Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 735

Edinburgh Festival 2015
10 August to 31st August 2015

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015

Monday, August 10th: Up early. Shave, shower, shampoo. Cereal and coffee. Finish packing. I will depart for the Gare du Nord at 10. Ece Ger will join me here at 9.45. Brian Theard cooked a Texas chili last night for 85 happy people. An Airbnb guest gets up. Molly Butcher is lovely. She departs in a day or two to Berlin I think. Stella Manukyan will watch the atelier and answer messages while I am in Edinburgh. Ece arrives and I call a taxi. Soon we are rolling quickly through the empty streets and we arrive with lots of time before the 12.40 Eurostar departs.
We go up the elevator, but the café that used to be there is no longer there. Go to check-in and ask Raphael Verdenand for wheel chair assistance. He is superb and says there will be someone in a few minutes. Soon I am on the train and rolling once again to London.
Natalia meets my train. I get wheelchair assistance in London and ask the fellow about David Jones. He was helping someone in the next carriage and I missed him by 30 seconds. Ask that my best wishes be passed to him. Natalia says that Ernie will meet us upstairs in Carluccio's restaurant. Up we go and there he is. Alas my lovely waitress, Kate, is not there. She has moved to another restaurant. After our lunch, Ernie and Natalia go with me to Kings X.

Ernie finds another wheel chair assistance person and Connor wheels me to the 3 o'clock Virgin train to Edinburgh. Smooth trip. Read all the way. Behind me I keep hearing French being spoken. When we arrive in Edinburgh, I speak briefly to the fellow in French. His name is Patrice. I give him my Chicago Tribune article about the Sunday dinners and tell him to come and dine when he is in Paris. It turns out he works in Waverley Station and he suddenly becomes concerned about my welfare. A fellow collects me and I am wheeled to a taxi.
Soon arrive at the Hotel du Vin and I am in my same room as last year. Sarah, from the ex-DDR, is at the reception desk and she is super lovely and welcoming. Victoria, from Hungary, is also there. But no Magda. She is on duty tomorrow.
Unpack. Call Sheila Colvin and John Calder and report I am in Edinburgh. Go across the street to Checkpoint and bump into Frederik Steenbrink. Then the lovely Isabelle Georges. Jérome Sarfati joins us. Spot Fiona and Bill Burdett-Coutts and go over to say hello. Bill has recently purchased this space and has greatly improved it. The restaurant has a superb menu. Then Bob Flynn walks in and joins us. Introductions all around. My waiter is Aaron and my waitress is Eleanor from Glasgow. Food appears and it is delicious. David Sloan walks in and we greet each other. Frederik suggests we go to a party in Market Street and I join him and the band. Isabelle also comes, but she and I decide it is not for us. Too loud and too crowded, so we decide to leave for our beds. We find a taxi and she drops me at the Hotel du Vin.

  Jim Haynes at the station, photo by Ernie Eban
Jim at the station, photo by Ernie Eban

Tuesday, 11th: Up early. Great night's sleep. Do medical chores and blood sugar level is OK. Go down for breakfast and the pretty blonde woman in the breakfast room is from Poland and her name is Justina.
After a wonderful breakfast, walk to the Assembly Press Room in George Square and see David Sloan. Chat with a few people in the press room. Taxi to Hanover Street and get a call from Roger Tellio. We agree to meet for coffee in Hanover Street. After I purchase my monthly bus & tram pass, I go outside to await Roger. He soon arrives and I suggest we take the tram to the Scottish Arts Club and have a lunch there. Roger is OK with this.

Oh Là Là, with Isabelle Georges
Oh Là Là, with Isabelle Georges


Upstairs in the club, we spot John Calder and Sheila Colvin and I introduce Roger. Hug the President of the Club, Nola Meikle. We go downstairs and dine with John & Sheila. Plus Peter and Patricia from Perth. After lunch, Sheila drives Roger and me to my hotel. Roger wanders off to see the two statues that honor me. In my hotel room, get a call from Martin Belk. Get a call from Stella in Paris. Martin assures me the French translation is OK. Nap briefly. Get up and perform the afternoon medical tasks. Battery seems to be dead, so go out to find a new one. No luck in Forrest Road. Walk to Middle Meadow Walk and still no luck anywhere.
As I am about to get into a taxi, Michael Coveney taps me on the shoulder. We chat briefly. He is off to London, but promises to call me when he is back in Edinburgh next week. Go to Boots in North Bridge and they have the battery I seek. Taxi back to the hotel. Magda Gorzelak is at the reception desk and we chat a bit. Go upstairs and discover the battery was not the problem. It is the tiny pins that are used to measure the blood. Fortunately I have another box that works. Blood sugar level is very high.
Rush across the street to see Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink in Oh, La La!. The Assembly staff lass, Hannah, is a delight. The show is divine. Go downstairs to sit in the café and to await Isabelle, Frederik and the band. See Bill Burdett-Coutts and his lovely wife, Fiona. The band fellows join me. It seems that Isabelle & Frederik have been invited to dine in the Hotel du Vin. I decide to have an early night. Up to my room and undress. Frederik calls and suggests I come down and join them. I consider it then decline. I need to rest. An early night for me.

Wednesday, 12th: Up at 7. Shave, shower, shampoo. The shower is as I remember it: fantastic! Go down for breakfast. Greet Sarah at the reception desk. Justina serves me coffee and porridge. And superb bacon. Read three newspapers. Back to my room. No sign of Nivvy. Text Ece. Try to call Gordon Duffy. Leave a message on his answering machine. Nivvy arrives! I managed to get her into a room in the Hotel du Vin as well. She is tired from her long flight from India, but she looks great. She is ready to explore Edinburgh.
We walk to George Square, pass the two statues and I think she is impressed. We continue to the Assembly press offices. Just as we enter, the Irish press lass, Leah Silverlock, comes out and gives me a VIP Press Pass and an Assembly Club Pass. We enter the Assembly offices and greet David Sloan. After I have introduced Nivvy to David, he asks someone to make a VIP Pass for her. How bloody nice.

Sharon Burgess, the Managing Director of the Assembly, talks to me about Morag Fullarton and her hit show, Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas. Nivvy talks to Heather Ruck, Head of Programming at the Assembly and gets a few tips. We thank everyone and head out for a quick snack. Nivvy wants to see Umrad – The Noble Courtesan at 12.10 in Assembly George Square Studio One. We make it and our festival has started. I have zero expectations, so I enjoy it. Nivvy is a bit disappointed.
We walk slowly toward the hotel and encounter the couple from San Francisco I always meet every festival. After the introductions, we chat a bit about the Festival. They tell me they are a bit disappointed in the Traverse programme this year.
Back at the hotel, Sarah gives me two messages. One is from Steven Gove and one is from Anna Landreth Strong of the V & A Museum in London. Anna wishes to arrange a time for a filmed interview. Meet Lucas from Poznan who is at the reception desk with Sarah. Call Steve Gove and he will come to the hotel. Call Anna and she will film an interview with me Friday morning. Steve arrives and I introduce him to Nivvy. Steve and I have a long visit together. Nivvy has a long conversation with a poet in London who wants her to travel to London for a few days.

  Jim with Morag Fullarton
Jim with Morag Fullarton

Martin Belk calls; he is in Edinburgh. I call Gordon Duffy and he will come tomorrow morning to the hotel to talk with me about my talk next week. Nivvy and I will go see Morag Fullarton's production in the Assembly on the Mound at 6.15 this evening. We make our way there and are warmly welcomed by Morag. She has reserved two seats for us. The show is wonderful. Morag is a genius. I co-produced her show, Casablanca – the Gin Joint Cut in Paris. Now I want to co-produce her new show. I hope to have both shows running next February off-Broadway. For the next ten years at least!
After we have congratulated Morag, Nivvy and I stroll up to George IV Bridge and elect to have a pizza in Pizzza Express. Back to the hotel. Nivvy is tired and decides to crash. I go out and encounter Kelly Fogarty. Kelly is super nice. She used to be the Assembly Press Director. Now she is living in London. We chat briefly. I leave her and walk to the Assembly Club Bar. Stay a while. Then back to the hotel and sleep.

Thursday, 13th: Up at 6.30. Blood sugar level is perfect. Hooray. Down for breakfast. Nivvy joins me. She calls London and will go down for three or four days next week. Gordon Duffy arrives. I give him a copy of my autobiography, Thanks for Coming! Encore! and suggest he lifts the images he needs for the talk and I will improvise without any problem. Back upstairs. Nivvy has two shows she wishes to see.
I head for the printing shop in St. Mary's Street to collect the leaflets that Martin has had printed. In the bus, the driver reports that my bus pass is not OK, that I should go to Hanover Street and have it checked. In Hanover Street, I am issued a new pass. Walk to Bank of Scotland and withdraw 500 pounds. I also am pleasantly surprised to learn that I have 2,000 pounds more than I thought.
Get a call from Martin Belk and we agree to meet in 20 minutes in Henderson's in Hanover Street. It is my suggestion. I always eat a few times there every Festival. Slowly make my way there. Purchase a huge salad. Both Martin and Varda Ducovny join me. And the place is as superb as ever.

Nina Simone, Soul Sessions by Apphia Campbell
Nina Simone, Soul Sessions by Apphia Campbell


After lunch, bus up the Mound to the Hotel du Vin. Nivvy joins me. We go to the Lawnmarket and I show her the location of the original Traverse. Then we go to the Official Festival Press office to see if we can get tickets for Antigone with Juliette Binoche. They promise to call us and let us know. Back to the hotel. Afternoon blood sugar is a bit high. But still OK.
We cross the street for a snack. William Burdett-Coutts has greatly improved Checkpoint. He has certainly done a lot for Edinburgh over the years. We get a sweet and attractive Eleanor for our waitress. She is from Glasgow. Nivvy and I go upstairs for Oh, La La! And again it is superb. I love Isabelle Georges.
I go back to the hotel and Nivvy elects to see the Nina Simone show at 20.50. We talk about going to see the John Lennon Show in Assembly on the Mound at 22.30, but in the end decide to have an early night. We are both tired bunnies.

Friday, 14th: Up again at 7 after a great night's sleep. My blood sugar level is low. We go down for breakfast. Porridge and coffee. Then back to the room to have a great shower and shampoo. Then shave. Get a call from Sheila Colvin. Then get another call. It is from the V & A film crew. They are downstairs. I state I will be down in a few minutes.
Meet again Geoff Marsh and Victoria Broaches. They tell me again that they plan to have an exhibition next September 2016 that will honour the 60s and that they expect a major contribution from me. After London, it will move to New York City, then Montreal, and then to San Francisco. It is a long filmed interview. It will be edited and used in the exhibition.
Later Nivvy and I head for the Traverse. See Bill Burdett-Coutts and we exchange waves. The Traverse press room gang are their usual wonderful selves. Cian O'Siochain passes tickets to two afternoon shows. We go downstairs for a bite to eat. Meet Dina Iordanova. She is Professor of Cinema in St Andrews University. She introduces us to Jorge from Pamplona. Jorge and I have a delicious soup. Dina has a mushroom dish and Nivvy has a Mexican dish.
Then it is time to see Swallow by Stef Smith. It is not my cup of tea and I slip out and have an ice cream. And scribble a few notes. Meet Emma and I am invited to a party on the 25th by the Scottish Society of Playwrights. See Judy Steele. Then Astrid Sillins. And her sister, Ingrid. Later we all go to see A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride. Both Judy Steele and I slip out after a bit and take a taxi to the Hotel du Vin. She drops me and continues to Summerhall.
Do my afternoon medical tasks. Then head for Charlotte Square. But I am 24 hours early for the opening party. It is tomorrow evening. Call Sheila Colvin and she suggests I come over to her apartment. And over I go. Always good to share time with John and Sheila. We elect to go to Lancer's Indian restaurant in Stockbridge. And we have a feast. Both John and I order dishes that are too spicy for us. But our meals are delicious all the same. Back to the Hotel du Vin afterwards for another early night.

  A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

Saturday, 15th: Slowly arise for breakfast. Blood sugar level is perfect this morning. Since we have not heard from the official Festival press office, Nivvy decides to go to the Hub and purchase a ticket. Bus to Princes Street and purchase a string for my glasses. Walk down Rose Street, pass where I once lived and continue to Charlotte Square.
Begin to see friends straight away. First, the General, Frances Sutton. Then Nick Barley, the Director of the Book Festival. Chat with Ruth Wishart. See Charlotte Gosling. Ask her if I can see her step-father doctor while I am in Edinburgh. Meet Hannah Wright, a new press lady. See Chris Close. Elect to attend a session that Allan Little is chairing at 12.30. 'Oil, Iraq, and a Land Carved Up' with historian Ian Rutledge. I might as well jump in right away. And I do like Allan Little. Of course, it is extremely interesting session and I learn a great deal.

Jim Haynes and Steve Gove, photo by Steve Gove
Jim and Steve Gove, photo by Steve Gove


Go back to the hotel. The International Festival's Press Office calls and they have two tickets for us to attend Antigone tonight. How nice of them. Steve Gove calls and we agree to meet in the Checkpoint Café in 15 minutes. Go out and Steve is soon there. Also see Fiona Burdett-Coutts. I ask her if she would like a ticket to Antigone tonight (because Nivvy bought one earlier). But no, she has something else to see. Steve decides to take it. We will meet at the King's Theatre at 18.45. Varda calls and I tell her we are going to Antigone and she says she would also like to attend. I tell her we will meet her at the theatre and that she may or may not be able to purchase a ticket.
Nivvy and I bus to Tollcross and walk towards the King's. We see a Mexican restaurant next to the Cameo Cinema and elect to have a quick bite of something. Just as we are eating a taco or something, Varda enters. She has also come for a snack. We go for hot chocolate in another place. Meet Steve Gove in front of the King's Theatre. We go inside and sit next to a family from Edinburgh. The husband is Scottish and the wife is from Stuttgart. Suddenly it is time to see the production. In the theatre, a woman taps me on the shoulder. She says she knows me. She lives in Ramsay Gardens. Both Nivvy and I are disappointed in the production.
I take Nivvy to the Book Festival opening party. See lots of old friends. Including Alan Little, Roza and David Petherick, Jenny Brown, Judy Moir, Keith Bruce, Bob Flynn and Ian Rankin. David Calvitto introduces me to someone; they are both in a play at the Traverse. As always, the Opening Book Festival Party is a blast.

Sunday, 16th: Up at 6 again and learn that Nivvy is up and out. Elect to stay in bed and finally get up at 7. Do my medical tasks and blood sugar level is good. Go down for breakfast and discover that Nivvy has just finished talking to India. We go for a breakfast feast. Later she goes to something.

I stroll down the Bridges. Stop for soup and have a lovely conversation with an attractive young woman. Go into a pub to pee. Order a glass of tap water with ice and no lemon and give the attractive bar maid a pound tip. Continue walking to Summerhall. Sit in the courtyard with Sarah Trevelyan and we talk and talk. A lot about her father, John Trevelyan and also about Samra Turajlic.
Go to a Heathcote Williams poetry event. He is not there but has arranged the poetry. Sit next to a woman whose name is Kate I think. She reports she once stayed in my atelier in Paris for thee days. Taxi to the Hotel du Vin. Then taxi to the Book Festival. Almost go to hear Ben Okri, but I am too late.
Attend a session at 19.00 with two novelists, Mary Costello and Han Kang from Korea. But the star of the session is Peggy Hughes. I love her.
Walk slowly up George Street. Judy and David Steele stroll pass me. They ask if I would like a ride, but I politely decline. Bus to Assembly on the Mound and see half of Jason Bryne's performance. Discover that Nivvy is also in the Bryne performance. We then see the John Lennon show, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion at 22.30. Show is OK. I knew John and always found him to be an extremely warm and nice fellow. We lost a major talent and a wonderful human being when he was tragically killed.
Meet Geoff Marsh and Victoria Broackes in the hallway afterwards and we discuss briefly the show. Geoff tells me about another Lennon show. Nivvy and I go to Assembly Checkpoint Café. Eleanor is our waitress again. She gets scrambled eggs for Nivvy.

  John Lennon, Through a Glass Onion

Monday, 17th: Up again fairly early. Blood sugar level is perfect. Go down for breakfast. Justina reports she is going to Poland tomorrow for her brother's wedding. Back to the room. Nivvy showers. Talk with Ernie Eban. Also with Mary Clemmey. And with Martin Belk. Nivvy goes out to see a production.
I bus and tram to the Bank of Scotland in St. Andrew's Square. Withdraw 600 pounds. Taxi to the Book Festival. Sit and gossip with Frances Sutton in the Press Yurt. Frances gets a call from Claudia Monteiro in Lisbon. She is there to purchase an apartment and returns to Edinburgh tomorrow evening and will come to my party in the Scottish Arts Club. Frances also says she will attend. And Peggy Hughes!
Hug Charlotte Gosling. Charlotte does not think there is a British Council Indian dinner this year. Damn. These dinners have always been sensational. See Chris Close's new book of photographs and he offers to give me a copy. No, I say I will purchase one. Have another delicious soup in the Writers' Yurt.

Jim Haynes and Angela Bartie
Jim and Angela Bartie


See Vincent Guérin, the Director of the French Institute and we chat briefly. Sit next to a woman from Mexico and Nick Barley introduces us. I mention my friend Hector Manjarrez. She has read him, but never met him. Nick gives me a book, Mexico in Words, that the Book Festival has published.
Later meet a woman named Henrietta Lidchi who is a senior curator at the National Museum in Chambers Street. She has written a book about jewellery from the American Southwest. We have an interesting conversation that roams all over the place. She introduces me to three people including her lovely mother. And she invites me to a party this evening.
Later I go to the Bookshop and have a hot chocolate and scribble a few notes. Call Frederik Steenbrink and we have a good catch-up talk. Call Morag Fullarton and get her answering machine.
Go to the Hotel du Vin. Talk with Jesper in Brooklyn. Mimi still has not arrived. Meet Angela Bartie and we cross the street to the Checkpoint Café. We have hot chocolate and we are celebrating our 12th anniversary. She treats.
In the evening, take Nivvy to a vegetarian restaurant, David Bann's, in St Mary's Street for a wonderful dinner.

Tuesday, 18th: Coffee with Mona Shea this morning is scheduled. Also the dinner party in the Scottish Arts Club is tonight. Get up. Shave, shower and shampoo. Test blood sugar levels and all OK. Go down for porridge and coffee.
Then we walk around to Forrest Road to put more money on our phones. Taxi to Ramsay Gardens. Mona welcomes us. Her sister, Ellen-Gree Stensen, who lives in Madrid is also in Edinburgh. We have a good meeting. But I greatly miss Mike Shea.

Taxi to the Book Festival. Frances gives me a ticket to the Mexican event at 12.30. Meet Christopher McLeHose who is also attending this session. Nick Barley introduces it. Sit with Sheila Colvin. Afterwards Christopher introduces me to a Vanessa. She is a friend of Clea Tammes. Still, later in the hotel, I find that Ingrid Kempston has left a gift for Mimi. Her first present! It is a soft toy.Taxi to a restaurant at 14.20. I encounter Faith Liddell and she tells me that she is stepping down from her position in the Festival. Back to Forrest Road and the hotel.
Martin Belk calls about tonight's book launch in the Scottish Arts Club. I promise to be there at 7 pm. And I am. Sit with Dierdre Nicholls and with Beverly Raeburn. Claudia Monteiro joins us. She tells me about her new apartment in Lisbon. See Clare Walters. Also the Glasgow lawyer, David Kaye and his lovely wife, Karen. Later Varda reads from her new book, Paris With Consequence. And she is a star.
I am introduced and a strange tale unfolds. It seems that someone moved recently into my old flat at 1 Doune Terrace and discovered a drawing of me that had been sealed behind a nailed shutter. It is a great drawing of me from the late 50s or early 60s. I tell Nola that the Club can have it.
I read a few short passages from To Fuller or Not. Then sit and sign copies of a number of my books. Later sit and talk with John Martin. He does not seem to have changed. Except he now lives in North Berwick. See Dr. George Nuki. Also Morag Fullarton. And Mike Wade. I introduce him to Shubhra Bhardwaj and they huddle together and talk a long time. (Later Mike writes a lovely profile of Shubhra in The Times.) Frederik, Isabelle and their musicians appear and suddenly we have music. The places is jumping. Another great party at the Scottish Arts Club.

  Jim reading from To Fuller or Not, photo by Roza Nazipova - SAC
Jim reading from To Fuller or Not, photo by Roza Nazipova - SAC

John Lennon in his Own Write in the VooDoo Rooms
director Jonathan Glew, Baldynoggin Productions


Wednesday, 19th: Nivvy up and out early to catch her bus to London. I go down for breakfast alone. Call Martin Belk and we discuss last night. I think it was a success. I certainly had fun. We agree to meet at Spoon at 12.30 to lunch.
Walk down Nicholson and purchase my ticket about prostitution tonight at 10 pm. Back to Spoon. Waitress is Sarah Breslin. She is half Swedish. Tell her my son is also half-Swedish. Martin's friend, Angi Lamb, is the first to arrive. Then Johnny Pryce and Martin Belk arrive. A delightful lunch.
Back to the hotel. Go to see John Lennon in his Own Write at 17.10 in the VooDoo Rooms at 19a West Register Street. This is the show that Geoff Marsh recommended. Talk with the actor who made the show. His name is Jonathan Glew. He gives me a copy of John Lennon's book, In His Own Write. Originally published by Jonathan Cape, this new edition published by Canongate.
Wander back to the hotel and rest a bit. Then I head for my 10 o'clock show about prostitution. I bus and walk to Zoo in Nicholson. There I am told the production will be in a private flat some distance away. I am given the address. Taxi there. We are about fifteen. The two actresses, Jenny Kondol and Sarah Xanthe, are scantily dressed and to all intent and purposes are 'real prostitutes'. We are talked to directly and asked if we have ever been to a brothel. Yes, I have been, in Venezuela when I was a teen-ager and where I learned to dance with the young prostitutes. We are taken into another room where one of the 'prostitutes' is bound and gagged. This is an attempt to show the life of sex workers in a sympathetic light.
Back to the hotel and a good night's sleep.

Thursday, 20th: Up and downstairs about 8.30. Blood sugar level this morning is excellent. Kaitlin, from Hungary, is my waitress this morning. She is super nice. Sign a copy of To Fuller or Not for Magda and leave it at the reception desk for her.
Bus to Queen Street. Try to hail a taxi. Roddy Martine passes and we have a quick chat and then a taxi arrives. I get to the Book Festival. Meet Alan Taylor and he introduces me to his daughter and grand-daughter.
Inside the Press Yurt, see Mike Wade. He says he has written something in today's The Times about me. He also says he greatly enjoyed reading two books of mine, Thanks for Coming! Encore! and Everything Is!. Two unsolicited compliments. Always nice. Give him a copy of To Fuller or Not and tell him that I hope he likes this one as well.
Greet Charlotte Gosling and she gives me a ticket for the 12.30 talk, Peter Pomerantsev's 'Adventures in Modern Russia'. He has written a book with a great title: Nothing is True and Everything is Possible.
On my way to the Garden Theatre, I meet Murray Grigor and his beautiful daughter, Phoebe, and his grand-daughter. We have a brief conversation. Continue walking and encounter Roza. Join her. Peter Pomerantsev's talk is OK About Putin's Russia. And to think I dined with Putin in the 90s when he was the mayor of St Petersburg assistant.
Have a bowl of soup afterwards in the Writers' Yurt. Leave a copy of To Fuller or Not with Charlotte Gosling. She gives me her step-father's telephone numbers. Taxi back to the Hotel du Vin. And rest a bit.
Martin has left books for me in the hotel room. Call Ernie Eban and he will come up to Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon and go back to London when I travel South. Call Martin Belk and thank him. He has done an excellent job with three of my books.
Stephanie Wolfe Murray calls me. She has fallen and hurt her foot. Nevertheless she will come into Edinburgh tomorrow to see me. What an angel! Astrid Silins calls and asks what am I doing. I tell her about my talk in Gayfield Square and she says she will meet me there and we can dine afterwards. Test blood sugar levels and it is good. Give myself an insulin injection.
Call Steve Gove and he reports that he will come into Edinburgh on Monday. Time to head for Gayfield Square. Find a taxi outside and we zoom down Leith Walk and soon there. There are a number of speakers before me including Ricky Demarco. Astrid and I sit together. Also present are Lemma and Nick Groves-Rains.
After my talk, they suggest to Astrid and me that we go to their place for a light snack. We readily agree. Their home is the oldest in Leith, and they have done a fantastic job of restoring it. They have added a new building and a garden. We have a wonderful evening. Afterwards, Nick & Lemma drive me back to my hotel. What angels!

Friday, 21st: Stephanie Wolfe Murray is supposed to come into Edinburgh this morning. Shave, shower and shampoo. Test blood sugar level and it's good.
Go down for breakfast. Claudia Monteiro is supposed to join me, but she does not. Again porridge, bacon and coffee. Read The Guardian, The Scotsman, and other papers. Back to my room.
Call Martin Belk Go downstairs to wait for Stephanie Wolfe Murray. She arrives with her youngest son, Moona and her grand daughter, Kira. We order hot chocolate. Moona and Kira go to see a show and Stephanie and I go inside and have a long talk.
Later we go upstairs and lie on my bed and nap. Ernie calls. He has a place to stay in Leith. Charlotte's step father, Dr. George Nuki, arrives. He examines Stephanie's foot. It seems to be OK. She departs and George and I have a long talk about gout.
Later I try to call Dr. Denver's secretary at the Royal Infirmary, but she is away. Decide to see Liberation in Zoo Southside. Walk there and it has ended its run. Walk to the Japanese restaurant, Bonsai, and have a delicious meal. I remember I had a superb meal there last year as well.
Decide to see To Kill a Machine about Alan Turing's life at 8.55. Written by Catrin Fflur, directed by Angharad Lee, it is an excellent production.
Taxi back to the Hotel du Vin and an early night.

  To Kill a Machine, by Cathrin Fflur
To Kill a Machine, by Cathrin Fflur

The New Threat, by Jason Burke
The New Threat, by Jason Burke


Saturday, 22nd: It's the Herald newspaper breakfast this morning. And once again I miss it. Damn. I always enjoy these encounters. Have my usual breakfast in the hotel, then make my way slowly to Charlotte Square and the Book Festival.
Elect to attend the 14.00 session, 'The New Landscape of Islamic Militancy' with Jason Burke. His new book, The New Threat, is a lucid explanation of ISIS and Boko Haram, their ideologies and methods. My friend, Ruth Wishart, is chairing. She is always a delight.
Hot chocolate afterwards. Cross paths with Roza Pethrick when I leave Charlotte Square. Bus to Hotel du Vin.
I have two messages. One from Penny and John Morrison. They are in Edinburgh. The second message is the one I have been waiting for. It is from Jesper, my son. Mimi has arrived! I am a grand-papa. Hooray!
Rest a while in the hotel, then go again to Charlotte Square. Meet Jesse Jackson. Talk a while with one of his assistants, William Hall. He is from Chicago. Give William two of my books, To Fuller or Not and Everything Is!, and ask him to pass them on to Jesse Jackson. He promises to do so.
Get a ticket from Charlotte Gosling for Jesse's talk in the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre. Sit behind Catherine Lockerbie and next to a Dublin journalist. Jesse's talk is full of fire and passion. And Ruth Wishart does another excellent job in the chair.
Go afterwards to the bookshop because I think I left my cap there when I had hot chocolate earlier. And it is there. I have not lost it. Encounter David Black and he introduces me to an attractive woman whose name I do not remember.
It begins to rain. One of the few times this Festival. I ask Susana in the Writers' Yurt to call me a taxi and she does. She is from Hungary. I tell her I edited a guide book to Hungary. Taxi to the hotel. Call Jesper and he tells me about the birth. Takae is OK and Mimi is a 100% delight.

Sunday, 23rd: Usual activities in the hotel. Breakfast and medical chores. I have a 2 pm meeting in the Book Festival with Penny and John Morrison.
Taxi to Charlotte Square. Go to the 14.00 session, 'From Bonaparte to Charlie Hebdo' with Jonathan Fenby. Sit with John and Penny. Ian Mackenzie and his wife, Junko, also attend. Afterwards we sit outside the signing tent and talk and talk in the afternoon sunshine.
Ernie Eban arrives in Edinburgh this afternoon. Get a call from him. He has checked into 84 Great King Street and I tell him to come up to the Book Festival. He does.
Then I spot Abdel Bari Atwan who I see almost every Festival. We usually dine and see a few shows together. His talk is this evening, 'How Islamic State Conquered Cyberspace' at 19.15. His new book is entitled Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. I score two tickets for Ernie and myself. It is as expected a delightful talk in spite of the horrors involved.
Earlier I called Astrid Silins and said I would be late for her dinner party and that I would be coming with Bari and Ernie. We call a taxi and speed off towards Leith, stopping on the way to purchase wine.
We are eight for dinner: Astrid, her sister, Ingrid, Robin Paine, Bari, Ernie, Peter, Vanessa Prosser and yours truly. A fabulous meal and delightful conversation.
Drop Ernie in Great King Street and Bari in his hotel and finally arrive in the Hotel du Vin. Just as I am getting my key, I realize that Christopher MeLeHose is checking into the hotel. It was my suggestion that he try to get a room in the Hotel du Vin and he has succeeded. We agree to meet for breakfast in the morning.

  Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, by Abdel Bari Atwan
Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, by Abdel Bari Atwan

Monday, 24th: Breakfast with Christopher at 8.30. He and I once shared an apartment in Edinburgh in the early 60s. We paid 7 pounds a month, three pounds ten shillings each. And central heating included. A great place at the West end of Queen Street, very near Charlotte Square.
Christopher has published Timur Vermes' Look Who's Back. The book has Hitler returning to life in modern Berlin. It has sold 100,000 copies in Britain, but only 10,000 in the USA.
Back to my room. Roza calls regarding tomorrow's dinner. Taxi to the New Town Theatre in George Street and leave a message for Shubhra Bhardaj. Tell her she is invited to dinner this evening and that we will be five persons to attend her production, Ticket to Bollywood, after our dinner.

Ticket To Bollywood, by Subhra Bhardwaj
Ticket To Bollywood, by Subhra Bhardwaj


Continue to walk to the Book Festival. Greet Anna Danielewicz. She and Tessa Findlay always have a smile for me. Get a ticket for the 14.15 session, 'Is Arts Journalism in Crisis?' with Mark Fisher & Joyce McMillan. Encounter Veronica and Magnus Linklater outside the Signing Tent and they introduce me to an American playwright who is up for a James Tate prize. Christopher McLeHose arrives. Carol Tambor and her husband, Dan, join our table. Introduce them to Christopher. Go for a pee and see Ernie Eban.
Attend the 14.15 session chaired by Jackie McGlone. Greet Joyce, Mark, and Jackie afterwards in the bookshop. Taxi to the hotel with Christopher and drop him in George IV Bridge. He has a train to London to catch.
Chat with Sarah at the Hotel du Vin reception desk. I have a message from Steve Gove. Call Claudia Montiero regarding the dinner and theatre tonight. Call Steve Gove. Test my blood sugar level and give myself an insulin injection.
Go to the Scottish Arts Club for William Prosser's Memorial party and am 24 hours early. Head for George Street Bar and Restaurant and I am the first to arrive. The others slowly drift by. We are six for dinner: Bari Atwan, Ernie Eban, Claudia Monteiro, Clare Stewart, Shubhra Bhardwaj and me. Dinner is superb. We all start with haggis and it is delicious. Cannot remember what I had next, but I remember that I greatly enjoyed it. Bari insists upon treating us all.
We head up George Street afterwards and Shubhra has arranged tickets for all. The show is full of positive energy and is a delight to the eyes and ears as sounds and colors leap out at us for an hour. When it is over we all congratulate Shubhra. She insists we all come and stay with her in India.
We find a taxi and Ernie and I are dropped. Bari continues to his hotel and another wonderful night in Edinburgh has ended.

Tuesday, 25th: Tonight Ernie and I will dine with Roza and David. The usual crazy morning. A superb breakfast in the hotel: porridge, coffee, bacon. Do not remember where I had lunch.
Go to the New Town Theatre with Ernie to see, at Sheila Colvin's recommendation, Nic Young's The Trials of Galileo with Tim Hardy playing the role of Galileo. It is an amazing performance. We go into the theatre at 5 pm and exit an hour later.
We encounter Varda Ducovny in the theatre café afterwards and sit a while with her. Then I head for the Scottish Arts Club and the Memorial party for William Prosser. I was 24 hours early yesterday. Now I am a few minutes late.
See lots of people I know including William's son, David. And Vanessa Prosser, John Calder and Sheila Colvin. A delightful party that I am sure William would have enjoyed as well.
Ernie arrives and we exit as quietly as possible. We have a dinner date. We take the 45 bus to Blackhall Post Office and walk the short distance to Roza and David's home. Up the stairs and we are the last guests to arrive. Others include Kirstin Innis and her fella, Alan Bissett and David's sister, Hazel and her fella, the photographer Victor Albrow. David has prepared a feast and we all have second helpings. Kirstin has published a novel entitled Fishnet; it deals with the world of sex workers. She was at the Book Festival on Saturday the 15th and I missed her reading. Damn.
Victor has taken a large photograph of me that Roza has promised to bring to me in Paris the next time she comes. Roza and David's beautiful daughter, Angelika, visits us briefly and she continues to be more and more beautiful. Watch out, lads! And Alan & Kirstin have to catch a train to Glasgow, so a taxi is called and we share the taxi back to the city center, drop them at the Haymarket Station and continue to Great King Street and up the hill to the Hotel du Vin.

  The Trials of Galileo, byTim Hardy, written by Nic Young
The Trials of Galileo, byTim Hardy, written by Nic Young

Cat Loud's Big Night In
Cat Loud's Big Night In, by Catriona MacLeod, musical accompaniment by Finn Anderson


Wednesday, 26th: Go down for breakfast at 8. Justina is back from Poland! Talk with Gavin Mitchell; he will come to Edinburgh tomorrow and we will spend some time together. Talk with Morag Fullarton and she will have a ticket for me for tomorrow night. Call Gordon Duffy and leave a message on his answering machine that I am not free to dine. Call Nivvy. She is on the bus to Edinburgh and will arrive this evening. Hooray!
Call Ernie and we agree to meet at the Scottish Arts Club for lunch. We have a delightful lunch and share a table with about eight people that includes old friend, Gabor Ronay and John Calder. Then we slip out and taxi to Moriaty's Pub (161 Lothian Road) to catch a free fringe production entitled Cat Loud's Big Night In with musical accompaniment by Finn Anderson. It's a fun show as Cat sings a number of lovely songs. I think that Steve Gove would like this production for his Prague Fringe Festival. Later tell him. Also recommend the Galileo production.
Back to the Hotel du Vin to rest a bit. Then bus to Charlotte Square. See Lee Randall and we have a catch-up talk. She will be chairing the Greg Proops session at 17.45. See Greg and Jennifer. Tell them that I am looking forward to his session, that I greatly enjoyed his book, The Smartest Book in the World. Get two tickets from Charlotte Gosling for Greg's event. Chat briefly with Esme, who used to be a press person, and to Amanda, who is an Events person.

Meet Connie Bailay and we go for hot chocolate in the Signing Tent. She introduces me to Marta, who is a photographer and to her son, Pedro. Marta takes several photographs of me. Connie has a Salon in Edinburgh much like mine in Paris (and apparently inspired by mine.)
Then it is time for Greg's event. Ernie joins me. It is superb. Maybe because we agree on everything. And he is extremely funny when he delivers his arguments. Dinner with Nivvy and Ernie in the Indian restaurant in Forrest Road. Delicious as always. Paul Lucas comes over to say hello and I introduce him to Nivvy and Ernie. He has a show here at the Pleasance entitled Trans Scripts.

Thursday, 27th: Shower, shave and shampoo. Breakfast downstairs with Nivvy. Meet Sean Biggerstaff and Gaia Weiss who are are also in the hotel and having breakfast. They report they once dined on a Sunday night in Paris in my atelier. Introduce them to Nivvy. Sean has been filming Whiskey Galore.
I tell him I once owned a flat at 4 Great King Street that looked across Drummond Place to Sir Compton McKenzie's home. And that I foolishly sold it to a doctor friend, Ben Lassers, when I left Edinburgh in the 60s. The flat is probably worth over a million pounds today.
Go to the Book Festival and attend my last event, Åsne Seierstad's 'Study of a Norwegian Mass Murder', based on her new book, One of Us. It is her study of Anders Breivik's murder of 77 people. Allan Little chairs this session.
I meet Gavin Mitchell afterwards. He, Ernie and I walk down to Queen Street Gardens for a party that Ruth Holloway has invited me to. But neither Ruth, nor her daughter Grace, nor the hostess of the party, Dixi, are present. So after a while we depart.
We find a taxi and head for the Assembly on the Mound. Gavin and I have tickets for Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas. We try to squeeze Ernie aboard, but it is completely sold out. It receives a standing ovation. I suspect it will be a big success off-Broadway. Gavin & I congratulate Morag.
Then I return to the hotel. Suggest to Nivvy that we dine in Bonsai, the Japanese restaurant I love. And she says OK. And we have a fabulous meal. Now she loves the place as much as I do. We return to the hotel for an early night.

  Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas, by writer and director Morag Fullarto
Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas, by writer and director Morag Fullarto

Jim and Ernie Eban at Waverley station, photo by Steve Gove
Jim and Ernie Eban at Waverley station, photo by Steve Gove


Friday, 28th: Our last wonderful breakfast in the Hotel du Vin. Nivvy and I have finished packing. We call Ernie and tell him we will get a taxi and come down to Great King Street. Lucas helps take our bags downstairs. We say our goodbyes to the wonderful Hotel du Vin.
I plan to be back there again next August for my 60th Edinburgh Festival. (A dear friend died recently. Felix Dennis, who I first met when he was a street-seller in London of a newspaper I co-founded called I.T.. We remained friends over the years and he became one of the richest men in Britain. He planted over 1,000,000 trees near his home in Stratford-upon-Avon. He also evolved into a fine poet. And he left 10,000 pounds in his will for me “to have dinner on him”. That is what I call class. A good friend and a fine human being.)
Deliver Nivvy to Great King Street. She flies early Sunday morning to Bombay and starts rehearsals straight away on her new play. Collect Ernie and Steve Gove and we head up to Waverley. There I am wheeled to the first class lounge to await the 12 Noon train to London's Kings X.

Another Festival. There are many shows I wanted to see that I just did not find the time for. Another old friend, Simon McBurney, had one of the hits of the Festival with his one-man show, The Encounter.
My favorite comedian from last year, Sara Pascoe, did not perform in this year's Festival. But another woman, Viv Groskop, had an excellent quote on her leaflet from Sara. (“Fresh and exciting”) I wanted to see her show and somehow managed to miss it. I wanted to see Sophie Walker's one-woman show. (Later in Paris I learn from Martin Walker that he was in Edinburgh and that he saw Sophie's production. I must invite Sophie to perform it here in my atelier.) Also Katsura Sunshine, I also failed to see his performance. Please come to Paris and we will produce it here in my atelier.
With more than 3,000 productions daily plus hundreds of friends, there is just not enough hours in a day to see all one wants to see. And then there is the Book Festival. So many writers I failed to hear. And I did not see more productions in the dear old Traverse. And Summerhall...

Ernie and I have a smooth trip to London. Then in the evening we have an intimate Indian take-away dinner for seven: Dorota & Tim Chrisp, John Dunbar, Sylvia Libedinsky, Natasha Morgan, Ernie and yours truly.

Saturday, 29th: Coffee with Ernie very early We listen to the great Elaine Stritch CD. I love the Stephen Sondheim song, I'm Still Here. We taxi to St-Pancras and I am wheeled through passport control and up to the 10.01 Eurostar to Paris.

Another Festival. Next year is my 60th. I will certainly do my best to be there, to stay once again in the Hotel du Vin, to have another book launch at the Scottish Arts Club. I hope and I think it will be The Night I Dined with Vladimir Putin and other stories. There is probably another trip this month to the San Sebastian Film Festival. And there is the strong possibility that I will co-produce two Morag Fullarton shows off-Broadway next February. And then there are baby-sitting duties that await me. Jesper and Takae are coming to Paris in late October or early November with their new daughter, Ina Klara. But she will always be “my Mimi”.

Ina Klara Haynes, picture by Jesper Haynes
Ina Klara Haynes
picture by Jesper Haynes
Jim Haynes
September 2015

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




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