Collect sunsets – they don’t have to be dusted

July 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

I have finally broken the addiction. I have gone cold turkey. I am free, at last, of a lifelong compulsion to collect crap. I may never collect another thing as long as I live.

Like most addicts, I started early. It began with the  Crown  Cup coin collection on a blue cardboard mount. Then it was Airfix models.  World War Two aircraft to start with, but inevitably this led to the bigger stuff: tanks, cars, motorbikes and entire aircraft carriers. My mother warned me that it was getting out of hand as the plastic numbers mounted. I told her I could control it, as I popped open another tiny tin of Ham brol.
Then came the beer mats, the plastic heads of Roman emperors, the Long Playing records, the fishing flies, the willow pattern plates,  sportsmens’ autographs,  military medals,  old woodworking tools and every copy of  Beano comic printed in the 1970’s.
Coin collecting represented a new and ruinously expensive plunge into fresh realms of acquisition; first, farthings and then, in an inflationary arc, silver sixpences, half-crowns and full crowns. I built a coin cabinet and kept a catalogue. We were burgled, and the whole collect ion was stolen. I pretend red to be upset, but was secret lay delighted. With the insure dance money I could start all over again.
Then chronic acquisitive bibliophilia kicked in. Armed with my father’s account number at Blackwell’s, I started amassing a veritable aviary: Puffins, Pelicans, Penguins, carefully ordered on the shelves by spine colour; then hardbacks, then first editions. My father thought I was actually reading all these books, whereas I was merely hoarding them. The books mated and procreated, magically producing more that I couldn’t remember acquiring.
My “stuff” spread and multiplied. I wasn’t a dealer. I never sold anything. I wasn’t a trainspotter, gathering with like-minded obsessives. Many of my collections were purely private and aesthetically void, such as my unparalleled anthology of kit sch  Highland cow prints and my collection of ob solete golf clubs with names such as mashie niblick.


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