Jim Haynes' newsletters
|Newsletter No. 633|
|Frankfurt Book Fair
October 16 to 23, 2005
A great night's sleep. I feel wonderful. Wake up Olga and I go for provisions
for tonight's dinner. It looks like we will be 80 or more once again.
The weather is warm and sunny, so it will be possible to use the garden
tonight. Lazy day as more and more people call to book. Late afternoon,
Mary and Paul arrive to finish off the preparations for the lentils and
sausage dish. They leave to visit Dave and Trish and we are instructed
to light the ovens at 7 o'clock as well as put a low fire under the soup.
Monday, 17th: Up early. Shower, shave, pack. Taxi to the Gare de Lyon and manage to catch the 11.54 train to Dijon. A woman sits next to me. She has been visiting her daughter who is a police woman in Montparnasse. We chat in French almost all the way. She has traveled extensively all over the world. Just before we arrive, I give her a leaflet about the dinners and tell her to come the next time she is in Paris. We arrive at 13.40 and Jeanette Aster is waiting at the exit. She reports Howard is outside in the car and that we will soon be on our way. And after my small bag is loaded in the back seat next to Jeanette, I slip into the front. And off we go. First stop gas for the car. Now we are really on our way. Alas we are headed for Geneva. Fortunately our back seat navigator realizes and we soon are turned around and headed now north east to Nancy and the German frontier. It's a glorious day and the countryside is beautiful. Not marred by stupid advertising signs. Just green rolling hills with a strong touch of autumn colour everywhere. Howard and I talk about the Book Messe and what might unfold the next few days. Learn that Raul and his daughter, Sylvia, are coming to the Fair and that we are scheduled to dine with them on Wednesday night. Learn that David Applefield will probably not be coming. But learn that he is a National Hero in Sierra Leone where he has managed to save a young lad's life by bringing him to France for a heart operation. We make a stop just after Farbach to stretch our legs. And a woman comes up to me and asks if I am Jim Haynes. She is from Oklahoma and once came to see me ten or more years ago to show me her manuscript. It was a book in progress about her family. We exchange a few words but I forget to ask her about her book. When she has departed with a fellow and child, Howard and Jeanette tease me about being famous. Howard is prepared to drop me in Darmstadt, but at some point we take a wrong turning. He wants to backtrack, but I argue for his continuing north eastward. I suggest we leave the autobahn and drive east to Oppenheim. This we do and everyone is pleased that we have done this. The small back road has very little traffic and no large trucks to deal with. And the scenery is even more beautiful.. I manage to call Ulli and Peter with my mobile and then we realize we have to cross the Rhine by ferry. This turns out to be extremely delightful and even a bit dramatic. The small boat can take only a dozen cars and we are the first to board. The crossing costs under five euro and I treat the fare. The moon looks extremely large and very close. Maybe it is full tonight. I talk with several people in the two cars next to ours and even invite them to come and dine in Paris. They promise to do so. Earlier when we departed the West Bank, it was still light out, but on arrival on the East Bank some fifteen minutes later, it is now dark out. Night has fallen. Almost no lights to be seen. The small towns we pass through look romantic and mysterious. I call Peter and Ulli again and they suggest Howard drop me in a town called Griesheim because it will be easier for Howard to get back on the autobahn for Frankfurt. As we pull into Griesheim, I spot a pub called Peter's Pub and telephone Ulli to pick me up there. We stop and I collect my bag and begin to make my way to the pub when I spot Peter and Ulli. They have just arrived. It is perfect timing. Peter gives Howard new directions and they are on their way. The three of us head for a restaurant in Darmstadt that they know and like.
The restaurant is called La Java and the proprietor, Marianne, has her day off tonight. She is from Paris and grew up in Belleville. Apparently she is a character and I am missing a big personality. Food is good, but service is slow. Nevertheless the waitress is a joy to see. Her name is Nina and she is from Georgia in the ex-USSR and I would love to take her away to the bright lights of Paris. Alas she does not speak English or French. Our first course is broccoli soup and it is wonderful. Then I have a chicken dish that takes forever to arrive. But it, too, is worth the waiting. And it is good to be with Peter and Ulli and learn all the gossip of Darmstadt. And to look at Nina! They ask me what I would like to do tomorrow and I say maybe purchase a sweater and some socks. And to see Ulli's new shop. That's it. Then travel slowly to the Messe in Frankfurt. They will not let me pay the bill. We say thank you and goodbye to Nina and depart for Ulli's home in the suburbs. It's a tiny house built in the early twentieth century. Peter is a builder, so has put it in perfect condition. We are welcomed by their new puppy who fills the place with his energy. I decline all offers for tea and other goodies and am taken upstairs to a guest bedroom. And am soon in the Land of Nod dreaming of Ninas and other succulent things.
Tuesday, 18th: Wake up and have no idea what time it is or if the rest of the house sleeps or not. Put on the warm robe that Peter has loaned me and open the door. I hear Peter talking on the telephone to someone. This means he, at least, is up. Down I go and soon Ulli and I are having our breakfast. Peter produces a red sweater for me to try on and says that he bought it for three euro in a Flea Market and that he never wears it. Since it seems to fit me and they both say it looks good on me. It seems I have inherited a new warm sweater. Then Ulli produces four pairs of socks that she assures me will be perfect for my needs. And I think she is right. They are both so kind and hospitable. Peter goes out on an errand and returns with today's International Herald Tribune. A friend calls from Paris to my mobile and we chat a bit. I call Monika Rosenkranz in Frankfurt and we agree to dine tonight. She is with Mary Clemmey. Mary and I talk and she says I can use her desk in the Literary Agents Centre if I need a place to sit and write or rest. It is time for us to drive into the city center, inspect Ulli's shop and grab a light lunch. The shop is superb. The only problem is a large building is going up behind the shop that means constant noise and coming and going of large trucks. I am introduced to Suse, a lovely woman who runs it from time to time. We store my bag and walk to a nearby restaurant called Centralstation. It used to be the tram station. Now it is a social center, theatre and restaurant. Our lunch is simple, inexpensive (25 euro for three) and delicious. I pay before they can stop me. Back to the shop to collect my bag. Ulli walks me to get a tram to the Central Station. Sit next to a young schoolgirl. She is so young and innocent. She tells me where I am to exit the tram. Go upstairs and purchase a ticket. Go sit on the platform. A young fellow sits next to me reading The Financial Times. We chat. It is the German-language edition. He is an engineering student and travels about an hour daily to study in Darmstadt. An announcement forces us to change platforms. At 14.30 our train pulls out. We sit together and talk all the way into Frankfurt. He leaves and rushes to make his connection.
I check my bag into a locker and walk to the Messe. Pass
Glas Books in Hall 5 and no sign of Natasha Perova. Pass the large combined
Turkish Publishers Stand and no sign of Müge Sökmen. The Guest
of Honor this year is Korea. It looks like they have spent a small fortune
to show their nation to the world. Stroll through the next Hall and everything
is in chaos. It is always amazing that tomorrow morning all will look
Arrive in Hall 8 and walk to Mosaic Press Stand at L960. The Stand looks good, but no sign of Howard or Jeanette. Sit for a while and read and rest. Stroll about. Almost the first person I see is Norbert Pech. Tell him that I have a new book and he can see it at the Mosaic Stand. See the lovely Jessica Craig at the Canongate Stand. She is the Rights Director. We chat a bit. She says she has non-stop appointments starting tomorrow morning. Wish her good luck. No sign of Jamie Byng. But do see Lorraine Fannin at the Combined Scottish Stand. Also talk with Liz Small. She and I had an exchange of e-mail messages when she helped to edited a book about the history of the Scottish Publishers Association and I wrote a small contribution to the book. Walk to the Guardian Stand and no sign of Helen or Roy. Continue to de Harmonie Stand and no sign of Jaco Groot. Walk up to Serpent's Tail Stand and no sign of Peter Aryton. Pass the ForeWord Stand and it is empty. Sit at the Mosaic Stand and ponder what to do. Trevor Boundford passes and sits and joins me. We have a long talk about Sheila, his wife, and the Book Messe and life in general. Dipak Kumar Guha passes in the aisle and we exchange waves. Trevor departs to wander about and I read today's Guardian.
Then wander down aisle L and see Trevor helping Mike Shatzkin and Gwyn Headley set up their Stand. Chat with them a bit and then go outside and sit on some steps. Jaco Groot passes and introduces me to a new editor at de Harmonie, Laura Kuipers. He says that Elisabeth will not be attending the Messe again this year. But last year, he said that she might come this year. I guess she changed her mind. Women, apparently, have the right to do this. Jaco also says that Elsbeth Louis will be arriving to assist Laura and then Jaco will return to Amsterdam.
Leave the Messe and walk slowly towards Sophienstrasse. Call my hosts and they are home, but going out in thirty minutes. I ask if I can pass for a few minutes. No problem. I call Monika Rosenkranz and we agree to meet at the Café extrablatt near Bockenheimer in about 45 minutes. Visit briefly with Birgitte and Erich. Meet a friend who passes briefly. Collect two keys, and leave my shoulder bag in Birgitte's office (and my bedroom). Walk the short distance to the café and order a hot chocolate from a pretty blonde waitress. It is not long to wait for Monika and we leave immediately for a restaurant that used to be called Wäldches (and an old favorite of mine) and now called Ginnheimer Wirtshaus. It seems to be under new management. But it is still delightful. Our waitress, Elke, is even more wonderful. We order and the food is excellent. Monika tells me that she departs Thursday for a conference in Budapest and therefore will miss my party. She tells me that her wonderful daughter, Lilli, is in Boston visiting her boyfriend. We talk about Carsten and Tanya, about John Flattau, about Mary Clemmey, about Dora Puszta and our past year . Then she drops me at the end of the No. 16 tram and I ride to the hauptbahnhof and collect my bag from the locker. Back on the No. 16 to Erich and Brigitte home. Erich and I sit in the from room and discuss the sad fact that Tanya and Carsten Hansen will not be coming to the Book Messe this year. Carsten's mother is not well. Stephanie Wolfe-Murray is also greatly missed. John Calder too. And Martin Lehberger now comes only on Thursday night.
I am introduced to the two new cats: Karlotta and Leo.
Gustaf and Murdoch are no longer with us, but Sina is still going strong.
Birgitte arrives. After our embrace, she presses a Lindt Macadamia Nut
bar of chocolate into my hands. She certainly knows what I like.
Wednesday, 19th: Brigitte brings an expresso coffee to me in my room. She is rushing to catch a train to visit her step-mum in a small town near Darmstadt. I slowly get up and get organized
Take the tram to the Messe and walk to Hall 5. There is a note from Natasha Perova at the Glas Stand telling the world she will be back at her Stand at noon. Walk pass the combined Turkish Publishers Stand and no sign of Müge. (When I am back in Paris, there is an e-mail message from her saying that she will not be at the Messe this year.) Walk through Hall 6 and no Liisa Steffa at the Otava Stand. Where are all my pals? Go straight to the Guardian Stand and find Helen and Roy. We exchange greetings. They are busy. Collect today's Guardian and tell Helen that I like the new format. She tells me that daily circulation has gone up 70,000 copies. Find Jaco Groot at his Stand and sit with him for a while. It is always a pleasure to be with Jaco. What a delightful fellow! Our conversation flows. But one important thing emerges and that is a Peter van Streeten exhibition next Spring in the Musée de l'Erotisme of Peter's erotic drawings and an exhibition in the Atelier A2 gallery of his literary drawings. We will signpost both exhibitions and tell people about both exhibitions. This should be fun. And Jaco says that he, Elisabeth and Peter will come down for the two openings. Now I know why I have attended the Book Messe this year. What an excellent plan!
Stroll to the Mosaic Stand and find Norbert Pech. He has purchased six copies of White-Washing Fences and asks me to sign all six to various friends. Very nice of him. Quickly produce suitable dedications. Howard reminds me that we have a dinner date tonight with Raul Morales and his daughter, Silvia. We are to meet at the Stand when the Fair closes. Paul Harris passes and I introduce him to Howard. We talk about John Calder and the Festschrift that Howard published a few years ago. Paul made a contribution. We show Paul the new Festschrift Howard has edited and published, White Washing Fences. Paul gives me his new card with his new address in Malta. He says that he and Igor will come to the Künstlerkeller on Thursday evening, but they will be late as usual.
Walk up aisle L to the ForeWord Stand and talk with Victoria Sutherland and Maryann Batsakis. Victoria is a tall attractive brunette and she is the magazine's publisher. Maryann is the equally attractive Marketing and Circulation Manager. They were both at the Sunday dinner in my atelier last Sunday. Plus Matt, Victoria's handsome husband. He drove them to Frankfurt and now has returned to Paris. They are tired and plan to have a quiet evening at their hotel tonight, but are looking forward to the party Thursday night.
Stroll over to row H and see Liz Thomson, the Editor of publishing news. She asks me if I received my check. Yes, thank you, I did. She tells me that my article about all my years attending the Book Messe will be in tomorrow's issue. That's good news for our party is tomorrow night and there is a plug for the party in the article I have written. Cross the aisle and look for Sonny Mehta at the Random House Stand. He is talking with two men, so not a moment to say hello. Sonny is an excellent fellow.
Leave Hall 8 and walk to the Torhaus. It is painful to
leave the Messe, but I decide to take the night train to Paris tomorrow
night at 22.50. The ticket costs 80 euro. I can be just over three and
a half hours at the party. Not long enough, but then life, too, is not
long enough. Next go to the Press Center in Hall 6. Collect a press packet.
Then stroll around the corner to the Literary Agents and Scouts Center.
Mary Clemmey is talking to two women, but when she sees me, she gives
me a warm embrace. She suggests we go together to get coffees. We catch
each other up to date. Back at her desk, I am formally introduced to Candida
Lacey, the Managing Director of Myriad Editions. She is based in Brighton.
She is publishing a book with an interesting title, 365 Ways to Change
the World by Michael Norton, and hopes to sell translation rights here
in Frankfurt. Mary is assisting her. Time to leave them, so wander back
to Hall 8. Sit at the café opposite the Mosaic Stand and a couple
asks if they can share the table. He is the distributor of Thames and
Hudson in Italy and lives in Milano. I tell him Milano is my favorite
city in Italy and he is surprised and pleased to hear this. He is joined
by an attractive woman who tells me she is with Thames & Hudson in
London. I write a note for Thomas Neurath and ask her to pass it to him.
She reports he is at the Stand and promises to give him my greetings.
They depart and are replaced by another couple. His name is Steve Pieczenik
and his wife, Roberta. They live in South Beach, Florida. He is a writer
and used to be in the government in Washington, D.C. We have a good long
talk and he shows me a book he has written with his wife entitled My Beloved
Talleyrand: The Life of a Scoundrel by His Last Mistress. Go over to Mosaic
Stand and collect a copy of White-Washing Fences I have stored there in
a bag. To my pleasant surprise, he purchases a copy. Learn that Steve
served the first Bush in the White House. I tell him that my father's
favorite cousin sold his home in Midland, Texas to Bush Senior and that
I have, therefore, slept in the same house with the Bushes. Not something
I am very proud of, but a fact nevertheless. Give Steve and Roberta an
invitation to the party tomorrow night. They thank me and say they will
attend. (And they do.)
Walk back over to the ForeWord magazine Stand and visit with Victoria and Maryann. Tell them that ForeWord does a great job reporting developments in the independent publishing scene and reviewing books that might never get coverage in mainstream press. They are happy to hear that. Everyone appreciates compliments.
We are supposed to meet Raul Morales and his daughter, Sylvia, at the Mosaic Stand tonight, but there is no sign of them. Howard does meet two men, Morty Mint and Norm Deska. They also wish to see Raul. Howard suggests they dine with us tonight, but they decide to have an early night and leave. After their departure, Hilton de la Hunt calls to say that Raul is in Frankfurt at his apartment and a date is made to meet at the Zur Somme, an old-fashioned restaurant at 312 Berger Strasse. Then Howard borrows my mobile phone and we call Morty and Norm and they say they will join us. Howard, Jeanette and I walk to the U-bahn No.4 and speed to the restaurant.
We arrive very near Angelica Schleindl's bookshop, but it is closed. Howard remembers going to the bookshop with me. Hilton and his lawyer girlfriend, Irene Lehmann, plus Raul and his daughter, Silvia, are already in the restaurant. Almost immediately, Raul passes a wedding invitation to Howard and Jeanette and one to me as well. The wedding will take place in Mexico City next January the 20th and it should be an amazing party. I certainly will try to attend. Morty Mint and Norm Deska soon join us. It is a superb dinner in every way. Norm and Morty are with the Ripley Entertainment Corporation. Raul has purchased the Spanish-language rights for a big Ripley's Believe It or Not book. And it is thanks to me and my mobile phone that we are all dining together tonight. Raul sees a copy of White-Washing Fences and immediately kids me because I mention in it that I attend the Guadalajara Book Fair in 2002 with Howard Aster and John Flattau, but fail to mention Raul. It is a failure of omission that I promise will be corrected in the next edition. Dinner is superb. I have wild boar and red cabbage. Both Raul and Norm fight for the bill, but Ripley's win.
Norm and Morty are tired and depart straight away. We all walk down the Berger Strase to find a taxi for Raul and Silvia. Once they are on their way, I continue with Hilton and Irene to Henner Gramlich's new place, the Zum Gauss, that just happens to be below Hilton's apartment in Gauss Strasse No.4. Henner is not there when we arrive, but we are told he will be back soon. And he is! Henner used to own the Künstlerkeller and it was with him that I first organized parties during the Messe way back in 1992. It is good to see him again. Hilton wants me to move the parties to Henner's new place. I really like Henner, but I also like the Künstlerkeller. It would be tough to leave it after all these years.
Very late, find a taxi in the Berger Strasse. The driver is from Iran and we chat all the way to Sophienstrasse. Go upstairs quietly. Erich is at his computer and Birgitte is sleeping. I fall into bed and am soon on my way to Dreamland.
Thursday, 20th: Once again get a morning coffee brought to me in bed. Brigitte reports she missed her train yesterday, so she rushes out before we can talk. After I am dressed, write a thank-you note to Birgitte and Erich, leave the keys, and slip out. Take a tram to the Hauptbahnhof and deposit my bag once again in a locker. Back outside and tram No. 16 back to the Messe.
Walk to the Glas Stand and chat briefly with Natasha. Give her a copy of White Washing Fences. She has an important meeting in fifteen minutes, so leave her. Continue to the Press Centre and leave my coat with two attractive young women with great smiles. Flirt with the two sweethearts and give them invitations to dine in Paris on a Sunday evening. Also invite them to the party tomorrow night.
Just as I am leaving Hall 6, meet Claus Clausen. He is all excited about a new book that he has co-organized with 32 other publishers and involving a number of writers who have re-invented myths. There is a press conference this afternoon for The Myth Book with all the publishers and with the writers. Congratulate him and wish him great success with the book. The book seems to be another Jamie Byng success story.
Bump into Tanja Howarth between Hall 6 and Hall 8 and
she is all excited about a new book, The Chess Machine by Robert Loehr,
which she says is her biggest discovery in 33 years. Tell her I am very
happy for her. Go straight to Mosaic Books and find Jeanette guarding
the Stand. Walk to pick up today's publishing news and sadly see that
the article did not appear again today. Instead there is an article by
the lovely Jenny Brown about publishing in Edinburgh. This could easily
have been published in tomorrow's edition. Also a page of photographs
of people in the Hessischer Hof - Jamie Byng with the beautiful Elisabeth
Sheinkman, Ed Victor looking extremely pleased about something. Probably
another million dollar deal. No sign of Sonny Mehta at Random House Stand.
Pass Canongate and Jamie is busy. Pick up today's Guardian, but no sign
of Helen or Roy. Pass de harmonie Stand and it, too, is empty. Visit briefly
with Howard and Jeanette. Then visit with Victoria and Maryann.
One is often given books during the Book Fair in order to promote sales and for other reasons. A woman hands me a book, The Fatal Flaw of Christianity by Peter de Rosa, with the subtitle He did not rise from the dead and the dogma of Original Sin is pure invention. Explosive stuff. The author could have been burnt at the stake in earlier times. Peter de Rosa, an ordained Catholic priest in 1956, left the priesthood in 1970.
Decide to get a bratwurst and end up sharing a table with a lovely woman from Italy. Letizia Pigini is with ELI, a publisher that produces language-learning books. We talk a long time and I invite her to dine in Paris and to come tomorrow to the party. She says she cannot come tomorrow night, but she will come sometime in Paris. I tell her that I am in a book published by Cambridge University Pres, I think, for young students and it contains an article that was published about me in the Independent, a newspaper in London. In the article (and subsequently also in the book), my dinners are described and my telephone number is listed. I get calls from students in Greece, Turkey, Brazil and elsewhere who demand to know if it is true, that they can come to Paris and dine in my home. Yes, I tell them all: Come and dine in Paris
Leave her and walk up row P and encounter Danforth Prince, the delightfully outrageous fellow who publishes gay and lesbian biographies under the imprint, Blood Moon. He and I met last year. He gives me a big fat biography entitled Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel and subtitled America's Notorious Bisexual Billionaire by Darwin Porter. There are another half dozen or more biographies of film stars including Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Marlon Brandon. All written by Darwin Porter who has also co-edited (with two others) a book entitled The Best Gay & Lesbian Films. I am introduced to a fellow from Barcelona who has a Stand across the aisle. Invite them both to the party. (I suspect Danforth Prince and Darwin Porter are the same person.)
Walk to Hall 4 and see Norbert and he introduces me to an elderly couple. Leave them and continue to Hall 3 and attempt to find Inge Krahn at the Rowohlt Stand and Wolfgang Determann at the Kiepenheuer &Witsch Stand. No luck. Walk out on the terrace that over-looks a vast square below. Sit for a while. Three people come out to be photographed. A couple and a knock-out beauty. She and I exchange glances. Go down one floor and explore the Taschen Stand. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary and their Stand looks superb! An attractive young woman from the Stand gives me her radiant smile. I do my best to give one back to her. Later kick myself for not inviting her to dine in Paris.
Walk across to Hall 5. Go to the Lavazza corner and have a last cappuccino. Talk with a couple from Hamburg. Her name is Eva Alpers and she is a photographer. She is currently busy with two book projects - one set in Poland and the other in Pakistan. Her husband is called Hans-Hermann Alpers. Time to leave them.
One of the last people I meet at the Book Messe is Bina Sarkar Ellias in Hall 5 at her Stand. She publishes the magazine, Gallerie, a bi-annual thing of beauty containing music, theatre, cinema, poetry, and travel items. When it is revealed Bina lives in Mumbai, we immediately discover dozens of friends in common including Dolly Trakore and Alyque Padamsee. We talk about my recent trip to India with Antonia Hoogewerf. When I report we both love Calcutta, Bina tells me that she is originally from this city, but has lived most of her life in Mumbai. I learn that she has one daughter who is an actress in London and a son who lives in Virginia. What a lovely woman she is! I ask her to please give my best wishes to Dolly and Alyque when she is home again. I kick myself later for not purchasing one of her magazines, but I was worried that I would be too loaded down.
Stroll to the Press Centre and collect my coat. Continue to Hall 8 and visit with Victoria Sutherland and Maryann Batsakis. They tell me they had an early night last night, but are looking forward to the Künstlerkeller party tonight. Two very attractive ladies! Another woman, Pamela Turner, joins us. She will be coming to the party tonight as well. We stroll down to Howard's Mosaic Books Stand. He and Jeanette are ready to go. But as soon as we leave Hall 8, we lose them. The four of us jump into the shuttle bus and ride to the entrance.
We take the U-bahn to Willy Brandt Platz. Then it is a short walk to Seckerbächer Gasse 4 and the Künstlerkeller. Almost the first to arrive. Only David Hiatt has beat us. We four order meals and David comes over with a copy of White-Washing Fences and asks me to sign it. Then he joins us. David reports he is a big fan of my two books, Workers and Everything Is! and asks if I would like to see them published in the USA. Silly question. Of course! He asks if I would like him to see what he can do. Yes! Natasha Perova is the next to arrive. Slowly more and more people begin to appear. Howard arrives from visiting a PR lady in the Frankfurter Hof. He pulls out a few copies of White-Washing Fences and Jeanette puts them on all the tables. And soon I am signing copies. Mary Clemmy buys a copy for herself and one for Monika Rosenkranz. Mike Shatzkin buys two copies. The couple from South Beach arrive. Two women from Istanbul join the party. A large group from London take up two tables
Martin Lehberger arrives late. He has been at the Rowohlt Verlag party for Inge Krahn. When I tell him that I am about to depart for the night train to Paris, he is surprised. He says he will not be back in Paris until next Tuesday. Thank Howard and Jeanette for all their kindness. And ask Howard to call me when he is back in France.
The beautiful waitress, Anna, calls a taxi for me. Tell her she is always welcome to visit in Paris and to stay in my atelier. Also tell the same to the blonde, Caroline, who is also a student and a waitress for our party. Anna tells me the taxi is outside. There is a fellow talking with Howard who is also ready to leave. I ask him if he would like a ride to the Hauptbahnhof and he says yes. Shout goodbye to everyone and thank the two waitresses for their efforts. Shout a thank-you to Erwin Schlochoff, the proprietor, on my way out.
It's a short ride to the Hauptbahnhof. Jan Wiesemann has missed his first train, so walks with me to the locker. I collect my bag and we walk to purchase water and a chocolate doughnut. I buy some pastry for Jan. We stand in from of platform 13 and discuss his book-in-progress. The book is about John Lennon and how the government brain-washed his assassin into killing John. Oh me oh my - conspiracy theories. I tell him that I knew John and that he was a charming fellow. I wonder how any government could consider the world would be a better place with John not around. Jan departs for his train and I head for mine.
The compartment starts out with four people. So I move to another and it is just me in it. Then I am joined by a fellow from Morocco. And then at some point two young lads join us and we are four again. But I do manage to sleep off and on.
Friday, 21st : The train pulls into the Gare d'Est on time at 7. The three fellows in my compartment gather their things and begin to make their way to the exit. The fellow from Morocco asks me about Orly and before I can offer him a ride in my taxi to Denfert Rochereau, he rushes out and down the platform. Manage to find a taxi and am soon speeding towards home.
Lots of messages (500 plus e-mail messages most of which is spam), some post and of course, there are telephone messages. Anna Skochilenko comes over and she is super nice. What a lovely sweetheart she is. In the afternoon begin the shopping for the Sunday dinner. Antonia Hoogewerf prepares Boeuf Bourguignon for the Sunday dinner. She arrives to start the preparations. In the evening, Antonia and I take Susi Wyss to a small restaurant just off the rue Daguerre. The women are happy with their meal. Mine is just so-so.
Saturday, 22nd : Slow start today. Get up and find this friend is up and dressed and preparing coffee. There is today's Herald Tribune on the table next to a copy of a new New Yorker. Then I remember I left 100 euro in change with a friend to give to the Village Voice and to purchase a New Yorker for me. This friend departs to see a film and will come back later to assist with the cutting and chopping. A quick call to Antonia and learn that there is nothing to do until she arrives later this afternoon.
Lucia Bobacheva calls and asks if she can pass to introduce her boyfriend, Alexei Bogdanov. I wonder if he knows how lucky he is. Lucia is fantastic. Yes, of course, hurry over. I call Anna Skochilenko when Lucia arrives and ask her to come quickly to my atelier. Anna's young sister is in a hospital in St. Petersburg. I know that Anna would like to send a letter with Lucia when she flies to St. Petersburg tomorrow morning. And I would like to send some euros to Anna's mother to contribute to the hospital expenses. (Alexei looks OK.)
Antonia and I dine
in the Roi du Couscous down the street. I much prefer my meal tonight
to the one I had yesterday evening.
Sunday, 23rd: It is a quiet morning and a quiet day only interrupted by telephone bookings for tonight's dinner. A friend and Olga go to Alesia to get a big Brea and a small Parmesan. Sit at the computer and continue with this Frankfurt Book Fair report.
In the afternoon, Evgenija Demnievska arrives to change some parts of her exhibition. About 6pm, Antonia arrives and the meal enters final preparation mode. Séamas arrives with the 15 baguettes traditionelle. The bar is set up by Anna Skochilenko. A friend and Olga assist Antonia. In the end we are about 70 people and it is, as expected when Antonia cooks, a delicious meal. Everyone enjoys it.
Now on Monday, the atelier is clean once again. I have more or less completed the Edinburgh Festival newsletter. And now this short Frankfurt Book Fair report is finished. A new guest has arrived this afternoon from Sweden, Inka Andrade Gutiérrez. She is from Bolivia but teaches Spanish in Stockholm. She telephoned me yesterday to ask if she could stay "a few days".
I keep wondering if I will continue to attend the Frankfurt Book Messe. But so many good things came out of this year's trip. Nothing major perhaps, but lots of small delicious encounters with old friends and making new friends. Yes, I suspect you will find me there again next October, 2006.
Jim Haynes' newsletter