Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

May 2013

3rd May 2013

For What It’s Worth
Posted by at 10.45am | Out and About, Trains | No responses

Leeds is a station that has a lot of trains. It took several minutes to comprehend the departure board as I sipped my overpriced coffee from the station café.

Leeds station
Somewhere in that massive list is the train I wanted – the service to Keighley, which was to take me to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway for their diesel gala.

I haven’t visited the KWVR in a very long time. I can’t remember the exact date of my previous visit, but I do remember the old slam-door electric trains were still in use on the West Yorkshire commuter lines, which must date my visit to the mid-1990s. I do remember it was part of a family day out, and my mother insisted on dragging me away from the trains, alighting at Haworth to trudge up the hill to the Brontë museum, where she cooed over every aspect of the sisters’ lives for what felt like a bajillion hours. Very good authors, but I was not that interested in their kitchen, to be honest.

Read the rest of this post »

5th May 2013

A most amazing blog
Posted by at 11.05pm | Stage | 1 response

Friday night I was in London with my good friend Ian Jones, to see The Book of Mormon, a minor production which has gained a small amount of “word of mouth” publicity.

Ian and Robert selfie

Fun fact: we spent so long faffing about getting this photo taken we failed to notice that the interval had ended and everyone else had gone back inside. Luckily we managed to get back to our seats before Act II began.

This is certainly a popular show – I had to book the tickets in September for a May performance. Eight months of anticipation and excitement: could the show possibly live up to the hype? Minor spoilers for Book of Mormon follow.

Read the rest of this post »

11th May 2013

Razing the roof
Posted by at 9.15pm | Trains | No responses

Aigburth station canopy partly removedRemember a month or so ago, when Network Rail started work on Aigburth station? The works were either a much-needed refurbishment or – if you’re the people behind the Save Aigburth Station campaign – an act of shameless corporate vandalism on the most beautiful station in the world. Here’s my blog on the subject, should you wish to refresh your memory.

Anyway, EXCITING new developments have occurred. Network Rail has sent another letter to local residents, advising that it has bowed to local pressure and gone back to the drawing board.

I’m sure Network Rail’s change of mind is entirely due to grassroots community activism and is nothing to do with the fact that our local MP, Louise Ellman, is also chair of the Transport Select Committee.

The letter is reproduced in full below:

Read the rest of this post »

20th May 2013

From Vikings we’re descended, it’s frightening what those men did
Posted by at 7.52pm | Music, Television | No responses

Eurovision (aka Farage’s Nightmare) was an absolute delight this year. I watched it with laptop by my side, watching a constant stream of commentary and gentle mockery on Twitter. It felt like a club of bitchy gays had banded together online.

It helped that the show put on by SVT was one of the best Eurovision shows I’ve seen in ages. The aren’t many hosts that could capably handle a three hour telecast to 100 million people, but Petra Mede – a super-trouper if ever there was one – was great. She turned out to be that rarest of Eurovision hosts – one who does jokes that were actually funny. Here’s her interval act, Swedish Smörgåsbord, a brilliant musical number which celebrated Sweden while also offering enough self-parody to keep it bearable. Also, it contained the word “titties” and a gay wedding.

No real standout songs, apart from the Romanian entry Cezar, who delivered an amazing falsetto performance while dressed like a 1980s Doctor Who villain and surrounded by scantily clad dancers. It really was the campest thing imaginable.

Then there was the Irish entry, Ryan Dolan, who came dead last. Sorry about that Ryan – I voted for you, although I can’t quite put my finger on the reason why…

Ryan Dolan's sexy dancers

As expected, Britain’s song failed to make much of an impact, with Bonnie Tyler’s effort only finishing 19th. However, that hardly seems to matter in an overall fantastic show. The Hampton jury gives Sweden 12 points!

27th May 2013

Atlantic Fantastic
Posted by at 11.49pm | Liverpool | No responses

Ship Tied UpBlogging has been rather light this past month, for which I apologise. I have been studying an Open University maths module which draws to a close on 3rd June with the final exam. Studying for that, and finishing my final assignment, has taken up most of my time. Hopefully, this time next week I will be free to spout nonsense as usual.

I did make time yesterday afternoon, however, to go into Liverpool city centre for the Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary commemorations. The Battle of the Atlantic was crucial to the Allies during the Second World War, as Merchant Navy ships carrying essential supplies attempted to outmanoeuvre the German U-Boats which were determined to sink them. Liverpool was very much at the forefront of the campaign – the city’s docks handled much of the cargo, and the command centre responsible for co-ordinating the shipping movements was located in an underground bunker just round the corner from Liverpool Town Hall. It suffered for its strategic importance, being bombed more heavily than any British city outside London.

It has been agreed by all concerned that the 70th anniversary will be the last large-scale commemoration, and tens of thousands of visitors poured into Liverpool over the bank holiday weekend to see the events, which included visiting ships from the countries involved, military displays on the waterfront and a service of remembrance at Liverpool Cathedral.

I arrived at the Albert Dock on Sunday afternoon in glorious sunshine, which had certainly brought out the crowds. Even getting around the dock was slow, due to the sheer number of people.

Crowds at the Albert Dock

Read the rest of this post »