The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 February 2006

Boosting your shelf-esteem

Mary Stella complains to a store:

[I]f you're going to post shelf signs that say, "Artists arranged alphabetically", please occasionally send someone over to put CDs in their proper places. ZZ Top does not belong in the Cs. Artists should really be alphabetized by their last names, not their first.

The crucial question, as always, arises with Bat out of Hell: do you file it under M (for Meat) or L (for Loaf)?

Then there's Brinsley Schwarz, which was both the name of a band and the name of a band member. Do they go under B, or under S? (You never had this problem with Manfred Mann, and eventually Alice Cooper went solo; he goes under C.)

Shelving the classical stuff isn't necessarily any easier. My default is to shelve by composer, which works most of the time. Then I hit a disc like Telarc CD-80124, which offers pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the Royal Philharmonic, André Previn conducting, in two major piano concerti: Tchaikovsky's First and Prokofiev's Third. Do I file this with Tchaikovsky, since it's the better-known (and longer) work, and the first listed on the box? Or do I send it off to the Compilations under P for Parker? Or can I get away with filing it with Prokofiev, since it's the composition for which I bought the disc in the first place?

Maybe I'll go put ZZ Top under T, just for spite.

Posted at 10:26 AM to Tongue and Groove


My default is to shelve by composer, which works most of the time. Then I hit a disc like Telarc CD-80124, which offers pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the Royal Philharmonic, André Previn conducting, in two major piano concerti: Tchaikovsky's First and Prokofiev's Third.

Put it non its own display stand, and put signs in every conceivable permutation of the sorting, telling people looking for this one to go look in the special displays.

Posted by: McGehee at 1:45 PM on 26 February 2006

I had a room-mate once who decided, while I was at work, to combine our CD collections. He was at work when I came home, so he didn't get to hear the righteous rant that ensued when I went to find Peter Gabriel and found him under P, not G, where all right-thinking, rational people would've put him.

But I was determined not to immediately reject his efforts, as it had clearly taken some time to integrate and sort several hundred CDs. It lasted precisely one day. I resorted all the solo artists by last name the next day while he was at work.

A few hours later, when I was at work and he was home, I got a call. "I noticed you re-alphabetized the CDs...." To which I responded, "Yeah, I just knew that was going to drive me crazy. But don't worry. Maria McKee was in the right place."

Posted by: Dodd at 10:41 AM on 27 February 2006