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Date: 26/04/15

R.E.M. - "Electron Blue" (2004)

Today and tomorrow - assuming I remember tomorrow - I'm going to be drawing your ears' attention to a couple of tracks which I heard some years ago in the same context.

It was back in the days when the job I did for the Depratment was an interesting and responsible one, namely that of IT Support Officer, part of a team which covered a number of offices spread through North Wales (we don't have offices spread anywhere now; there are only three left out of the ones we were responsble for, and one of them will close in a few weeks' time).

Almost the entirety of our support was done via the phone or e-mail, but in order to reassure our colleagues in the outlying locations that they were communicating with human beings, we would regularly go out on visits to them, deal with any problems which required hands-on treatment and do a bit of basic coaching if required.

It made for a nice change to pop down to Welshpool for a few hours, or to Rhyl, or to Colwyn Bay (although I never cared for the building they were in) and - best of all - to pop over the Arenigs to our office at the western entrance to Porthmadog, although this last trip could be a bit depressing - not to say dodgy - in mid-winter.

It was particularly stress-free for me, because I can't drive. This meant that I was chauffeured (should there be two 'r's in that? Neither way looks quite right) to our destination. And back, of course; that was a must.

I'm pretty sure that I was coming back from Rhyl with Steve Pritchard (Hi, Steve, if you're passing!) when I heard this one on the radio. It would have been Radio 2, but I don't remember who the DJ was. I suspect it was the appalling Steve Wright, but I managed to tune him out.

(I don't have the same option at my dentist's - where my appointments tend to be when the Wretched Wright is on - but I can always take comfort from the sound of the drill blotting his ego out).

Now, I'd heard of R.E.M., of course, but had no recollection of hearing any of their songs. Indeed, it was only when I got home later that afternoon and checked the show's playlist that I discovered who it was. Quite a pleasant surprise, because this is a beautiful song with an understated production based on - so Michael Stipe says - a dream he'd had about a drug comprised of light. Taken from the band's album Around The Sun, it was alas only a minor hit. It was a big hit with me then, and still is now. Enjoy!

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