Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 702
Edinburgh Festival 2009
Edinburgh Festival
August 10 to 31, 2009

Monday, August 10th: Another feast last night. Antonia Hoogewerf cooked her Super Fish Pie dish. About 90 people enjoyed the evening. We were lucky again with the weather. Galina comes to put everything right this morning. John Calder calls to ask me to pick up a book which he has ordered from La Hune. We agree to meet tonight in Bastille and dine in Le Petite Bofanger. A photographer from Belgium, Faye Pynaert, calls and asks if she may come over and take some portraits on me. Of course. Pati Matysiak, from Poland, wishes to come and take some photographs as well. We three head for the Village Voice Bookshop where I purchase The New Yorker. Pati takes a lot of photographs with different people holding a sign to wish a your woman in hospital in Poland to get well. Pati doesn't know the young woman, but is doing this to make a lovely surprise for this girl. I pick up John's book from La Hune and we bus to Bastille. Arrange to meet Amanda Morrow. Then John Calder, Sheila Colvin, Amanda and yours truly have a fabulous dinner.

Tuesday, 11th: Up early. Wash, dress and pack. Take the #38 bus to the Gare de Nord Walk up to the Eurostar departure lounge and meet John and Sheila. After coffee, we three board the 11.13 train to London. When we arrive, I elect to ride to John's flat with him and Sheila. Sheila collects some things that she had left there. I leave my bag. Walk to John's bookshop, meet Alex who seems to be running things. Purchase a magazine with a CD attached with Charles Bukowski reading some of his poetry and prose.
Ride back to Kings X with Sheila. She takes a 15h00 train to Edinburgh. My ticket is reserved (thanks to Blue Marble) and the fellow behind the ticket counter prints it out for me. Taxi to Ernie Eban's flat in Gloucester Terrace. He and I spend a quiet afternoon catching up with each other's news and the news of our many mutual friends.
In the evening, five of us dine in Paradiso, an Italian restaurant, in The Cut. We are John Calder, Ernie Eban, Sylvia Libedinsky, Thereza Simon and myself. I try to unleash my circle game and it semi-succeeds. Nevertheless a delightful evening!

Bukowski on Bukowski - Little Lagoon Press - London

Wednesday, 12th: Up at 7. Quietly dress and pack and slip out of the apartment. John barely moves. Coffee in Costa in The Cut. Bus to Kings X. Take the 10 o'clock train. Sit next to Camilla Thomson, born in Vancouver, attended Edinburgh University, and, like me, a lover of Edinburgh and the festival. Soon we are pulling into Waverley Station. How many times have I arrived in Waverley? Taxi to Great King Street and manage to get my bag upstairs. No one at home. Leave the bag outside the door and wander down to Patisserie Florentine. Just like last year. The BBC calls me. They will send a car to pick me up at 12.25 tomorrow. Order a hot chocolate and talk with a lovely Aussie, Kate Sumner, from Melbourne. She is visiting Edinburgh and will be here only a few days more. Get a call from Amanda Morrow in Paris and pass the telephone to Kate and the two of them speak "Australian" together. Say farewell to Kate and head for Theatre Workshop. Ruth Holloway and I exchange warm embraces. She reports Martin has prepared a Thai fish curry dinner for us.
Leave Ruth and bus to Hanover Street and purchase a month's bus pass. Walk the short distance to the Assembly Rooms. See Sam Fell, the student I met last year, again guarding the club bar. He reports that Steve Gove is in the upstairs bar. Sure enough, he is there with his mum, Carol, and Jim High and Jim Mccruden. Steve asks if I would like to see a final rehearsal for The Assassination of Paris Hilton. Why not? He walks me into the upstairs Ladies toilets. Needless to say, it is a very silly production. Young women obsessed with Paris Hilton. A silly start to the festival.
Return to Great King Street and Martin, my superb host, has cooked a fabulous fish curry. We have fun catching up. Martin's friend, Stuart, joins us. I am tired, but nevertheless wander up to the Assembly Club Bar and encounter lots of people I know. Talk with David Calvitto, an actor from New York City. He introduces me to three people who are making a documentary. They ask if I will be willing to give them an interview. We agree to meet in the early afternoon tomorrow. Also talk with Tim Whitnall about his play, The Sociable Plover, and promise to see it in a day or so. It is with Guy Masterson.

Thursday, 13th: A breakfast feast with Penny and John Morrison. Ruth makes sourdough toast and coffee for me. John goes out to get croissants. Bus up to Hanover Street and walk around the corner to Princes Street. The planned installation of a new tram system has created havoc. No traffic in Princes Street. Change 600 euros into pounds sterling. Walk to Frederick Street and Holly, a little sweetheart, sells me the first pair of shoes I try on. Continue down Frederick Street and make some photocopies of the Chicago Tribune newsletter. Return to Great King Street and a taxi collects me at 12.25 and delivers me to the EICC building where I am met by an attractive woman. I am taken to the presenter, Janice Forsyth. Soon meet the other guests: Iain Banks, Maria Tecce, Baba Brinkman is the Darwin Rapper, and Gabrielle de Vietri. A studio audience provides ambiance. It is all very well done. Janice Forsyth is good at her job and the 45 minutes passes quickly and smoothly. All seem to be satisfied with the programme. A taxi is arranged for me and I ask the driver to deliver me to the Assembly Rooms in George Street.
Encounter Ronnie Dorsey and she gives me a leaflet for her show, Becoming Marilyn. She tells me that Britt Ekland is flying over from Stockholm to see the show and asks if I would like a ticket to see it with Britt next Saturday at 15.10. Yes! Next see David Calvitto. I promise I will see his production, The Event, tomorrow.

Becoming Marilyn
by Bernie C. Byrnes

David Calvitto introduced me yesterday to a film crew from New York who are making a documentary film. I agreed to be interviewed for it. Jonathan does the interview, Matt does the camera work, and Audrey controls the sound. Never do learn their family names. They seem to be happy with my contribution. Liz Smith passes with Virginia Ironside and introduces us. But we have met already. Virginia is performing a one-woman show, The Virginia Monologues, and Liz suggests we all attend next Sunday. (Alas I do not make it.)Back to the Club Bar and more talk. Go out into the lane and purchase a ticket for David Calvitto's show for 13.10 tomorrow. When I am back in the Club Bar, I realize that I cannot attend his show tomorrow because I will be engaged in my own talk at the West Port Book Festival event which starts at 14h00. Damn. I am silly.
Wander to Frederick Street and have a hot chocolate in the Café Rouge. Sit next to a Greg (from Melbourne) and Claire (from Edinburgh) and we discuss the festival. This is one of the delightful happenings that take place daily all over the city. People meet randomly and who do not normally talk to people they do not know, do so during the festival.
I have been invited to Elisabeth Fairbairn's home in Moray Place for drinks, so say goodbye to Greg and Claire and walk slowly to her home. I am the first to arrive and feel a little bad for being first. But I am able to have quality time with Elisabeth. Then people begin to arrive. Later she asks if I would like to stay for dinner, but I have agreed to meet some friends for dinner. Reluctantly have to excuse myself. Thank Elisabeth and quietly slip out and walk down to Stockbridge.
Walk to St. Stevens Street to meet Astrid Silins, Stash Pruszynki, Bronaslav Sudjic. and Broneslav's friend, Gasa Walker, in a Chinese restaurant. Again I am first to arrive. Peek inside the restaurant and spot old friend, David Baird. He is the doctor who delivered Jesper in the Royal Infirmary all those years ago. (In 1962, I introduced David to a woman he married, but it is a long story and not for now.) Dinner is great.

Friday, 14th: Head up the hill to the Assembly Rooms Club Bar to see who has won Fringe Firsts. See and greet lots of people I know including Joyce McMillan, Jackie McGlone, Mike Griffiths, Bill Barbet-Coutts, Liz Smith, David Calvitto and many others. Get a call from Tim Cornwell who says he is calling from Charlotte Square. He would like to interview me for an article about my proposed dinner party in the Scottish Arts Club. I tell him I am in the Assembly Rooms and that I am free now if he wishes to come up. He says he will be there in fifteen minutes with a photographer. I get to witness the actor, Edgar Oliver, accept a Fringe First for his production, East 10th Street: Self Portrait With Empty House, written and performed by Edgar in the Traverse. Afterwards we are introduced and we chat briefly. I think I tell him that my son, Jesper, lived a long time in St. Marks and First Avenue. Tim Cornwell arrives with a photographer, Neil Hanna. First, the photographer goes into action. Then Tim does his thing. He asks if I have any photographs of the Paris Sunday dinners and I refer him to Terry in Paris. He reports his article will appear in this Sunday's Scotland on Sunday.
Walk to Filmhouse in Lothian Road. Peggy Hughes meets me there and will deliver me to Edinburgh Books. I have a chicken wrap and Peg has a sandwich. She is so wonderful. She tells me she is still with her boyfriend from last year, Colin Fraser. Lucky Colin. We walk to Bread Street and, since we are early, she suggests we have a coffee. She takes me into Tea Tree Tea and I have a coffee. I am introduced to one of the proprietors, Jamie Russell. Then we walk the short distance to Edinburgh Books (145 West Port). I meet once again Hannah Adcock, the Festival Director, and William Lytle, the proprietor of Edinburgh Books.
My "talk" is entitled Jim Haynes: A Roving Life in conversation with Ryan Van Winkle and the programme note says: "Jim Haynes is a living legend. Flaneur, writer, publisher, former bookshop owner and host to thousands over the years he's spent welcoming strangers to his Parisian atelier for Sunday dinner, his is a life more spectacular than most. We can't wait to hear his tales." This text has been written by Peggy, I think. It's a fun event. Lots of people I recognize are in the room including Angela Wrapson and George Kerevan. It is soon over. Thank Ryan, Hannah, Peggy and William Lytle. Someone, I think Hannah, gives me a gift, a book entitled Philandering Angler. Make my exit and stroll back towards Tea Tree Tea and enter the cyber café across the street to check my email messages.
Afterwards purchase an umbrella from Ali's Cave in Lothian Road. Walk toward Princes Street and join two teen-ages girls strolling beside me as we all three sing songs from The Sound of Music. They are amused that I know the lyrics as well as they do. Head for the Traverse and go to see Emma Pirie, in the Press Office. Emma greets me warmly and introduces me to a new staff member, Claire Ross, an attractive brunette. Emma gives me a ticket for Orphans by Dennis Kelly in theatre 1 at 19h00 tonight.
Go downstairs and have a bowl of lentil soup. Share a table with Elysabeth Kleinhans and Peter Tear who have a theatre in New York City. For some bizarre reason, I mention that I created the Traverse for the actress, Jane Alexander. They know Jane, She recently performed in their theatre. We speak lovingly of Jane. Small world. They are also going to Orphans in theatre 1 at 19.00 hours. But we all three sit in different parts of the theatre. I sit next to a fellow who looks Swedish, but he is Scottish. He is the President of the Scottish-Swedish Friendship Society. I tell him that my son is Scottish (born in Edinburgh), Swedish (his mother, Viveka) and American (me). I never get this fellow's name because I do not return to the theatre after the interval. Too much profanity for me. It seems there are people who speak like this.
Taxi to the Assembly Rooms. The driver is from Iran. I tell him that I used to have an Iranian girlfriend. The lovely Elahe! See Philip and Xaviera Hollander. Sit with them and discuss the festival. Xaviera has come every year since the year I suggested she do so. Some twenty years ago. Xaviera has even taken shows from Edinburgh to Amsterdam.

Steve Gove looms into view. He is a dear friend. Co-founder and Director of the Prague Fringe Festival, he visits Paris often and stays here in Atelier A2. He is with Zdenka Zarska, a member of the Prague City Council and a big supporter of Steve's Prague Fringe Festival. Both Steve and Zdenka ask me to speak English slowly because she is having trouble adjusting to the Scottish accents. I reply, very slowly: I..love.. you! They both laugh. I recently flew to Prague in June and stayed in Steve's apartment in that beautiful city. Tonight he asks if I would like to see Maria Tecce. Why not? We met at the BBC Radio event yesterday and I heard her sing two songs. She has a lovely voice and is certainly a joy on the eyes. He walks Zdenka and me into the Edinburgh Suite for her show at 22.05. And she is delightful!
Wander back into the Club Bar. Purchase tomorrow's Scotsman and walk down the hill to my bed.

Maria Tecce  - Viva

Saturday, 15th: Breakfast with Penny and John Morrison. They leave this morning for Oban and a boat trip around the islands in the West. Then they return to the South of England. Take laundry to Stockbridge. And put ten pounds credit on my mobile phone.
Go to Charlotte Square and see Frances Sutton. She is as lovely as ever. And kindly welcomes me to the Book Festival once again. I ask her about Claudia Monteiro and Catherine Lockerbee. She says Claudia is very much around. Alas Catherine has taken a leave of absence. She needs a good long rest. And Kath Mainland is no longer at the Book Festival. She has left to run the Fringe.
Head for Rutland Square to have lunch with Sheila Colvin and John Calder. See Stash Pruszynski on my way. I talked him into coming to Edinburgh Festival when I saw him in Warsaw in June. He and I first met in Edinburgh when we were both students at Edinburgh University in 1956. He is a fantastic fellow and a dear friend. Two steps later, encounter Francis Bickmore. He is a Senior Editor at Canongate and an excellent fellow. Introduce the two of them and speak briefly about their activities. Stash has written a book about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Invite them to come to the Scottish Arts Club, but they each have plans. Ask Francis to pass my best wishes to Jamie Byng and Elizabeth Sheinkman.
Lunch at the Scottish Arts Club with John and Sheila. And with Hilary Mounfield. (Angela Bertie calls from Glasgow and I wish her "Happy Birthday!" which was on the 12th of August.) Sheila and Hilary discuss "my" Paris Salon evening scheduled here in the Club for the 30th of August. They say that everyone is excited about it.
Back to Charlotte Square and the Press Pod. Bob Flynn rushes in to collect a ticket for Bashabi Fraser, but he is late and her event has already started. She has written an epic poem that "explores hundreds of years of shared history between Scotland and India". Bob is upset, but there is nothing he can do. Once an event has started, even a god is refused entrance. We decide to go for a drink in the Spiegeltent. He and I discuss a documentary film he has been involved with. It is about the jute industry, shot in Scotland and Kolkata. We think it might be something for the Kolkata Film Festival. Alas it is too late for this November, but as soon as he has a DVD, I will send it to India to see if we can get it into the Festival in November 2010. Roza Nazipova Petherick is sitting outside the signing tent and we have a quick exchange. She is as lovely as ever.
Walk toward the Traverse. Get a call from Martin Belk. He is in the Traverse. I tell him that I will be there in ten minutes. He is standing outside and greets me when I arrive. Martin edits and publishes One Magazine out of Edinburgh and Glasgow. He is going to the 17.45 performance of East 10th Street. Emma gives me a ticket for the same performance. Martin is with his friend, Agie. It's a lovely monologue. We three dine in the Traverse after the show. I have chili and nachos. Excellent.
Back to Charlotte Square. Sit in the Press Pod with Olivier Joly and Frances Sutton. The Book Festival opening party is tonight. I feel terrible that I have not invited Martin and his friend. But I do not have an invitation myself. So not even sure I can attend. Nevertheless Claudia Monteiro and the new Marketing Assistant, Julia Ossenbruegge, manage to slip me inside the Spiegeltent. I seem to know almost everyone present. Exchange waves with Ian Rankin. Susan Rice thanks all the sponsors and gives us a brief address of welcome. Talk a long time with a Helen Walsh from Oakville, Ontario and of course she knows Howard Aster. See Ryan Van Winkle and thank him for our conversation in the alternative book fair, The West Port Book Festival.
I have been invited to a party at Roddy Martine's home and have every intention of attending. Leave Charlotte Square and observe that Frances Sutton is walking just beside me. We hail a taxi outside and I ponder getting out at Great King Street or going on to Roddy's place. I ask Frances if we can pass the Assembly Rooms and collect two copies of Scotland on Sunday. Give one to Frances. Tell her there is an article by Tim Cornwell about my dinner on the 30th of August in the Scottish Arts Club. She sees that I am very tired and she encourages me to have an early night. I accept her advice. Sit with Martin Burke and Ruth Holloway in the kitchen. Look late at Tim Cornwell's article and it is excellent. It should certainly fill the Scottish Arts Club dinner on the 30th.

Sunday, 16th: Begin the day with coffee and toast - thanks to Ruth. Call Mona Shea and we have a talk about festival plans. She and Michael are going to the Prossers today and she urges me to join them. Bus to Lothian Road. Have a bacon roll at the Polish couple's café. Check email messages and many people have written to ask to be included in the Scottish Arts Club dinner. Tim's article is already producing results. Then spot Peggy Hughes sitting in the window of Tea Tree Tea. Join her. She introduces me to a few friends: Eleanor Thom and Elaine di Rollo, two novelists, who will be reading in the West Port Book Festival at 2pm. Talk with Colin Fraser about Anon, the anonymous poetry magazine he edits. And he gives me a copy. Learn that the second edition of Scotland on Sunday has replaced a photograph in Tim's article with one taken in my atelier on a Sunday dinner by Jesper. It's a superb shot.
Walk to the Traverse. See Steve Gove sitting with two Czech women. Join them. Introductions are made. They are Zdenka Zarska (who I met earlier with Steve in the Assembly Rooms) and Bohuslava Fuxova. They are both on The Prague City Council and Steve is showing them around Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Fringe. They both have been early supporters of the Prague Fringe Festival. Also meet a professor from L.S.U. But cannot remember his name. Visit with Emma Pirie, the press lady. This is her last year with the Traverse. I will certainly miss her. She has always been super nice to me. See Fiona Shea. She has rejoined the staff of the Traverse and is now Head of Communications.

Walk to the Book Festival and Claudia gives me a ticket to Tariq Ali's 3 o'clock talk in the Main Theatre. As always, his talk is superb. Afterwards purchase his new book, Protocols of the Elders of Sodom and Other Essays. He signs it: "For the oldest comrade, Love, Tariq". I am a big Tariq Ali fan. I still think he should be the Secretary General of the United Nations or the President of Pakistan. But he would probably be killed. The last time he attended the Book Festival, we had a dinner together. But today he is returning to London.
See Stephanie Wolfe-Murray and her son, Gavin. She is still living about an hour south of Edinburgh. Gavin is still living with his delicious Russian girlfriend. See Faith Liddell and she suggests we meet for lunch on Tuesday.
Call Sheila Colvin and agree to go to her place. She and John Calder are having a quiet afternoon. Call Tim Cornwell and he invites me for tea. And to meet his wife, Alice.
Stroll the short distance to Oxford Terrace. John is deep into an Ian Rankin novel. Rebus has a girlfriend who lives in Oxford Terrace. We tease Sheila. Tim Cornwell lives next door to Sheila. Give him a call and walk next door. Meet Alice and one of their two daughters. Last year I met their other daughter. I thank Tim for his article and report there are almost one hundred already booked for the Scottish Arts Club party. After tea, slip out and return next door. Mona Shea calls and I tell her I will come up to Ramsay Gardens to see her and Michael. Sheila calls a taxi for me and soon I am visiting with Mona and Michael. Their daughter, Katriona, has had twins, a boy and girl. Mona proudly shows me recent photos. She and Michael hope to travel to Oslo in November to see Katriona, her husband, Ottar, and the twins.
Sheila cooks dinner for John and me.

Tariq Ali, photo (c) Nina Subin
Tariq Ali, photo ©Nina Subin

Monday, 17th: Up early as always. Go to the Book Festival and attend the 10.15 Maggie Gee and Moris Farhi reading in the Spiegeltent. Sit with Alan Taylor and Susan Mansfield. She is a journalist with The Scotsman. Moris is an excellent fellow. We both attended "the October Meeting" in Belgrade in the 80s where we both met Hanna Dalipi. I tell Moris that Hannah is in Paris now. After his talk, I go to the Press Pod with Moris. Richard Holloway comes up and chats with us. I introduce Moris to Peggy Hughes. We wander into the Writers' Yuk. Moris takes the train to London today. My morning includes a trip to collect my clean laundry from Stockbridge. Bus to Northumberland Street where I purchase items for the apartment (coffee, wine, etc). Then walk to Broughton Street. Encounter Eric Whishart on the way. At the Barony Bar, find Judith Doherty. She welcomes me and places me next to a fellow who is at the front of the queue. Judith is the Producer, Chief Executive and Co-Artistic Director of Grid Iron. She introduces me to lots of Grid Iron staff including the lovely Catrin Evans. Some years ago, Judith asked me to be a patron of the company and, I am proud to be. Also patrons are Christopher Cazenove and Emma Quinn. I played a minor role in helping to launch Bukowski. In the 60s, I created an audio magazine, The Cassette Gazette. Visiting New Orleans in the 60s, I dined with the husband/wife team of the local underground newspaper, NOLA Express, Bob Head and Darlene Fife. When I mentioned my audio magazine project, they said that I might like an audio recording of one of their authors. Back in Paris, I listened and it knocked me out. It was Bukowski reading some of his material. I put it on the first issue along with a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I sent the first copy to Ferlinghetti and he later thanked me. He published the first three or four books by Bukowski in his City Lights Editions and credited my Cassette Gazette with bringing Bukowski to his attention. And now Grid Iron are producing Barflies, based of Bukowski stories and poems, in association with the Traverse, a theatre I founded all those years ago.
The production is superb. Directed by Ben Harrison, the three performers, Keith Fleming, Gail Watson, and David Paul Jones are outstanding. I feel if Bukowski were still with us, he would have been happy with it all.
Bus to Bread Street and check my email. Bus to Charlotte Square. See Claudia Monteiro in the Press Pod. We decide to have a quiet dinner together in a Thai restaurant she likes in Thistle Street. On the way out, we encounter Stash Pruszynski. I introduce them to each other and ask him if he would like to join us. He politely declines, He has another dinner to go to.
Our Thai meal is delicious and fun. In the back, Carol Tabor sits with three others. She and I met last year. She selects a play at the festival every year which she takes to her theatre in Manhattan. Do not bother her nor does she recognize me. Claudia and I stroll to the Assembly Rooms Club Bar. Sit with Fiona Duff, Liz Smith, and an American woman named Carol. Also with the writer George Dawes Green. George is from Savannah, Georgia, but lives in New York City. For some reason, he mentions Joan Juliet Buck and says she is his best friend. Dear Joan Juliet, once upon a time, she and I were dear friends…
I meet a delightful young woman named Fleur, who tells me she is half English (her father) and half German (her mother).
Have a late night hot chocolate in the Café Rouge and sit next to Al Senter. He reports he will be chairing a number of sessions in the Book Festival.

Tuesday, 18th: Coffee and toast to start another day thanks to Ruth Holloway. Call Sheila Colvin and we gossip. What a lovely lady she is! John Calder is so lucky to have her in his life. I am too! Call Lee Randall at her office in The Scotsman. She asks if she can call me back in the afternoon. (She does and we make a date for Sunday morning in the Traverse bar.)
Bus up the Lothian Road and wander over to the cyber café in Bread Street to check email. Wander down to the press room in the Traverse and encounter Joyce McMillan, critic Mark Fisher and Emma Pirie.
Walk out to the front and meet Nora Wardell and she introduces her boyfriend, Michael. She urges me to come to her production of Thomas Bernhard's Ritter, Dente, Voss in St. Georges West. They depart and encounter Peter and Elysabeth and they were also upset by the vulgar language in Orphens.
Faith Liddell and Amy Saunders arrive for our lunch date. We go upstairs and find a table for four. Stephanie Wolfe-Murray will be joining us. My mobile rings and it is Stephanie and she has had a flat tire and now will not be joining us. She will come into Edinburgh in a few days. We three have a fun lunch. Two extremely attractive women!

Emma passes a ticket to me to see David Greig's Midsummer with Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon in theatre 2 at 15h00. And it is superb! I love it. One hour and forty-five minutes passes in a flash. I know Matthew's sister and father. I also know David Greig's father and mother-in-law. A fun fun play set in contemporary Edinburgh. A silly love story. Everyone must fall in love with Cora Bissett. I know that I do. Go afterwards to the press room and thank Emma.
Bus to George Street and visit with Claudia Monteiro in the Press Pod. She says she enjoyed our evening together last night. I am introduced to Edie, a small child, by Faith Liddell. Edie's father, Joost den Hartog, runs a documentary film festival in Australia. He and I met briefly last festival (I think). Mike Wade, the Sunday Times journalist, enters and we exchange greetings. Claudia asks me to save Monday for her; she wants to take me to see Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen at the Queens Hall in the Bridges. John Ritchie enters the Press Pod and we discuss his daughter and the possibility that she will go to Afghanistan. I call John and Sheila and they both had lunch in Leith today. Tell them that I am on my way to Oxford Terrace.
Discover John busy with his "shapes" and Sheila is sitting in front of her computer. We decide to dine in a Chinese restaurant in Stockbridge, opposite Pizza Express. This time it is my treat. Afterwards head for Bell's Diner in St. Stevens Street restaurant where Bronislav Sudjic, Bob Macaulay, and Sheriff Brian Donald hold court most Tuesday evenings. Astrid Silins soon joins us. The proprietor, Bill Allan, checks to see if we are all OK.
Astrid drops me at Great King Street.

Midsummer, photo©Euan Myles
Midsummer,
photo©Euan Myles

Wednesday, 19th: Coffee with Ruth. Shave, shower, dress. Bus up the hill to George Street. Meet Kim Acland, from New Zealand, and she tells me that this is her last year to serve as the General Manager of the Assembly Rooms. She says that Bill Burdett-Coutts wants to interview me for a short documentary he is producing. Wander inside and ask Sam if Clare Waters or Steve Gove are on duty. Spot right away Bill Burdett-Coutts and he asks for my mobile telephone number.
Bus to Lothian Road. Check email in Bread Street. An attractive couple sits at two computers on my right. Chat with them and learn they are from Austin, Texas. They ask me to recommend shows. Suggest Barflies and Midsummer and several other productions. Invite them to a Sunday dinner if they come to Paris.
Have a bacon roll and coffee across the street at the café run by the sweet couple from Poland. Walk to the Traverse and Emma gives me two tickets and introduces me to Ali. She is studying in Edinburgh and assisting at the Traverse. She is from Newcastle.
At 12.45, find myself back in the Traverse in theatre 2 for Mark Ravenhill & Bette Bourne's A Life in the Theatre: Act Two. Mark is always an interesting performer/playwright. Find myself sitting next to a young Japanese fellow who translates from English into Japanese. He says he has translated Gargarin's Way. I ask him if he knows the Tokyo director/writer Terayama, Suhji. He says yes (as expected) and I reply that Terayama was a dear friend of mine. He died tragically young. Invite him to dine if he is ever in Paris. Walk to Tea Tree Tea and have a coffee. Ask Jamie to store my bag and coat for about 45 minutes while I am attending Internal. Cross the street and join the other people waiting to participate in Internal.
We seem to be an interesting cross section. Am early. A fellow sitting next to me says hello. We have met before. His name is Jeremy Raison, currently the Director of the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. We talk briefly, but our conversation is cut short because he is called for the 14h00 session. One nice looking man, about my age, is going to be in our group. He is a theatre director from Sarajevo. I later learn his name. He is Haris Pasovic. Read the brief note in the Traverse programme written by the company: "Dear spectator, We are five performers in search for a partner. We'd like to invite you to Internal, our individual playground, where you can get to know us in a cosy and spontaneous atmosphere. We guarantee you an intimate and highly personal treatment. Please inform us in time if you are unable to control your feelings. We will provide an elegant and discrete solution. Yours sincerely, the actors".
At 14.30, we five enter the first stage. Five actors face us and each one selects one of us and leads us into a small cubicle. I am selected by an attractive young woman. She and I talk intimately for about 20 minutes. Her name is Sophie De Somere. She is from Ghent in Belgium. I immediately fall in love with her. In those 20 minutes I feel I have known her all my life and wish to continue our relationship way into the future. It is intense. It is exciting. It feels real and profound. I don't want to leave her. Ever. But we re-join the others and form a circle. Standing, the five actors tell about their experience with each of us. Then we are asked questions about how we feel about the people we were with. Both Haris and I declare our love for our partners. I am asked to rate Sophie on a scale of one to ten. And I reply fifteen. Soft music is played and we dance intimately with our partners. It is extremely erotic. Sophie and I whisper to each other. I do not want it to end. But the music stops. We are asked to give our addresses to our partners. When I have written mine for Sophie, she says she will write me. (And she does! There was a lovely letter waiting for me in Paris. I replied immediately. To date no further word from Sophie. That's the way it goes…)
Out we go and we observe another five waiting to be processed. We five stand outside in the street in a semi-shocked state. One fellow clearly did not enjoy it. He was with the tall beauty. He seems to be a bit angry. Haris and I both agree that we have just experienced something special. Haris comes with me across to Tea Tree Tea. I give him a newsletter and invite him to call me when he is next in Paris. When he discovers I have never been to Saravejo, he says that he will invite me there to give a lecture or to participate in a festival or conference. He gives me his card. We talk briefly about Internal and we both say how much we enjoyed it. It is both brave and dangerous. Haris has an appointment so cannot stay for further talk. He flies to Bosnia tomorrow. We promise to stay in touch. I have a bowl of soup and cannot take my thoughts away from Sophie and this experience. We did things like this at the Arts Laboratory in Drury Lane in the 60s, but it was for me never as intense.
Bus from in front of Filmhouse to George Street and talk all the way with a middle-aged Edinburgh woman who clearly loves the festival and always buys her tickets early. I wonder how she would feel about Internal. Briefly visit with Frances, Claudia and Julia in the Press Pod. Tell them I just fell in love with an actress from Belgium. They smile.
Bus to lovely Stockbridge and collect my laundry. Discover Jim, the husband of one the women who seem to be running the place, has fallen and twisted his ankle. Commiserate with them both. Take the laundry home. Gossip with Martin, my dear host. Nap a bit. Ruth visits and says she has booked Fishers in the City for next Tuesday evening for 21.00 hours. Perfect. Tonight they are attending a reception in Dance Centre in the Grassmarket. I went with them last year and had a great time. Elect to stay behind and rest. Get a call from Peter Henderson who invites me to have breakfast there tomorrow morning with John Calder, Sheila Colvia, John Martin, Ricky Demarco and then see John Cairney perform his Robert Burns and me show. Thank Peter and promise to be there.
Wander up to the Assembly Rooms Club Bar and join Jackie McGlone and Liz Smith. Marsha Hunt is standing a few feet away surrounded by Guy Masterson, David Calvitto and Tim Whitnall, but nevertheless intrude. She welcomes me with a warm embrace. Not sure when we last crossed paths, but it has been years. She still looks great! Antonio Forcione enters. He says he is headed to the Bar Roma in Hanover Street and who wishes to dine with him. David, Marsha and I do. Great food. Great conversations.

Thursday, 20th: Up early and head for Henderson's in Hanover Street. Meet Peter Henderson and tell him that I am big fan of his late mother, Janet Henderson. Peter has organized a breakfast meeting to attend John Cairney's next to the last performance (this festival) of his show: Breakfast with Burns. Sheila Colvin, John Calder, John Martin, Richard Demarco and I all gather around a table and have an excellent breakfast. John Cairney visits briefly, then goes to get ready for his performance. The room quickly fills. Then John is transformed into Robert Burns. And I think back to the production, There Was A Man, all those years ago in the Lawnmarket Traverse. "Cairney's style is vibrant, flirtatious even, bringing in his audience as he paces round Henderson's cellar café. The script cleverly mingles Burns' life with Cairney's, allowing the actor to use anecdotes of playing Burns around the world…" (A review by Thom Dibdin in The Stage)
We pile into a taxi and go to The Scottish Arts Club for lunch. It seems there are almost 100 people booked for the Paris Sunday dinner on the 30th. After lunch, Hilary Mounfield takes me down to the kitchen to introduce me to the chef, a lovely young woman named Shona. We discuss the menu for our dinner and I tell her I will leave it to her.
Walk in the softly falling rain to Charlotte Square with Stephanie Wolfe-Murray and Hilary Mounfield. I wish to attend Branislav's brother, Deyan Sudjic's talk about objects and design in the Studio Theatre at 15.30. Stimulating and provocative.
Walk to Bread Street and check my email. Bus to George Street. Wander back into the Book Festival. See the lovely Faith Liddell and an attractive brunette. Go to the Writers' Retreat and attend a session with two novelists, Sam Meekings & Kamila Shamsie.
See Martin Belk. See Sheena McDonald and Allan Little, See Stephanie Wolfe-Murray and Anne Goring. They have just come from a private party. They tell me that Robert McCrum was there. I rush back to say hello to Robert. See Jenny Brown and give her a warm embrace. But there is no Robert McCrum there and he never was there. The ladies are mistaken. Back outside and Stephanie and Anne and I go to Pizza Express in Stockbridge. Back to Charlotte Square to hear Antonio Foncione play in the Spiegeltent with Adriano Adewale. They are always superb! (Recently in Paris, Marsha Hunt tells me that Antonio Foncione was awarded "Musician of the Year" by the Italian government. Congratulations, Antonio!)
Anne drops Stephanie in Queensferry Street. She will stay the night with Gavin. Then she drops me at the Assembly Rooms. Learn that Steve Gove has the night off.
Decide to walk home down Frederick Street. Just happen to look up at the window of the French restaurant called La P'tite Folie and spot Richard Demarco getting up from a table. And out he comes with Terry Newman, his loyal assistant, and with a couple. I meet the masculine half, Michael Earley. Do not get his wife's name…
Martin Burke is up when I arrive home. He and I gossip and then I fall into bed.

Friday, 21st: Head for The Assembly Rooms to observe Joyce McMillan give out Fringe First Awards. See lots of people I know. Get a call from the BBC in Paris; they ask if I will participate in a programme next Monday morning very early. At 01.00. OK, no problem. The fellow interviewing me is Dotun Adelbayo. He has been to visit me a number of times in Paris. I remember him well.
Astrid Silins calls to ask if I would like to meet her in Charlotte Square to hear Deyan Sudjic and Germaine Greer debate town planning. Sure, I will meet her in the Press Pod. Walk down George Street and arrive before Astrid. Frances Sutton and Claudia Monteiro assure me that this debate is not taking place in Charlotte Square. Then Astrid arrives and she tells me it is at the Scottish Parliament. We go out, find a taxi and arrive a minute or two before it starts at 11.30. A five minute welcome by John Quinn, the sponsor, followed by Lesley Riddoch, who introduces Germaine Greer. Germaine throws down the gauntlet in her usual provocative fashion. Good old Germaine, I love her. Full of fire and brimstone. Then at 12, Peter Clegg, an architect and a professor of architecture, makes a response. Deyan Sudjic follows with his views. Audience questions and comments. Then at 13.00 hours, the vote. I can't remember who wins the motion. "If we are going to create genuinely sustainable places, we must throw out everything we used to believe about design, and start all over again." We slowly file out. Astrid suggests we have lunch at a place she likes called Dogs. Taxi to the corner of Hanover and George. Walk down past Hendersons and up a flight of stairs. If the food is as good as the waitresses look, we are in for a great meal. I have fish and chips. Always good. Astrid treats. She is going to meet Clea, her beautiful daughter, and they will see an exhibition. I elect to go to Bread Street to check my email. Sit next to two beauties from Stuttgart.
Walk down the short distance to Internal where a group of people are standing outside on the pavement discussing what they just experienced. Join them briefly. They are excited. The intensity really gets to people. There is one beauty from South Africa.
Cross over to Filmhouse and have a hot chocolate.
Bus to Assembly Rooms and nap a few minutes in an upstairs extremely comfortable chair. See Ronnie Dorsey and she reminds me that I promised to attend her show, Becoming Marilyn, with Britt Ekland tomorrow. (By a bizarre coincidence, I have just been talking to Ronnie on the telephone a few minutes ago. She called from London).
Walk to a bar in Northumberland Street and meet Ruth Holloway and Martin Burke. Also see Mike Hart and Hugh Muirhead there. Slip out to Margiottas and purchase items for the kitchen (two bottles of wine, lavazza coffee, etc. and the new Vanity Fair). Home to Great King Street where Martin has prepared a chicken curry feast for five (Eoun Lawrence, Stuart, Ruth, himself and me.)
Later wander up to the Traverse and encounter the lovely and wonderful Sophie De Somere. What a wonderful surprise! (Later I learn from many friends that they, too, fell in love with the wonderful Sophie. I fully understand.) We talk a while and she tells me that she has written me a letter and posted it to Paris. I painfully leave her and catch a bus to the Assembly Rooms. See lots of people I know: David Calvitto, Antonio Forcione, Rona Thomson, Carmen Raya-Vargas, Dana MacLeod, Guy Masterson, and many others.
Carmen pulls me into the Supper Room late-night cabaret. Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen blow us away. One very intoxicated young woman and her two male friends who sit just behind us are a pain in the ass, with their constant loud remarks. But Mikelangelo handles them without a problem. But even he is pleased when they suddenly get up and exit. When it is over, I thank Carmen and others and stumble out and down the hill to my bed.

Saturday, 22nd: I cannot remember what unfolds today. I know I wake up in my room in Great King Street. Ruth produces a wonderful cup of coffee. Bus up to George Street. Elect to purchase a pair of khaki trousers. Go into Gant in George Street and the woman who looks after me is a delight. Within a short time, I am walking out of the store with a pair that fit perfectly. Walk to the Orange shop in Princes Street and purchase another ten pounds of credit. Visit "les girls" in the Press Pod and they are their usual warm and welcoming selves.
Wander into The Assembly Rooms and see Ronnie Dorsey. She tells me that Britt Ekland is in the Club Bar. Go inside and join her. Learn that she has just flown in from Stockholm. As expected, she is her beautiful self. Tell her that my son, Jesper, will have a major photographic exhibition in November. I think it will open on the 12th. Britt says she would like to be invited to the opening. Bill Burdett-Coutts has a camera crew available and he asks if he can film Britt and then me. It is done fairly quickly. I don't hear what Britt has to say. But I am full of compliments for Bill. And I mean them. I think he has done a major job over that past 29 years. Bill should be honored by the City Fathers.
Time for us to head for the Edinburgh Suite for the production of Becoming Marilyn. As I am walking out the side door, run into Bob Kingdom. Pause briefly to chat. He says he has attempted to reach me without success, but unfortunately he is now going home to London. I apologize for having to rush. I have Britt's ticket and the show is about to start. We are the first inside. (Later he calls me in Paris and we have a good long gossip.)

Becoming Marilyn starts with the actress, Issy van Randwyck, exclaiming: "Don't tell me I'm dead. The evening's just beginning." Most of the facts of Miss Monroe's life we know, but the performances reminds us why she is the global icon she is. Thanks, Ronnie. And thank you, Issy van Randwyck.
At 7 pm, attend the Moth story-telling in the Spiegeltent. Sit with Bill Burdet-Coutts and a lovely Canadian woman, Margaret Moll, who will be running The Assembly Rooms next Festival. She will be taking Kim Acland's place as General Manager. Then three men and one woman tell stories. I don't remember their names. But the founder of this storytelling originated in the New York living room of poet and novelist, George Dawes Green, and tonight he tells a bizarre story about his poor, but aristocratic, mother in Savannah, Georgia. Bill and Margaret slip out. I spot Drue Heinz when the stories end and go and greet her.
I cannot remember exactly how the rest of the evening evolves, but I know I went to a Polish restaurant in Broughton Street called Pani Solinska with the wonderful Samra Turajlic. The lovely Sara Trevelyan joins us. She is the daughter of John Trevelyan. He and I once corresponded. I first met Samra during the 1995 Edinburgh Festival and we have become close friends. She and I try to meet at least once a year. After dinner we talk with the proprietor, Mrs Solinska, and compliment her delicious food. And her beautiful Polish waitresses. Later I wander to the Club Bar in the Assembly Rooms. And then down the hill to my bed.

Issy van Randwyck Photo R.R.
Issy van Randwyck

Sunday, 23rd: Make my way to Bread Street to check email. Then to the Traverse where I have a brunch date at 11.30 with Lee Randall. She arrives, looking great. We have a delightful morning together. Nora Wardell passes and pauses. I introduce her to Lee and we three exchange gossip and festival news. Later Lee and I stroll to the West End.
Go to the Press Pod in the Book Festival. Exchange greetings with Magnus Linklater. Claudia rushes out to meet Paddy Ashdown. Peggy Hughes makes a short interview with me. Chat with her fella, Colin Fraser. General Sutton is super busy. Head for the Main Theatre for the 13.30 session, "Rebuilding Trust - Britain in the Aftermath of the Crash" with Vince Cable, Michael Fry and Roy Hattersley. Magnus Linklater in the Chair. Very stimulating debate. As John Calder predicted, Vince Cable is highly impressive. Sit with John and Sheila.

Afterwards we go to a restaurant in George Street for a quick lunch. We are four: John Calder, Sheila Colvin, Rosemary Broad and myself. Sheila treats.
At 15.30 in the Studio Theatre, attend Abdel Bari Atwan and Ghada Karmi's session. It is always stimulating to hear what Bari has to say. He and I met at the Book Fair some years ago and spent an evening together talking, talking, talking. Ghada Karmi ""remembers her childhood in Palestine" and the family's flight to Britain. Another example, if one needs one, of the injustices in Palestine/Israel. Afterwards purchase Bari's book, A Country of Words - A Palestinian Journey from the Refugee Camp to the Front Page. He signs: "To Jim, my dear friend, with admiration and my best regards, Bari".
Bus to Stockbridge to collect laundry, but the place closed at 3 p.m.. Go to Great King Street to have a nap. Sheila calls and invites me to dine in Oxford Terrace with her and John. A salmon dinner. Always fun to be with John and Sheila. Rosemary calls to tell me that the One Touch of Venus production she recommended has ended.
Very late home to Great King Street to await the call from BBC in Paris. It is a live programme about expatriates. I never feel like I am an expatriate. When one is a World Citizen as I feel I am, one is always at home. Not sure my contribution is helpful.

Abdel Bari Atwan, photo (c) Peter Searle
Abdel Bari Atwan
photo © Peter Searle

Monday, 24th: Ruth brings coffee to me at 8.30. Wash, dress and rush out to Stockbridge to collect clean laundry. Take it back to Great King Street. Bus to George Street. Ask a young attractive woman the time and when she tells me, I ask her where in France she is from. She is Helene from Montpellier. She is studying politics in Aix-en-Province. I tell her I am living in Paris and give her a newsletter and invite her to dine when she is next in Paris. She is loving Edinburgh and the festival She is going to see a Kafka play this evening. We stroll a long way together, speaking in both French and English. I leave her and go to cash some euros into pounds sterling.
Head for Waverley Station to book a place on the train to London. Get a call from Sheila Colvin and she says she heard me on the radio in the wee hours and it was fine. We discuss Joan Bakewell's arrival and our dinner planned for Friday night.
Bus to Tollcross and walk to the Edinburgh Bookshop. Purchase a West Port Book Festival book bag. Am told that next year's Book Festival will be in June during the Film Festival. Continue to the cyber café where I check my email messages.
Bus to George Street where I eat a paninni in the Assembly Rooms Lane Bar. Meet Ronnie Dorsey and she says she is going to Marsha Hunt's 12.40 session in the Wildman Room. I report I am as well. Spot Marsha and tell her I will be seeing her soon. See old friend, Roger McGough. He and I try to catch up, but too much time and space to cover. Rejoin Ronnie, Marshall Cordell, David Calvitto, and Steve Gove.
Attend Marsha's "talk-happening" about Jimi Hendrix and the 60s. Marsha still retains her fire and passion and looks. Slip out at the end at same time as Ruth Wishart and the two of us stroll down George Street toward Charlotte Square. I want to hear Vince Cable again. He has a talk in the St. John's Church entitled "The Root of all Evil?" at 14.00 hours. Arrive a few minutes late, but am allowed to slip inside. See John Calder and Martin Belk. Again Cable's talk is impressive. Briefly see old friend, Michael Freudenberg.
Walk to Boot's in Shandwick Place and purchase a few items including John Calder's magic cold medicine, some reading glasses and a tooth brush. Then purchase two magnifying glasses from Black & Lizars. Walking toward Charlotte Square encounter Toby Gough. We have a Mutual Admiration Society. Always good to see him. I am a big fan. I promise to see some of his shows. (Alas I do not and still feel guilty a month later.)
Sit in the Press Pod with Alan Taylor and Pru Rowlandson Claudia Monteiro apologizes to me and says that she must finish a report tonight and cannot go to the theatre with me to see Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen. She says that I have to go with Pru. We agree to meet at Queen's Hall at 22.00 hours.
Go to GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) and order a small burger and fries. Somehow a wrong order is brought to me and to make up for their mistake, they bring me an avocado, bacon and beef burger and I can barely eat it all.
At 19.30, once again to the Writers' Retreat to hear two more novelists: Karl Knausgaard & Marcel Moring. Head for Great King Street to rest a bit.
At 21.30 hours, I go downstairs to find a taxi to go to the Queen's Hall. Two women from the South of England also seek a taxi. I tell them they are welcome to join me. They cannot believe their luck. Their hotel is just beyond the Queen's Hall. We speed out the Bridges and are soon at my destination. I over-pay the driver and ask him to deliver the ladies to their hotel. Pru Rowlandson has arrived before me and has our tickets. In we go. The usher is from Spain and I surprise him by speaking a little Spanish with him. Then we find our seats and the madness begins. The hour flies by. Great songs - all outrageously staged. We both greatly enjoy it all. I suggest to Pru that we stay and drink with them afterwards. But she is a bit tired and begs out. She seeks an early night. I buy them all drinks in the bar afterwards. Also discover they are all from Australia. And one of the Black Sea Gentlemen knows friends of mine in Melbourne. Another small world story.
Taxi to the Assembly Rooms Club Bar and socialize.

Tuesday, 25th: A slow start today. Ruth brings me a cup of coffee and toast at 8. Wash, dress and read the daily newspapers. Borrow a tie from Martin. I have to wear it to enter Dr. Mills' club. Taxi to Bread Street to check email. Bus to George Street and walk the short distance to Abercrombie Place. A lunch date with an old friend, Dr. Raymond Mills, in his club. He is waiting in the lounge. We have pre-lunch drinks and talk about the old days in Edinburgh in the 50s and 60s. Raymond and his wife, George (from Greece), once invited me to lunch with them in their home in India Street with Lawrence Durrell. This was in the late 50s. They were old friends and once all three lived in Cyprus. Dr. Mills is mentioned in the first paragraph of Durrell's Bitter Lemons (which takes place in Cyprus). Alas George died many years ago and Raymond never re-married. He has lived all over the world. He taught tropical medicine at Edinburgh University. We go upstairs for a delicious lunch. Our attractive waitress, Angelique I think is her name, is from Budapest. I tell her the one word I know in Hungarian: Egan (which means yes). Also tell her about my People to People book that deals with Hungary (published by Canongate Books in Edinburgh in the 1990s) and contains contact information (names, address, etc) of people one can meet all over Hungary. Both Raymond and I tell her how much we like Budapest. She replies that she loves Edinburgh. We do as well.
Leave Dr. Mills and taxi to Charlotte Square. Talk with Julia, Claudia and "General" Sutton in the Press Pod. Claudia reports that she, Frances and Peggy Hughes plan to book air tickets today for late November to Paris. They will cook a Sunday dinner on the 30th. Claudia passes me a ticket to an event at 15.30 in the Studio Theatre. Chat briefly with Alan Taylor.
Once inside the Studio Theatre realize that I have made a mistake. I expected a talk about a biography of Paula, Napoleon's sister. But instead we have a book about the lifelong love affair between the novelist Elizabeth Bowen and Canadian diplomat Charles Ritchie by Victoria Glendinning. Jackie McGlone chairs the session. It is a delightful surprise.
Meet Claudia in the Press Pod. She says she will go to the Assembly Rooms to meet Pru Rowlandson and to see Laura Solon about publishing. I report that I will try to join them.
Later Claudia, Pru and I stroll to Café Rouge where we have hot chocolate and a lot of talk. Pru reports she is going to London on the 12.30 train next Monday, the 31st. I tell her I will join her on the same train.
Back at Great King Street. We call a taxi and four of us (Martin, Ruth and Ruth's beautiful daughter, Grace, and yours truly) pile into the taxi and head up to Fishers in the City in Thistle Street. Soon after we are at our table, Ruth's second beautiful daughter, Tara, joins us. Like last year, we have a feast. A delightful dinner!
Very late, take a taxi to Café Royale to meet Sheila Colvin, John Calder, Tanya Howarth and Leslie Hills. They are surprised to see me wearing a tie. I assure them it is because I had lunch today with Dr. Raymond Mills in his club and I had to wear a tie and jacket. Tanya is in Edinburgh to support her author, Andrea Maria Schenkel, (who has written Ice Cold, a phenomenal success in Germany). Leslie Hill says she might join me this year in the Kolkata Film Festival. Very late we all head for our beds.

Wednesday, 26th: Wander into the kitchen and find an upset Martin Burke. Learn that Ruth Holloway fell last night, hit her head and is now in the hospital. It will probably affect their departure tomorrow for Spain. He says he will call the hospital in a few minutes to find out exactly how she is. He does and discovers Ruth has a broken wrist. She will be home in an hour and they could still fly tomorrow.
Take laundry to Stockbridge. Then take a bus to Waverley and book a seat for London. The fellow behind the counter finds a place exactly in front of Pru Rowlandson. That will be a surprise. Bus to Assembly Rooms and encounter Steve Gove with an attractive woman in the Lane Bar. He introduces Carole Wears, who co-founded the Prague Fringe Festival with Steve. Finally we have met. Steve is able to walk me into David Calvitto's performance of The Event in the Drawing Room at 13.10. So good at last to see David in action. And it is delightful.
Bus to check my messages in Bread Street. Then walk to the Traverse and visit with Emma Pirie. Walk past the Unitarian Church where Viveka and I married back in the early 60s. Ask two school girls to read a message to me on my mobile phone. They are sweet and we flirt a bit. Invite them to come and dine when they are next in Paris. Stick my head into the Press Pod. Visit with Frances and Julia. Then Claudia arrives and we discuss last night. She and Pru dined at Dogs and then they hooked up with Frances and Peg. Wild women on the prowl. The girls are all going out to see the Chippendales, exotic male dancers, tonight. Claudia passes me a ticket for Andrey Kurkov at 20.30, but there are no more tickets for Xiaolu Guo at 19.00 - both in the Studio Theatre. Claudia suggests I go have a siesta and return for the Kurkov session.
Take her advice, find a taxi, the driver is from Bangladesh, and head for Great King Street. Ruth is in the kitchen with her left arm heavily bandaged. After we have a wee chat, I lie down to have a wee nap. Ruth and Martin are going to see a friend read at the Book Festival. At about 19.00 hours, we call a taxi and the three of us ride up to Charlotte Square. We head for the Signing Tent, Ruth and I have cous cous salads and Martin has a sandwich. At 8, Xiaolu arrives from her session to sign copies of her new novel. I go over to her and tell her that her event was sold out and I could not attend. She scolds me for not asking her for a ticket. She says that she could have gotten me into her event. But that there will be another opportunity. I promise to not miss her next session.
Attend the Andrey Kurkov session in the Studio Theatre at 20.30. Paul Johnston chairs and does an excellent job. Andrey is extremely funny. He could easily have a second career as a stand-up comedian. I don't purchase a book afterwards because I am worried about the weight and not being able to get any more books in my bag. (I'll get it in Paris.)
Decide to walk to the Traverse and have something to eat. Walk out of the Book Festival and head toward Princes Street. Discover I am walking next to an attractive blonde woman. We exchange smiles and greetings. Her name is Nadia, but she is Italian and not Russian. She is the manager of an Italian restaurant, Bar Roma, in Queensferry Street. The restaurant belongs to her family. I ask if she minds my joining her for a pizza. She is delightful in every way. We arrive in a few minutes and I find a table. Order a pizza and am introduced to her boyfriend, Ivan Di Giorgio, and to her papa, Mario Cugini. They are super suspicious of me and I fully understand. But Nadia does not change her hospitable attitude and makes every effort to make me feel at home. Ivan is from Sicily and I tell him I am an Sicilian "godfather". Then I explain that my dear friend, Bepe Musotto, asked me to be the godfather to his son, Francesco. The pizza arrives and I devour it. Of course it is delicious. They ask if I wish dessert or coffee. I thank them and decline. When I try to pay, my efforts are refused. Thank them and urge Nadia and Ivan to come to Paris on their honeymoon and allow me to take them to dinner. They both smile and say OK. (Today I have posted her my book, Everything Is!, and a thank-you letter.)
Exit and walk to the Traverse. See members of the Belgium theatre company, but no Sophie. There is no fool like an old fool - as someone once wisely said.
Bus to the Assembly Rooms. Look around the Club Bar and it is packed. Decide to have an early night. As I am walking out, encounter Jude Doherty of Grid Iron and tell her once again how proud I am of them. She and her twin sister are also taking a taxi and offer to drop me off at Great King Street. I accept.

Thursday, 27th: Martin and Ruth were to fly to Spain today. Get up at 7.30. Ruth is in bed, still feeling unwell. They will not fly today. I got up at 7.30 to have coffee with Ruth and Martin before their early morning departure.
Go downstairs and spot a taxi and decide to spoil myself. As the driver stops for me, I see a woman and a young lad also rushing for the taxi. They are going to the top of the Mound and I offer to drop them. They decline, but I insist. They decide to accept my offer. As we head towards the top of the Mound, I learn that she writes children's stories under the name of Charlie James. Later I realize it is a combination of the two first names of her sons. She insists upon making a contribution toward the fare. I reluctantly accept, thinking she will contribute half, but after they have departed, I realize she has given me a ten pound note which more than covers the entire fare to Bread Street. Give the driver a big tip. Check email. Get a call from Astrid Silins and accept a dinner invitation from her for tonight. Stephanie Wolfe Murray will also attend.

Make my way to the Book Festival and attend the Joan Bakewell session at 15.00 hours in the Main Theatre with Sheila Colvin and John Calder. Joan is her usual superb self. She talks about her new novel, All the Nice Girls. Sheena McDonald is also superb chairing this event. Go around to the Signing Tent afterwards and we exchange waves and smiles. Chat with Sheena McDonald and with her fellow, Allan Little. Go into the Author's Yuk with Joan. She wants a cup of tea. Introduce Joan to Paul Johnson and we discuss the fires raging in Greece. See Jackie McGlone and tell her I enjoyed her session with the Victoria Glendinning biography of Elizabeth Bowen and the Canadian diplomat that I attended by accident. I thought I was going to something else. Jackie retorts: "that it was my kind of thing, full of sexual adventures". Joan has an invitation to an Amnesty event, a cocktail to celebrate the publication of book entitled Freedom - Short Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is across the street at 5 Charlotte Square. So over we go. Discover that it is published in association with Mainstream, based here in Edinburgh. Bill Campbell is one of the founders and its chief editor. Congratulate him. Cannot remember if Joan or I purchase copies, but we have copies. I think it was Joan. Plus she introduces me to one of the contributors, Marina Lewycka, and a fellow with her, Professor Donald Sassoon.
We cross back to the Book Festival and attend a session with Xiaolu Guo, Marina Lewycka and an Italian writer. I think her name is Gabriella Ambrosio. But I could be mistaken. All three authors read short pieces that they contributed to this brilliant book. I have a dinner date, so excuse myself and dash.

Freedom - Short Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Amnesty International
Freedom, short stories, Amnesty International

Taxi to Leith. Meet Stephanie Wolfe Murray. She is trying to enter Astrid's apartment but is getting no response. Pull out my mobile and call Astrid and she apologizes, says she was in the kitchen and did not hear the door bell. Soon Stephanie and I are in the kitchen and greeting Catherine Robins and one of Lawrence Durrell's ex-literary agents, Anthea Morton-Saner. It is just us five. Over a delicious dinner, I suggest we play my circle game. All are for it. And it works its magic. We all enjoy the results. A very lovely evening…
Very late, Stephanie drives me to Great King Street, She will stay in town with Gavin.

Friday, 28th: Another early start this morning. Martin reports Ruth is feeling much better. But they are not going to fly to Spain today. He makes a cup of coffee and some toast for me. Stephanie Wolfe Murray calls and reports she enjoyed our dinner last night.
Go out and find a taxi to take me half way up the Mound to the Assembly Hall. Learn that the driver has just had a daughter, Zoe, and learn also that his father is from Poland. As soon as we arrive, realize that it is the wrong place. Ask Zoe's papa to take me to the Assembly Rooms in George Street. Tell Zoe's papa that I used to have a girlfriend in Baton Rouge named Zoe. He drops me in front of the Assembly Rooms and I ask him to give Zoe a kiss from me. He smiles and promises to do so.
It's The Scotsman's end of the Festival Fringe Awards and this time it takes place in the Music Hall of the Assembly Rooms. And the place is packed. Joyce McMillan does her usual wonderful job of introducing everyone. There are Fringe First Awards to be given out and the various performers who win awards pose for photographs and give various thank you words. The singer Camille O'Sullivan does not fail to seduce everyone in the audience - even at this hour of the morning. Carol Tambor announces the winner of the Carol Tambor Award: Little Gems by Elaine Murphy. It is a real feel-good occasion.
Rush down George Street to meet Joan Bakewell in the Author's Yuk in Charlotte Square. Joan and I stroll over to the Traverse and I introduce her to Emma Pirie and Claire Ross.. We arrange for some tickets for Joan. I want her to experience Internal.
Joan has concert tickets, so returns to her hotel. I am not sure what I will do when my mobile telephone rings. It is Martin Burke. He is inviting me to a party in Ann Street.
Discover when I arrive it is Giles Gordon's home. The same home where he tragically died falling down the stairs. I apologize to his widow, Maggie McKernan, for crashing the party, but she welcomes me warmly and thanks me for the letter I wrote to her shortly after hearing of the tragic accident. I am introduced to lots of people. And I discover that I do know lots of people. There is Judy and Nevil Moir. There is Roddy Martine and I apologize to him for not making it to his party. There is Martin Belk and he introduces me to a fellow who is a literary agent in association with Maggie McKernan. In fact today's cocktail party is for Michael Fry and his new book about Edinburgh covering over 1500 years of cultural, political and social history. He and Roddy Martine, who also has a book about his family's connections to Scotland over the past 900 years, will have a session entitled "Celebrating Scotland" on Monday and I will miss it. I will not be able to attend because I will be on a train to London. Damn.
At some point, I thank the hostess and slip out. Walk down to Stockbridge, pass the infamous brothel on Danbue Street (which I am ashamed to say, I never visited). Find a taxi and head for Broughton Street. Not sure who has organized it, but we have a table reserved for 20.30 hours tonight at the L'Escargot Bleu, a French restaurant in Broughton Street. We will be Sheila Colvin, Ruth Wishart, Joan Bakewell, and Jenny Slack (she of Scottish Opera). John Calder, Nelson Fernandez, Nick Phillipson, and yours truly represent the fellas. I arrive early only to find no one present. Am told the reservation is for 22.00 hours.
Nothing to do, but head for the Barony Bar, have a drink and wait two hours. Order my usual cranberry juice. Begin a conversation with an attractive woman standing next to me at the bar who seems to be on her own. Her name is Emma Reid. Her brother is one of the barmen. He and I are introduced. I think that Emma missed her train to Kelso and is also killing time. We have a wonderful encounter. She is delightful in every way: extremely beautiful, funny, intelligent and the mother of two sons. Edinburgh is full of wonderful women. Lucky men in Edinburgh. The time flies by and soon it is time for me to leave Emma and cross the street to join my dinner party. We exchange addresses and I painfully depart.
The restaurant is everything a good bistro should be: relaxed, delicious food, superb waiters and waitresses, a gracious proprietor, and fun. The conversation jumps around the table covering many topics. A delightful time is had by all.
Late, we pile into taxis and speed away. John and Sheila drop me at Great King Street.

Saturday, 29th: Once again up early. Go out and purchase a Scotsman. Get the first bus that arrives and it goes up the Bridges. Walk pass Charles Street and inspect all the changes that have taken place. No longer a car park where my bookshop, The Paperback, once was. Now a large new building. Cannot but think about the late 50s and early 60s when I was a bookseller and when we were making plans to create a new intimate theatre that was to be The Traverse. Most people date the beginning of the Traverse to be 1963, but I date the beginning the first production in The Paperback in 1960. Fun and exciting days. Many friendships began: John Calder, Sheila Colvin, Ricky and Anne Demarco, Stash Pruszynski, Jane Alexander, Giles Gordon, Gabor Ronay, Tom Mitchell. Tamara Alferoff, John Martin, Peter McGinn and so many others. All who gathered round The Paperback.
Taxi to Bread Street. The driver is a wild madman. Check my email. Cross the street to Tea Tree Tea and have a bacon sandwich and a coffee latté. Go to the Traverse. Meet the lovely actress from Midsummer, Cora Bisset, and I tell her I loved the show and her performance. She introduces me to her father and aunt. I join them for a few minutes. I ask Cora to pass my best wishes to Matthew Pidgeon, the actor in Midsummer. I know his father, Carl Pidgeon, and his sister, Rebecca Pidgeon. I first met Rebecca when she performed in a revue with Sara Griffith way back in the 80s.
Collect a ticket to see Palace of the End by Judith Thompson in theatre 1 at 13.30. Thank Emma, Clare and Ali. Meet The Herald's Drama Critic. We talk about Keith Bruce and their Saturday morning presentations. Why didn't I wander up to the Festival Theatre this morning? Go out and sit in the entrance to the Traverse to await the time to go down to the theatre. See Carol Tambor and we chat briefly. Also with her husband. Elaine Murphy, who has written Little Gem and who has won the Carol Tambor Award this year comes out and they sit at a table next to me. Part of me wants to congratulate Elaine Murphy, but I have not seen Little Gem yet. (I have a ticket for tomorrow.) My starting the Traverse and making it a theatre that would only produce new writing all those many years ago has resulted in Little Gem today. Maybe they should thank me. But I stay quiet. Time to go downstairs.
Palace of the End is three separate monologues all dealing with Iraq: a female American soldier facing a court-martial for torture and prisoner abuse, a British former UN Weapons Inspector exposed as a source for a BBC journalist, and an Iraqi woman pursued by Saddam Hussein's secret police. Fascinating and devastating…

Bus to George Street and cross over to the Assembly Rooms. See Tim Whitnall and Guy Masterson and tell them how much I enjoyed The Social Plover. (I cannot remember when I managed to see it, but I did. And found it fascinating.) See Al Lauder. He introduces me to an attractive woman. Her name is Katrin Hilbe. She is a director, writer, and producer. And lives in Brooklyn. Meet Maureen xxx from the Muriel Spark play. (Tell her, which I am sure she has heard many times, that she has beautiful blue eyes.) Joan Bakewell calls and we agree to meet in thirty minutes. Walk down to the Roxbourgh Hotel and call Joan from the hotel's front desk. She says she will be right down. We cross over to the Author's Yuk.
Later meet Joan again in the hotel's reception area. She is sitting with Polly Toynbee, The Guardian columnist, and with Chris Mullin, an ex-member of Parliament she introduced to me earlier in the Author's Yuk. Of course we discuss the festival and for some strange reason my People to People travel series and the World Passports that I co-produced with Garry Davis back in the early 70s. Chris Mullin says that he wrote a piece about me in the Daily Telegraph back in the early 70s. (Joan tells me that Chris has published some wonderful dairies of his years in Parliament.)
Joan and I take a bus to Tollcross. I want to take her to the Point Hotel where she will attend the production of Internal at 20.30. Then we stroll about.
Time for a light snack. We select the Lyceum Theatre café. I think I have a gaspacho. Our waitress, Beryl Sinclair, is from Boston and has been studying philosophy at the University of Edinburgh for the past three years. A young couple from London sit next to us and it is their first time in Edinburgh. Joan and I give them a few tips and suggestions.
Soon it is time to deliver Joan to the Point Hotel and leave her to experience Internal. Not sure how she will like it, but suspect she will find it extremely interesting. Go to Filmhouse for 30 minutes, then return to collect her. Not sure at all why I was apprehensive. Joan loved it. She was as fascinated by it as everyone else.

The Sociable Plover by Tim Whitnall

We encounter Elisabeth MacLennan and she tells us that her daughter, the lovely Kate McGrath, is in Edinburgh with some wonderful productions. She highly recommends we go to see Kursk in the Drill Hall in Forrest Road.
Very late Joan and I go up to Forrest Road and look for the Drill Hall to see Kursk. We find it with difficulty, but we are early. So we go for hot chocolate. Back to Drill Hall about 22.20 and we see Elizabeth McLennan and she reports there are tickets waiting for us. And we are soon inside a British Trafalgar Class submarine. This British submarine follows the tragedy that is the Kursk submarine as we hear the developments and the impossibility of helping the trapped Russians so nearby. A Young Vic/Fuel Co-production created by Kate McGrath and Louise Blackwell. When it is over, we look around a bit stunned by what we have just experienced. We want to thank Kate, but she is no where to be seen. Outside it is suddenly a bit cold. The streets are crowded and no taxis to be found. Finally, in desperation, we hail a rickshaw. He agrees to take us to Charlotte Square. Joan and I climb aboard and warm blankets are wrapped around us. And away we go, through the Grassmarket and soon arrive at George Street. Say my farewells to Joan who departs for London in the morning. Fun once again sharing a few days with her in Edinburgh. We seem to have been doing this for years.

Sunday, 30th: This is going to be a busy day. I have been invited to lunch at Vanessa and William Prosser's, will attend Little Gem by Elaine Murphy at the Traverse at 14.45, invited to Rona Thomson's annual festival party in the afternoon and I am hosting a Sunday dinner in the Scottish Arts Club this evening.
There is an article in today's Scotland on Sunday entitled "Why the Fringe is the greatest show on Earth" by Kath Mainland and I realize that I never made it up to her office to congratulate her. She has been appointed chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society since I saw her last year.
See lots of people I know at Vanessa and William Prosser's party including old friend Richard Demarco. Also Sir David Steel (who tells me that Norman Hackett sends warm greetings), Elisabeth Fairbairn (who I thank for inviting to her home for drinks earlier in the week). Murray Grigor (who tells me that his biography written with Sean Connery has been translated into dozens of languages), Jonathan Mills (who I compliment of the success of this year's festival and commiserate with his broken ankle accident), Eleanor Morris (who talks about the new buildings in the University of Edinburgh old Paperback Bookshop block), and have a long talk with Dovecot Studios Director, David Weir.
Dash to the Traverse to see Elaine Murphy's Little Gem. It has won the Carol Tambor Award and will be produced in a New York theatre next January. (I also wish to attend the "Voices from Kolkata" at the Book Festival at 15.30, but one cannot be everywhere.) Little Gem is a 100% delight. I love it.
Find a taxi and direct the driver to Rona Thomson's home in Hamilton's Folly Mews for her annual festival open house. Delicious food, but I control myself. I have to have an appetite for tonight's fest in the Scottish Arts Club.

Find a taxi and soon arrive in Rutland Square. Sheila Colvin greets me and presents me with an impressive apron. She takes me upstairs and shows me a high stool from which I can preside. She gives me a clip board with a list of all the people who have reserved tonight. Also get a letter from Gabor and Lois Ronay who say that cannot attend tonight because of a dinner commitment and that I am to call them. John Martin has a book for me that he designed and deals with the evolution of the Demarco Gallery. I begin to greet people, meet people, introduce people. Everything is happening all around me. Encounter so many people it is hard now to remember. I know I congratulated Sarah Oliver on the publication of her book, Money - Bare Basic Facts. I remember being surprised to see Sarah Haggar, who used to live in my atelier in Paris in 1983, and who now lives in Wales. She traveled up from Wales to attend tonight. Martin Hannan, a journalist, comes upstairs with Sarah and reports that Frances Anderson is outside and doesn't feel like coming in. Well what can I do? I remember talking with Mark Haggard about his brother, Piers. Martin Belk and Jonathan Pryce are here.

Sunday Dinner at the Scottish Arts Club. Photo (c)Ian MacKenzie 2009
Sunday Dinner at the Scottish Arts Club. Photo ©Ian MacKenzie 2009

Ian Mackenzie, who is with Reuters, is with his lovely wife, Junko. My pal, Stephanie Wolfe-Murray, is present. Also Astrid Silins. There are three floors of people with drinks. Everywhere there is action. At some point, I go downstairs and sit down for the superb lamb dish that the lovely Shona has prepared. But now, weeks after the dinner, it is all a blur.

Monday, 31st: My last moments in Edinburgh this morning. Up early. Wash. Dress. Pack. Loaded down. I, who believes in traveling lightly, have excess luggage. Too many books and papers. Too many people have given me gifts. My last coffee in Great King Street for a while. Thank my hosts. Wish Ruth a rapid recovery. Hope that they both can fly off to Spain in the next couple of days. A taxi is called. Dear Martin helps me carry my stuff downstairs. Ride to Waverley Station. Am early as always. After buying a Scotsman, stroll over the Platform One and await the 12.30 train to London.
Finally the train arrives. Discover that Amanda Morrow's friend, Steve Bennett, is sitting just behind me. Pru Rowlandson is surprised to find me sitting directly in front of her. We gossip all the way to London. Learn that her boyfriend, Adrian Turpin, runs the Wigtown Book Festival (25 Sept to 4 October 2009). When we get to London's Kings X Station, Pru helps me exit the train. I call Dorota Chrisp at her office and home and get two answering machines. I am so tired that I decide not stay in London, but to head immediately home to Paris. Both Pru and Steve disappear into London and I painfully trudge the short distance to St. Pancras. The ticket counter woman is super sweet. She tells me there is a train to Paris in 45 minutes and that I can make it. Purchase a one-way ticket and make my way to passport control. Within 45 minutes am aboard the Eurostar and speeding toward Paris. A couple are in my reserved place so sit behind them. They have also usurped a young lad's seat, so he joins me. His name is Lawrence and we talk most of the way to Paris.

Tuesday, 1st September: So good to be home. Spend most of the day replying to email messages. Get a message from Yvan Cohen in Bangkok that he is on his way to Paris.

Today is the 1st of October. I think I have finished this report. As always, I know that I have managed to leave some important events out of it, but I think most of it is covered.

The days, weeks and months are going to be full of exciting challenges. The dinners continue every Sunday and every Sunday we are full with a waiting list. Chefs include Cathy Monnet (who will cook the 4th of October), Mary Bartlett (who cooked the 27th of September and will cook again the 25th of October), Antonia Hoogewerf (who will cook the 18th of October) and Pati Matysiak, Galina Prokhorova, Amanda Morrow and so many others.
Exciting news: I signed a contract today and will make a commercial for After 8, one of my favorite chocolates, and it will be broadcast starting the 9th of November in Britain.

Trips: I will journey to Glasgow in October to be on a panel discussing the 60s in Scotland (on the 17th ). And I will participate in my fourth Kolkata Film Festival (10 to 17 November), flying via Bangkok where I will stay with Guk and Yvon Cohen. And, at last, get to share Bangkok with Jesper. He has a big retrospective photographic exhibition in Stockholm (to open on the 12th of November). Changes in the atelier too. Amanda Morrow who has been staying here these past 18 months will be moving in a few days to share an apartment with Pati Matysiak and a friend of Pati's named Aude. Living here will be Yara Tomer (from California) and Cecilia Niumeitolu (from Sydney).

Today I received a jar of peanut butter sent from Seattle, Washington by the lovely and wonderful Katy Masuga. She came into my life thanks to Karl Orend (and Henry Miller) and stayed several weeks this summer in atelier A2. It was extremely painful to allow her to depart. She promises to come again soon to Paris. She is beautiful (like a young Rita Hayworth), bright, (speaks fluent French and German) and oh so nice. The world is blessed to have creatures like her dwelling amongst us.

I also learned today from the publisher, Kate Bezar, that the new issue of Dumbo Feather (No. 21) is now out in Australia. I am one of the individuals featured in it. Kate also reports she is six months pregnant. And I have been asked to Guest Edit a future issue.

There is always more to report…

   
   

 

Jim Haynes
October 2009

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

 

 

 

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