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January 14th, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

I have inadvertently become one of those people who keep their vinyl LPs in plastic sleeves.

This is not because I am precious about my small collection. I have always looked after records, or tried to, but have never been distraught if the sleeves got a bit tatty. Admittedly vinyl costs so much now that I can better understand and sympathise with the idea of keeping the sleeves in as near mint condition as possible, but I am really trying to not become obsessive about it.

In fact, I bought an LP online this month (the 2018 remaster of King Crimson’s Discipline)that arrived with the sleeve damaged along the bottom, even though it is brand new. I did briefly consider returning it to get a replacement, but persuaded myself that it doesn’t really matter that much.

So why the plastic sleeves? It all comes down to me applying basic concepts of risk management. My LPs are all stored more or less at floor level and we have a cat and two dogs who have at times had episodes with less than perfect continence so there was a significantly greater than zero probability that the cat could spray or one of the dogs could cock their leg up in the vicinity.

While I am not precious about keeping the sleeves in pristine condition, and will tolerate reasonable wear and tear I think I would draw the line at the whole collection getting soaked in piss, hence getting plastic sleeves as a mitigation measure. I think my residual risk is now acceptable. I did not bother with sleeves for the 7″ singles. I just moved them to a high bookshelf.

One thing that did become apparent when slipping the records into their plastic was just how thick modern LPs and their packaging are. The records themselves are often 180g vinyl, and some of the sleeves are, frankly, luxurious. I am pretty sure that my old copies of even triple albums like Yessongs would fit easily, but it was a struggle to fit in the Finn album with it’s two thick disks and chunky gatefold sleeve. The worst one was a single LP – The Future Bites by Steven Wilson. The packaging on that is so over the top that it was a real struggle.

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