Sometimes my favourite records never get played. I don’t even think about them in that strange little space in my brain where I decide what to listen to. I can’t tell you the last time I played Mars Needs Guitars or London Calling or Closing Time or The Battle of Los Angeles.
It would have to be well over a year since any of them were taken from the shelf. My affection for them is deep, never to be relinquished and never jaded. There are many records in this category, records from which I would not care to be parted: records I want the ability to put on, even if I rarely do.
The reasons these records don’t get played are curious and faintly grotesque. These are records that I don’t want to wear out my capacity to hear. I wouldn’t think the world was any good if I had heard Exile on Main Street so many times I never needed to hear it again. I don’t believe my facility for joy would increase if I listened to Band of Gypsies everyday, quite the contrary I fear it would be lessened. I can’t state with any certainty that my sense of wonder toward the world would not erode if I played The Trinity Sessions whenever I wanted. And I do not suppose that the world would be a better place if I played Workingman’s Dead or On the Beach each occasion I drive to the supermarket.
I try, rather clumsily, to prolong the magic of these discs by not allowing my desire for them to diminish the pleasure of hearing them.
Of all the records I don’t play the most potent are those I once allowed myself free rein with, the records I wallowed in without regard for future bliss. These I’ve put aside to wait for the instant when they speak to the moment and nothing else will do.