Robert Hampton

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It’s My Life

30th December 2012

Happy New Tube
Posted by at 8.55pm | It's My Life | No responses

A couple of people have asked if I have any New Year’s Resolutions, and I have answered “no”. I stopped making them, as history has shown that I am about as good at sticking to them as Nick Clegg is to a promise (POLITICAL SATIRE).

However, I’ve realised that there is one resolution which I do want to make and really hope I can keep: that is, stop wasting so much time on the internet.

You see, between the 502 Group, my Open University course and my oft-threatened but so far unimplemented desire to do some proper creative writing (not to mention my surprisingly existent social life), I have quite a few commitments that I’m… er, committed to. In theory, I have plenty of time to get it all done: I usually get home from work around 7pm; factor in an hour or so for mealtime and that gives me four hours or so of spare time every evening to get stuff done.

However, more often than not, that free time dwindles to zero very rapidly. And it’s all because of this:

YouTube Related Videos

Yes, there is no bigger devourer of time on this planet than YouTube’s “related videos” sidebar. I can click on a perfectly reasonable link on Facebook or Twitter (two more time-sucking web sites, but let’s leave them to one side for now) and watch a very informative and useful video for five minutes.

However, in that sidebar, there is usually at least one video with an intriguing title, or curiosity-provoking thumbnail. I click on it and it takes me to another video page, with its own tantalising sidebar of videos. And so on, until I disappear entirely into a vortex of streaming Flash video.

I’m serious. I have lost hours at a time to that sidebar. I’ll go as far as to venture that, if YouTube et al had been around when I was at school, I’d have come out of my GCSEs with a G grade at best (assuming I was able to spell my name correctly on the paper).

I know, I know – I should just turn off the internet for a couple of hours. However, I’ve come to realise that I don’t have the discipline to do this. Instead I’ll sit there, clicking away. A funny sketch from Whose Line is it Anyway? leads on to a railway video which leads on to a great music video. Each time I’ll say, “just one more, then I’ll do something useful.”

Basically I need some discipline (not in an S&M sense, but that could be fun too). Will 2013 be the year I finally acquire some self-control? Let’s hope so!

22nd December 2012

Age and YouTube
Posted by at 7.50pm | It's My Life | 1 response

A new vlog! In which I survive the Mayan apocalypse, ponder whether I’m too old to mess about on YouTube, and put something in my mouth that makes me choke. All in the space of three minutes. Blimey.

9th December 2012

Goals! You’re indestructible…
Posted by at 1.44pm | It's My Life | 4 responses

I just bought a new Apple iMac to replace my ageing PC. Before I can immerse myself in the Jobsian goodness, however, I have to carry out the tedious process of copying all my stuff off the old computer and onto the new. All 60 gigabytes of it.

The last few times I’ve bought a new computer, it has been a Windows-to-Windows upgrade, so I have just copied the My Documents folder over en masse. Since I’m switching platforms as well, I decided to go for a more methodical approach and organise my files more neatly. So I have been rummaging through various ancient folders which have not been clicked on for years – my Christmas list for 2008, anyone?

I found a file called Goal List.txt, dated May 2004. It appears to contain a list of things that I want to do with my life. I think this was an attempt by 21-year-old me to try and give myself some focus, with a set of achievable, realistic goals.

  1. Write something (a book, TV show etc) that makes people sit up and take notice
  2. Become an actor and perform in a fulfilling role.
  3. Make a difference to the world.
  4. Tour the UK’s rail network.
  5. Visit Canada.
  6. Appear on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
  7. Make a living doing something I enjoy.
  8. Above all, become a person who likes himself.
  9. Preserve a Merseyrail class 507 and 508 EMU for posterity.


27th November 2012

What I did today
Posted by at 12.21am | It's My Life | 1 response

I decided to treat myself to a Toy Story box set. Let’s face it: who better to spend money on in the run-up to Christmas than myself?

But when I went to Amazon, it told me that I had already ordered it. I have absolutely no memory of buying this item or receiving it, much less actually watching the films.

I thought maybe I had bought it as a gift for someone else and then forgotten about it. Then, however, I found the offending Blu-ray discs under the TV in my bedroom. Still in the parcel. Unopened. Since August.

I think I’m going slightly mad.

20th November 2012

This time it’s personal
Posted by at 11.42pm | It's My Life, Meta | 1 response

We’re just over four months away from “celebrating” the tenth anniversary of this blog. 22 March 2013 will mark a decade of my writing borderline nonsense on a little corner of the Internet.

The only problem is, I’m not sure I want to carry on for much longer. Ten years is starting to feel less like a milestone, and more like a millstone. Around my neck, that is.

Read the rest of this post »

8th September 2012

Park Bench
Posted by at 11.20pm | It's My Life | No responses

A little gem of a film I stumbled across on YouTube:-

I am the guy in this video. Too timid to approach someone, too shy to make the move, too nervous about what might happen. And then, afterwards, kicking myself for doing nothing.

At Liverpool Pride, I was in a pub where I saw a guy eyeing me up. It was so obvious even I noticed it. And yet, despite the cajoling of my friends (who even offered a pen and paper for me to give him my number), I couldn’t pluck up the courage to talk to him.

I’m sure in twenty years time, when I’m celebrating my 15th anniversary, I’ll look back on those missed opportunities and laugh.

Well, maybe.

5th September 2012

Thoughts on Thirty
Posted by at 11.01pm | It's My Life | No responses

I’ll admit, I wasn’t looking forward to my thirtieth birthday. I didn’t want to cross over that threshold beyond which 80% of Grindr users won’t give you a second look.

Also, there’s the nagging sense that I haven’t achieved much in the first three decades in my life. There was so much that I wanted to see and do and I felt like I missed out somewhat.

So, I was feeling a little bit down in the dumps first thing this morning. However, an outpouring of love and generous gifts from family and friends has changed all that. Work surprised me with a small horde of gifts and a giant card signed by everyone. Thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes.

Birthday presents

Today has brought home that I’m surrounded by people who care about me. Whatever else happens (or doesn’t), I’ll always have that. Suddenly, growing old (dis)gracefully doesn’t seem so bad after all.

13th January 2012

At Peace
Posted by at 11.14pm | It's My Life | No responses

Yesterday, at just after 3pm, my Auntie Betty passed away. Her death came after a long illness and was expected for quite some time, but it is still a very sad time here at the moment.

I visited her in hospital a couple of weeks ago, with my Dad. She was sedated and confused, so opportunity for conversation was limited. He just sat and held her hand, communicating more than words ever could.

Betty and Dad

For the last week, my Dad and his other sister spent every waking minute with Betty. Wealth and riches may come and go, but a loving family is forever.

1st January 2012

The Day After New Year’s Eve

2012 promises more than just the collapse of global capitalism and the fulfilment of ancient Mayan prophecies as foretold in a terrible film. Here (in no particular order) is what I’m looking forward to this year.

Liverpool Central reborn

Artist's impression of new Liverpool CentralLiverpool Central was highlighted in a damning report as one of the ten worst interchange stations in the UK, news which came as a surprise to no-one who has used the station. It’s dank, dirty and overcrowded – not good for Liverpool’s busiest station and hub of the Merseyrail network.

Change is finally coming this year; the squeaky escalators, brown formica panelling and chewing gum encrusted platforms will soon be swept away in favour of something rather more modern. It remains to be seen whether the refurbishment will solve the station’s main problem – that of the Northern Line platforms being just too damn narrow – but let’s face it, it could hardly be worse than it is now. The station will be closed for up to six months this year, which will be a lot of upheaval (especially for my daily commute, as Central is by far the nearest station to work). There’s no doubt, however, that it will be worth it in the long run.

Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD

TNG is celebrating its 25th anniversary, which – as well as making me feel really old – is the perfect opportunity to launch the remastered HD version of the series, to be released on Blu-ray this year. Normally I’d be thinking “oh hurray, a chance to buy the stuff I already own on DVD all over again,” but I’m refraining from this, because the video on CBS’s web site (linked above) looks gorgeous. The big question remains: will they manage to edit the racism out of Code of Honor?

The 2012 Olympics

Yes, really. Yes, it’s a horrendously expensive event which is taking away vital funds at a time of austerity. Yes, the capital will be a nightmare to live, work and travel in for the duration. And yes, the city will be a fortress where anyone dark skinned can expect to be Tasered within an inch of their life. But the pomp and spectacle of the opening ceremony will be amazing; a once-in-a-lifetime event for this country. It’s a shame I failed to get tickets, but I now have a Freeview HD box and frankly, 1080p is just as good as being there. Hopefully it will be Ken, not Boris, who represents London as mayor at the ceremony.

I won’t be watching any of the sport, of course. Well, maybe the men’s diving. Definitely the men’s diving.

Festival Gardens opening

In 1984 the Government gave Liverpool a ton of money to create a beautiful riverside park, complete with miniature railway, Japanese gardens and futuristic dome. The International Garden Festival was a huge success, attracting visitors from all over the country and leaving a lasting legacy for the people of Merseyside. Or rather, it would have, had the Militant-controlled city council not allowed the park to close and fall into disrepair. It’s a huge embarrassment to Liverpool that this was allowed to happen, especially after the Japanese government, horrified that their gift to the city had become overgrown with weeds, threatened a diplomatic incident.

Now, after 25 years of closure (excluding the brief existence of the amusement arcade/scally magnet Pleasure Island, which closed due to being shit) the Festival Gardens are about to come to life again. The opening, originally pencilled in for Summer 2011, has been delayed by almost a year due to various issues, but is finally expected to happen in the Spring. I’ve peeked through the locked gates to the park and it looks rather special. The Liverpool Echo got a rather more close-up view.


Following my jaunt to Tallinn last year, there will hopefully be at least one overseas trip this year as well. Like Joseph Stalin in 1944, I have my sights firmly set on Berlin. I’m also planning more Station Master excursions. Altnabreac, I’m coming for you!

I promise to be more active with my blogging this year: there will be blogs, tweets and videos from me throughout 2012, I promise.

31st December 2011

2011 – more like Twenty E-Heaven!
Posted by at 5.04pm | It's My Life | No responses

2011 will surely be remembered as the year I lost my blogging mojo. Certainly from August until mid-December, there has been a dearth of postings. Well, it has been a quiet time in the world, after all.

The lack of activity here on the site is in stark contrast to the activity in my life. There’s been a hell of a lot going on for me – I just, er, didn’t tell you about it.

Travel was on the agenda: this was the year I left the UK for the first time in 25 years, when I visited visited Estonia. Less exotically, I started my Station Master blog (currently in hibernation, but back with a bang in 2012, I promise). I also found time in September to celebrate my birthday with a weekend in London, and had a smashing day out in, er, Birmingham.

Yes, 2011 was the year I got out and about a lot. I didn’t even allow the swiping of my iPhone, by an expert pickpocket, to dissaude me.

I got up close and personal(ish) with McFly at their Liverpool concert, after my friend Andrew got tickets. I also saw Beautiful Thing, in its original stage incarnation, in Manchester. I failed, however, to get tickets to the Olympics.

An event which required no tickets was Liverpool Pride, which was great fun despite a funding shortfall which enforced a change of location. 2011 was really the year when “gay” really did mean “happy” for me. The cap on it all came in the Autumn, when I gained and then lost a boyfriend (it lasted only a few months, but the important thing is it happened).

Finally, with only days to go, I fulfilled one of my new year resolutions for 2011, by doing a videoblog – believe it or not, this grainy, poorly-lit video promises great things for the future.

So that was 2011. Hopefully 2012 will be just as, if not more rewarding for me. Maybe I’ll even write a blog post or two about it. Or not. Happy New Year everybody!