Friday, 12 December 2008

UK "Metal Detectorist" Reactions

Two days ago a really awful new video appeared on You Tube. In it Norwegian "metal detectorist" Gary Brun dressed in an ill-fitting dinner jacket and bow tie holds a metal detector while jigging frenetically around behind a microphone while a series of photos flash on and off a monitor behind him. He is lip-syncing (badly) a version (the Michael Bublé version) of the classic Frank Sinatra song "Call me irresponsible" but with the lyrics altered to refer to... well, what on earth is it about? It seems to be a personal attack on Roger Bland and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and refers in some oblique way to the UK Detector Finds Database and the Code of Responsible Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales. Quite what possessed him to do that is anyone's guess.

About the same time a new heritage-related blog appeared. It is supposed to be (at least that's what it says in the heading) a "response" to this one. It is called "Paul M. [sic] Barford and Barfordisation" which rather suggests that its author does not really intend to discuss the issues raised here so much (i.e., the sort of "response" one might expect from somebody aiming to dispel doubts which might be raised by some of the issues discussed here), as discuss the person of the writer. This is typical. Both of these "responses" take issues which should be being discusse and try to dismiss them by means of deflecting the discussion to personal attack.

It is interesting that the author of the new blog takes care to maintain anonymity, his Google profile says only he is based in Monmouth and he claims to be a metal detectorist who is "Middle aged, middle class, professional working in the field of law". I really do not think that somebody who has not the guts to put his name under what he writes need be treated seriously here. Let's see whether he has anything to say that is relevant to the public debate on artefact hunting and collecting.

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