Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 703

That Was the Week That Was
11 to 18 October 2009

"TAKING LIBERTIES"
at the
Street Level Photoworks
Glasgow, Otober 2009

 

Sunday, October 11th: John Flattau leaves Paris today with Isaac for London. It has been great to have had him here for a week. (Last night, five of us dined in Chez Charles-Victor: John and Isaac Flattau, Antonia Hoogewerf, Natalia Shkola and yours truly.) Galina Prokhorova cooks a Russian dinner tonight. We are expecting about 80 guests. All day it looks like it will rain, but it doesn't. Then at about 8, it drizzles. In the end, it is a superb dinner. The After 8 people (Jason Berry, Denise Connell, Joanna Bailey, Helen Hadfield and Alexandra Dondelinger) arrive late and we recruit more extras for the Tuesday shoot.

Monday, 12th: The downstairs kitchen and living room is stripped and moved to a photographic studio in the rue Chaudron in the 10eme. The kitchen table, pots and pans, plates, forks, books, photographs, etc. My atelier is being re-built. A quiet day at home. The Greek food is delivered in the morning for tomorrow's feast. A quiet dinner at the Bouquet d'Alesia with Antonia. We discuss the Kolkata Film Festival, the cooking schedule for the Sunday dinners for the next few weeks and the Tuesday After 8 shoot.

Tuesday, 13th: A very early start. A large truck is sent to collect all the Greek food about 11.45. Séamas McSweeney arrives and we load the truck. Our driver, Estelle Chauvin, is also a film-maker. Then we collect the baguettes and the eight trays of moussaka and head North. The place looks like my atelier, but about four times larger. Lots of activity as the crew sets up lights and cameras. A lovely make-up lady attempts to work her magic on my face. Joanna Bailey, who is directing this production, shoots a long interview with me. Séamas sets up the kitchen and arranges for the moussaka to be heated. The afternoon drifts along and soon the extras begin to arrive: Martin Lehberger, Antonia Hoogewerf, David Turner, Varda Ducovny, Jack Phillips, Yara Tomer, Cecily Niumeitolu, Greta & Jade Yerian & Lina Longmire, Rita Mirailles, Joan Edgar, Pascal Legrandeur, Vivian Liu, Aude Rain, Galina Prokhorova, Natalia Shkola, & Olga, Mark & Sheila Dillon, Paula Klein-Keiller, Iris & Louise Alter, Don & Joyce Pusch, Amanda Morrow, Pati Matysiak & Giacomo Lunazzi, Charles & Arthur Monnet, Emily Wilson, Phyllis Mollet & Silver Simphor, John Farr, Sam Mwame and many others. At some point in the late afternoon, the dinner is served and the filming begins. I say about seven lines and this is shot and re-shot. And then about 10pm, it is a wrap. Everybody seems happy with the day's events. It was fun. And all the extras receive 100 euros. Silver has been snapping photographs all afternoon and I suggest we have an exhibition of his results. One of the film crew is taking a taxi to Monrouge and we (Séamas, Antonia and me) are offered a ride. We accept. Back in my empty atelier, I ponder the day's madness. I must confess I did enjoy myself. Soon Cecily, Yara, and Natalya arrive and we four re-examine the day.

Wednesday, 14th: Another early start. Up before the alarm goes off. Wash, dress, pack and out the door. Metro to the Gare du Nord and the 10 o'clock Eurostar to London. Read and sleep all the way. Get a talkative taxi driver and am delivered to Ernie Eban's apartment in Gloucester Terrace. He and I walk the short distance to the amazing Spanish café and have a big breakfast feast. Back at his flat, we talk about mutual friends and plans for the evening. I call Benny Puigrefagut and he tells me that Victoria, his lovely lady, is in the hospital. It is nothing serious thank goodness. I call Dorota Chrisp and tell her I will be traveling down to Chiswick to deposit my bag, to visit with her and to collect a key. Ernie calls Joan Bakewell and we arrange to meet her for dinner about 8. Ernie gives me a boxed set of DVDs of Busby Berkeley films and I tell him that I will leave them and collect them on Saturday when I pass back through London.
Bus to Chiswick and have a lovely visit with Dorota. Also get to see her husband, Tim, and their wonderful daughter, Lila. Their son, Joe, is away at Oxford. Slip out and take a train to Sloane Square. Walk the short distance to 27 Kings Road and wait for Ernie. Soon he arrives and we enter the George Galitzine exhibition, "Window Shopping". Ernie introduces me to Annie Hanson and she introduces us to her friend. And we four stand and exchange gossip and words of wisdom. I never say hello to George Galitzine who I met some years ago via Daniel Topolski (I think). It is time for us to meet Joan Bakewell, so Ernie and I slip out and walk toward the Royal Court Theatre. Ernie stops to take some money out of the wall and I continue. I do not want Joan to be standing alone. Pass a familiar face. I am sure he is Nigel Waymouth, but we do not speak. Greet Joan and we embrace. Ernie quickly joins us with Nigel. He and I embrace and we both apologize for not speaking to each other. He is meeting someone, so soon departs. Joan suggests we dine in the restaurant next to the Royal Court.
We have a superb meal and a fun evening together. Joan is truly amazing. We all go our separate ways. Dorota is up when I arrive. We talk for a little while, then up to sleep.

Thursday, 15th: Again an early morning start. Shave, shower and shampoo. Go downstairs for a lazy breakfast of coffee and cereal. Dorota walks me to catch the train to Euston Station. Manage to get the 10.30 train to Glasgow, but must change at Preston. (I have a ten minute stop-over and manage to share a bench and to have a delightful conversation with Jess, a school girl. Invite her to come and dine in Paris and she readily accepts.) Pull into Glasgow Central just after 3 and Martin Belk comes to meet me. It is a beautiful warm and sunny day. We walk slowly to his and Jonathan Pryce's flat in Portland Street just across the Clyde via a walking bridge. On the way I discover a city that is extremely beautiful. All my misconceptions fall away. Suddenly I am in love with Glasgow. It is truly a beautiful city. (And every day this is further reinforced.) Jonathan greets me warmly and introduces me to his father. A brief rest. Martin calls Angela Bartie and we arrange to meet in Merchant City, a part of Glasgow I know fairly well. Our taxi deposits us in Candleriggs and suddenly I am embracing Angela and her fellow, Andy Perchard. And introducing them to Martin and Jonathan. We decide to dine in a restaurant that specializes in South India cuisine that is appropriately enough named Dakhin (which means South in one of India's many languages). My four companions are vegetarians and are very pleased with their meals. I have a lamb dish which is, needless to say, delicious. The waiter and I discuss for some strange reason the movie, City of Joy, and the amazing actor, Om Puri. He and I met in 1977 in Bombay.
We almost go to a bar afterwards that has live music, but I am a bit tried. So elect to go home to bed. A lovely start to my brief visit!

Friday, 16th: Martin is up early. He makes a pot of coffee for me and rushes out to catch a train to a nearby prison where he teaches creative writing to a group of young lads. He asks if I would like to join him and I nearly accept his invitation. But then don't. Sit and drink two cups of absolutely delicious coffee. After a bit, Jonathan gets up and joins me. He is soon out the door and on his way to a part-time job. I try to take a shower, but cannot figure out how it works, so end up taking a bath. Then out the door, take the walking-bridge over to Argyle Street and stroll slowly to Trongate 103. Simone Gibson greets me. Give her some of my books to sell tomorrow afternoon. Ask her about a cyber café and she says I may use her computer upstairs in the offices. She makes a call and Louise McBride comes downstairs to guide me up. I am introduced to another Louise (Irvin) and to Max Slaven. Louise Irvin reports that Ella Wildridge (the late great Tom McGrath's lady friend) and Fiona Sturgeon Shea (Head of Communications at the Traverse Theatre) are both coming tomorrow.

Photo Rights Reserved
Jim Haynes and Simone Gibson

 

Somehow I figure out how to use Simone's Apple computer and manage to answer a few email messages.
Manage to call Molly Taylor on her mobile and she is in England about to catch a train to Glasgow. She is surprised to learn that I am in Glasgow.
Walk down to the Bank of Scotland to change some euros into pounds. But they send me across the street to a bizarre shop that has a change bureau. Then I walk to the Brunswick and meet immediately Steven Flannery, one of the co-owners. He is serving food and drinks to a group of people sitting at tables in front of the hotel. After we have embraced, I go inside to have a bite to eat. Steven's partner, Michael Johnson, is behind the bar. We exchange a few words and then I grab a table and order a hamburger and a coffee. The attractive waitress soon delivers it to me. Get a call on my mobile phone from Angela Bartie and we agree that she will come and join me. Chat with an attractive young woman who sits nearby. Then Angela arrives. We decide to go for a walkabout. I try to pay for my lunch, but Steven refuses to accept my money. He says I can treat him in Paris. I ask him about our mutual friend, Anne Marie Timoney, and he reports that she is working in a bar and brasserie called Urban in St.Vincent Place, just off George Square. Angela and I head there. I do not expect to see her. I will just leave a love note, but she is present. Looking fabulous too! After introductions, we sit in a corner table ad order drinks. Anne Marie is able to spend some time with us because the lunch hour rush is over and we play catch up. I tell her that I saw a Marlene Dietrich performance recently in Paris, but that I will never forget her wonderful performance and all the fun we had together in Paris in 1988. We talk about Jack Henry Moore and Damien Cruden. Angela gets a call from her youngest sister, Lynn, who soon joins us. Then Andy arrives with his daughter, Orla. Orla is four going on 17. She is very pretty and very sweet. A future heart-breaker. Maybe we have disrupted the brasserie enough. I ask Anne Marie for the bill and she refuses. Why can I not pay in this town? Hugs and eternal love are exchanged and we exit into the street. Angela wants to do some shopping, so Andy and I walk towards Queen Street Station. We notice that an Edinburgh train has just arrived, so wait to see if Martin Belk is on it. He is and is completely surprised to see us.
Andy has to go to his office in Strathclyde University, so leaves us. I tell Martin that I would like to purchase some bedroom slippers and some trousers, so off we go to Debenhams in Argyle Street. I hate shopping, but with Martin's help, it goes OK. Jonathan joins us and gives excellent advice. They head back to their place, so will take the trousers and slippers with them. But first, they walk the short distance to Street Level Photoworks to make sure I find the way.

Barry Miles and Jenny Fabian have arrived from London and are in their hotel. Miles joins us shortly. Malcolm, Miles and I walk the short distance to a delightful bar. Others arrive and we are introduced. John Cavanagh, who is a BBC producer, will serve as Chairman for tomorrow's session. Another fellow arrives. He is David Harding, a retired professor from the Glasgow College of Art. Malcolm suggests we dine in the Russian Café-Gallery, Cossachok. We are Malcolm Dickson, Barry Miles, Jenny Fabian, John Cavanagh, David Harding and yours truly. Another truly great meal. David, who was born in Edinburgh, and I talk a lot about how delightful Glasgow has become over the years. He suggests it is Edinburgh's equal or has surpassed the city in many ways. I, who have always adored Edinburgh, cannot but agree. Glasgow exudes charm. We also talk about Ricky Demarco who David has known since his school days. David and I also discuss Cuba and Cuernavaca, Mexico. He has been involved with two movie projects in Cuba and Mexico. I suggest he send me DVDs, so I can suggest them to the Calcutta Film Festival. Malcolm picks up the check, but the rest of us contribute to the large tip our waitress receives. Photo Rights Reserved
John Cavanagh, Barry Miles, Jenny Fabian, Jim Haynes

As we go out, I am introduced to the husband and wife team who own the restaurant and use a few of my Russian words to thank them. David will drop me by the walking-bridge. As I walk across, a young woman walks toward me. We exchange nervous smiles. She wonders if she will be raped and I wonder if I will be robbed.
Martin and Jonathan are up. I am introduced to a school friend of Jonathan's. The two of them are going out on the town. I go, more or less, straight to bed.

Saturday, 17th: This morning I am the first one up. Martin soon joins me and makes a pot of coffee and an omelette. I wear my new slippers. Jonathan slowly comes alive. He is boldly asked to sew two buttons on my Marimekko shirt that Karolina Blaberg gave me. And he kindly does it. Malcolm Dickson wants to shoot a videotape interview with me this morning, so a taxi is called and I am soon deposited at Trongate 103. It is soon painlessly done. Go back downstairs. Someone suggests we walk to a nearby café called Trans-Europe. It is delightful. And very European. A waitress is Polish, a chef is Italian, another fellow in the kitchen is French. The soup and sandwiches are outstanding. Martin Belk and Jonathan Pryce enter. Of course this is their favorite café. More introductions. Angela Bartie arrives with her friend, Roma Thompson. (In October 2006, I posted two books of mine to Roma, but we are meeting for the first time today.)
It's soon time for our afternoon session. The place fills with many familiar faces. I spot Ella and Fiona and go over to give them warm embraces.

Miles begins the proceedings by talking about his early meeting in London with John Hopkins, their sharing a flat together, his trip to Scotland to marry Susan, his visit to Edinburgh, my finding a place for them to stay, his working with me in The Paperback Bookshop, the early days in Better Books, the start of Indica Books and gallery, the early days of the London underground, the creation of International Times and the delightful madness of it all. Jenny Fabian next reads a prepared text about how she came to write her novel, Groupie, and the atmosphere of the 60s in particular for women. I am next and I talk about Edinburgh, the creation of the Paperback Bookshop, The Howff, the start of the Traverse, my move to London, the creation of the London Traverse Theatre Company, my involvement with the creation of International Times, and the birth of the Arts Laboratory. Also the role of Jack Henry Moore in all this. Plus the birth of Videoheads, the Alchemical Wedding in Albert Hall and John & Yoko's contribution. How Tom McGrath was "ordered" to return to London (from Wales) to edit I.T., how the two writers' conferences were created and their end with the infamous "nude happening" in 1963. I skate over rather quickly the creation of SUCK and the Wet Dream Film Festivals, my move to Paris and teaching Media Studies and Sexual Politics at the University of Paris VIII, the start of the Sunday night salon and subsequent literary activities, etc. Stop rather abruptly. John Cavanagh leads the discussion and we all contribute to an afternoon of strolling down memory lane. I think everyone enjoys it all. I know that I do. Then we sign books, exchange greetings and addresses. Then it is over…

Barry Miles, Jim talking, John Cavanagh, Jenny Fabian

Photo Rights Reserved
Jenny Fabian, Jim and Barry Miles

Photo Rights Reserved
Barry Miles, Jim, John Cavanagh, Jenny Fabian talking

Photo Rights Reserved
Barry Miles, Jim talking, John Cavanagh, Jenny Fabian

Thank all concerned. Thank my hosts. Thank Angela Bartie for being wonderful. Tell David Harding how much I enjoyed re-establishing our friendship. Collect my coat, cap, bag. Miles, Jenny and I walk down Argyll Street to the Central Station, board the 17.45 train to London and we are off.
We three talk all the way to Euston Station. Miles walks with me part of the way to my hotel. Then he turns and heads West. His lovely wife, Rosemary Bailey, comes to Paris to read from her book, Love and War in the Pyrenees, at Shakespeare & Co on Monday, the 26th.
I walk to my hotel, check-in and go up to the 5th floor. Call Ernie Eban and we chat about Glasgow and our evening together, but we are both too tired to go out on the town.

Sunday, 18th: Get up once again early, before the requested wake-up call. Shave, shower, dress and head for St. Pancras Station. Have a morning latte and chocolate twist, check into the Eurostar, purchase an Observer and soon board, headed for Paris and home. Find myself sitting next to a beautiful young woman who deals with her computer and her mobile phone when she is not napping. Then fifteen minutes from Paris we talk. John Flattau would love her. She is very attractive, very bright, sweet and French. I must admit I find her delightful in every way. She has a record company and lives half the time in London and the other half in Paris (in Bastille). I invite her to dine one Sunday and she says that she will do so. I never get her name alas. (Today, the 23rd of October, get an email message from Geraldine Noel, the attractive young woman from the Eurostar. She books to dine. Hooray!)
The taxi queue is extremely long, so leave the station and walk across the street and find a taxi straight away. Soon home to a clean atelier. (And clean sheets on my bed.) Yara gives me a warm welcome-home embrace and reports all the news and gossip. Outside it threatens rain. We are about 80 on the list for tonight's dinner. Galina is cooking. But wine and beer need to be purchased. Yara volunteers to go down the street to Franprix to get it. I attempt to get ready in every way for tonight. Galina soon arrives. In the end, all's well that ends well. We are a delightful mix, the weather stays OK, and everyone has a wonderful evening. Now I must get ready to fly to Bangkok on the 3rd of November and then over to Kolkata for another Film Festival. Yvan Cohen arrives in the morning and will fly on Tuesday to Montreal to meet Jesper and to shoot a L'Oréal shampoo commercial.
Later I learn that old friend, Michael Shea, died in Edinburgh on Saturday the 17th while I was talking about Edinburgh in the 60s. Life is so quickly over. He and his lovely wife, Mona, and his two wonderful daughters, Katriona and Ingeborg, were all dear friends. Katriona had just given birth to twins. Fortunately Michael was able to spend some time with the twins. He and Mona had a wonderful life together. Michael was always supportive of anything I was involved with. Since his retirement from the Queen's Press Secretary position to Edinburgh, he was involved with his own writing and with many civic projects. We always met during the festival and spent time together. He will be missed by his family and many friends.

 

Jim Haynes
October 2009

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

 

 

 

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