It was by random chance we happened on Jeff Ogiba’s “Things I Found in Records” Instagram account but were immediately smitten by his collection of oddities discovered in album sleeves. His super specific concept makes for amazing bits of micro nonfiction, almost like music-collector archeology. For today’s How Nice feature, we asked him to explain the project’s origin and show off a few of his favorite finds.
I've always loved collecting things. My collecting started with Hot Wheels cars and baseball cards back in the early to mid ’80s, and turned borderline hoarder by the time I was approaching my teens, filling my parent's home with action figures, pop culture memorabilia, video games, and so on. When I was morphing into my awkward, moody teenage years, I realized that music was collectible by means of vinyl records. Since then, I've amassed a collection of records that makes the idea of ever having to move to a new apartment a vivid nightmare.
I decided to quit collecting everything except records about 13 years ago. Five years ago (pretty much in time with the opening of my Brooklyn record store, Black Gold Records) the collector bug in me that I was so avidly restraining, struck again. This time by way of "record-related ephemera and promotionals” — from past concert ticket stubs, to 8"x10" promotional glossies and one-sheets, to tabletop cardboard record displays and posters, the old me was back.
All along the way, I had secretly been stashing dozens and dozens of smaller items that I found while digging through record collections. I became fascinated with the items people hid in record jackets but even more intrigued with why they chose the specific record. Finding things that other people hid in records made me feel human and brought on a nostalgia that's hard to come by.
About three years ago I bought a very large collection of punk rock 45s and LPs. The family came into my store and said "Our brother passed away and left no mention of what to do with his prized record collection. We heard about you guys in the paper and knew immediately that he'd want this in your hands." It was a nice feeling, but a troubling one as well (thinking what would I want if the tables were turned). They named their price and it was in my range, so we had a deal.
As I rifled through the mountain of amazing records, I found what seemed to be a misplaced Popeye children's record. Inside the sleeve were clues to what made this poor man's heart beat. I found a clipping from a newspaper with a "LOST DOG" ad circled. The dog was an elderly, blind poodle with two phone numbers listed. Then it got even more upsetting. A funeral memorial card presumably remembering the owner's father. The name matched that of a driver's license and an employee photo name tag of an elderly man. Was the Popeye record something the owner of the collection listened to with his father? I'll never know but I assume it had some sentimental value.
Finds like this have made me feel some sort of connection with record collection owners that I would have never been able to experience otherwise. As a thanks, and because of how grateful I was for the collection, I made the "LOST DOG" article the first post on the Instagram account in March and have kept going strong since. Here are three of my all time favorite finds:
Genesis - Foxtrot LP
My friend and Black Gold Brooklyn employee Tim pulled this strange picture out of a Genesis record that came in with a collection. When is this photo from? Is the woman physically or mentally challenged? Is she pretending to be a zombie? Is she on drugs? What's she holding in her right hand? When is this photo from?
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
I found this gem in a record that I bought in Sunset Park, South Brooklyn. It's a touching "1974 Resolutions" list with envelope. The list includes "Loving Olivia with all my heart", "Getting his or her weight down to 115 pounds by January 16th", and "whatever I'm doing but it right or wrong, go all the way". Heavy stuff!
Beatles - Meet The Beatles LP
This strange breakdown, and the quote sounds so matter of fact yet I've never heard this one!