Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Tuesday 29 May 2012


I'm a great man for a metaphor, as was my sainted father - he was the Honorary Secratary of the Irish Metaphorical Society. I remember he once built me a metaphor using the seat off an old figure of speech, some planks (from a simile) and the wheels off a trope. With a grin of obvious pride he sat me into it and gave me a push from the highest peak in the Terenure Alps (Mount Bangwidth, 15,782 ft.).
Father ran beside me as the metaphor began it's trundling descent.
'Tell me Daddy,' I beamed, 'What is this cart a metaphor for?'
'Well my wee gassune,' he puffed. 'You know how you told me you wanted to be an archaeologist?
'Yes Daddy.' I replied, goggle-eyed with anticipation.
'Well this cart is a metaphor for a career in archaeology! Because you won't get far in it, and I predict it will end in disaster.'
As the cart picked up speed the planks chattered against each other like death's teeth and I realised how poorly constructed the whole concept was. Also, it seemed a career in archaeology was almost impossible to control. . .
By the time we had reached the base of the Alps my vehicle was travelling faster than a altar boy pursued by an aroused bishop, despite the fact that some distance before, one of my wheels had detached itself. My father, ever the bricoleur, had manged to straddle the errant wheel's axle and was spinning away unicycle style beside me just as the village limits of Terenure came into view.
'Hmm . . .,' mumbled my Father in a disappointed manner, 'You've got further than I surmised you would . . . By now I thought there would be blood everywhere.'
A knot bit the arse of my stomach when he said this.
We were now roaring down the main Terenure boulevard. Father and son together, the G-forces beginning to warp our molars. My Old Man gestured towards the first shop we passed - the fishmongers run by comely Baba Loveberry.
'You know son,' Father drawled, 'Archaeology is a bit like the cash drawer in a fishmongers.'
'Why is that Daddy?' I asked, (somewhat preoccupied by the cart beginning to disassemble itself at an atomic level.)
'The money in it stinks,' he replied.
As I digested this bombshell a plank tore off the side of my metaphor and walloped a busking Nun.
'Ave Maria,' said Dad, making the sign of the cross (he was a frightfully droll chap.)
We hurtled past two elderly people sitting on Terenure's municipal dead horse.
'Archaeologists,' said my Father (his head now glowing with Saint Elmo's fire - a result of the appreciating velocity.) 'Are like those retired folk over there.'
'Why is that Daddy,' I asked.
'Most of 'em talk shit about the past,' he said.
A cracking noise was sounding from underneath my cart and another wheel detached itself before severing the head off one of the retirees.
We shot like a bullet past Bosco Leadenhole standing outside his funeral parlour. His bone white hair slicked horizontal with a chloroform gel. - Leadenhole was the butt of many repellant local rumours (and not entirely without reason.)
'Field archaeology,' cried my Father, 'Is like using the services of that undertaker over there.'
'Why is that Daddy,' I gasped, the speed sucking air from my lungs.
'Your body just ends up shagged,' he grunted.
By now I was riding four nails, two planks and one and a half wheels.
We cleared the end of Their-Tether Street and saw a large body of archaeologists huddled together. Some wore the garb of lecturers, some of specialists, some wore glowing vests akin to the raiment of angels. Their duty was to serve the past, yet the future and all the uncertainty it held, seemed to grip them now. And among their worried faces my eye was drawn to an oddly familiar man, in his forties. Tall, with glasses. Prone to waffle. His temples were greyed and his eyes had a satirical wink.
'Dad?' I said. 'That slack-shouldered, raggedy gobdaw - metaphorically speaking, who's he meant to be?'
'Oh dear!' Replied my father. 'He's the one writing this shit! He's going to make you pay for saying that about him!'
Just then the wall surrounding Terenure's bustling seaport leapt out of nowhere and hit us HARD. We spun into the air and walloped onto the pier.
I awoke to the sound of my father slapping my cheeks.
'Well gassune,' he asked, 'Have you learned your lesson? What do think about a career in archaeology now?'
I looked up, a bloody mess from the car crash of a career I had ridden. Tears salted my cheeks and teeth sat loose upon my tongue.
And I said:
'Again Daddy, again, again, again! Let me go back to the start and not change a thing. I loved it all! And that group of archaeologists? May I forever be of their number.'
And that's what I thought then - and it's still what I think now . . .
Moments later my father was tying a concrete block onto my ankle  . . .
'Is this another clever metaphor you're constructing Daddy?' I said.
'No.' He replied curtly.
And with that, he launched the block (and me) off the end of the pier.


Well chums that's the last post of one entire years worth of blogging. Due to the call of other duties I will be slowing output for the Summer (probably a post every second week.) Thanks for reading, (if I have curled a single smile among your number it's been worth it,) and now I believe it's high time a flood of work washed us out of the poxy desert of recession we have tarried in for too long . . .

Be Strong


Tuesday 22 May 2012

Ten Educational Facts about the Palaeolithic

As I have stressed on SO many occasions on this blog further education is the most important thing an archaeologist can pursue. One should trap it, stuff it and then mount it on the mantlepiece next to Grannie's ashes. So in the vein of Continuous Professional Development I present to you an edifying educational posting to bring us all closer to the prehistoric past. So fly my pretties, educate yourself while I go out and loot sausages from the local butchers.

1. The word 'Palaeolithic, is a shrewd unity of two separate Babylonian words. 'Palaeo' meaning 'Too much mascara,' and 'Lithic' meaning 'Along the winding garden path.' Married together, these two words become: 'Make it up as you go along.'
2. Mitochondrial DNA evidence has hugely improved our knowledge of the Palaeolithic. For instance we now know, with absolute certainty, that Noah begat Ham (or 'Hammy' to his friends,) and Ham begat Lego and Lego had a coat of many colours and went to dwell in the land of Aldi before he took the twin daughters of Marzipan as wives - and lo the twins were barren because as the prophet Bruce Forsyth was wont to say 'You beget nothing for a pair!' And Lego quoth 'Not in this game!' then fell to pieces and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad.

3. Tra la la la, tra la la la. Parp, parp, parp, tootitty parp. Tral la la la la laaH!
Altogether now. In the style of Luciano Pavarotti!
- Tra la la la, tra la la la. Parp, parp, parp, tootitty parp. Tral la la la la laaHHH!
Sing it until your cheeks are aglow and the cat is drenched in spittle!
4. Some of the more astute among you may have noticed No. 3 was not a fact about the palaeolithic. Rather it was a fortifying tune to ease the pain of recession and swell one's heart (I believe angel dust has a similar effect.)

5. Palaeolithic cave art is unquestionably the single most impressive achievement of the period. Unfortunately, prehistory gurus now agree it was the stone age equivalent of filling a front garden with concrete gnomes and a fake plywood well.
6. The Palaeolithic in Europe was cut short by the invasion of a Natufian dwarf army under the ruthless leadership of Gimli of the Negev. (Although further evidence may be needed to prove this conclusively.)

7. Saint Pludmunter of Terenure fashioned a vessel of dewy heather, sailed west from Clew Bay and three score weeks later landed in the river basin of the Palaeolithic. Once there, he bestowed on the natives the blessings of Christianity (and rampant syphilis.)

8. Benny Hill personally named all the Paleolithic sites in Britain - Hence their double entendre stylings - exemplia gratia: Mother Grundy's Parlour, Baker's Hole.

9. Currently the Palaeolithic in Ireland shares the same status as sex before marriage, there's lots of evidence for it, but by the grace of God, we choose not to see it.
10. The palaeolithic is now more commonly called paleolithic - And if that isn't evidence of . . . Just a second . . . 'Ham' imagine calling your son 'Ham,' Ivor Cutler sent his son, on his first day of school in London (aged 5 years) in a kilt!! I thought that was bad but calling your son 'Ham' beats that hands down, you can whip off a kilt but changing your name involves deed poll stuff. It's a wonder Noah didn't call his other two sons Mushroom and Leek.
And now I'll end by saying something about UFOs and Zionist banking cabals . . . actually I won't, because that's just plain silly.

Thank you for your patience. Your Captain has just crashed the plane.

Monday 14 May 2012


Sometime last week an Idaho housewife left a comment saying my superlative illustration of Howard Carter in a pink bra was 'really childish.' I can only agree - and in a supreme act of contrition I will be censoring this weeks blog of any childish smut or otherwise. Please read on . . .
You can say what you like about cremation but when I go out of print an extended inhumation is the only man for me. Bury me 'neath six feet of compostuous soil and let the worms have their filthy way with me - I guarantee you there will ne'er be a happier corpse in Christendom! Which makes me wonder about alternative forms of dealing with the departed. Take for example liquimation . . .
Liquimation involves turning oneself into a high protein smoothie after the sweet breath of life has departed. One wonders if XX'X X XXX XXXX X XXXXXXXXX XX X XXXXX XXXX in extreme close-up over the assembled mourners. Or perhaps XXXXXXX XXX XXXX X XXX with a vicar on a Friday. This is taken to the extreme with the Tibetan practice of sky burials:
Sky burials are effected by hurling corpses into clouds which have the appropriate moisture content to securely hold a body. Prayers are chanted before the staying rope is cut and the cadaver is gracefully sent aloft into the wooly grasp of a passing altocumulus. Not unlike a X XXX XXXXX XX X XXXX XX XXXXX. or even XXXXXXXX XXXX XXX XX a passing camel.
Sky burials were particularly frequent during the Tibetan Festival of Swarfega when the heavens were aglow with soaring daisy pushers XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX  XXXXXX XXXXX and he was only able to walk in a circle afterwards. The festival of Swarfega was ended for good when Richard Gere invaded Tibet XX XXX XXXXXXX XX XXX XXXX XXX his smouldering good looks were used as a car wrench and 'The Runaway Bride' was the last half decent film he ever made (but Julia Roberts XX X XXXXX XXXX.)
It has been claimed Richard Gere XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XX X XXXXXX XXXX XXX XX XXXXXXX XX XXX XXX - although I fail to understand how one could conceal an entire sack of oats in one's pants.
Well that's all for this week, God Bless Idaho and may I forever be numbered among the childish. 


Saturday 12 May 2012


Maurice the Grouch,
Maurice the Genius,
And now let the wild rumpus begin. . .

Tuesday 8 May 2012


I was in Lisbon last weekend checking on my port wine vineyard. Things in the city haven't changed much since I was there last, except for the opening of the National Museum of Toenails, I feel it's definitely the way forward in heritage - you should see the gift shop!
Anyway, I'm buggered if I'm going to be able to piece a half decent blog together for this week - so instead here's a couple of field drawings I did, along with ten facts you probably don't know about Lisbon.
In Lisbon breakfast consists of strong coffee and a deep-fried pigs snout.
1. The iceberg that sank the Titantic was built in a Lisbon dockyard by an enclosed order of nuns. When they heard God couldn't sink the ship they reckoned the least they could do is give him a hand.
2. King Carlos, the last King of Portugal, was shot dead in Lisbon by loyal subjects who could not bear to watch him die slowly of corpulence. Afterwards they honoured his memory by establishing a republic.
3. Queen Maria Pia, mother of Carlos, suffered dreadfully from colic and bad taste. Her end was expedited when a girder supporting her buffon haircut shattered and punched a hole the size of Humpty Dumpty through her nut.
4. When Summer temperatures exceed 38 degrees Lisbon becomes invisible.
5. Icelandic poet Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) is Lisbon's longest serving mayor. At eight foot two it's unlikely a longer mayor will ever be found to replace him. He is currently serving herring in a brine sauce.

Lisbon Cathedral from the rear. Or bits of it - and a nice tram at the far right.
6. Trousers are not fruit and Lisbon is no exception to this rule.
7. The great earthquake of 1755 threw Lisbon a thousand miles North to Denmark. The Danish government took the city apart and mailed it, block by block, back to where it came from. The city was never properly reconstituted.
8. You couldn't make this shit up.
9. The population of Lisbon is the square root of B minus.
10. The capital of Ignorance is Bliss.

And that's everything I know about Lisbon . . . And now for some illustrations and unfair assumptions I made while waiting in the airport.


Tuesday 1 May 2012


At some point in every young muck fiddler's career the site director says: 'Have you ever planned before?' To which they always answer: 'Why shucks sir you're darn tootin I have!' (even though the only thing they have planned is to hide in the porta-loo until end of business.) This simple question propels a humble general operative into the exhilarating demi-monde of the surveyor. Entrusted with the noble task of recording three crummy stones, the new born surveyor goes forth in search of pencil, permatrace and planning board.
Regrettably the downward spiral of excavation budgets, dictate that such luxuries will one day no longer be supplied -so employees will have to make these items themselves, from scratch. Well, fear not chums - here's how it's done:
When fashioning a pencil don't bother digging a graphite mine, it's far too fiddly. Why not make some charcoal instead.
Charcoal is made by baking willow sticks in a tin box - so find the willow sticks, jam them into the passenger seat of the nearest vehicle and set the whole shebang alight. Once the blaze has died down retrieve your charcoal. Many years of personal experience has proved to me that this method is simple and economical (so long as the vehicle is not your own.) For the polyester film a passable substitute can be fabricated by flaying a passing calf and (with the aid of elbow grease and pumice stone) turning it's skin into  vellum. Once that's done, manufacture a drawing board by sawing the end off a barrow plank. Attach the vellum to the board  - and it's off we go!
And now, tools in hand, you are an artiste, you are in the company of Rembrandt, Rubens and Walter Lantz (creator of Woody Woodpecker.) It matters little that you are only drawing three crummy rocks - what matters is how you draw them. Is your approach to be in the style of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin? How about an impressionistic take on it? A touch of trompe l'oeil perhaps? If the director becomes enraged with your tardy nature, explain as patiently as you can that YOU ARE AN ARTISTE! YOU ARE SEEKING COMMUNION WITH THE MUSE! And IT WILL BE HIS SODDING VEHICLE NEXT WHEN THE CHARCOAL RUNS OUT!!! Then check all measuring gear has been properly calibrated and begin . . .
Once said stones are drawn it's time to add the necessary decorative motifs. Firstly, a dedication to His Gracious Majesty King George II (something very brown-nosey will do the trick.) Secondly, a scale bar (showing Irish miles, nautical miles and miles per hour.) Thirdly, a disembodied hand pointing languidly towards the vernal equinox. And lastly, a misogynistic and unexplained 'Nekkid Leddie' (lounging about in an ancient Roman landscape) in the corner of the plan, (the sort of thing that made an eighteenth century gentleman want to gallop off and play horsey with a debutante.)
Well workmates and associates, that sadly is the full extent of my twenty years surveying laid bare. And in the debate about using hand-drawn vs. digital surveying techniques my opinion is plain - why bugger things up by hand when you can have a computer bugger it up for you (to a far greater degree of accuracy.)



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.