A collection of very awesome things happened to me today, here are a few of them:
- Went to Swindon for the first time ever.
- Found out that Swindon has an Ed’s Diner which means I am now only an hour away from wet fries and root beer floats.
- Stood on Firefly Avenue with an enormously large group of South West based Nerdfighters and missed that show more than Nathan Fillon does.
- Got a signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars
- Listened to John Green being beautifully eloquent.
- Listened to Hank Green sing songs.
- Listened to John and Hank Green do a live Question Tuesday.
- Listened to John and Hank Green sing The Proclaimers classic, 500 Miles.
- Only had to pay £1 for parking all day.
- Saw an actual Delorean actually driving past us on the way home.
Of course some of these things were more awesome than others. Today was the start of the TFIOS mini book tour around the UK which kicked off in Swindon, a town in Wiltshire in case you didn’t know and a place which happens to be about an hour away from where I live so of course, being both a nerdfighter and a lover of John Green’s books, I had to go.
You’ll have to excuse the terrible quality of the pictures, I only had my phone and it was a very dark room! But basically, that’s the little stage area and The Fault in Our Stars cardboard cut out thing.
I don’t really know what I expected from the TFIOS tour, what I got was basically an evening (well afternoon) with the Vlogbrothers, which was pretty awesome because it had a much more fun, relaxed and informal atmosphere than a usual book talk and signing.
The afternoon opened with lots of talk of the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers and some player inspired singing (if you’re not a follower of the vlogbrother’s – aka John and Hank Green- they have a YouTube series in which they play fifa, John’s team is the fictional team of the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers which is based slightly on the actual team, Swindon Town) which led into John Green talking about The Fault in Our Stars, it’s origins and inspirations and generally being his eloquent and articulate self. I found the whole discussion very fascinating, especially how the story evolved and hearing about Esther (a teenage girl John met at a Harry Potter conference who unfortunately died of cancer a few years ago) and generally hearing about the crafting of a story and the delivering of it to it’s audience.
John read a bit of the opening chapter with some commentary and the unfortunate interruption of a train and discussed the fact that Van Houten’s reaction to Hazel and Augustus’s questions was similar to his own when people ask him about the ending of Looking for Alaska and all of that sort of thing which was very funny and endearing.
There was some great discussion about the fact that he wanted to play around with gender roles, in the sense that a lot of books that feature ill characters, have an ill female who somehow manages to teach a healthy male the value of life (eg A Walk to Remember), there was some allusion that people in general view unhealthy people as a way to make healthy people feel better about themselves, and I generally love a book where gender roles are reversed so I was glad that this was talked about however briefly.
He disappeared for a bit and his brother, Hank came out and sang to us. For those of you who don’t know, though I’m going to assume that you mostly do, Hank and John are known on the internet for doing videos on youtube, part of Hank’s videos is his music, he also co founded a record label and helped create vidcon. Anyway, I kinda love Hank’s music and I missed him at Leaky Con last year, so that was a lovely surprise because I didn’t know Hank was going to do a set for us.
After a brief musical interlude, John returned to the stage with some audience questions and had a little QandA session in which the theory of teenagers not being smart was thoroughly debunked. Seriously, one sixteen year old girl asked about if Augustus and Hazel’s respectfully favourite books was a metaphor for their outlooks on life and death. Which it turns out it is, the discussion that came out of that question gave me such a literary boner, I thought it was awesome. We also got to hear about the inspiration behind Augustus’s character and whether or not the names of each character had any actual relevance which of course it does. I had assumed that the fact that healthy Augustus was known as Augustus and ill Augustus became shortened to Gus was relevant to his shortening life, in actuality, Hazel was named so because it’s an in between colour and she herself is in between health and sickness, in between child hood and adulthood. Augustus is a name given to Roman emperors and so carries a certain imperialistic heroic sway with it. Which in turn is a mirroring of his character, so I found this whole idea of giving character names some real meaning within the story itself kind of amazing, it’s not something I had ever considered doing myself before.
Hank did a few more songs and then was joined by John for a live version of Question Tuesday (Hank lost and got slapped very, very softly), hopefully the rendition of “GOOD MORNING JOHN IT’S FRIDAY!” will feature all of us because we did film it.
The show ended with a duet of The Proclaimers hit 500 Miles which is a song that I don’t hear nearly enough and will probably forever more remind me of this afternoon.
There was a signing after, but seeing as I was quite near the back and having drunk a large mango frap before entering the premises, my bladder was screaming at me. But, I figured, I had my signed copy of TFIOS and I did get stuffed signed at Leaky so I didn’t really need to stay for that.
But anyway, the TFIOS tour was super mega foxy awesome… Wooops, wrong fandom. But it was, awesome I mean. Plus, the paper back of The Fault in Our Stars is really rather beautiful. The hardback is pretty but the paper back looks lovely, it looks even lovelier now it’s customised with my own J squiggle and Hanklerfish:
I did want to upload the mini video clip I managed to get of John and Hank singing, but I have no idea how to include that into this post, so here’s a link to where I sent it to tumblr.