My chair, sadly, isn’t speaking to me anymore. I think it was because I admitted to liking the Barcelona chair during a conversation. The response to my observation was, “such a light weight”, and I haven’t heard a word since. I expect that I shall hear from it again, but mum is the word at the moment so I will have to find either another subject or correspondent to fill my blog.

The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show is currently on in the Armory and Haughton Fairs has done a predictably good job at making the fair look great. How much environment plays into people actually purchasing things is not something that anyone has ever determined. I know from experience, however, that some people will only visit dealers at fairs.

And, in the case of my shop, I can understand why. The building I am in is being converted to condominiums and the place looks like a construction site. I agreed with the landlord to cede my back door in order to get an entrance directly off the street which I hope will benefit me. In the meantime, there is some re-configuration of my current shop and it is noisy and messy as you might imagine.

The number of English antique furniture shops has dwindled dramatically in the last ten years, but many more in England than in America. This is due to a number of reasons, but the most alarming one is the dearth of things available to buy. Currently, there are dealers in England buying blind in America which is an extraordinary turn of affairs. No sensible antique dealer buys from a photograph. It just isn’t something to do because a photo can vary so tremendously from the real thing.

If my chair were speaking to me, I would make a stab at what it might say which is that fads and fashions come and go, but that the real thing reveals itself because it withstands the test of time. It would also add that if the English furniture business is under siege, the reasons are not to do with the style of it, it has to do with people taking the time to understand it. Certainly, I am having a hard time understanding my chair, but then, it is the only talking chair I know.


“Do you follow politics?” I asked my chair as I walked in last week after the debate between Obama and Romney.

“I followed the Georgians. I mean, George III’s son, the Prince of Wales was as wild as they get.”

“No, I mean American politics in 2012.”

“When you are 277 years old, you hardly care about two people wanting to be president. What America really needs is an attitude re-adjustment. It needs to get smart.”

“What do you mean?”

“Americans need to learn that they can’t have everything they want.  American politicians make promises that they cannot keep. They want to entitle the people that vote for them, the rich or the poor, it doesn’t matter. That is just not sensible. Even ‘Farmer George’, the King of England, knew that. The only sense of entitlement he had was his own, however, and even that proved unaffordable.”

“You mean the loss of the American colonies?”

“Exactly, but there is more. For example, at the founding of America, slavery was, shall we say, overlooked. The key to making decisions relies on a comprehensive understanding of the moment. Your two guys seem more like part of Hollywood than candidates. One of them keeps going on about increasing the military. Doesn’t he realize this is the 21st century is about terrorism and that containment is the word? You don’t do that with troops.”

“You don’t like Romney then?” I asked.

“That isn’t what I said. He just seems to be hitting buttons that he thinks will garner votes. It is very off putting. You would like to hear some imaginative twist on how to make America great, not boiler plate ideas from 1960.”

“And Obama?”

“The man seems to be asleep. How else can you explain the fact that he doesn’t seem to listen. I know the Republicans in Congress gave him a hard time, but really, this is politics. You should have heard Fox and Pitt the Younger go at it.”

“You wouldn’t vote then?”

“Gary Johnson is an interesting candidate. He is certainly smart and imaginative. It would be interesting to see where he would take America. Libertarians seem intent on shaking up the system.”

“You can say that again. The gold standard might be hard to re-implement.”

“Yes, but the shock could save America.”

“Do you really think so?”

“Not really, but the two guys on TV last week don’t seem capable of it either. So what’s to lose?”

“Good question,” I admitted, “good question.”


“I am flat out grumpy today and I don’t wish to talk.” I had said good morning to my chair on walking into my gallery and this was the response.

“That’s no way to start a conversation,” I replied, “you could at least offer a good morning.”

“You have been to England recently, haven’t you?” My chair was being aggressive.

“Yes,” I said, “but what does that have to do with saying good morning?”

“The Brits are always saying good morning and then, when pressed, they start nattering on about the weather. It is just so tedious.”

“ No, it’s simply a gambit, a method of opening a discussion.”

“I know, it is just that it’s boring.”

“You want excitement every moment of the day?” I asked.

“Substance, not excitement, is that too much to ask?”

“You prefer philosophy?’

“Not necessarily, I just don’t want chit chat.”

“You are being non-specific. Would you prefer to talk about religion, politics, national policy, the state of the economy or perhaps, tell me a little about your past?” My chair liked to hold back on its own past, possibly as a tease, but possibly just because it was a little mean.

“I will not talk about my past, you already know enough about me. You should have been able to sell me months ago. And now, the ceiling is falling down on me.”

“They are working on the building,” I said, “I don’t think the ceiling is going to fall down.”

“This is a construction site, you mean to say.”

“That isn’t what they are telling me,” I replied.

“Either you are a dunderhead or you don’t have eyes in the front of your head. This place looks, feels and sounds like a construction site. In my book, that makes it a construction site.”

“Well, they are calling it a conversion.”

“Yes, from a place with lots of old fixtures and fittings to one that has new fixtures and fittings. And the process of that conversion is called construction. Why do you think there has been a dumpster in front of your windows for the last six months?”

“You have a good point,” I replied.

“Talk to me when you are ready next time, although this has been so much fun.” I wasn’t sure if this was sarcasm, but I, too, had had enough. My chair knew how to make a point. Painfully.