Jim Haynes newsletters
|Newsletter No. 702||
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.
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.
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.
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
by Bernie C. Byrnes
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Tariq Ali, photo ©Nina Subin
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Issy van Randwyck
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.
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.
Abdel Bari Atwan
photo © Peter Searle
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Freedom, short stories, Amnesty International
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ©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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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