This is not just a list of stuff I’ve done in the past, this is a chronicling of my rise to power.
I here bring you my story so far as Honorary Editor of the Royal Archaeological Institute’s Archaeological Journal. I’ll leave others to print the legend, here’s the truth straight from the editor’s mouth and nose.
With the arrival of the print edition of vol. 172 of the Archaeological Journal, the first produced in partnership between the RAI and Taylor & Francis as recently discussed here, it’s time to kick off my shoes, give a little stretch, and a bend, and reflect on the journey thus far.
I choose not to rest on my laurels or humbly stay quiet about my modest endeavours. Instead, I aim to celebrate via blog my huge editorial awesomeness (at least in my own mind) for all to read. Here I outline the long and lonesome road of the last 3 years.
Fame found me in 2011 when I was recruited by the great Professor Richard Hingley to stand in for him at a gig as Reviews Editor for the RAI. I then took over from the legendary metal god Patrick Ottaway, having previously honed by editing skills under his iron-fisted tutelage as Assistant Editor for vol. 168. I asked the RAI: ‘who has the knowledge, and the elbow grease, to lead the journal to a new land? All right I’ll do it!’.
Patrick gave me much sage advice but it remained a steep learning curve. The fans were loyal and Patrick had done a great job, so it would be a tough job to blow their minds as Hon. Ed.
My first volume I edited was vol. 169 for 2012, first published on the journal’s old schedule in the year after that appearing on the cover, in September 2013. I overhauled the editorial process. I also introduced an Editorial for the first time, co-written with my newly appointed Assistant Editor, subsequently to have her role re-named as Reviews Editor, Dr Kate Waddington.
Kate and I encountered many shiny demons on that long and lonesome road, but we managed to produce the second longest Archaeological Journal. As well as a bumper book review section, there was a Review Article and 13 original articles with topics spanning from the Neolithic ceremonial complex in Somerset to a Second World War battle training landscape in Suffolk.
Check it out here: I am very pleased with it and critics hail it as a ground-breaking masterpiece of techno metal with ska influences fused with a textured mix of early ’70s prog rock virtuosities.
In addition, I edited the Summer Meeting Report for Liverpool and South Lancashire, compiled by Professor David Breeze. It is available to members in print copy and now available for download here.
The Pick of Destiny – Vol. 170 for 2013
By this time I’d begun to learn the dark craft of editing, aided by the power of rock squats. Also, it became clear I had to shift the schedule of the Journal to allay the widespread misconception that it appears ‘late’. Like wizards, the journal is never late, it arrives just when it is reaching its peak of being most awesome. Still, vol. 170 was planned to come out in the spring of 2014 and it had to be shorter than vol. 169. Still, I was keen to ensure that vol. 169’s positive reception wouldn’t leave me being a one-hit wonder.
As well as a healthy Book Review section and introduced by my second Editorial with Kate, there were 7 original articles spanning from the Neolithic of West Penwith to the Anglo-Saxon chapel at Bradford on Avon. Explore the content here.
The supplement to vol. 170, the Summer Meeting Report for Frankfurt am Main, was compiled by Professor David Breeze and I edited it.
Sadly, there was one minor balls up with one map in vol. 170 which still annoys me. Otherwise I think this volume was really smart. Hitting the charts earlier than expected, sales crept up rapidly and the critics liked the stripped-down sound and the less polished production, giving this a more garage early White Stripes feel than vol. 169.
The second volume in the same year, vol. 171 was back to a longer journal, with some multi-part compositions reminiscent of early Yes. Still, not as long as vol. 169, vol. 171 retain the popular appeal of vol. 170 and saw me playing flute as well as lead vocals.
Again with an Editorial and significant book review section, there were 12 original articles, with papers on the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman period, Middle Ages and the Modern World. Vol. 171 appeared in September 2014, this was the third volume in a 12 month period and the first to appear in print in the year on its cover.
Vol. 171 was the last Archaeological Journal produced without a major commercial publisher; it was the end of an era but even greater global fame was to come.
It was not without its niggles. It was also the first Archaeological Journal (and I hope the last) for which I received an angry letter from a reader criticising my editing. Part of the learning curve, and with great fame comes great responsibility, and annoying whingers come out of the archaeological woodwork.
Yet the beating heart of an editor cannot be quelched, by a failure or an embarassment, no way no! This volume represents a homecoming to my archaeological roots, incorporating some sombre acoustic numbers, special guest appearances from blues greats, and an editorial slickness incorporating jazz-inspired drum improvisations. If you listen closely, you can even hear the metronome
IV – Vol. 172 for 2015
Critics hailed the arrival of my fourth Archaeological Journal, supported for the first time by mainstream marketing and a new deal with international label Taylor & Francis (Routledge). The Journal reached out to a new audience as well as its long-established fan-base. Some critics called it a ‘tour de force of symphonic rock’, others cited diverse prog influences from early Eloy and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. Yes, I can here exclusively confirm that I did utilise a mellotron as used by Barclay James Harvest’s Woolly Wolstenholme on the track ‘Mockingbird’ for part of the editing.
The awesome Lynne Meskell, a little know character called Michael Shanks and personal friend Dave Grohl all wanted to publish in this volume. Sadly, somehow their contributions were lost somewhere in the worldwide ether. Instead, I published 11 superb original articles joined by a Review Article, Book Reviews and Editorial, with the greatest chronological span yet ranging from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages.
Into the Future?
I have two more volumes of the journal to edit before I retire and hand over my editorial cape and sceptre (and smaller ones for Kate’s successor, although at the moment she is going to stay on as Reviews Ed.). In that time, I have new submissions and new formats promised, including digital supplementals and a worldwide reach to allow exciting new editorial vistas.
Look out for vol. 173 for 2016 in two online instalments in January and June 2016!