Robert Hampton

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December 2010

2nd December 2010

Brighton or Bust
Posted by at 11.15pm | Out and About, Trains | 1 response

I’m off to Brighton tomorrow, to see Mark again. My last visit was during the summer, and while the weather wasn’t brilliant, it didn’t preclude us getting around, seeing the sights and having a good time.

This time round, things are slightly different, with the country under 12 feet of snow (estimated) and all manner of chaos on the Brighton Main Line. Southern Trains have suspended all services today, and tomorrow an emergency timetable is in force.

In spite of all this, I have decided to go anyway! It should be an adventure, if nothing else. I will of course update you all fully when I get back on Monday evening. I may have had a great time, I may have had to sleep on the floor of a 377. Either way I’ll have some stories to tell.

6th December 2010

Brighton Belly Up

Well, it wasn’t as arduous as I expected. Stories of travel chaos across the south east left me wondering if I should have taken a sleeping bag with me, but the reality was somewhat more mundane.

In these cost-conscious times, I needed to make the journey as cheaply as possible, and I chose to use London Midland’s service, which is much slower and requires a change of train at Stafford. However, at £24.50 for a Super Off Peak Return from Liverpool South Parkway to London Terminals, it is much cheaper.

Despite a delay on the train from Liverpool, our connection at Stafford was held and I was delivered to Euston on time. One quick tube journey later and I was at Victoria for 2.15pm, where the emergency timetable was very much in force and the departure board was much barer than usual.

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9th December 2010

Doctor … No!
Posted by at 11.54pm | Gay, Television | 33 responses

DoctorsThe BBC’s daytime soap Doctors has been around for over a decade, but I can’t say I ever noticed it, until yesterday.

Tipped off by a post on *ahem* Famousmales, I scurried over to iPlayer to download the latest episode of the show. I strongly recommend you do too — and if you do, please confirm to me that this blog post is accurate, because I had a couple of drinks after work last night, and am therefore not 100% sure that what I saw on screen actually happened.

Let’s start with the programme synopsis itself, shall we? It’s shrunk in the wash slightly – click to enlarge it.

Doctor Bond attempts to save the Mr Gay Letherbridge pageant and avert World War 3.

No, seriously – that IS what it says on the BBC web site, I have not doctored it (hoho!) in any way.

The show starts normally enough, with the regular title sequence showing what I assume is the regular cast doing various medical soapy things. 25 seconds later, that’s over and done with, and any pretence of decorum is abandoned. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a very strange ride.

(Seriously, I do suggest you go and watch it yourself before reading on. SPOILER ALERT and all that)

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12th December 2010

Methinks You Protest too Much
Posted by at 11.12am | In the News | 1 response

Much attention has been focused on the violent minority which marred the recent student protests, but police actions deserve scrutiny too:-

The Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed it had launched an investigation into the circumstances that saw a 20-year-old student, Alfie Meadows, requiring brain surgery after he was knocked unconscious, apparently by a police truncheon.

I hope Britain’s press will take a long hard look at the actions of the police and ensure they are held accou-OH MY GOD CAMILLA WAS POKED WITH A STICK!

18th December 2010

Screwed by three inches

You know when there’s lots of snow and the authorities only advise you to travel if its absolutely necessary? I wish I’d heeded that advice last night.

It was our office Christmas party last night. Despite the heavy snow forecast, I headed into town. The weather was clear when I left home, but I emerged from Central station at 7.30pm to discover that the snow had started coming down heavily.

Most of the Christmas party was spent anxiously checking various transport operators’ web sites on my mobile phone. At 11pm, with the weather worsening and rumours spreading about serious disruption on the railways, I decided to head for the station and get home.

Central station was in a scene of chaos: the departure board listing a lot of obviously fictitious trains (one train shown as “Expected 22:36” despite it being 23:05 by now). The man on the ticket barrier, besieged by inebriated people, could only explain that there was nothing moving on the Northern Line at all.

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24th December 2010

Delay it forward
Posted by at 8.30pm | In the News, Trains | No responses

From BBC News Magazine comes a lovely tale for Christmas Eve, of how one act of kindness by an anonymous British Rail conductor changed a man’s life for ever.

25th December 2010

Packin’ ’em in
Posted by at 12.00pm | Fun | No responses

Christmas is a time for the whole family, but it can be difficult to keep everyone entertained for the whole day.

Fear not, for help is at hand to bridge the gap between the Christmas puddings and the Doctor Who special. Have fun with my printable Super Fun Christmas Activity Pack, full of puzzles and games to entertain everyone!

Download (1.32 MB PDF file)

28th December 2010

Posted by at 9.32pm | Television | No responses

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, the plug will be pulled on Bravo, a TV channel deemed surplus to requirements in the new bountiful Sky-dominated future.

These days, channels come and go with regularity (did anyone shed a tear or even notice when UKTV Bright Ideas disappeared?) and a closure usually gets little attention beyond three paragraphs on Digitalspy. Bravo is slightly different, however, as it is one of the few channels to survive from the very early days of cable TV.

Bravo launched in 1985, predating even Sky by about four years. The channel was very different to the Bravo we know and “love” in 2010. My family got cable installed around 1991, so I can just about remember the first incarnation of the channel, which showed nothing but old black and white movies and TV shows. Several relaunches later and all that is long gone, but perhaps for old times’ sake they could get out the tapes of Torchy the Battery Boy to fill the gap between Sexcetera episodes?

A quarter of a century later and it disappears with a whimper at 4am on January 1st. It’s a shame, but still not as sad as when TCC closed down in 1998. I still miss that channel.

29th December 2010

Balancing Act
Posted by at 11.15am | Gay, Television | No responses

I love the BBC, but when it comes to gay people (and news about gay people in particular) they still have issues.

In a news story about Sir Elton John and David Furnish becoming parents, the BBC included a comment from Stephen Green of Christian Voice criticising the move.

The BBC presumably included Green for the purpose of “balance”, to avoid giving the Daily Mail and Jeremy Hunt more evidence that it is pursuing a left-wing agenda. But why give airtime to someone whose views are far outside the mainstream? Stephen Green has supported a proposed Ugandan law mandating the death penalty for gay people and compared H from Steps to Jeffrey Dahmer.

Would the BBC interview Nick Griffin if a Pakistani couple adopted a baby? Good grief.

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.

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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.

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