Friday, 29 April 2011

To clear things up...

...about my last post, which may have confused you somewhat. I was unable to write a full explanation as to why I felt the need to host a seemingly-irrelevant image on the blog. Now, however, with more time on my hands I'll be happy to fill you all in, and update you with the latest news in the world.

Just yesterday I stumbled upon the site, a website containing a 'ring' of R.E.M.-related forums, fansites etc., with the opportunity to join yourself. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and added the HTML code to the bottom of this blog, sending my application form as soon as possible. However, to get the image to display I had to alter the HTML and use an image that I hosted... and the only way to do that was to host it by uploading it to a post on this blog. So, mystery solved!

I don't know whether I will be on the WebRing soon or not, as the site seems to have been devoid of updates for years. Indeed, the most recent posts I could find on their forum are over a year old, so it remains to be seen if my website will join those listed in the page index. If a month passes without any notification, I'll delete the HTML.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to announce that some cool things are happening at Remmo and Kugat have been doing a great job with the site, and I've been doing my best to help out whenever I can, posting news and the like. Recently I posted a list of songs that might be relevant to the "Music" section of their site... anyway, to cut a long story short, one thing led to another and now I'm collaborating with them to make improvements to that section of their website. I'm very excited about this - more to come, hopefully!

After a long spell of silence, Michael seems to be back on the laptop and writing articles for R.E.M. HQ and TIME magazine. His most recent post, a plug for his friend Christy Turlington's Mother's Day charity record, is written in his usually cheery mood, and characteristically without much grammar. You can read it here. Michael's TIME article, conversely, seems more polished (likely the result of some doctoring on TIME's behalf), and here he pays a homage to his idol and friend Patti Smith, who has been selected for "2011 TIME 100", a list of this year's most influential people, among, er, other things. Last year, Patti released a new book entitled Just Kids, which I believe is a memoir of sorts, although I haven't read it.

Mike and Peter have been rather quiet recently, but that's understandable considering the huge number of tours and concerts they have been participating in. The Baseball Project's new tour will be making a stop in Toronto (the rumour that Mike is replacing Peter on the tour may or may not be true, but Mike is definitely performing with the group), and our good friend Linda will be there to see the band rock out once more! Linda generously offered to take me with her to see them, but sadly I'm 1) not old enough to get in to the club they're playing in and 2) unable to afford the £1000 return flight to Canada. Some day, some day...

Yours truly,

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Joined R.E.M. WebRing

Hello folks! I am writing this to inform you that I have recently joined the R.E.M. WebRing. More updates will follow, but for the time being I'm trying to get the HTML to work, and in order to do that I must host a graphic in this post.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

New covers and collab info

Action shot! I think I'm playing Cuyahoga in this picture...

While I may not have much time for writing during this exam period, I have been able to make a few videos for my YouTube account. Due to the time-consuming nature of making tutorial videos, I've stuck to mostly covers, but I did have time to make my first ever bass 'how-to-play' in the form of Radio Free Europe. Here are the links to the new songs, listed below:

The cover of Wolves, Lower was particularly difficult to perform - the guitar part alone is complicated enough, but singing at the same time is nigh on impossible! In other news, we have been treated to some juicy information about the work currently being done by Peter Buck and Mike Mills. Mike has been busy as ever, appearing in a "Strings Extravaganza" at Mercer University, acting as MC for the night and also performing on piano. I've yet to find any good footage of the concert (the best I've had is a half-second shot of Mike playing midway through an advert for the show), but I shall keep looking.

Details have also emerged of a collaboration that took place last year between Saint John and the Revelations and Peter, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin, which you can read about on his website here. Like before, we are sketchy on details and unaware of what was recorded and played, but hopefully some audio from the sessions in Seattle will make their way to us hardcore fans eventually!

Finally, we return to Mike, and the recent news that he will be joining Peter, Scott and The Baseball Project for their "Regular Season" tour. That's right, folks - the Project are hitting the road once again, barely a month after their last outing, the "Cactus League" tour. Although I can't say for sure, my guess is that Mike will be on keyboards, but whether he will be playing every show or just some is unclear.

It seems everybody's been pretty busy lately, but what about Michael? Since his BBC 6 Music interview, no mention of him has appeared anywhere. He's probably trying to get rid of all that jetlag. :)

Yours truly,

Monday, 18 April 2011

Live @ The Shore + Exams part deux (Now updated with links 23/4/11)

As much as I've been trying to put it off, exam time is rearing its ugly head once more, this time for real. Starting May 4th, the following month will be filled with stress and underprepared students as the population of Great Britain attempts to pass the tests set before it.

So, with that cheery note aside, onto some important information! Three days ago (15th April) I performed a gig at a Dundee club with my friend Robbie, who joined me midway through the set. Because this was an acoustic show, and pretty much solo, I had the freedom at play whatever I wanted for however long I wanted to. And what better for a hardcore R.E.M. fan to play than... some R.E.M.? :) Here's the setlist in full:

1. I Am a Rock (Simon and Garfunkel cover)
2. ÜBerlin (R.E.M.)
4. We Were Young (original song, the first time ever played!)
Robbie came on for the next four:
5. Beautiful Day (U2)
6. (Don't Go Back to) Rockville (Dedicated to Mike Mills Tribute and REMFan.It)
7. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
8. The One I Love (in swing rhythm, like the bonus track on the IRS Document re-issue!)

I'll be posting links as I upload them to my YouTube account, so check back. Now, I think I best get some revision done. The exams are only a few days away, after all!

Yours truly,

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New project for the Auctioneer!

There comes the time in each person's life where anonymity cannot be sustained. The fact is, I am just too overcome by the desire to look stupid on camera than I am... well, not to be. That's why I've started up my own covers/teaching project on YouTube, which you can find here. On this page, I will be recording cover versions and how-to-play videos of R.E.M. songs, in no particular order - this is really more of an arbitrary thing!

My first video was in December of last year, when I recorded a 'how-to-play' of Discoverer. While I initially intended to leave it at that, the video gained popularity, and so I decided to make a few more. Also of note is the fact that my Discoverer video was the first non-R.E.M. video of that song on YouTube. That was why I made it. :P

Above are the videos I've made so far: 'how-to-plays' to Wolves, Lower and Discoverer, and covers of Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I and Moral Kiosk. I hope you enjoy them, and requests are always welcome. Over and out!

Yours truly,

Friday, 8 April 2011

Off on holiday (Happy Birthday R.E.M.!)

I'm outta here!
Hello all, just a quick post this time. Just to let everyone know that Auctioneer (that is to say, me) will be off on holiday to sunny England from today until Monday. So, although plenty will happen in the R.E.M. world while I'm gone, I'm sure dedicated fans such as myself will have no trouble catching up!

I'd also like to say happy birthday to the band - on April 5th it was their 31st anniversary of making great music together, and we have much to be thankful for. Let's hope we can enjoy many more years of epic rocking from Michael, Peter and Mike!

Now, where's my sun tan lotion? ;)

Yours truly,

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ooh, looky! Predictive search!

Click on the image to zoom.
A small victory, perhaps, but a very rewarding one. As I was checking the traffic coming to this blog via that handy stat counter, I decided to see if my search results would appear on Google's predictive search (getting "Auctioneer's R.E.M. Blog" onto the predictive search is something I've been trying to do for months). What do you know - it was there! Auctioneer's R.E.M. Blog is now on the map, as far as I'm concerned, and I'd like to thank all my visitors to this site for its appearance on the Google search engine. Eagle-eyed fans may also spot Ivana's website slightly further down the results page. ;)

Yours truly,

P.S. Interestingly enough, if one was to search for Michael Stipe website by typing in "confessions of a Michael Stipe", my website is the 6th one down linking to this post. Hey, maybe Michael types his own website's name into Google... maybe he's seen this blog? I'd like to think so!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

New side project?

Err... nope. :)

Unfortunately, it was all a big April Fools' joke played by the team at R.E.M. HQ, who decided to post an article announcing the formation of a new group led by Mike and Michael, called "The Hockey Boys". For the record, I wasn't tricked for a second, as I was already feeling suspicious after another incident earlier that day, the details of which will remain unpublished. :)

The article, which you can find here, states that the new band are currently auditioning drummers and will possibly name their first album Me, Mike Mills, Gordie Howe and Us (no bonus points as to which R.E.M. song they are referring to here!). On the whole, it's a very well-written and funny piece, but part of me does wish it was true.

This isn't the first time the band's office in Athens has played a trick on us - take for example the article last year which read "R.E.M. changes name - now to be known as REM". I would post a link here but, rather irritatingly, the R.E.M. HQ just went down. You'll just have to trust me on this one!

Now, as I said a few posts ago, I intended to revisit Collapse Into Now and see if my song order (best to worst) had changed since last week. For those of you who are too lazy to scroll down, here was my original order:

1. It Happened Today 
2. Uberlin
3. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I
4. Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter
5. Discoverer
6. Walk it Back
7. Mine Smell Like Honey
8. Blue
9. That Someone is You
10. All the Best
11. Oh My Heart
12. Every Day is Yours to Win

And so, here is my new order:

1. It Happened Today (still a winner!)
2. Uberlin
3. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I
4. That Someone is You
5. Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter
6. Mine Smell Like Honey
7. Discoverer
8. Every Day is Yours to Win
9. Walk It Back
10. All the Best
11. Blue 
12. Oh My Heart 

There doesn't appear to be much difference, but I had a huge problem in making this one. Most of the songs (particularly 7 onwards) are fairly equal in terms of quality, so it was a tough decision. I surprised how much Every Day is Yours to Win has grown on me, but I knew Oh My Heart would be at the bottom of the list before I started. My favourites have not budged, and my top three is still the same.

Perhaps at the end of the month I'll revisit the list one more time, but I'm fairly certain it'll change again and again, and a definitive order will be impossible to create. That can only be a good thing!

Yours truly,