What Do You Collect?



Writers. We’re hunter-gatherers, filling up our homes with vintage violin strings and stuffed mice. My personal poisoned chalice is books and films, and film soundtracks, of which I have millions. Really, test me, see if I have the one soundtrack you’ve been searching for forever; ‘Harold & Maude’, ‘Krakatoa East Of Java’? Got ’em. This particular collecting habit was new to me, though. Hundreds of people (mostly quite portly males, it must be said), gathered together and united by a single passion.


Bottle tops. But not just any old bottle tops – those discs of metal that pressed into the corks on vintage champagne bottles. Apparently each region is different and certain years have a great cache attached to them, which accounts for their staggering prices. These stalls had thousands upon thousands of them and filled an entire town square, where they were pored over, bargained for and coveted by avid collectors.

What’s the most unusual collection you’ve seen or heard about? (Can nobody mention Reginald Christie though, just for the sake of propriety?)

8 comments on “What Do You Collect?”

  1. Slabman says:

    The plates used to emboss old style airline tickets – quite obscure!

  2. martin says:

    All right…I’ve never seen the soundtrack to Street Smart, a 1987 film with Morgan Freeman. It’s one of the few Miles Davis recordings that hasn’t, (to the best of my knowledge), been released commercially.

  3. Vivienne says:

    It begins to be obsessive when people have to frequent the ‘collector market’ places. I can quite understand the attraction of keeping all the stamps from letters sent to oneself from far flung places, but it’s a bit less personal to buy someone else’s collection, isn’t it? I suppose a lot of champagne would have to be drunk to get as many bottle tops as appear in the picture. My collection (and I didn’t set out to do this) is stone age flint tools. I see them on the beach and I can’t resist them. One of my latest fits so beautifully into my hand, it could have been made for me.

  4. John Griffin says:

    Similar to Vivienne – who I assume lives somewhere like Norfolk – I collect fossils. It’s a double puzzle – find the place where you may find them, then try to find them! I HATE people buying them.

  5. admin says:

    I imagine your airline ticket plates collection is possibly unique, Slabman…
    The Street Smart soundtrack wasn’t by all accounts finished as Davis laid down the tracks and left them, but there are reports of a new box set.
    And I guess the countryside can yield some pretty good collections.

  6. snowy says:

    ‘Street Smart’ wasn’t a Miles Davis ‘product’ as such, it was the work of Robert Irving III with Miles appearing as a featured instrumentalist. I think the former still holds the rights.

    There are some bootleg MP3s [of unknown quality] kicking about though.

  7. KenMurray says:

    I’ve always thought that without bootlegs (music) the whole history of popular culture would consist of a sterile homogenous mass, with all the rough edged humanity removed. But I guess it comes down to your level of interest in seeing the artist’s workings? For me, I get just as much joy at looking at da Vinci’s sketches as listening to Lennon’s naive first draft of Strawberry Fields. Just saying.

  8. Charles says:

    What do I collect? Memories. That’s about it. And stuff that helps me remember those memories, like photographs and audio recording (digital, so they don’t take up room).

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