|My Life (Chapter 2014)
In spite of everything and because of everything, I made it through another
year in this soap-opera called "LIFE". And it has been another
year of wild rides and adventures, thrills, love, fun and lots of giggles.
The first trip in January was to San Sebastian. Only a six-hour TGV train
ride from Paris. An Edinburgh-friend, Bob Flynn, has been talking to me
about this city for years and I finally made the trip. And I must confess,
Bob is 100% correct. A great city full of delightful people, including
Jone Karres and David Bumstead, to name but two.
I attended in Paris the celebration of the publication Henry Miller's
Tropic of Cancer. It was published in Paris eighty years ago. Henry
lived at that time just up the street from where I now live. The Henry
Miller Library in Big Sur, California co-produced this event in association
with Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co. There was a wonderful dinner
at Chez Jenny in which I gave a brief talk (along with John Calder, Mary
Duncan and others) and I managed to sell a number of copies of my book,
Then in April, I co-produced Morag Fullarton's lovingly disrespectful
homage to the classic film, Casablanca, in the oldest theatre in
Paris, the Déjazet in Place République. This production
of Casablanca - the Gin Joint Cut was loved by all who managed
to see it. I saw every performance and if Gavin Mitchell, the actor who
played the Bogart role, ever needed a stand-in, I think I could have done
it. But I think no one, not even Bogart himself, could have done it better
than Gavin. With luck, we will produce it in New York City off-Broadway
in 2015. Stay tuned!
In April, Jack Henry
Moore, a dear old friend, died in a Paris hospital. On June the 22nd,
another friend, Felix Dennis, died. Always sad when friends leave life.
There was a quick trip to Amsterdam with Antonia Hoogewerf to see Broadway
Melodies with Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink. They were
backed by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège and their
own five piece jazz ensemble. Needless to say, it was a fabulous event.
I also managed to see Alexandre Buijsman, Bill Levy & Susan Janssen
and Eddie Woods. And to meet Jane Harvey.
The lovely Kristi McIntosh, my flat-mate for almost three years, departed
for California. She is much missed. The greatest salad-maker in the world!
But another California beauty, Stella Belly, is on her way here. I hope
she stays for three years (at least).
Then August, as usual, in the glorious city of Edinburgh to attend another
Edinburgh Festival. Instead of staying with old friends Martin Burke and
Ruth Holloway in their Great King Street home, I decided to stay in the
Hotel du Vin. A real treat! (See Newsletter No. 728 for details.) I saw
dozens of old friends and met many new ones. Old friend Ennio Marchetto
was one of my favorite performers. Maybe I saw his show four times and
every time a major source of joy. I also managed to catch Sarah Pascoe
who I also greatly enjoyed.
While I was in Edinburgh, my atelier was completely re-painted. Now it
could really be featured in House Beautiful.
In September I made my second trip to San Sebastian to attend the San
Sebastian Film Festival. It was great and a great deal of fun. I plan
to be there every September from now on. Thank you, Jose-Luis Rebordinos,
Director, San Sebastian Film Festival!
Health in 2014 managed to be OK thanks to the great care one gets
in France. My GP, Frank Slattery, my two nurses Barbara Engrand and Estelle
Pilade, my heart doctor, Claude Zeitoun, my doctor for diabetes, Pauline
Faucher, my doctor for kidneys Claire Tinel, and my doctor for eyes, Dominique
Monnet all looked after me with great care. Every country should
have this great French medical care system!
Again the Sunday dinners here every Sunday evening except for three in
August when I am in Edinburgh. But once again I hosted a dinner in the
Scottish Arts Club to celebrate the launch of two new editions. Thanks
to Martin Belk, Thanks for
Coming! Encore! and Everything
Is! are now available in two superb editions. (No home should
be without them.)
Lots of visitors here in 2014. Among the many were Martin Walker, Steve
Gove, Susie Parker, Steven Ullman, Martin Belk, Johnny Pryce, Natalia
Shkola, Alexandra Buijsman, Ernie Eban, Stella Belly, Nivvy Randhawa,
Masha Monbelli, John O'Mahoney and my wonderful son, Jesper and his wonderful
wife, Takae. I have joined Airbnb, (thanks to Martin Belk and Grace Teshima),
so expect many more visitors in 2015.
On the 10th of November, we celebrated my 81st birthday. It was a much
more modest affair than the two-day celebration in 2013, my 80th. But
super fun nevertheless. Still I will never forget the birthday some years
ago when there was a knock on my door and when I answered, I discovered
an extremely attractive young woman I had never seen before. She announced:
"I am your birthday present. Do you want me now or later?" I
said now. And up we went to my room where I enjoyed every minute. I hope
she did as well.
All in all, 2014 was an action-packed year. 2015 promises to be the same
or better. Plans include a trip to New York City to attend the première
of Casablanca- the Gin Joint Cut. Of course Edinburgh Festival
and San Sebastian Film Festival again. I also hope to travel to Prague
to attend Steve Gove's Fringe
Theatre Festival the end of May. And there are always a few surprises.
Jesper and Takae might have one for me.