Will Straw on record collecting and shops


I’ve had a few enquiries about Canadian professor Will Straw so here you go.

Here’s some online work he has published on the subject of record collecting here and a similar/derivative article here.

The record stores I am talking about are, at one level, museums of failure, but by collecting failure in one place they endow it with a monumentality and historical solidity, and that is one of the paradoxes of material culture. Anglophone Quebeckers are educated about Francophone Quebecois music against their will, if you like, through the ways in which the residues of material production fill junkshops and thrift stores and other sites which they are more likely to stumble across and examine than the French language variety shows available on their television sets. Another of the paradoxes of material culture is that, in an age supposedly marked by the dematerialization of the cultural artifact and its reduction to electronic information, our cities contain ever more gargantuan physical structures devoted to collecting and offering cultural artifacts: the book, video and record superstores which have transformed the retail industries over the last decade.


About Author

Seb Chan founded Cyclic Defrost Magazine in 1998 with Dale Harrison. He handed over the reins at the end of 2010 but still contributes the occasional article and review.

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