Charles Spencer

Spendthrift fever

Spendthrift fever

I’m trying to write a novel at the moment, which means, of course, that I am spending a great deal of time looking for other things to do. It’s amazing how attractive the washing-up seems in comparison with sitting in front of a computer screen, making things up and struggling to find the words to describe them.

In fact, I have just managed to waste two hours in a painstakingly detailed examination of my collection of classical music. I only started buying classical CDs about four years ago when I got out of the Priory and started trying to get through life without alcohol. I thought it would be a harmless hobby, and provide the required relaxation when the craving kicked in, but needless to say my addictive personality has turned it into an obsession.

The result is that I now have 1,967 classical CDs on my shelves and I’ve been doing the sums. Many of the records were budget price, others were purchased in sales, and CDs also come cheaper when they are part of a box set. Let’s assume an average price of £6.50 per disc, which feels about right. You generally get more bang for your bucks with classical music than with pop. Nevertheless, after tapping away at the calculator, I find that over the past four years I have spent an estimated £12,785 on classical CDs — quite enough for the new car the Spencer family so badly needs. And I’m not even going to think about the further sums blown on pop, rock, jazz, easy listening and the rest. This is yet another copy of The Spectator that is going to have to be hidden from my wife. If she reads this column, there will be hell to pay.

The other worry is whether I will ever manage to listen to all of this music.

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