Robert Hampton

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10th July 2011

You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
Posted by at 7.30pm | It's My Life | 1 response

When I got my iPhone back in May, I jokingly Tweeted that I was now a much more tempting mugging target.

That joke has unfortunately come back to bite me on the bum somewhat. I was not mugged, but I did have my pocket expertly picked in Liverpool city centre in the early hours of this morning. Thankfully my wallet and house keys were safe, but my iPhone and Trio ticket were both removed. A quick trip to Queen Square Bus Station this afternoon sorted out the latter, the former is not so easily remedied.

Insurance should cover most of the replacement cost, but that’s not the point. In the few weeks that I had the phone, a great chunk of my life ended up on there: phone numbers, calendars, notes, photos, Grindr (ahem). Hopefully it is all backed up, but until I can get up and running on a new phone, I’m slightly bereft without access to them.

Luckily I don’t use the phone for things like holding travel e-tickets, or making credit/debit card payments – if I had, I really would be screwed.

It’s left me a bit shaken up, to be honest.

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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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!

13th November 2010

Posted by at 8.21pm | In the News | No responses

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!

With those words, Paul Chambers ruined his life. He was arrested, threatened with jail and lost his job. He was convicted and fined in May for sending a “menacing” electronic communication.

On Thursday he lost his appeal against the conviction, with Judge Jacqueline Davies saying that the Tweet was, “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”

I like to think I’m an ordinary person (quiet at the back) and I found nothing menacing in the message. What Chambers posted was nothing more than an outlet for his frustration, the kind of offhand comment that might be uttered by any of us in the heat of the moment. Who hasn’t facetiously wished the worst for the person responsible for their train being late or a cheque going missing in the post?

The “mistake” Chambers made was posting his message in a public forum. However, it’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone could have taken it seriously. Does Al Qaeda routinely announce its bombing plans in advance on Twitter?

The Police have taken Chambers’s laptop as “evidence” — they have no legal right to do so as there was no incriminating evidence on it, so it should have been returned to him. He’s asked, but they ignore his requests. So my trust in the Police diminishes still further. They’re supposed to protect us, but it seems that they are basically above the law.

Also making me angry: some of the media reaction. The Guardian has been excellent as usual, but elsewhere the reporting has been terrible. It’s perhaps not surprising that Metro would use a sensational “Bomb hoax” headline, but I’m annoyed that the BBC web site reported it as if Chambers had made a serious threat.

So, in summary: the terrorists have won. If a daft joke like this can be taken seriously (as if Al Qaeda would pre-announce their plans on Twitter!) then security and paranoia has trampled all over our freedoms. An outpouring of Twitter fun won’t change the fact that we are living in a police state.

22nd February 2010

Because the police have nothing better to do
Posted by at 5.48pm | In the News | 1 response

From The Register:-

A Twitter user who posted a “joke” bomb threat against a UK airport could be jailed after pleading guilty to sending a menacing message.

Paul Chambers, 26, of Balby, Doncaster, admitted posting an ill-considered message onto Twitter about Robin Hood Airport, South Yorkshire, on 6 January after the airport closed as a result of unusually heavy snow.

He’s also been banned from Robin Hood Airport for life, thus forcing him to go elsewhere to catch Ryanair flights to Alicante. But a jail sentence for this? Really? Surely there are there more pressing crimes than this which need the attention of the justice system? Utter madness.

1st January 2010

2009? More like Two Thousand and Fine!

July saw Merseyrail’s run of bad luck continue, as a train rolled out of the depot and derailed. To atone for their sins, they introduced a new day ranger ticket, but I wasn’t convinced. This was something of a train-y month for me, as I did my bit to help out the previous generation of Merseyrail trains. Trains were also on the Government’s mind, as they announced that the Liverpool to Manchester line would be electrified.

In London, the Police proved once again what a wonderful organisation they are. In Rome, a swimmer suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

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31st December 2009

2009? More like Woo! Thousand and Nine!

Was this year an exciting way to say goodbye to the decade? Here’s a reminder of what happened on planet Hampo this year (part 2, hopefully, follows tomorrow):-

January started out with one of my favourite shows being revived. Despite being up against EastEnders and being hosted by Ben Shepherd, the Krypton Factor did well enough to be recommissioned for a second series. We found out Who would replace David Tennant, and a year later we still haven’t actually seen him in the role. ITV’s latest attempt to ape the success of Doctor Who was Demons which failed spectacularly; the only creative thing about it being the number of different excuses the writers found for Christian Cooke to remove clothing.

In the wider world, various eras were drawing to a close, as Woolworths closed its doors, Tony Hart kicked the bucket and Dubya left office. Meanwhile, yours truly had an enjoyable night in London Theatreland.

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21st July 2009

Picture this
Posted by at 11.39pm | In the News | 1 response

Your police at work: a woman was ‘detained’ after using her mobile phone to film the police carrying out a stop and search on her boyfriend.

She said she was detained there for about 25 minutes, during which her wrist was handcuffed and a female officer told her: “We’ll put you under arrest, take to you to the station and look at your phone there.”

A second female officer approached her and said, incorrectly: “Look, your boyfriend’s just been arrested for drugs, so I suggest you do as we say.”

Section 58(a) of the Terrorism Act says it is illegal to photograph a police officer if the images are considered “likely to be useful” to a terrorist. What a wonderfully vague piece of legislation. Does anyone in the Government have a clue what damage they’re doing?

There really should be more of a fuss being made about this. For now, this Guardian blog is the best I can find.

9th April 2009

Please Police Me
Posted by at 10.43pm | In the News, Politics | No responses

It’s not been a good week or so for the nation’s police forces. Today of course we had the resignation of Bob Quick after he brandished top secret terror documents in plain view of photographers. By the way, what’s the difference between Bob Quick and Josef Fritzl? Fritzl remembered his binder. (thanks Popbitch!)

Elsewhere, the police unveiled a series of fear-mongering posters which could have come straight from Stalin’s Russia, encouraging people to inform on their friends and neighbours. Boing Boing rounded up parodies of something that was almost beyond parody.

There has, understandably, been a lot of anger about the death of an innocent bystander who had the misfortune to be caught up in the G20 protests and was subsequently assaulted by a policeman. While you wait for the IPCC report to exonerate all involved, you could read this good article in the Independent. It’s quite long, but all you need to know is in the title: The police: Unaccountable, secretive and out of control.

Meanwhile, in Newcastle:-

Tyneside-born Keith Henderson says he was put in a police van after he was pounced on by a police officer as he took innocent photos of Newcastle. […]

He was approached by a man wearing a black T-shirt and combat pants in Northumberland Street.

Mr Henderson, originally from Gosforth, said he was forced into an alleyway where he was accused of taking photos of young girls.

He did not recognise the man as a police officer and when he asked who he was, he says the officer refused to tell him.

Reform of the police is needed urgently. All of these incidents are going to result in a growing distrust of the police, which risks completely undermining the fight against crime. But don’t expect any action from this Government; their only response is to give the police even more powers to do whatever the hell they like.

12th July 2008

PC Plod
Posted by at 4.24pm | Liverpool | No responses

Merseyside Police have plastered Liverpool Central station with posters. There are several different designs, but the common theme running through them is: “watch your wallet/car/other treasured personal possessions while you’re visiting Liverpool”.

That’s really going to help tear down stereotypes. Well done to all concerned!