ISSN : 2266-6060

Banned

Second-hand records that you’re willing to buy generally share at least three criteria: they are records that you don’t already own (at a certain point, you’ll need a database you can browse on your phone to be sure), records that you can get at a fair price (online marketplaces changed the game for that one), and records that are as pristine as they can be. In shops all over the world as well as online, this last criteria is made explicit thanks to the use of the Goldmine Standard, which allows to grade records condition from Poor to Mint. Obviously, in most cases, you’re looking for Mint records. These are the ones that look and play perfectly. These also are the ones that cost the most, so, sometimes, you have to balance the condition and the price: this is basically what every homo œconomicus does. But sometimes, you also look for something else. History for instance. Let’s say you stumble across a stock of records that used to be owned by the Singapore public radio. You may appreciate the marks such property entails. Especially if, in addition to the official stamps, the cover shows evidence of the censorship practices you’ve heard of during your previous trip in the country. A not too expensive record that you don’t possess already, with a banned song on it: quite a good deal.
At the cash register, you can also gather more information asking the owner if he is aware of the precise reasons that would lead the government to ban a song at the time. Actually, it’s hard to imagine how a tune like “Walk Right In” would threaten any political system. “Oh well, basically any song that wasn’t a love song was banned“. OK, that’s probably a lot. Now that you’ve got your story, you can leave and bring the record home. Not before checking at the media itself though, hoping that the marks on the cover and the center label are not accompanied by another one on the grooves. This one would add to the graphical testimony of official prohibition a material impediment that you’re not ready to find as cool, even though you’re into Science and Technology Studies.