Winter Music Conference

Winter Music Conference 2012's Record Collectors Show: A Five-Point Survival Guide

Record fairs are like hypercompetitive, cut-throat, life-or-death archaeological digs. But instead of some swarthy scientist digging up the missing link between man and ape or some rugged Indiana Jones type discovering lost civilizations, you've got über-nerds frothing at the mouth, damn near ready to shank a motherfucker over a mint-condition copy of Giorgio Moroder's Knights in White Satin.

It's a jungle out there. No, it's like a jungle crossed with trench-warfare and pirates sailing the open seas, looking for bins filled with exotic acid-house to plunder and pillage. The point: When it comes to attending a record fair, you gotta come prepared.

On Saturday, March 24, the annual WMC Record Collectors Show will bring all kinds of vinyl junkies to Miami Beach.

And whether you're digging for long-elusive titles on your wishlist, a stack of records to resell on the Internet, or even some singles to spin during Conference, there are a few things that you need to know in order to make the most of your purchases and/or survive.

5. Inspect Every Record Thoroughly Before Anyone Is Even in the Door

Get to the Beachplex. There are freaks lining up right now. And nothing is worse than a majorly picked-over stack of wax. Sometimes these fairs have higher ticket prices to get in early: Always take this option. In WMC's case, though, you might have to bribe and/or seduce a security guard.

4. Avoid Beatles Dudes at All Costs

What are Beatles dudes doing at Winter Music Conference? Well, they're everywhere. And not only can they be spotted from a mile away (always the dad-est looking guy in the room), but certain record collectors claim to be able to psychically sense their impending arrival. The most intolerable of baby boomers, they derive every last drop of his "coolness" from the most obvious, over-saturated band in the history of music. Their holy grail: A pressing of Yesterday and Today with its near-mythological alternate cover of the band dressed like butchers, hanging around a bunch of dismembered baby dolls. The best way to avoid Beatles dudes is to not give a fuck about The Beatles.

3. Protective Shoulder Pads Are an Absolute Must

In the age of the smartphone, Dorkus Malorkus collectors don't need nothin' other than a Twitter Machine (that is, a cellular telephone) to keep up with eBay auctions and get weird on Discogs when no one is looking. But you should bring a pair of WWF Road Warrior-style shoulder pads. They'll provide the perfect protection against hairy-palmed jabronis digging over your shoulder.

2. Always Assume It's a Bonzer

By definition, a bonzer is one of those records that for some reason or another (limited pressings, rare versions) costs more than some people make in a month. Often, diggers in the field will flip past a platter that looks familiar and they don't know why. Well, dude, we hate to break it to you, but you saw that particular item in the Almanac of Insanely Expensive Records. And the second you moved on to a stack of 25-cent soul 45s, the lizard man snatched that shit like Yogi Bear merkin' a picnic basket.

1. Do Not Be Afraid to Get Physical

Record collecting is a contact sport.

WMC Record Collectors Show. Saturday, March 24. The Beachplex, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The record show begins at noon and registration for WMC badges costs $485. Call 954-563-4444 or visit

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