Robert Hampton

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31st December 2010

Twenty Ten – again. Again

July brought big changes to the newspaper industry, as The Times started charging for access to its web site. This was supposed to ensure a steady income stream for the newspaper, putting it on a secure financial footing for the future. However, it also resulted in the Times being completely removed from the online chatter of the blogosphere, as its news coverage and columnists were no longer accessible to the internet hoi-polloi. Still, I’m sure this decision made sense to someone somewhere.

The Supreme Court ruled that gay people facing persecution are entitled to claim asylum in the UK. I welcomed the decision, although my blog post is curiously vague about precisely why I welcomed it. Hmm…

In other gay-related news, I reviewed, with sadness, a booklet from the US Military discussing its anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Elsewhere, health and safety went mad as one person suggested banning rugby scrums. I felt uncomfortable on a train full of Orange Lodge marchers and I defended the traditional sitcom from an onslaught of criticism from trendy TV reviewers.

August was an eventful month. It began with Network Rail closing my local railway line for an extended period. I learned to ride a bike, an experiment which resulted in success and not too many permanent scars from falling off.

Then the big event: Liverpool Pride, the city’s first official LGBT Pride event. Although friends and close family already knew I was gay, this blog entry (and the subsequent tagged photos on Facebook) marked the point where I was officially “out” to everyone who mattered. It was a spectacular day for many reasons, not least because I got to pose for this photo:-

Photo of Robert alongside three models representing Seen magazine at Liverpool Pride 2010

The month culminated in my second trip away, this time heading south to Brighton, where the wonderful Mark showed me the Devil’s Dyke, the Bluebell Railway and some of the lovely sights of the town itself. I was actually slightly depressed to come home again, although a marvellous Adam & Joe podcast cheered me up no end.

Also mentioned was the BBC’s relocation to Salford, which seems to get a lot of people (mainly snobs in the Home Counties) upset. And I commemorated my computers from bygone times.

September opened with a Merseyrail double-bill. First they gave me an umbrella, then they took away our off-peak tickets. More railway content came later on as I celebrated the anniversary of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Buses got a look-in too, at the Birkenhead Park Festival of Transport.

The Pope came to the UK for a visit, leading to protests from his opponents, who in turn had vitriol heaped on them by the Daily Mail.

In non-pontiff news, the big question this month was “is William Hague gay for his adviser?” – the answer, of course, was “no – don’t be stupid”.

I also celebrated my birthday, and teased a possible new redesign for this site. Will it ever appear? Er, yes — this Sunday, in fact!

October kicked off with a vivid description of my trip to London (which actually took place at the end of September, but who’s counting?). I took in Wicked: The Musical and various museums, also making time to catch up with my pal Avril.

Politics were on my mind: the useless transport secretary Philip Hammond was the subject of my ire, while I was thoroughly disappointed by the Lib Dems as a whole.

I pontificated at length about homosexuality and football, which was NOT just an excuse to print a picture of (the regrettably heterosexual) Gareth Bale shirtless, honest.

Aleksandr Orlov continued to be the most innovative/annoying advertising mascot ever.

In November, as British Summer Time came to an end, I expressed my displeasure at a proposal for the UK to adopt BST permanently. Historically accurate(ish) film The Social Network impressed me for its awareness of Emacs. Nintendo impressed me for having the chutzpah to release an unmodified version of Mario All-Stars for the Wii.

Oldham MP Phil Woolas was stripped of his seat by the Courts after he was found to have lied during the election campaign. Curiously, the other 600-odd MPs have retained their seats.

Students revolted against the proposed rise in tuition fees, with protests in Liverpool and many other cities.

The defendant in the Twitter joke trial continued in his quest to find a judge who actually understands the Internet and modern life.

Towards the end of the month, cold weather was forecast, and I wondered aloud if Liverpool and other local authorities would be able to cope. How did that turn out? Well…

…in December snow and ice had brought chaos to the nation’s transport system. A planned visit to Brighton was in jeopardy, but I decided to go anyway and arrived “only” an hour late. There was more serious disruption later in the month, with yours truly nearly stranded in town after an epic failure of Liverpool’s transport system.

Doctors brought us the most demented half-hour ever seen on BBC Daytime, as the soap abandoned any sense of propriety in favour of a nonsensical Bond parody laden with gay innuendo. The BBC still had trouble with gay people elsewhere though, as its disgraceful inclusion of Christian Voice extremist Stephen Green (in a report about Elton John’s new baby) proved.

The student protests turned violent, although Camilla getting poked by someone other than Charles seemed to be of more interest to the media than allegations of police brutality.

There was a lovely Good Samaritan story for Christmas, and I prepared to say a fond farewell to Bravo, a stalwart of the satellite schedules for 25 years.

Thanks to my regular readers (reader?) and I look forward to welcoming 2011 with a new look for the site and (hopefully) some new content. Happy New Year 🙂

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2 Responses
  1. Comment by Ian Jones
    31st December 2010 at 6:05 pm

    As one of the aforementioned regular readers, can I return the thanks and say how much I continue to enjoy your site. At risk of sounding patronising (which I guess means I probably am), I’m glad 2010 has been particularly rewarding for you personally.

  2. Comment by Robert
    1st January 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks Ian, glad you’re enjoying the blog. It’s nice to know there IS an audience out there – sometimes I have my doubts. 🙂