I'd intended to post something else but a train of thought led me astray. REM has been all over the place of late with their announcement that they are retiring. And, really, let them, people. Would that the Stones and some of the hair bands still touring would take their cue. But that's not why I'm posting Shiny Happy People. About the time I stopped listening to REM because I didn't relate to them any more I stopped watching Saturday Night Live because it wasn't funny any more. But the summer of 1991 I was still consuming both. And so it was that they came together to slap me in the face with Micheal Stipe (who, I'd forgotten, still had hair then) in a suit made up of FedEx envelopes, the Tyvek ones. Sadly, I was unable to find a video in which that was as vividly clear as it is in my memory. To this day that's the first thing I think of when I hear REM. I read an interview once in which Mr. Stipe said it had been stolen, which sounds just about right. But the reason it's on my mind today is not Shiny Happy People, the darling Ms. Kate from the B-52s, nor REM itself. I just realized that Tyvek house wrap in enormous rolls. Yet there's been no fashion rush to purchase the waterproof, incredibly durable paper/fabric. [shrugs] Maybe now that he's retired Michael Stipe explore his flare for dramatic but practical design. At any rate, here's the performance that lodged itself so firmly in my head. I wish I could find a clearer one where you can read the labels. It really was masterfully...okay, imaginatively done. For the record, Orange Crush is still my favorite REM song.