My Missing Records: A Vinyl Odyssey

My Missing Records - a vinyl odyssey - Thea Newcomb

Thea’s Missing Records

Updated: April 2024 – a few months have passed and I have now concluded who I believe has my music. Number 2 below. It’s a heartbreaking realisation. Read on. See my new Reddit post about missing tapes too at the end of this post.

Have you ever lost something that meant the world to you? Picture this: a collection of vinyl records, each one a memory, a story, a piece of my heart. It was my pride and joy, curated from the late ’70s through the early ’90s. It wasn’t just music; it was the soundtrack of my life.

And then, one day, quite recently, I noticed many were gone. Over a hundred and fifty records, each with its own tale, mysteriously vanished.

This is not just a story about loss, but also one of rediscovery, of embarking on an adventure to reclaim what was once mine, and perhaps finding new treasures along the way.

Join me, as I try to unravel the mystery and share the journey of bringing my beloved collection back to life.

Firstly, the backstory…

Thea Newcomb in the style of the Tower Records logoMy Back Catalog

In the ’80s, my life was inextricably linked with music. After high school, I worked in record shops, including the iconic Tower Records (Mountain View and later Glasgow) and briefly at Rainbow Records (Sonoma County).

My journey took me through internships at major and indie record labels like RCA, A&M, WEA, and into a record store rep position at IRS Records.

The end of the ’80s culminated with my foray into radio – starting with college then commercial radio in Scotland in 1992.

These experiences weren’t just jobs; they were gateways to a world of rare vinyl treasures – promos, cutouts, and limited editions that most music enthusiasts could only dream of.

My collection was more than just a hobby; it was a reason for living, with each record representing a unique chapter of my journey.

Where’s the Vinyl Been? Where Did it Go?

The saga of these records is a tale of transitions and trusts. Since the early ’90s, they had been safely housed at my father’s place. His passing in 2018 marked the beginning of their journey through the hands of various friends who took up the role of guardians.

Fast forward to January 2024 when the boxes had finally made their way to Scotland. It was then, amidst the familiar yet distant echoes of the past, that I sensed something amiss.

Pieces of my musical mosaic were missing. This unsettling feeling led me to delve into a deep dive through archived photos I took in January 2020 and then photos and videos in October 2022.

A startling discovery awaited me in those digital memories.

While I had been reunited with only eight boxes, the photographs clearly showed there were originally ten. The reality made my heart skip a beat.

Through the lens of the past, I could visually identify the records that were no longer with me. It was a revelation that brought more questions than answers…

A bunch of 12" singles by Tears for Fears which are all missing

The Three TWO Possibilities

As I grappled with the reality of the missing records, three potential scenarios played like different tracks in my mind:

  1. Did I set some aside to be stored at my friend’s for safe keeping? It’s a slim chance, but worth exploring. I am eagerly awaiting her reply, hoping for a sliver of good news amidst this devastation.
  2. I now suspect my (former) friend pulled them out to play during lockdown and simply mixed them with his collection and subsequently moved them interstate. I believe this is the only possible scenario. It was clearly someone with an exceptional ear for music who had time to hand-pick these records. It has broken my heart.

The Digital-Analog Tussle

There’s been an inner civil war within me.

On one hand, as some less than sympathetic friends have pointed out, these are just material possessions.

Then they scoff that it’s digital age of music, thus all the songs are just a click away on Spotify or YouTube and the like.

Heck, I even own some of them on CD…

But on the other hand, this collection was more than just an assortment of vinyl. It was my pride and joy, a tangible piece of my life’s journey.

Many of the records hold a story, an irreplaceable memory – like the Cure album, a cherished gift from my dear friend Carol on my 16th birthday, or the Nick Heyward album, a limited edition record that led me to living in Scotland.

This is not just about the music. It’s about the moments, the people, and the experiences that those records represent. They’re the soundtrack to my life, not just a playlist, but a personal anthology of memories, now incomplete.

Personal responsibility

By the way you may be wondering, “If you valued them so much, why didn’t you ship them sooner?”

It’s because I thought it would cost thousands to ship. It turned out that was not the case.

The other mistake I made was not writing down every single record, in every box, into a spreadsheet and noted who had which box during the pandemic. Those are a few of my mistakes in all this and I have to own them.

A bunch of INXS vinyl records gone.My New Adventure Begins

The idea of a Go Fund Me has been floated around by several people. In an overwhelming display of empathy, a few kind souls have even offered albums from their personal collections.

For now, I’m taking a beat to consider which ones are essential to rediscover.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to explore new musical landscapes with albums I’ve never owned.

Amidst the notes of uncertainty, I remain a firm believer in silver linings. I’m certain this experience, though tinged with a touch of melancholy, will harmonise into something unexpectedly positive.

The quest to track down my most treasured records has already struck its first chords. This week alone, I’ve scoured a few of Glasgow’s charity and records shops, including the aptly named Missing Records, and ended up replacing a couple and picking up a few entirely new ones too.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of ‘My Missing Records’, where I’ll share more about these recent finds, each a new note in the melody of this ongoing adventure.

Below see the list of my missing vinyl…which I’ll update as I go.

If you want to buy me a record – you can make a donation of any amount via Paypal US and Paypal UK 🙂 

Love Music Too?

If you are still reading this, you’re either a dear person to me or you love music too (or both). Thank you….

Please check out my posts about my Mixcloud journey posts on here and why no consider streaming my original hand picked compilations and radio archives – Mixes By Thea on Mixcloud? xoxo from Glasgow.

Thea’s AWOL music by theanewcomb

April 2024: If you have read this far thanks. I’ve discovered even more CDs and a whole massive box of tapes are now missing. See the Reddit post below. I just launched a new site to discuss this further. It’s all about music, memories and memorabilia. I’ll also share archive interviews I’ve done with bands over the years and other ones supplied to me like this one from Kurt Cobain and Frank Andrick. And my interview with Nick Heyward too.

A “Friend” Stole My Tape Collection ?
byu/sybd_t incassetteculture

3 thoughts on “My Missing Records: A Vinyl Odyssey

  1. Your records are your babies, not things, memories of your life and love of music which I have always admired and looked up to you for. Things can be replaced, but these aren’t things. I, as one of your closest, lifelong friends, remain optimistic that your babies will be returned to you, no questions asked.

    These “babies” spent years under my stairwell, I wish I was the one who “accidentally” misplaced them….I love you, Thea Pia! YOU are the reason I love so many “off-the-beaten-path” songs and bands! I plea for the safe return of your babies, no questions asked…

  2. This is great.
    I found myself in a very similar situation. I’d stored all my vinyl in boxes in the attic of a flat I owned in London, and had them been sent to New York for work. One thing led to another, and I ended up staying and renting out the flat.
    Then the flat e lnded up being sold, and the pass the parcel if my vinyl boxes began.
    First to friends who lived in Devon. They stayed there for a year or two while I was busy with work and moving too many times in New York city. I’d decided I was going to wait until we’d settled. Then we had kids and I thought my treasured vinyl would be best kept away from prying toddlers fingers, so Devon they stayed..
    My friend in Devon moved, so my vinyl had to move as well. Off to North London they went.
    Years passed, and I almost forgot about my beloved albums. Then my friend in north London emailed to say they were clearing out their garage and maybe I’d think about taking my vinyl back?
    By this time we’d moved upstate to a big house with a spare room, and I though it was a great opportunity to send the collection over.
    5 weeks later my records were back with me.
    It was such a lovely feeling having them all back, and like you say, it’s the memories attached to them all that come flooding back.
    It was only after being with them for a while that id started noticing some albums missing.
    To be fair, my friend in north London had said that so e of the boxes seemed water damaged, and my feeling is that the shipping company just decided to trash them and say nothing.
    In this day and age, Discogs has been my savior.
    I’ve replaced most of the records I remembered I had. I have no photo evidence of the ones I used to have and I’m pretty sure I’m still missing some I don’t remember at all. But I’m getting there.

    1. Oh my gosh, so you get it. Not everyone does.

      It’s a bit disconcerting when you realise records are missing…It’s an almost daily occurrence. Because I sold some before moving here in the 90s – some may have been gone since then. But the ones that missing between 2020 and 2022 it’s stomach-churning because I can see them missing. Sounds like you have a great music room set up now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *