Born: November 10, 1933;
Died: December 6, 2020.
JIM HAYNES, who has died in Paris at the age of 87, was a bon vivant, an ever-generous host and a flamboyant character who forever had a twinkle in his eye. Formidably well-connected, he was a counter-cultural polymath who recalled introducing David Bowie to the mime artist, Lindsay Kemp, and was once described as being, in the early 1960s, the unofficial agent for the beat generation in Scotland.
He founded the UK’s first paperback bookshop, in Edinburgh; when he relocated to Paris, in 1969, he kept an open house, and his Sunday-evening dinners became the stuff of Parisian legend.
In 1963 he was one of the founders of the lastingly influential Traverse Theatre. The theatre tweeted it was “heartbroken to hear of the passing of the legendary internationalist, serial entrepreneur and one of the Traverse founding spirits, Jim Haynes. Jim was truly a ‘one-off’.”
Another tribute, by Assembly Festival, noted that Haynes “played an incalculable role in making the Fringe what it is today”.
He moved to London at the height of the Swinging Sixties, co-creating the London Traverse Theatre Company, co-launching the newspaper, International Times, and the wildly popular Arts Lab mixed-media space. The landlady of his first London apartment was George Orwell’s widow, Sonia, and he paid his “rent” by serving cocktails to such luminaries as Francis Bacon and Mary McCarthy.
Later still, in Amsterdam, he continued to champion sexual liberation, helping to establish the magazine, Suck.
As his son Jesper wrote on Facebook as he disclosed that Haynes had died in his sleep: “His goal from early on was to introduce the whole world to each other, he almost succeeded. In his Atelier A2 on 83, rue de la Tombe Issoire, he created his perfect universe”.
James Haynes was born in Louisiana; he spent his early teens in Venezuela and went to an Atlanta boarding-school. After university in Louisiana he served with the US military, stationed at Kirknewton, on the  Edinburgh outskirts. He read history at Edinburgh University by day while serving on the Russian surveillance desk at the Kirknewton base.
His first impressions of Edinburgh were memorable. “I walked about the university area and fell in love with the city: a love affair that continues to today”. His first digs were in Great King Street, from which he was soon asked to leave “because I had too many guests”. At his first Festival,  in 1957,  he attended a fringe show and chatted to three people in the audience: Demarco, his wife Anne, and her sister. It was the beginning of a 50-year friendship.
In 1959 he opened The Paperback Bookshop in Charles Street, off George Square. It was an immediate success and gained notoriety when he sold a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover to a forbidding lady in a splendid hat. She promptly took the book outside and burnt it on the pavement. Photographs of an astonished Mr Haynes went worldwide.
The shop sold tickets for the few Fringe shows and put on some plays. Within two years he had helped open the Traverse. In a Herald interview with Neil Cooper in 2013 he recalled: “I saw an actress called Jane Quigley in a production of Orpheus Descending in 1960 when she was a student in Edinburgh and was still called Jane Quigley [later Alexander], and we became lovers. She was the reason I created the Traverse.”
He wanted to create an intimate space where the audience was almost on top of the action. The audience in that original tiny theatre sat on two blocks of high rising seating on either side of the stage. It was never comfortable. The opening play was Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos; early on in it, actress Colette O’Neill was accidentally stabbed with a knife.
Haynes produced new plays, especially by Scottish writers. He made the Traverse a theatre club so that scripts did not have to be submitted to the Lord Chancellor – the one-guinea membership helped the club’s somewhat beleaguered finances. From 1964-66 he assumed artistic direction of the Traverse and expanded its programme considerably. 
He hosted a series of what he called Talk-outs on cultural matters (‘What’s Wrong, or Right, with Scottish Art?’) and began a campaign for a Scottish National Theatre.
But it was the stage that was the life-blood of the Traverse and Haynes through his inspiring leadership brought international directors to Edinburgh. 
As Neil Cooper observed in 2004: “The Traverse was at the epicentre of an intellectual ferment that rocked the capital’s prissy facade and put it on the international map.”
In 1962 Haynes was much involved with the Writers’ Conference as part of the official Festival held in the McEwan Hall. He and his friend John Calder assembled some of the leading literary figures, including Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, Muriel Spark, Hugh MacDiarmid, to speak on subjects such as censorship. It was a tremendous success and the following year they and Kenneth Tynan organised a Drama Conference in the same venue.
After a skirmish with the Scottish Arts Council in 1964 Haynes stepped down as Traverse chairman, succeeded by Nicolas Fairbairn. As artistic director he brought to the Traverse the world premiere of CP Taylor’s Happy Days Are Here Again and the first production of Oh, Gloria by Robert Shure. In 1967 he won the Whitbread Prize “for outstanding contributions to theatre in Britain”.
He was a grand buccaneer and an inspiring impresario who brought to the capital a sense of dramatic urgency and a cocktail of ideas that put Edinburgh on the theatrical map.
In 1969, Haynes moved to Paris, where he began a thee-decade-long period teaching media studies and sexual politics. He attended many book and cinema festivals and revisited Edinburgh frequently.
He was overjoyed when in 2012 a statue was erected on the site of the original Paperback Bookshop.
Haynes was often seen at conferences and literary events in Scotland. In 1992 he chaired a Happening at the Tramway Theatre, and in 2009 took part in a conference at the Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow.
Over the years, he was the recipient of both a Herald Angel and a Little Devil award from The Herald. The latter was after he survived a heart attack at the beginning of his annual visit to Edinburgh and was briefly confined to hospital.
Jim Haynes was unstoppable. His friend Joan Bakewell named him, in a BBC TV documentary, amongst the most influential figures in the Swinging Sixties.
With his bushy moustache, avuncular manner and broad smile he was a genial and welcoming host at weekly dinner parties in his Paris home for more than 30 years. He was awarded an honorary PhD from Edinburgh Napier University in 2017. In 2018 he was the subject of a film, Meeting Jim, by the young Turkish film-maker, Ece Ger. It was premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.