FOR THOSE OF YOU with an interest in collecting, the Record Collectors Guild website is a forum titled Ask Neal Umphred. Anyone can ask me anything and as I am often an absentee landlord, others may answer the question in my stead. A few days ago, I was asked a question by a Guild member who wheels and deals records out of Mexico:
“Neal, could you explain why anyone would want a ‘rare’ Mexican pressing of a less-than-mediocre Dylan record? The US pressing is likely to be the best-sounding copy anyway, and it’s a pretty murky recording. What’s the point?”
A legitimate question to anyone not afflicted (infected?) with the collecting bug (collectoritis?) Here is the answer that I just posted:
“It’s like the absurd but understandable explanation about who loves whom: The heart wants what the heart wants.
Except here it’s Collectors collect to collect.
Collectors do NOT collect odd variations to listen and judge. That’s for those poor folks cursed with the rare GES (Golden Ear Syndrome).
Did I just coin a phrase?!? Two phrases? Heckarootie (did Little Richard say that?), I’m putting those two on my website and claim them!”
So, here I am posting the above to lay claim to having just coined the phrase, Collectors collect to collect as an explanation for why someone seeks decidedly oddball and even unquestionably inferior versions of records/items that he already owns.
Golden ear syndrome
The second is GES, or Golden Ear Syndrome, for those poor folks we call audiophiles who hear things so much better than most of us that they pay absurd sums for incredibly mediocre records because they were recorded, produced, engineered, mastered, and pressed so well that they hear differences that escape mere mortals.
The closest thing to my non-existent (like in ‘made up’) disease, golden ear syndrome (GES), is Goldenhar Syndrome, also known as Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral syndrome.
“Goldenhar Syndrome is a congenital birth defect which involves deformities of the face. It usually affects one side of the face only. Characteristics include: a partially formed or totally absent ear (microtia); the chin may be closer to the affected ear; one corner of the mouth may be higher than the other; benign growths of the eye; and a missing eye.” (Faces)
As neat as it would be if goldenhar was some Netherlandian-speak for ‘golden ear,’ alas it is not: it is named after Maurice Goldenhar who initially described the syndrome in 1952
There was nothing on the first four pages of Google that had anything close to Collectors collect to collect. Here is the best that I could find: “If your debt goes to collection, for the most part the debt collector can employ all of the collection methods available to the original creditor.” And that was from a legal advice site!
Finally, collectoritis is all over the place—from aquatic planted aquariums to various collector-oriented sites using it as I would use it. And, believe it or not, Heckarootie was the handle of some blogger on Tumblr who seems to have left the worldwide web without explanation. So, I cannot crow triumph on either of these
But “Collectors collect to collect” and “Golden Ear Syndrome” may be phrases new under the sun as I have coined them so they are mine mine mine—but you can use them any time you like …
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada.