.......................................... Strix the harbinger
...........................................guards OakWood's gate, ever asking,
.............. . ......................................"Whooo passes this night?"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Collecting ...

... old bicycles, vintage Campagnolo derailleurs and vinyl records - an explanation:

"What I’ve learned, the hard way, is that the one thing you must never ask a collector is “why?” It’ll get you nowhere. They’ll just stare at you in baffled amazement before returning to contemplation of their most recent acquisition, or dreaming of the next one. These are people who thrive on making classifications, pondering the arrangements of their trophies and annotating them with informative labels. Often their obsession seems to derive from a need to impose order on a chaotic world, from the fear of death and oblivion. The collection will ward off mortality, carrying the illusion of eternity. Collections represent nostalgia for previous worlds, a desire to reclaim the past, to rescue and give meaning to objects otherwise lost in the flux. At the same time, though, collecting also encourages some of our most dangerous and base qualities: possessiveness, acquisitiveness, the lust for power."

17 comments:

Oldfool said...

I've tried to convince my wife that I am a collector. She refers to me as the 'junk dealer' and sometimes as the old man that is too lazy to throw things out.

Anonymous said...

that's a good incisive paragraph. I personally seem to be moving away from any sort of collector's or "period correct" mentality, though I have friends who are completely immersed in it. I know someone who keeps building the same basic Italian racing bike over and over again, same paint job, same component group, etc. Each time it's quite a long battle with dastardly ebay sellers in Europe and restoration experts, etc. I don't get it. But on the other hand, I am not as free and clean as a guy still happily riding a rusty Varsity. I do feel lust after bikes, it's just that my bikes are all different and sometimes contemporary. He who casts the first stone, etc.

mw

Anonymous said...

I'm over Things. Getting rid of stuff like crazy.

Best,

Rick M.

Anonymous said...

I think the author of this article has confused hoarding with collecting (although I admit, it can sometimes be a very fine line between the two). I think a real collector can tell you why he collects. (My very small collection of derailleurs started out as a tool box full of parts that I had replaced over the years and was keeping for the odd replacement bolt, nut or jockey wheel) One day I looked at them rattling around in the tool box and realized that it would be really cool to put on display on my living room credenza as "found art". I've since picked up about a dozen more, but I've never paid more than about $50 to $60 for them, and most cost less than $10. If they're a little beat up from use, all the better! If this collection will grant me immortality or power, that would be great, but I'm not holding my breath!

Anonymous said...

-Tony (oops, forgot to sign it!)

Anonymous said...

i think the trick is to try to keep the ego out of it. It's fine if having a lot of old stuff that no one else cares about makes you happy. It begins to become unhealthy if you start to believe that the collection is or should be important to others. There once were royal families, notably in Saxony and Florence among others, who collected treasure houses beyond compare. I recently spent two weeks in Dresden but never went to the world-famous Green Vault because frankly I don't give a shit. However, if this does not define you then it might be unreasonable to assume that one's eccentric material items will guarantee immortality (my own father collected antique wood planes, for some reason. Woodworking tools.) Nor will a leading international architect be hired by grateful future generations to design the perfect exhibition hall for your weird old stuff. Rather, some distant relative will most likely have to store it in their attic in a big cardboard box, and might even hold grudges about doing so. I am not talking about a Kvale: these will be ridden gladly.
1: your crap is not a the final proof of enlightenment and will not improve anyone else's life to any measurable extent.
2: your crap is mostly just a monument to your own ego, and this doesn't fool anyone and is not beautiful.
3: your crap is not intrinsically better than somebody else's that they got at Walmart, especially not if they go around with a big smile and get kissed a lot.
4: your crap is not nearly as special as you so devoutly pray, and it was not made by elves.
5: your crap needs someone to come in while you are out and houseclean the holy shit out of it.
6: your crap is hard to explain.
7: your crap is in the way.

best,
mw

Gunnar Berg said...

mw, I had some new wood planes, the longest about 30", which came to me unsolicited. I gave them to an Amishman as a moving present. He reacted as if I had given him the world, which gave me much joy.

Some collections just happen. I have a shelf full of antique gardening books going as far back as 1840. I wasn't collecting books, I bought them to read.

Anonymous said...

"Some collections just happen." Amen to that! -Tony

Terry said...

My crap was made by elves.

Mimbres Man said...

Good points MW...My dad collected cars. He never restored them, they just sat around taking up a lot of space. First they were on the street, then he bought a place where he could put them randomly and build cheap "garage" made with a 2x4 frame covered with corrugated roofing metal for the "good cars". Before he died, I advised him to sell them off because none of us wanted them, or choose one, and sell the rest to finance the restoration the one he liked the most. He basically told me to be quite. He died in 1997 and we had the title to 24 cars. And they sat on his property until the "good cars" where stolen a few years ago. Apparently they were recovered but the thieves had title to them and my brother had to go to court to claim they belonged to the estate. Anyway, I guess the cars are on my brother's property now. I don't ask, and I don't care about them. I wish they would disappear.

Margadant said...

I'm told that it's just another passive-aggressive way of pissing my wife off.

Silk Hope said...

First of all Margadant is 100% correct!

Second the only reason I collect is I believe bikes or other Mechanical items have a soul. I feel sorry for old broken down junkers. There is something in my soul that says I have to them thing up. When I am done they and I feel better.

For me it is that simple. A total since of accomplishment. In otherwords instant gratification.

Or you could use the Zen method "Wax on Wax off.

Back in the Saddle.

Mr. Hope

reverend dick said...

...my crap: is like super size. Yo crap: look like 2 fries...

Anonymous said...

I'm going to see if I can follow a 2 for 1 policy from now on. Yesterday I sold two stems. then I went online and bought one. Is this progress?

mw

Gunnar Berg said...

Progress? If you are able to sell two stems you don't even have issues.

Silk Hope said...

I think my wife would be very happy with two for one policy... that is if I could follow it.

Anonymous said...

two for one it is from now on . . . all I gotta do is keep finding suckas to buy my old crap . . .

hey Reverend, that song is really classy! And romantic!

mw