Jim Haynes newsletters
Newsletter No. 703
That Was the Week That Was
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.
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
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.
Somehow I figure out how to use Simone's Apple computer
and manage to answer a few email messages.
|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.|
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.
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.)
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
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.
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!)
Jim Haynes' newsletter