Friday, March 10, 2006

Collecting is the new Betamax

I came to the realization today (millions came to it eons ago I'm sure, but I'm a little slow) that collecting hasn't been fun since the internet took off. There used to be great fun in hunting. Maybe it filled a primal need. The hunt is dead. eBay was the killer.

The most obscure item can be Googled in seconds and is for sale by someone somewhere. It's not fun because everyone can be so easily educated on collectibles that you can't find that secret treasure. Oh you like to collect funiture from mid century designers. Well that little junk store has some but they know the value because they saw them on eBay. A few years ago you could pick up that chair for $25. Today you have to pay $500. You want to pick up some Blue Note jazz records at that dusty old record shop. Well the owner sold them all on eBay for a fortune to a collector in Hong Kong. Little old me is now competing with industry moguls in Tokyo for that cowboy Pez and I can't afford what they can pay. It's not fun I tell you.

Other than that the goddamn interweb rules. Where else can I download 15 live versions of Barrel of a Gun by Guster?


Anonymous said...

Mike, Where did you get the photo of the Morton May House that is in your January 11 post? let me know--it's beautiful and I'd like to find it.

mike g said...

The May House picture came from the Winter 05-06 issue of Modernism Magazine. There are also interior and more exterior shots. Such a shame.

It's Lisa, y'all said...

This is an interesting perspective and Les agreed with you on the collecting is less fun now view. I wonder if collecting also becomes less fun as you get older and have to haul your collection around with you like an albatross around your neck. I know that moving has definitely made me re-think the way I take in material goods.

And living in a cramped space (and thinking about continuing to live in small houses) makes me think, "If I do have it, where will I display it? What good is it to have it if its just sitting in a box somewhere?"

I also think that websites like Ebay and Google have made it less cool to have things now. It used to be that you would have something really cool and people would go, "Wow! Where did you get THAT!?" Now, they almost assume that everything cool has been acquired via online searches, even if it hasn't been. Where you used to have the fun of telling a great hunting story, it might not come up as much since people are assuming you got it online.

Les and I were just talking about this "thrill of the hunt" thing in regards to looking punk. We saw some punk kids in the mall on Saturday and thought, "They probably just bought their outfits hook, line, and sinker at Hot Topic." We thought back to the days when people had to scrounge around finding all the pieces to make their cool, alternateen outfits. Now, you can just go to one store in the mall and copy the look exactly.

Can you believe we're bemoaning convenience?