The One Word Countdown – #18

A song for all the mating glow worms out there…..

Nightswimming – REM (1993, Warner Bros Records, Taken from ‘Automatic for the People’)

Points 142

If you ever find yourself in Bermuda in the first week of September, then you should probably enter the Labor Day Road Race.  It is a 10km run or walk that takes in the northern part of the island (or did when I ran it) and winds it away through Pembroke Parish before dropping down through Black Watch Pass (literally a tunnel cut into some rocks) and down to the finish.  It’s famed for its spectacular views of the ocean on the north coast.  One part of that north coast in an area called Spanish Point, which also if you are in Bermuda in the first week of September you should check out – but wait until the darkness comes, grab a few bottles of Corona Beer and pack some swimming shorts.  Because in those waters, at night and pretty much only when the moon is at its fullest, you will see the most amazing live sex show on the earth.

I’m not talking about American tourists getting jiggy with it in the water, I’m talking about glow worms, for some reason Spanish Point is the glow worms favourite pick up joint.  The females start it all off, they rise from the mud at the bottom of the sea to the surface and as they do they omit as bright green chemical which glows under moonlight and attracts the boys.  The boys then zoom up from the bottom and they pretty much have a party and give the watching crowds (and it is a tourist attraction) a spectacular light show, the erm, climax of the evening sees the males and females both, again, erm, release what can only be described as an explosion of glow before it all settles down again.

Michael Stipe says that ‘Nightswimming’ is all about an area of his home town that he and his friends used to go skinny dipping in when they were a much younger band.  It was the fifth single to be released from the bands ‘Automatic for the People’ album and is if you ask me one of the finest songs that the band ever recorded, the band have rarely sounded quite as gorgeous as they do in ‘Nightswimming’.

There are of course two quite well known cover versions of ‘Nightswimming’, both are pretty good in their own way. 

Nightswimming – Gene (1997, London Records, Taken from ‘Where Are They Now’ single)

Nightswimming – Jason Isbell (2021)

A couple of other REM songs that were considered before I plumped for ‘Nightswimming’, you could of course have this

Superman – REM (1986, I.R.S Records, Taken from ‘Lifes Rich Pageant’)

Or this

Stand – REM (1988, Warner Bros Records, Taken from ‘Green’)

The Never Ending Playlist Week #2

8. Be My Light, Be My Guide – Gene ( 1994, Costermonger Records, Taken from the Single)

Before we talk about Gene and their very good second single ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide’ lets chat briefly about Costermonger Records because I know a little bit about it – or some of the rumours at least. The rumour is that two NME journalists, Keith Cameron and Roy Wilkinson (who later went on to become friends with Sea Power) were out and about and saw an unsigned act called Gene. The two journos were so impressed that they went home and formed Costermonger Records, and then signed Gene. So the rumour goes.

Anyway, Costermonger put out the first Gene single ‘For The Dead‘ and amazingly the NME made it single of the week. The name of the reviewing journalist is not recorded but I’m willing to bet that his or her desk drawer was filled with a sherberty bribe the night before. The second single ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide’ (although it was actually a triple A side – something that was all the rage twenty years ago) followed shortly again on Costermonger and this time it was made single of the week by the Melody Maker (who worked on the floor below the NME).

Gene I think at first, at least, divided opinion. For some, they were very good indeed. They had been won over with the bands mixture of towering torch songs and indie rock anthems with soaring choruses that highlighted singer Martin Rossiter’s voice to devastating effect. To others, they were just another band that were too heavily influenced by that band from Manchester that must not be named. It’s fair to say that the latter is right, but also the influence of acts like the Jam and Echo and the Bunnymen can also be heard in their early singles. Me – I’m somewhere in the middle as usual.

Here’s the third of the triple A side tracks

I Can’t Help Myself – Gene (1994, Costermonger Records, Taken from ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide Single’)