This blog is a thing of wonder. I enjoy writing it.
I get to write in a fluid medium about places I’ve been and my research on mortuary archaeology and early medieval archaeology. Yet also I can write about interpretations of death, burial and commemoration more broadly relating to the distant past, but also death in the recent past and today. Furthermore, I use the blog to critique or commend heritage sites, memorial landscapes, museum displays and art installations. If that ain’t enough for you, I also consider the portrayal of death and the dead in popular fiction and television series from Game of Thrones to Vikings. I can even write about parallels between the Holocaust and The Walking Dead – not once but twice – and the internet community doesn’t even flinch.
You know why? Because it’s all part of the broader study of archaeology, mortality and material culture. Some people just don’t get it. I’ve been told to ‘get a life’ (an extraordinary request) recently. However, many do get it, and many seem to enjoy the range of issues and subjects I address in this public medium.
And yet you know what has ruffled the feathers of academic colleagues more than anything so far this year? In fact, ruffled more feathers than any post since I wrote about Donald Trump? A post about coffee.
It seems the consumption of coffee (and other beverages) and the use of cafes as a venue to hold academic meetings is clearly above reproach to many. Still, I’ve labelled it bad/problematic academic practice, at least if used in excess and for meetings that might relate to sensitive subjects and require intense and detailed discussions. We all deserve breaks in our workplace, but meetings should be ideally held in offices or meeting rooms, not in cafes.
I admit I’ve responded by editing a few bits for clarity and I’ve also toned down some of the sweary bits of the original post, but the post will remain.
Now, what of the future?
Well, I’m now trying my second day of coffee-free office-based meetings at the University. I have my cup of green tea in a Horrible Histories mug – a generous gift from a former student – and I move on with my life. You know I might still occasionally drink tea, coffee or hot chocolate in a University cafe, but not today hombres! I’m with the Viking green tea all the way!
And you know what? It feels good!