Issue 216
Spring 2021


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May 15, 2021

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ArtWork Newspaper Issue 216
Spring 2021 (7.8MB)

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Jim Haynes remembered

by Richard Demarco…

OBVIOUSLY, the death of my dear friend Jim Haynes saddened me and at the same time alerted me to the fact that I must use every remaining day of my long life in putting the Demarco Archive into the shape and substance of a collaborative art work and certainly among the most important collaborators must be Jim Haynes.

I have endeavoured to find the exact date in August when our two lives intercepted in the world of an Oxford University theatre contribution to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The theatre production was a two-hour long version of Ugo Betti's deeply disturbing play entitled Corruption in the Palace of Justice. It was in the church hall on that part of the Royal Mile known as The World's End where St. Mary's Street and Jeffrey Street intercept with the Canongate section of the Royal Mile.

I did not realise on that unforgettable evening that this production was part of Jim Haynes's introduction to the world of the Edinburgh Festival. When the play ended, he started the engine of the only car parked in the street which happened to be his black VW 'Beetle'.

He drove to where I was beginning to walk homeward accompanied by my wife Anne and her younger sister, Elizabeth, and he drove slowly towards us. I will never forget his first words of friendship! "Can I give you folks a ride?" Instead of going towards the West End, I suggested that we drove to have coffee in the candle-lit interior of the only coffee house in all of Edinburgh. It was the Laigh Coffee House, owned and managed by the Scottish actor Moultrie R. Kelsall. This we did before deciding to attend the classic production Italian Commedia dell'arte. It was performed in the commodious Central Hall on Lothian Road.

I firmly believe that that first meeting with Jim Haynes can be considered as the day on which the Traverse Theatre Club came into being, very much dependent on the joie de vivre identified with Jim Haynes. Our friendship led inevitably to the ways in which Jim Haynes managed to find time to be, not only an American National Serviceman, but also a Spanish language student at Edinburgh University.

His involvement in Edinburgh University life inspired him to open his fabled Paperback Bookshop, the first of its kind in Britain. It was in the world of the Paperback Bookshop that he met John Calder, the Scottish-Canadian publisher of avant-garde writers, including those associated with the Nouvelle Vague in Paris. Among them were Francoise Sagan and Natalie Sarraut, as well as Samuel Beckett who became John Calder's life-long friend and favourite author. It should be said that John Calder's education in Montreal at the McGill University and his continuing studies in the world of the Café Voltaire in Zurich inspired him as someone who divided his lifetime's career as a publisher and patron of opera as the very personification of the Francophile.

Their friendship was to lead to the Edinburgh International Festival's commitment to the 1962 Writers' Conference and to the 1963 Drama Conference.

My life has certainly been blessed by the life-long friendship of Jim Haynes and John Calder. John Calder was among the small group of friends who established the Traverse Theatre Club as an Edinburgh-based extension of both the Paperback Bookshop and John Calder's opera festival in his family's hunting lodge in the Kinross-shire Ochil Hills. It was Jim Haynes who provided me with the opportunity of presenting my first contribution to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the form of an exhibition of my Scotus Academy art students' paintings.

It was in the Traverse Theatre Club that I was able to establish and direct the Traverse Art Gallery which was the forerunner of the Demarco Gallery in the four-storey Edinburgh New Town house in Melville Crescent. Needless to say, the inaugural exhibition of the Demarco Gallery included paintings by the Paris-based artists Henri Hayden, Alfred Manessier and Serge Poliakoff.

I am grateful to the Turkish director of the film Meeting Jim for providing me with a film sequence where I am waving 'goodbye' to my dear friend Jim as he sits on the train to London which will take him to Kings Cross and then to St. Pancras to board the Eurostar to Paris. I cherish that filmic imagery of our friendship and added to a multitude of memories born out of the international spirit of the Edinburgh Festival.

…and Frances Anderson

THERE ARE some people you think will never die. The late Jim Haynes, was one such person. One of the founding fathers of the Edinburgh Fringe, Haynes was a pioneer of the permissive 1960s, champion of the counter-culture and the avant-garde, and co-founder of Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre.

Born in Louisiana, Haynes first came to Scotland in 1956 with the US air force and decided to stay. He opened The Paperback Bookshop in Edinburgh, the first softback-only bookshop in the country, and it quickly became a bohemian hangout, hosting Fringe performances in the early 1960s. In 1962 he co-founded the Traverse Theatre and, along with John Calder, organised the first Edinburgh international book festival.

I first met him many years ago, in the Edinburgh office of a Scottish publishers. He peered at me over his glasses, handed me his newsletter and invited me to stay at his atelier if I was ever in Paris. His atelier doors were always open and for 40 years he became infamous for his weekly Sunday dinners, catering to literally thousands. The dinners sparked lifelong friendships and love affairs and were even featured in an international After Eights dinner mints ad campaign.

Although based in Paris from 1969, Haynes never missed an Edinburgh Festival and his annual end of festival party was legendary. Everyone who was anyone was there, along with anyone who knew everyone – and the colourful pick'n'mix of characters, coupled with the endless supply of free alcohol, always guaranteed a memorable – or not, as was often the case – night.

Haynes's bohemian lifestyle was one of open doors, universal friendships and creative ideas. He possessed an open-ness and charm that made him many friends – everyone was special and every connection mattered. He claimed his ambition was to have everyone in the world in his address book.

Three years ago, he was awarded an honorary degree at Edinburgh Napier University, which described him as "a legend of the arts underground."

They don't make them like Jim any more. I still can't quite believe he's gone. Gone, but certainly not forgotten.


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