A Letter to Keiran Folliard

by Nathan Stanley

Dear Kieren,

I feel compelled to define and digest my relationship with you regarding woodwork, past and present, since making sense of our lives and those affecting it is natural to humans. Your huge amount of charm and Irishness, and extraordinary ability to highlight and market it I feel has been your greatest and most necessary asset buisnesswise, peoplewise, and otherwise. Our ideas regarding woodwork have often converged, but often perhaps grown apart quite dramatically. The exploitation and great advertising of the use of the “Irish craftsman” being flown in, and also shipment of every piece of wood” from Ireland makes sense as regards your persona and love for Ireland.

I however have worked side by side happily with many Scottish, English, and even more Irish joiners in London, and unless there has been a huge renaissance in the last five years, their abilities neither exceeded or fell greatly below that of their American cousins, which I also have had the great pleasure of working with.The wage slave “Irish craftsman” working for a pub factory is neither free or independent; nor is he allowed imagination, (probably wise), however is given a reward by a trip to America. On the other hand the management of the Pub factory, despite paying trans—Atlantic costs and expensive advertising men and for glossy catalogs, earns enough profit by cutting corners by the simplicity of making many straight lines and not meandering to far off from the production table. I don’t think the situation was vastly different 100 years ago, except for there being an abundance of carvers and craftsmen working cheaply. Also the difference today is a marketing of a nostalgic sentiment.

(Why not?) I understand your sense of a safety net using pub companies with it’s seal of Ireland, and the reason it fits your advertising agenda. Independent woodworkers are inconvenient, and often non-Irish. But I have a question for you. If you took a cross section of Joe six—packs and intellectual people of all walks, and showed them—Henrys den, Mark Crees billiards room, Damiens den, and the main bar at the Local, then showed them O’Donovans, Willy Rileys Pub, and Keegans Pub, which would they choose? I would bet my life on the answer. Especially in light of the contest being between the Pub factory and a free-Lancer.Which would Edgar Allen Poe or Oscar Wilde have chosento drink in?

Nathan Stanley