Monday, August 18, 2008

TVD: We Get Letters!


The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

Hello Vinyl District. My name is Sean Dunne and I used to think I was record collector. During college I worked at a deli and spent every penny I earned slicing Genoa salami on my pursuit of the punk rock classics on vinyl. When I tracked down and paid $40 for a first pressing of the Angry Samoans outstanding sophomore effort Back From Samoa, I began to realize my collecting had reached crisis level. My small room in my parent’s basement was getting increasingly cramped with my 400+ LP’s and EP’s. If it weren’t for the fact that I had a girlfriend and a bitchin’ Mustang some may have qualified me as a dweeb, I can admit this now. This never deterred me though. I loved the music, I loved the records and I loved the pursuit. Like I said, I used to think I was a record collector. That was until I met Paul Mawhinney.

Paul Mawhinney puts people like me to shame. In his presence I find myself embarrassed to even mention my puny little “collection”. It would be the equivalent of meeting Wayne Gretzky and bragging about your 4-goal game in peewee hockey, embarrassing for both parties associated. Paul has the world’s largest record collection. He has well over 3 million records. He has spent the past 40 years acquiring and meticulously cataloging everything the pop music landscape had to offer and in the process he cemented his legacy amongst the great obsessive collectors.

In June I visited Paul and made this little film about him. He is a pretty interesting specimen. He had lots of stories, most of which I couldn’t fit into the film because everyone has ADD and I wanted to keep it around 7 minutes. But if you guys like this maybe I can make a longer director’s cut that includes his rant about how he hates Tom Hanks and how he is unacknowledged for launching the career of David Bowie. But until then fellow Vinyl District readers, I give you…The Archive.


Update:

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was great, would love to see more. Thanks for sharing this.

Urban Gypsy said...

awesomeness! i too would be very interested in hearing more about this! wonderful letter!

Matt said...

Is that a new (old) piece of vinyl you've got slipping out the sleeve of this post? -->
Looks good!
Looking forward to looking at this short film... It's buffering... I've got a slow-poke connection.
Cheers!

Matt said...

Wowie... good flick.
I need to win the lottery, poste-haste!

Hanan said...

that is amazing. please make more!

Anonymous said...

This is a really great film, Sean. Please post your director's cut!
Paul's collection is such an important music archive and a vital source for the study of modern history.
Has he considered donating the collection to a major research university or museum/archive like the Smithsonian? This way he could ensure that the collection won't get broken up and that future generations will have a degree of access to these records.
Noah

ib said...

Great story and fantastic collection. The update on how he helped break Bowie in the US is interesting, but would benefit hugely from verification.

DB was hardly neglected in the UK during the period Paul describes, 1969 - 1973. Bowie signed to RCA in 1971; "Hunky Dory" was their first release and sold respectably. I would suggest the massive hits spawned in Britain on the back of "Ziggy" in 1972 had as much to do with David Bowie's career taking off Stateside.

I don't wish to detract any from the main thrust of the story, however. My suggestion to Sean Dunne - if you're listening, Sean - is to take your unabridged documentary to the BBC or Channel 4 in the UK, where there is very definitely a niche audience for such an interesting tale.