THE GOLDEN HOUR “Book ii” (Forest Publications)
Well, the book is kind of quiet unless you read it out loud, but 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. The next day you have no idea where that tent is, and don’t want to in case it ruins the magic of the previous day. That’s how it sounds, only on a CD and the names of the people are written in the book attached so you can google them all.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
The Golden Hour is a monthly cabaret night held at The Forest Cafe in Edinburgh which gives space for writers and musicians to mingle and meet and perform to the world. This book and CD is a record of some of the contributors, their poems, stories and songs. I went to The Forest Cafe when I last went to the Fringe and it ended up being the place I hung the most as it seemed to be one of the only places I could shelter from the self congratulating ego wanking that was going on around me, everyone faking smiles that were showing cracks at the edges. I’m not surprised this book and CD is a product of this bastion of warm reality.
WE’LL DO THE CD FIRST
The CD is full of the type of music you expect to hear coming from a small stage, not overly produced and made with instruments that can be easily carried. The sounds and songs that emerge from your speakers are all well crafted and played with obvious passion and hunger, with each track being stamped with an individual personality. With over 20 contributors, including the likes of Billy Liar, Withered hand, Skeleton Bob, Johnny Berliner, Chandra and The Black Diamond Express amongst others( A massive embarrassment of treasures) you may find something you don’t like ( I personally find the Tuberians contribution, ‘Tuberians Have landed’ makes me want to donate my ears to a vivisection lab), but I can almost guarantee that your new favourite song is contained within, waiting to be discovered (with me it is ‘Women’ by Robin Grey, mainly because he sums up most Hip-Hop songs that have been made in two sharply written verses beautiful in their simplicity and wit).
WE’LL DO THE BOOK NOW
Now I have to say that reviewing the book was a task I did not relish. Normally I can do the dishes, or beat off, or sew up the holes in my socks, or get on with any of the other small tasks that fill up my day from waking to unconsciousness whilst listening to the music I’m reviewing, but a book is different. A book is something that requires your complete attention, often silence and an open fire, or a bowel movement. And reading a book that is awful because you have to would be excruciating, but while reading the first story in this compilation, ’When We Were Broke’ by Erika Duffy, all of my fears and worries melted away, in fact everything melted away. It 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. Suffice to say I read on with a relish. 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 of 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. Other contributors include Claire Askew, Spencer Thompson, Alan Gillis and Russell Jones, again there are many more for you to discover and enjoy. All in all this collection is a superb little package that you will return to over and over, highly recommended.
WHERE ARE THEY? http://forpub.com/
REVIEWED BY CHRIS WATSON
"A Bookish Christmas Gift Guide"
For… flat sharers again!
The hunt for writers who make immediate impressions is frustrating, especially when each ‘potential’ turns into another lost gamble and one becomes brackish and disinclined to try anything new. But then, one nonchalantly (serendipitously?) picks up a book and perhaps because expectations don’t exist, or perhaps because hope is absent, or perhaps simply because the book is good, its prose holds your hand, or makes your throat constrict, or just that one line makes you smile randomly on the bus. Such is The Golden Hour II – a collection of short stories, poetry and music (20 track CD included), produced and published by Edinburgh’s Forest Cafe – which amongst its many other endeavours and initiatives, fosters the artistic teeth cutting ceremony of the Golden Hour (every Wednesday, 8 -11pm). The book features contributions from 36 artists who’ve featured at the Golden Hour, such scope ensuring that at least one piece of prose will resonate. Highlights include Spencer Thompson’s Pancake, am I a barstard? and Kona Macphee’s Fen Train whose lilting, old fashioned rhyme scheme belies it sharp edge. So, to those weary and wary book hunters, the reluctant gamblers and the open hearted, pick up TGHII, it’s a sure bet.
Out now, published by Forest Publications. Cover price £8 – see forpub.com/goldenhourbooktwo/
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