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C Is For Conifers

C is for what?! Well, it all started when Anne received an email from John Flansburgh, one of the two Johns of They Might Be Giants. The band was working on a set of songs for a childrens’ album about the alphabet called “Here Come the ABCs.” They wrote a song about the letter C called “C Is for Conifers.” In the interest of scientific accuracy, John had found Anne’s name on the web as a conifer authority, because she is the editor of the Conifer Quarterly, the journal of the American Conifer Society. Anne fact-checked the lyrics and made some helpful suggestions, and shortly thereafter she received a nice assortment of TMBG swag in gratitude.

As excited as we both were to have had a brush with a real rock star, neither of us were what you would call fans of the band. Anne’s sister and brother-in-law, however, were both serious fans, and they were thrilled when Anne sent them the T-shirts, hats, pencils and whatnot. They got everything except the coffee mug.

“Here Come the ABCs” was released recently, and of course we ordered a copy. Then we learned that TMBG were doing a free show at the Borders book store in Rosemont not far from where I work. Anne picked me up after work yesterday, and after dinner at Gullifty’s, we got to Border’s around 6:30, about a half hour before show time. There were already people waiting at 5:30, and by 6:30 the place was filling up fast.

There was a small area in front of the bandstand where the early birds were sitting on the floor, but the rest of us stood all around the bandstand. John Flansburgh switched between a Strat and a Precision; John Linnel stayed on accordion the whole time. They got a lot of music out of very few instruments. There was also a drummer with a tiny drum set and some assorted percussion. He was excellent.

They played for a half hour or so. About half the songs were from the new CD, and the rest were greatest hits. They didn’t play “C Is for Conifers,” however. After the show, a loooooooong line formed for autographs. John remembered Anne, and they signed two DVDs for us (one for us and one for Anne’s sister). In return for the autographs, Anne gave them official Conifer Society baseball caps. Of course, I took a few pictures.

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