The Network is No More

Slightly heavy heart today, though considerably lighter shoulders; the Underminers Network – the discussion board, that is – is no more. I had a reminder from my domain provider today that network.underminers.org was due for renewal, which meant I had to make a decision: do I try and promote the Network more, or do I remove it? In fact I had made the decision a while ago. The lack of activity showed that people are unwilling to discuss undermining online, or at least in the dated forum format. There is lots going on elsewhere and, I would be willing to bet, a heck of a lot happening offline, a.k.a. The Real World.

And there was the matter of people trying to sell Nike shoes by registering and posting adverts.

So, just a short while ago, I went to the board to find that Zetaboards had decided to move everything over to Cloudflare (buggered if I know what this means IRL) killing off my domain redirection. In a fit of logic, I removed the subdomain, took off any links from other sites and deleted the board from Zetaboards. The Underminers Network is gone.

Long may people continue to undermine; I suspect something big is happening soon…

10k and Running

Or rather walking. After setting myself a modest target of 2000 words a week, to allow for all the other stuff I find myself doing, it’s with some satisfaction that I find the Novel with No Name has passed the 10,000 word mark. It was a real struggle to go beyond the short story, and I’ve found myself in quite a few sticky situations along the way – both literal and narrative.

As it happens, the story is has turned into a bit of a quest, and I’m quite relieved to find the main protagonist no longer alone. But that’s all I’m giving away – it could be a good meeting, or a bad one. They may stay together or be parted in some way; and there may be more, or not. That’s the joy of writing without a plot; I don’t know what’s coming next.

At some point I may post a teaser here, that’s if I get enough encouragement :)

A Fictional Start

almost

A few months ago I was asked to write something creative for a new web project and decided I would try a little bit of fiction. This wasn’t entirely new, I had dabbled with poetry and, well before writing Time’s Up! wrote something called A Last Toast to the Old World, which ended up being the Epilogue to that book.

The very short story I ended up writing was called Wound, which had two meanings – one related to harm, the other to the concept of time. You can read it here if you really want to, but I know it’s not terribly good. Two reasons I know: first, it didn’t make me cry. Not long after writing A Last Toast… I read it out at a meeting, I think it was a Dark Mountain event, and the first time I ever met Paul Kingsnorth. At the last paragraph I started to choke up, and almost couldn’t read the final words.

This isn’t ego, I must add. Writing fiction is something I do very little of because, although I think I can, it takes a huge emotional investment. Those tears are in reliving the moment of writing – the unfolding of lives in a deeply meaningful way, at least to me. If I don’t feel an emotional tug when reading things back then I know it’s not working.

The second reason I knew the short story wasn’t very good is because a dear friend of mine told me so. I trust her judgement implicitly. It moved me a little, but it was immature; not the complete package by any means.

So, when I decided to embark on longer writing in order to try and express ideas in a slightly different form than my previous work,  it was with a fair amount of trepidation. I had, and still have, an idea for a semi-autobiographical novel – that stays in the bag for now. There was also another idea, about a world that is now, but a culture that is not; about potential loss and the need to prevent it; about still having time, something we have so little of now.

That was to be the short story, as practice for the novel. I wrote it. I showed it to a few people and they liked it. They wanted to know how it carried on.

You won’t get to see that story, at least not for a while.

But you know how ideas take on a life of their own? That short story, which is complete in its own way, is now becoming a novel. I don’t know whether it will work in the longer form, but I’m 5000 words in and getting the hang of it, and rather excited as to what will happen to my main protagonist…

Statement About Amazon

Dear Reader

Today I removed all links to Amazon Corporation from this website. It was like flicking a particularly irritating imp from my shoulder and kicking it out of the door. It’s still out there, grinning and rubbing its hands together and, if I listen hard enough I can hear its execrable voice squeaking, “I still have all your readers, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

It’s time to silence the imp for good. On behalf of independent book stores everywhere, writers who have decided to devote themselves to a cause or just the love of writing, readers who want to reject the most virulent corporate cancer in the publishing world, and anyone who prefers “Small is Beautiful” over “Big is Best”, I am going further.

Today I will be contacting the publishers of both Underminers and Time’s Up! and asking them to do everything in their power to remove the listings of those books from every Amazon database, and cease sales of those titles through Amazon Corp. and its regional equivalents.

I may not succeed, but I will have done my best. It is still my desire to ensure as many people as possible get to read these books, which is why I have always offered online equivalents to read on web pages or downloadable text. But I appreciate that many people, like me, love the tangible quality of the book – its feel in the hand; the sound of turning leaves and echo of a dialogue between author and reader; even the smell of the book, the memories of its last resting place, resident in the fibres of every open page.

You deserve that choice: new, used, old, infirm and falling to pieces, or cherished on a shelf waiting for the next reader to come along and see what is inside.

Can I ask that we make a deal? I will do what I can to de-Amazon my books; and you, please tell everyone not to use this corporate behemoth, and give the little people, the people who are like us, a chance.

Yours

Keith Farnish

Author and Campaigner

Update 28 June: My publishers have responded and are trying their very best, but hamstrung by the wholesalers, who have no qualms about selling to Amazon because they are also massive companies. However, UIT have withdrawn “Time’s Up!” from direct sale via Amazon Advantage, which is a start…

Signed Books Available

underminers_click_here
I have a limited number of signed copies of Time’s Up! A Guide to Subverting The Machine available. The book can be signed with any message you like (so long as I agree with its sentiments), and posted to anywhere you like.

The cost is just £10 + postage (cost depends on distance). If you are interested in a copy then please contact me via the Contacts Page, tell me where you live and I’ll give you the total cost and how to pay.

Go on, you know you want to :)

Resisting Together : Full Programme Announced

It is with great pleasure that I can now provide the full programme for the Resisting Together event, taking place just over a week away in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland (as if you didn’t know where Edinburgh is). It has taken a huge amount of effort to pull this programme together, so it would be great to have a packed room listening to interesting people, taking about the present and the future, and most important, prepared to act as a result of what they have experienced.

Full details of the event are on the special Resisting Together page; it is very important to book ahead using the online form so we know how many people are coming along and whether to allow people entry on the door – we may well run out of space the way things are going.

See you there!


Full Programme

Introduction by Sandi Hunter

DIVERSITY OF TACTICS
Adam Herriott & Lou Dudley

Adam Herriott has worked as a Parliamentary Manager for the legislators organisation GLOBE International/UK. He has been involved in Transition Brixton and Edinburgh. He has volunteered at a number of organic farms and intentional communities around the UK, and also lived at an eco intentional community in SW Wales. He has studied Permaculture with a particular interest in People Care. He is the Deep Green Resistance UK coordinator and is involved in anti-nuclear and anti-biofuels campaigns in and around Bristol. He currently works for a local organic veg box scheme in Bristol.

Lou has been a member of DGR for nearly a year now. She studied environmental education and science. She has worked with UNESCO on a local Biosphere reserve in the past, amongst other things. Lou is currently
involved with local food resilience and local currency campaigns.

TRANSITION
Eva Schonveld

Eva Schonveld has been involved in community work for many years. She was an enthusiastic founder member of the local Transition group in her home town, and helped set up community food growing spaces and a local market there. She also had the opportunity from 2009-11 to support communities around Scotland who wanted to use the Transition approach, and still loves to do so given the chance! She’s passionate about the need to build a resilient, fair and truly sustainable food system and is now working for Fife Diet, a local eating project.

EARTH FIRST!
Indra Donfrancesco

Indra’s been with Earth First! for over 20 years, an activist for 25 years and an Anarchist her whole life. Involved with anti-motorway camps in the 90’s, countless other environmental campaigns, arrested 9 times including by the Counter Terrorism Unit, raided and infiltrated. Indra, a single mum, studied Social History in Brighton, became a development worker, started a pirate radio station and an activist sailing co-op. Still deeply passionate and entrenched in the Environmental movement, she now supports eco Housing co-ops where she lives in Derbyshire.

SALMON AND CIVILIZATION
Arthur Sevestre

A piece of paper says I’m a Master of Science, specialised in ecology and environmental biology. My heart says I didn’t really learn about ‘nature’ until I immersed myself in it to try and become one with it. Sevestre means ‘of the woods’. Born in overdeveloped Holland, I’m on my way back to the woods. I moved to Skye in 2008 and am trying to help build a permaculture woodland community. Being part of a community is to defend it, and the community where I live needs urgent defending against, amongst many other things, salmon farming.

COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
Alastair McIntosh

Alastair McIntosh is a Scottish writer, academic and activist.He was brought up in Leurbost on the Isle of Lewis and now lives in Govan. He is involved with Scottish land reform especially on Eigg, where he helped establish the Isle of Eigg Trust, and campaigned successfully against the Harris superquarry in Lingerbay. He is a fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology, an Honorary Fellow of the Schumacher Society, and helped to set up the Govan based GalGael Trust, an organisation which provides learning experiences anchored in practical activities that offer purpose and meaning to less socially advantaged people.

Alastair will lead a discussion on Community Resilience after his talk

UNDERMINERS – BOOK LAUNCH
Keith Farnish

Keith Farnish is a writer, volunteer and activist who, in a former life, was economically viable. He lives in southern Scotland with his wife and two children, making, growing, organising, listening, talking and being. His first book, “Time’s Up! An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis” was put online for free in 2008, and published in 2009. His second book, “Underminers” was completed in October 2012 and, again, put online for free in the expectation that no publisher would be brave enough to touch it. Unexpectedly, it was released by New Society Publishers in 2013.

NEXT STEPS : ACTS OF RESISTANCE
A floor discussion facilitated by Sandi Hunter

Sandi is a long-time activist, campaigner and mother of two fully-grown people, who has recently cast off her settled existence for a possession-light life somewhere in Britain. Originally from South Africa, she was until very recently an inhabitant of Edinburgh. Sandi is the founder of non profit organisation Green Nation UK, who’s main objective is to purchase land in the UK to rewild as well as set up co-sufficient communities.

The event will be followed by a drink and a meal for those who wish to explore the social side of Edinburgh and carry on talking…

Interview with Rob Kall of OpEdNews

A few weeks ago the culmination of even more weeks of communication finally resulted in me being interviewed by Rob Kall. Some of you may know Rob, who is the editor in chief of OpEdNews, an excellent repository of original and reposted items ranging from the mildly political to the kind of things writers etc. like me post.

The interview took the best part of 2 hours, carried out over Skype (Rob is in Pennsylvania, I’m in Scotland) and so was bound to have a few problems. So, there was my coughing fit as I was recovering from a cold, a phone call that wouldn’t stop ringing, the complete drop-out of the connection, quite a few crumbly bits from Rob’s end and a few clanks and grinds as I moved things about. The recording was made using a Zoom H2 perched on my laptop next the the speakers relaying Rob’s questions; it was edited over the last two days by me, using Audacity, the free sound editor from Sourceforge.

Phew!

So here’s the recording – warning, it’s 1 hour and 40 minutes, but I think we ended up drawing quite a few new and interesting strands from the ongoing dialogue…

MP3 Download Link (40MB)

You can also stream the interview, and embed it by going to The Internet Archive.

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