Saturday, 14 May 2011

A Goth's guide to collecting vinyl

No, not the kind of vinyl that you wear. I have a mild obsession with collecting rare Gothy memorabilia, the more unusual the better. Hence my Christian Death poster (from an auction) and my PETA vegan recipe book (it has recipes invented by Nina Hagen and Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira). My vinyl obsession was sparked when I found First and Last and Always (by The Sisters of Mercy; shame on you, Gothling, if you didn't know that...) on vinyl at my local charity shop for 50p.

In all the forums I frequent, I have not yet stumbled across the mention of another Goth who collects vinyl records - I'm sure you must be out there; I can't be the only darkling in the known universe who still owns a record player! Stereotypically, of course, the whole retro vibe embodied by having a record collection is more associated with the emo subculture - but for a Gothling, there are certainly some definite pros to starting up a record collection of your own, namely:

  • it's cheap. Way cheaper than buying CDs. You can pick up records at your local charity shop for, like, 50p. My dad picks up boxes of records at the local rubbish dump and puts the rare ones on eBay and for auction. Except for the Gothy ones, which of course go to me.
  • they're pretty. My very favourite records hang on my wall above the window.
  • they can be worth money. Whilst most Goth band records are not worth much (you can pick up a guide to rare records and how much they're worth at your local bookstore), there are some that can make you a bit of pocket money. Even an All About Eve album is worth about £12.
  • it takes up less space than a coffin collection.
My modest collection

P.S. Don't ask me why my camera is insisting that I took these pics on March 21st, because I didn't. I took them yesterday. Stupid datestamp. :-P

Records with the most value are usually first pressing original releases; bootlegs and promo records are worth less but may be of interest to the individual collector, e.g. if you're collecting for fun rather than profit. Can you imagine my glee if I found a bootleg from a Bauhaus gig, for example?

Buying vinyl online can get expensive; try charity shops, curiosity shops and junk shops to pick up great stuff for ridiculously cheap prices. The most I have ever paid for a record was £12 (The Scream by Siouxsie and the Banshees) and I only paid that much because I happen to like the record.

Some notable Goth-friendly (although not necessarily actually Goth) records that are very rare and have great value are:
Sex Pistols – "God Save the Queen" (UK A&M 7” 45 RPM with mailer, 1977) $22,000
Nirvana – "Bleach" test pressing (Sub Pop, 1989) Currently, only four copies are known to exist. One was offered on Ebay in 2010, the 1st copy offered to the public in 10 years. An offer of $14,000 was declined.
David Bowie - "Space Oddity" unreleased picture sleeve, Philips 7", £3,000
The Smiths - "Meat Is Murder" unissued promo EP, 7" and 12", £1,000
The Misfits - Plan 9 1009, "HORROR BUSINESS", sold for $5000 on eBay
(Information from, Popsike and Wikipedia.)


Tenebris In Lux said...

A new (mostly vinyl) record store opened up in my town. And the one on display? For $29, a rare live wax edition Echo & the Bunnymen record!

I am still envious of your collection here :p

Claire said...

I have a small amount of vinyl and this post makes me want to buy more :)

BackCombedCrazyLady said...

Hmmm...I have a god save the queen 1976 record, I had no idea it was worth that much (found it in the loft!)
I love Vinyls I have so many I have a room in my house full of them them!!!

And I am very jealous of your SoM doctor jeep 12" single because it's the only one of theirs I haven't got!!!

Kam :] said...

I have all that you mentioned :D However, I am really jealous of The Scream!! I've been forever looking for it and I can't find it!

I'm very proud of my LP's, I have more than 400 :D

Qwack said...

I actually found a Bauhaus vinyl at... dare I say it... Hot Topic.
And I got it. <3

Phoenix said...

I collect vinyl, it just sounds so much better and you can get some awesome rarities out there! I am jealous of the amount of awesome records you must have in the UK, I live in NZ and it's slim pickings unless I pay a bit more for them. I did get a whole lot of Led Zeppelin LPs for NZ$2 from an antique store in a small town here though, that was a good find. I only have a small goth collection so far (several The Cure, 2 Sisters of Mercy, a live Banshees and a few other bits and pieces), but I am always looking to expand it! My general collection is much larger though (I listen to a lot of music :D ). Awesome to hear you are a vinyl collector, I am coming over there to get a load of these 50p records :D

Serenity said...

*le gasp!* I collect vinyl too! I have a record player/radio that was given to me on my birthday about two years ago and slowly started my collection. Granted my collection is usually Classical music and opera, but it's so cool- I'm not the ony nostalgic vinyl goth out there. :3 <3!

Maeam said...

I want a record player....T-T And a turntable...

Serenity said...

Two days ago, my university library had a book sale and were selling a LOT of old classic records! Most of them were instrumental, but I bought 10 opera records for $5! And a book for 50 cents too, it was super-uber-mega awesome! I'm not leaving my bedroom this weekend. <3!

Caro-chan said...

I collect vinyl too! I actually got into it because a local used record store stocked an unusual amount of 80's goth, despite the fact that it was run by, and frequented by, primarily old hippies. The record store has since closed shop, which makes me a bit sad because I know there were still a few dozen other albums I had been meaning to get my hands on. I still see the guy who ran it around town every now and then and I'm always tempted to ask him about those records.

Lovely blog btw! I just found it linked in someone's sidebar :D

Lucy said...

I have a few vinyls! My Art teacher brought in four boxes of his old vinyls and let me and a friend help ourselves. I ended up with 5 by Siouxsie and the Banshees, 1 by the Cure and 1 by Bauhaus. They might be a little bit battered, but they're so pretty. *_*

The HouseCat said...

I used to collect vinyl, but had to leave my collection in the care of my Dad when I moved up to Scotland because it simply wouldn't fit in the car after I'd packed all the essentials :/ It was mostly Dead Can Dance because I adore them and wanted vinyl copies of everything I'd got digitally, but there was lots of Sisters and Siouxise in there too. My Dad gave me a lot of his '60s and '70s hippie stuff too (which I also like) so I guess the loan of my '80s stuff means the music sharing can go both ways :)

Lewis said...

Hi there, just stumbled on your blog actually looking for goth albums on vinyl, it's a great read!
There is a local charity shop in Chelmsford that I think an ex-goth must have donated a lot of stuff to. I've picked up first three Fields Of The Nephilim records, Death Cult EP, Bauhaus, The Mission, lots of The Cure singles and many more. There is also a lot of VHS like The Cure In Orange that hasn't been released on DVD out as well!!!
In London Berwick street (off Oxford Street) has good record stores with goth sections which are worth checking out!

Anonymous said...

what's retro about vinyl?

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