In our continued quest to keep The Forest alive and in Edinburgh (you DO know, Berlin and Bristol are nice cities too, folks!) I remind you that Forest Publications has supported a lot of great writers through the publication of beautiful chapbooks. These are excellent, reasonably priced collections of stories and poems which we’ll mail to you in time for the holidays. This is just one of the many ways that The Forest has helped support Edinburgh’s artistic community over the past decade. I bet you are curious about what else The Forest has done. I’m glad you asked. You can download this brilliant press pack to learn all about why YOU (yep, unfortunately, Forest needs YOU) should dig deep and pitch in. Here’s the Press Pack. And here’s a link to the Guardian Blog which is growing every day. And, below, you’ll find a list of all the chapbooks we’ve made and links to where you can buy them. All proceeds will go to the Buy The Forest funds.
3 for £5 Special Deal!
Item Details: A selection of three chapbooks from the Forest Publications Chapbook series for a bargainous £5! Choose which ones you want and we’ll ship them right to you. (Or leave it blank and we’ll send you our favourites!) Save on postage by buying in bulk!
A Note To Our Overseas Customers:
If you’re buying more than one selection at a time to be dispatched abroad, you’ll find that our shopping-cart lacks the sophistication to combine the postage, but if you would care to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, either before or after you order, we will work out something more reasonable [BUT please be aware that our helpdesk isn’t manned 24/7, so please be patient in that regard. Thanks for supporting Forest Publications!!]
Recent threats about the closure of The Forest (a volunteer run, collectively owned, free arts and events space) has spurred the great folks on the Scottish Chip Music scene into creating an exclusive downloadable album! Wow. How cool! That means — with just £5 you can support The Forest and all the amazing things it does AND rock out to an awesome assemblage of cutting-edge music. How can you resist? I don’t know. For those of you who are unaware of the ChipMusic scene — Forest recently held a UltraChop festival which you can read about on the Guardian Blog — bringing these underground sounds to an unsuspecting Fringe Festival audience (for free!). Chip Music often uses video game consoles re-wired to create lush and unique new beats and melodies. If you have never heard it before, get your start here. It is for a good cause and it is a perfect introduction to a new breed of musician. Dig it.x
As many of you know — The Forest is in real danger of losing their premises to property developers who may turn this vital community space into a Tesco, Costa Coffee, or Pub / Club Complex a la Frankenstein’s. Currently, The Forest is seeking community support and donations in order to BUY THE BUILDING and ensure there is an open and free social space for artists and organizers of all sorts to meet and play. Please help The Forest by making a donation or — if you can’t donate — consider Stolen Stories as an excellent Stocking Stuffer. It is crammed with great stories, has a beautiful cover by Martin McKenna and fits right in your pocket. Like all good stolen things. Love the arts / support the arts. You can read more about The Forest campaign on The Guardian Blog.
If you’ve been following the Save The Forest campaign, you know that the premises at 3 Bristo Place is up for sale. This means costly relocation, closure or The FOREST buys the building. Everyone can help the cause and I’ll hope you’ll consider buying one of these fine anthologies from Forest Publications. All proceeds will go directly to buying or relocating The Forest and you’ll get a lovely anthology of the finest new writing, and great music! Support this worthwhile cause. See below for all the details of go directly to Forest Publication’s on-line store to make a purchase!
If you enjoy words, the answer is ‘yes’. If you enjoy sounds, the answer is ‘yes’. Even if you have not answered ‘yes’, the answer is still ‘yes’. For The Golden Hour Book Volume II is not just a book: it is also a natural resource that may save your life. Its pages will burn without being consumed. It keeps tigers away.
The accompanying CD is equally essential: it can be used as a plate, or better still, sharpened and thrown like a shuriken into the throat of your enemy. Even if the end approaches, there is still the consolation of the words and sounds within — fine poems, stories, and songs from over three dozen poets, writers and musicians — all of which are guaranteed to take your mind off things.
‘There is genuine wit, deep feeling and real entertainment in this most enjoyable volume. Light-hearted and serious by turns, The Golden Hour Book Volume II contains some of the best and freshest new writing I have come across for quite a while.’
– Ron Butlin, Edinburgh Makar
Ericka Duffy, When We Were Broke
Andrew Philip, The Melody at Night, With You; The Berlin Jar; Watergaw
Jane Griffiths, Lessons From My First Giraffe, Laws of Physics, St Stephen Place
Spencer Thompson, Pancake, Am I a Bastard?
Julia Boll, A House in Disorder
Gloria Dawson, Lapse, A La Fin Tu Es Las
Benjamin Morris, What I Like in Fights, The Apricot Pit, Hitchin
Jason Morton, The Basics of Time Travel
Kapka Kassabova, Buenos Aires: When I Return
Alan Gillis, Anglican, Sifting Through
Kona Macphee, Leprosy, fen train
Phil Harrison, The Birds, Like
Nick Holdstock, A Golden Bowl
Aiko Harman, Lunch, Dragon Sculpting
Russell Jones, The Electric, How to Kill a Blackbird, B. 1984
Robert Alan Jamieson, The Commissioners Investigate
Jane Flett, Flamingos
Claire Askew, Flash; Dreaming My Mother: Tynefield, Penrith, 1974
Ryan Van Winkle, Open the Connections, She Says; Waiting for the Ocean; The Apartment
Lindsay Bower, What it’s Like When You’re Older
Billy Liar, It Starts Here
Mat Riviere, FYH
Tuberians, Tuberians Have Landed
Bob Hilary & The Massive Mellow, Hear Mi
The Black Diamond Express, Jack
Asazi Space Funk Explosion, Syababona
Kevin Molloy, Goddess Of The Rain
Sarazin Blake, India Or Spain
Skeleton Bob, Love Song
Diddley Squat, Camel Song
Robin Grey, Women
Groaner & Heid, Massive Genius
Jonny Berliner, Kneeling Down
Poor Edward, Children Of Little Or No Importance
Francois & The Atlas Mountains, I’m So Glad I Met You
Jack Richold, Lady Of The Calico
Withered Hand, Takeaway Food
“The CD sounds like that tent you find in the middle of the madness of one of the larger festivals. You know the tent, the one where you have no idea who any of the people on the stage are, but you find yourself staying there all day just to see who’s on next. With over 20 contributors, including the likes of Billy Liar, Withered hand, Skeleton Bob, Johnny Berliner, Chandra and The Black Diamond Express amongst others, I can almost guarantee that your new favourite song is contained within, waiting to be discovered.
‘When we Were Broke’ by Ericka Duffy is possibly one of the most beautiful and true stories I have ever read. It’s been a long time since a story has made me choke up. Other highlights, which are hard to pick out from a book made up of highlights, include ‘The Birds, Like’ by Phil Harrison, a wickedly captivating tale told from the point of view of a frustrated bully, and the poem ‘Lunch’ by Aiko Harman, if only because it mentions peanut butter, which in my world is a condiment. All in all this collection is a superb little package that you will return to over and over, highly recommended. ” – Unpeeled.com, Nov 2009
“A very impressive literary and music anthology. A dinky little paperback packed with stories and poetry, most of which are very good indeed, and a 20 track CD full of bands I have never heard of but also mostly splendid. (****)” – Scott Pack, Dec 2009
“An eclectic, experimental, gently explosive treasure trove that brings together some of the creative combustions which light up the Forest Cafe.” – Edinburgh Evening News, 2 Jan 2010
“Reviewing this collection is like trying to herd cats into a sack — beautiful cats, strangely furred rippling, not quite tamed. It is a bold and commendable venture: to give voice to a number of (relatively) unknown artists although many of the writers have been short-listed for or won prizes. The Forest is to be applauded for the originality of this project. There is simply too much to cram into this review …. Best thing to do: buy a copy. Invite some friends round. Open some bottles. Host your own Golden Hour. Dance to poetry. Then do it again next week.” – Northwords Now, Autumn 2009
There are many reasons why Mark Vitelli and I came to Edinburgh in September 1999. There are two reasons I came back in 2000 — one was a job, the other knows her own name. But there is only one reason why I still live here today. That reason is, quite simply, The Forest. For those of you who don’t know — The Forest is a volunteer-run, collectively owned, free arts and events space masquerading as a vegetarian cafe which was founded in August 2000 and (as if you can’t do your sums) just celebrated its tenth birthday.
The Forest is many things to many people. An art gallery, a space to share skills and have free workshops, a resource, a place to eat good food, a rehearsal space and more. There has been a pretty comprehensive listing of what The Forest does on The Forest’s website and on the Guardian Blog and if you are interested you can download the press pack but I want to talk about why somebody who doesn’t know or care about The Forest might want to consider donating to help the cause. Here’s a short video to bring you up to speed:
For a decade The Forest has run a vegetarian kitchen. You could call this a business-model: Volunteers work for free in the kitchen, money made from the kitchen goes into supporting The Arts and keeping the place open. This means — paying rent, buying equipment, paint and more. The Forest also supports an independent press, a fringe-theatre, a record label, a community choir, free workshops, a radical library and much much more almost solely through volunteer power alone. We are not sponsored by the government, city council or the arts council and we don’t exist for profit. Mostly, the Forest exists in order to exist.
Now, if you’ve been reading the news you might think — “Well, these young idealists got scuppered by a bad economy and brutal arts cutbacks.” This is not the case. We’ve been running a successful alternative business for years. The problem is — our building is up for sale. This means either a costly, time-consuming and difficult relocation, closure OR — we BUY the building.
Why Buy a Building?
Well, it won’t be easy. But — it can be done. We only need 5,000 donations of £100 and if we don’t know 5,000 people willing to help out — I don’t know who does?
My feeling for why a city centre building is important for the Arts community is a semi-story: I was in Paris at Shakespeare and Co. talking to a guy who was living in the bookshop. Now, Shakespeare and Co are right across from the Notre Dame – an incredibly historic, tourist centre, a place where rent is astronomical. I remember standing there and this guy saying, “I love this place because – surrounded by all this – it is an Anomaly.” And I thought – yeah, it is.
And, the beautiful thing about Forest (to me) is the fact that it too is an anomaly. In an increasingly commercial, logo, corporate, bland, safe, disney-fied world The Forest is an anomaly and a beacon. A flag-ship social enterprise. A place that exists outside of commercial pressures which allows artists and organizers of all types to co-exist, perform, and produce without fear of failing, without fear of economic ruin. This is why young bands from all over the world play The Forest. This is why the Forest Fringe is one of the most unique parts of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Forest allows people to try. Sometimes this happens on stage with a GameBoy (like the chip music festival) and sometimes this happens with hammers and saws as people work together to build kitchens and toilets and hang curtains and paint etc.
From the looks of the world being built around us – there is no earthly reason why Forest should be in a beautiful building in the heart of Edinburgh, doing what it is we do. Providing a space, doing nearly anything folk want and doing it outside the regular way of things. It is even more important now, because, if nothing else we show what giant things can be done when people get together.
Even if you have never been to The Forest — you have to understand the profound and lasting effects this one place has. It is a beacon to other community and artistic-minded people. The Forest has spawned no less than four similar projects (that I know of) — one as far away as South Korea. People who have been involved in The Forest go on to do great and good things — bands like Aberfeldy and Withered Hand and White Heath and St. Jude’s Infirmary and Foxgang and Billy Liar all have had early gigs there. Jed Milroy and Hailey Beavis play together because they met through The Forest. People who help organize events and workshops and festivals at The Forest go on to do similar things in their hometowns, or Berlin or London or elsewhere. Sometimes they make careers out of it. Sometimes they do it for free. Young people with no work experience or people who have not been able to find work in a long time — get skills and confidence and companionship working in the kitchen. In short — ideas are made. Connections. Community. And these things don’t just stay in our building or even our city. They fly to New York and Damascus. They go to Bosnia and Washington D.C. Sometimes they even make it over to Glasgow. Forest mingles and works with other festivals, organizations, and institutions and the people who do things in The Forest spread out and create networks and continue to share and exchange art and information. Ideas and art spread and there is a good chance if you are reading this — then The Forest has touched you too. Maybe not in our building — maybe in a field during Knockengorroch, maybe at a Golden Hour gig at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, maybe through your TenTracks subscription, your visits to The Bowery, Balkanarama, The Roxy or Octopus Diamond? Maybe through Reel Festivals maybe through one of the many ‘zines the Forest Free Press has fostered, maybe via the many touring fingers of Robert Sarazin Blake? I certainly would not be doing what I am doing at the Scottish Poetry Library without it. I would not have had the confidence — I would not have tried and failed and learned and tried again. If you like me, you like The Forest and as friends, I hope you’ll consider lending your financial support.
I recently was watching this video about “Where Good Ideas Come From”. Good ideas need people and places. Places where artists and organizers and interested people and uninterested people can meet and share and play together. I don’t know about you but I want places like this to exist forever. I don’t want people to turn this building into flats or a Costa Coffee or a Sports Pub. There are millions of those. But there are very few genuine alternatives — The Forest is one of them. If The Forest can, through community donations from good-minded spirited people, keep a building then we can be a beacon to others. We can, together, say This is What We Can Do. We can change the world in small ways but those small ways have a lasting affect on people’s lives, their happiness and that is good for everyone.