Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday Dinner At Jim Haynes

Jim Haynes in his usual position, perched on a stool near the stove, donning an apron - connecting people

Dinner at Jim's is obviously so good, people come back for more, myself included.

Jim Haynes,  an American living in Paris, has opened his apartment, every Sunday,  since the 70's, to anyone who would like to come along, eat, drink and meet people.  Although I sense, many come along to meet the fascinating man himself.

His apartment was jammed packed, with people from around the world, varying age groups and professions.   A German guest told me he had visited 20 years ago and wanted to revisit the experience.  An English woman said she was once a neighbour and hadn't attended for years and was curious to see if his dinners were still a success.

English is the language of the night, however, I heard a woman speak to another in French, when she didn't reply, the other questioned, do you speak, English, Spanish, Italian, German, French?  Anything goes really.

When I booked months ago for tonight's dinner, Jim didn't forget, he has a list and has archives of everyone who has visited over the years, some famous, some not so.

Jim has had a fascinating life, travelled the world,  met interesting people, connected people, helped struggling artists and has been a great entrepreneur.  Maybe that is why his dinners are such a success.

2012 will mark fifty years since John Calder, Sonia Orwell and Jim Haynes created the Writers' Conference in Edinburgh and he has attended 55 Edinburgh Festivals.

Yes, he knew Sonia Orwell, George Orwell's widow, in fact he boarded with her long ago, she was his landlady.

Many make new friends at his dinners, some become lovers and even a few have married.

The press have published numerous articles about him and his dinners. He was even the subject matter of an after dinner mint commercial !

Yep Jim is the man!  If you would like a different experience in Paris, and you want to be a part of one of his dinners, you simply email him and providing he isn’t over his quota, or jet setting around the world, you can become part of the experience as many hundreds before you have.

Armed with my camera instead of an iphone, as I had in the past, I wanted to photograph Jims party, try to capture some of the atmosphere, with a decent camera this time. 

Alas, things change,  Jim is in the process of renovating.  All of his wonderful memorabilia was not around to photograph.  When I complained to Jim – he replied... 'well what do I do, stop the dinners?'

He is right – life and the dinners must go on.  Despite quite a few set backs this year, a heart attack and renovations, the show still goes on.

I look forward to, once the renovations are over,  his quirky pieces that make up Jim's home reinstalled.

Either way – the food and drinks were flowing and the guests from all walks of life, from around the world, were there.  For Jim that is what it is all about  - the people.

As I was leaving – I could still hear him calling out – Francois have you met Reiner yet – he is from Germany, Francois meet Reiner.....

I said my goodbyes – but it won't be goodbye – just a bientot ...  I will be back.


At December 20, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Greg Griffin said...

Great story Adele and really good photos.

At December 20, 2011 at 11:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds amazing evening!


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