Old Triv can get quite obsessive. Scarily so. Like a chien with a bone. Just ask Signor Seriousimo about the process of us becoming engaged. (Put on your “listening” face, and pull up a chair – and maybe a scotch – beforehand. Prepare to mop his brow at some stage.)
One of la recent obsessions was this chair…and, specifically, how I could hunt one down, kill it, and put its bones in my house.
La spotted it in a mag; just your typical interiors p**n feature. Happened to be in the stylist Shannon Fricke’s Byron Bay bolthole. So La googled, and found out it’s a Thonet No. 4 settee, designed in 1849 for people to perch upon daintily while nibbling cake and sipping coffee at Vienna’s famous Café Daum. Googled some more, and discovered it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to buy one – out of production, and even official modern repros are rarely out of the hands of collectors.
Damn that Shannon Fricke and her envy-inducing good taste.
So months passed, and from time to time the interiors devils would taunt me with sights such as this:
…spotted at the now defunct Sydney Antique Centre. (Which, in itself, is very sad news.)
So I googled some more. And, a few months ago, the Deity Google threw up this little beauty on craigslist.com. Gods bless those clever algorithms.
And it was only $245! But here’s the rub: it was in some dude’s garage in Ohio, USA – a long way from the Harbour City.
But never underestimate Triv’s love of the kill, particularly during a period of fevered obsession. Where there’s a will (and some lira), there’s a way.
All the Triv powers of diplomacy and charm had to be pressed into service to get Ohio Dude to agree to let me shoot this puppy between the eyes and mount it, trophy-like, beneath los dusty rafters. First hurdle – no electronic funds transfers would be acceptable. No PayPal, no TT, no bank transfer. So, one morning while completing the Triv ablutions, it came to me: SEND CASH. When I told him I would do this, he responded thus:
Thank you for your response…I think I’ve deleted three e-mails this morning telling me Western Union has my 10 million dollar inheritance or funds are ready to be transferred to my bank account, etc. I believe you are real, but it is close to bizarre to be talking to someone in Australia and to be selling them something…Though we speak the same language, the Internet has essentially put the world’s connectivity pretty much the same as in the days of the tower of babel. [It was about here I started to worry.] It is phenomenal to experience this aspect of today’s world, but I truly believe that if it was not an acceptable situation then, the Lord will be doing something soon that will bring this to an end as well [And it was about here I started to really worry.].
I acquiesced to Ohio Dude’s request to send banknotes in denominations no greater than US$20, and told him the readies were in the mail, tucked safely inside a Sodoku book grabbed at the last minute at the post office. I told him La, too, was a Christian person, and trusted he would let me know when the lira arrived in Ohio.
I’m very impressed with the lengths you go to get what you want…You probably are as about as far away as anyone could be on this planet [No. I could be in Antarctica.]. I really find this amazing.
I’m so glad that you are a Christian. I don’t know if you give absolute authority to the Word of God – the Bible as most Christians today, not so much, or if you have interest in Prophecy. We are non-denominational hard core Bible believers and try to learn and study the Word, especially to try to understand the third of the book that is prophetic. We have a Bible study at our house weekly where the only book we use for study is the Bible. Our start up church held a prophecy conference 2 weeks ago. If you would be interested in hearing / seeing the teachings, I can send you a link.
It was right about now I knew I needed to do everything within my fevered, obsessed, considerable powers to rescue that settee from the garage in Ohio, and offer it redemption and some good beeswax in the Harbour City.
So I did — with the help of Shipporter. And a local shipper in Ohio. And a freight cost that completely dwarfed the price of the blinking chair.
But here it is, happily installed beneath los dusty rafters of Palazzo Trivialista.
It — and La — are very happy, though we rarely pray together these days. But we may have to ask for divine salvation if Signor Seriousimo ceases to take me at my word that “it was only $245! Such a bargain!”
And, for now, we’ll set aside La Mamma Trivialista’s slightly ungracious comment: “Looks bloody uncomfortable.”
So, thanks Shannon. I hope that when the Four Horsemen come barrelling towards Byron Bay and the Harbour City astride their steeds of doom — as my friend in Ohio clearly believes they will — they’ll leap right on over our Daums and continue onwards to wreak ruination on far less elegant pieces of furniture.
I’m off to sit. Hallelujah. x
Well, is it comfortable?? Love the story anyway and know for sure that the chair will get a better life under your dusty rafters!!
It’s sort of comfortable. At least I come with built-in padding, where the chair lacks it.
Oh I just love this post! Congratulations on your magnificent conquest!
Thanks S! Just want to thank you again for my amazing tulips — loved them.
My favourite thing in the world – a beautifully designed piece of furniture with a fabulous HISTORY. (Or as your friend in Ohio might suggest ‘His Story’.) Hallelujah indeed.
How very Michael Jackson! Yes, poor old Ohio Dude. I feel bad for skewering him on the interwebs, but hey ho. I’m sure there’s fire and brimstone in my future!
Hi! I have the opportunity to purchase this same bench (label says FMG – Made in Poland), so I’m guessing it’s a more modern repro. Is yours a Thonet? I think it’s a beautiful bench and was wondering if you found out more information about yours and the potential value. Thanks- Robert
Hi Robert…I’ll have a close look at it today and let you know whether I can see any marks/labels. As to value, all I know is that every now and then I google the bench again and can’t find a similar one – they seem to be tightly held! I have MANY friends who’ve offered to take it off my hands for a good price! Anyhow, I say, buy away! But that’s just me. Will get back to you. LT