Oscar Predictions 2017

No time for the full treatment this year so I’ll barrel straight into it:


La La Land will be the big winner, it’ll take Best Picture, Best Director (for Damien Chazelle), Best Actress (for Emma Stone), Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song and probably a few of the minor ones but NOT Best Actor.

Best Actor: A toss-up between Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Denzel Washington (Fences), I keep vacillating over this one but I’m going with Denzel.

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight.

Supporting Actress: Definitely Viola Davis for Fences.

Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight.

Original Screenplay: Either Manchester by the Sea or La La Land.  I have to pick one … nnng … I’ll go Manchester.

Animated Film: Either Zootopia (or Zootropolis as it was in the UK) or Kubo and the Two Strings.  In previous years this would be a slam dunk for Zootopia but the Academy has grown up a bit this year so it could go either way.  Maybe it hasn’t grown up *that* much.  Zootopia.

Visual Effects: Got to be The Jungle Book, surely.



Granny Turismo

Oh Gran Turismo. What happened? You started out so well.

Gran Turismo 1

Gran Turismo 1

I don’t know why I’m surprised. It’s been nearly 20 years since that first masterpiece. Like any organisation, people will have moved on, dynamics will have changed. That first game will have been made by inspired people, people who loved driving games, people who wanted to do something great.

Then money happened.

Money ruins everything.

When money happens, project managers get hired.  For some bizarre reason, it seems commonly accepted that “project management” is somehow a transferable skill across ANY KIND OF PROJECT.  Somehow this statement has become the accepted truth, despite being as obviously bollocks as “I look cool in this bandana” and “Donald Trump says what we’re all thinking.”

Project management is *not* something you can just hover into and do.  If you don’t understand the project you’re managing, you’re just going to get in the way of the people who do (and if you don’t have any of *those* people, you’re fucked regardless).

When I play Gran Turismo, I get fucked off by the stuff that I would’ve stomped on if I’d been project managing it.  For example, the catch-up is way too obvious.  If I crash on the first lap, I can still easily win even if I’m a bit Maldonado for the rest of the race.  But if I do a perfect race but crash on the last corner, I finish last.  I can start 12th, blast past the leader on lap 2, drive the perfect lap 3, and *still* that fucker in second who I’d just taken 5 seconds a lap out of is somehow still up my arse!  Not only that, but it’s not only the computer cars that are affected.  As soon as I take the lead, *MY CAR* suddenly has less grip!  What the actual fuck?!?!  What colossal bell-end thought that was a good idea?!

And the “moon rover” level.  Well I’m not even going to go into that.  What a fucking joke.  You’d have to have been pissed, high, and A GIBBON to have signed that off.  For fuck’s sake.

But that’s not why I’ve stopped playing.  I’ve stopped because of the karts.  The first two kart series were piss-easy.  You hardly needed to look at the screen.  The third series, however, already prickled me by offering me 3 karts with the same rating but then when I’d bought one, decided only the other two were eligible for the series.  FUCK OFF!  How did nobody pick that up?  That kind of shit MAKES ME HATE YOU.

And then I started the race.  I’m no Fernando Alonso but I’ve been holding my own so far, pretty much dominating the computer opposition, as you’re supposed to in a VIDEO GAME THAT YOU BOUGHT FOR FUN.  But here, apparently, nobody got that memo.  Your kart will spin with no warning and at variable times.  I did the whole championship, I was last in every race, and the entire field lapped me.  Every time I span, I don’t know why it happened.  I seemed to be doing exactly the same as I’d done on the previous corner and there was no warning.  This may well be what it’s like to drive a racing kart in real life, but I COULDN’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK.  This is a fucking video game, that I bought in order to HAVE SOME FUN in my precious free time.  And now I just want to find the developer and punch him repeatedly in the fucking spleen until he promises never to write any zeroes and ones ever again.  Which is how I’d feel if I was project managing him, though in that scenario I’d probably be rather more diplomatic about it and give him another two days to code something less violence-inducing before I sent him with his P45 to Molly Maid.

I’m only upset about this because I’m still in denial.  The first Gran Turismo, back in 1997, was sooooooo good, and I can’t quite come to terms with the fact that episode six is worse than episode one.  Yes, the graphics are better now, but who cares?  I just want to drive.  On my sofa.  While I’m pissed.

Oh, and one last reason to for my rant.  The Lotus Elise.  It’s been in every episode since Gran Turismo 2.  And in every episode the Elises have handled like there’s a tea-tray under the rear tyres.  THEY DON’T DO THAT!  I can only assume they wrote the handling algorithm based solely on a husband’s explanation to his wife of why he hit a tree.

Lotus Elise at Spa by Matt Sayle
Lotus Elise at Spa by Matt Sayle

I’m done with you, Gran Turismo.  Go piss somebody else off.

Welcome home, old friend

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here!  The fabled Capri is back on the streets!  I can engage my Professionals fantasies again!

Capri 2.8i

Capri 2.8i



I can’t even remember when I last drove it, but it was *many* years ago.  Surprisingly it’s not in bad nick considering it’s been parked outside for at least five years without going anywhere to speak of.  It’s been from Hinckley to Guildford to Droitwich to Ottershaw.  It’s had the magical hands of Copsons junior and senior fitting the new brakes and giving it a good old fettling, and the reliable boys at Lakeside Engineering have seen it through its MOT.  Now, finally, it’s back in Hampshire where it’ll be staying for the foreseeable future.

Driving it feels completely new.  I’ve done a few track days in it long ago, but I really don’t recognise the driving experience at all.  It took forever to get it going at Lakeside and it was bone dry of fuel, but £75 of V-Power later it’s happy to start first turn now and has obediently carried me over 100 miles so far with no issues.

Capri's engine bay


Well, I *say* no issues.  The passenger door mirror’s hanging off.  The water temperature gauge doesn’t work.  The cigarette lighter socket doesn’t work.  The blower doesn’t do anything.  The windscreen washer doesn’t operate.  It has three slow leaks in the tyres which I suspect are down to porous pepperpots (the wheels) … but nothing that stops it from *going*.

I’ve only been tickling around so far, surfing on the huge waves of torque – I’m building up confidence both in the reliability and the trust that it isn’t going to go hedge-hunting if I boot it.  Mileage will create a bond.

I’m starting to *get* the whole idea of a classic car now.  Every trip is an event – you have to plan ahead, allow extra time both on the road and before the journey to make sure everything works, and you’re never quite sure if you’re going to make it to your planned destination.  But everybody’s happy to see it – it gets exclusively positive roadside reactions.  Fathers on bikes stop just so they can point it out to their small sons.  When it was being trailered to Droitwich, the Marussia F1 truck passed and gave us a little hello honk on the horn.  People *like* to see it around.

I’m sure if it lets me down I will suddenly lose the rosiness, but until that day, it’s all going rather well.

Welcome home, old friend.



That’s strike 1, Porsche

It really gets on my tits when the toys on a car cause problems.  I don’t want toys in my car, I merely tolerate them.  When the battery goes flat and I can’t get to the battery because the bonnet release is electric, that’s a problem that didn’t need to happen.  That’s caused by stupid unnecessary electrickery.  And that really rubs my rhubarb.

That’s strike 1, Porsche.  Go and sit on the naughty step and think about what you did.