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Hello, I Love You!
by Dahn Ben Amotz,
Hadashot daily, 1986
  Hello, I Love You! Hadashot daily, 1986
Hello, I Love You!, Hadashot daily, 1986, English translation by Ya'acov Zalel.
The original article as published in the daily paper.

Jim. Writes, edits, cooks and screws.

I never come back from abroad without bringing presents to two or three of my still remaining friends. This time, however, I brought a present for you as well. It is a wonderful present that I brought you, my dear reader. It is Jim's phone number that you are receiving from me today.


What good will it do you? Look, my dear: if you are traveling to Europe this year, and if you happen to be in Paris for a week or two - at least for one evening, I've got for you some unbelievable entertainment. On condition. Of course on condition. Always if and everything if.

If you've got no friends in Paris and if you would like to get to know charming people and if you also understand and speak a bit of English or French, if you want to eat well and drink well. If you want to pass an evening in a good company. If you are not absolutely square and if in particular - attention - if you are by any chance a female. Not just a female but a young female (at least in your spirit) and a nice female (not only in your inner-self) and an open female (Wait! I still have not finished the sentence) and an open female, I meant to say, to surprises (and who knows, maybe also to adventures).

If your answers to all or to most of the conditions I have detailed are positive, and if on a Sunday night you've got a no more tempting offer in Paris - dial 43.271.767 (did you note it down?) and ask to talk to my good friend and fellow as a (step-)brother, Jim Haynes. Give him my love and book with him (or with whoever female answers the call instead of him) a place at one of the unique dinners that this rascal is hosting at his home for a maximum of 40 people. It is an extraordinary experience. Believe me.

These meetings at Jim's studio on Sunday nights are the closest thing to what was once called "saloon evenings". During the '20s of the century, Gertrud Stein ("A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose") used to entertain at her home (27 Rue de Florence) promising young talents like Hemingway, Picasso, Man Ray, Sherwood Anderson, Picabia and other expats like them who were looking (and also found) their tomorrow in Montparnasse. At Gertrud Stein's dinners, which of course were served to the table by her intimate friend the chef Alice B. Toklas, literature and poetry were discussed, when under the tablecloth on which the young artists scribbled their "doodles", took place, people say, fascinating discussions not all of which were invented by Henry Miller.


Something similar to this has been taking place for a few years now at Jim's "salon", with one small but pretty significant difference. To Gertrud Stein's salon you had to be invited, while to Jim's salon you invite yourself, and once there you get (for 60 francs) a good meal, plenty of wine, a fascinating conversation (usually) and sometimes - depending on the participants - even some naughty touches under the table. I am not promising you an unforgettable experience in each and every one of those meals, but it is worth a try. Just the chance to get to know Jim Haynes is worth much more than 60 francs.

For me to tell you now everything I know about Jim is just short of my ability, my space, my breath (and probably your patience), and just to give you a vague idea of who he is, what he is and how he is - I'll count, in a hurry, very few of his praises.

First of all he is charming and full of ideas and a man of cordial conversation and a great companionable man, and if he loves you (and he loves almost everybody he meets more than once), Jim will do for you if not anything then at least a great deal. For the many tens of thousands of people (I am not exaggerating) who ate, drank, talked, lived and slept with him, Jim is something very close to a legend.

What does he do?

What does he not do? He lectures at the University of Paris on sex, politics and communications; he writes, edits and publishes books, magazines, periodicals and lately a cassette-monthly on poetry, music, essays, articles and everything one can read with eyes shut; twice a week he manages the "Village Voice" bookshop which is to Americans in Paris today what "Shakespeare and Company" was in the '20s; he doesn't miss a book fair nor festivals of film, theatre or music; he knows everybody and everybody knows him (not only in Paris, everywhere); he corresponds with me, with Alan Ginsberg, Joan Baez, William Borroughs, Yavtushenko, Leonard Cohen, Theodorakis, Mick Jager, Yoko Ono and Norman Mailer - if to give you just a few well known names from a list of about 3000 friends to which, five-six times a year, he sends a very private and personal letter. In stencil. He dedicates his book 'Thank you for coming' to his good friends, whose names alone occupy the first twenty pages.

OK? Alright? Are you ready to dine with him? So remember: the minute you arrive in Paris, you call 43.271.767, say: "Hello, I love you" (the same title of an erotic anthology he published), say hello (from me, from Miki, from Sima, from Ruthi and from Shaykeh Ben Porat), book a seat for the Sunday feast and that is it. For one evening in Paris you are sorted.

Oopsa! I must emphasize (if I still hadn't done so) that Jim's phone number is for the use of the readers of this column only, and do me a favor, folks: don't pass on this phone number to just any regular person like the readers of "Yedioth", or something like that. They will not feel comfortable with Jim. The intellectual conversations that take place there during dinner over and under the table (and in French!) will not interest them. So don't talk about it. Don't even say that you read my column. People are jealous. They will start to ask around, start to investigate, and if you'll try to dodge them, they will go and buy the newspaper, and I am in trouble, you are in trouble and Jim is in trouble. It is better that this story remains between us if you don't want buses of "Maariv"-readers-club at (scribble it down) 83 Rue de la Tombe-Issoire, Atelier A2 Paris 75014. They will destroy the most charming place in Paris for us. Remember: not a word!

Dahn Ben Amotz
translation by Ya'acov Zalel
©Hadashot daily, 1986



1986, Hadashot daily : Hello, I Love You!

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