Robert Hampton

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1st January 2010

2009? More like Two Thousand and Fine!

July saw Merseyrail’s run of bad luck continue, as a train rolled out of the depot and derailed. To atone for their sins, they introduced a new day ranger ticket, but I wasn’t convinced. This was something of a train-y month for me, as I did my bit to help out the previous generation of Merseyrail trains. Trains were also on the Government’s mind, as they announced that the Liverpool to Manchester line would be electrified.

In London, the Police proved once again what a wonderful organisation they are. In Rome, a swimmer suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

Gents — ever wondered what it would be like to wake up with a vagina? YouTube was on hand to envisage that scenario.

My sister graduated from uni, proving that they’ll give degrees out to ANYONE these days (only kidding, sis!). I also wasted a whole day playing Atari 2600 games, and I still have the Pitfall II music stuck in my head.

August saw the first Adventures in Public Transport post for quite a while, as yours truly hunted for a lost Saveaway ticket in the rain. I had a much better transport experience a few days later, as I cruised to Salford on a Mersey Ferry. The peace was shattered – literally – on my evening commute when my train was bricked.

I celebrated the Internet’s ability to create new friendships as I met up with the Mersey Tart for the first time — a meeting surely up there with Livingstone and Stanley’s encounter on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

The Echo cemented its local credentials by relocating scores of jobs to Oldham. PowerPoint celebrated 25 years of making already tedious office meetings absolutely unbearable. Channel 4 axed Big Brother, meaning I can now watch television during the summer without feeling the urge to kill.

September saw me considering Macs again. I still haven’t decided whether to switch to a Mac or not — never let it be said that I’m impulsive. Then I decided to go on strict diet, a process which went quite well over the following months, until Christmas intervened and ruined it. The London tube map was redrawn to remove the River Thames; I thought this was a huge improvement, but TfL did not consider my views during their consultation process and swiftly moved to put it back. I also bemoaned that society seems reluctant to pay for anything these days, although I felt some sympathy for that view as my Railcard expired and I resigned myself to paying full fare on the trains.

October saw the Tories proving they’re crazy. BBC4 dramatised the rise and fall of Sinclair and Acorn in Micro Men. A-Ha split up, shocking people who didn’t realise they were still together. Royal Mail workers went on strike, thankfully AFTER I got all my parcels. That woman wrote that article in that paper about that singer, and that man from that party went on that programme.

I finally joined the iPod owners club with a purchase of a new 5th gen Nano. Sun and Cloud made a welcome (it says here) reappearance.

In November there were fireworks-a-plenty when the Government sacked its drugs adviser for… advising on drugs. Morrissey walked off stage at the Echo Arena after being hit by a bottle, Rupert Murdoch launched all-out wars against Gordon Brown and Google.

National Rail launched Stations Made Easy, allowing people to explore the nation’s railway stations without leaving their comfy seat. Anyone using that site to look at Liverpool Central could understand why it is one of the top ten worst stations in the UK. One station that definitely wasn’t on the worst list was Workington North, a temporary halt which opened to serve the flood-hit town after less than a week of planning.

December contained the story of the year for me. Never mind Jacko dying or bombers with explosives in their underpants, the toy mouse that sings “paedophile”, as featured on the Today Programme(!), was a highlight.

Christmas came and went, and I explained why people complaining about “political correctness” are missing the point. The BBC proved its worth by having 9 out of the top 10 programmes on Christmas Day.

Otherwise it was a quiet month. I checked out the Take That musical, Never Forget, lamented the fact that The X Factor had a stranglehold on the Christmas number one spot (except when it didn’t) and mocked an LFC player’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Thanks to my regular readers (all four of you!) and Happy New Year. 🙂

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