2016 is shaping up to be a huge year for us here at Faber Social. This continues with the announcement of Uprooted by Nina Lyon, a provocative and playful exploration of the Green Man, from an exciting new talent, published on March 3rd.
Who, or what, is the Green Man, and why is this medieval image so present in our precarious modern times?
An encounter with the Green Man at an ancient Herefordshire church in the wake of catastrophic weather leads Nina Lyon into an exploration of how the foliate heads of Norman stonemasons have evolved into today’s cult symbols.
The Green Man’s association with the pantheistic beliefs of Celtic Christianity and with contemporary neo-paganism, with the shamanic traditions of the Anglo-Saxons and as a figurehead for ecological movements, sees various paths crossing into a picture that reveals the hidden meanings of twenty-first-century Britain. Against a shifting backdrop of mountains, forests, rivers and stone circles, a cult of the Green Man emerges, manifesting itself in unexpected ways. Priests and philosophers, artists and shamans, morris dancers, folklorists and musicians offer stories about what the Green Man might mean and how he came into being. Meanwhile, in the woods, strange things are happening, from an overgrown Welsh railway line to leafy London suburbia.
Uprooted is a timely, beautifully written and joyfully provocative account of this most enduring and recognisable of Britain’s folk images.
Nina Lyon has worked in a Buddhist therapeutic community in Scotland, written contraband essays for cash in Berlin, and helps run the HowTheLightGetsIn philosophy festival near her home in Hay-on-Wye. Her essay ‘Mushroom Season’, inspired by youthful psychedelic misadventures and the mountains behind her home, was published by Random House in 2014 after being chosen as runner-up in the Financial Times/Bodley Head Essay Prize. She is currently completing a PhD about nonsense and metaphysics at Cardiff University.
***PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE – MARCH 8th***
We’re excited to announce a very special Faber Social in February. For a second year running we’re staging ‘The Language of Place’, a night of talks and music presented with our friends from Rockfeedback.
The line-up for the night does not disappoint. Confirmed so far are Will Self, Iain Sinclair, Nina Lyon, live music from The Memory Band, all from the beautiful location of St John on Bethnal Green Church.
Tickets are on sale now, and we look forward to seeing you all there.
Date: March 8th 2016
Address: 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9PA
Time: Doors 7.00pm | Show starts 7.30pm
On February 18 2016 Faber are proud to publish Small Town Talk by Barney Hoskyns, the true story of the town of Woodstock – the mythical home of 60s rock and inspiration for the legendary festival.
Think ‘Woodstock’ and the mind turns to the seminal 1969 festival that crowned a seismic decade of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But Woodstock itself was over 60 miles from the site to which the fabled half a million flocked. So why the misnomer? Quite simply, Woodstock was already a key location in the Sixties rock landscape, the tiny Catskills town where Bob Dylan had holed up after his 1966 motorcycle accident.
In Small Town Talk, Barney Hoskyns recreates Woodstock’s community of brilliant dysfunctional musicians, opportunistic hippie capitalists and scheming dealers drawn to the area by Dylan and his sidekicks The Band. Central to the book’s narrative is the broodingly powerful presence of Albert Grossman, manager of Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin and Todd Rundgren – and Big Daddy of a personal fiefdom in Bearsville that encompassed studios, restaurants and his own record label. Intertwined in the story are the Woodstock experiences of artists as diverse as Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield, Tim Hardin, Karen Dalton and Bobby Charles.
Drawing on first-hand interviews with the remaining key players in the scene, and on the period when he lived there himself in the 1990s, Hoskyns has produced an East Coast companion to his bestselling L.A. Canyon classic Hotel California – a richly absorbing study of a vital music scene in a revolutionary time and place.
Barney Hoskyns is the co-founder and editorial director of online rock-journalism library Rock’s Backpages (www.rocksbackpages.com), and author of several books including Across the Great Divide: The Band & America (1993), Waiting for the Sun: Strange Days, Weird Scenes, & the Sound of Los Angeles (1996), Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters & Cocaine Cowboys in the LA Canyons (2005) and Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits (2009). A former US correspondent for MOJO, Hoskyns writes for Uncut and other UK publications, and has contributed to Vogue, Rolling Stone and GQ.
(JP Bean with Joe Cocker)
Sadly, JP Bean, author of Singing from the Floor: A History of British Folk Clubs, died unexpectedly last Thursday.
Julian was a gregarious, generous man with a fantastic sense of humour. He was brought to Faber by Jarvis Cocker, who had been passed the manuscript of Singing from the Floor by their mutual friend Richard Hawley. As Jarvis put it, ‘When my friend Richard Hawley said he’d met “a man in a pub who had a book for me” I have to admit I was slightly dubious. But he was right. Singing from the Floor portrays an important movement in vernacular culture in the voices of the people who made it happen . . . JP has captured this moment before it is lost forever, and made it live again on the page. He’s a very clever chap.’
The book received rapturous reviews on publication – ‘definitive’, as Mojo described it – and Julian relished every second. He was a natural raconteur, and his events and readings were always something special.
Julian was an immensely popular author among the Faber Social team, and I have very fond memories of working with him. As just one example, I remember an exchange over a point of grammar – whether ‘a’ or ‘an’ should precede Ewan MacColl. ‘It’s the phonetic relationship that determines the article,’ I drily suggested, giving a couple of examples: ‘a yew tree’ and ‘a U-turn’.
‘What about the sheep?’ Julian immediately fired back. ‘Shepherds of my acquaintance (there are many in Sheffield)’ – I had no reason to doubt him – ‘don’t say, “I’m taking a ewe to market.” They’d lose their jobs.’
‘I would say, “I am taking a ewe to market,” if ever such an unlikely eventuality arose,’ I pompously replied.
Eventually, we agreed. But I shall forever cherish Julian’s mischievousness and good nature for his final say on the matter: ‘Just because you’re the top lad, grammatically, doesn’t mean you won’t ever need to sell a female sheep.’ Wise words. He will be much missed.
– Dave Watkins (Editor of Singing from the Floor)
Faber Social are happy to be celebrating the publication day of Billy Bragg’s new book A Lover Sings: Selected Lyrics.
Billy Bragg is one of Britain’s most distinctive and accomplished songwriters, whose work has articulated the passions, both personal and political, of Britain during the past five decades. A Lover Sings contains over seventy of his best-known lyrics, selected and annotated by the author.
A Lover Sings reveals a unique sensibility: principled and proudly of the Left, funny, forthright and tender. It is a remarkable collection. Click here to read Billy’s introduction featured in The Guardian.
Click here to order your copy today.
Faber Social are excited to announce the upcoming publication of Porcelain by Moby, coming June 2nd 2016.
One of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time comes a piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor, and unlikely success out of the New York City club scene of the late 1980s and 90s.
There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene of the late 1980s and early 90s, an era when dance music was still a largely underground phenomenon, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby-not just a poor, skinny white kid from deepest Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler, in a scene that was known for its unchecked drug-fueled hedonism. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City … And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated the end of things, in his career and elsewhere in his life, and he put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would be in fact the beginning of an astonishing new phase in his life, the multimillion-selling Play.
Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it and hating it. It’s about finding your people, and your place, thinking you’ve lost them both, and then, finally, somehow, when you think it’s over, from a place of well-earned despair, creating a masterpiece. As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short shelf of musicians’ memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age, and something timeless about the human condition. Push play.
‘Ten years of Moby’s life, mostly in the decrepit, dangerous, much-loved New York City of the 1990s, a life comically overcrowded, filthy, alcohol-fuelled, vegan, unbelievably noisy, full of spit and semen and some sort of Christianity; and often, suddenly, moving. The writing is terrific, enlivened by a deadpan humour that makes crazy sense of it all. His ancestor Herman Meville would, I think, be simultaneously revolted and proud.’ – Salman Rushdie
‘This is one of the funniest and most accessible books you’ll ever read about an erstwhile Christian/alcoholic vegan electronic music maker. Throughout the adventures and misadventures, Danish music festivals and Barbadan disasters, Moby manages to stay wide-eyed, grateful and amazed, which itself is a real gift to the reader: we feel welcome in—or just as out of place as he feels—in the world of rock and raves and clubs. He remakes the music world into the form it should be: nonexclusive, unpretentious, less about division and stratification, and more about radical inclusion. Music shouldn’t exist any other way.’ – Dave Eggers
Pre-order details coming soon.