Robert Hampton

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31st December 2009

2009? More like Woo! Thousand and Nine!

Was this year an exciting way to say goodbye to the decade? Here’s a reminder of what happened on planet Hampo this year (part 2, hopefully, follows tomorrow):-

January started out with one of my favourite shows being revived. Despite being up against EastEnders and being hosted by Ben Shepherd, the Krypton Factor did well enough to be recommissioned for a second series. We found out Who would replace David Tennant, and a year later we still haven’t actually seen him in the role. ITV’s latest attempt to ape the success of Doctor Who was Demons which failed spectacularly; the only creative thing about it being the number of different excuses the writers found for Christian Cooke to remove clothing.

In the wider world, various eras were drawing to a close, as Woolworths closed its doors, Tony Hart kicked the bucket and Dubya left office. Meanwhile, yours truly had an enjoyable night in London Theatreland.

In February it snowed, proving that global warming is rubbish if you’re an idiot. Superlambanana was guaranteed a permanent home in Liverpool. BBC2 followed ITV’s lead in finding excuses to get people naked — although not Christian Cooke.

A right old slanging match developed in the Guardian between Hazel Blears and George Monbiot. The Government announced a new high-tech, high-speed train for the nation’s railways, leading me to complain (prophetically as it turned out) that money should be spent on electrifying the network. Milk won about 500 Oscars, but Dustin Lance Black’s heartfelt acceptance speech has now been blocked on YouTube by AMPAS. Boo.

Surely the most exciting moment though, was my public debut on Twitter!. 720 Tweets later, and I’m still going strong.

March saw me add another book to my Merseyrail-themed collection. I was depressed to read a study which concluded that brain function starts to decline at age 27 — on the bright side, I got an excellent pun out of it. Meanwhile, Merseytravel managed to tie the recent election of Barack Obama to their own integrated transport policy, and bravo to them for managing that. Useless Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was embarrassed by her husband’s viewing habits. He likes watching Second Homes Under The Hammer (SATIRE).

Also: Stewart Lee slagged off everything brilliantly and OK Magazine & Chris Moyles each did their bit to raise the standard of national discourse.

April started out with my irritation at the tendency for companies to say “search for us” instead of providing a proper web site address. The police proved themselves to be wholly unfit for purpose. Another Radio 4 stalwart was lost.

I visited Hall Road station and had an emotional and strangely cathartic appearance (plus I took a photo for the Friends of the 502 Group newsletter). I then linked to an amusing Daily Show clip, but I can’t tell you what it’s about because Comedy Central have blocked their videos in the UK, because they are WANKERS. It was something to do with mocking the elderly, which became something of a theme thanks to the residents of Frinton-on-Sea.

Oh, and that woman went on that show and sang that song. Trivia note: the girl in the audience who rolled her eyes when Susan Boyle first walked on stage is now world’s most hated person, just behind Osama Bin Laden, but ahead of Piers Morgan, oddly enough.

I linked to an excellent David Mitchell piece on the Sachsgate affair. Associated Newspapers attracted my scorn, not for the last time this year.

May brought the worst possible news, as FXUK dropped the Colbert Report from its schedules. Jacqui Smith proved what an asset to the nation she was on two separate occasions. The MP expenses scandal rumbled on, and I thought it would lead to disillusioned voters switching to fringe parties. Just as well THAT didn’t happen, eh?

Star Trek was rebooted and earned the coveted Hampo Seal of Approval. A man and a violin won the Eurovision Song Contest, while an even more interesting music contest was shaping up in the US. How come America gets Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, while we get Danyl Johnson and Joe McElderry?

I had a wander round the Wirral peninsula, taking photos of abandoned railway lines in Birkenhead. Surely I’m on a terror watch list by now. I also pondered why Merseyrail were stripping wall panels from Central station. The unexciting answer was: “to replace them with new wall panels”. Elsewhere on the railways, I had a good old-fashioned moan about pain-in-the-arse Advance fares.

June saw national joke Jacqui Smith resign at long last. The strictly London-only joke Boris Johnson continued to deliver what the public expected of him: amusing footage. Twitter proved an invaluable tool for anti-Government protesters in Iran, until they took the site down for maintenance.

Michael Jackson died, and my total commentary on this momentous event was two sentences. I was more concerned with the growing menace of dead animals getting inside food. I also asked if Australian TV viewers have no sense of humour. Network Rail closed my local railway line for three days, in what would prove to be the biggest flooding event of the year — right?

I was still not in possession of an iPod at this time, but the BBC thought it would be oh-so-amusing to give a teenager a cassette Walkman to try out — cue all sorts of isn’t-this-quaint style hilarity.

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