Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 51
FESTERING IN EDINBURGH
14 September, 1982

Another Edinburgh Festival has come and gone. Not sure how many I have attended since my first in 1957. And as always, I enjoy myself. Always great to see old friends and to meet new ones. This newsletter will contain several "documents". One, an article for the "Festival Times". My second evening in Edinburgh in Julian Bannerman's new restaurant. Lucinda Juliet Bredin approaches and asks me if I would write a short essay of some 800 words and have it in their office the next morning. The slightly edited results are here.(The headline is not accurate. Alas I an not a Professor of Sexual Politics, I am an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Anglo-American Studies and from time to time I teach a course in sexual politics.)

Victoria Radin's Festival Diary appeared in the London "Observer". I have excerpted part of it that relates to yours truly. Victoria and I wandered about Edinburgh for several days and It was great to be with her. I fear that the quote "thank God, thank God" suggests that I was pleased the play I did not see with her was lousy. I did not mean it in that way. Maybe if I had attended the performance I would have liked it. It simply means that I am glad that I did not go. Time Is so precious and one cannot see everything. One has a tendency to listen to the advice of others. But I am never pleased to say that something is "bad". All I can say: "I did not enjoy it but maybe you will." Thank you, Victoria, for your kind remarks...

The Traverse Milestones was written by George Kerevan. Fairly accurate. But again my quote "creeping professionalism" is a bit misleading. Too long and too complicated to explain here. Suffice it to say my resignation had more to do with sexual politics than anything else. I am pleased that George used the first production in my old Paperback Bookshop to mark the beginning of the Traverse. I, myself, always considered the Traverse began with this production. But the next 'Traverse' location - 369 High Street - was left out. Another long and complicated story, but I co-produced several events there for the 1961 festival and this venue must be included in any Traverse history.

I hope to include another document, but I suspect there will not be room. While going through some of my papers stored in Dan Topolski's basement, I found a 1963 Festival Fringe program. There were 39 venues listed. My how the fringe has grown. For many people the fringe is the festival. I must say I am very proud of the fringe and my tiny role in its evolution.

For those of you who do not know, there are five festivals going on in Edinburgh at the same time:
(1) the "official" festival, directed now by John Drummond and assisted by old associate in many ventures, Sheila Colvin. The official festival receives financial support from the Arts Council, the city of Edinburgh, etc and concerns itself with the opera productions, "serious" music and some theatre. This year I managed to see Andrei Serban's Molière farces. (Andrei and I taught summer school in Granna, Sweden way back in 1969).
(2) Then there is the "fringe". Hundreds of independent companies who invest their own money and energy and manage to produce theatre, dance, opera, mime, musical events, exhibitions, etc etc. I tried to see many, but it is not possible to see them all. There are simply too many. I did enjoy Juliet Cadzow's performance of three Dario Fo's one-acts, Roy Hanlon and the 7:84 theatre ,company's "Men Should Weep"(which I saw my last night with Jane MacAllister, Suzy Vaughan-Salter, and Tom Melly). Also two Traverse productions: "The Boys in the Backroom" by Andrew Dallmeyer and Lee Breuer's "A Prelude to Death in Venice". Andrew Dallmeyer's "Hello Dali" superbly performed by Neil Cunninghan (Over the years I have had the pleasure of having "tea" with Salvadore Dali and found Nell's performance captured Dali perfectly. I suspect that Dali himself would love to see Neil's efforts.).. And Jonathan Moore's "Treatment" excellent! I also enjoyed Geoff Moore and Robin Williamson's production, the Nancy Cole homage to John Lennon, Roger McGough/Brian Patten "The Mouthtrap", (I recorded a Robert Frost poem for them, the one about two roads in a yellow wood.)
There were lots of other fringe shows that I enjoyed and many more I wanted to see but did not find the time to catch them.
(3) Next there is the Film Festival directed by Jim Hickey. I managed to see three or four outstanding films; "The Enemy" directed by Zeki Oklen, "Highway 40 West" directed by Hartmut Bitomsky, "Burden 0f Dreams" directed by Les Blank. I met Les Blank at this year's Cannes Film Festival and wanted to see his movie there, but was not able. Therefore pleased to be able to catch it in Edinburgh. I talked with Hartmut Bitomsky after his screening and found him to be as nice as his film.
(4)There is a very large Jazz Festival going on in all corners of the city but I did not manage to catch many performances. (And I have heard that the October's Warsaw Jazz Jamboree is cancelled. And I had hoped to attend.)
At last, (5) there is a television festival. It is not open to the general public. Still I was able to meet many delegates at the George Hotel bar and at the Granada TV annual reception in the Signet Library; Gus Macdonald, Ernie Eban, Jim Hodgetts, Geoffrey Cannon, Steve Morrison, Keith Richardson, Eleanor Stephens, and many others. For me the festival is people. This is the best part. Every year I meet hundreds. Hooray for people. They are more fun than anything!

Before I end this I would like to thank my host, Scott Griffith, for his kindness. And everyone at Ricky Demarco's gallery! And Cafe Rat's Zoe Miller, David Stewart and Victoria Bernato (where I lunched almost everyday) And Rona Jacobs (exchanging my books for her soap), Herzmark (who I hope will be successful in making a Dance Centre), and last but not least those Edinburgh ladies who "bundled" with me to keep away the Edinburgh cold... I hope there is room for my so-called documents...

Love and hugs from Jim in Paris until we next meet.


TRAVERSE MILESTONES

FESTIVAL 1960 Hume's DIALOGUE CONCERNING RELIGION initiates audience - intimate plays in the PAPERBACK BOOKSHOP run by American refugee JIM HAYNES. (Bookshop subsequently demolished for a University car park).

FESTIVAL 1962 HAYNES and TERRY LANE look for a site for year-round Fringe Centre. In October 1962 TOM MITCHELL's James Court flat (a former brothel) becomes first Traverse with space for sixty seats.

JANUARY 1963 Traverse opens with HUIS CLOS by Sartre and TERRY LANE as artistic director: "Traverse Theatre is in fact a stage which traverses the audience… everything which happens on the stage is at once life-size and more colourful as a result of the close proximity of the players".

JANUARY 1964 JIM HAYNES artistic director, expands activities: debates, poetry. folk music, RICHARD DEMARCO initiates exhibition to promote new artiste.

JUNE 1966 HAYNES resigns because of "creeping professionalism" I GORDON McDOUGAL artistic director: policy of revivals. Nude actress in MASS IN F excites Councillor Kidd to try and revoke Corporation grant of £350.

MARCH 1968 MAX STAFFORD-CLARK artistic director: "our primary Job is to show Edinburgh audiences avant-garde theatre".

MARCH 1969 Traverse chairman NICHOLAS FAIRBAIRN and Arts Minister JENNIE LEE open present Traverse in Grassmarket. Traverse now a professional operation dependant on public subsidy.

FEBRUARY 1970 MIKE RUDMAN artistic director. Traverse established as a venue for actors and touring companies of international reputation.

MAY 1973 MIKE OCKRENT artistic director. Highlights many non-British plays and premieres new translations of both modem and classic European dramas.

NOVEMBER 1975 CHAIS PARR artistic director. Traverse becomes showcase for new Scots writers such as TOM McGRATH (The Hard Man) and JOHN BYRNE (The Slab Boys).

1981 PETER LICHTENFELS artistic director. Policy to do new plays with an emphasis on women writers and Scots writers; to bring international companies to the Traverse and tour Traverse plays internationally.


 

 

 

 

Festival Times /26
August-1 September 5

Jim Haynes,
Professor of Sexual Politics in the University of Paris VIII,
returns again to meet old friends and make new ones.

 

 

The alarm goes off at 7 a.m. Painfully cut off and reset it for 8. Crawl back into bed between two beauties (the housing situation in Paris is desperate. Like everywhere else, there are compensations. however). The next time the alarm rings, lump into action. Edinburgh calls. The train leaves the Gare du Nord at 11.15 and I still must pack. Quick shower, dress, and throw some items into a bag. Paula makes Scots porridge for the occasions. At 9.30 kiss her, Pamela, Maria and Gillian goodbye and head for the metro. Sit next to a jazz musician from St Louis who asks me about the scene in Paris. I tell him it is August and everyone is away and suggest that he come to Edinburgh. He decides to go to Copenhagen instead. I give him and his lady friend my telephone number. Call me in September.
On the train I listen to my Sony Walkman and watch the green countryside roll by. While waiting to board the hovercraft at Boulogne-sur-Mer, I meet a beautiful woman: she also has a Walkman but no cassettes. I suggest she plug into mine. In this way we ride into Charing Cross Station. It is strangely erotic. But I must continue northward: Edinburgh calls. I give her some Edinburgh telephone numbers in case she might like to be festive.
Call Bettina Jonic and invite myself to tea. Bettina starred in the 1963 (1964?) production of Happy Ends on the Fringe that I helped launch and which later transferred to the Royal Court.
At midnight descend into dark and mysterious Waverley Station and immediately run into Lynda Miles. She is on her way to London. She tells me that she came up to see 'ET'.
Long queue for a taxi so decide to walk up to Princes Street and end up walking to the West End. My dear old friend Scott Griffith opens his heart and home to me once again. We embrace, I deposit my bags, collect the keys, and go out seeking adventure.
Walk down the Mound and wonder how many times in the past I have walked down it. Also wonder where all my friends might be partying and softly berate myself for not telephoning ahead to discover this information. There's life in the Assembly Rooms. Since I have had only porridge and a V-8 juice all day, order two packets of crisps and an orange juice: Derek Kidd, sculptor and pot-man, introduces me to everyone and points out what I have missed and what I must see. About 2.30, walk down George Street, cross Charlotte Square to William Street Lane and bed.
Day 2 begins early. Call Anne Demarco to find out where my friends were partying last night. She tells me that John Calder asked her if I had appeared yet. I call Eric Rowbottom at Better Books and he suggests that I come straight away with some books. Try to find Jim Campbell. No luck. Catch the 41 bus to the National Library and walk the short distance to Better Books. A wonderful warm morning. Eric is welcoming. I deposit piles of my books and he orders five copies of every Handshake title published. Then he presses a cheque into my hand and I leave Better Books a happy man. Go next door and post some newsletters to friends in London. Walk slowly down the High Street to Ricky Demarco's new gallery space in Jeffrey Street. Greet Ricky's assistant, Jane MacAllister, then the Man Himself. After two kisses and lots of hugs, he introduces me to Marcella Senior, a woman 'who runs Trinity College, Dublin' (Ricky credits me with 'establishing the Festival link with Trinity back in 1962 when he invited Max Stafford-Clark to direct a review in his bookshop, the first paperback bookshop in Scotland). Next he introduces me to two sculptors from London, Andrew Golding and Michiko Okazaki. In the Demarco Gallery I spot Babette Peters, a lovely lady from Hamburg who I fell in love with at Charlie MacLean's birthday fete last Edinburgh Festival. We embrace and decide to go out for a coffee, but before escaping, Michael Morris approaches, says hello, and tells me that he dined in my restaurant in Paris with Lucy Hooperman. We talk briefly and he tells me about a champagne party later this afternoon. Then Ricky comes over and insists that Babette and I go to Karin Fernald's one-woman show at 10 p.m. tonight. We agree and slip out the door.
Over coffee Babette and I bring each other up to date. I find that I still love her and suggest we marry. She smiles and declines. We walk up the High Street; she heads for the National Library to meet someone and I stroll slowly down the Mound to Princes Street and to the Press Club. The day continues…

 

 


 

OBSERVER REVIEW/ARTS
Sunday, 5 September 1982

The Lee, Jim & Ted show

 

EDINBURGH
VICTORIA RADIN'S Festival diary.

SUNDAY. 5 p.m. I arrive to find a message from Lee Breuer, the American theatre director who has three fringe and one official festival show. I am not to see 'Lulu', the official one. Lee is now at war with Robert Brustein, head of the American Repertory Theatre or ART' (Lee: 'Any company that calls itself Art can't be a good thing').
According to Breuer they have ditched the band which should play in the show, destroyed half his technical effects, and haven't even paid for him and the crew to-supervise the production. I never the less go to 'Lulu' with a film maker friend who is ravished by its cinematic effects.

MONDAY. Noon. Outside Henderson's, grand daddy of the many salad bars in Edinburgh (maybe that's why the native look so healthy - even the punks, who appear to owe more to Vogue and good grooming than to the dole queue, are pink cheeked), I bump into a tall well muscled gent of mournful countenance who turns out to be Jim Haynes in his 'early middle years.
Jim, who came to Edinburgh in the Fifties with the American Air Force, founded just about everything alternative: the Traverse in Edinburgh the Arts Lab in London, the mag Suck in Amsterdam. Jim has been teaching the now démodé alternative code at the University of Paris for at least 10 years and lives: (in a mews where Dali used to live) in a flat which he transforms into a literary restaurant every Sunday and a publishing press at all hours. Jim comes to the festival, but doesn't like going to the theatre much, though he hates missing something good. When I tell him that a play is lousy, his reaction is 'thank God, thank God.' /.../

 
 

 

 

Jim Haynes
14 September, 1982

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

 

 

 

Jim Haynes' newsletter