I pondered for a long time what I should actually put on this page. In the end I decided that, like the rest of the site, it should reflect my interests. Therefore the links below are either to people I know, or to places where I spend a significant chunk of online time. Some of the sites below are so well known that listing them seems somewhat unnecessary, but they are included anyway so I can explain why they're important to me.
I'm sure this page will be edited occasionally to add or remove sites according to my changing tastes. In the meantime, enjoy!
Scott Willison is a man on a mission. His goal: to visit every station on the Merseyrail map. He is blogging every moment of his adventures, as well as various Merseyrail-related tangents on the way. A stray comment by me on his blog led to a meeting in Cooper's bar in Lime Street station. A year later, a friendship had been struck up, and the rest is history.
International jet setter, plane enthusiast and part-time cycling teacher. Not long after we met, he decided to leave the country for 5 months. I have that effect on people. Actually, he decided to leave the comforts of home behind and embark on an epic round-the-world trip, taking in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and various other places. His blog counts down the top 40 experiences that he had on his voyage.
I haven't kept in touch with many people from school, but Seb is one of the lucky(?) few. Partly this is because he makes it so easy by having a web site, LiveJournal, Twitter etc. Memories of the great Merchant Taylors web site war of 1998 (when we fought over our equally bad Freeserve-hosted sites) remain fresh. It ended in stalemate, which was probably for the best, as it allowed him to concentrate on blogs about Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and comics.
It's fashionable to decry the "old media" of newspapers as being irrelevant in the 21st century. The Guardian, however, have embraced the digital age and put together a truly comprehensive web site with all the news from the print edition and a whole load of blogs and podcasts for good measure. It's all held together by a progressive, left-of-centre outlook that gives the paper a distinctive voice compared to its competitors.
I am an unashamed supporter of the BBC and all it does, especially when it comes to its news operation. It's not perfect, but it's still probably the best source of news in the world. There's a bit of tabloid fluff clogging up the site at times, but for serious stuff it covers stories in a manner that is trustworthy, authoritative and (despite baseless accusations to the contrary) unbiased. But do yourself a favour and stay away from the Have Your Say section, which is populated entirely by loud pub bores.
There are lots of issues affecting the LGBT community stories. Often they get buried by the mainstream press, either because they're not noticed in the first place or because they are deemed not newsworthy enough for a wider audience. Sites like Pink News are vital therefore, to provide coverage of items affecting the gay community. It's a UK-based site but international reports regularly feature.
The sceptics claim that they don't understand it, and it is a fairly tough concept to explain. All you do is “tweet” at regular intervals by posting a short 140-character message, and then sit back and read what other people are tweeting. To the aforementioned naysayers, it's horribly self-indulgent ego-massaging. To those of us who “get” it, it's a great way to make connections with people and organisations. If all else fails, use it to stalk celebrities.
I'm @Hampo, if you want to follow me.
One of the oldest social networking web sites out there (founded in 1995!) specifically for gay men. The focus is on friendships and lasting relationships, so anyone looking for casual hookups should avoid clicking the link. For those who are willing to put the effort in, friendships can easily be cultivated.
I have made some lasting friendships with people from all over the country through the site. Highly recommended for any homosexual who's feeling a bit lonely.
“Oh dear,” you may be thinking, “why is he including this site in his links list?” True, there's a lot of crap on here, but among the happy slapping clips, pirated TV shows and homophobic comments are some videoblog gems. Here are some good vloggers to get you started: JohnBirdMedia, Louis Virtel and Davey Wavey. Also be sure to check out my own channel, the catchily-named rhmeuk.
Stick-figure cartoons employing satire and incredibly dark humour. Not every comic works, although the hits outweigh the misses, and it's updated on a nearly daily basis, so you won't be waiting long for the next one.
These whimsical Flash animations have been emerging from a small town in Georgia for over a decade now. The site chronicles the surreal adventures of an oddball group of characters of indeterminate age and species, led by the titular Homestar Runner. The Strong Bad e-mails got the site firmly embedded in internet culture, thanks to memorable moments such as Trogdor. Updated less frequently than in its heyday, but still worth a look, although more recent animations rely on a wealth of in-jokes and references that might be bewildering to newcomers.
Entertainment & Culture
Pop Culture blog focusing on TV, music, film and celebrity news of interest to gay men. It's an American web site and of course focuses on the USA, but Britain and the rest of the world also receive a fair amount of coverage. If a gay man appears on television, for even a fraction of a second, it's sure to get a mention here.
There are also regular video series such as Gay in the UK and the Drama Club.
A nostalgic look back at the 70s and 80s on TV, covering shows that are fondly-remembered, not-so-fondly remembered, or hardly remembered at all. It's possible to spend literally hours browsing the A-Z list of programmes, from 'Allo 'Allo to Zoom the Dolphin (?) Each is accompanied by a sardonic, occasionally cruel review. Hugely entertaining, even if (like me) you missed out on the best years of the Cream era. Oh, and the programme with the aspidastra and the backwards-talking people was The Adventure Game.
Their slogan (“Biting the hand that feeds IT”) gives you a fair idea what to expect. All the tech news you need, reported with a knowing wit and occasional dose of sarcasm that is unmistakeably British in style. It manages to be amusing without descending into tabloid wankiness (not too often, anyway). There's also a healthy dose of iconoclasm, particularly with regard to Google and Apple.
Back when the Acorn computing scene was still vibrant, the Icon Bar was a source of news and information. Now, in a sad reflection of the demise of Acorn and RISC OS, it's barely updated at all. It's a shame, as the articles, when they do appear, are well-written and informative. There is a wealth of useful information in the archives too.