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An Edinburgh Napier University Blog

Author: jim-haynes-living-archive

Jim appears in the Counterculture Studies Journal

At the end of last year I co-ordinated and contributed to an article for the Counterculture Studies Journal titled ‘Thanks for Coming: Four Archival Collections and the Counterculture’. The article came about through my online search for other collections with similar themes to those in the Jim Haynes collection here. I made some good contacts at the University of Manchester and a number of other institutions. I also found this online journal run by the University of Wollongong in Australia and enquired about the possibility of contributing. I asked my fellow counterculture archivists if anyone wanted to collaborate on an article, and archivists Jessica Smith and Bruce Wilkinson and academic Dr Douglas Field from University of Manchester, and archivist Richard Wragg at University of Sussex volunteered. We’re hoping the article will increase the use of our collections as research interest in this area grows.

New year greetings from Jim!

I had an email from a close friend of Jim’s with the good news that his health is improving. And he is still doing his famous Sunday dinners! Here is his new year greeting…


The newsletters are catalogued!

To coincide with Jim’s recent birthday, I am very pleased to announce that all 561 printed newsletters produced by Jim have now been catalogued. He produced over 700 but latterly they appeared on his website rather than in printed form to be sent to friends. As a result there are a number of gaps in the run particularly after number 600 (mid 2004) and sadly they are no longer on his website either. But we should celebrate what we do have!

The newsletters take many forms – diaries of his annual trips to the Edinburgh Festival and the Frankfurt Book Fair; accounts of his travels to eastern Europe or further afield to the Kolkata Film Festival and Cuba; articles about the Sunday dinners; reviews of his People to People travel guides – the list goes on. What the diary style newsletters have in common are the sheer number of names he includes – not just friends but anyone he meets, waiters, fellow travellers on trains and chance acquaintances. It is astonishing that he not only noted the names of all these people at the time but took the trouble to name them in his newsletters too.

And some newsletters were just a photograph like this one below. Newsletter 381 from September 1996 – a party for the American poet Ted Joans in the garden of Stanley Cohen’s house which shows Joans, Jim and the literary theorist Ron Sukenick with jazz journalist and writer Mike Zwerin playing in the background.  A typical afternoon with Jim…

Newsletter 381

Our first guest blog

This is our first guest blog. Archivist Bruce Wilkinson at University of Manchester is working on counterculture collections held there. Dave Cunliffe’s collection (described below) includes many poetry magazines which creates a strong connection with Jim’s collection. Jim also collected a number of literary magazines such as Vagabond and Network Quodlibeta as well as publishing poets through Handshake editions.

Dave Cunliffe as a young man, Dave Cunliffe Collection, The University of Manchester Library. Photographer unknown.

Bruce is working on the literary archive of the poet, publisher and activist Dave Cunliffe recently acquired by the John Rylands Library. The collection includes several hundred poetry magazines and countercultural publications, a huge amount of correspondence and numerous photographs (many of which need identifying).

Cunliffe played an important part in the ‘British Poetry Revival’ (a phrase he coined), using magazines to distribute a literary avant-garde largely ignored by the mainstream media. He connected with an emerging US counterculture, using his BB Books press to promote veganism, animal rights and radical pacifism.

 It is wonderful that the University of Manchester Library is preserving this important archive which complements the Dom Sylvester Houédard and Jeff Nuttall collections it already holds.


Jim – The Early Years

For a significant figure in 1960s counterculture it may come as a surprise that the reason Jim came to Edinburgh in the first place was because he was in the United States Air Force! I know, right? Not only that but he was a boy scout and he went to Georgia Military Academy. Below are his scout card (note requirement to be square!) and his programme for the GMA Commencement Ball in 1951.

Jim’s Edinburgh Festival

I am currently cataloguing Jim’s newsletters. He sent these to friends every few months and always did a ‘special issue’ on his trips to the Edinburgh Festival. But 1988 was a particularly bumper year – six pages of plays seen, films watched, friends met and taxis taken. Only the first two page are shown here – get in touch if you want to see the rest.

So if you are not exhausted enough by your own Edinburgh exploits, live vicariously through Jim’s!

A chance to see ‘Meeting Jim’ at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Venue and occasion couldn’t be more appropriate. The film is being shown in George Square. Just round the corner, on Charles Street (at the sign of the rhinoceros head), was The Paperback Bookshop which Jim owned. The basement was a popular fringe venue from as early as 1960. And as co-founder of the Traverse Theatre, which remains one of the cornerstones of the Fringe, Jim’s place in Fringe history is assured.

Fittingly, given the international nature of Jim’s networking, the film is a Turkish, Spanish, German, UK and Cuban co-production by a group of friends who met in 2015 at one of Jim’s legendary Sunday dinners. Directed by Ece Ger, the film was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2018 and was nominated for best documentary film.

Assembly George Square Studios – ‘Meeting Jim’ – on Monday 12th August at 8.30pm.

Thanks for Coming!

Jim, c1970

Welcome to the first blog post for the Jim Haynes Living Archive Project! Jim is all about connecting with people so hopefully this blog will make some new connections.

 So who was Jim Haynes? Below is a very short biography. If you want more then have a look at his website: https://www.jim-haynes.com/life/

1933 – Jim is born in Louisiana, USA

1955 – enlists in the US Air Force and is posted to the base at Kirknewton outside Edinburgh

1959 – leaves the air force and opens The Paperback Bookshop in Edinburgh which becomes a theatre venue and gallery space

1962 – helps organise the International Writers Conference attended by Muriel Spark, Norman Mailer and others

1963 – co-founds the Traverse Theatre Club

1966 – moves to London and opens the London Traverse and is on the editorial board of the underground newspaper International Times (IT)

1967 – founds the Arts Lab on Drury Lane

1969 – launches the sexual freedom paper Suck and moves to Paris. Teaches media studies and sexual politics at the University of Paris 8 in the Bois de Vincennes for the next 29 years

1971 – becomes a representative of the World Government movement

1974 – publishes Hello I Love You – a celebration of sexual liberation

1978 – starts his Sunday salon dinners which are open to the world

1980 – launches Handshake editions

1984 – Faber and Faber publish his participatory autobiography ‘Thanks for Coming!’

1988 – starts publishing the People to People travel directories

1988 – starts publishing the People to People travel directories

2002 – starts to use his Paris atelier as a gallery

2016 – appears as a live exhibit in a V&A exhibition about the 1960s

2019 – still lives in his Paris atelier and still hosts his Sunday dinners

Jim at a Sunday dinner, c2000

Future blogs will look at particular eras of Jim’s life  and some of his interests. We might also feature guest blogs from archives with other counterculture collections. So watch this space!