Last Friday evening I joined my friends at the Glasgow Concert Hall to go and see John Green at his last stop in The Fault In Our Stars Live Tour. I must admit that I have only read 2 of the handful of books that John Green has written and I wasn’t really aware of his online community but I had begun to find out things from him on Tumblr that I found amusing so I was looking forward to what I was sure was going to be an amusing evening. This of course it was.
He started off by talking a bit about how he had come up with idea of the story. Telling us about his past training to become a chaplain and how his experience in a ward with terminally ill children changed his dream to writing about them instead. It took him ten years to get to the story we love today though as he original idea’s were all really stories from his point of view. It wasn’t till he met a terminally ill nerd fighter named Esther that he changed his idea and started the story from one of the ill patients point of view.
This of course was said with added in bits of humour and he did say on a number of occasions that this story was never meant to be sad, it was always intended as more humorous. One of my favourite things he said however was;
“You can drop out and still achieve your dreams”
Which he said in context of course, talking of how at a previous event he had been talking to the audience from the pulpit of a church which was of course his old dream from his chaplaincy training.
After reading from the first chapter of the book he then moved on to answer some of our questions which had been handed in before the show. The questions chosen were not the usual; “why did you start writing?” and “what was your inspiration?” but questions about his views on the importance of reading and why he explores the importance of fiction within his fiction. This was a really interesting question which he answered by saying that;
“We live in a world that is obsessed with non-fiction”
This is a brilliant quote I think and one that is very true. He talked about the TV shows we watched today that are scripted by shown like reality and told of us an extreme version in America called Amish Mafia.
After this he invited his brother Hank on to the stage to sing to us. I was aware of his brother but I will admit I had never heard any of his songs. They were of course great fun once we stopped cheering at him waving a little Scottish flag.
When John returned to the stage he had with him a bottle of Irn-Bru and again we found this reason enough to cheer. It was a moment that concluded it an excellent quote where he shared with us his description of how it tasted;
“Irn-Bru tastes like the collective chewing gum spit of all of Scotland … And I like it!”
Hank rejoined him on stage soon after this and the two of them had a timed question off. Asking one another some more of our questions. Including which was John’s favourite books to write (The Fault In Our Stars) and Hanks favourite fish (The Angler Fish). When the timer went off however was still answering had to be slapped by the other and amusingly Hank got to Slap John(a video of which can be found here). They also posed for us to photoshop ourselves into as they wouldn’t be able to give us individual photo’s. Unfortunately my camera decided to fail for a bit at the exact time.
To finish off the two brothers sang together for us and after much clapping returned for an encore of The Proclaimers. Who they have been told they are like for years and have now finally got to sing their song in its home country. (Video can be found here).
The event was on for about an hour and a half and with our ticket we got a free signed copy of the book. We also bought very lovely blue t-shirts and I am definitely going to get my hands on the rest of his books for future reading.