Robert Hampton

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30th December 2015

All Good Things
Posted by at 7.00pm | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

Changed Priorities Ahead

It might have been an omen. On Monday afternoon I tried to log in to put the finishing touches to this post, only to find my blog was inaccessible due to a database snafu at my web hosting provider. The site was restored by this morning, but for 36 hours I was worried that twelve years of blogging had gone down the swanee. (Backups? What are they?)

I started this blog back in March 2003. In that pre-Twitter world, all the cool kids had blogs. I wanted to be a cool kid, so I bought myself some hosting, installed Movable Type (remember that?) and off I went.

Back then, things were rather uncertain for me. I was lonely and rather bitter about the way things were going for me. The one thing I had was my words, and the one outlet for my feelings and opinions was this web site. Through it I found my voice, albeit one that was shaky and unsure at times. I made friends and shared experiences, both good and bad.

And now, over twelve years later, it’s time to stop.

Wait… whaaaat?

Read the rest of this post »

30th September 2013

Public Service Announcement
Posted by at 8.32pm | Meta | No responses

My friend Scott (aka the Mersey Tart) has been nominated for an award. Over 500 bloggers entered the Blog North Awards, and he made the shortlist.

For the uninitiated, Scott’s blog Round the north we go has been running since 2007. He set out to visit and write about every station on the Merseyrail map. When he’d done that, he just kept going. The end result is a love letter to the railways, borne of a level of dedication that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Every blog post is chock full of observations both whimsical and scathing. It’s a joy to read.

Also, if it weren’t for Scott’s station blogging, he and I would probably never have met, thus depriving the world of the greatest double act since PJ and Duncan. Now that has to be worth a vote, surely?

I don’t want to sound like those hectoring interstitials on dreadful programmes like Loose Women, shamelessly begging for votes in the TV Quick Awards or whatever they’re called. Yes, Scott’s a friend of mine, but in this case it really would be a deserved win. Voting closes tomorrow, so be quick!

If you like Scott’s blog, go to blognorthawards.com/vote and vote for “Round The North We Go” in the Best Personal Blog category. Thank you.

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 »

10th October 2011

How Hampo hasn’t got his groove back
Posted by at 11.14pm | It's My Life, Meta | 2 responses

This blog is feeling a bit neglected lately. That’s not because I’ve given up on web-based wibblings – far from it. It’s just that I’m having much more fun posting snarky asides on Twitter and writing about backwater railway stations.

But what of here, where I blog about “about anything that interests me: mainly culture, Liverpool, politics, trains and a whole lot more besides”? I’m finding it hard to write stuff on this blog because, frankly, who cares? Well, I’m sure some people do, but I’m not sure I do any more.

The BBC blog from a couple of days ago is a case in point. I was angry and wanted to say something, but when I tried to express myself, it didn’t translate well and I had trouble coming up with something vaguely readable. For me to get satisfaction from blogging, it’s got to be either (a) amusing or (b) well-argued and coherent, otherwise I’m just another semi-literate person mashing the keyboard with his fists. That would be good enough for RightMinds, but not for me.

This may be just a temporary blip. In any event, I’ve just paid to renew my web hosting, so I’m stuck with this until October 2013 at least!

23rd March 2011

What do you want from me?
Posted by at 4.55pm | Meta | 1 response

Yesterday marked 107 years of electric train services between Liverpool and Southport, but I missed an even more important anniversary: my first post on this blog (which annoyingly is numbered 2 in the archives for some reason).

Yes, it was eight years ago yesterday that I first mashed the keyboard with my fists to send my thoughts over the internet. Over the years my audience has steadily grown, to the point where at least three or four people are reading regularly. I hope you are enjoying my frothy mix of trains, comments on the news, snippets from my life, trains, a smattering of gay issues, stupid jokes, trains and trains. Oh, and there’s stuff about trains.

Since I joined Twitter, the blog has changed a bit. Some subjects, about which I would have written a short blog post, are instead being dealt with in Tweet form. That means that the volume of blog posts has decreased, but hopefully the quality of what I am writing is still good. I’m also thinking about whether I should make more use of YouTube and start videoblogging.

So to my regular readers, what do you want to see me write about in the blog? Silly stuff? Trains? Gay rights? Stories from my life? Incredulous rants about the news? Stuff about the telly?

Should I focus on one area rather than the mish-mash which is on here at the moment? Should I tweet less and blog more? Would you like to see my big fat face on YouTube? I want to know what you think, so leave a comment.

2nd January 2011

Site for Sore Eyes
Posted by at 1.03am | Meta | 1 response

Well, there we go, the new design is now live. If you’re reading via the RSS site feed or Facebook, click through to the site proper to see it.

I think it’s beyond doubt that the site needed a revamp. Frankly, the yellow was starting to hurt my eyes. The last redesign was over six years ago – I found references to Movable Type, the blogging software I ditched in 2005, in the templates.

Some pages buried deep in dusty corners of the site still have the old design and I will get to them… eventually.

There will probably be lots of tweaks and adjustments to be made over the coming weeks. Overall, though, I think it’s a big improvement. What do you think? Comments are, of course, welcome.

If you hate the new look, bear in mind that it can never look as shit as this short-lived effort from 2004.

11th February 2010

Weakest Link
Posted by at 8.30pm | Meta | No responses

It appears that most of the web site (this one, that you’re reading right now) has broken. The blog appears to be OK, but everything else is throwing up PHP errors. Please bear with me while I try to fix it.

30th March 2008

What I did instead of talking to people
Posted by at 2.03am | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

Not a good idea to upgrade WordPress at half past midnight when you’re tired and already fed up. I kept getting errors about unexpected T_ENDIFs, whatever they are. For some reason, it only worked when I switched to the Iyonix and uploaded the files again using FTPc. Score 1 for RISC OS!

And the clocks have just gone forward, so it’s now 2am, not 1am! I’m going to get even less sleep than I normally do.

27th March 2008

No
Posted by at 10.45pm | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

I missed the fifth anniversary of my first blog post. I was going to do something to commemorate, but then… forgot. Ahem.

Oh well. No April Fool joke this year, either 🙁

Can you tell I’ve lost interest? Never mind; have a look at this slightly disturbing BBC news story instead.

6th February 2008

Aimless
Posted by at 12.20am | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

OK, so that didn’t last long. I’ve put the robots.txt file back the way it was, after a quick glance at my stats showed that people are stumbling across various bits and bobs via search engines, and presumably finding them useful.

I’m still thinking about the long-term direction for the blog. I’ll probably work it out just after I find a long-term direction for my life. Don’t hold your breath, people!