A brother's bereavement

Friday, September 23, 2011

This morning I was woken with an sms. It was from my brother. "R.E.M broke up" it said "I'm trying not to cry on the train."
I phoned him to give my condolences and could hear that he was truly grief-stricken by the dissolution of his favourite band.
You can read his side of the story here. He mentions that in 2005, my matric year, he came to school and signed me out early, claiming that I have to go to the dentist. Meanwhile, we were actually on our way to the first REM show in South Africa. In his 1976 Volkswagen Beetle. I had forgotten about this. But what I do remember is, standing right at the front in the golden circle, in front of Mike Mills. I was in awe! And then he threw his plectrum into the crowd and my brother and I reached to catch it, but it was soon plucked out of the air by someone standing next to us. And Mike Mills looked at me and said "Sorry" Probably one of the most amazing things that have ever happened to me.

I have my brother to thank for most of my, even if I say so myself, amazing music taste and amazing music knowledge. He has always introduced new sounds and bands to me, and even if I didn't like them at first, he would eventually make me listen to it so much that I ended up liking it. It wasn't the same with R.E.M though. I've always liked their sound. I've always had a special bond with them, perhaps because of the bond I have with my brother and the bond he has with the band.

I remember lying in my bed on school nights, reading the latest Goosebumps book my mom bought me and listening to R.E.M playing loudly from my brother's room. In some way, R.E.M became a soundtrack to my primary school life. It was engraved into my thoughts and to this day I still associate certain books with certain R.E.M songs. When Goosebumps became too boring, I would try and read my brother's Stephen King books, and R.E.M was the theme song to even those difficult literatures.

I am sad with my brother. I also shed a tear because of his loss. Thirty one years is a long time to make music, and good music they made.

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