I first got into R.E.M. in Los Angeles, in the holding zone for our trip where we were buying bikes and hanging out with Mickey and Scooter, learning how to just be, how to exist without a timetable. It was a great time, living at Mickey’s place, a girl we didn’t know a month before but who had been a penpal (remember those?) of a friend from school who said “oh, well if you’re going through LA I’ll ask her if you can stay at her place”, and whose grey-bearded trucker dad took one look at us, realised we were mostly harmless, and allowed us to stay for as long as we wanted, bizarrely.
She had the new Hoodoo Gurus (“you’ve heard of them over here?”) and R.E.M. albums (Life’s Rich Pageant), and after playing them on a loop we went down to Tower Records and stocked up for the trip to come. I would ride around endlessly in my long-sleeved pink R.E.M. t-shirt with the orange bike on it, feeling it was an outward symbol of the person I’d become. Man, I wish I had that shirt now.
And yeah, I know this song is off Document, but it was out when I was in Europe, so sue me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7oQEPfe-O8