Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy birthday, Michael Stipe:

[Above: The "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" and "Don't Go Back to Rockville" 12" singles I bought in London, summer of 1985.]

Michael Stipe turned 50 today and I've been thinking of the joy R.E.M.'s work has brought me since my then-boyfriend rhapsodized about Murmur in 1983 and I purchased it and the band's previous E.P., Chronic Town, in quick succession. And I clearly remember pulling stray weeds around the perimeter of my parents' front yard, Walkman headphones firmly in place, swooning to the newly released Reckoning during the summer of 1984 in between junior and senior years at my much-loathed Blanchet High School. I had a trope of close-knit friends, other readers and artists, mostly, some of whom I'm still in contact with today, and R.E.M. became part of our shared language and tapestry. And out of the band's dozen or so shows I have imbibed over the years, each has yielded cherished and spectacular memories.

So, here's to another 50, Mr. Stipe. And thank you.

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