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Save the Forest!

November 12, 2010

A friend of mine once remarked that while she had loved Edinburgh as a child, she felt it had changed when she returned to Scotland at 19 to start university. I argued, naturally, citing all the obvious defences: the Fringe, the UNESCO City of Literature status, the history, the live music, the pubs. The last time we visited the Burgh, discussing the trams, she conceded that Edinburgh had regained some of the ‘vibrancy’ she had enjoyed in younger days, that she might even go so far as to live there. I was taken aback — in over two years of close friendship, I had never gotten this close to winning an argument, even with over a year’s lapse in the discussion. Victory, it seemed, was within my clutches. I had gone from pauper to Princes Street.

Victory, however, was bittersweet. Not days before this conversation took place, one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets (perhaps too well-kept), the Roxy Art House, had announced its closure. I was gutted, not least because the Roxy employs — or has employed — three friends and acquaintances of mine. What’s worse for me personally is that, even with all the close friends I have in Edinburgh, living in St Andrews means that I had only set foot in the Roxy ONCE before  its demise. Now that’s just plain unfair. The evening in question was one of the most enjoyable I’ve had in the last four years; it was Caroline’s birthday, which as I’ve made clear in previous posts, is a big fucking deal. Also, the EP launch of Mayhew, a since-relocated band who I never got to know quite well enough to really love (but I bet I would have). So, with such a high standard set, I was eagerly awaiting my next adventure to the Roxy. (I was extra-grateful to them as my bag lived there unharmed for nearly a week when I forgot to take it with me, oops.) But alas, it closed, and the arts culture of Edinburgh silently wept.

Now, another of the city’s fine venues is under threat.

The Forest Cafe is a veritable hub of artistic wonderment, and even the Guardian will attest to that. This wonderful little place has played host to art exhibitions, theatre installations, readings, open mics and its own miniature arts festival, the Forest Fringe (and they do great deals on bottles of wine during the Festival). Not to mention that it gives its name to an independent Edinburgh-based publisher, Forest Publications, whose output is as varied as it is fantastically deranged, and whose monthly live night, The Golden Hour, has become almost a mecca for the young writers of Edinburgh. Guess where they hold it? THAT’S RIGHT, THE FOREST CAFE.

The cafe’s owners have gone into administration, meaning that the building will be put up for sale. The owners are desperately trying to raise enough money to buy it themselves, but THEY NEED YOUR HELP.

SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DONATE. Edinburgh’s arts scene, while thriving, will not be the same without the Forest and all the events it is home to.

I’ve donated. Why the hell haven’t you?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2010 1:59 pm

    The Forest is great and I’ve blogged and tweeted about saving it, just a minor point though, most of the time they don’t do great deals on bottles of wine, they’re not licensed for alcohol for most of the year (only during the Festival) so they charge corkage on the bottles you take in.

    • November 12, 2010 2:20 pm

      My mistake! On one of the occasions I was there (must’ve been during the festival), they did what seemed to me a great deal on bottles of wine. But still.

  2. Naomi permalink
    November 12, 2010 4:18 pm

    I heartily concur – and, just to add, they also have the cheapest (half decent) rehearsal space in Edinburgh, which I and most of the other people I know who are in bands + strapped for cash are very, very grateful for. Most of the alternatives either cost a fortune or are a good hour away from the centre, so the Forest really is a right wee gem. Naomi x


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