Sunday, 13 March 2011

What a month! What a year!

A summary of what's been going on this month, organised into a montage by me.

We're only thirteen days in, and already so much has happened this March. It seems that everybody in the R.E.M. fan community has been given something special by the band, myself and my friends no exception. However, that's just the tip of the iceberg, and we're all still looking forward to even more from the group. Here's the lowdown on what they've done for us over the past few months:

Lyric videos of Oh My Heart and Discoverer released (the latter song being free to download in December), along with singles Mine Smell Like Honey and ÜBerlin. A 'live in studio' video for Oh My Heart was also released at the end of the month, filmed last June at Hansa Studios in Berlin.

Collapse Into Now becomes available to pre-order. Oh My Heart becomes free to download at Amazon for a limited period of time, and the film for Mine Smell Like Honey is released online. Interviews are abound, and fans start getting agitated about the wait. Jacknife Lee gives us a chance to 'R.E.M.IX' It Happened Today by releasing the multitracks for us to download. Early streams of Collapse Into Now are hosted, and more 'live in studio' videos become available. Ivana's piano cover of Discoverer makes the R.E.M. news round-up.

More films arrive, each for a different song on the album. on March 7th, Collapse Into Now is released in the UK! Michael appears at the Tibet House Benefit concert, performing Every Day is Yours to Win. Reviews come flooding in, every one at least three stars of more. The iTunes LP version of the album comes out, with loads of goodies. And of course, more 'live in studio' videos - a bootlegger's dream.

And here's where it starts getting interesting for our team of fans here on the Internet:

Auctioneer joins a live chat on Dazed Digital and talks to Michael Stipe! (Link)
Kirsten and Dol have their translations linked by The Guardian on an R.E.M. article! (Link)
Ivana goes to London, watches films from CIN and actually speaks to Stipe in the flesh! (Link)
Linda heads off to the 40 Watt Club, Athens to see Mike, Peter, Bill Berry and Scott McCaughey live in The Baseball Project, and actually meets Mike! (Link)
Remmo and Kugat's new website receives a huge increase in traffic thanks to their hard work!

And if that isn't reason to celebrate, then I don't know what is.

I'm beginning to see Collapse Into Now as 'the people's album', if you catch my meaning. R.E.M. have involved their fans in so many ways over the past couple of months - through the mediums of art, discussion and remixes, they have connected with us in a way that has never happened to this extent before. In 2008 Vincent Moon allowed us to make video remixes of Supernatural Superserious, and an Accelerate tour website was created, but other than that I struggle to recall much else in the way of band/fan interaction. But this time around, the conventional barriers have been broken, and now we're feeling closer than ever to our favourite group.

Yours truly,

UPDATE: I have just found out, thanks to some photos on Facebook, that Bill Berry was drumming at the 40  Watt 4 hours ago (12th March in the USA, which of course has just happened)! If I get permission to use them here, check beck soon and I'll have them.

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