Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Tuesday 28 February 2012


Things are tight chums. Make no bones about it. These days even respected university lecturers are reduced to wiping confetti off butchers' arses in a vain attempt to stave off penury. When I was no higher than a munchkin's nipple recession was precluded by bringing all the burials home off an excavation and using them to make a bracing soup. (It's well I remember those charming recession repasts illuminated only by my Father's petrol-soaked hair as he giggled at the entreaties of my Mother to be released from the rusty oven.)
Unfortunately the world has moved on since those innocent days and some archaeological companies have taken a novel lead in dealing with the downturn. These companies, normally with an accountant at the helm, grease the wheels of industry by sending their fresh faced archaeologists out onto street corners to seek 'John's' for reward.
In this new business scenario the archaeologist lingers under a gas lamp, while licking their beard suggestively at the vehicles sliding past. If they are in luck a prospective customer grinds to a halt -
'Hello love, looking for a bit of business?' Says our comely archaeologist with a game wink (just like his boss has instructed him.)
'That depends . . .' says the customer (clearly a member of the building trade.) 'What sort of stuff do you do?
'Oh, I do it all dearie,' says the archaeologist. 'I can go medieval, or full frontal neolithic, I do unprotected impact statements and - if you're nice to me - I even do oral hearings.'
'And are you cheap?' Says the builder drooling.
'Dirt cheap,' hisses the archaeologist.
The builder twirls his waxed moustache and smiles a half-moon of pyrrohea. 'Well then my lovely, climb aboard!' Says he, patting his well polished lap.
The pair then drive to a deserted field. A quiet spot, save for the background hum of a spectral civilisation. - And in this speechless place the builder slavers over his steaming dish of archaeology puttanesca while an old game is played out . . .
They are urban sprawling.
Talking in tongues.
Making ends meet.

Boom! Boom! Does anyone have a contact number for Allegorics Anonymous?

And to end, I'd just like to share my own version of a classical myth.

See you next week after I've picked all the splinters out!

Sunday 26 February 2012


Some old colleagues of mine (who I spent an unusually colorful weekend with in a Turkish prison) have started a Facebook group related to all things wet and archaeological, it's all about sharing the archaeological love found in superabundance on Irish bogs everywhere (even the Russian ones -did you know we export?). Magnificent, wonderful, consummate, peachy, do have a look (because I'm tired of kissing ass now.)
I'm going to be contributing the odd (hopefully monthly) sausage stuffer such as the one below.

Here's the link: Togher: Irish Raised Bog Archaeology

And here's my contribution:

One medium sized tree.
Sphagnum moss (one acre.)
Salt and Pepper.
 1. Ask your local timber merchant for a whole organic tree. Chop down, then remove giblets. (Retain giblets, see below.)
 2. With a sharp knife cleave a series of radial planks from the trunk. (Don't attempt to do this with wooden wedges, as many experts claim it was done, it doesn't work.)

 3. Season planks.

 4. Mortice and grill planks until a dark brown hue is achieved. Be sure to tell your Mother you're using her toaster, (don't use your own, it will only make shit of it.)

5. Arrange planks on a bed of fresh sphagnum. Pin in place with tenons (use cocktail sticks if your local hardware  provider is out of tenons.) Before serving, if desired, garnish with chariot, block wheeled cart or badly drawn stone-ager in bear skins (as seen in countless reconstruction drawings.)

Hint: Boil giblets with a mixture of methamphetamine, vodka and gin to make a fortifying stock.


Tuesday 21 February 2012


If an excavation is a crisp salad surely it is no exaggeration to say that pottery represents the croutons sprinkled handsomely across it's lettucey firmament (or some sort of patronising bullshit like that.) So, with this in mind I wish to guide you through the dainty balancing act which brings pottery from the earthy finds hut to the bejeweled seed tray of the ceramic specialists in their gilded cages of unavailing knowledge (no doubt swinging on their budgie-like perches whistling 'The Wheels on the Bus.')

Fig. 1 above details the masterly process of cleaning the pottery after it has been exhumed from it's silty entombment. These ceramic maculas (deftly crafted by long lamented potters) are the very treasures of the nation and as such should be treated with the upmost respect. Nothing more abrasive than an Oral-b soft bristle toothbrush should be used to lovingly remove the accretions on the pot sherd's surface and the water used should be no more tepid than a cup of milky tea left outside for precisely fifteen minutes on a Autumn afternoon. Once the sherd has been immaculately cleansed it is time to move on to the drying of said artefact.

Fig. 2 The two litre blowtorch has speeded the pottery processing task up immeasurably. Finds hut staff have waved 'farewell' to downtempo drying racks and 'hello' to butane assisted speed as excavation budgets have been squeezed tighter than Dick's hatband. A few seconds of scorching flame scours the moisture (-and decoration -and glaze) off even the most absorbent of sherd fabric, leaving a blackened toothsome nugget behind. The blowtorch has also proved to be a winner when cleaning one's teeth - see Fig. 3 below.

This line of text is merely present to separate Fig.3 (above) and Fig.4 (below,) and as such, it works admirably. Well done everyone!

Fig. 4 As archaeologists we have a God given right to tame the past. We must hunt it, capture it, subjugate it and then standardize into a format which bores normal people to tears. Therefore the next stage in the jolly pottery-o-rama is to reduce all sherds sized in excess of a thumbnail to a uniform scale. Short shrift should be shown to these deviant ceramic scabs with a four pound lump hammer.

Fig. 5 Once standardization had been achieved it's time to drop all of your pottery (along with a fistful of ball bearings) into a industrial strength blender and reduce it to fine powder. The powder is then respectfully packaged and sent to . . . 

Fig. 6 THE POTTERY SPECIALIST. HOORAY!! The pot-head then inhales the powder and in a ceramo-narcotized state uses previous reports and the digital magic of 'cut and paste' to collage their new report together (which thankfully, barring the conclusions, NOBODY will ever read.) They then tumble onto a moist bathroom floor and dream of all the zeros they will have on their invoice - (VAT not inclusive.)

Incidentally I believe there is a particularly jiggy buzz off 'E' ware.

And to finish, I would just like to include a drawing of a large tawny coloured cat that lives in prides - because I simply have to draw the lion somewhere.


Tuesday 14 February 2012


Ah, sweet perusers of the written word, SPRING is almost upon us! Before long we will turn the corner at the end of Winter Street only to be assaulted by Mother Nature with her herb scented cosh. At this time of year I always go all woozy and poetic  - So today I'm taking a break from the dull old grind of archaeology and instead I'm serving up a lovely poem about nature, about our green earth, about growth, about renewal - but specifically a poem about mindlessly vandalising trees.

Adieu blogolytes. Until next week
PS -My taste for strumpetry knows no bounds - check out the flimsy trash that passes for my facebook page RIGHT HERE.

Saturday 11 February 2012


I finally gave in to (my old streaking buddy) Mark Zuckerberg's badgering requests to have dinner over at his. The man's a dreadful bore but I couldn't say no forever.
He met me at the hall door with a damp handshake and said: 'It's so good to connect with you and build platforms.'
'Sorry?' I said. This questioning tone seemed to enflame Mark's anger.
'Just take off your f**king shoes and give them to me!!' He roared.
Never one to argue I complied and he put on my shoes. This had a calming effect on him.
'You know,' he said, 'It's great to share, sharing is all about transparency and crossing bridges.'
'Mark,' I said, in a concerned fashion, 'Bridges? Transparency? - I haven't a G*dd**ned notion what you're on about.'
'Your trousers,' he bellowed, 'I want those too! And that shirt! And your socks and kegs too!'
Needless to say, my progressing state of nudity was having a cooling effect on the evening.
'What we have here is a partnership, one of social music and shared clothing,' said Mark softly. His movements were slow, now that he had all my clothes on over his own.
'I think I'd like to go home now Mark,' I said, my bottom lip wobbling and a tear welling up in my eye.
Mark lifted a can opener - it seemed to provoke a Pavlovian response in him . . . 'You're not going anywhere,' he drooled, 'until I have peeled your soul away from your carcass. . .'

Which is a very hypocritical way of saying I have started up a facebook page.
Please do join in the fun. I hope to sort out a like button on this page but I don't understand HTML stuff so it could be many moons 'ere that arrives.

Wednesday 8 February 2012



How many times has the stalwart archaeologist attended a meeting at the architect's HQ only to feel hopelessly outgunned by the other professionals present, clad, as said professionals are, in their Savile Row bespoke tailored power suits? Especially when our heroic dirt monkey is wearing the wooly jersey their Mammy knit for them, that and a damp lampshade they've worn for years instead of a hat. In these low class accoutrements the archaeologist is unfit to serve as a soldier in the army of heritage protection.
At all such development meetings, we the noble heirs of Nabonidus should dress to impress - nay, we should dress to threaten and frighten nasty transgressors far from damaging the nation's archaeology. Our clothing should emit an aura of raw power. The secret here is to wear something quite left of centre and unexpected - think wilderness, think uncertainty, think savage animals - placing these sort images before a deveolpment team is bound to have an unsettling effect and one which will allow those who fight on the irreproachable side of soil based inheritance to add considerable leverage to their cause. And that is why, dear chums, when attending these meetings filled with malfeasants bent on the destruction of our beloved limited resource one should dress like a bear.

This clothing (although as yet untested) is bound to come up trumps at meetings. Developers won't know which way to look! Indeed their forked tongues will be tied - particularly if the bear suit wearer intones the following chant:

I'm the Growly Wowly bear
Try your worst I'm not scared.

If however the developers try and squeeze past your clever ruse it's time to step up your game and introduce your beloved teddy bear into the scenario. Hold Mr.Cuddles close to your face, begin licking him and see the positive results you achieve . . .

This licking behaviour mimics the actions of a mother bear cleaning her cub and as every lonely pilgrim in the forest of life knows, there is nothing more dangerous than a protective mother. Try interspersing your licks with the following words:

I'm the Growly Wowly bear,
Having a lick of my kitten,
Don't mess with the archaeology
Unless you wish to be bitten.

(It is inevitable that Mr. Cuddles will feel a little violated by all this but assure him he is serving a noble cause.)

Occasionally the savvy development team will offer the unwary archaeologist a cup of caffe macchiato to in order to soften them up a bit - always have a pot of honey ready to impress on them that you will not sup their corrupting brew. While indulging in your honey try saying:

I'm a Growly Wowly bear,
Having honey, honest and good,
Don't bribe me with milky coffee
Or else I'll crap in your wood.

The mere thought of you lightening your load on the architect's decorative bonsai collection will have them offering you unlimited time and money to deal with the approaching development dig. Or, at worst, a brown paper bag stuffed full of greenbacks. Then, success in hand, it's off home to hibernate until the recession is over!

Ooh, I can feel it working already.

Until next week deep-fried-futon-smothered-in-cheese lovers!


My photo
I am a descended from a long line of conga dancers. I occasionally wear shoes. I gave up going to the toilet twenty years ago - it's a filthy habit. I have a pet bunny called Mucky - he's a filthy rabbit.