Oscar predictions 2016

Oscar season is upon us again and, as is the tradition, I’m having a stab at predicting the results.

This year feels a bit weird.  Normally I feel like I’m making educated guesses, but this year, for the first time, I’m quite confident.  That probably means I’m going to get them all wrong.  It’s also the first year that I’ve thought *all* the Best Picture nominees were really good.  Something is changing in Oscarland…

Anyway.  For better or worse, here we go.

Best Picture: An outside chance for Spotlight, but it’s probably going to be The Revenant.

Best Director: Alejandro Iñárritu for The Revenant.

Best Actor: Without the faintest shadow of a doubt, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant.

Best Actress: Definitely going to be Brie Larson for Room.

Best Supporting Actor: I really hope sanity prevails and it goes to Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies … but I think, unbelievably, they’re going to give it to Sylvester Stallone for Creed.  8O   I know!  But let’s not forget they gave Best Picture to Rocky in 1977 over Taxi Driver… they have form for such lunacy …

Best Supporting Actress: This is a three-way fight that I keep changing my mind about.  Rooney Mara has a shot for Carol but I don’t think her role was broad enough to win with. Kate Winslet has a bigger chance for Steve Jobs, but I think it’s going to Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Very probably The Big Short.

Best Original Screenplay: Almost certainly Spotlight.

Best Animated Movie: Can’t see it going anywhere else but Inside Out.

Best Cinematography: Absolutely positively The Revenant.

Best Visual Effects: Now here’s a tricky one.  Mad Max could sneak this one on the night.  But I think it’s going to be Star Wars.  This is the one I’m least confident about.  Ironically, given the amount of gongs that The Revenant is likely to get on the night, I think it’s going to miss out on this one, which is the one that it deserves the most.  You could only tell the effects were effects because clearly that *can’t* be Leonardo DiCaprio being tossed around by a bear because, well, he’s still alive and is present to pick up his first Best Actor award.  That’s what a Visual Effects award *should* be for.  Not the Millennium Falcon looking a bit too crisp as it flies over a desert.


And so it is with trepidation that I press the Publish button, consigning my predictions to their ultimate fate.  We’ll find out how close I was on the night of 28th Feb.

Stuck in a lift – update

Some time ago you may have read my little tale of being stuck in a lift, at the end of which I said I was going to treat it as a mini-crusade to get the emergency lift button working properly.

Well, much as in the story itself, the epilogue is something of an anti-climax.  The lift company Kone were all over it until they realised it wasn’t them that was supplying the phone support, at which point they instantly stopped giving the faintest shit.  That was the last I or anybody else heard from them.

However, the chap I contacted at Plymouth Council was the epitome of public service.  He immediately met with the bozos responsible:

Thank you for your email.

I have today visited the service provider and forwarded details of your experience, as you can imagine they were very surprised and disappointed by your observations. I have made them aware of my expectations and will be designing a new set of service standards to ensure that we do not get a repeat of your unfortunate incident.

I will be monitoring this performance over the next 3 months and will be undertaking regular checks (by pushing the bell myself) to assess the service standards. Should this highlight any deficiencies I will certainly look to change service providers.

I would again like to thank you for your support in bringing this to my attention, I will certainly keep you up to date with my findings



Darren Stoneman
Senior Community Protection Officer
Street Services
Plymouth City Council


… and then when I followed up a few months later:


Hi James

Yes, I can confirm that the out of hours company that responded so badly to your call have been notified as per their contract that we will be ceasing using their services (6 months notice), the service will be bought in-house into our new 24 hour CCTV service and dealt with in accordance with Plymouth City Council Standards. This should all come together in early 2016. By bringing the service in-house it will allow me to monitor performance and improve response times and standards, and also have additional benefits in such that the call handlers will have access to the city’s CCTV system which will increase the service standards and allow additional reassurance to people who need our help.

I am sorry again for your experience, however it has opened the eyes of the Authority to the poor service standards delivered by our Agent and provided us with the opportunity to improve.

Thank you for your time, support and interest in helping me move this forward

Kind Regards


Darren Stoneman
Senior Community Protection Officer
Street Services
Plymouth City Council


So that’s it.  Fixed.  I didn’t need to take a dump in the Kone offices after all.  I’m almost disappointed :D

So a big thank you to Darren Stoneman, who has done a wonderful job, and a big nyar nyar to the useless service provider who has lost the contract because of our incident.  I actually feel like I’ve achieved something!  Even though I didn’t do any of it.  Hey, this must be what it feels like to be a manager!



There there sleepyhead

I don’t suffer from insomnia.  I rather enjoy it.

Actually, I should qualify that – on the whole I’m ridiculously good at sleeping.  Too good in fact.  It’s the waking up part that I usually have trouble with.

But occasionally I’ll lie down in the dark, close my eyes and the angels that usually carry me daintily off to dreamland fail to materialise.  When this happens my brain merrily dances around its dozy head-meadow and keeps me entertained while I’m waiting – and I have to say that’s quite a pleasant sensation.  I don’t mind not sleeping, as long as it’s only for half the night.

Tonight, for absolutely no reason, my brain is bounding around like a caffeinated puppy and it has decided that we absolutely must figure out a way to use all three of “there”, “their” and “they’re” together in a sentence.  Drop everything!  This is more important than sleep!

Hmmm.  OK, we can figure this out.

“I called my friends at the airport.  They’re there; their baggage isn’t.”

Ooooo that’s good.  We like that.  Well, sleepy Jimbo likes that.  But sleepy Jimbo’s wakey brain isn’t happy with that poxy semicolon in there messing things up.

Really?  Seriously?  Oh for pity’s sake.  Ohhhhhh alright then.  What else can we do?

Ooo wait a minute …

“They always drink too much in Spain.  When they’re there they’re their own worst enemies.”

Phwoar, that’s knocked it out the park.  Go sleepy Jimbo!

Oh bloody hell, now what?  You’re worried you won’t remember your cleverness in the morning and somehow that’s important in some way you can’t quite explain?

Right, well I guess you’re not going to let it go, so how about I get up and write a blog post about it?  Will that make you happy?

Apparently it did.  Can I go to sleep now please?