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.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The other night I met up with my friend Benji Lanyado. He writes the Budget Traveler columns for the Guardian. Good guy. Once wrote an article about me back when I was at Gridskipper.. He lives in Stroud Green Road, a neighborhood in Finsbury Park that engenders great enthusiasm from its inhabitants. According to its Wikipedia, Ho Chi Minh lived there. This isn't true. It's also got a sort ofWilliamsboardian message server called The Stroud Green Residents Association. Anyway, highlights of the night follows: So after meeting up with BL, we headed to meet his friend Dan at a place called the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. Probably the best fish and chips I've had here. (This was the second fish and chips I had here.) Benji and his friends (a man named Sim, a Brummie named Dan) taught me a new word: Rah which refers to, as per Wikipedia, someone "identified particularly by his or her wealthy, privately educated background, snobbish personal conduct, and expensive dress." Variations of the term appear as ethnorahs who are snobby wealthy and have dreadlocks and world music and rahvers who are rahs who listen to trance.

Later on we went to Punk, a club in Soho, for a night called Smash and Grab. The name comes from the idea that if you don't pull a girl by the end of the night, one is supposed to smash one, grab her and take her home. Peaches Geldof was there. Not an attractive girl. A Klaxon was there. A Metronomy was there too. Probably the only exciting bit (before I got wasted then it was all exciting) was three girls wearing matching spandex and jumping rope. They were Sim's friends and called the SkipTheatres, I think. They were great. As for the rest of the clubgoers, they seemed like a mix between LES fashion circa 2001 (off the shoulder sweatshirts) and kind revivalist disco. Pictures can be found Dirtydirtydancing, the London equivalent of LastNightsParty. The night ended with me drunk sitting on the top front seat of the 14 night bus, listeing to Panda Bear's Person Pitch

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So now I'm living in London for the month. Today I headed over to the Tate Modern off the Blackfriars Tube stop. It's free, mostly. Except for the Louise Bourgeois exhibit which I don't care about anyway. Doris Salcedo's installation Shibboleth literally split the museum's foundation in half which is conceptually interesting but kinda boring to look at. The best part, of course, were the tourists taking pictures of it. "Look, it's me crouching down next to a work of installation art!" The other artists whose work I found interesting are, in no particular order:
  • Christian Schad: Better in color but here is his portrait entitled: "Agosta, the Pigeon-Chested Man and Rasha, the Black Dove." Best representation by a Bavarian artist of Pectus Carinatum, ever!
  • Carolee Schneeman I like her video "Meat Joy" even though it started a focus on the body in American art that has only ended with jackoffs like Dash Snow and Ryan Whateverthefuck McGinley.
  • Nicola Tyson: Maybe a little banal but whatever. Pretty.
  • William Sasnal: from Krakow.
  • Jannis Kounellis: Arte Povera follower.