Jim Haynes newsletters
Newsletter No. 739
Edinburgh Festival 2016
Monday, August 8th: Today begins with a visit
from one of my two lovely nurses. Barbara Engrand comes to check on my
blood sugar level and to give me an insulin injection. I am warned about
being too much out of control in Edinburgh and I promise to be a good
Tuesday, 9th: Up early for my medical chores. Then further packing. We call an Uber to take us to the Gare du Nord. And we five are soon in our reserved places in the Eurostar and on our way to London. Smooth trip. Gigi de la Torre films our departure and shoots various scenes in the train. The wonderful actress, Rossy de Palma, sits a few seats from us. Both Marta and I invite her to dine one of these Sundays and she promises to do so. She even allows Gigi to shoot a scene with her for our film, Meeting Jim. When we arrive at the St Pancras station, I do not have Natalia Shkola to greet us. She is in Russia. Ece, Gigi, Marta and Oguzhan pile into one taxi and head North to Tamara Alferoff's home. I head for Ernie Eban's place. In the evening we have our usual Indian take-away dinner from Khans. We are about 19 people: Elisa Bailey from the V & A, Jewel Rubi also from the V & A, Jonathan Nunn who is Cynthia Payne's grandson, Ece Ger, Marta Moslw, Oguzhan Akalin, Gigi de la Torre, Joan Bakewell, Dorota & Tim & Joe Chrisp, Sylvia Libedinsky, Mary Clemmey, Victoria Mur, Alex & Anna Kan, Lindsay Bareham, Ernie Eban and yours truly. A wonderful evening.
Wednesday, 10th: Up at 8.30 and perform my medical
tasks. Dress and pack. Ernie makes an excellent cup of coffee for me and
serves me a cereal. At 9.30 the film crew arrives in an Uber and we depart
in the morning sunshine for the Kings X Station and Edinburgh. Sit as
usual in the Pret a Porter while Marta goes to get wheel chair assistance.
Share a table with an Edinburgh University student named Ollie. Dan comes
to collect me and he wheels me to the platform for the 11 o'clock train.
Lunch is served almost immediately. I have chicken curry and for train-fare,
it is pretty good. A pleasant trip. Marta is so happy that she does not
want the train trip to end. She wants it to last ten hours or more. Ece,
Gigi and Oguzhan enjoy the passing countryside as it flows past us. At
some point I chat with a family from Geneva who have two lads about ten
years old. They all speak excellent English and talk lovingly of their
time in London. We arrive about 3 pm. I am met by Craig who is supper
nice. He suggests he orders a large taxi for us. We agree. I am the first
to be dropped at the Hotel du Vin. The leaflet that Martin Belk emailed
to the hotel is collected by Ece and they head off to the Napier University
Thursday, 11th:Shower, shave and shampoo. The
shower is as I remember it: fantastic! Blood sugar level is low. Go downstairs
for a breakfast feast. Ece and Marta call and the film crew will come
to the hotel and we will lunch across the street at Check Point. Dina
Iordanova calls and says she has two tickets for a ballet on Sunday and
would I like to go with her. Yes! Taxi to Marks & Spencer and change
some Euros for pounds sterling. Then purchase a bus pass. Next a new mobile
phone. Ece and the film crew call and they will come to the hotel and
we will dine at Check Point.
Penny Arcade, Longing lasts longer
Friday, 12th: Lovely night's sleep. Up at 8.30.
Perform medical tasks. Blood sugar level is again low. Quickly dress and
go down for a breakfast feast. Fresh fruit, porridge, bacon, and coffee.
Call John Calder and Sheila Colvin and agree with John to meet them at
the Scottish Arts Club for lunch. Call Astrid Silins and she will join
us. Call Mona Shea and agree to go to her home on Thursday for coffee
at 10.30. Call Angela Bartie and get her answering machine. Leave a message.
Then tram back to Princes Street and the 41 bus up the
Mound. I think it will stop at Bristo Place, but it doesn't. I suggest
we walk to George Square and stop to see my two statues. Continue to Bill
Burdett-Coutts offices in George Square. He is not present. His staff
welcomes me. Someone presents me with a Friend of the Assembly pass. So
kind of Bill. We walk to Check Point and have hot chocolate. Then I cross
to the hotel for a siesta.
Saturday, 13th: The usual activities in the hotel. In today's Scotsman, there is a loving obituary written about Marianne Ihlen, the Norwegian beauty, who inspired Leonard Cohen to write his classic song, So Long Marianne. She died the 29th of July in Oslo.
Christine Boville, Piaf
Leonard and I became friends in London in the mid-60s.
We even contemplated starting a paperback publishing house. But it was
all talk. In 1968 I organized The Alchemical Wedding in London's
Royal Albert Hall and Leonard Cohen was supposed to come and perform.
He did not make it and I was consequently banned from the Royal Albert
Hall. (John & Yoko did attend and perform.) Head out to the Book Festival.
Taxi to Charlotte Square. See straight away Charlotte Gosling, Frances
Sutton and Hannah Wright in the Press Yurt. See Nick Barley next. He is
the Director of the Book Festival and is always super nice. We exchange
warm hugs. See Amanda Barry. Am introduced to the new Press Assistant,
Anabel Barrero-Eliche. She is from the South of Spain. See Colin Fraser.
Marta comes to the Book Festival and I introduce her to Anabel. Greet
Roland Gulliver and he introduces me to his lovely daughter. Chris Close
takes a photograph of me with Peggy Hughes. (I adore Peggy Hughes.)
Walk to the Press Yurt. See Anabel, Hannah, and Charlotte. Chat with Viviene Devlin. Chat with Chris Close and tell him the photograph he took of Peggy Hughes and yours truly is delightful. The film crew arrives. The Book Festival opening party starts in an hour or so. We walk over to the Spiegeltent and I sit outside with Roza. Various friends pass and sit briefly with me: Claudia Monteiro, Ian Mackenzie, Stephanie Wolfe Murray, Amanda Berry, Faith Liddell, Ian Rankin. I tell Ian Rankin that this is my 60th Festival. He tells me he was born 4 years later. Stephanie tells me that she is going home and asks if I wished to be dropped at my hotel. Yes, why not. Another great Book Festival begins.
Sunday, 14th: Get up at 9 and discover blood
sugar level is dangerously low. Strange. Go down for my usual breakfast
feast. This morning red berries, porridge, ham and coffee. One waiter,
Craig, is from Northern Ireland; another Vicki, is from Melbourne. I tell
her about my trip to Melbourne. Also there is a sweet young woman from
Hungary. Gossip afterwards with Lukasz and tell him that Antonia is expected
today and to welcome her and let her have the key to my room.
London.Paris.Roam!, by Sarah Tullamore. Music & lyrics by James Burn, piano John Florencio
Late dinner at Mother India with Antonia Hoogewerf, Dina, and Chang-Chih. We have a delicious dinner. And fall in love with the restaurant. Dina buys a book about the restaurant.
Monday, 15th: Again blood sugar level is low.
Have a big breakfast with Antonia. We leave the hotel early for Charlotte
Square in order not to miss Alaa Al Aswany. We are both big fans. And
when we enter, spot him immediately. He is sitting in the garden with
Faith Liddell. I do not wish to disturb them, but we wander out and say
hello all the same. He greets us warmly. We say we are looking forward
to his session. And he is terrific. Faith Liddell chairs the session perfectly.
We sit in the Spiegeltent behind Miranda Harvey, Ian Rankin's wife. I
introduce Antonia to Miranda and the two chat away. Somehow or other,
I tell Miranda that Antonia leads walking tours around Europe. Miranda
expresses an interest. (Later she tells Antonia that she has contacted
her company, The Wayfarers, and booked a walking trip in Corsica.) Alaa
Al Aswany gives one hope for Egypt.
Cole, by Michael Griffith
End up talking with a sweet young couple from Finland. She is a social worker and he is an actor. Continue to the hotel and lie in bed and watch the Rio Olympics. Later Antonia and I dine in the Hotel du Vin.
Tuesday, 16th: Sugar level this morning again
a bit low. Get up and shower, shave and shampoo. Go down for porridge
and bacon. And coffee. Antonia and I rush to Summerhall to see Nancy's
Philosopher. It is about her relationship with David Hume and caused
a big scandal in Edinburgh in the late 18th century. David Black has written
it and it is directed by Andrew Dallmeyer. Afterwards we go to the cafe
for hot chocolate. David Black comes over and thanks us for coming. The
actress, Kelly Burke, also comes over to thank us. I tell her I saw her
in 2006 playing Zelda Fitzgerald in the Fringe.
Nancy's Philosopher, starring Kelly Burke, writer David Balck, director Andrew Dallmeyer.
Sit afterwards outside the signing theatre with Elisabeth Fairbairn. Roza joins us. Dinner later in George Street with Antonia Hoogewerf. David and Roza join us. See David Calvito and Guy Masterton. And the film crew.
Wednesday, 17th: Up at 7. Go back to bed for
another 30 minutes. At 8, do my medical chores. Level is OK this morning.
The reception desk calls to say that Claudia Monteiro is downstairs. Ask
that she be told I will be down in a few minutes. Quickly dress and am
with Claudia fairly quickly. She is sitting at one of the window tables
and I join her. We have a catch-up talk. She has to rush away to her office
nearby. One minute later Antonia appears. Today's Scotsman has
an article that Alexander McCall Smith has purchased a 50-seat theatre
in South Africa. Good for him. What a superb fellow he is. Back to the
room and scribble a few postcards. Get a call from Paris. All well in
the atelier. Bar Zalel is there with his mum and sister. (Bar has recently
married in New York City a lovely woman he met here in the atelier, Alex
See Catherine Lockerbie and we discuss John Calder and
Sheila Colvin. I am pleased to report that Catherine looks great. She
seems to be in top form.
Denver, Jim and Susie
Thursday, 18th: A busy morning ahead. I have
a coffee date with Mona Shea and a lunch with the President of Napier
University, Andrea Nolan. Nevertheless go down for a quick breakfast after
my medical chores. Then back to the room and quickly out the door and
find a taxi to Ramsay Gardens. As always, it is great to share Edinburgh
with Mona. Her sister, Ellen, also present. She departs soon for her home
in Madrid. She asks me to do some detective work for her in Paris. It
seems that she and Mona may have a family connection in Paris with the
family name Grec.
Friday, 19th: Wake at 7. Decide to sleep for
another hour. Sugar level is OK this morning. Go down for my breakfast
feast. Martin Belk calls regarding a possible lunch today. Susie Parker
calls and I suggest she come to the hotel. When Susie and Denver arrive,
we discuss going to the Traverse and/or the Book Festival. Susie votes
for the Book Festival. Martin calls and wants to book a barber for a haircut
and whisker's trim, in advance of my Book Festival event. I reluctantly
say OK. We go out and find a taxi for Charlotte Square. It is raining,
we all go into the Author's Yurt and meet with A.L. Kennedy. Susie wants
to buy her book. Roza calls and I ask her if I can bring Denver and Susie
Parker to her dinner party tonight. She says yes, no problem.
Saturday, 20th: Up early. Test levels very good.
Dress and go down for breakfast. Tonight there is a small dinner party
at Ingrid Kempston's home.
Jim and Cian, photo by Robbie Jack.
With us are Astrid, Ingrid's little sister, Martin Belk and Jonathan Pryce. And another couple, Astrida Balodis and John Eaton, from Leicester. The starters alone are divine, followed by a fish curry. Very full and very contented, I make my way to the hotel and bed.
Sunday, 21st: Today is my session at the Book
Festival. My blood sugar level is fine this morning. Go down for my usual
breakfast coffee, porridge, bacon, orange juice.
Monday, 22nd: Slow start this morning. After
my usual medical chores, go down for my usual breakfast fare. Just as
I am about to depart, I see Mohan Mulani. Go over and join him and have
a second coffee. He tells me that he enjoyed my session yesterday in the
book Festival. He also says that he, Natalie and her kids also enjoyed
Christine Bovill's concert. Get a call from Marta who reports that Ece
is not feeling well and that they will interview Joan Bakewell at noon
and Ricky Demarco in the afternoon. Mohan will go to Glasgow this afternoon
for three days, then fly to Bombay. He lives in Singapore, but is thinking
of buying another home, but cannot decide where. Back to my room. Call
Martin Belk and we discuss yesterday's Book Festival session. We both
agree that it went extremely well and that Peggy Hughes is a divine lady.
He will have 15 copies of World Citizen sent to the hotel.
Tuesday, 23rd: MBreakfast at 8. Blood sugar level
is perfect this morning. My nurses in Paris would be proud of me. Marta
calls. Ece is still not 100% OK. Damn. But they managed to interview Joan
Bakewell and Ricky Demarco yesterday. There is a surprise birthday party
for Frances Sutton this morning in the Book Festival in the Party Pavilion.
Talk with her friend, the lawyer, Christian Melville. Also talk with Ian
Rankin about his days and nights in Paris when he helped out at Shakespeare
& Co in exchange for a bed. He promises to leave a book for me at the
Writers' Yurt. (And he does!)
Wednesday, 24th: I have a meeting this morning
at 10 with Dave Hammond who will film me for Summerhall TV. And Ece and
her film crew will film Dave filming me.
Thursday, 25th: I have arranged to meet Angela
Bartie this morning to see The Pianist and we will see it at noon.
I also have a lunch date afterwards in the hotel with Stephanie Wolfe
Murray, Angela Bartie, and Martin Belk. Susie Parker raved about The
Pianist and said it was the best show she managed to see at the festival.
My favorite shows were all musical based: Michael Griffith's Cole,
Christine Bovill's Paris and Frederik Steenbrink & Isabelle Georges
Oh La La.
Isabelle Georges and her all star band, Oh Là Là!
Friday, 26th: Up at 7 and do my medical chores. Back to bed for an hour. At 8, shave. Go down for breakfast. Marta calls to ask if she may join me. Yes, of course! Tell Lukasz at the front desk that I am expecting a call or a visit from Bobby Yarra. Marta arrives and orders eggs and tomatoes. Bobby arrives. He has been in Ireland and will be staying in a hotel in the Bridges. He is pleased to be in Edinburgh and says that the city is truly beautiful. Vicki, from Melbourne, is our waitress.
I call Steve Gove. He was supposed to join me for breakfast,
but he overslept. He apologizes and says he is now in a show and cannot
World Citizen, at home in Paris, a new book by Jim Haynes
Saturday, 27th: Sugar level is 99 this morning. This is a bit low. Bobby Yarra joins me for breakfast. We gossip about last night. He repeats how much he enjoyed the two shows we saw together. We also talk about Kyle Roderick and Gregory Corso, about Allen Ginsberg and Eddie Woods, about Bill Levy and the Living Theatre. Give the lovely waitress, Vicky, a copy of World Citizen. Get a call from Martin Belk. Susie Parker calls me from Paris. I have a lunch date with Ricky Demarco here at the hotel at 1. And Steve Gove will pass at 2.30. Go to Waverley Station in the afternoon and book a wheelchair for Monday morning. Call Sheila Colvin and John Calder and chat with John. Call Natalia Shkola and we agree to meet next Monday in London. Go to the book Festival and leave a copy of World Citizen for Dana Macleod with Charlotte Gosling. Go to the 19.15 session about writers in Mexico. Sit next to Nick Barley. My old flat mate, Christopher MacLeHose, has something to do with this event.
Sunday, 28th: Late breakfast. Slowly get into action. I want to attend Pete Ayrton's talk on his book about Spain's view of their Civil War, but somehow or other manage to miss it. The film crew will interview Bill Burdett-Coutts this afternoon. And there is a reading of David Greig's play Europe in the Book Festival that I wish to attend, but I manage not to do so.
Monday, 29th: Today depart Edinburgh and take the 10.45 train to London. Breakfast and quickly pack. The film crew arrive at the hotel to collect me. Thank Lukasz and all the staff of the Hotel du Vin for their kindness to me during the past three weeks. We have a smooth and uneventful ride to London. The film crew heads for Tamara Alferoff's home. Natalia Shkola meets me and we taxi to Ernie Eban's home. Today is the last day of Notting Hill Carnival. Natalia suggests a Lebanese restaurant that she recently enjoyed and we elect to go there. I call Dorota Chrisp and Masha Mombelli and they join us. We have a feast...
This is the end of this newsletter. More adventures to follow in the next newsletter about the Victoria & Albert Museum's show, You Say You Want a Revolution?, on London in the 60s. Stay tuned.
Steven Ullman and I hope to co-produce Casablanca - the Gin Joint Cut off-Broadway early next year. We are still seeking investments. If you are interested, please contact me for further details.
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