RAINBOW FIELDS IS HOME
Blog post, May 17 2013
I have been working towards getting ‘Rainbow Fields is Home’ (an account of spending the winter of 1984/85 as part of the occupation of the proposed cruise missile site at Molesworth, Cambridgeshire) properly published.
This is the latest version of the front cover, I think it’s just about there now. The image is rainbow flags flying at Molesworth on October 20th 1984, the day we had a memorial event for Caroline Taylor – peace activist and friend of many of us, who had died in a road accident just before the occupation began.
Here is the introduction, explaining how the book was written and finally brought to the point of publication [published November 1 2013]:
INTRODUCTION TO THE 2013 EDITION
Once it was all over, I got myself back to a quiet field near Glastonbury and, still living in the same tent as I had been using all winter, I spent a month feverishly writing. This book is the result. Twentyeight years later it needed remarkably little editing.
At the time, driven as I was to write it all down, I somehow assumed that I would find a publisher – that I would move seamlessly from writing to publishing, all as part of the same energetic process. It was not to be.
The book is not a novel, nor history, nor politics, nor any other neat category, though it might contain elements of all of these. And I was an unknown writer with too much hair and little or no credibility. Those publishers who did look at it returned my synopsis and sample chapters politely, with slightly more than a standard rejection slip but no desire to take on such an uncertain manuscript.
I visited a printers’ to check out how much it would cost to print it and publish it myself. The answer was at least £2,000 – at 1985 prices – which was impossible.
Eventually I found a way to produce the last chapter as a booklet, using electro-stencils and printing it on a Roneo duplicating machine. Inside the front cover it said, rather hopefully, that the booklet was being sold to raise the funds required to publish the whole story. At £1 each this would have taken a very long time.
However it did lead me to setting up Unique Publications, and to putting out a series of booklets – chronicling the Stonehenge campaigns of the mid-1980s, and then a variety of subjects related to my community activism in Glastonbury.
I hired a photocopier to print them on, and ended up running the town’s photocopy shop (using recycled paper) and establishing a business that, through several metamorphoses, has supported me ever since.
By 1992 I had acquired my first Apple Mac computer, and I could make a neater job of typesetting and page layout. I put together Rainbow Fields, on A4 pages but otherwise looking much the same as it does now, and printed two or three dozen loose-bound copies for distribution to friends and people who might take an interest; but it was never what you could really call ‘published’.
Twenty years further on, short-run print technology has developed to the point where it is possible for a business like mine to produce full-length books. Looking back at it all now, it was indeed the Roneoed publishing of The Last Night of Rainbow Fields Village at Molesworth that has led, by a convoluted and unexpected route, to my having the resources needed to publish Rainbow Fields is Home.
So here it is. It’s not in the style that I would write it in now, and the lifestyle it describes is not what I would choose to live for very long. I’m not the same person now, though a part of me still misses it all. And I think the book is still worth reading. I hope you think so too.