Friday, 29 April 2011

TMBG Awareness Day video - Love and Linnellisms and a llama

 Our International TMBG Awareness Day on Tuesday 26th April celebrated the release of 4 advance tracks from They Might Be Giants' long awaited new album "Join Us" for their fans no longer (necessarily) in kindergarten.

I love their successful departure into stuff for kids, of course, not least their last Grammy nominated children's album "Here Comes Science" ("The Bloodmobile" from that album probably comes in my current top twenty TMBG tracks, even as an adult - and it may even be in my 79-year-old mum's top three!), but we are overdue for a fix of grown-up tracks filled with witty, catchy, irresistible genius such as only Messrs Linnell and Flansburgh can furnish to a waiting world.

Fellow fan Kelly Potter, who writes the wonderful blog "My Name is Blue Canary" at
came up with the great idea of asking fans to send her a short 10 second video of their why-I-love-the Johns tribute for inclusion in a compilation to be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube to celebrate the band some of us have enjoyed and been inspired by for nearly three decades. 

Glutted on publicising many serious and worthy "Awareness Days" for every disease, cause and crisis under the sun, including May 12th's upcoming Awareness Day for M.E. (the illness that has currently robbed me of my job, health, and mobility, not to mention the joy of attending concerts by my heroes on their sporadic trips across the Atlantic to these shores), I was determined not to let the occasion pass for a more zany, celebratory spot of awareness for the sheer joyful, crazy, fun of it. They are overdue for a thankyou. Over the years they have been so generous and gracious with their fans. 

Since discovering them back in 1990 and seeing them in concert then in London, when "Birdhouse" was riding high in the UK charts and they were just two guys with a guitar, an accordion, an unfeasibly large saxophone, a drum machine and some giant stamps as a stage set, the Johns and their music have enhanced most of my adult life in more ways than I can express. Crazy but true.

So I grabbed my own accordion (a purchase inspired, natch, by John Linnell, surely the loveliest man and the greatest songwriter I've been blessed to discover), a toy llama, my signed photo of the two Johns and my digital camera. The sound quality was a bit dodgy but the sincerity was real:

'Hi, my name's Joyce, and when I worked in Bolivia, the Johns sent me this signed photo with the message 'Kiss those llamas for us'. Love you, guys!'

Well, it was 11 seconds, actually, but the last second was only a bit of inane smiling that could be edited out. Looking at the whole video, I don't think I was the only fan to overrun my alloted moment in the spotlight, but I loved everyone else's contributions, as they all obviously came from the heart. They can't touch us for it!

My segment starts at about 3:08.

If you haven't checked out the band, yet, maybe you owe it to yourself to dip your toe into the vast ocean of their genius. You'll soon have some unique reasons all your own to want to wear a prosthetic forehead on your real head or contain a secret smile.

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