Ian Marchant meets five 'completists', each of them driven by the need to tick off having an entire collection.
The word 'completist' was coined in the 1950s and was originally applied to collectors who aspired to own an entire set of records by a particular artist (usually a jazz musician). But now completists come in many different forms with different ambitions. Ian Marchant meets five "completists" - each of them driven by the need to tick off the entire collection.
The internet has revolutionised everything for this group dragging them out of their cellars, kitchens, bedrooms and sheds and into web forums, specialist chatrooms and onto the blogosphere to exchange opinions, tips and secrets with whole tribes of fellow completists. The opportunities to complete their goal are more available because of global communication but the logistics are harder and the goal posts are higher.
Ian Marchant, a former Charing Cross Road bookseller, is an old friend and admirer of completists. He recalls the story of one book collector who regularly asked for a particular volume habitually adding '...but you won't have it.' When the book (at last and amazingly) turned up, the collector refused to buy it because, once he owned it, he'd no longer have a reason to live.
Ian's completism? He owns all the records of Brinsley Schwarz. It took him ten years to find a copy of their first album and it turned out to be lousy.