Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 531
A Happening in Glasgow
30 January to 4 February, 2001

Tuesday, 30th: Up at 9 to make final preparations for the departure to Edinburgh this afternoon. Jack gets up before I depart and we discuss the arrangements for next Sunday's dinner. Then out the door and on my way to Scotland.
      Take the RER from Denfert Rochereau, an express to Charles de Gaulle. There are two attractive women speaking in English sitting behind me. They are from Dublin. They have been in Paris on business. I give them a newsletter and invite them to dine the next time they are in Paris. We say goodbye at CDG 2 and I walk to the new terminal to check on my flight. I immediately spot Maria Rankov sitting in a café. Walk up to her and apologize for being late. She laughs. Marie cooked a wonderful dinner for me the 24th, not even a week ago. Maria is on her way to Rome. We sit and talk and she tells me that Bojana was happy to get our telephone call on her birthday. Then it is time for her flight. I check in and learn that the Edinburgh flight will be delayed almost an hour. I go for a walk and run into the two Dublin ladies. We chat briefly and they head for their flight. I realize that I forgot the wine that I was bringing to Martin Burke. Go to a duty free shop and purchase two bottles. Sit and read a number of English and French newspapers until the flight is called.
It's a very smooth flight in a very small airplane. Maybe only a 60-seater. Sit next to a window and observe the blue sky. The universe is truly an amazing place. To think that we are in an airplane roaring high above Planet Earth, speeding toward Écosse, a journey of only a few hours. One hundred years ago, it would have taken weeks.
Lunch is simple and delicious. Arrival in Edinburgh is painless. It is my first Scottish winter since 1984 the year my autobiography was published by Faber & Faber. Its dark and cold outside. I elect to take the airport bus into the city centre. Only one fellow on the bus and we sit near each other. We chat. His name is Laks and he is from New Delhi, in Edinburgh on a contract to create a software program for the Bank of Scotland. I tell him it is my bank. We have a nice conversation all the way into the city. Give him a newsletter and suggest he come to dinner when he visits Paris. He thanks me and says that he will do so.
Get out in Princes Street. Walk down Frederick Street and look up to where Ricky and Anne Demarco once lived, where many parties took place in the late 50s and early 60s. There is also my old apartment on the corner of Frederick and Queen Streets where I lived with my lovely wife, Eva Clara Viveka Reüterskiold, and our son, Jesper. It is in this same flat where Viveka cooked (in May, 1962) a wonderful dinner for the Russian poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the Paris Match journalist, Serge Lentz, a Cuban poet, Cesar Lopez, and Sean Hignett, a novelist and Edinburgh friend. Alan Daiches photographed the evening and his two-page spread of Yevgeny and myself appeared in a June 1962 Paris Match. (Jesper was born in Edinburgh in February 1961.) This same flat became the headquarters for the 1962 Edinburgh International Festival "Writers' Conference" that I co-organized with John Calder and Sonia Orwell. So many memories. Dear Edinburgh! Viveka re-married and lives with her delightful sculptor husband, Gosta, on Gotland Island.
Pause briefly to purchase a telephone card, then cross the street to 84 Great King Street and ring Martin's bell. He buzzes me inside. After our warm embraces, I learn that he was cooked a feast. Lamb for the prodigal son home from my travels once again. Edinburgh definitely is my spiritual home. In many ways I came of age in Edinburgh. My first big explosion of creative juices happened in this glorious city.
It's a lovely evening. There are a half dozen attractive women: Sheila Colvin, Astrid Silins, Martin's friend, Ruth Holloway, her daughter Tara, and Rob's friend, Linda from South Africa. We are four fellows: Martin, his housemate, Rob Henderson, John Gray, and yours' truly. Late we all scatter to our beds. Full, tired and contented, I fall into Martin's daughter, Leonie's bed. (She is living in her own flat now in Stockbridge and I have inherited her bedroom.)

Wednesday, 31st: Wake up early in a bed I am beginning to know well. Thank you, Martin Burke. Your warm hospitality greatly appreciated by yours truly. The dinner you prepared last night made all of us very happy. After coffee, slip out and walk up the hill, pass the Assembly Rooms (and think of Mary Shields in Moscow), continue down George Street and ponder crossing to the Bank of Scotland. Decide I have enough pounds and elect to continue to Waverly Station. Quickly purchase a ticket and rush to get the 9.30 train to Glasgow. Sit quietly and read The Herald and The Scotsman. There is a positive article in The Herald by Keith Bruce (Arts funding boost produces an air of optimism) plus a supporting leader about funding for the arts in Scotland and a sour and bitter article (and leader) in The Scotsman about the same subject. It just sums up the differences between the two papers. What happened to The Scotsman? It used to be a great newspaper.
Suddenly there is an announcement that we are pulling into Queen Street Station. I gather my things and step out on the platform. Then am surprised to discover that Lou McLoughlan was in the train as well and sitting only a short distance from me. We giggle and embrace. Lou is on her way to Scottish Television to see if she can sell them her film on John Calder. We go looking for a taxi. Once inside we ask the driver to drop her first at STV. Lou asks if I can lunch with her and her boyfriend, Tommy, on Thursday in Edinburgh. Maybe, if I can get away from Glasgow. John Gray has a film screening on Thursday morning in Edinburgh and I would love to see it.
The driver is extremely nice and we talk about the Lockerbie trial results. Yes, we both agree that blowing the Pan Am plane out of the sky was a terrible and tragic event. But only when we can move on, draw a line and stop seeking revenge will there ever be a possibility that these human tragedies can end. An Iranian airliner was shot down with a lost of life for all on board. Tripoli bombed by Reagan and many innocent people killed. On and on it goes. A never-ending cycle of pain.
Get out at the Brunswick Hotel in Brunswick Street in Merchant City. Its a short walk from the Queen Street Station. A lovely lady, Jodi, warmly welcomes me. She is not sure if my room is ready or not. I tell her I will go into the café and have a coffee and that she can call me when she has news. A warm and friendly fellow, Steven, welcomes me and asks if I am Dr. Love? I confirm this to be more or less so and ask how did he know. Ken Davidson has been talking about me. I discover that Steven is one of the proprietors. He produces a great cappuccino and we talk about Ken, Glasgow and "my happening".
Jodi tells me my room is ready. Up to the 3rd floor and discover an enchanting room. Make a few telephone calls. First to Bingo Mavor and apologize for my calling him so late last night, leaving a message on his machine. He insists it was not a problem. Tonight we will meet at the Inn on the Green. There will be three others with us. We are going to attend a Burns Supper and old friend, the actor John Cairney, will become Burns once again. I produced Tom Wright's play, There Was a Man, with John Cairney playing Burns way back in February 1965 in the Traverse. It was such a big success that John has been performing Burns ever since. He will be surprised to see me. Bingo warns that if he is not feeling better, he might not meet us.
I call Anne-Marie Timoney, a wonderful actress, who I brought to Paris in 1987. Her play, Falling in Love Again, a Marlene Dietrich musical, a hit on the Edinburgh fringe that year. We had a great success (and a lot of fun) with it in Paris. She is not at home, but I leave a message on her machine. I hope she is in Glasgow. I call Ken Davidson and he says he will be at the Tramway Theatre all afternoon. I call Keith Bruce at The Herald. We agree to meet for lunch in an Italian restaurant in Bath Street called Sarti's.
I slowly make my way to Bath Street and discover that central Glasgow is an easy city to navigate. Arrive seconds after Keith. Lots of talk about the two principal Scottish newspapers and their different attitudes to funding the arts. We have pasta and its delicious. So is our waitress, Abbey. Keith gives me directions on how to get to the Tramway from Central Station. He also tells me that a friend of his is writing a guidebook to Paris. We talk about the Paris Arts Club and Keith's recent visit to Barcelona.
After lunch Keith heads for his office. I turn to walk next door to the Art Hotel and spot Angela Murray. She is leaving the hotel with an attractive woman. We are introduced, but do not get her name. It seems they are writing a film script. Angela is on her way to deliver her friend to the airport. She asks if we can meet later and I explain that I have a dinner date tonight but that it can be later this week.
After a quick inspection of the Art Hotel (where I am to meet Sheila Colvin and Ruth Wishart for a drink on Friday), I am impressed by its design. Glasgow is certainly full of surprises. Walk the short distance to Sauchiehall Street and explore Waterstones Bookshop. Try to find the travel book by Keith's friend, but no luck.
Stroll to the Central Station and purchase a ticket to Pollokshields East. Minutes later I am in the Tramway. A starkly beautiful space. I am introduced to most of the staff and am given a tour of the building. I know that Peter Brook produced his famous Maharabata here and this was the first time the space was used as a theatre. The City Council, in their wisdom, wished to demolish the building. Pressure from Peter Brook and others enabled the building not only to live but also to become a major cultural space in the city. Thanks, Peter. We examine a number of possible spaces for my event. I assure everyone that almost any place will be OK. I have performed it in train compartments, at restaurant tables, in private homes. It almost never fails. The more intimate the better. Ken Davidson arrives and we talk about his show and my happening. Renew my meeting with his friend, Carla (who I think is from New York City). Thank Ken for inviting me to Glasgow and wish him "Good luck!" with his production tomorrow night.
Train back to Central Station and meander to the Brunswick Hotel. Shave, shower and shampoo followed by a wee siesta.
Find a taxi in the street and soon arrive at the Inn on the Green. I spot John Cairney talking with some people on the other side of the room. To say hello or to surprise him later that is the question. I decide to walk over and stand so close that he finally notices. He is completely surprised. After our embrace, we both talk at once. He is briefly in Glasgow; his lovely wife is in their home in New Zealand. I report I am here for my little happening, that I will be with Bingo tonight. No sooner said and Bingo appears. I excuse myself and join Bingo and meet two lovely ladies and a young lad. One of the women is Alex Gibson's widow, Veronica; the other woman, Jennifer Mavor, used to be married to one of Bingo's relatives. The fellow is called Finn and I think he is Bingo's nephew.
Down we go to the restaurant-theatre and our table. We are handed menus and a lovely waitress, Catherine, takes our orders. My first course is salmon and prawns, followed by haggis, neeps'n'tatties, then a shank of lamb, ending with chocolate and glayva cheesecake. Between courses, John becomes Burns. Of course John mentions a number of people in the audience in a loving and teasing fashion including Bingo and me. It's a fabulous evening. It ends about 11.30 and I am so full I can barely move. I thank John and ask that my greetings be passed to his lovely wife, Alannah O'Sullivan, and her family. We five go outside and I am dropped back at the Brunswick. Ponder going to the Tron for a drink, but it is late and cold. Bed calls.

Thursday, 1st: A great night's sleep in my lovely room followed by a quick wash. Go down for a superb breakfast. Back in my room and Anne-Marie Timoney calls. We agree to meet in the hotel today and have lunch together. Earlier I had contemplated taking the train to Edinburgh to see John Grays film and to have lunch with Lou. In the end I elect to stay in Glasgow and not rush about like a fool.
Walk to Queen Street Station and purchase The List plus The Scotsman, The Herald, and Edinburgh's new daily, Business AM. There is the interview in The List with Steve Cramer. He telephoned me in Paris a week or so ago and we chatted about the Traverse Theatre in the early days. Hot chocolate in the Café Rouge. Back to the Brunswick for my lunch date with the fabulous Anne-Marie Timoney. She and I first met in 1987 when I introduced myself after seeing her performance in an Edinburgh Festival fringe production entitled Falling in Love Again. In her performance she becomes Dietrich. I invited the production to Paris. Again a success. Anne-Marie had a lot of fun in Paris. She arrives in the Brunswick just after I do. We embrace and elect to dine here in the hotel. It seems she and the two fellows who own the hotel, Steven and Michael, are pals. We catch each other up to date. She is in rehearsal in a new play at the Tron Theatre entitled Casanova. We talk about Paris and Jack Henry Moore. I report his film about Marlene Dietrich is moving again. Someone in Berlin is interested in producing it. I tell her our plans to create a Paris Arts Club and that we would like her to come and see us, maybe she can perform in our new theatre. Afterwards I try to pay for our lunch. It seems that Steven and Michael are treating us. Walk her the short distance back to the Tron and her rehearsals.
Afterwards I take it easy in my room until it is time to walk to the Central Station and the train to the Tramway Theatre. We select a small studio room for tonight's performance. Not many people tonight. Someone tells me that the Tramway publicity states that my event is only happening once, on Saturday. Not sure if I am pleased or upset.
Getting to Know You always seems to be a success. It's a very small audience but it includes two friends who have come over from Edinburgh to surprise me, Herzmark and Eric Kohn. Mary Brennan, who writes about theatre for The Herald, and a young woman from Yugoslavia are also participants. As much as I would like to spend the rest of the evening with Herzmark and Eric, it is impossible. I have promised Juliet Cadzow and David MacLennan that I would come to their home for a meal.
Dash outside when it is over, find a taxi and minutes later I am being welcomed by Juliet and David. We spend a lovely evening together talking and eating.
Back at the hotel and fall into bed totally exhausted.

 

Friday, 2nd: After breakfast I decide to go to a cyber café and send some e-mail messages to various friends. But I seem to be an idiot because even with help from a young woman, I am unable to send any messages. Silly me.
Walk to the Art Hotel for the meeting with Sheila and Ruth. I am early so sit and read today's newspapers over a cup of hot chocolate. A photographer is shooting the restaurant and asks if I would move to another space. I say it is no problem. The fellow who served me the hot chocolate reports the chocolate is "on the house". That's nice.
Sheila is the first to arrive. We talk about Martin Burke's dinner, about my happening, about John Calder, the Paris Arts Club, Sheila's mum and her next visit to Paris. And Ruth Wishart arrives. More talk about the Paris Arts Club. Suddenly Ruth pulls out her check book and joins the Paris Arts Club. What an angel! Juliet Cadzow arrives and joins us. Sheila and Ruth have to leave to get to a concert. Juliet and I talk a bit more, then she too has to depart. We walk up Bath Street together. I decide to stick my head into the Groucho just to have a look. And am surprised to see Ann and Chris Thompson having lunch with a young woman. They are surprised to see me as well. I join them and they are in Glasgow for an exhibition of children's drawings and paintings. The young woman they are lunching with is a professor of textiles at Glasgow College of Art. When they finish lunch I walk with them to the gallery nearby for an exhibition for Friends of Paintings in Hospitals Scotland.
Walk back to the Brunswick. I have had a call from Jan McTaggart and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Call her back but no luck in reaching her. (Later in Paris we talk and I learn that she wants me to write about the creation of the Traverse for their new web site. I promise to do it.) Rest before it is time to go out to the Tramway and my second "happening". Sit in the small café and have a delicious bowl of soup for my supper. To my surprise, Cordelia Oliver appears and joins me. She gives me a book of photographs by her late husband, George. And she tells me a wonderful story about how she became a theatre critic. When the Traverse began, Cordelia received a telephone call from an editor of The Guardian who asked her if she was a theatre lover. When she replied that she was, he asked her to cover the productions in the Traverse. And ever since, she was been writing about theatre. We also talk about the time she, George and Ricky Demarco journeyed to Paris to see a Kantor production. And how knocked out we all were by it.
Tonight my happening contains only men except for Cordelia. Than goodness she has come. As always, it is fun.
Afterwards I stay for Ken Davidson's, past Eve and Adam's, his impressionistic view of Finnegans Wake using 36 tons of topsoil, eight cases of Guinness, a trained horse, a chicken and a cat, as well as nine (human) performers. It's wild! I like it. Our two events could not be more opposite. Afterwards when I congratulate him, he gives me a check for my expenses. I thank him once again for inviting me to come up to Scotland. It has been great fun. I had forgotten how much fun Getting to Know You could be. Maybe I should unleash it again during next year's Edinburgh Festival in the Assembly Rooms or in the Traverse.

 

Saturday, 3rd:Talk with Penny Richardson in Edinburgh about our meeting at the Central Station to go out to spend the afternoon with Elaine Gerber. Go down for another delightful breakfast. Call Bingo Mavor and thank him for our evening. He suggests I come and visit him in the spring when he is in his home in Cahors. Get another call from Penny; her train is running late. She will meet me at Elaine's.
I walk in the bright morning sunshine to the Central Station. Yes, the sun shines in Glasgow! Catch the train to Whitecraigs and Elaine is waiting for me when I arrive. After our embraces, we get in her car and ride a short distance to a café in a park. Elaine announces that Penny will join us. The place is full of kids and its noisy. But it is good to be with Elaine. Penny soon joins us. We have panini and I have soup. Afterwards we ride to Elaine's home and she reminds me of my last visit to see her and Joe and my request for porridge. Now we have coffee and wonderful homemade meringue. We all talk about Joe. Elaine shows us a photograph when the two of them first met. Joe is very handsome and Elaine is a beauty. (She still is!) The afternoon drifts along and it is soon time for Penny and me to return to the city centre. Elaine drives us to Whitecraigs and insists upon waiting to make sure we get our train.
I say goodbye to Penny and thank her for sharing the afternoon with Elaine and me. Walk the short distance to Borders bookshop and try to purchase two copies of Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of our Time but cannot find it. I want one copy for Bingo and one for me. (Later call the Village Voice in Paris and they have copies.) Walk to the Brunswick to rest a bit before my last happening.
And tonight's is the best of the three. For one thing it is full! And there are four friends attending: Anne-Marie Timoney, Steven, Michael and Angela Murray. I certainly enjoy myself tonight and I think everyone else does as well. When it is over, Anne-Marie asks if I would like to go for something to eat. Yes, but could we please take the underground. I have not been on the subway in Glasgow in many years and I would love to ride it a few stations. We leave the Tramway without my thanking Ken but I will do it when I return to Paris.
Five of us taxi to a nearby tube station and ride into the Queen Street Station. The metro ride is one of the highlights of my trip to Glasgow. Simple pleasures. Then we pile into a brand new taxi and ride to Steven and Michaels flat. There we have superb soup. And soon it is time for me to leave Glasgow and head for Edinburgh. Angela comes with me to see me off. I collect my bag from the locker, purchase a Scotland on Sunday, embrace Angela and board the train. Less than an hour later, we arrive at Waverly Station. No taxis so walk out into the dark cold night and optimistically look for a taxi. Of course its late Saturday night and they are impossible to find. Walk to George Street and see a fellow sitting in a taxi next to the George Hotel. His lights are out but I walk to him and ask if he could take me to 84 Great King Street. He tells me it will be his pleasure. I thank him and tell him that I forgot to pee while I was in the train from Glasgow and desperately need to find a toilet. (Why didn't I use the George Hotel facilities?) We chat all the way to Great King Street where I thank him once again and give him a big tip. Ring Martin's doorbell and he buzzes me inside. After I have had my pee, sit in the kitchen with him and Ruth. They have just returned from a concert, Dialogues des Carmelites, in the Festival Theatre performed by students from the Glasgow Opera School. They report it was wonderful. Before I head for bed, Martin says that I may wake him in the morning and he will drive me to Waverly Station where I can get the bus to the airport.

 

Sunday, 4th: Another good night's sleep in Leonie's bed. After I have washed and dressed, I make coffee for Martin, Ruth and myself. Take it in to Martin's bedroom and get a warm thank you from them for my efforts. Martin is quickly up and dressed. Herzmark has invited me to breakfast, but there is no time. I cannot miss my flight to Paris. Martin drops me at Waverly and says he looks forward to my returning in August to Edinburgh. I suggest he forget a ski trip he is planning and come to Paris instead.
The bus is full to the airport. Quickly check in and learn the plane will be late departing. Outside snowflakes are falling. I go through passport control and purchase about five newspapers and chocolate chip shortbread. Telephone Herzmark and tell her I am sorry I could not make breakfast. She says that she plans to visit me soon in Paris. Make a few more calls. Sit and read the newspapers until the flight is called.
Once again it is smooth flight. When I have collected my bag, I call Jack to tell him that I am at the airport and will stay to collect Olga Zorkina and her friend, Julia Slepkova, when they arrive on their flight from St. Petersburg.
Of course their flight is late. But finally Olga and I are embracing. She is my "adopted daughter". Meet her friend Julia who is coming to Paris for her first visit. (It is Olga's third.) We take the RER to Denfert Rochereau and walk the short distance to Tombe Issoire. Jack has prepared a pasta dinner for tonight.
There are 33 men and 28 women - make a total of 61 dinner guests. It's great to be home again!

 

 

Jim Haynes
February 2001

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

 

 

 

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