Feel Good – Buy a Book

December 8, 2010

Good Books are Chapbooks

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.



Forest Publications
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!

Choose THREE Issues: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.51, 1.52, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7

Amount: £5+ P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.7 ‘Swimming Pools and Gardens’
Author: Nalini Paul

Excerpt from The Speaking Sea

White breakers send words
convey messages for miles
waves murmur blue lament.

The swell sighs
breathes meaning
exhales anticipation.” Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.6 ‘It Starts So Sweetly’
Author: Lynsey May

Excerpt from A Taste
“…you were not like anyone who’d been this close before and not at all the way I imagined, and the buzzing in my head was so loud I didn’t know why you froze. Until I heard my mum shouting hello from the hall as she laid down crinkling plastic bags of shopping. We embarked…” Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.5 ‘Mosquitoes’
Author: Krystelle Bamford

from The House at Westerly, Rhode Island
The house was the sea.
Or a ship on the sea.
Or a deer-blind
deep in the woods.
From the deck, they watch bitterns
skulk at the hem of vernal pools,
while green-heads
bomb through the dusk.
Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.4 ‘Chicks Dig Scars’
Author: Katie Craig

I will never pull hair from a plug-hole without thinking of the ovarian cyst Celia had. It was made entirely out of hair and teeth – apparently that’s what cells find it easiest to mutate into… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.3 ‘Snow’
Author: Chloe Morrish

bare trees, a crow shape
neatly cut out of the snow
behind it, the dark

the snowflake symbols
on the weather forecast
are all identical…
Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.2 ‘Parallax (For Justin)’
Author: Helen Mort

From While You Weren’t Listening
I heard the glass
say to the tabletop:
I like the way you hold me.
I heard the table
answer back:
I like the way you feel.
The barstools
thanked the floor
for all the nights it propped them up…
Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.2 Iss.1 ‘The Ones You’ve Had, The Ones You Get & The Ones You Want’
Author: Lawrie Clapton

Excerpt: There are plenty of great ways to introduce a story; you can start with a death, like Albert Camus, or you can start with rainfall, like Edgar Allen Poe, or a wedding, or an introduction, or an elaborate pratfall, drunk, down a set of stairs. Being original and being clever were never my strong suits – besides it should probably be with what you remember best that you start off a story. I remember the songs the best. This song is My Generation, by The Who, and… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.10 ‘Vignettes from Below’
Author: Julia Boll

Excerpt: When the fires broke out, I was so high on endorphins I didn’t even notice the overwhelming stench of smoke. We had been sleeping on the roof of a warehouse, and Sean had woken me up by crawling into my sleeping bag and pushing up my shirt, his hair still smelling of the river, of oil and amphibian nightmares. But his hands were warm and insistent, and what he said was so filthy I momentarily forgot where we were.
So, yes. While the government set fire to its capital city, I was being fucked silly on top of the bonded store,…
Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.9 ‘Dreams of the City’
Author: Kirsti Wishart

Excerpt: The final straw was lying in wait for them on the doormat when they came back after a fortnight’s holiday. Both of them had taken turns trying to barge the door open until James brought out the thin wooden spatula Chris had laughed at him for taking. ‘See. Told you this would come in handy.’ After a good two minutes of shoving, the wad of paper jammed in the gap between door and floor, gave and… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.8 ‘The Island’
Author: Craig Bayne

Excerpt: As the plane descended through clouds, and geometric wisps of coastline opened up before us, I looked down, taking in the enormity of the bible-black sea. We lowered, and the sharp colourless rocks of the cliff edge swung into view, stabbing up from the breaking waves. When I was a child, my father told me stories of brave seamen who, having disrespected the water with boasts of their own brilliance, had been wrecked upon these very rocks and drowned only metres from the island’s shore. I believed him, in the way a child always believes his father, and even today the fear lingered in me. Looking down from the sky, I still felt my own inferiority to the waves. Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.7 ‘Old and New’
Author: Jason Harrison Morton

Excerpt: I then drank in relative peace, until the requisite thoughts when I’m alone in any crowded place kicked in: What the hell am I doing here? Who are these people? Look at that guy – he looks like a dick. Wandering around the room, stirring around these unanswerable questions, and arguing with myself – maybe he just LOOKS like a dick – brings me back round, and the two girls both look at me and laugh – this time I’m certainly being fucked with – when I realize they’re right in front of me… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.6 ‘The Last Refuge’
Author: Russell Jones

Excerpt: from Ghazal Jigsaw

From the small, closed window of our study table the stars are set
like the pieces of your space jigsaw. I ask if you’re any closer. The stars are set

you mutter as you slot another nook into the realised corner, and yet
you seem unsure which cosmos you’ve just pieced together. The stars are set

upon like foxes: your hands are hungry dogs. Your eyes are ready trumpets…Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.5.2 ‘Find It In The Dictionary’
Author: Fiona Morrison

Excerpt: dandelion, dan’di-li-en, n. a common yellow-flowered composite (Taraxacum officinale) with jagged-toothed leaves. [Fr. dent de lion, liontooth]

It was the first word she’d looked up in the dictionary and the first flower she’d ever picked. How the white whiskers that floated softly through the wind were anything like lions’ teeth she did not know. As she lay on the ground to reach the mass of white flowers that strained upwards to break free from the edge of the towering cliff, she had leaned in for the kill and blown them completely bare. All except one… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.5.1 ‘Cover Story’
Author: Dave Coates

Excerpt: from Train to London

I give you birchwood. I give you
the white flowers of hawthorn.
I give you witchhazel and alder
with sunlight strobing through their branches.
You give me the fuzz-yellow buzzcut fields,
heather like coral, gaps in stone walls, a scarecrow,
faces of cliffs like ellipses, the sea,
the sea…
Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.4 ‘The Cats’ Gravity’
Author: Jane Flett

Excerpt: Suddenly you realize that if you could dare to hold eye contact, you could begin anything. There are entire subways packed with people with whom that is all it would take; catch their eye and hold it tight in your fists, keep it. Once you have it they will follow you anywhere, perhaps, leap headfirst into clouds that smell of burnt hair and insanity, that curdle like plastic in flames. Can you feel the incredible surge of opportunities, multiplying ferocious and exponential like amoebas? Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.3 ‘Here’s To Wang’
Author: Sandra Alland

Excerpt: from Sliced

Amy Winehouse sits on a patio in Camden Town. She is drinking. Amy Winehouse is in love again

In the recording studio, the sound man sheds a tear. This woman can sing. She also has fresh scabs up and down her left arm…
Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.2 ‘The Succubus’
Author: Ericka Duffy

Excerpt: Annika absentmindedly inspects the tear in the center of the cushion. She trails her fingernails down it, feeling, abstractly, as though the vinyl is skin, and the sponge inside guts, when she notices a crumpled piece of paper wedged down the side of the booth. She pries it out. It resembles a white carnation before she smooths the page against the tabletop… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

Item Details: Vol.1 Iss.1 ‘The Wolves’
Author: David Gow

Excerpt: Arch couldn’t rest. There was a wolf on the mountain that took his grouse and killed his deer and sometimes came down murderously amongst his farmer’s sheep. It was not a real wolf but an animal descended from the dogs he’d turned out to die or go feral, so it was no mystery why it knew and despised him especially… Read more!

Amount: £2 + P&P

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, 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!!]

UltraChip vs Forest Colosure

December 6, 2010

You Lucky People!

Ultrachip VS Forest Closure Cover Art

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

Buy UltraChip vs Forest HERE

Steal Stories / Buy Forest

December 5, 2010

Save The Forest / Steal the Stories

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.


Description: Never, ever trust a writer. They cluck and nod and listen and then, three months later, they splash your tragedy/foolishness/very embarrassing incident involving a raspberry jelly and a pair of warm curling tongs over the tawdry pages of a literary quarterly. We feel there is no shame in this.

Quite the opposite: we believe this ugly fact deserves to be celebrated with all the pomp and hullaballoo we can possibly muster. Therefore we have compiled an anthology of the finest stolen stories, the anecdotes and overheard conversations that simply demand to be told. We feel that it is time to be honest.

This is where our ideas come from. Read more!


‘A good series of entertaining stories.’ [Nat Smith, The Skinny]

Interview at Books from Scotland

Featured Authors:

  • Applesauce, Angus Woodward
  • Down on Luck, Lindsay Bower
  • Not Dead Yet, Lily? Ron Butlin
  • A Tree Guards the Road, Lucille Valentine
  • Covers, Rusty Harris
  • One Story Only, Alison Miller
  • I Would Never Eat a Tapir, Sarah Salway
  • Suck, Blow, Lauren Simpson
  • Tandem, Dinh Vong
  • Not Even an Ambulance Can Save You, Jo Swingler
  • The Death Queue, Regi Claire
  • Story, Louis E. Bourgeois
  • Red Wagon, Nicole Reid
  • King of Kings (of Leon), Craig Bayne
  • What is it That You Want? Alison Key
  • Teehanu, Nick Holdstock

Support Forest / Buy Awesome Gifts!

December 4, 2010

Buy The Forest / Buy Books

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!

The Golden Hour Book (and CD) Vol. II



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

Words From

  • 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


Music From

  • Billy Liar, It Starts Here
  • Vadoinmessico, Cave
  • 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
  • Mammoth, Sunshine
  • 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
  • Chandra, Malaika
  • 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. ” –, Nov 2009

National Post

“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

The Beat Surrender, 18 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

A Reason To Help

December 2, 2010

Buy a Building, Save a Forest

(Skip the speech and just donate here?)

Didn’t think so — well, here goes.

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.

Donate Now?

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.

You’ll Donate Now, Won’t You? It does sound amazing, right?

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.

Please Donate as Generously as you Can

Not Convinced? — My, You are Tough!

Where else all of this: (Forest Press Pack)

Read the Guardian Blog for inspirational stories.

Watch this brilliant video.

Look at at what Claire Askew wrote on One Night Stanzas.

Visit the Forest Site to learn more / donate!