Home, Life

When Does ‘Collecting’ Tip Into ‘Hoarding’?

As I’ve chronicled extensively through the last month or two, I’ve just moved house. Now in my new house, I’m still putting together the last few bits to make the house actually feel like a home. That means lugging my glass cabinets upstairs to the spare room, and starting to redisplay the collections that I’ve been curating over at least the last decade.

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I didn’t think I’d collected that much until I had to pack it all up. It was some of the first things I packed up, as anything decor could easily be thrown in a box and left, without affecting day to day life. (Try packing up a kitchen. You can’t. You need everything still. It is a nightmare). As I packed, I realised just how much stuff I do collect. Here’s a non exhaustive list of the items I collect over time:

 

  • My Little Pony toys
  • Fashion dolls (Barbie, Monster High, Disney dolls, etc.)
  • Terrible fridge magnets (the more ugly and hideous, the better)
  • Enamel pins
  • Artwork
  • Theme park ride photos
  • Empty notebooks (that I will fill one day, I swear)

 

This isn’t even all of it. That’s not including the things my husband collects, such as DVDs and Hatsune Miku figures. There’s a lot of stuff in the house, is what I’m saying.

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Moving house has brought me to realise just how much I collect. Some things don’t take up a lot of room, such as the magnets and pins. Magnets, obviously, live on the fridge, and I display my pins on cork boards so they’re just hanging out on the wall. Other things do take up room though, and it’s a fine balance between things that ‘spark joy’ and just straight up clutter.

There is a small voice in my head that’s screaming about becoming a hoarder, that I’m wasting my time and money on these things as they’re just ‘things’, after all. What are they really? Am I just filling up my house with useless junk?

That’s the question. I do try and keep on top of my collecting, though. I know many people who want to collect full sets of things, such as My Little Pony toys and playsets. As cute as the playsets are, I’ve already made peace with the fact I’ll never have the room for them. I also don’t pick up full sets of the toys, unless I like each one. It’s better for me to have less toys that I love equally, rather than packing the spare room full of every plastic filly Hasbro ever made.

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I also regularly go through and clear out my collections. Sometimes you realise you just don’t like something as much anymore. That doll was great when I bought it, but now I just feel rather ‘eh’ about it. These things go on eBay and I send them on to someone who would appreciate them much more than I would.

At the end of the day, collecting is something that makes me happy. I’m not big on makeup, I don’t own a lot of shoes, and I’m not into expensive bling. Instead, I spend my money on plastic toys and little shiny trinkets. As long as I’m not creating hallways in my home from discarded toys and plastic junk, then I think I’m going to be ok.

Music, Vocaloid

Miku Expo London Was The Best Gig I’ve Ever Been To. Here’s Why

Last Saturday marked the first time Japanese singing sensation Hatsune Miku came to the UK, with a concert being held in London’s Olympia venue. Being a big fan of her, I made sure I was going to be there. I was super excited and ready to see her live in action.

With Hatsune Miku though, seeing her live is somewhat of a miracle in itself. This is because she’s not a real person. In fact, she’s a Vocaloid star. A Vocaloid is essentially a computer program. An actor supplies the voice samples for them (in this case, Saki Fujita), and the user can create songs using the software. This has lead to an explosion of songs, artwork, and other media featuring Hatsune Miku online. She’s no longer a piece of software, but a real character whose fans have come to love her.

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How does she work on stage, if she’s not real? Hatsune Miku comes to life via a screen on stage which she’s projected onto. She’s backed by a real life band and sings, dances, and interacts with the audience. It sounds rather dull, watching a screen for two hours, but she really has to be seen to be believed.

I headed to London with my husband last weekend to see her, as Vocaloid has become one of the few fandoms we both share and bond over. It was £50 a ticket to see her (and considerably more for a VIP ticket, which sold out in minutes), but afterwards, we agreed that it was worth every penny.

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Our trip got off to a rocky start, as we got to the venue later than we wanted thanks to a crashed Megabus. The concert was billed as the ‘Miku Expo’, and the tour had booked out a large expo space in the Olympia before the show. When we got there, there was very little to see. There were some tables painting Miku figures, which were an upcharge activity (full disclosure, we’d probably had done it if we weren’t late), and a map where fans could mark where they’d come from to see the gig. We were underwhelmed to say the least. Apparently in Japan the Expo is a much bigger deal. I have seen footage of their expos, so I’m hoping they come back and give us the full experience.

We got in line for the concert, and began chatting with other fans who’d come to see her. We talked to a few fans when we were at the Olympia, and we saw that there really was a wide spectrum of people there. I’d expected to be one of the eldest there being in my thirties, but there were plenty of others my age and older there too. It was clear to see that Vocaloid is for everyone, not just teenagers.

Saying that, we did make friends with a couple of teen girls who were at the show. One had been to Japan and seen Miku’s Magical Mirai shows there, and was looking to go to university to study Japanese. This was partly because of her love of Vocaloid, and you could see just how driven she was. Another girl was 15, at her first ever gig on her own, and was just so excited to be there. She was telling me all about how Vocaloid and boy bands like BTS had helped her get through tough times at school, and how much better she felt being with others who got her passions.

Once the show started, you could see just how excited everybody was. A big part of a Vocaloid show is the glow sticks, and you could see them waving in the air the whole time. When popular songs came on, the crowd roared their approval. You could see just how happy they were to finally get to experience a Miku show, live.

I was surprised at how moved I was by a ‘virtual singer’. I honestly teared up at some points. It was just stunning to see how much this meant to everybody there, myself included. I was watching that teenage girl at her first gig, flipping out when her favourite singers Kagamine Rin and Kagamine Len (stable mates of Hatsune Miku, alongside Megurine Luka, MEIKO and KAITO who all performed) came on stage.

To top the night off, once the show was over we walked outside, only to witness a guy drop to one knee and propose to his girlfriend, who had come to the gig dressed as Miku! Luckily, she said yes.

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What an amazing night! I’m hoping Hatsune Miku makes it back to the UK, as I’d happily pay again to go witness that show. Next time, if there is a next time, I want those VIP tickets. It’ll be worth it.