Robert Hampton

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February 2013

4th February 2013

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew
Posted by at 8.23pm | Gay, Politics | No responses

One of the few enjoyable moments at my alma mater was the Religious Studies lessons taught by John Pugh. What could have been a dull topic (especially to a young proto-gay leaning towards atheism) was livened up no end by his sense of humour which permeated every lesson. He once set an end-of-year exam consisting of multiple-choice questions, every one of which had a “gag” answer alongside three more serious possibilities (I can’t remember the question, but one of the answers was “Unshaven villains are impersonating priests!”). It’s the only time I’ve ever chuckled during an exam.

Since then, he’s left the world of teaching behind and is now the Liberal Democrat MP for Southport. By all accounts he’s done a decent job (although back in 2004 he said silly things about trains). So, it’s very disappointing to see that he is going to vote against the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow.

He has set out a very detailed argument explaining his opposition. Unfortunately, on closer inspection, he appears to have fallen for many of the talking points that gay marriage opponents have used to try and derail this change in the law.

He states: “The gain made by referring to a legally committed gay relationship as a ‘marriage’ rather than a ‘civil partnership’ strikes me as negligible.” There speaks a married heterosexual who has never had the legitimacy of his relationship questioned by anyone. Full marriage rights, rather than separate-but-not-quite-equal civil partnerships, send out the message that same-sex relationships are valued in exactly the same way as opposite-sex ones. That “negligible” gain will, in fact, be a big step towards full equality.

He thinks marriage should be reserved for “procreation”. Sorry childless couples, you have to get divorced!

He thinks it is a “threat to religious liberty”, despite the existence of protections in the bill (in a letter to the Times, three leading QCs are of the view that the so-called “quadruple lock” cannot be challenged in court).

Worst of all, he trots out the tired argument that it will inevitably lead to polygamous marriage being legalised in the future, similar to what happened in… nowhere.

Pugh concludes by stating that he is “tortured by the thought that I might be on the wrong side of history.” Him and about 142 others, at last count.

6th February 2013

Hampo Vlogs: Gay Marriage
Posted by at 11.34pm | Gay, Politics | No responses

Once more, I have stared awkwardly into a camera and edited the results together for your viewing pleasure. Today I tackle the tricky subject of gay marriage with my usual tact and sensitivity.

If you wish to comment, please go to this video’s page on YouTube.

9th February 2013

Rapid Decline

Genuine sadness in Liverpool this week, as respected independent retailer Rapid Hardware has gone into administration. The store has been shut since Thursday and it appears increasingly likely that it will never reopen.

The company employs over 100 people – or, as they will soon be known to the Sun and Daily Mail, 100 lazy benefit scroungers.

The one sentiment that has been expressed over and over again by observers is that the shop should never have moved from Renshaw Street. Their old site had ample space outside to load bulky items into waiting cars or taxis – something not possible at their current home in George Henry Lee building, surrounded by pedestrianised streets. Also, the old shop – occupying the entire length of Renshaw Street from the junction with Bold Street all the way down to Lewis’s – was genuinely impressive. I remember being on an open-top bus tour where the guide pointed it out to the tourists – that’s how much of a landmark it was. Here’s an episode of the Apprentice from 2009 in which the shop was featured.

I’m genuinely going to miss Rapid. The city centre location was ideal for office workers like me who needed the odd DIY item. I would often pop in on my lunch break to pick up odds and sods. My last purchase there was just a few weeks ago – a desk lamp from their electrical department. And in December I made my annual trip to their Christmas decorations department, to see what lights I could buy to make my home visible from space over the festive season.

So, that’s another independent retailer to the wall, and the day draws closer when there will only be three organisations selling stuff in the whole world: Tesco, Amazon and Starbucks. I for one welcome our vast corporate monolith overlords. Mine’s a Caramel Macchiato, thanks.

13th February 2013

Posted by at 10.49pm | Gay | No responses

Wrestling has been dropped from the Olympics, and one person knows exactly who is to blame:

Speaking to R-Sport, coach Vladimir Uruimagov gave his own speculation as to why the committee had demoted wrestling, suggesting it was a gay conspiracy.

He said: “If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world.”

Mr Uruimagov, who coached London 2012 champion Alan Khugaev and Athens 2004 champion Khasan Baroev, called the decision “a blow to masculine origins.”

I think he’s on to something here. If there’s one thing that the average gay man hates, it’s the sight of sweaty muscular men in skintight outfits grappling with each other.

14th February 2013


If you like old computers, and wasting time on YouTube, be sure to check out “Strings and Things”, episode 3 of Making the Most of the Micro, from 1983.

Look out for:-

  • “Authoress” Frances Howard-Gordon’s ability to spell being called into question on national TV
  • Gratuitous abuse of the MID$ function
  • Word processing, BBC Micro style, with View and a quality printer.
  • Grudging acknowledgment of Sinclair, with a ZX Printer spewing out some curly till receipts.
  • A defunct supermarket chain
  • A Hitchhikers Guide cameo
  • Subtle mockery of old-fashioned people who play Patience with real cards
  • Ian Trackman getting very indignant about some badly-crafted BBC BASIC. “Look at this! It didn’t even clear the screen!”

Marvellous stuff. It turns out that nostalgia is exactly what it used to be.