|A look back at 2003 and a quick peek at 2004
year ago, I attended the Guadalajara Book Fair (in Mexico) with John Flattau
and Howard Aster. Cuba was the Guest of Honor and old friend, Pablo Armando
Fernandez, came over from La Havana. John, Howard and I co-published a
book of Pablo's poetry in a bi-lingual English/Spanish edition. Then it
was a week in Manhattan to spend time with Jesper. Back in Paris only
to host a Sunday dinner and rush off to Edinburgh to celebrate the 40th
Anniversary of the Traverse, a theatre I launched for Jane Alexander.
(She never performed in the Traverse, but she went on to become a major
Broadway, television and film actress.)
Better than ever! This year has been one of good health. And high
spirits. No complaints. Maybe my tap water is the Fountain of Youth.
The usual favorites - Edinburgh Festival in August (for the 48th time)
and as fabulous as ever and the Frankfurt Book Fair in October (for the
36th time). There was a crazy trip in April to Munchen, Budapest, and
to Romania to visit friends and to hear Goran Bregovic give a wonderful
concert in Timisoara and in Cluj. (Thanks to Maria Rankov.) Back to Paris
via Milano to stay a night with my friend, Alek Stefanovic. It was his
birthday! A quick trip to Prague in November with friends John Flattau
and Susi Wyss. Next year, Edinburgh again and Frankfurt again. Maybe Cluj
in May to co-organize a John Flattau exhibition in a National Gallery.
I still want to go to Kiev and Odessa in The Ukraine. There is a possibility
to participate in a film in China. And Antonia Hoogewerf wants me to travel
to India with her next autumn for the Calcutta Film Festival.
A2 Gallery: The A2 gallery's first exhibition: Paintings by James
Mitchell opened in September 2002. James King's paintings were next. Then
thanks to Karolina Blåberg, paintings of lovely ladies by Audrenn
Thorez. Trish Nickell's paintings had their vernissage the 25th of January.
With the co-operation of the OMC Gallery in Dusseldorf, we had "Beats
à Paris", the photographs of Harold Chapman of the infamous
Beat Hotel in the 50s. This show opened the 4th of May with friends coming
from all parts of Europe. Ewa Rudling followed with her superb portraits,
color photographs of Charlotte Rampling, Pierre Clementi, John Houston,
Dominique Sanda, and another 20 or so grand personalities. (Including
a wonderful photograph of yours truly.) Then in November, Antonio, a painter
from Italy who has lived in Paris since the 50s radically changed the
walls with four of his paintings. Antonio stayed in the Beat Hotel. We
met when he read Willem's article in Liberation about Harold Chapman's
exhibition. Future shows: Photographs from Jesper Haynes, Richard Allen,
John Flattau, Mischa Richter and Harry Robinson. Drawings from Peter van
Straaten. It is probable that Evgenija Demnievska and a friend of James
Emanuel will also have shows in 2004.
The usual Russian invasion from St. Petersburg. Alisa Dragomiretskaia
is scheduled to be the first visitor in 2004. She will come from Moscow
on the 4th of January. Jodi Poretto flashed in and out a number of times.
So did Harry Robinson (who now has left San Francisco and has decided
to live in a village above Marbella.) Angela Bartie flew in from Glasgow
to interview me for her PhD on Scotland in the 50s and 60s. She looks
like being one of the last house guests of 2003. But Kevin Lescroart e-mailed
me to say he arrives the end of December. Simon Halphen Boserup stayed
a couple of months and when he departed for his home in Copenhagen, he
was missed by all. Come all of you and visit!
Ten manuscripts of Cooking for 100 - Dinner at Jim's in Paris taken
to the Frankfurt Book Fair. The editors: Cathy Monnet (who was the first
person to cook all those years ago), Antonia Hoogewerf, and Mary Bartlett.
And yours truly. These ten copies were distributed to British and American
publishers and now we await developments. And continue to solicit imput.
So if you have a story to tell about the dinners, by all means send it
to us. Who will publish this potential global best seller? Newsletters
continue to be produced and sent out to friends all over the world. This,
as you will note, is No. 590. Yet many more were produced. In the 60s
at the beginning they were not numbered. Howard Aster plans to put together
a Festschrift to honor my life and to publish it in August, 2005
to coincide with my 50th Edinburgh Festival and 38th Frankfurt Book Messe.
(Of course I would like to see all the newsletters published as well as
Come Again! - volume 2 of my autobiography.)
A2 Sunday Night Dinners: They go from strength to strength. Chefs
include Antonia Hoogewerf, Cathy Monnet, Dominique Ferry, Azad Ovayolu,
Julianna Brassell, Barbara Sherman and yours truly. Séamas McSwiney,
Vice-President in charge of Distribution, continues to serve most Sunday
evenings and to cook rice. He has become an expert. (Séamas missed
four dinners in late November and early December because of a holiday
Paris Arts Club: It didn't happen. Lots of reasons really. Maybe my
heart was not in it. I am both sad and pleased. It would have been a positive
contribution to life in Paris. But, I suspect, it would have killed me.
It would have been slavery. It would have required too much energy and
time to keep it afloat financially. There would have been no time to see
friends, make trips, write, read, enjoy life. There was the possibility
to purchase the atelier next to mine. It was not to be. Now the dinners,
the gallery here in the atelier, and organizing trips to the theatre,
concerts, films will be "my" Paris Arts Club.
Henry Moore: It's over two years since our 40-year friendship ended
abruptly in September 2001. Most of his things are still in my basement.
Stupid and sad. Life in the atelier is certainly less hectic. But life
trials: Two legal actions in the French judicial system. One, the
almost 10-year fight against Emile-the-Rat, shows no sign of being resolved.
The second concerns my deposit (280,000 French francs) for the restaurant
that was to be the Paris Arts Club. The mother and daughter have not returned
the deposit. I was forced to take legal action. The judge ruled in our
favor. The ladies appealed. It is scheduled to be heard in March 2004.
Thanks to Kevin Lescroart, I am a book-seller again. You can check my
site on http://www.abebooks.com where books and more can be acquired.
Haynes: My son will leave Manhattan, as he does every winter, for
three months in Asia. He spends most of his time in Thailand. Departing
NYC the 30th of December, we will meet at Charles de Gaulle air port and
spend a few hours together. Jesper then continues to Stockholm to see
his mother, step-father, sister, her husband and two nieces. Jesper plans
to stay in Paris for a week on his way to NYC in the Spring. (This means
a Thai dinner one Sunday I hope.)
A number of dear friends have joined their ancestors: Ted Joans, a poet
and world traveler, died in April in Vancouver. Ami Ducovny, a novelist,
died in Paris in August. Giles Gordon, a literary agent, died in Edinburgh
in November. All will be greatly missed.
Vanessa Engle interviewed me here in the atelier the 25th of November
for a television programme on the 60s. The BBC will broadcast sometime
in the future. A three-part series. You may well see me at some future
date on your screens in Britain.
and Films: Lots of films enjoyed include Le Divorce, Bertolucci's
The Dreamers, and Love Actually. These three seen very recently.
Of course I cannot remember the hundreds of books I have read this year,
but Ian Rankin's A Question of Blood, Lesley Downer's Madame
Sadayakko, Alan Furst's The Book of Spies, Michael Shea's A
View from the Sidelines and Eric Ambler's A Coffin for Dimitrios
were all delightful. James Campbell recently sent me Janet Flanner's Paris
Was Yesterday in which he has written a new foreword. I recently purchased
Jake Lamar's new novel, Rendezvous Eighteenth, and Jean-François
Revel's Anti-Americanism. And look forward to devouring them.
I were a god: This might well surprise you, but I am not a god. (Unless
we all are.) The world is a mess. But it always has been and probably
always will be. I still am an optimist, I still love life, I still enjoy
every minute. I look forward to meeting all of you somewhere sometime.
I hope this coming year. We can break bread, embrace and enjoy the madness
and wonder of it all. I hope the tragedy in Iraq can have a happy ending.
I hope America can become once again a country we can be proud of. I am,
as all of you know, a citizen of the world. Like Tom Paine and old friend,
Garry Davis. I wish all of you much joy in 2004