Robert Hampton

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30th December 2010

Twenty Ten – again

What a year 2010 was! It had twelve months, each consisting of at least 28 days. On some of those days I made blog entries. Here are the highlights.

I began the year in January fretting about an alleged Crystal Maze remake starring Amanda Holden. This story fortunately turned out to be utter bollocks. Ginger people again proved that (yours truly excepted) they have no sense of humour or perspective. Britain experienced a deluge of snow, and Merseyrail impressed everyone by soldiering on throughout, a feat which they would surely repeat next time we experienced awful weather… right?

I finally joined the Wii owners’ club, just as the console stopped being cool. My rekindled love for video games did not result in me getting rickets. I also celebrated my first Twitterversary and cautiously welcomed the iPad.

I also took time to blog at length about a US comedian no-one has heard of over here, illustrating my post with YouTube clips which have now been removed for copyright infringement.

In more serious matters, the Haiti earthquake occupied people’s thoughts as a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the devastated country.

In February I learned that the iconic Mersey Ferry, the Royal Iris, was sitting unloved and derelict in a dock in Woolwich. As usual, lots of people got angry, but no-one actually attempted to do anything. Also apparently unloved was BBC 6 Music, threatened with closure by the corporation’s bosses despite being a textbook example of The Sort Of Thing The BBC Should Do.

The Facebook login fiasco proved that a lot of people are far too thick to be allowed anywhere near the Internet.

A recurring theme this year would be the police and other authorities abusing their powers. The Twitter joke trial got its first mention towards the end of the month and amazingly is still rumbling on now.

March kicked off in excellent fashion, with that rarest of events: me being a winner. Also a winner was Glee, which had started on E4 in January but had seemingly taken over the world within two months.

One of my favourite YouTube finds was this British Rail advert from the 80s. YouTube was also in the news itself, as a war of words broke out in its long-running legal battle with Viacom.

Elsewhere, cult comedy It’s Garry Shandling’s Show came to DVD.

Blogging had been rather light in the first quarter of the year, and April began with an apology of sorts. “The looming general election might provide some material for me,” I said, and I was right, as it turned out to be a fascinating race. It seemed I was the only person in Liverpool who actually was interested, as voter apathy remained an issue in my local constituency.

Before the election campaign got going in earnest, however, there was time to reminisce about my first computer and enjoy the latest entry in the Adrian Mole saga. Elsewhere, there was light-hearted fun involving a dead body, as a couple were accused of smuggling a corpse onto a plane using sophisticated puppetry techniques. I believe they were subsequently acquitted amidst a flurry of Weekend at Bernie’s references.

A shocking development was the renationalisation of Britain’s railways – albeit not by this nation – as the German, French and Dutch state rail companies took over various parts of the network.

Back to that election then. As the campaign heated up, the TV debates resulted in a surge in popularity for the Liberal Democrats and Cleggmania was born. The rightwing press moved quickly to stop this disruption to the preordained plan.

The moment of the campaign came late in the month, when THAT woman was called THAT name by THAT Prime Minister.

In early May, as the election campaign approached the finish line, I posted a response to the misinformation and smears about the LibDems. This was followed, on the eve of the vote itself, by a passionate appeal to support the third party (yes, I’m sorry). And just to show how influential my blog is, the LibDems increased their vote share by 1% and actually lost seats.

The election, of course, resulted in a Hung Parliament. At the time, I said: “I believe that a Con-Lib coalition is the best option for now.”

“For now” turned out to be about a week, as the Tories rapidly fucked things up with the LibDems happy to rubber stamp their awful decisions.

The brave new era of civil liberties and freedom, promised by the coalition, was slow to arrive, with the Twitter joke trial proving that freedom of speech doesn’t extend to frustrated airport travellers.

Down in that London, Boris Johnson’s answer to the capital’s public transport solutions was a hobby horse — the new Routemaster replacement, a solution looking for a problem.

Canary was a new play by Jonathan Harvey about the history of gay rights in the UK. I saw it during its initial run in Liverpool and enjoyed it immensely, although my blog post is curiously vague about why I found the subject matter so interesting. Hmm…

One of the highlights of the year has to be my week-long adventure in Scotland with my friend Nuno, taking in Glasgow, the West Highland Line and Inverie, Britain’s remotest village. Much walking and mountain-climbing was in order, returning south via steam train. I also had the chance to ride on Glasgow’s toy underground. In fact, re-reading those posts makes me desperately want to go again in 2011.

Sad news came in June with the death of Frank Sidebottom (or, to be accurate, the character’s creator, Chris Sievey).

I made another completely wrong prediction, when I speculated that the proposed North West railway electrification was doomed. In fairness, given that the ConDem government are happily slashing budgets all over the place, it wasn’t an unreasonable conclusion.

To be continued…

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