Oct 23, 2009


A woman named Ruth used to live in the apartment above Chez Clumsy.

The apartments had almost identical floor plans; but whereas I opted to lay out my lounge room like a 1920s Parisian bordello, Ruth went with bookshelves. Every square inch of wall was covered in bookshelves, upon which crowded hundred and hundreds of books. One lonely wooden armchair sat at the back of the room, near the door to the balcony. It was just Ruth, and her books.

Ruth still owns the apartment, but she moved to Canberra for work. I have not been up there since, but I can't imagine her taking all of those books with her. But then maybe I don't understand the mind of a collector.

I don't think I've ever been a collector. I've wound up with small collections of things, but a lifelong passion like Star Wars figurines or vintage shoes or first-print vinyl Elvis originals? I seem to be lacking.

Sure, I remain adoring of all things Tintin, but I don't sit on eBay and trawl for Captain Haddock t-shirts or Cuthbert Calculus watches. (Mind you, if you know of any good Tintin merch...)

I own almost all the James Bond DVDs. Most of these were in fact bought by The Wah, friends and family as gifts. Same with my formerly large array of Marilyn Monroe photobooks. I even sold some of them at the markets a few years' back, because I felt I had too many.

I've got every Get This podcast on my mp3 player (not to mention those old, painstakingly recorded-by-hand C90 tapes of Martin/Molloy boxed up and stored somewhere at my parents' house), but did I rush out earlier this month to buy Tony Martin's new book, A Nest of Occasionals? No. And even now my friend Dan has lent it to me, have I ploughed my way through it in the course of two days or less, like a true fan? No. I'm onto Chapter 2. That's all. Chapter 2. Terrible!

This is going to sound incredibly wanky, but I like to think I collect cool experiences. From the sublime (sunrise over the Sahara, sunset in Santorini) to the ridiculous (eating a spider leg in Cambodia, getting booted out of an impro show in Edinburgh), via the downright silly. I think that's why I often get upset about missing out on things - from the trivial (invites for coffee, time to watch a new TV series), to the important-to-me-for-reasons-that-others-may-think-are-irrational (impro & theatre shows, holidays, having a bestest best friend, jobs, career opportunities, skills, etc etc).

Of course, the obvious implication of this is that I should be more proactive about making those experiences happen.

Which I will. At some point. One day. When I've finished reading A Nest of Occasionals...

What are your collections? How did you get into them?


  1. I have no collections.

    The things you own,.. end up owning you.
    (Or burning up in a house fire.)

  2. "The things you own, end up owning you"

    That is such a poor person thing to say ;)

  3. If I had any more money I could very easily end up like Ruth... I already have two bookcases, and am running out of space!

    Books are <3... and the only hobby I've ever been able to stick with!

  4. young and lovely mater1:04 PM, October 24, 2009

    people are the best collectables, I remember great conversations, maybe sad occasions and how people cope. peoples reactions are facinating, yes its people for me

  5. young and lovely matter

  6. Well there is the weapons, mostly edged and pointy, books, CDs, DVDs, MP3 players ... I guess I have a collection of collections.

  7. and now for something really weird... I collect jaffle irons... No, not he electric ones, the ones that go over a fire or a stove top.. Who woulda thought there were so many....

    here are but a few of the collection...

    I really think I can justify having 70 or more of them....