Letters from London

Antique Reproduction!

That’s exactly what the advertisement said in the free paper, The Croydon Post.

“Largest selection of Antique
Reproduction Furniture in Surrey
It’s the finish that makes the difference.”

Sounds a little like those advertisements we see from time to time promoting women’s overcoats of “genuine simulated fur” which, no doubt, comes from genuine simulated animals. Perhaps a stimulated, simulated animal might produce more, who can tell?

How about “milk” made from soya beans…or “rarebit” that is not from Wales, or “toast” that’s not from France, or stew that’s not from “Ireland,” or “muffins” that, definitely, are not from England.

Makes one a little uneasy, doesn’t it? The latest dilemma here has to do with the European Common Market wanting some of the most famous chocolate produced in the UK to be relabeled because (I think as a result of mithering by the Belgians who compete in the chocolate market) “they” say it is mislabeled and therefore misleading. When I’m able to sneak a piece (not often these days) it still tastes great to me, however!

Coming back to antiques, though, I am reminded that there are people whose trade is to restore them to “genuine antique” condition even, I suppose, to making wormholes where none existed in the first place. Or, alternatively, to filling the wormholes in, replacing defective parts, refinishing the surface and generally restoring them to their original condition. Alas, they are still antiques. Beautiful to the eye of the beholder who fancies such furniture, but often not too functional today. Although, in fairness, we should add that they were contemporary in their own day.

It can be that way, can’t it, with denominations and other institutions that–once–were highly relevant to the society they were created to serve. “Help us with our rebuilding fund”…”Help us to have the building designated of historic interest”…”Come and pay your £3.50 (or whatever it is these days) to actually come inside St. Paul’s Cathedral.”

What is wrong with this picture? Could it be that people are now seen to exist for the purpose of the structure, rather than the reverse? That the servant has become the servee…that the benefactor has become the beneficiary?

Worse, is it possible that there are those within even our own beloved organization (I nearly said “movement”) who would much prefer the “antique” out of its era, than the contemporary “piece” in its own.

“It’s the finish that makes the difference.”

But no amount of polishing the crossbow will make its shot arrows any match for laser weapons!

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