Hot Weather & Records

10-26-10

Hot Weather & Records

When I was a youth, when it got hot during summer / fall, we would sometimes pile into the “den”, close the blinds, turn on the in-window air conditioner and play Allan Sherman records all day.  The den not only had a ‘stereo’, but a B&W TV as well.

I had the air conditioner in the den replaced a few years back, as the old one had ceased to keep things cool.  About a month ago, we had a serious heat-wave in Long Beach, CA – 110F in the shade (at about 1:00pm)!  Time to turn on the air!  Hotter than Las Vegas, NV!  Time to close the blinds, before the late afternoon sun hits it.  I bet the clothes hanging outside to dry got really, really dry!

Not a good day to transport vinyl anywhere, when it gets that hot.  How do the folks in Las Vegas or Phoenix survive?  How do their record collections survive?  I mean, you can’t air condition absolutely everywhere / everything!

In both Japan and New Zealand, I remember shopping for records when it was hot – and humid.  Is it a mildew smell?  Sometimes record stores in countries where it’s hot & humid have a funny smell to ‘em.  “How do I get this back to the hotel?”

Less of a problem with CD’s than with vinyl, eh, readers?  I don’t know that I ever successfully accidentally warped a compact disc, but I am certain it can happen.  When it gets as hot as it was, I know that the CD’s in my car are all ones that I have made – so it matters not if they fly / bend.  I do not take my proper CD’s into my car to play.

The mind boggles:  warped laser discs, warped DVD’s…melted videotape…

But when it gets as hot as it was…not too interested in going out and driving around anyway.  Good weather for a nap.  On the morning where it got so hot, I even knew instinctively to ‘turn off’ my amplifier, as it is a room that is not air conditioned.  No problem to run the computer, that room is air conditioned!

Is the modern day electrical equipment easier / better to run than the old stuff?  I can only imagine that it took more juice to spin records than to play CD’s.

On September 27th, this year – it got to 113F in Los Angeles – the hottest day on record since they started keeping records.  All the records are safe, though.  Fortunately, it has cooled off a bit since then – with almost ‘normal’ fall weather around here now; it rained recently – which brings to mind the places I have visited where the records all smell moldy (from all the rain?!)…

I’ve also recently been looking at my lists of purchases from 2002 – all those record stores that aren’t there anymore!  All the crap I bought!  I am thinking of writing a book of my last decade: “Tales of Record Collector Glory”!  Perhaps I shall do one of those ‘vanity press’ books, via Flickr.

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2 Responses to Hot Weather & Records

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    I lived in hot and humid Central Florida for nearly 30 years, where the bulk of my collection was amassed. I had air conditioning but as anyone who lived there can tell you, I strove to use it conservatively since three digit electric bills hurt. We used fans as much as possible and kept our bills in a tolerable range. If it wasn’t brutally hot, we dealt with open windows.

    In 2001 I moved to Western North Carolina and though I’m now at about 3300 ft. above sea level, the native climate here is technically a rain forest. Not terribly different from the Pacific Northwest. The home I’ve lived in now for six years did not have air conditioning. Except for mid-August, for about two weeks, this was not typically a problem. It was much cooler up where we lived than down the mountain in town. We finally got a window unit this year on my wife’s urging.

    So where does that leave me? Well, about 1/3 of my CD collection [2-3K] packaging is now suffused with mildew! I first started seeing this in Florida, but the years in WNC without A/C have accelerated the process. And there’s nothing I can do about mildew once it manifests itself on paper! Typically, clay coated paper, which predominates in CD booklets, is the most vulnerable to mildew invasion. UV gloss coated paper booklets, such as those that are the norm in packaging printed in Canada, are effectively immune to mildew growth. Every time I play a CD I discover more mildew! In some cases, there are spots of mildew on the disc surface itself! Would that this were always the case I’d be a lot more carefree, since it’s easily removed from the disc itself. It breaks my heart and there’s nothing that can be done. Need I mention the numerous OOP three-figure rarities in my collection that are now compromised.

    The culprit was skin oil. Every time I read liner notes without gloves on I was adding growth medium to the paper! Add enough moisture and mildew will result. I now wash my hands before touching a CD booklet, but too little, too late. The irony is that my records are still spotlessly clean! They are rarely touched and are [mostly] bagged. When they are touched, they are held like the delicate objects they are.

    Grrrrrrrrr.

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    I live in a desert, so no moldy problems here.

    Glossy black paper – does anything show up fingerprints better?

    I have always tried to handle everything carefully. Not 100% success rate, however. Corners get dented; paper yellows sometimes.

    RK

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