
I couldn’t afford that now. But I obviously decided that I could afford it then.
I’m happy to have it. And one day – probably soon now that I’ve talked about it – I’ll sit back and drink this in.
But I just thought that it might be funny, might be interesting, in this day and age, to talk about the most money you’ve ever spent on one single music purchase. A record, a CD, some old reel-to-reel even.
I could never spent $700 on one album. I don’t have that money. I couldn’t allow myself to do that and wouldn’t be able to at any rate. In my world $100 always seemed about the cut-off.
There have been a couple of second hand records for around $100/$150 I’ve thought about, coveted. Never gone through with the transaction.
So in this age when we “steal” music, when it arrives in our inbox, or is accessed via the click of an icon on our computer, passed around from friend to friend on blank CDs, downloaded rather than stored and collected I thought it might be interesting to ask that simple question: what’s the most money you’ve ever spent on one single album?