Interviews of the Not So Rich and Famous - Ep9 - Alun

Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Hey! Look who it is! Our second favourite Welshman (sorry, Sir Tom will always be No.1), Alun. I was introduced to Alun's blog through the fabulous Candy Minx and was instantly hooked. European men interested in ancient history? Sign me up. He's extremely intelligent with a fabulously dry sense of humour, and not without his fare share of charm. While he doesn't run around with a fedora, bullwhip and a face full of five o'clock shadow on a day to day basis, he comes from the land of the man whose voice sets my loins on fire. Uh oh. Too much info. the interview!

1. Name, country, sock colour
Alun, Texas Lightning, black. All socks should be black. It makes it so much easier to find a pair when they come out of the washing machine.

2. Archaeo...what?
It was supposed to be ArchaeoGastronomy, visiting ancient places and having gourmet meals. Unfortunately there was a typo in the form I filled in so now I'm stuck working on Atlantis which is no place for a person with a seafood allergy.

3. Tell us a little bit about your thesis topic.
I'm looking to see if there's an astronomical fingerprint in the way Greeks laid out their temples that marks something special about Greek cities Sicily that makes it easy to see they're Greek rather than Roman or Sicilian. It could make a difference because a lot of 'em look Greek, but were there Greeks settling down, or did just the Greek men arrive kill the native men and take the women? Or did something else happen.

4. Now tell us a little bit about your thesis topic in plain English.
I go to Mediterranean islands, drink Italian wine and once I've drunk enough type something incoherent about ancient sex into my computer.

5. Is Danger really your middle name?
It is now. It was legally changed. On my birth certificate it's 0223-587-482. The registrar needed to make a note of a phone number and didn't have a scrap of paper handy. It's a common problem with people of a certain age born in a certain hospital. Don't just take my word for it. Ask Bronwen Don't-forget-the-milk Jones.

6. How could you possibly have failed Home Economics? Is it somehow different than home economics in North America (ie: sewing, cooking, etc)?
I'm told it was when my cheese straws hit the ceiling. Personally I think it was the time I forgot to add milk to the chocolate fudge recipe and the result was confiscated under the school's no-weapons policy. Just Home Economics was just cooking. No sewing given the weapons problem.

7. Just how long are you going to take to finish your Ph.d?
A few minutes longer than I would have if I'd ignored this question. Several months longer than if I ignored *everyone* who asks this question :)

8. One of the most popular posts on your website is entitled "Ancient Sex Symbol Discovered, or is this just a Phallusy". Please enlighten the rest of us.
See question 4.

9. The now standard dinner-related question: if you could have a meal with any archaeologist (dead or alive/real or imaginary), who would it be, would you have the soup or salad, and who picks up the tab?
I think I'd have a meal with an archaeologist who has a job just like the one I want. I wouldn't have the soup.

10. Your blog seems to get a lot of hits from people searching for "Britney Spears". Is there something you'd like to share with us?
Yes Wales has just won the Grand Slam. Hurrah! It's the second time in four years. Between them Wales and Ireland have shared the last five Triple Crowns. For a couple of months I can believe they're a good team - until they're hammered by South Africa this summer. Sharing Britney sounds unhygienic. You can keep her.

11. What would you say to someone who claims that archaeology (and other related social sciences, yours included) is a load of nonsense which can't be proven and made up by a bunch of stodgy old farts who can't get a date?
I'll have you know some of us are barely middle-aged! Besides if we weren't safely ensconced in ivory bunkers we'd be out there lowering the tone of your favourite nightclubs with our tweed jackets. Imagine the horror. You're getting down and dirty on the dancefloor to the slamming sounds of top Scottish rapper McHammer (or whoever's currently in vogue with the youth of today) and then you hear someone behind you tweaking their handlebar moustache.

12. Are you excited to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or is Harrison Ford too old to play Indy any more?
I want to see 10000BC, but I'll wait till it's on the telly. You're never to old to play Indy. I'll wait and see what the reviews of the film are like before I see it. Last Crusade was brilliant, but my life doesn't need another Temple of Doom.

13. Who would win in a fight to the death: Howard Carter or Flinders Petrie?
Carter dec. 1939. Petrie dec. 1942, so I reckon Carter got to the death faster. Besides he always struck as being a Mummy's boy.

14. Antikythera Mechanism: Astronomical Calculator or Ancient Slot Machine?
It was Hero of Alexandria who made the slot machines. It's said that at one temple you could put a coin in a slot and the machine would dispense a trickle of holy water to wash yourself. The Antikythera Mechanism is at the very least a calculator, but that doesn't do it justice. The way the gears interconnect makes it one of those special places where science and art are the same thing.

15. What is the one thing about Archaeoastronomy that the nonacademic world needs to know that will change their lives forever?
It's a disappointingly low score in Scrabble, even on a triple word score. Too many vowels. I want to get 'zalmoxism' (worship of the god Zalmoxis) into the Collins dictionary. Or possibly 'qgjpmkm' because I get that a lot.


Wandering Coyote said...

Another great interview! I love the picture, too!

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