Robert Hampton

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May 2009

2nd May 2009

Gone-bert Report
Posted by at 5.29pm | Television | 1 response

In a move that will possibly ruin my entire life forever, FX UK have dropped The Colbert Report — apparently surprised that showing a programme after midnight with zero promotion has attracted lacklustre ratings.

Irritatingly the videos on the official site are still blocked to UK viewers, meaning Viacom are passing up a potential revenue stream (it would not be difficult to display UK-targeted adverts) and forcing people to use the torrent sites. Sometimes I have to wonder if anyone in the TV industry actually understands the Internet at all.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sign up for 500 e-mail accounts to bombard Comedy Central UK with messages.

3rd May 2009

Without Walls
Posted by at 3.03pm | Trains | No responses

Another Merseyrail mystery to ponder: why are they removing the cladding along the walls of the Northern Line platform at Liverpool Central?

Liverpool Central Northern Line platform, taken on 3rd May 2009

Interesting (yes, really!) to see the actual tunnel wall exposed, but doing this has managed to achieve the seemingly-impossible feat of making Central station look even more scruffy. I’m assuming it’s a temporary measure, so let’s hope the replacement is something smarter.

6th May 2009

Do your own Weiner joke

Well done Jacqui Smith. Until Tuesday, almost no-one in the UK knew or cared who Michael Savage was. Now, thanks to you, he’s achieved nationwide fame.

9th May 2009

Posted by at 12.48pm | Politics | No responses

Despite mounting costs and increasing opposition, outgoing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is to press ahead with the Government’s ID card scheme, launching a trial in Manchester soon.

I’m convinced by now that the Government exists in a parallel universe; there’s no other rational explanation for their continuing to pursue this policy. Not only does it genuinely threaten our privacy and civil liberties, it’s a colossal waste of money (5 billion pounds!) at a time when there isn’t much to spare in the Government coffers.

11th May 2009

Desperately Seacombe Cruisin’
Posted by at 7.31pm | Out and About | 1 response

The original plan for today involved going to the gym, then spending the afternoon in the Odeon watching the new Star Trek film (it’s only been out a few days, but I already feel like I’m the only person who hasn’t seen it).

Two events conspired to alter this plan, however. On Saturday afternoon I apparently overexerted myself in the gym, leaving my arms aching in a most uncomfortable way and certainly putting me off setting foot in there again for a few days at least. Secondly, a quick check of the weather forecast this morning revealed that today was likely to be the only sunny day of the week, so spending it indoors was not the best plan.

So, what to do? I had a vague recollection of a previous trip on the Mersey Ferry, where the commentary had plugged the walking opportunities available along the promenade between New Brighton and Seacombe. Having only the vaguest sense of where I was actually going, I boarded a train into town, Saveaway in hand…

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13th May 2009

Set phasers on stunning
Posted by at 5.37pm | Films | No responses

Halfway through the new Star Trek film, I started getting anxious. How do the events of the movie fit into established continuity? Did the people in charge of the film read the Star Trek Chronology and Encyclopedia to ensure that there could be no contradictions of established lore? What would Seven of Nine think of all this?

Then I realised that this film really wanted to get away from the fanwankery that plagued the franchise in its later years, and so I forgot all about that and enjoyed it. Yes, it’s good.

16th May 2009


Some quick turnaround thoughts on this year’s Eurovision…

  • Well done Norway, a great song which deserved to win;
  • Well done Jade and Andrew Lloyd-Webber for a strong showing (5th place!);
  • Well done BBC for taking the contest moderately seriously (well, as seriously as a ludicrous international music show can be taken) and making the effort to promote the song by putting Jade on various European TV shows over the last few months;
  • Well done Graham Norton, who was much better than I expected and got the tone of the commentary about right, i.e. gentle mockery while avoiding some of the more excessive whinging that Wogan tended to indulge in;
  • Well done EBU for changing the voting system to avoid the Eastern bloc dominance.

Well done everyone!

18th May 2009

Idol Chatter
Posted by at 9.18pm | Music, Television | No responses

Adam Lambert Entertainment Weekly CoverEurovision may be over for another year, but in the US, another high-profile singing competition is storming towards its finale: namely, American Idol.

I seem to have become addicted to these sorts of shows recently. The Apprentice and (oh, I’m ashamed of this one) Britain’s Got Talent have both sucked me in and got me watching. It’s quite worrying for me: what if I can’t stop it? Will I be grabbing the Daily Star off the newsagent’s shelf during the summer to catch up on Big Bruv? (dear God, no)

Anyway, I have a perfect excuse for plonking myself down in front of ITV2 (aka the Katie and Peter channel) to watch Idol, and that reason is Adam Lambert.

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20th May 2009

Second home is where the heart is

I’m not sure what to make of the MPs’ expenses scandal. “Politicians on the take” is not exactly newsworthy, but the sheer scale of things has left me taken aback. Urgent reform is needed but probably won’t happen.

The European elections are coming up; I’m worried that disillusioned voters will either abstain or transfer their vote to one of the looney fringe parties. Charlie Brooker has an excellent article on that.

Hopefully the end result will be a wake-up call to the major parties alerting them to the real and justified anger from the public.

21st May 2009

Cool as a cucumber with sunglasses
Posted by at 8.10am | Fun | No responses

Keyboard Cat has gone mainstream!

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Daily/Colbert – Keyboard Cat
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

22nd May 2009

Holly Advance
Posted by at 6.31pm | Trains | No responses

Via BBC News:-

It is “unacceptable” that low-cost rail fares are easily available only to those with internet access, MPs say.

That’s not quite true: most Advance fares can be booked by phone or in person at a station ticket office (if they have access to the computerised ticket booking system, which most do these days).

However, this doesn’t change the fact that Advance fares are the most frustrating aspect of British rail travel. Availability is always something of a lottery: my experience is that for simple trips it’s fine, but as soon as the journey involves a change of train (and especially if more than one train company is involved) the advance tickets become hard to find. Then you have the choice of booking the more expensive “walk-up” ticket or spending an extra hour or so faffing around on the online booking engines, splitting your journey into shorter legs to see if tickets are available that way.

It’s a shame that the railway doesn’t make more of its the big advantage it has over internal flights (not having to book ahead), but as long as the money keeps rolling in, nothing is going to be done 🙁

23rd May 2009

The Lambert Report
Posted by at 1.54pm | Music, Television | No responses

He didn’t win.

Congratulations to Kris Allen — I feel slightly sorry for him, as he has already been unfairly labelled as the “surprise winner” and accusations are flying round that he only won because of homophobia.

I swore I would never let myself get manipulated into following one of these TV contests, but it happened, and I suffered for it. I woke up at 4.30am on Thursday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep until I had been on the Internet to find out the result. I am never letting myself get this emotionally invested in a TV show ever again.

Now, when is Britain’s Got Talent on? (I will be watching with a sense of ironic detachment, obviously)