Getting into any hobby without any real frame of reference can be daunting. Getting into a hobby as expensive and layered as record collecting can be downright scary. When you first start out, you aren’t sure where to turn and while there are many helpful resources out there, as a novice, it’s hard to know what is legitimate information and what basically amounts to dumpster fodder. We live in a society that is now defined by information overload via social media. All one needs to do is head over to the proverbial bullshit spigot, open one’s head, and allow the bile to flow. In this regard, record collecting is no exception.
I am sure you all remember how it was for you when you first began your foray into vinyl. Sure, there are those who claim to have been enlightened from day one, but for those of us that aren’t predisposed to riding the highest of horses, we will admit that we made a myriad of mistakes along the way. At this point, I am years into my journey as a record collector. For the most part, I know what I’m doing. I say that without any arrogance. Truly. How did I get to this place? Simple. Like anything else, I made mistakes and I learned from them. It’s an age-old concept, but it’s one that is sadly denied by far too many within this hobby. There are a lot of supposed do’s and do not’s, but I am here to tell you that if you’re going to abide by one simple rule to start, then stop hating on Crosley.
I am sure that by now you’re cursing my name, and throwing your phone or computer at the wall. Enraged, perhaps you’re thinking that I’ve committed a cardinal sin and that I need to turn in my “record collector card” immediately. Post haste. Well, here’s the thing – I don’t really care. Now, let me make something perfectly clear, I am not suggesting that a seasoned record collector like myself should go out and lay his first press of A Love Supreme across the deck of a Crosley Cruiser. No, what I am saying is that the systematic, myopic bullying of new-to-the-game collectors, who have chosen the Crosley as their entryway needs to stop. Post haste.
Here’s a thought. You’re at a sushi joint for the first time in your life. You’ve never had sushi before, but you’ve heard good things. So, you’ve decided to give in to temptation and take the plunge. What do you do? Do you order the Phoenix Roll or the Naruto Roll, with all kinds of exotic raw fish? Or, do you dip your toe in the water and spring for the California Roll? Now, unless you’re being adversarial, or want to impress us all with how daring you are, you know, the “I’ll try anything” bit (which is actually never true, everyone has their limit) then you’re probably going for the safe and synthetic Cali Roll. So, by this logic, why would someone who is completely new to this extremely expensive habit, go and out and buy an audiophile turntable, when they don’t even know if they’re going to like it, or fully commit to it? It doesn’t make sense on multiple levels, and yet I see people chastise new collectors on a daily basis, across all social media platforms. Well, I am here to tell those people to shove it. You don’t get to tell anyone how to enjoy their hobby. It’s really that simple. No one thinks you are cool. No one believes you are enlightened, or any kind of authority. No, you’re just a jerk. Plain and simple.
I know a lot of you might say, but for “Just $150 bucks you can get this table, and these speakers.” I’ve heard this all before. I see it every day and guess what? It’s bullshit. Who are any of us to tell anyone how to spend their money? Just because $150 bucks is toilet paper to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t literally everything to someone else. So, for people on a very limited budget, the truly cheap Crosley may be their only option. With that in mind, think before you speak. Collecting records is expensive. Instead of flooding new collectors with “advice” and “knowledge” which really only amount to shitty opinions based on someone else’s experience, which has no real bearing on the poor unsuspecting newbie’s own life, how about we allow new collectors to take their own journey of discovery, based on their own experiences. Also known as deciding for themselves what they like and want to do in regards to their new prospective hobby. Don’t force feed your self-indulgent crap onto the unsuspecting masses. No one cares. Truly.
All satire and “get off my lawn” vibes aside, I would be remiss to admit a few simple truths. First, my own opinion on the matter is really just that – my opinion. I can’t stop people from being mean to others. I can’t tell anyone what to do. All I know is what I see and what I see sucks, sometimes. Second, I do not subscribe to the theory that the record collecting community is a bunch of snobs, because they aren’t. That type of ignorant thinking leads us in a completely other direction. One which I am not prepared to go down. Not today, at least. In truth, the record collecting community has pockets of light and awesomeness. You just have to know where to look! Third, I know Crosley makes cheap decks. I get that they are “not good for your records.” That being said, yes, records should be handled with care, but they aren’t made of porcelain. They can take a bigger beating than given credit for (don’t beat your records. That’s messed up, man).
The truth is, I have nearly 5,000 records in my living room. I am a vinyl addict. I have a nice Technics SL-1200 turntable and I’ve carried it with a vintage Marantz receiver and some nice Polk Audio floor speakers, but here’s a hot take- I didn’t start there. No, I did not start with a Crosley, but I did begin with a cheapie, fixed stylus, Audio Technica type rig, and some small, shitty speakers I found in an attic. I have no shame about that, and I do not stress about any possible “damage” my records endured while playing them on that setup. I built up to the system I have now because my entry system allowed me to get a flavor for the hobby. Once I knew I dug it, I was off to the races. My point is simple, allow new record collectors the space to breathe and grow. Don’t be arrogant, smug, and a general asshole. This hobby and community will never grow by those means, and frankly, no one cares about your opinion. And even if someone chooses to cruise with Crosley for life- that’s fine. It’s their journey and it’s their records. And so, stop hating on Crosley. Allow the hobby to grow. It’s for all our benefit if that’s something that interests you. In the world we live in, kindness is king. If you can’t get on board with that, then we will weed you out. One by one.
“Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them.”
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