Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Tuesday 22 January 2013


This archaeological blogging business has conferred stardom, like a shining crown, upon my willing brow. The sheer weight of universal fame, under which I now humbly stagger, has provoked many esteemed universities to beg my attendance at their conferring ceremonies in order that I might speak and bestow a few beads of wisdom upon the newly contrived archaeologists being evacuated from their hallowed halls - and occasion has compelled me to formulate the following speech in order to satisfy their necessitous demands:

(Darkened hall. Spotlight on Author. Top hat is removed. Throat clearing noises, silken handkerchief flits briefly across glistening forehead.)
My fellow children of the Stygian mud, as I behold this room full of newborn archaeologists, my eyes cannot help but dandle on those trowels clasped in your eager meathooks, and I say grip well those steely utensils, the rest of your professional life will see you scraping the bottom of the barrel and a trowel knows no equal when it comes to carrying out that humiliating task. We may only pray, as you scour your way though that timber hogshead, backside raised heavenwards, that nobody will seek to take advantage of your inviting position.
(Author looks at graduates through narrowed eyes and makes rapid biting motions a la Hannibal Lecter.)
But enough talk of scraping barrel parts lest we wind up scratching our hoops - and instead we will look towards the future. - Yes, we as a profession, stand poised at a historic crossroads, behind us lies the past (and who gives a monkey's about that anyway,) while before us, on the road to the left, awaits archaeology, aye fond archaeology, rent asunder - nay - raped by wanton capitalist greed. On the road to the right lies much the same arrangement - but this time accessorized with beige curtains. We may only hope that providence will show us the correct path to choose.
The more astute amongst you may have spotted that the previous metaphor of a crossroads was wholly deficient, really I should have said 'a fork in the road,' but in answer to this I would say I am an archaeologist on a podium and in that sense, I truly haven't a clue what I'm talking about. But at least I have the prudence and cojones to admit it.
Still Life with Man in Top Hat Jamming a Stick in His Eye in the Endless Pursuit of Bigger Thrills
At some point in this contemptible whine I suppose I should add that life is not fair. From my own experience I would venture that life is ginger, with bad skin and stands approximately about five foot one in height (while wearing platform boots,) hence the old saying 'Life is too short.' Now put that in your pipe and smoke it. Although, when the discussion digresses to pipes, it may be more helpful if the average digger considers themselves to be the pipe. -  A simple musical pipe. - A total one-eyed flute for accepting wages similar to those doled out in Chinese factories. Which is extraordinary because excavating archaeological sites is one trade that can never be outsourced to a cheaper country, not without a fucking big wheelbarrow anyway. Although we may already be passengers on the fucking big wheelbarrow - and headed straight for the fucking big spoilheap. Who knows?
Apologies for using the 'fuck' word, I was warned not to do it, I did it anyway, it tends to happen when you are Irish and invited to speak publicly. But who cares? Not me. I'm only here for the money.
(Author's hand reaches into loincloth and jingles spare change in order to impress bursar's wife.)
If you see a nice bus and you don't feel like giving it a big hug
I say you grew up and got boring.
So there.
And so, in summation, I would like to quote Steve Jobs by saying, 'You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.' I really couldn't care less what Old Jobbie meant when he spouted that baloney but the good news is that I don't have to, and neither do you - because we are ARCHAEOLOGISTS and we will NEVER be able to afford an iPad. (These days I'm glad of having a slate and chalk.)
However, fear not the grim reality of our situation, let us follow our dream! But if that dream leads you down the bottom of a deep, stinking, Medieval ditch (for mingin' wages) might I make so bold as to suggest your dream has fled and left you following a nightmare?
So it's time to wake up Darling.
You've drooled all over the pillow.

Thank you for your time, it's been an absolute pleasure, which is a very telling reflection on the overall quality of my life.
(Low bow. Burst of applause. Author passes his top hat among the crowd before being chased out of hall. Loincloth is abandoned in pursuit.)

Tell Laura I Love Her.
'Til next time at least.

Tuesday 8 January 2013


Financially speaking, the last few New Years have given me a feeling akin to looking over the edge of a very high cliff.
Happy New Year Chums - most of my Irish readers will no doubt be familiar with Old Moore's Almanac, a stirring publication, filled with tidal tables, horoscopes and most importantly - predictions for the year ahead. Over the centuries congregations of single Irish farmers (living in peat-smoked cottages at the end of saturated bog tracks) greeted it's yearly arrival with relief, as it allowed them a brief respite from unpeeling the firmly cemented problem pages in their stockpiles of Woman's Weekly. It is as a tribute to these lonely bucolic gentlemen (and Old Moore himself) that I offer these few humble predictions for 2013 to archaeologists everywhere.
I should begin by saying that in hindsight, prediction is not an exact science, in foresight however, nobody knows the difference, so in the spirit of the latter allow me to begin:

*2013 will see the end of heated debates between Processualists and Post-Processualists - angry discussions will instead centre on whether it is apt to follow a main course of fondue with a cheese board.

*ALL OF US will learn to make do with less - so that there will be more for HIM.

*On site fun and frolics will abound with the following context sheets becoming de rigeur.

*Health and safety regulations will demand that archaeologists wear a half pound of raw mince under each armpit.

*Engineers will continue to decide how archaeologists conduct their excavations. Those engineery types do, after all is said and done, have their heads screwed on, everything else screwed down, and they know a thing or two about screwing the living bejeezuz out of archaeology too.


*Nameless E.U. officials will elect Robert Mugabe as European Minister for Heritage. Mugabe will follow a course of action much like he has done in Zimbabwe - this will cause a palpable improvement in Archaeology.

*In a bid to combat cancers caused by obesity the tobacco industry will introduce low fat cigarettes.

*Bookmakers worldwide will continue to run an extemely profitable business - proving Bayesian Inference to be a load of hooey flapdoodle.

*The Great Hoor of Babylon, arrayed in purple ski pants, will ride on a five legged squid (baked off its ass) - or thereabouts. - I must admit I'm wary about that one - but everything else is bang on the nail.
Bang, bang and bang again.
That's three bangs.
In case you weren't counting.
At least that's how they sing it in Nobber, Co. Meath.
'Til we meet again mud-muffins!


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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.