Other than my love for beer and my family and friends, my other love is music. Then again, I feel like it’s probably most peoples. I find music to be so personal. With many things people can experience the evoke the same feelings, taste etc. but I believe many peoples connection with music is wholly unique to them. A persons music taste often defines their personality, their looks, their religion; you name it, it is all intertwined within their makeup. The phrase “Beer People are Good People” gets banded around and shot down quite often as its clearly a load of bollocks but there are definitely connections and similarities to be found between people within the proverbial Beer Bubble; as with their taste in music.
In February 2018 my good friends at Rivington Brewing Company allowed me to get hands on with the 2.5BBL brew kit to collaborate with them on a new beer. I brewed a pilot batch to ensure the recipe worked and we ended up with a Coffee and Maple Syrup Pancake Imperial stout; a tribute to the american breakfast stout. To try and garner the pancake element of the beer we opted for almost 40% Oat and Wheat in the mash. Maple syrup was added towards the end of the boil and cold brew coffee was added at packaging. The beer was named after one of my favourite R.E.M tracks I Don’t Sleep, I Dream with it’s obvious connection to coffee. The beer came out great. It finished at 9% with smooth coffee in abundance. Kegs were available all over Manchester and the surrounding area and we even did a Meet The Brewer event at one of my favourite places; The Northern Type in Eccles.
So yeah, this blog is about R.E.M; one of my favourite bands. Fronted by the charismatic yet mysterious Michael Stipe and forming at university in Athens, Georgia, their career spanned over 30 years with little to no controversy. All four founding members remained in the band until drummer, Bill Berry retired in 1997 due to illness but appeared infrequently throughout their remaining tenure. He was never replaced by a permanent member.
R.E.M’s career is book-ended by two awesome songs. In 1981 they released the single Radio Free Europe; a frantic punk song with no discernible lyric but a ranting tirade often improvised live; far removed lyrical prowess that would define R.E.M in the years to come. A thrashing guitar and the clatter of drums not so prominent in today’s polished music scene. Their career would come to an amicable end in 2011 with the release of the album Collapse into Now which conclude with the track Blue. Blue was less of a song but a poetic ode to friends, family and Stipe’s home; providing closure on a 30 year career; still content, still beautiful and still brilliant.
Whilst we aren’t all multi-platinum selling rockstars, inspite of everything that’s occurred in between; before the pressure builds; before resentment manifests and the disdain becomes apparent; sometimes you have to make that decision for the sake of your family, friends, health, work, whatever; to call it a day whilst you still love the things that drew you in.
I like you, love you, every coast of you.
I’ve seen your eddies and tides and hurricanes and cyclones.
Low ebb tide and high, full moon.
Up close and distant.
I read you.