Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 15
The Sacred Couple
April 1976

I contend that Romanticism is one of the most dangerous "isms" of them all. Its essential ingredient and its basic premise is that somewhere there is a Princess, a Miss Perfect for every man and a Prince Charming, a Mr. Perfect for every woman. It predicates the couple as the height of achievement, the goal for everyone. Any one not yet one half a couple is simply someone who has not found his/her Mr./Miss Perfect, someone still adrift, someone to feel sorry for. This insidious conditioning is so prevalent, so widespread, so pervasive that it is never questioned. For centuries our poetry, songs, theatre, novels have all sung hymns to the couple. Today films, television, advertising - all media - accept the couple as the basic law of nature, the natural state for all normal humans. Therefore who dares speak ill of the sacred couple? Me, for one! For me the couple symbolizes and perpetuates all that is wrong with the world. The concept of property begins with the couple. The man owns the woman; she is his lady. The woman owns her man; she considers him to be her private property. Let any other woman attempt to be with her man, and she will scratch, bite, kill. Let any other man attempt to be with his woman, and he will fight to the death to protect his possession. The wedding ring is there to warn others. Stay away: I belong to somebody. Talk/touch/enter at your own risk...

Along with this concept of property, we have repressed curiosity, denied emotions, we have jealousy, loneliness, anxiety and pain. What are the benefits, if any?

Romanticism seems to be harder on the woman, but only slightly. It divides women into two rough categories: "good girls" and "bad girls". "Bad girls" make love and are called nymphomaniacs and/or prostitutes. "Good girls" don't make love, and are called pure. Men want to marry "good girls"; their virginity is marketable. The "good girl's" role is to wait for her Prince to come and take her away. Some wait their whole life away, reading romantic love stories. Suddenly they are old, their life over. They have not touched anyone, they have not shared intimacies, love, tenderness. "Bad girls" are abused by "good girls", men, and their own consciences. Men discount time spent with "bad girls". They feel ashamed of themselves. They should be with their wives or in pursuit of a wife. We are thus all short-changed. We are thus all cheated.

Romanticism and the couple create an us/them relationship. There is "us" - the couple and their children - and there is "them" - the rest of the world. With Romanticism, one can love only one person at a time. And when this love ends, it really ends. Often with a bang. Few romantics have anything nice to say about old lovers.

Can we do anything about "the sacred couple"? I feel we have an obligation to explore intellectually, and more important, actually with our own lives new ways of relating with each other. To begin with, I have re-defined the verb "to love". For me it means I respect you, I care for you, I want to share my time, life, energy with you. But not solely or exclusively with you only. Nor does it mean that I want to possess or to own another. I want my lovers to have other lovers who also care for them. Loving is a way of exploring another continent, another human being. Why limit love? Everyone could have many lovers. If I meet someone who I find interesting, warm, tender, loving I try to arrange for him/her to meet people I love. I wish to bring such people into their lives. My lovers introduce people to me they feel I might appreciate. There is no jealousy, no pettiness, no angry scenes, no competition. Instead there is peace, harmony, joy, mutual respect, and the prospect of an ever-expanding universe.

My "homes" have been open commune situations for the past fifteen years. No one owned another. Anyone could and did sleep with anyone else. Often three, four, or more slept together. Children were given time and energy by all, thus freeing the poor over-worked mother. The major problem in most commune experiments and the major reason they break down is the couple syndrome. People carry couple attitudes with them into a commune situation. A commune is by definition a sharing experience, but the essential element, one's self, is denied. There is nothing nicer than going to bed with two friends - no matter the sexual gender. Two men and a woman or two women and a man - both combinations are capable of producing fantastic erotic possibilities and permutations. It is a social encounter filled with joy, giggles. The couple believes that there is only so much love available, it is limited and scarce, and therefore must be guarded and rationed. I believe that there is an unlimited amount of love available, that it is information to be shared warmly, freely with as many people as one encounters. Love is an attitude, how you feel about yourself and others. We need to create new role models, new myths, new love songs, new ideals. Those of you who share this dream, we must begin to make movies, poems, theatre, stories to combat romanticism, violence and the couple. We must win back territory from the anti-life forces. If not, society will continue as it is with rape, sex murders, unhappy marriages, neurotic children, and a growing population in ever-expanding psychiatric hospitals. The world needs more romance and less romanticism...

"The Sacred Couple" is part of an untitled book in progress. Translated into French, it will appear in the magazine Sexpol in an issue devoted to the couple; Meanwhile Hello, I Love You! continues. It will have a third printing in English and in French; it is now in Italian. Re-titled Le Barricate Dell' Amore (for some strange reason), it is a semi-pirate edition. It bas been translated by a friend, Angelo Quattrocchi. The German- language edition is three-quarters translated (mainly by Adriane Elbrecht), and we hope to have it published before the next Frankfurt Book Fair (Sept 16-2lst). Anyone who would like to help translate a few pages into any language should contact me. The Spanish edition will probably follow the German one. Our printing and publishing company now has a large offset press and we solicit your printing business. We still plan to publish a notice-board magazine "Messages"; the first issue will be out soon. We will be pleased to send you copies. Can you help by contributing to our postage?

As reported in newsletter No 13, Jack Moore collaborated with Carolyn Carlson and the Opera of Paris to produce "Wind, Water, and Sand" (this past February). He bas been asked to help re-stage it this June. Recently I asked Jack to add a few words to a letter to Norma Moriceau in Australia about the production. His statement is worth re-producing here: "The gig at the Opera is beautiful/strange/frightening/silly/awe- inspiring/all of the above. A Jazz-Rock band, orchestra, operatic voices, VIDEO (50 foot screen), DANCE, MIME.... It is not what it could be, but then what is? I love working with the company and we will certainly do more things together. I have always maintained that video was poised halfway between theatre and film. Now I have a chance to prove it, I am finding that video is to film what live music concerts are to records; what jazz is to scored music, what the Living Theatre is compared to the Royal Shakespeare Company - a chance to improvise live, to "wing-it" with images. To play multi-media jams with a multi-discipline ensemble - to dabble in inner and outer, physical and metaphysical space and time. A sort of emotional and informational space-walk; for the first time I am in a position to live this as a working reality. I like it..."

Kontakt Gallery Director, Guy Schraenen, is organizing a Small Press Festival. It opens in his gallery in Antwerp in June, moves to Utrecht in August, then to Brussels in Sept. I plan to be involved... Humbert Camerlo intends to take approximateiy 200 street musicians around the USA this summer. (Fanfare music from the Beaux Arts) Maybe I will join them... Thanks to all of you who have posted me contributions to my so-called autobiography; they are great to read. It is fun and sad to walk down Memory Lane... My dear landlady bas stated that she will allow me to buy her/my atelier. Now all I need is to find the money. Anyone out there with some spare cash can (a) secure a place in Paradise and (b) a permanent corner in my atelier in Paris for only.... Nothing ventured, nothing gained... Summer plans still unsettled. Maybe USA, maybe Eastern Europe; maybe Tunisia. Lotfi Belhassine and Colin Gravois have invited me to participate in the Tabarka Festival which they organize. Maybe I stay most of the summer in dear Paris. Still I have a crazy desire to go to Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Belgrade, Bucarest, Istanbul and Athens... I hear via friends that Norma Moriceau will be returning to Europe in May, so my trip to Australia to "star" in her movie will be postponed I suppose. Still I have met so many lovely women from Australia lately it might be worth a trip to see just what does go on out there... Channel 83 - our basement cable television station organized by Videohead Lenny Jensen - now has five outlets, and continues to expand. Today Alesia; tomorrow the world!...

Believe it on not my newsletters are read by a strange mix in all corners of the world, and the feedback is superb! From London to Melbourne, from San Francisco to Sydney, from Stockholm to Buenos Aires, and from Paris to Peking. Hello, out there! I hope you all are well, happy, in good spirits, and have many lovers. Life is so quickly over. We must live always on the edge. I hear from time to time that someone has died, 'but I cannot be overly sad at the news. We are all dying - all of us - all of the time. Someone said recently that "Life is a terminal case." But there is no need to be sad about this. It is so, and so what! I am determined to live, to be happy, to smile, to he open to the world, to love, to laugh, to explore, to grow, to evolve, to contribute my time, my energy, to be, no matter what...

0K? Love from Jim in Paris...

 

 
Jim Haynes
April 1976

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris

 

 

 

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