It’s relatively cool (great) and dry (not so great) in Athens as we head into some serious Fall weather. The band is in the home-stretch of finishing the record, likely to be released next Spring, and we have a lot going on over at remdublin.com concerning the release in two weeks of (R.E.M. LIVE) the first-ever “live R.E.M. album.” The 2005 film footage from the last night of the European Winter tour is stunning–stalwart film guy Blue Leach and consummate sound guy Brett Eliason fully captured the swirl and force of that midwinter’s night in Dublin at the Point Depot. A must for any R.E.M.’s fan’s collection. And feel free to preview a few of the songs here.

The new songs sound great to these ears and many previews from the Summer’s “Working Rehearsal” (also in Dublin of course) are all over the internets collected (thanks to many of you who posted clips) in archival Version 1.0 of the remdublin.com site. By the time the record is finished, of course, the songs will have evolved and mutated, but for YouTube quality material, the sneak peaks are certainly worthwhile.

While on the theme of Dublin for some reason, and in view of the ongoing crisis in Burma right now, I offer the following clip of R.E.M. in concert at Ardgillan Castle on Father’s Day 2005-–also Aung San Suu Kyi’s Birthday:

At dinner last night, the topic turned to “what can the average person on this side of the world do to help?” Here are a few ideas from groups we find to be involved and effective:




And while we are on the subject of serious change and the courage it takes to bring that about, be sure to read this compelling account of Louis Armstrong and his uncharacteristic speaking out at a turning point in American history – one of the best New York Times’ Op Eds (Note: since the Times makes you register we posted the IHT’s version) I can remember in a long time.

Happy Autumn,


P.S. On lesser but related subjects:

–Ever since 1992 here in Athens, R.E.M. has been involved in a listening party of some sort for each new record, and next month’s release of R.E.M. LIVE is no exception. If you are around, the date for the viewing party is Monday. October 15th at our town’s wonderful new arthouse theatre Cine. As usual, it is a benefit with all proceeds to two worthy community groups – Community Connection and Family Connection/Communities in Schools. More details on this fun-filled festive evening are to be found at Athensmusic.net

–Long-time R.E.M. fans, and outsider art aficionados, might take an interest in this article concerning the late Howard Finster and efforts to preserve his legacy in Northeast Georgia, where R.E.M. had a lot of early creative inspirations and endeavors. Also, learn more about how you can get involved here.

–And finally, we are all anxious to see Anton Corbijn’s new film on Ian Curtis and Joy Division. From all accounts, it is an amazing piece of work and is to be released imminently. For more visit Controlthemovie.com. And Congratulations to Anton!