Jim Haynes newsletters
Newsletter No. 690
6th August:Today I depart for London via Eurostar. It is a quiet quick
trip. Read all the way. It's strange to arrive in St-Pancras. Find a taxi
and soon arrive at 166 Gloucester Terrace. A warm welcome from Ernie Eban.
Suggest we go and have a pizza, but learn that Pizza Express is no longer
there. It is now a North African restaurant.
Thursday, 7th: Up at 8. Putter about. Dorota Chrisp calls, but I fail to reach the phone on time. Call her back. We agree to meet at the Polish Cultural Centre near her office in Chiswick for lunch. Go down to the Spanish café for breakfast. On the way there purchase The Guardian and The New Yorker. Sit outside and have a half English breakfast: one egg, toast, coffee, hash browns, ham, sausage. A couple comes and sits next to me. They have just arrived from Australia and cannot get into their hotel room until 14.00 hours - almost five hours from now. Read a review of the new Woody Allen movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona in The New Yorker. Back to Ernie's. Leave a note for him. Go out and wonder which bus to catch. A sudden heavy rain. Allow two buses to go by and for reasons I do not know, get on the third. Bingo. It goes to Chiswick. I arrive before Dorota. Find a table in the window and order a hot chocolate until she arrives. We both have very filling bowls of soup. Then we order something else. Very silly of us. She and Tim are off to Crete for a holiday. They met there almost twenty years ago. Their wonderful daughter, Lila, will go with them, but Joe, their son, will stay in London. So if I need a place to stay when I come down from Edinburgh, I am welcome to the guest bedroom. Take the bus back to Ernie's. He is there and we start making calls for tonight's annual Khan's Indian take-away dinner. In the end we are about a dozen. Men are Ernie, Mark Petrushkin, Jim Campbell, Alex Kan, Tom Hope and yours truly. Women are Mary Clemmey, Jeannette Petrushkin, Emma Hope, Ksenia Nova and Ksenia's friend, Juliette. It's another fun evening. Mary Clemmey is a hero for driving to Candida"s home and collecting my red jacket that I left there last night. Mary even gives me a book, Man Is Wolf to Man - Surviving Stalin's Gulag by Janusz Bardach. Ernie goes again to his sister's and leaves me his bed. What a host!
8th: Up at 7.45. I slowly shave and dress. Go out and find a taxi.
The driver is a Francophile. He loves Paris. Give him the Chicago Tribune
article and invite him to dine when he next travels to Paris. The ticket
fellow advises me to run for the next train departing for Newcastle and
get the Flying Scotsman when it passes through Newcastle. I dash to platform
4 and manage to make it with seconds to spare. The ticket attendant inside
the train advises me to get out at York and to pick up the Flying Scotsman
there. Not sure of her reasons but do as she suggests. Get a call on my
mobile from John Calder who says he missed the dinner last night because
he failed to check his messages. He will be coming up to Edinburgh on
Sunday. Get a call from Hercules Bellville who says he is home in bed
with a bad cold. He, too, is sorry not being with us last night. He further
advises my sitting on the right side of the train to get the best views.
This leads to a discussion of POSH and its etymology. I reply "portside
out starboard home" home before he can tell me. This requires my
asking Hercules if he knows the etymology of wow. He doesn't and I tell
him that it is from a West African language meaning "yes". He
is not impressed. I promise to call him when I pass back through London
the end of the month.
9th: The Book Festival starts today at 10.00 with Ian Rankin interviewing
a mystery guest from the world of politics. One part of me wants to go,
but I am sure it is sold out and I probably cannot get a ticket. (Later
I learn it is Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister.) Head up to Hanover Street
and purchase a bus pass. Change euros into pounds at Marks & Spencer.
Sunday, 10th: Up at 8. Very slow start. Listen to old friend, Daniel Topolski, on the television talking about boat races. Eat a bowl of muesli and drink a cup of coffee. Chat with Martin in the kitchen. Out the door and bus to Assembly Rooms. Ask for Steve Gove, but he is not on duty.
Book Festival. Meet Michael and Mona Shea in the entrance and they introduce
me to someone. Inside the Press Pod, Claudia Monteiro introduces me to
Maria Joao Silveirinha, a Professor of Media Studies at the University
of Coimbra in Portugal. I tell her I taught Media Studies and Sexual Politics
at the University of Paris 8 for thirty years. Claudia also introduces
me to a woman doing landscape gardening in Edinburgh. Also Claudia's husband,
Ian King, is present. And a journalist from Spain. The photographer, Geraint
Lewis, enters. We embrace and chat. His wife, Melody, is in Madrid with
their children and will not be coming up for the Festival. I have a copy
of Throw a Great Party for Frances Sutton. Claudia gives me a ticket
for Abdel Bari Atwan for 12.30 and one for Tariq Ali for 18.30. Wander
into the Writers Yurt and encounter Kirsty Gunn and her husband, David
Graham. She asks if I have seen Stephanie Wolfe-Murray.
The secret history of Al-qaid'a
by Abdel Bari Atwan
As expected, Tariq is superb. Ruth Wishart chairs. The theatre is packed. He is eloquent and provocative as he discusses the political situation in Venezuela and Bolivia. Wander into the signing tent afterwards and purchase his book, Pirates of the Caribbean. He signs it "For Jim, love and solidarity". We agree to go for a drink. Guillaume and Laure plus two fellows from Pakistan, Dr. Aamer Khan and Mir Mohammad Idrees. Aamer suggests we go to the roof restaurant, corner of Castle Street and George Street. Up we go and it is a fantastic view of the castle and the Firth of the Forth. Talk turns to eating and Aamer suggests a restaurant in Johnston Terrace. Guillaume and Laure elect not to come, but the four of us find a taxi and speed up the Mound. There is a round table in the corner that is perfect for us. The cuisine is Middle Eastern and delicious. I suggest we play my circle game and it works its magic. Dr. Khan is a psychiatrist in an Edinburgh hospital who dreams of life in Canada. He is a big fan of Tariq's and has read all his books. Dr. Khan is meeting him for the first time and is very excited by this encounter. He and Mohammad have not met each other before. It seems that Mohammad is a PhD student in Glasgow. Because Tariq has to catch an early morning train to London, we decide to call it a night. Dr. Khan insists upon treating us all to our dinner (as he earlier picked up the bill for our drinks). We stroll down the Mound to Princes Street and into Rose Street. I peal off and walk to the Assembly Rooms. The three of them continue to Hope Street and Tariq's hotel.
Pirates of the Caribbean
by Tariq Ali, Verso, London
the Club Bar, see Rona Thomson. Go upstairs in the Assembly Rooms and
meet Steve Gove. He introduces me to an Adam, from Poland, and a Nora
Wardell. Steve has mentioned me to Nora and has told her I can host her
after the festival when she travels to Paris, Vienna and maybe Poland.
She is an extremely attractive drama student from Edinburgh, studying
in Bristol. I tell her that she is welcome. (And in fact as I write these
words, Nora is a houseguest.)
11th: Sheila Colvin calls and we agree to meet at 12.45 in the Scottish
Arts Club in Rutland Square. I have lunch with her and John Calder. And
we share a table with Hilary Mounfield and others. Hilary suggests I have
one of my Sunday night dinners next year in the Scottish Arts Club. It
is a tempting proposal.
12th: Stephanie Wolfe-Murray and I meet at the Patisserie Florentine
for a breakfast together. Stephanie drives me to the Raeburn Laundry and
I drop off two bags of items to be washed. Then we drive to Oxford Terrace
and call on John Calder. Sheila mentioned yesterday that she had to go
to Glasgow this morning and would I look in on John and make sure he was
all right. Sheila is just leaving when we arrive. John is happy to see
us, especially to see Stephanie. We talk and talk.
13th: I am running low on pounds, so bus to Princes Street and cash
400 euros. And buy some socks. Walk to Hanover Street and take a bus up
the Mound. Syd Kyman boards at the next stop and sits with me. I ask him
how he and Ailsa enjoyed their recent trip to France. He gets off at the
next stop before we can explore anything. I get off in George IV Bridge
and walk to the National Library of Scotland. Carol Stobie is not on duty
today. Walk around to the Fringe Press Centre and Kitty prepares a press
card for me. While sitting on a couch waiting for the card, Eileen O'Reilly
walks pass me, sees me and joins me. We have a good long talk. She is
so nice. Kitty too.
for Queen Street and drop Fringe Society voting list in lawyer's offices.
Back to Assembly Rooms. At 18.30, see Britt Ekland's Britt on Britt
in the Supper Room with Steven Flannery and Michael Johnson. And a woman
they introduce me to. I think her name is Ellen. The lads have the Brunswick
Hotel in Glasgow where I stayed in February 2001 when I was invited to
create "a happening". The lads are also friends of Anne Marie
Timoney, the actress who played the role of Marlene Dietrich in the Festival
of 1987. It is delightful to see them. They also know George, who runs
the Supper Room. George provided technical support when I brought the
mini-musical, If I Were Me, written, directed and performed by
Paris-based American actress, Gay Marshall. After the production, they
head for the train and the trip back to Glasgow.
I walk down George Street toward Charlotte Square and encounter Toby Gough walking toward me. He is with three fellows. He is one wild fellow. Extremely sweet about my contributions to the intellectual life of Edinburgh. He introduces me to his friends in an outlandish fashion. I thank him and report that I am on my way to St. Georges West to see his production, Hemingway's Havana. He orders me to announce myself to his assistant when I arrive. I promise to do so. Continue on my way.. Meet Guillaume and Laure and invite them to join me. But they cannot. We talk about Martin Belk and the Book Festival and walk together to Princes Street. I turn into Shandwick Place. I pick up a ticket but don't announce myself. Order a hot chocolate and sit and wait for the show to start. And it is wonderful. Pure Toby Gough. Over the top. It has everything. Hemingway's Irish daughter-in-law, Valerie is interviewed on stage and talks lovingly about meeting the great man in Madrid and then being invited to Havana. She talks about her memories of these days, of Hemingway's days and nights in Havana before and after Castro. Mixed with this is great music and dancing. One dancer I find extremely attractive. When it ends I talk with a lovely couple sitting next to me. They are from Slovakia, from Bratislava. I tell them that I have spent time in Bratislava. And that I have been invited to serve on the jury next year of a film festival in Slovakia. Before I can talk further with them or to invite them for a drink, Toby spots me and pulls me away. I do manage to give them a Chicago Tribune article. On stage, Toby showers me with glorious compliments. He walks me to the front door and offers to take me to my next destination in his taxi. I jump into a taxi with him and he drops me at the Traverse. I cannot remember how the rest of the evening unfolds. I suspect I wander to the Assembly rooms, have a drink in the Club Bar and then walk down Frederick Street to Great King Street and bed.
14th: The day starts well with Ruth bringing me coffee at 8 am. I
have been up since 7.30 watching Olympics. Make toast for myself. Slowly
dress. Gossip with Martin.
15th: Up at 7.45. Find Ruth in the kitchen and she produces coffee
and toast for me. Sheila Colvin calls and she asks if I have any influence
at the Traverse. I reply: "very little". It seems Frank Dunlop
wants to see The New Electric Ballroom by Enda Walsh this afternoon
at 16.00 hours. Taxi to the Traverse and the Press Office is not yet open.
Matt gives me a ticket for Fall by Zinnie Harris and he says that
he thinks he can find a ticket for Frank.
I walk towards a pub and she asks me if I would like a drink. I thank
her, but I want to check email. So wish her good luck with the festival
and continue walking toward Lothian Road. Sit next to two fellows from
Sevilla. Tell them I spend a summer in Sevilla. I think it was 1960. I
gave English conversation classes to the Pizjuan family. Give them the
Chicago Tribune article and invite them to dine when they are next
in Paris. They say they will do it. Walk to Filmhouse. Bus to Princes
Street. Walk down Rose Street to Charlotte Square.
enters the Writers' Yurt. He is an unscheduled speaker, talking at 16.30.
I apologize for not being able to attend. I tell him I have read his book
about the making of the film, Manifesto. And that Bojana and Dusan
Makavejev are dear friends. He asks me to send his love and greetings
to them. I also tell him that I attended his one-man show about Jean Jacques
Rousseau that he performed in the Grassmarket Traverse in 1984. Time for
him to go.
16th: Martin makes coffee and toast for me. Read today's Scotsman.
Begin to ponder how I might spend the day. Larkin calls and suggests we
meet today. Sheila Colvin calls and we discuss Cathie Boyd and her loss.
Sheila invites me to the Lyceum Theatre to see The Palestinian National
Theatre. She tells me to be out front at 19.45. I agree.
18.30 there is Alexander McCall Smith in the Main Theatre. One of the
best things is that I see old friend, Charlie MacLean. He was my host
in the Edinburgh Festival of 1998 in his then Rutland Square flat. He
hasn't changed a bit.
photograph Rights Reserved
17th: Coffee with Martin and Chrissie Ferguson. She says she met me
in Moscow through John Lloyd. She is a lawyer. Angela Bartie calls; she
and Andy plus Andy's daughter are coming over from Glasgow. They will
arrive about 11.30. I call Sheila and get Nick Phillipson's address. Walk
to Raeburn Laundry and collect clean items. Purchase coffee, milk, and
other house supplies. Taxi back to 84 Great King Street and deposit clean
laundry and kitchen supplies. Angela calls again. They are in Edinburgh.
I suggest they meet me in the Patisserie Florentine in Circus Place. I
walk the short distance there.
a taxi and go to Charlotte Square. Bump into Sylvia Beach Whitman and
her fellow, David Delannet. She looks very beautiful with a heart-breaking
smile. They are enjoying the Festival. Especially the Book Festival! I
tell her that her own literary festival was divine. She has organized
three so far.
20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth
by Xiaolu Guo, Chatto & Windus, London
18th: Up at 7.30. Coffee and toast. Read today's Scotsman and
then pass it to Martin in his bed. Ruth and I discuss going to Creeler's
on Thursday evening.
19th: Ruth produces a cup of coffee. I quickly dress and out the door.
Photocopy a few more copies of the Chicago Tribune article. Bus
to George Street. Try to get a press ticket for the Tailor of Inverness.
Astrid calls and asks me to purchase three tickets for Tailor. Go outside
and join the ticket queue. Talk to a fellow behind me in the queue; he
is going to see a George Orwell play in five minutes. Tell him he can
go ahead of me. Tell him about my "rental contract" with Sonia
Orwell. I lived in her basement flat in the mid-60s and all I had to do
was serve drinks in her weekly Friday afternoon parties to Mary McCarthy,
Francis Bacon, Cyril Connolly, Stephen Spencer, etc etc. It was a lovely
arrangement. Learn that Tailor of Inverness is sold out today,
but there are tickets tomorrow. So don't purchase any. Call Astrid and
leave a message for her.
20th: Lazy morning. Ruth, the sweetheart, makes coffee and toast for
me. Outside it is raining. I call Ingrid and Jim Kempston and get their
answering machine. Leave them a message, thanking them for the superb
dinner. Out the door and deliver 2 bags of laundry to Raeburn Place.
21st: Out the door early and collect my laundry from Raeburn Place.
Return to Great King Street and deposit the laundry. Head for Waverly
Station and attempt to make seat reservations for John Calder and myself.
But they will not make the reservations without seeing the tickets. Taxi
to Sheila's and manage to catch them before they depart for Kinross. Continue
to Great King Street, find my ticket and back to Waverly. This time I
am successful. Seat reservations for next Tuesday at 11.30 hours on the
26th. Go to check email in Bread Street. Eat a bacon sandwich in the Bar
Italia. Bus to the Assembly Rooms. Try to see The Tailor of Inverness.
Meet two women from America; Rachel Chavkin and Libby King have a production at the Traverse called Architecting. I tell them that I created the Traverse and established the new play policy. Amanda arrives and I introduce her to Rachel and Libby. They ask us to come and see their production tomorrow morning at 11.00 hours. They will leave two tickets for us. I learn that Libby and I have Atlanta and LSU in common. See Mary Shields and we agree to meet on Sunday at 13.45 hours in Victoria Street. I see Jude Doherty. And talk to so many people. I am really enjoying this reception. But we have to go to keep our reservation at Creeler's. Outside we find a taxi and arrive in Hunter Square. No Tim or Fran. But as always it is a wonderful experience. Ruth and I have venison. Amanda and Martin have fish. It is my treat. We are four happy individuals. Outside it is raining. Since Amanda is staying on the corner, we dash for her place to wait out the rain.
22nd: Up before 8. Shave, wash and dress. Ruth produces coffee and
toast. I move into Martin's office because we will have more visitors
tonight. Taxi to Bread Street to check email. Walk down to the Traverse.
Yes, there is one ticket for me for Architecting, but there is
not another ticket available for Amanda. Rachel apologizes, but there
is nothing she can do. No sign of Amanda, but she arrives just before
the show is to start. We have to tell her there are no more tickets. She
takes it well and wanders off. I go down to theatre 2 and see a wild production.
I should stick around and congratulate Rachel, Libby and the rest of the
cast, but if I am going to see The Tailor of Inverness at the Assembly
Rooms, I have to get my ass there.
23rd: The Festival is nearing the end. I still have lots of shows
I wish to see as well as people I want to see and be with. There is Margaret
Atwood in the Book Festival at 11.30 this morning
24th: Up at 7.30. Shower, etc. Walk to Stockbridge. Coffee in Starbucks.
Deposit a bag of laundry. Bus to Assembly Rooms. Check email. Robert McDowell
calls and tells me not to miss Up the Republic. I tell him I plan
to see it tonight or tomorrow night. Talk with Diana, the sister of Bill
Burdett-Coutts, Then chat with Clare Walters and tell her she is welcome
to come and visit in the autumn.
Taxi to George IV Bridge and walk to The Grain Store. Go upstairs and join Claire Smith. Mary Shields and Peter Wood soon arrive. We order and devour superb food. The chef/owner, Carlo Coxon, comes and we discuss a plan for all of them to come to Paris, for Carlo and Mary to cook a Sunday dinner for 60 to 70 people and for Claire to write about it for The Scotsman. Not sure whose idea it is but it sure as hell is a good idea. Mary is the Programme Director of the Assembly Rooms. I suggest I do my "happening" next year and Mary is all for it. Peter Wood is the Assembly Communications Director. They think that October might be the best time for all concerned.
We all scatter.
I find a taxi and go to Rona Thomson's annual festival party. I am completely
full, but still manage to eat some cheese. Lots of lovely individuals.
Up the Republic by Max McGuinness, with Lola Peploe
Oh what a mess. Sometimes everything goes wrong when one is trying to do too many things. I could have taken Lola out for a meal or a drink. Or Samra. Or both of them. And Sasha. Damn.
Monday, 25th: Another very early start. Rush to the Raeburn Laundry and collect my clean clothes. Back to the flat and bring a few supplies for the kitchen.
Sean Connery and Murray Grigor will present Sean's book, Being a Scot,
in the Book Festival at 11.30 Today is the last day of the Book Festival.
The security arrangements seem to be over the top. Sean is definitely
the King of Scotland. It's fun to see how excited everyone is. Lots of
photographers. Murray, Sean and Catherine Lockerbie are only a few feet
away as the photographers snap away. And then they go to the Main Theatre.
Sean Connery, Catherine Lockerbie
and Murray Grigor. Photograph Rights Reserved
I go down to Stockbridge and have a bowl of soup with Robert Rae, the Artistic Director, and with Gordon Davidson, who is designing the production. They will open in September in Glasgow, then tour Scotland and end up back in Edinburgh. I tell them that in one month's period, I saw a half dozen or more productions of Marat/Sade in London, Paris, Stockholm, Geneva, Barcelona, Holland. I would love to see their production.
Reid will close the Book Festival with his reading at 20.30 tonight.
26th: This morning John Calder and I take the train to London. I have
been in the UK and in Edinburgh almost three weeks. I have seen over thirty
talks and productions making on average three events per day. I have had
a rich social life, many lunches and dinners, seeing old friends and meeting
new ones. I have fallen in love approximately once a day (at least). It
has been exciting, stimulating and fun.
27th: Breakfast with John Calder in the Young Vic café. Then
cross the street with John and read the manuscript of his next book, The
Garden of Eros. It is a literary stroll through the 50s, 60s, 70s,
80s. I like it. Dear John has an amazing memory. He writes about the first
Writers' Conference in Edinburgh in 1962, the Drama Conference in 1963
with the nude happening and the trial, about Suck and the Wet
Dream Film Festival, about Maurice Girodias, the Frankfurt Book Fairs,
about Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, William Burroughs, about so many people
I know and so many events I have witnessed.
and I go to see Fragments, three short pieces by Samuel Beckett,
directed by Peter Brook in the Young Vic at 19.30. John wants to sit on
the end of the row. Along from me I hear a young man discussing Beckett
and a book he has read entitled The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett
and how great he found the book. I stick my nose into it, tell him the
author of the book is sitting on my left. He is completely surprised,
then realizes that John once signed the book for him. They met after a
lecture somewhere. He is elated. I pass a Chicago Tribune article
to him and invite him to dine. I hope he shows the article to his beautiful
Solo, by John Calder
Thursday, 28th: This morning I take the Eurostar to Paris and home. John and I go to Caffe Nero and I am surprised to see Floriana so early. She sees my luggage and asks if I am going to Paris. I reply that I am. She says she wishes she were going. I don't say that I wish she were coming with me. John helps me to find a taxi and I zoom North to St. Pancras. Dash to the ticket office. I can get the ticket changed for a small payment. I am sure Nicholas said I would be able to change the ticket, but I don't argue. Pay the money and rush to the platform. In a few minutes I am on my way to Paris.
Edinburgh Festival. Now I suppose the next trip will be to the Frankfurt
Book Fair the 14th of October. I keep talking about Lodz in October. And
Istanbul to Odessa, across the Black Sea. John Flattau is coming to Paris
the 6th of October. John Calder and Sheila Colvin also arrive the 6th.
And Jodi Poretto arrives the 7th from New Orleans. Shoko and Mark, friends
of Jesper's, arrive the 10th of October. Mary and Paul arrive the 14th.
Stanley Cohen arrives the 20th.
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