Thanks for Coming!
of Jim Haynes
Jim haynes is a legend,
a survivor of the Sixties. In Thanks for Coming!, with unique photographs,
documents and in his own words, Jim tells how he founded the Traverse
Theatre and the Wet Dream Festival, inspired London's famous Art Lab,
and co-edited Suck and I.T. His friends included Lord Goodman,
Kenneth Tynan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Heathcote Williams, Vangelis,
Mama Cass, Mick Jagger and countless others. Now aged 29, he is teaching
Media Studies and Sexual Politics at the University of Paris.
Jim Haynes is one
of the great survivors. His secret?
1. I don't drink
2. I don't smoke
3. I don't take drugs
4. I like to hug young women
The Sixties were
a time of change, of revolution, when the wildest hopes and dreams might
come true. Jim Haynes was one of those making it all happen. Thanks
for Coming! tells how.
Early 1984 256 x
194mm about 360pp illustrated
a Faber Paperback 0 571 13176 X about £4.25
Tonight at 8:3 p.m.:
(Soft Manifestos For Our Time)
GLASGOW HERALD Friday August 26, 1983
A GURU'S GOT
TO DO JUST WHAT
A GURU'S GOT TO DO
JOHN FOWLER, Arts Editor, talks to Jim Haynes, a doyen of the fringe
who keeps coming back. . . but won't stay!
it's Jim Haynes," said the blonde, nearly upsetting her coffee down
my neck as she did a double-take in a cafe in the Royal Mile. Jim Haynes,
who looks as if he's someone out of spaghetti western, cracked his face
in a smile of recognition.
down," he said. "It's been years ..." An affectionate arm
slid round her shoulder.
he said, introducing her to me. "Actress?" I asked. "Director,"
interview has been conducted under handicap. There was a pneumatic drill
outside and the pneumatic Ann inside and there was the amoroso Haynes
attempting to nibble her ear. I threw in the occasional question merely
as a diversion.
he said, remarking on the weather, "is the best way to keep warm
in Edinburgh in the winter." Ann agreed.
Haynes was last resident, in Edinburgh, winter and summer, in 1966 when
his stay was brought to an abrupt end on his rash offer to resign as artistic
director of the Traverse Theatre. A troubled board accepted with alacrity.
"I was amazed," he laid. "I didn't mean it."
is a guru of the Fringe and at the start of the 1960s helped to set the
Traverse on its innovating way. He bears Edinburgh and the Traverse no
grudge and reckons that he has been back for the Festival most years since
his fall from grace in our Presbyterian capital which occurred, he believes,
not so much from his spendthrift ways (the "Traverse being in debt,
so what's new?) but because of sexual politics: he wanted to hire a homosexual.
he !ives in Montparnasse, where he keeps open house for bright people,
and works as visiting professor of media studies at the University of
Haynes story will be recounted when his autobiography, aptly entitled
Thanks for Coming (!) is published next spring. It was written
not from inner compulsion but because he happened to meet a publisher
friend in Amsterdam, who apropos of nothing gave him the title.
"I hadn't written it," he said. "I hadn't even contemplated
writing it. But when I meet Jaco Groot sparks fly and Faber are bringing
it out in February," This is the abridged version
in Louisiana, brought up in South America, came to Edinburgh in the US
you read Catch 22?. You know there is always a corporal somewhere
who really determines your fate? I tracked mine down and told him I wanted
to go to the smallest possible military base in Western Europe near a
university, and it came up Edinburgh, Kirknewton.
persuaded them to let me live in a room of my own. From five to midnight
I'd be listening in to the Russian air defence, from midnight to eight
I'd be sleeping in a room in Great King Street and from nine to five I'd
go to Edinburgh University, studying history and economics."
to stay on after his discharge, he discovered the best way to get permission
was to form a company and set up in business. He approached an old lady
who had a little antique shop near the University in George Square and
asked how much she wanted for it. She laid £300 and he replied,
"I think you've got a deal" adding for my benefit, "almost
my total capital."
shop, now demolished, became the famous paperback bookshop. "I started
it in 1959 as the first intellectual all-paperback bookshop in Britain,
the first that treated paperbacks seriously. You walked straight in, said
good morning Jim, and if you were a regular you made yourself a cup of
tea or coffee in the back room. I made a gallery in the basement specialising
in tapestry and pottery."
followed, an interest newly acquired because of a love affair he had with
a girl in the university drama group (his one and only stage appearance
was as a taped volte in a lynch mob saying: "Rope, get rope,"
in Tennessee Williams's "Orpheus Descending". He got the line
because his was the only authentic southern accent).
group of friends calling themselves The Sceptics presented a dramatised
version of David Hume's "First Dialogue Concerning Natural Religion"
in his bookshop at the 1960 Fringe then a shadow of what it's now
and the idea of the Traverse was born.
Hobson, the drama critic of The Times, who liked philosophical
discussion, came to see it and he found himself in the middle of it when
he served coffee after the show. It took off all the crazies of
afterwards he and Terry Lane and John Malcolm conceived the idea of founding
a small theatre to specialise in serious drama and to offer a chance to
club members to see important players uncensored.
met a farmer called Tom Mitchell who had a pad in Edinburgh a tenement
in James Court in the Lawnmarket and charmed him into letting out
a couple of rooms for a shilling a year.
came great years when the Traverse set the style for Britain's young alternative
theatre movement, and directors like Max Stafford-Clark and Charles Marowitz
were hired to present experimental plays, including works from Scots authors
like Cecil Taylor and Stanley Eveling.
Inevitably, given Jim Haynes's unorthodox ways, it couldn't last, and
a southern extension of the Traverse proved his downfall. Supported by
such cultural heavyweights as Lord Goodman (then plain Arnold and now
jocularly referred to as "Goodie") and the first Minister for
the Arts, Jennie Lee, he took a theatre in London to spread the new gospel
according to Edinburgh. "The real reason they got rid of me,"
he declared, "was they thought I was spending too much time in London."
creative energy undimmed, he founded the Covent Garden Arts Lab in a warehouse,
offering restaurant, gallery and theatre to anyone who came with a show
- his policy was never to say no.
Paris, his home for the past 15 years, he also runs a small publishing
outfit which disseminates books, pamphlets and manifestos by himself and
insists that he doesn't come back to Edinburgh because he doesn't believe
in going back. The city changes and so does he, and every visit is a new
thing. He wouldn't miss it. "I used to say the Fringe was the salt
and pepper of the Festival. The city council do not realise what a valuable
thing has been created at virtually no cost to the taxpayer. It's like,
This is a silly newsletter, I know. I intended to write a long report
about my two weeks in Edinburgh for another great festival, but it looks
like I am not going to do it. Nevertheless a few comments: Jim Hickey
and crew organized another great film festival. "The White Rose",
directed by Michael Verhoeven, was outstanding, with Lena Stolze playing
"Sophie", a young student executed in 1943 for distributing
(Speaking of films, Arthur J. Bressan Jr. has
been visiting here. His film, "Abuse", is another powerful film
I highly recommend
) Before I run out of space, I would like to wish
"Happy Birthday" to the following: Dusan Makavejev, Fee Zschocke,
Donatella Bernstein, Lord (George) Weidenfeld, Denis Giraux, and Polly
Thanks for Coming! NOW PRINTING... (Thanks Fannie, Sarah,
Robert, et al)