Jim Haynes newsletters
|Newsletter No. 727|
|A quick trip to Amsterdam
30th July to 1st August 2014
July 30th: Up early. Quick shower, coffee and cereals. Then pack and
dress. Call a taxi and we head for the rue St. Paul. Call Antonia Hoogewerf
and tell her I will soon arrive and to come downstairs. She is waiting
and jumps into the taxi and we continue to the Gare du Nord. It is a beautiful
warm sunny day in Paris. Our Thalys train departs at 08H25 and we will
arrive at 11H42. I hope my old friend, Raymond van Heezik, will be on
the train. He is a Thalys train manager. No luck. The Thalys staff member
I ask says that he knows Raymond but that he is not on our train this
morning. I ask that my best wishes be passed to him. The beautiful countryside
flashes pass our window as we roll northward to Brussels and some three
hours later, we pull into Amsterdam Central Station. A smooth very fast
trip. Who would ever wish to fly to Amsterdam when one can go quickly
and smoothly via Thalys TGV? Antonia and I exit and walk out into the
front of the Central Station. Glorious Amsterdam is beautiful in the morning
bright sunshine. We soon find a taxi and are rolling towards the Marriott
Hotel. We check into the hotel and go up to our room.
Jim Haynes and Antonia Hoogewerf in Amsterdam
We walk towards the Leidseplein and the American Hotel looms into view. So many memories connected to this hotel and its famous Café Americain. I suggest we go inside and make an inspection. Antonia is enchanted and we decide to stay for lunch. It is a place that I love.
In the 1970s, when I was in Amsterdam a lot, it was one of my meeting
places, especially when we were busy with the Wet Dream Film Festival.
It does not fail us. The food is delicious and the atmosphere divine.
Maybe Antonia and I should have stayed here. But the Mariott has been
OK too. I gossip with our waiter about Harry Mulisch, Cees Nooteboom,
Ramses Shaffy, Leisbeth List. And he points out the table that Harry Mulisch
sat at daily.
Tennessee Williams in Bangkok
by Eddie Woods, aftermathbooks
In my hotel room, I manage to contact Alexandra Buijsman and she will come to the hotel and join us. And she is soon with us. An extremely attractive young woman, she is a constant joy. Introduce her to Antonia and the three of us go out to find an Indonesian restaurant. Earlier in the afternoon, Antonia and I spotted one when we were strolling about, so we decide to check it out. It is a short walk from the hotel. And yes, it looks like it is what we need. We walk up a few steps and are greeted warmly. Yes, they have a table for us. And yes, it is superb. It is called Srikandi (Stadhouderskade 31) and it is a delightful restaurant in every way. Extremely full and contented we three walk to the Marriott. Say good night to Alexandra and arrange to meet her tomorrow night in the Concertgebouw just before the concert in the café.
Alexandra Buijsman and Jim,
photo Antonia Hoogewerf
Thursday, 31st: A great night's sleep. Quickly wash and dress and head downstairs for a hearty breakfast. Antonia will join me. The breakfast is a feast. Great coffee and pastry. Superb cheeses. One does eat well for breakfast. Antonia is soon with me and she agrees. It is in every way superb. And we are lucky again with the weather. Again warm and sunny.
we wander to the Concertgebouw and collect our tickets for tonight's concert.
We do and we do. Then we take a tram to the Spui where there is a wonderful
bookshop, the Anthenaeium, and a number of excellent cafés. Antonia
agrees with me that the Anthenaeium is a wonderful bookshop. We purchase
a few items. I buy a package of postcards made by Joost Swarte all describe
how reading is bad for you. He has a bizarre sense of humour. Cross over
to the Café Luxembourg and we have a light lunch. I tell Antonia
about my good friends, Jaco & Elisabeth Groot, and how Jaco is a constant
source of inspiration. That one Sunday morning many years ago, we three
were having coffee together in a Spui café (and it was in Hoppe
Café) and Jaco said out of the blue that he had the title for my
autobiography. I told him it was not yet written, but to give it to me
all the same. He said "Thanks for Coming!", I said thanks, I
will use it and years later I did. Jaco and Elisabeth are not in Amsterdam.
They are on a Greek island where they spend a great deal of time. Jaco
is the founder and Chief Editor of a successful publishing house, De Harmonie.
He publishes Bernhard Holtrop (Willem) and Peter van Straaten, two wonderful
cartoonists. He was the first person to buy foreign rights for J.K. Rowling's
books. Bernhard lives in Paris and has contributed drawings to many of
my book covers. Peter lives in Amsterdam. It would be fun if he passed
in the street while we are having lunch. (Alas he doesn't.)
Pack of twelve postcards
by Joost Swarte
Broadway Melodies, is wonderful. Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink
sing all my old favorites: Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin,
Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and all the others The Orchestre
Philharmonique Royal de Liege, under the direction of Faycal Barikosky
provides the musical support along with a small five-piece jazz group.
Afterwards there is a party upstairs where many people go to socialize
and to congratulate the two singers.
Isabelle Georges, Alexandra Buijsman,
Jim and Antonia Hoogewerf,
photo Ron Rutten
15th November 2014
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