Robert Hampton

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September 2006

3rd September 2006

Drugs are bad, m’kay?
Posted by at 1.26am | Television | No responses

Sizzling BBQ Doritos + late night = insomnia.

Anyway, thanks to YouTube, I found something which I’ve read about a bit on the internet, but never seen: Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue.

This programme was broadcast one Saturday morning in the late 80s across all the major American networks, at the height of the “Just Say No” campaign being spearheaded by the US government at that time. The plot revolves around a teenager who has started doing drugs, who is rescued by an army of cartoon characters who show him the error of his ways.

This special was notable for characters from different animation studios all appearing together in one place, however combining shows as diverse as Garfield, Winnie the Pooh and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was never going to work entirely well, and the clash of styles is noticeable.

There’s also the problem of the serious message being somewhat undermined by its delivery by cute cartoon characters. Scenes where Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks earnestly explains the finer points of marijuana to his friends, and Bugs Bunny scolds the wayward child (“What’s up Doc? … What’s this? A joint?!”) become unintentionally hilarious when viewed through more cynical eyes. As an anonymous Wikipedia commenter notes: “A kid who takes drugs getting lectured by talking chipmunks, a fuzzy alien, little blue people and a stoner ninja turtle? Wouldn’t he just think he’s on a really cool trip?”

Part 2 is here. Part 3, Part 4.

I could write more, but this review says it better than I ever could.

5th September 2006

But where will all the scallies go?

Despite the park’s slightly run-down appearance last time I saw it, this news still came as quite a surprise to me: Southport Pleasureland is to close.

6th September 2006

In MySpace no-one can hear you scream
Posted by at 8.03pm | Fun, Music | No responses

MySpace has one of the videos from Weird Al’s forthcoming album: Don’t Download This Song.

8th September 2006

Steak and Sidney Pie
Posted by at 11.54pm | In the News | No responses

Floppy-haired Scouse-botherer Boris Johnson has upset Papua New Guinea by linking the country to cannibalism.

He’d better be careful what he says in future, otherwise the Papua New Guineans will have him for breakfast. Not literally, obviously.

10th September 2006

Ironically, when people hear it, they DO feel like dancin’
Posted by at 9.36pm | Music | No responses

Hurrah for the Scissor Sisters!

Radio City have been playing their new single several times a day. And well they should, because it deserves to be heard as often as possible. Because it’s great.

11th September 2006


On this most sombre of anniversaries, I offer two contemporary responses to the tragedy from Jon Stewart and David Letterman. Each is meaningful and relevant in its own way.

12th September 2006

Modern TOS
Posted by at 5.55pm | Television | No responses

On YouTube now is the trailer for the digitally-remastered high definition version of the original Star Trek series. With every scene now lovingly restored from the original film, and the new CGI effects remaining true to the spirit of the original, it’s fair to say that classic Trek has never looked better.

Look out for the ridiculous “comedy” tagline at the end of the trailer.

One more 9/11 post

US news broadcaster Keith Olbermann comments on the 5th anniversary of September 11th. I would love to be even half as eloquent as he is here.

13th September 2006

It’s what he would have wanted
Posted by at 6.55pm | In the News | No responses

Dead stingrays with their tails cut off have been found in Australia, sparking concern that fans of naturalist Steve Irwin may be avenging his death.

The BBC article goes on to say that they’re not 100% certain of a link between these events, but if this does turn out to be true then… crikey!

14th September 2006

Burning ish-shoe
Posted by at 7.05pm | In the News, Trains | No responses

From Liverpool Parochial Rag:-

Train users who put their feet on seats face prosecution and fines.

Merseyrail is launching a two-pronged attack on offenders by ordering a crackdown by security guards and police.

Anyone caught with their feet on a seat will be cautioned and summoned to a magistrates court and possibly given a fine.

Anyone damaging a seat by putting their shoes on it could be arrested and charged with criminal damage.

Hmmm… much as I hate the feet-on-seat brigade, I’m not sure this initiative is going to work out in practice. Given that I hardly ever seem to get my ticket checked on Merseyrail these days, who is going to come through the train to shoo off (or should that be “shoe off”?) potential offenders?

Read the rest of this post »

15th September 2006

Be bold in updating pages
Posted by at 9.53pm | Web | No responses

I don’t condone Wikipedia vandalism in any form, but I’ll be more forgiving if you’re a bit creative.

Take the page all about my beloved alma mater, for example.

You have the incorrigibly juvenile vandal:-

suck my anus

And the slightly more subtle “might miss it at first glance” vandal:-

The primary sports played by the school are rugby union, field hockey and cricket, however association football has recently been introduced as an “official school” sport and looks set to challenge the more established sports in coming years. The rugby training staff includes Ian McKie, former Scottish international, and Mike Slemen, former England international and team selector. The school also has a Combined Cadet Force, run in conjunction with Merchant Taylors’ School for Minge.

However, this doesn’t impress me. Any idiot (for example, the idiots quoted above) can go to Wikipedia and insert a sweary word or gay sex reference into an article. But come on: where’s the ingenuity? Where’s the flair? Where’s the honest-to-god old fashioned showmanship?

Read the rest of this post »

23rd September 2006

Virgin on the Ridiculous
Posted by at 9.39am | Trains | No responses

Yesterday a Virgin Train set a new speed record, travelling non-stop from Glasgow Central to London Euston in 3 hours, 55 minutes. It’s an impressive feat (kudos to the driver and all the rail staff involved), but as the discussion on uk.railway notes, the previous record of 4 hours 14 minutes was set by a train which stopped en route.

Coincidentally, if I want to travel from Liverpool to London tomorrow, National Rail is offering me a 10:06 departure, arriving at 14:02, a slightly less record-breaking 3 hours, 56 minutes!

In other news, Richard Branson has pledged to fight global warming by donating profits from his companies. Call me cynical, but if he wants to fight global warming, he might like to start by reducing the astronomical walk-on fares on his train service, thereby encouraging people off polluting cars and planes and into nice shiny electric Pendolinos. Just a thought.

UPDATE: There are rumours circulating that normal service trains were delayed to allow the special to pass unhindered!

27th September 2006

Stick to the stuff you know
Posted by at 10.01pm | Television | No responses

Hm. I’ve not been around much, have I?

Watched High School Musical on Disney Channel (don’t laugh) at the weekend. I’m a sucker for musicals, but wasn’t expecting much from this (it is a Disney Channel made-for-TV movie, after all). It surprised me by actually being rather good. The plot is paper-thin, but the music is great — I’ve been humming the tunes to myself all week.

There was also a nice message for the kiddie-winkles, about doing what you want and not what other people want or expect you to do, or something like that; it was pro-individuality, anyway.

Well done to Disney (and also to the BBC who’ve picked it up to screen over Christmas).

28th September 2006

The Write Stuff
Posted by at 8.03pm | It's My Life | 3 responses

In a moment of madness I signed up for a creative writing course at The University of Liverpool’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. It starts on Monday (clashing with my planned Rail Rover trip next week, but that can’t be helped).

Wish me luck!

29th September 2006

Posted by at 1.29pm | Trains | No responses

Went into Moorfields station today to buy my Rover ticket for next week. During the course of the transaction the station staff and I discovered that, although the ticket is described as “Freedom of the North West Rover” on the National Rail web site and in the National Fares Manual, it’s on Merseyrail’s ticket system simply as “North West 7 Day Rover” and indeed that’s what was printed on the ticket when the machine spat it out. However, the 4-in-8 day version is on their system as a “Freedom” ticket. So much for consistency, but as no-one but me could possibly care about such things, I’ll stop talking about it now.

Picture of North West 7 Day Rover

Cheers to the staff at Moorfields who probably don’t deal with arcane tickets like this every day and were very helpful and patient with me, as they always are (this is not the first time I’ve asked for an odd ticket combination from them).

I’ve spent the last week or so playing with the National Rail Journey Planner, persuading it to come up with unusual routes which no normal person would never even consider. My inner anorak has risen to the surface and I am hugely looking forward to next week. Expect to see an anal, minute-by-minute, dissection of my experiences on this site in due course.

30th September 2006

Adventures in Public Transport, Part XXV

Bad: your train into town is covered with litter, including someone’s mouldy discarded sandwich on the seat opposite me.

Worse: A dishevelled tramp-like figure gets on and sits opposite me. He picks up the aforementioned sandwich and examines it thoroughly, before stowing it next to him as if he’s saving it for later.

Worser: Said tramp picks a filthy napkin off the floor and uses it to wipe his hands and face.

Did I mention I’m spending an entire week on trains, starting tomorrow?

What the DeUCE?
Posted by at 10.31pm | Meta | No responses

I’ve been getting a lot of “mail delivery failed” notices over the last couple of hours. I have a horrible feeling some filthy spammer has sent out an e-mail with my address in the “From” field. 🙁