I'm not sure about the biology or psychology of the weird male collecting gene but I definitely possess it and can't remember a time when I didn't. Interestingly it has very little to do with material value (although that can creep into it) and more to do with bringing order out of chaos and creating sets of things that belong together. While I've always dismissed train spotters as a bunch of sad losers (but somehow not as sad as bus spotters) I do (sort of) understand where they're coming from. In my youth I collected comics and kept them in plastic bags in issue order and records (limited editions, picture sleeves and coloured vinyl were all sought after - so lots of fun there) and as an adult I've progressed on to corkscrews, wine and (inexplicably) the branded stickers from bunches of bananas.
My friend Roland, who is a respected, soon to turn 50, secondary school history teacher collects bricks (like the banana stickers there's value there), Coke bottles (from places you didn't know had heard of Coke) and vintage bicycles, so he's definitely a fellow sufferer. Although we have no desire whatsoever to pursue each others interests there is a mutual appreciation. If I found a good brick or Coke bottle I'd definitely try and acquire them on Roland's behalf and he'd certainly reciprocate if a fine corkscrew crossed his path. Both my sons show signs of inheriting the defect as evidenced by an obsessional (and costly) Pokémon card acquisition phase and a casual interest in banana stickers.
This blog comes to you at the dawn of a new collection the seed of which germinated overnight. I've always been a fan of US State car registration strap-lines as they succinctly proclaim what a whole region is about. New Hampshire's - 'Live Free or Die' is a classic, Florida's 'Sunshine State' is more obvious as is Maine's 'Vacationland'. It occurred to me in the still of the night that various French wine appellations have had similar attempts at distilling their raison d'être into a strap-line. There's Muscadet - tu me plais, as found on my Dad's fridge, Côte Rôtie's immodest Légende d'un Terroir and Hermitage's famous A Bon Taing Bon Vin. Admittedly a measly 3 examples isn't much of a collection but it's a start. It is a platform on which to build. By this time next year I might have hundreds! Nurse! Nurse!
Since writing this article I've discovered the following additions:
Gigondas - Un Trait d'Esprit sur Votre Table
Quincy - Beaucoup d'Amour
Sancerre - donne moi ton secret
I've also met a woman who collects banana stickers so maybe it's not a weird male gene after all....