This I believe
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
Listen to Jim on NPR!
Introducing Jim Haynes:
"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...
Social networking with Jim
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
"Meeting Jim" A film about the ordinary journey of an extraordinary
man. Come and join us on this exciting adventure and give the film your
Come and enjoy the SPCO directed by conductor Michael Boone! The
new season will start with two concerts on September 23rd and 24th presenting
Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major and Dohnányi's Piano
Quintet No. 1 in C minor. Tickets for sale on September 1st. Download
the program here
and stay tuned!
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
-2016 N.738 The Prague Fringe Festival, a week
in good company enjoying the young and lively theatre festival...
-2016 "The Man who opened his house to strangers"
, an article by Keyvan Golestaneh published in the January online
edition of Expatriates Magazine. An interview on some keypoints of
Jim's life and activities in Paris...
-2016 N.737 What is instore for 2016, prospects and hints...
-2015 N.736 The San Sebastian Film Festival, a few days watching
movies and eating pintxos with friends...
with Jim in Paris!
Book your stay in Jim's downstairs room with Airbnb...
-2015 N.736 The San Sebastian Film Festival, a few days
watching movies and eating pintxos with friends...
-2015 Are we a nation of perverts? , an article by Auld
Sneekie published in the Times' Edinburgh Festival Diary, 20 Aug 2015.
"Jim Haynes made two enormous contributions to Edinburgh life
in the 1960s...
-2015 Lady Chatterley's Lover and Edinburgh, an
article by Allan Forster published on the Edinburgh City of Literature's
Website, 9 Sept 2015. When an elderly lady sets a book on fire at
-2015 N.735 The Edinburgh Festival, a great month with lots
of friends, theatre and books...
-2015 N.734 The Trip to Madrid, a week in the company of friends,
books, theatre and films...
FOR COMING! ENCORE! by Jim Haynes
a long awaited revised edition of Jim's memoirs, and also EVERYTHING
IS! by Jim Haynes a new edition of Jim's soft manifestos
for our time. And more to come! Get your copies now! ...
-2015An early update of Jim's "life" section covering
the year 2015 and quite a bit more ...
-2014 N.727 A quick trip to Amsterdam, to visit a few friends
and attend a great concert at the Concertgebouw...
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...
-2013 Interview: Traverse founder Jim Haynes: an article
by Neil Cooper, published in The Herald Scotland on 19 August
and writers in my life
an exhibition: 34 books and writers that have been important to
revisiting the catalogue of the Paris based publishing house...
If you want to order a few books, check the updated
book order form!
Haynes takes Henry Miller down memory lane
an article by Adam Biles in Ling Magazine, March, 2009
listen to Jim on NPR !
Broadcast on Monday, January 12th, 2009
an ongoing story, the facts
+ free recipes for you!
only a Rumor
read what they wrote about Jim