Every week for the past 30 years, I've hosted a
Sunday dinner in my home in Paris. People, including total strangers,
call or e-mail to book a spot. I hold the salon in my atelier, which used
to be a sculpture studio. The first 50 or 60 people who call may come,
and twice that many when the weather is nice and we can overflow into
Every Sunday a different friend prepares a feast. Last week it was a philosophy
student from Lisbon, and next week a dear friend from London will cook.
People from all corners of the world come to break bread together, to
meet, to talk, connect and often become friends. All ages, nationalities,
races, professions gather here, and since there is no organized seating,
the opportunity for mingling couldn't be better. I love the randomness.
I believe in introducing people to people.
I have a good memory, so each week I make a point to remember everyone's
name on the guest list and where they're from and what they do, so I can
introduce them to each other, effortlessly. If I had my way, I would introduce
everyone in the whole world to each other.
People are most important in my life. Many travelers go to see things
like the Tower of London, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and
so on. I travel to see friends, even - or especially - those I've never
In the late '80s, I edited a series of guidebooks to nine Eastern European
countries and Russia. There were no sights to see, no shops or museum
to visit; instead, each book contained about 1,000 short biographies of
people who would be willing to welcome travelers in their cities. Hundreds
of friendships evolved from these encounters, including marriages and
This same can be said for my Sunday salon. At a recent dinner, a 6-year-old
girl from Bosnia spent the entire evening glued to an 8-year-old boy from
Estonia. Their parents were surprised, and pleased, by this immediate
There is always a collection of people from all over the globe. Most of
them speak English, at least as a second language. Recently a dinner featured
a typical mix: a Dutch political cartoonist, a beautiful painter from
Norway, a truck driver from Arizona, a bookseller from Atlanta, a newspaper
editor from Sydney, students from all over, and traveling retirees.
I have long believed that it is unnecessary to understand others, individuals
or nationalities; one must, at the very least, simply tolerate others.
Tolerance can lead to respect and, finally, to love. No one can ever really
understand anyone else, but you can love them or at least accept them.
Like Tom Paine, I am a world citizen. All human history is mine. My roots
cover the earth. I believe we should know each other. After all, our lives
are all connected.
OK, now come
"Begin life in Louisiana, pass early teens in Venezuela, three years
in a boarding school in Atlanta, attend university in Louisiana (L.S.U.
and Tulane), do military obligation and in 1956 settle in Scotland.
Attend the University of Edinburgh, start The Paperback Bookshop &
Gallery (1959), The Howff (1961), a folk-song club, the Traverse Theatre
(1963), co-organize The Writers' Conference (1962) with John Calder and
Sonia Orwell, the Drama Conference (1963) with John Calder and Ken Tynan
and participate in the creation of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Move to 'swinging London' in 1966 and there co-create the London Traverse
Theatre Company with Charles Marowitz, Michael Geliot, and Ralph Koltai.
Co-launch the newspaper "I.T." (with Barry Miles, John Hopkins,
Jack Moore, and Michael Henshaw), the Arts Lab mixed-media space (with
Jack Moore, David Curtis, Biddy Peppin, Pamela Zoline and others). Producer
by now of over 250 theatre shows I am awarded The Whitbread Prize in 1966.>>
Jim's life in the Theatre
My first theatrical experience was a T.S. Eliot play (I think The Cocktail
Party) in Shreveport, Louisiana way back in the 40s. I was knocked out.
In the 1950s, I managed to see South Pacific, Porgy and Bess and other
In 1956, when I moved to Edinburgh, my theatre-going activities increased.
Thanks to Edinburgh's Gateway Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre, touring productions
at the King's Theatre (another production of South Pacific and John Osborne's
Look Back in Anger) and every August the Edinburgh Festival. Glasgow,
an hour away, had the Citizens Theatre. Plus many trips to London's West
End. On a brief trip to New York City in 1959, thanks to Fifi Sigg, managed
to catch the off-Broadway production of The Three Penny Opera with
In the 1957 Edinburgh Festival, after attending Ugo Betti's Corruption
in the House of Justice, I stopped my Volkswagen in the Royal Mile
and asked three people, who I had noticed earlier sitting near me in the
theatre, if they would like a ride...
How to make the gods laugh: tell them your plans! Nevertheless I hope
the future includes my continuing to live here in my Paris atelier, travelling
to see friends, writing newsletters and books, hosting friends, organizing
the Sunday dinners, and enjoying every minute of life. For me, happiness
is an intellectual concept, and I decided years ago to be happy. In spite
of (and because of) everything, I love life. It has been good to me, and
I hope that I have been good to it.
young Jimmy Haynes
The Sunday Dinners
In the early 70s launch with Cathy Sroufe (now Monnet), a Sunday salon
chez moi. It takes place, rain or shine, every Sunday evening from 20h00
to 23h00 - except for two or three weeks in August. To attend, write,
email or call to have your name added to the guest's list
a new musical review by Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink at the
Theatre Déjazet, opening night on August 28th.
Come and join the SPCO conducted by Michael Boone! A new season of
concerts, starting with Dvořák and Suk, on 26 & 27 Sept
2014 at the Institut Finlandais, in central Paris! Read more and book
Throw a Great Party, the cook book inspired by Jim's Sunday
dinners, has been published.
Get your copy here!
Read more about the Cook
Our kitchen-table publishing house, Handshake Editions, continues.
Founded in 1980, we publish small print-runs. >>
I also write and publish newsletters, pamphlets and books. >>
The A2 Gallery hosts small exhibitions of paintings and photographs. >>
From time to time, the atelier is transformed into a performance space
for theatrical and other events.
One of my favorite activities is to travel to visit friends and lovers.
I also travel to further projects and to meet new friends and lovers.
Favorite destinations are festivals. Over the years I have attended dozens
of festivals and conferences. And I like going back to the same festival
year after year. I have attended The Edinburgh International Festival
a musical review by Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink
backed by four great musicians is opening on Aug 28th at the Theatre
Déjazet in Paris...
-2014 N.726 Summer 2014 report,a look on the recent past and
a glimpse of the future, alive and kicking...
Room -2014 Jim Haynes: priklausomybė nuo valgymo drauge,
an article in Lithuanian by Aurimas Zdanavičius, published in
mogus dėė, Vilnius, March 2014...
Newsletters -2014 N.725 Five Days in San Sebastian, a short
stay in the Basque country with Jone Karres and her friends...
watch the trailer of this documentary movie about Jim Haynes,
directed by R.A. Rebetez, produced by Ellektra Pictures and Angela
Spörri, and order your copy...
life -2013An early update of Jim's "life" section
covering the year 2013 and quite a bit more...
-2013 N.724 A Look Back on 2013, a quick recollection of a
rather good year...
-2013 N.723 A quick December trip to Barcelona: a visit to
see friends and The Surrender in Barcelona...
Room -2013 Interview: Traverse founder Jim Haynes: an article
by Neil Cooper, published in The Herald Scotland on 19 August