Robert Hampton

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2nd January 2009

2008? More like Two WOW-sand and Eight!

July started with my lovely pet cat doing his bit for vermin control. Liverpool One claimed its latest fashion victim, as yours truly bought a glorified school satchel manbag. Metro horrified public transport users across the country with a picture of a henna tattoo gone wrong. London Transport’s Oyster smartcard suffered a serious glitch, proving that the only proper travelcard system is one where you scratch the date off with a coin before sealing it with a bit of sticky-back plastic.

In the middle of the month I suddenly remembered that I have a Friends Reunited profile, then remembered why I never use Friends Reunited.

Another triumph for Liverpool’s culture year came with the amazing Tall Ships festival. It was well worth braving the long queues to enjoy the variety of sailing ships assembled from all over the world.

In August I paid a visit to Railway Nirvana (York) — all because of this train — hopefully more to come on that front in 2009. Back home, National Museums Liverpool continued to impress, this time at World Museum Liverpool and their exhibition on Liverpool’s contribution to pop music. Still on the museum theme, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard unveiled the best advert ever.

BBC4 also celebrated Liverpool’s cultural heritage with a themed week of programmes — mostly repeats, but well worth a look.

In the amusing headline stakes, “Giant turd wreaks museum havoc” was the candidate to beat. Less amusing was a London-based think tank’s assertion that Northern cities were beyond redemption and we should all just give up and go to London — where there’s plenty of room.

September is the month I was born in, but I didn’t actually mention my birthday at all on the blog this year. Ahem. Probably because there were far more interesting things to discuss, like a CD-ROM of the British railway fares database, my day out in London, and surreal personal ads in the Guardian’s dating section.

We were treated to yet another wonderful Capital of Culture event as a giant spider attached itself to Lime Street station, before going wandering through the city centre.

The Liverpool Echo tied itself in knots, trying to justify relocating its printing press to Oldham with the loss of many local jobs. The Large Hadron Collider failed to destroy the universe or do anything else of scientific interest, although others had a bit more luck.

October was a good month for television, with Ian Hislop’s look at Dr Beeching’s rail closures proving to be an interesting look at what was ultimately a failed policy. On BBC2 Beautiful People was… beautiful. On the YouTube, Paris Hilton launched a Presidential bid.

In the news: Ringo Starr is officially a “tosser”, Gordon Brown’s plan to abolish habeas corpus failed, Manchester unveiled a familiar livery for its trams, Merseyrail shafted its punters, and disaster struck Cockermouth.

Then there was that incident on Radio 2, kicking off a round of tabloid outrage and resulting in an outpouring of grovelling from the BBC which has lasted until… about 2014, by the looks of things.

In November, thanks to my last-minute endorsement, Barack Obama became America’s next Top Model President.

I booked some absurdly cheap train tickets and felt smug (I only realised later I’d selected an aisle seat by mistake). The Superlambanana phenomenon was celebrated with that must-buy calendar, and my Internet connection died, sparking unprecedented levels of panic in the Hampton household — it’s no fun talking to people face-to-face.

Christian Voice crawled out from under their rock to cause trouble because that’s what Jesus would have wanted, or something.

The biggest news was the credit crunch, which claimed its first high-profile victim in the shape of Woolworths.

December started with John Sergeant compounding his crimes against dancing by committing a crime against music. There seemed to be a resurgence for Christmas songs, with the Wombats, the Feeling and Peter Kay all getting in on the act, and Birkenhead Jobcentre‘s effort deserves a mention too. The number of places you could actually buy music continued to decline, as Zavvi went into administration.

On TV, if you watched one special this Christmas, it should have been Stephen Colbert’s Christmas Special.

I forgot to post anything for 8 days — sorry, but a flurry of posting in the second half of the month made up for that, didn’t it? No? Oh well, you’re getting it for free, stop complaining.

On the trains, the new Virgin timetable was unveiled, while Merseyrail had to contend with a middle-aged woman in a clown costume driving her car down the Liverpool-Southport line.

In the news, Rhys Jones’s killer was caged, hopefully helping to draw a line under the whole awful affair. The Pope, in one of his more lucid moments, decided that gay people are a threat to Earth, just as much as global warming. He was attacked by gay groups who said that his comments would fuel ignorance and fear — I thought that was what religion was all about?

Christmas bought the usual Chocolate binge and subsequent regrets for me, while I rounded off 2008 with a slightly odd post about my sleeping habits and a promise to do a year in review post on 1st January. Unless I forgot. Which I didn’t! Hurrah! Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

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2 Responses
  1. Comment by Scott
    2nd January 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Best subject line ever, surely?

  2. Comment by Robert
    3rd January 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I was going to say worst, but I like your opinion better.