There is very little one can say when one’s children call to wish a happy father’s day. What did I do to deserve them? Frankly, their mother was far more important to them and a far better parent, particularly on a day to day basis. I was in the position to enjoy them, something that seems a lot harder for mothers who feel the weight of responsibility for these lives they have created.

Parenting, at least in the way that we know it in 2010, is a long way from what it was in the 18th or 19th centuries. Children in those days were little people, expected to behave like adults. They were dressed like adults and treated as such and in countries where primogeniture was the rule, the oldest son was expected to recognize and pursue his responsibilities. How many tales have been written about children that could not achieve that sense of responsibility?

There is also a certain hypocrisy to “special” days that seem designed to get one to spend money. The cynicism is life long and I don’t remember celebrating either mother’s or father’s days. Fortunately, I (and my siblings) enjoyed my parents and told them so. Friends they were and still are, their corporeal finesse notwithstanding. He or she is truly lucky to have a parent as a friend. I am doubly so.

The fair that used to be known as Olympia has been transformed and now is known as LIFAF. As a brand, LIFAF means very little, but I suspect it is trying to relate itself to TEFAF which is also known as Maastricht, a successful dealer run fair held annually in the Netherlands. LIFAF has been taken over by David Lester whose success as an antique fair promoter is limited at best to Palm Beach. The fairs he started in Dallas, Los Angeles, the touring boat and the fair that never was at Pace in Westchester, NY, were all bombs.

David Lester is a hard worker and a man with vision. His vision relies, however, on dealers who can pay the freight to be in his shows, none of which has been cheap and all of which have been long on promises. LIFAF was beautiful, but there wasn’t enough to see. The most important thing about a fair is the product on display–that is what makes a fair successful. He needed more of the top crowd to exhibit with him but they refrained themselves in order to go with either the Haughtons or the Masterpiece Fair.

It is clear that David Lester thought that he would be able to wrest the mantle of the now defunct Grosvenor House Fair to LIFAF. That has not been the case this year, but the drama is doubtless ready to continue, although the area that Olympia is in is slated for massive re-development. It isn’t easy being a show promoter, that is for certain. For David Lester, it has always seemed to be about what could be. LIFAF still could be a good show, but the odds are against it.

Reading “Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry is an experience akin to to reading William Gaddis’ “Recognitions”, or David Foster Wallace’s, “Infinite Jest”. The language of these men is stunning, the way they string their words together is dazzling. Lowry takes us into a house and refers to the mirador, the bartizan and the machiolations, architectural terms relating to battlements.

The language used to describe furniture is largely been lifted from architecture. We talk about, architraves, fascias, cornices, pediments and stiles. Naturally, a great deal of furniture decoration is lifted from architecture so it makes sense. Unfortunately, a lot of architects, good ones, have also felt that they could design furniture. Sometimes they could and other times, they didn’t.

Of course, “Under the Volcano” is a battle, a battle the protagonist, Geoffrey Firmin, the former British Consul, wages to save his life. His despair is blunted by his drinking and his drinking disallows him to make any progress to undo the despair. Sisyphus had it easier. When Lowry has Firmin refer to the cloacan darkness, I got the point. After I looked up the meaning of cloacan.