Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hampstead Heath: Waugh and Pavlova

Today we wended our way through Hampstead Heath in the Northwest of London. The area around the park off the Hampstead tube stop is cushy and reminds me of the a bourgeois stepchild of the Upper West Side and a small English village. The rambling heath is at times unkempt and overgrown and at others strictly maintained. We briefly found ourselves in a cruisy, kind of like the Rambles in Central Park but skeezier. . It was dirty, muddy, nice.

Later in Golders Green, we passed ballerina Anna Pavlova's home called the Ivy House. It's a huge brick house in the front of which is a swan-filled pond which Pavlova studied to add realism to her role in the Dying Swan. Whatever. It was cold we kept walking. But right across the road from the Ivy House is Evelyn Waugh's family home. The house is white and stucco and not very grand. In fact, Waugh was sensitive to this fact, 'toiling up the hill to Hampstead so that his letters might bear a more distinguished postmark than Golders Green.'" Waugh lived there from 1912-1960 so for a while he was the neighbor of Pavlova. I wonder if they ever met. They definitely shared some friends. Frederic Asthon, the choreographer, often visited Pavlova and knew Waugh but apparently wasn't very fond of him.

Anyway, any evidence or thoughts would be appreciated. Also I'm using Ecto now so maybe this is all fucked up.