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.


  1. Replies
    1. God bless you Bob! (And all who sail in you.)

    2. Haha! I am depressed now... :-)an excellent speech

  2. She was passing by to fill the urn and casually tossed 'that's Dedalusianly brilliant' over my shoulder. 'Certainly not ginger' i agreed.

  3. I only got halfway through that Joyce tome before giving up. Never found out whodunnit. Don't ruin the surprise for me, I intend to finish it when I retire.

  4. Retire? If we must have a Jesus let us have a legitimate Jesus

    1. I think the best I can manage is an illegitimate 'Jaysus'

    2. And Bob Geldof had that one sorted long ago.

  5. oh feckin 'ell - so try 'History, Bob (or maybe Stephen) said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake'

  6. Joyce was a mechanic. Had a garage in Paris. He stripped down phrases and reengineered them completely. You should have seen him fasten the nuts on a filthy expression.
    Scrotumtightening he called it.

  7. Snotgreen an all - the unfacts, did we possess them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude

  8. doesyourchewinggumloseitsflavouronthebedpostovernight

  9. you callin me a pretentious twat?

  10. If I wanted to do that I would just call you a pretentious twat!
    I just thought the idea of fusing Lonnie Donegan with James Joyce had some comical purchase.
    Incongruity animates a part of my brain that stirs all too rarely. Everyday oddities make me roar with laughter, the stuff most people choose to ignore completely. I was once in a fish and chip shop in Terenure, around midnight, as the pubs were closing, a drunken gentleman staggered in and put his elbow on the polished melamine counter, he squares up the gentleman behind it and slurs 'I'll have fish and chips . . . . . without the fish . . .' The gentleman serving says, (in quite a strong Italian accent - think Chico Marx,) 'Wha? You wanta fish and cheeps weedout dee cheeps - you mean you justa wanta dee cheeps?' The drunk turns, looks at me in a confused fashion, returns his bleary stare to the gentleman behind the counter and repeats: 'I'll have fish and chips -without the fish . . .' There was only one concept available to his addled brain everything else was a reduction of it.
    Maybe you don't find that funny - but it made me bellow.
    It all happened five minutes walk from Joyce's birthplace.
    And no, I don't go in for insulting people like that on the WWW. I'm always glad of kind comments.

  11. Slow down cowboy. I was going to say 'is it cus i'm black' but i wanted to be post-modern.

  12. The Devil's not so black as he's painted - but if I'm being post-modern that could mean anything. Joyce had a children's book called 'The Cat and the Devil . . . I excavated across the road from the pub where Finnegans Wake took place (in Jemmy's head,) We found Ireland's earliest upright mill. So you could say me and Joyce go way back, early medieval.

    Know any reputable commissioning editors?

    1. I know a winding road and i will leave a signpost for them.
      Deepest respect....

    2. -God bless you, my child. Pray for me

  13. Looking at my archaeology career, I want to cry... but bless you, you make me laugh every time!

    1. I try not to look at my archaeology career, if my eyes are hungry for disasters I watch the news. As an old friend once explained to me - when things are utterly crap the last thing you can enjoy is the misery of others!



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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.