Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No.709

The Edinburgh Festival Report
10 to 30 August 2010

Official Edinburgh Festivals 2010
   

Tuesday, August 10th: Today I take the Eurostar to London. I leave the atelier in Katy Masuga's tender care. Two house guests, Don and Aaron Todd, will be here a few more days and then depart for Vancouver. I am up early and take a quick shower. Pack and out the door about 11 and head for the Gare du Nord. Check-in goes smoothly and am soon aboard. Uneventful trip. Taxi from St. Pancras to Ernie Eban's apartment in Gloucester Terrace. We start immediately to call people to invite them to our Indian dinner party tonight. Ernie and I stroll in the rain down to Queensway to have a bite to eat. Afterwards we purchase wine and beer for tonight's feast. Back to his apartment. Back on the phones to continue calling various friends for tonight. In the end, we are eight: Jan Hodenfeld (who is now living in Tunisia and who I hook up with my old friend, Moncef Sassi, when I am back in Paris), Dan Topolski (who has been fighting to keep his father's studio open to the public for years and years now), Susie Parker (who looks amazingly beautiful), Louise Stjernsward (who was born in Kenya of Swedish parents), Emma Hope (always a joy to be with), Natalia Shkola (who will have an exhibition of her photographs here in the A2 Gallery in September), Mary Clemmey (who is about to take a well-deserved break in Greece before we meet again in Frankfurt for the Book Fair), and the wonderful Samra Turajlic (who escaped from her hospital duties to come and visit briefly). Plus Ernie and myself. I keep calling Dorota's telephone number and no one answers. In the end, Daniel Topolski offers me his daughter's bed. Emma is away from London in a recording studio preparing a new CD. I accept.

Wednesday, 11th: Wake up in Emma Topolski's bed. Quickly wash and dress. Daniel comes downstairs and asks if I would like coffee or tea. I manage to get Dorota on the telephone. Her flight was delayed departing Crete. We agree that I will see her later this evening. Tube it to Paddington and walk to Ernie's. Wake him up and we walk to the Spanish café near Queensway for a second breakfast feast. We call Beatriz Belfrage and she rides her bicycle over to us and we sit with her while she has a lunch and brings us up to date with her life. I leave them and bus to Soho where I have an appointment to have a coffee with Michael Seifert in Frith Street. Michael arrives at the same time as an attractive blonde greets me warmly. It is Elizabeth Muirhead. She dined recently on a Sunday night in Paris. Michael and I are surprised. We go to his favorite café and cannot get a table, so cross the street to another. Michael goes inside to get us coffee and I sit at our table to save our places. To my happy surprise, I spot Tariq Ali crossing Frith Street and rapidly walking into Old Compton Street just as Michael returns with our coffees. I jump up to try and cut Tariq off at the pass, but he has disappeared. Vanished. I report this fact to Michael and we are both puzzled. We sit in the glorious warm afternoon and gossip about mutual friends. He suggests that Ernie and I should join him and his wife, Caroline, in their mill in the South of France in early September and I say this sounds an excellent idea. (Ernie does go down, but two factors prevent me. One a date with my heart doctor in Paris and a visit from my son, Jesper, mean I must stay in Paris.)
Walk to a bus stop in Shaftesbury Avenue to catch a bus down the King's Road to the Chelsea Arts Club. Engage a pretty young blonde in a conversation and she turns out to be from Poland. Tell her about my People to People: Poland book and our talk comes to a rapid end when my bus arrives. Contemplate not getting on, but in the end, do so. Farewell, pretty Polish blonde. Will our paths cross again?
Walk to the Chelsea Arts Club. See Sandra Higgins and she suggests I join her and her friends. Introductions are made. When Benny and Vicky Puigrefagut arrive I move to another table. Soon Ulla Larsen Styles arrives and joins us. Finally after many years, I can introduce them. And they get on as I suspected they would. Ulla is surprised at Benny's ability to speak Swedish.
Later I talk with Ernie and bus and metro to his place. Collect my bag and tube it to Chiswick to Silver Crescent to Tim and Dorota Chrisp's home. Dorota and I sit up a while and talk. Learn all her news. Ask her if Jesper may stay in the upstairs guest room when he is in London in September to shoot the L'Oreal session. She says, as expected, a firm yes.

Thursday, 12th: Breakfast with Dorota. We talk about her plan to visit Jessica John in France. And to stay a few days with me in Paris. We walk together to the nearby tube station and I head for King's Cross and my train to Edinburgh. Manage to get the 13.30 train to Edinburgh. Just before boarding, see Diana Hope talking on the telephone. Learn that she is talking to the new director of the Book Festival, Nick Barley. Then it is time to board and of course we are sitting in different coaches. Text and telephone a few friends from the train. Oh, the miracle of technology! Arrive in Waverley Station and suddenly I am home in Edinburgh once again. Taxi to 84 Great King Street. Hug Ruth and Martin. Graham brings up my bag. Martin hands me a key. Talk on the telephone with Susie Parker and arrange to collect her in her hotel in Albany Street. Soon out the door, find a taxi, collect Susie (and she looks divine!), and we pause to purchase some wine and speed on our way to Leith and Timber Bush. Astrid buzzes us up.

 
Suzie Parker and Jim Haynes, photo R.R.
Suzie Parker and Jim Haynes

We will be six for dinner tonight: Astrid Silins and her beautiful daughter, Clea Tammes, plus Susie and the two men are old friends, Stash Pruszynski and Bronislav Sudjic. It's a lovely beginning to the Festival. A very happy and joyous dinner. Four of us pile into a taxi back to our various beds. I contemplate going to the Assembly Rooms or to the Traverse, but head for home instead.

Friday, 13th: Awake at 8. A great night's sleep in a new double bed. Ruth Holloway prepares a cup of coffee for me. It is my 53rd festival. Purchase a Day Ticket on the bus and get out in Hanover Street. Purchase a two weeks bus pass. Change 600 euros in Marks & Spencers. Stroll around to the Assembly Rooms and catch the Scotsman's Fringe First Awards ceremony. Exchange waves with Joyce McMillan, the Drama Critic for The Scotsman. Embrace Steve Gove and we discuss his recent trip to Lisboa. See Fiona Shea, the Media person at the Traverse. Go upstairs and have a bacon roll with Steve. He introduces me to someone. Spot Mark Fisher,a Drama Critic for The Herald, and we discuss our love for the Belgian actress, Sophi De Somere. Wander into the Press Room and embrace Catherine Bromley. Outside in George Street, bump into Xaviera Hollander and her lover, Philippe. Now the Festival has truly started. Walk around to Frederick Street and purchase a pair of shoes. Grant Barclay is the Assistant who sells me the shoes.

Continue walking to the Traverse and sit in the tiny press office and chat with Fiona Shea. She introduces me to Sarah Dee (who I learn knows John Calder and Sheila Colvin from John's tour of Ireland).Fiona gives me a Staff T-shirt which has the old Traverse logo on the front and the words "Thanks for Coming! Jim Haynes" on the back. They are advertising my autobiography. Neal Cooper, another Herald Drama, critic comes in and we have a chat.
Leave the Traverse and walk to check my email at Bread Street, but the cyber café I used to frequent is no longer there. But the lovely Polish couple are still running their café. Next the Edinburgh Bookshop where I meet the young Polish girl I helped (with Claudia Monteiro) to get her an intership. She is reading my autobiography, Thanks for Coming! Ask if they have Jenny Diski's book on the 60s. Alas they do not. But they have her collecion of essays, A View from the Bed. Purchase it and some postcards.
Head for the Club Bar in the Assembly Rooms and have two conversations with two attractive young women, both named Kirsty. (Later Kirsty Bell writes me an email message inviting me to a musical she is involved with entitled 1916 - the musical.) See my first show in the Assembly's Wildman Room, Imperial Fizz, at 17:25 with David Calvitto and Issy van Randwyck. David is a friend. His performance is delightful. It is very Noel Cowardish. Very fast-talking.
In the evening take my hosts, Martin Burke and Ruth Holloway, to a superb Thai restaurant almost across the street from their flat, the Ruan Siam, at 48 Howe Street. We have a feast.

  Jenny Diski, A View from the Bed, Virago Press, London 2003

Saturday, 14th: Start today with a wonderful shower. Coffee with Ruth. Out the door and take a bus up the Mound to the Bank of Scotland for The Herald's award ceremony. See lots of people I know. Keith Bruce, the Arts Editor of The Herald, gives me a warm welcome.

Bus to Toll Cross and walk to the Traverse. See a show in theatre 2 at 1 pm, D.C. Jackson's My Romantic History. But near the end I am hit with a need to pee, so painfully slip out. Cannot re-enter the theather, so never learn how it ends. Sarah Dee in the Press Office gives me a copy of the play published by dear old Faber & Faber. Sarah also gives me tickets to another play in theatre 2 at 15.45 entitled The Girl in the Yellow Dress by Craig Higginson. This time sit as near as possible to the exit in case I have to slip out again. And to my pleasant surprise, discover that Faith Liddell is sitting on the same row, just a few seats down from me. She is with the Minister of Culture from South Africa. After the production, we embrace, but she has to rush away. It is a beautifully written, well-acted and directed two-hander. Set in Paris, the play explores the belationship between Celia, a beautiful young English teacher, and Pierre, her French-Congolese pupil.
Time to go to Charlotte Square and to see Frances Sutton. And she looks truly lovely as I fully expected. She introduces me to her two assistants, Charlotte Gosling and Karin Aiken. Both are lovely. Today the Book Festival opens. Events started at 10.15 this morning. Frances raves about a book entitled Matterhorn. It has just been published and it is by an American named Karl Marlantes, a very autobiographical novel about his experiences in Vietnam.

 
The Traverse Theatre 2010 Festival programme, photo © Euan Myles 2010
The Traverse Theatre 2010 Festival programme cover

She read the book non-stop on a recent train up from London. Karl is talking about his book at 20.00 in the RBS Main Theatre, so get a ticket. See Claudia Monteiro, Peggy Hughes and Colin Fraser. (Later talk with Joyce Kaplan and we talk about Peggy Hughes. We both agree that she is someone special.) It is so good to encounter these three. Claudia and I discuss our event in Wigtown on the 1st of October.
Sit in the Karl Marlantes event with David Robinson, the Literary Editor of The Scotsman. Karl gives an interesting talk. He describes over thirty years in the writing and the difficulty of finding a publisher. He seems to be a very nice man.
The Book Festival opening party starts and it is always an opportunity to see friends. So many people I know: Leslie Hills (looking great), Susie Parker (also looking great), Nick Phillipson (Tell him I purchased his new book on Adam Smith in Paris), Claudia Monteiro introduces me to Adrian Turpin and congratulate him and a very pregnant Pru. Thank Adrian for inviting Claudia Monteiro and me to the Wigtown Book Festival. Briefly chat with Ed Jones (who is with Saatchi & Saatchi in Zagreb).
Later wander up to the Club Bar in the Assembly Rooms. Encounter Bob Flynn and he introduces me to Camille O'Sullivan. I tell her that we have crossed paths in two past festivals. But we were never officially introduced until now. She is a knock-out.

Sunday, 15th: Up at 8. Stuart Trotter gives me a ride to Charlotte Square. It is a glorious day, sunny and warm. The photographer, Chris Close, asks if he can take my portrait sometime this coming week. Greet the lovely Frances Sutton in the Press Pod. She introduces me to Nick Barley, the Director of the Edinburgh Book Festival. He and I discuss the 1962 Writers' Conference that I co-organized with John Calder and Sonia Orwell. Nick is well-informed. He wants to do something in the Festival of 2012 to celebrate the fifty years of our 1962 Festival. I know that Angela Bartie is busy co-organizing something with Eleanor Bell. See Peg Hughes and it is always a joy to see her. Tell her that Joyce Kaplan and I talked lovingly of her yesterday. Peg needs to walk to her flat in Toll Cross, so I propose to walk in the Lothian Road with her. We stroll and then I hop on a bus. Get out at Bread Street and wait for Peg to get there. Ask her if she would like something to eat or to drink, She thanks me but says she has to prepare for her chairing session this afternoon in the Book Festival. I go for a bacon roll (OK, I like them!) and a latte at the Café Plus. My mobile rings and it is Angela Bartie, I wish her a belated "Happy Birthday!"; it was the 12th of August. We discuss her coming over to Edinburgh this afternoon. And I tell her I am loving the festival.
Visit the Traverse. Sarah Dee lets me use one of the Press Office computers. A message from my son about his arrival in Paris. I am given a ticket for the production Teenage Riot, which is from the same company in Belgium that produced Internal at last year's festival. This is completely different. Totally wild and over the top. Not my cup of tea, but still fun. Walk to Charlotte Square. See Vanessa and William Prosser and they tell me they are not hosting a party this festival. A pity. Their lunches are always so nice. Spot Angela Bartie and join her. Am introduced to her associate, Eleanor Bell. They are plotting an event for the 2012 Book Festival to celebrate the first Writers' Conference in 1962. We have a good long talk and I tell them all I remember about that infamous event. Then excuse myself to hear Gary Younge and his talk about "identity politics" at 15.30 in the Scottish Power Studio Theatre. I am a big fan and he is as provacative and insightful as ever. Afterwards purchse his new book, Who Are We, and we chat briefly.
Sit in the London Review of Books signing tent with David Black and Colin Cooper. Colin is a friend of David Snashall. Both are doctors. Colin is also helping the Palestians and has just been out there. I mention Stash Pruszynski and suggest he call Stash in Edinburgh and he just might catch him before he departs for Warsaw. David asks me about my on-going battle with Emile-the-Rat and expresses his wish to help me. David has written a book entitled The Secret Scottish History of America.

At 18.00, with no ticket, a miracle unfolds and I manage to get into Peggy's event. It is entitled "Are Friends Electric". Peg chairs and she is a champ. I become Peggy's "uncle" and this fact allows me inside. I spot Indigo Reeve and we exchange gossip and smiles. Everyone congratulates Peggy afterwards for the superb job.There is a 9 pm event in the Spiegeltent and I wander into it. Cross paths with Nick Barley again and we are rapidly bonding. He is an excellent fellow. The event is entitled A Night in the Gutter: McSex and features about six readers exploring Scottish erotic writing from Robert Burns onward to Alex Trocchi and Edwin Morgan. It's fun. It is produced by Gutter, a magazine of new Scottish writing. Afterwards talk with several of the editors.
Wander up to the Assembly Rooms and see Camille O'Sullivan. She is signing CDs and DVDs in the lobby, sitting with Margot, who looks after her afairs in Edinburgh. I make an attempt to purchase one, but am given one instead. (When I am back in Paris, I post two of my books to her in Dublin.) Buy tomorrow's Scotsman and walk down the hill to Great King Street and bed.

  Camille O'Sullivan

Monday, 16th: Call Sheila Colvin, leave a message. She calls me back. She says she called my French mobile yesterday. I talk with John Calder and learn his grand daughter, Zaja, arrives in Edinburgh today. He tells me to remember that we will lunch on Friday and celebrate Zaja's birthday. Ruth makes me a coffee and announces that she met Stash at the Book Festival yesterday about the same time as I was talking about him. Bizarre. Maybe we were 50 meters apart. Call Stash and he will come over to Great King Street with his daughter in about 30 minutes. They arrive and we walk down to the Florentin to have breakfast. His daughter is delightful. Her name is Anna. Ruth joins us.
Bus up to George Street and bump into Ian Rankin. Always delightful to encounter Ian Rankin. We chat briefly. Then meet Alan Taylor. Have a latte in the Café Assembly. Walk down George Street and encounter Bill Burdet-Coutts and he introduces me to Alice, his daughter. Continue to the Book Festival Press Pod and get a kiss from Frances Sutton. Hooray! Chat with Jenny Daiches.
Pass the post office and purchase stamps. Continue to Great King Street and have a wee siesta. Taxi to Charlotte Square. Sit with Robin Payne, Stash, Clea, Astrid. See Judy Moir and we exchange news. She introduces me to someone but I cannot remember who. There is a 19.00 event in the Spiegeltent that Allan Little is chairing, but I cannot get a ticket. See Chris Close, Robbie Jack, Bob Flynn, Ryan Van Winkle, Colin Fraser, Magnus & Veronica Linklater.
Walk to 3 Oxford Terrace and sit and talk with John Calder. At 10 pm we taxi to Bar Roma in South Bridge where we dine with Sheila Colvin and Nick Phillipson. Ruth Wishet is supposed to join us, but somehow was not told where to meet us. Also the same with Nelson Fernandez.

Tuesday, 17th: This morning I have decided to go to John Banville's talk in the RBS Main Tent. I know that John Calder knows John Banville and that he and Sheila intend to be there. Meet Limma Groves-Rains in the queue and she invites me to a dinner party chez elle tonight. She introduces me to two women. One is name Vivienne Guinness and the other woman lives in Cairo. See John and Sheila. See Sheila Brock and Ruth Wishart. See Alan Taylor and Mike Wade of the Sunday Times. See Al Senter and compliment him on his chairing the John Banville session.
Meet Faith Liddell leaving Charlotte Square and we exchange warm embraces. What a lovely peson she is! Walk to Great King Street, and stop briefly to purchase items for the house. After a brief rest, taxi back to Charlotte Square. Go to Ahmed Rashid's talk at 16.00 with Ruth Wishart in the chair. Sit next to a woman (from Kenya) who lives above Tim Cornwell. Ahmed Rashid's talk is excellent. Afterwards purchse his book, Descent into Chaos. We exchange contact information. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan. Go for a pear and apple juice. Share a table with a 92 year old Irishman and his daughter. We have a fun conversation. Nick Barley passes and briefly joins us. Time to find a taxi and head out to Liberton Drive. The taxi driver is a sweetheart but not happy with the money being spent on the tram. I try to tell him it will be worth it in the end. He is not convinced. Nick and Limma's home is fantastic. Even the taxi driver is impressed. Inside I am introduced to dozens of people. Nick is in the garden with some of the guests and I am pushed out to join them. See Nick right away and he warmly welcomes me. I am surprised to see Christopher McLeHose, but the party tonight is for an Icelandic writer, Jom Kalman Stefansson. and it seems that Christopher is his publisher. Others at the party include Candia McWilliam, John Clifford, Andrew, (who is married to Limma's daughter), Matt (who is also a member of the family and has cooked a chocolate cake). Limma is a perfect hostess. And she is also beautiful!
John Clifford drives a bunch of people into Edinburgh including Christopher McLeHose and yours truly. It has been a fascinating evening. Nick and Limma and all their family and house guests are a delightful group of individuals. I look forward to inspecting their new home when they move to the oldest house in Leith (which they are in the middle of renovating.)

Wednesday, 18th: Up at 8. Another warm sunny day. Walk down Great King Street and decide to ask Dixon's Travel for a leaflet about the ferry service from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Rosyth across the Forth from Edinburgh. When I return to Scotland the end of September for the Wigtown Book Festival, I think I will use this ferry service. (I have subsequently booked a ticket to sail on the 29th of September. My lawyer is also in court that day fighting Emile-the-Rat.)
Go to Toll Cross and check my email. Walk to the Cameo Cinema and have a latte. Call Astrid and get her answering machine. Call Stephanie Wolfe Muray and get Gus and we have a wee chat. Walk down Lothian Road and purchase another pair of shoes. These feel much more confortable. Then go to Café Plus. Chat with the Polish couple who run it, Agnés and Andrew.
Walk around to the Traverse and have a good meeting with Dominic Hill, the Artistic Director, and Linda Crooks, the Administrative Director. We talk about the 50th birthday celebration of the Traverse in 2013. They are, of course, correct. But I date the founding of the Traverse to 1960, the time of the first production in the Paperback Bookshop. I mention that I would like to produce an intimate "play" of mine next year or year after next.
Stroll to Charlotte Square and encounter Astrid Silins and Robin Payne as they are leaving the Book Festival. Robin says the three writers from the Middle East are well worth meeting, so I walk to the bookshp tent and talk with them: Najwan Darwish, Hamdy El Gazzar and Hala Kawtharani. See Roy Cross, who is now with the British Council in Stockholm.
At 6 go to the Writers' Retreat to hear Olga Tokarczuk, a Polish author. I have completely forgotten a date I had made to see Bob Kingdom in the Club Bar of the Assembly Rooms.
Walk back to the Press Pod and ask Frances Sutton if she would like to dine with me tonight. She tells me that she has a date but that I am welcome to join her and a friend, a lawyer named Christian Melville. OK. Why not? We stroll around to meet Christian in the L'escargot Blanc in Queensferry Street. On the way, I tell Frances about meeting Nadia Cugini and having dinner in the Bar Roma last festival. She tells me that Christian is also in love with Nadia. So when Christian arrives, I tell him that we both are in love with Nadia. He tells me that she has married Ivan Di Giorgio and that she is very pregnant. I ask that my best wishes be passed to them. We have a great dinner. I hear of their mad motorscyle trip in Western USA. Christian treats us to a superb meal. What a delightful fellow. He returns to his office and Frances and I walk back to Charlotte Square. When we pass Bar Roma, we see Tim Cornwell inside having dinner with is wife and daughters. I almost go inside to see them and to say hello to Nadia, but continue with Frances to the Spiegeltent session. See Nick Barley, Roza Petherick, and Clea Tammes. Frances is tired and will taxi to her place. She offers to drop me in Great King Street and I accept. I need an early night.
Ruth Holloway and Stuart Trotter are in the kitchen talking, so join them for a brief while.

Thursday, 19th: Nick Phillipson's talk is at 11 this morning. He will discuss his new book that Penguin have recently published, a biography of Adam Smith. Up to Charlotte Square where I have an appointment to meet Danuta Orlowska. She and I have communicated via email but we are meeting this morning in the Press Pod. We meet and she is lovely. I suggest she join me at Nick Phillipson's reception across at No. 5 Charlotte Suare after his talk in the Peppers Theatre. Nick's talk is excellent as all his friends expected it to be. Danuta and I stroll over to No. 5 Charlotte Square just behind Sheila Colvin and John Calder. Upstairs Danuta meets a young historian from Paris and she introduces Gilles Robel to me. It turns out he specializes in Scottish history and literature and he is the Assistant Mayor of Montreuil. I quickly introduce him to Sheila and John who live in Montreuil.
At 6, go to the Writers' Retreat to hear Nicolai Lilin. It seems he is from a Russian criminal family. His book has been a best-seller in Italy and he travels with a body guard.
Walk to Fisher's in the City in Thistle Street where I am taking my hosts to dinner tonight. It is a repeat of last year's feast and is rapisly becoming a ritual. We are five: Martin Burke, Ruth Holloway, her two daughters, a very pregnant Grace, and her sister Tara. Once again a great meal. Afterwards, Tara and I walk to the Assembly Rooms. Later I am slipped into the Supper Room to see the Wau Wau Sisters' Last Supper. Two extremely wild women.
In the Club Bar after, talk with Karel Beer.
Taxi home to Great King Street. The driver, John, is from South Africa.

Friday, 20th: Today is Zaja's 19th birthday. She is John Calder's grand daughter. We are to meet at Centro Tre to have a lunch and a celebration. I have no idea how I passed the morning. I suspect I checked my email in the cybercafé near the King's Theatre, probably stuck my head into the Traverse and the Book Festival. And was the first to arrive for our lunch date. Sheila and John soon arrive then the birthday girl with her boyfriend, Zaac. We have a superb lunch followed by a delicious chocolate cake. Zaja is delighted. I return to Great King Street to have a lovely siesta.
Ruth, Martin and I go to St. Steven's Street where a friend of hers is opening a wee shop and having a small reception. On the way there, bump into Gavin Wolfe Murray and he joins us. Ruth introduces me to lots of people. And I end up buying a delightful linen jacket. Just what I need to go with my linen trousers which I purchased last November in Calcutta. Gavin walks me the short distance to Dean Bridge across from Pizza Express. I tell him it is not necessary to wait with me. He departs and a fellow joins me who is also looking for a taxi. We have a chat. Eric Linklater is from Australia and he ends up calling for two taxis on his mobile phone. No sooner done and one arrives. Eric graciously lets me have it. I give him a newsletter and invite him for dinner when he is next in Paris. The driver of my taxi is young and attractive. Her name is Pauline and soon we arrive at Craigcrook Terrace. Leave her and ring the bell at David and Roza's apartment. Up I go. We sit in the kitchen. We have a wonderful meal. David's sister, Hazel, and a fellow, Gavin Don, join us. Lots of text messages and phone calls from Toby Gaugh who threatens to joins us, but in the end does not make it. Manage to see some of Angelika before she retires to her bedroom and sleep.
Taxi into George Street and go to the Club Bar in the Assembly Rooms. Meet Karel Beer and we are walked into Best of the Fest.
Learn today that the poet, Edwin Morgan, died yesterday. He was a friend when I lived in Edinburgh. An extremely nice man and a very talented poet.

Saturday, 21st: Sheila Colvin calls me to ask me to keep a lookout for Margaret, a longtime associate of John Calder's, who will be attending the Book Festival. Ricky Demarco is supposed to be doing something today in Craigcrook Castle. But I do not know what or when. Bus to Toll Cross to check my email and then wander into Filmhouse to have a bowl of soup. Cross over to the Traverse and visit with Sarah in the press office. We gossip about John Calder and Sheila Colvin.
Next to Press Pod in Charlotte Square. Visit with Frances Sutton and Karin Aiken. Intend to attend the James Shapiro session on William Shakespeare at 3 pm. He will try to prove that Shakespeare wrote the plays and no one else. But I am convinced that it was Christopher Marlowe. If you ever get to see Michael McEvoy's play, A Question of Will, as far as I am concerned, he proves beyond any doubt that Christopher Marlowe wrote all the Shakespeare plays. Visit with David Black and meet his son, James. Go for a latte and end up being late for the Shapiro talk and not allowed inside the RBS Main Theatre. Damn. Silly me. Back to the Press Pod and sit with John Ritchie. Introduce Martin Belk and Geraint Lewis to Nick Barley. Somehow meet Martina Kartalo, from Split on the Croatian coast. She is with Juliane Zellner from Munich.
John Ritchie drives us to the Café Rouge in Frederick Street. Sit with Martin Belk and his French teacher, Maela Tremel.
Return to Great King Street to rest before going out to the Playhouse. Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell have left a ticket for me to see his production of The Gospel at Colonus. Sit with Lee and Maude. A fantastic production. They are coming soon to Paris to stage a Tennessee Williams play at the Comedie-Francaise Theatre in Palais Royal.
Slip out and walk in the softly falling rain to Robin Payne's in Drummond Place for a late dinner. Only to learn that Grace has had to be rushed to the hospital for the arrival of her baby. Apparently all went well. Mother and daughter are fine.
Head up to the Assembly Rooms. See Rona Thomson, Karel Beer, Faith Liddell, Amy Saunders. And Kelly . And Marie Tecce. And Ronnie Dorsey. She and I discuss Britt Eklund.

Sunday, 22nd: Steven Gove has suggested I go up to Fringe Central, that there will be a gathering of Directors of Fringe Festivals from all corners of the world and that I might find it interesting. Do so and it is. Meet lots of people including Dutchman Iwan Dam who has a show entitled Cooking for Love. I promise him that I will see it, but do not make it. Damn. Also meet Amy Abler, who has a show entitled PianoDivalicious!, and I tell her I will try to see her show. (And I do.) Also meet Tayo Aluko, who has written and who performs Call Mr. Robeson about the remarkable life of Paul Robeson. I tell him that I met Paul Robeson in the late 50s via my history professor, George Shepperson, who had arranged an Honorary Doctorate for him at Edinburgh University. I also promise to see his production. (And I do! And it is superb!)
Bus to George Street and encounter Iain Morse and Robert McDowell. They suggest we have a coffee in Charlotte Square. OK, why not? We sit in the bright sunshine and exchange gossip.
Then at 3 pm I go to hear Joseph Stiglitz. Sit with John Calder and Sheila Colvin. Stiglitz is superb. Afterwards talk with Tom Risks, once CEO of the Bank of Scotland. See also John Clifford. Say hello to Joseph Stiglitz in the signing tent. Purchse his book, Globalization and its Discontents, and pass Stanley Cohen's greetings to him.

  Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its discontents, Penguin Books, London, 2002

Sheila Colvin drives me to the Assembly Rooms and I visit with Kate, the Club Bar guard. Meet Bob Kingdom and apologize to him for my failure to keep our last date. We have coffee and catch each other up to date with our news and views.
Arrangements have been made to dine with John and Sheila in a small Italian restaurent across from the Playhouse Theatre. Bob walks with me there. John is the first to arrive. We three sit and exchange news. Then Bob slips away. Sheila, Nick Phillipson and Nelson Fernandez arrive.

Monday, 23rd: Joan Bakewell arrives in Edinburgh today. She will call me when she arrives. Carry two bags to the laundry in Stockbridge. Bus back toward George Street and share the bus ride with Mike Hart. There is a talk in Charlotte Square at 12.30 that I would like to hear. It is entitled "Bombay and Delhi - Dream Cities or Purgatory?" with Suketu Mehta, the author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. And with Sam Miller, author of a new book, Delhi, adventures in a megacity. I have read Suketu's book and have heard him talk in the Village Voice Bookshop in Paris. He is an excellent fellow. Charlotte Gosling gives me a ticket. See Geraint Lewis. See Chris Close who says he wants to take my portrait.
The 12.30 session in the Peppers Theatre is fun and stimulating. Go afterwards and chat with Suketu. Purchase Sam Miller's book entitled Delhi -Adventures in a Megacity. He and I chat briefly. Go up to the Fringe Centre and visit with Claudia Monteiro. Amy Dickerson. Amy makes a Fringe Press Pass for me.
Walk to the Hotel du Vin where I am to meet David & Rosa Petherick and Gavin Don. Toby has invited us to see his Brazil, Brazil show. We are introduced to Simone Genatt who is the New York producer of Reel to Real. Also meet her assistant, Gina Chavez. More people show up and after a bit Toby walks us the short distance to the Underbelly (the Purple Cow) and takes us inside through the stage door. More introductions as he introduces us to the cast.

  Sam Miller, Delhi - adventures in a megacity. Vintage Bools, London, 2009

Then in we go where places have been saved for us. Just befoe the show starts, one of the cast members comes out and says we are lucky and honored tonight to have Jim Haynes, one of the Festival founders with us. I stand up and am applauded. Toby, you are too much! The show is wild, full of energy, slice of Brazil, singing, dancing and football. It is over-the-top-fun! Afterwards we walk the short distance to the restaurant called The Outsider in George IV Bridge. We are Simone, Gina, Liseanne, and Toby. Joan Bakewell joins us. I think Toby picks up the bill for everyone.
Taxi with Joan to the Assembly Rooms. See Camille O'Sullivan. And Antonio Forcione.

Tuesday, 24th: Head up to the Fringe Centre to check my email and to gossip with Claudia Monteiro, Neil Mackinnon, and Amy Dickenson. Then go downstairs and check my email. Walk and bus to the Traverse where I have a meeting with Joan Bakewell. She is the patron of the theatre company, Shared Experiences, and we will go to see their production, Speechless, in theatre 2 at 1.15. Always good to see Joan and to share Edinburgh with her. The production is based on a true story of two sisters who refuse to talk and the secret world they share. It is strong stuff. Joan and I go for soup at Tree Free Tree.
Home for a wee siesta. Then rush to the Grassmarket to hear Amy Abler's PianoDivalicious!
I have a dinner date tonight with John Calder, Joan Bakewell and Nick Phillipson at Centro Tre. John is still under the weather, so the three of us have a quiet dinner. Spot Camille O'Sullivan also dinning with Carol Tambor and Carol's husband. Centro Tre's proprietor, Victor Contini, is super nice. We three have a private space downstairs. It is nice and quiet.
Walk up George Street with Nick. Peel off and wander into the Assembly Rooms Club Bar. See Camille O'Sullivan again. Walk home and learn that Grace's daughter has been named Stella.

Wednesday, 25th: For some bizarre reason get up at 7.30. Make myself a pot of coffee. Then decide to go back to sleep for an hour. John Calder calls at 8.30 to say we have a date with Mona Shea at 20.30 tonight in the Café Royal. Today's Scotsman has the news that Hannah McGill has resigned from directing the Edinburgh International Film Festival. That's sad for us. A very talented young woman. And very nice too.
I have a date with Camille O'Sullivan to see Daniel Kitson at the Traverse at 10 this morning. But I am running late and do not make it on time. Damn. But stick around until it comes out and apologize. She reports Kitson was fantastic.
Rush off to Toll Cross where Katherine Randall gives my feet and toes an excellent going over. Then taxi to Rutland Square where I have lunch with Stephanie Wolfe Murray, John Calder & Sheila Colvin, Marilyn and her son, Andrew, and the lawyer, Tom Watson. Then rush afterward to Charlotte Square where I get a ticket for Sheila Colvin to attend something in the Spiegeltent. Chat with Karen Aitkin. See new copy of One Magazine and discover I have a small item in it.

Attend Tariq Ali's 16 h 30 session and he is superb as always. He is photographed by Chris Close outside the Press Pod and Chris asks me to talk with Tariq while he is photographing him. I tell Tariq about seeing him in Soho while having coffee with Michael Seifert. And that he disappeared in Old Compton Street.
Taxi to Nicholson Street and attend the Paul Robeson one-man show, performed by Tayo Aluko. I wish that my old professor, George Shepperson, could be here to see it with me. It is excellent. I am sure Professor Shepperson would have liked the performance.
Visit briefly One World Bookshop. Then head for the Café Royal to meet John Calder and Mona Shea for an early dinner. Mona is so lovely. She is being very brave since Michael's death last October. We three have a fun dinner. John insists upon treating us. Afterwards I find a taxi and we drop Mona up at Ramsay Gardens. Then John drops me at the Assembly Rooms. See Faith Liddell, Amy Saunders, Meow Meow, some Pina Bausch dancers, and many others in the Club Bar.

  Tayo Aluko, Call Mr Robeson,  Photo  © Anthony Moran

Thursday, 26th: Another early morning. Down to Stockbridge to collect my clean laundry and take it back to 84 Great King Street. Go up to the Waverly Station and book a place on the morning train to London for next Monday. Taxi to Book Festival. Talk on the telephone with John Calder, but he has decided to stay home and nurse his cold. Karin gives me a clipping about New Orleans. I telephone John Lloyd and he suggests we dine tomorrow night. I have a meeting with Ros MacKenzie in the Press Pod at 12 Noon. (Later she and her husband, Cameron, dine on a Sunday evening in Paris. And present me with a beautiful cashmere MacKenzie scarf.) I have a lunch date with Grace and am to be presented to Stella. Ruth and Martin and Victoria Rae, a pal of Grace's, join us. Or I should say, I join them. They are there when I arrive. Needless to say, Stella is the most beautiful baby girl in the world. After lunch I walk to Broughton Street. One of my favorite streets in Edinburgh. Bus to the Fringe Centre in George Square. Visit with Claudia Monteiro. Neil Mackinnon asks me if I could be present an Award Ceremony in the Club Bar of the Assembly Rooms on Sunday. Of course. I would be pleased to do so.
Later make my way again to 73 Broughton Street where I am to meet Claudia Monteiro in the Polish restaurant (Pani Solinska) for an early dinner. We stuff ourselves. Then we head for Princes Street Gardens to hear Meow Meow at 8 pm. She is deliciously outrageous. We chat with Catherine Lockerbee on the way in. And she looks great.
We head for the Club Bar in the Assembly Rooms afterwards. Meow Meow comes to the Club Bar and we tell her that she was wonderful this evening.

Friday, 27th: Up at 8.30 and make myself a pot of coffee. Martin's friend, Stuart, shares it. Go out to take a bus up the hill. Meet a young attractive woman from America named Janet Livingston . She lives in Bratislava. And I tell her about my People to People travel books. I leave her in George Street and walk to the Assembly Rooms. Suddenly realize that the final Fringe First awards ceremony is in the Assembly in the Princes Street Gardens. Rush there and manage to catch some of the event. Karen Koren is awarded The Spirit of the Fringe Award. Outside in the warm sunshine, see lots of friends. Chat with Fiona, Sarah and Helen from the Traverse. Decide to walk to Bread Street and have a bacon roll and a latte. Visit Sarah and Helen in the Traverse Press Room.
Rush to Charlotte Square to attend the 2 pm session with Barry Miles. He will be talking about his new book, London Calling. Miles and I are old friends. We were involved with most of the major happenings in London in the 60s. After his excellent presentation, wander into the Book Signing Tent and we chat a bit. Tell him that I purchased his book in Paris. Meet his nephew.
Then another visit to the Press Pod in the Book Festival. See the lovely Sarah Oliver. Greet Robert McCrum in the Writers' Yuk. Then at 5, go to hear Robert talk about "Globish". Robert was my editor at Faber & Faber when my autobiography was published. Sit with Martin Walker. He reports Julia is in Edinburgh. Tell him I am coming to his talk tomorrow and he suggests I dine with him and Julia afterwards.

  The Scotsman Fringe Festival Awards

Home to Great King Street. Astrid calls and suggests I meet her, John Lloyd and others at Creeler's in Hunter Square. Tell her I am on my way. Fran James has found them a table in the back room. We are seven: Astrid, John, his son, Jacob, Jacob's girlfriend, Lindsay Dukes, Astrid's house guests from France, Denis and Catherine Barritault, and me. Dinner is wonderful. I like Jacob and Lindsay very much. They are in a production and it is a pity that I am not able to see it. He looks just like his father. Astrid's house guest, Denis, picks up the check which is exceedingly kind of him. (I have posted him a thank-you note and two books of mine.)
They drop me at the Assembly Rooms afterwards. I sit up upstairs with Steve Gove and various staff members. Try to call Tara to arrange a meeting with her and Steve. Leave a message.

Saturday, 28th: Coffee and talk in the kitchen with Ruth and Stuart. Call Sheila Colvin and she reports that John is feeling better. Go up to Charlotte Square and bully Colin Fraser and Peg Hughes into coming for lunch in the Scottish Arts Club. Sheila Colvin joins us. John has elected to stay in bed. Return to Great King Street, pausing to buy some supplies for the house. Have a wee rest. Call Gina Chavez regarding the musical, Reel to Real and tell her I can come tonight, but can only stay about 20 minutes. She says it will not be a problem. Ask her about Simone Genatt, the producer, and Gina reports she is home in New York City.
Taxi to the Pleasance. Find Gina and she finds me a place where I can escape easily wthout bothering anyone. Reel to Real is fun. A big Broadway mixed-media production. Lots of singing and dancing. Pure showbiz joy. I hate to leave, but to catch Martin Walker I must do so. So out I go. Do not see Gina to thank her. Find a taxi and arrive at Charlotte Square with a few minutes to spare. Rush to the Peppers Theatre. Martin is his usual excellent self. He shares the billing with Michael Ridpath. Peter Guttridge is in the chair. Afterwards join Martin, his wonderful wife, Julia Watson, and Bonnie and Owen Dudley Edwards and we five cross over to the Roxburghe Hotel for a light dinner. A fun dinner filled with literary gossip. Julia rushes off to hear another Book Festival talk. I walk the short distance to the Assembly Rooms, then continue down the hill to Great King Street. Join Martin and Ruth plus Ruth's brother, Graeham and his wife, Hannah, in the kitchen for more late night talking.

  Reel to real, images R.R.

Sunday, 29th: Call Rona Thomson to ask when her party will start today. Call Sheila Colvin and she reports that John is feeling better. Wander down to Florentin for a bacon roll and a latte. Meet Ruth's daughter, Grace, and her new daughter, Stella. Then meet Grace's father, Chris, who lives in the South of France. Also meet Sky, his friend. David Black enters and sits with us. Also Colin Cooper. He thanks me for introducing him to Stash Pruszynski. Somehow or other, David asks me about Emile-the-Rat and I attempt to explain how I got into his cobweb. Bus up to George Street and encounter Iain Morse and Robert McDowell and we walk to Charlotte Square for a coffee and talk. Leave them and taxi up to the Fringe Centre to check my email one last time in Edinburgh. Go upstairs to say greetings to anyone in the Fringe box office. Almost no one there; it is too early for everyone. Exit via the back door and see a man and a woman headed for two different cars. Shout to them to ask if either of them might be driving by the St. Leonard's Police Station. And the woman, to the man's surprise, says that she is. I introduce myself and she asks if I am the fellow who has the Sunday dinners in Paris. Sarah Bloomfield is a policewoman and she has seen the After Eight advertisements. We are both surprised and chat like old friends all the way to St. Leonard's.
The gate is locked when I arrive at Hamilton's Folly Mews, so call Rona Thomson. She comes out to let me inside. I don't know how many years Rona has been hosting these afternoon end-of-the-festival parties, but they are always fun. And always delicious food. Rona's sister, Alison Ross, is there and we discuss the festival. I ask her about her husband, Sandy. More and more people arrive. I thank Rona, tell her she is welcome to come and visit again in Paris, then slip out. Find a taxi and head for the Assembly Rooms in George Street.
Spot Steven Gove right away and we exchange gossip. Neil Mackinnon, Head of External Affairs for the Fringe, has invited me to meet Allen Wright's widow, Eleanor. Allen was a Scotsman drama critic who created the Fringe First Awards and an important supporter of the Fringe and the Festival. Alas Neil reports that Eleanor Wright will not be attending because she is not feeling well. But Kate Maitland, Faith Liddell, Liz Smith and others are there. Two young critics are being rewarded for their excellent reporting on Fringe theatre productions.
Dash down to Charlotte Square and visit briefly Jenny Brown's party. She is co-hosting it with Maggie McKernan, Giles Gordon's widow. Cannot stay very long because I must get to Rutland Square and the Scottish Arts Club dinner which I am hosting. But am able to greet Jenny, her fellow, Sandy Richardson, and Maggie.
The Scottish Arts Club party is fun once again. Lots of people. I share a table with a pretty young Russian architect, Reseda Muir, who is married to Ian Muir, another architect. And they live in Perth. She is very lovely and bright. And loves ice cream with chocolate sauce. Me too. A great way to end another Edinburgh Festival. Also Mona Shea attends and looks great! Thank everyone at the Arts Club and escape into the night. Find a taxi and head for Great King Street and bed.

Monday, 30th: Up early. Wash, pack, have coffee with Ruth in the kitchen. Ask Ruth to call a taxi for me. Thank her and Martin for their hospitality and kindness again. They tell me that I am welcome to return next August. I thank them and say that I might be back for a night in late September when I will head to Wigtown. Taxi to Waverly Station and board the train for London Kings Cross. A pleasant trip down. I decide not to stay the night in London. Walk over to St Pancras and manage to change my Eurostar ticket and am soon on my way to Paris. Another Edinburgh Festival! Hooray! I will be there again in 2011, I hope.

 
   
   

 

Jim Haynes
November, 2010

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

 

 

 

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