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Monday, 31 March 2014

Collectaholics: A curious mania indeed

The crazy, obsessive, frustrating and fascinating world of collecting!

"Collecting things is the world's biggest hobby: there are very few people who do not collect something, consciously or otherwise". - Hunter Davies 

I have always been a collector. Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, but I have always been an accumulator of 'things'. Since my childhood days of collecting bottle top inserts in special edition glass pop bottles and cereal packet inserts in the early seventies, then novelty erasers, then postcards, progressing to button badges and NME magazines in my early teens, to my more selective and curated collections of today - vintage and mid century ceramics and glass, and modern first edition books - I have always been a 'hunter-gatherer' by nature!

What drives people to collect things? Why are some people minimalist by nature, and others hoarders and accumulators? It is something that has intrigued me over the years. So I was delighted to see that BBC2 had made a programme called COLLECTAHOLICS where presenters Mel Giedroyc and antiques expert Mark Hill visit collectors in their homes. From railwayana and beer cans in episode one, to taxidermy and - my favourite so far - condiment sets in episode 2! 

I loved the first 2 epidsodes and counting down to the next episode on Wednesday 2nd April at 8pm. Mark and Mel decide to take drastic action when they meet James, who is confronted by just how out of control his collection of 35,000 pieces of Star Wars memorabilia pieces is, when they are removed from his home and laid out in a 2,400 square foot storage facility. 



For another excellent (and funny) insight into this fascinating subject I strongly recommend reading CONFESSIONS OF A COLLECTOR by Hunter Davies 

Hunter Davies Confessions of a Collector Retrotrace Vintage Blog
Hunter Davies on collecting: "Once you are in its grip, it's like a love that lasts forever".

As a compulsive collector of items as diverse as comics, coronation mugs, British prime ministerial autographs and football memorabilia, Hunter Davies is well placed to write about the fascinations and frustrations of 'treasure-hunting'. 

In his inimitably enthusiastic and witty style, he describes how his collections came into being, tells some intriguing stories behind the items in them, and recounts his triumphs and disasters.

He also discusses the nature of the urge to collect, and states:

"At one level the act of collecting is simply the lazy person's inability to throw anything away; at another, it shines light into forgotten but fascinating nooks and crannies of our past."

And finally, I love this quote by Louis Auchincloss which I think sums it all up beautifully! 

Quote Collectaholics Retrotrace Vintage Blog