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Avaragado’s 2012 predictions – results

As usual the cider-enhanced Chris Walsh has cast a rheumy eye over the predictions I made a year ago and awarded the marks as he saw fit. Adjudications and correct answers in square brackets.

News

  1. It will be announced that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. [1pt]
  2. Ed Miliband will be replaced as leader of the Labour party. [0pt]
  3. The US presidential election will be between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama will be re-elected. [1pt]
  4. At least one country will leave the euro. [0pt]
  5. Boris Johnson will be re-elected as Mayor of London. [1pt]
  6. There will be an earthquake in the UK of magnitude 4.0 or above on the Richter scale. (I’m only using this scale as it’s the one used on the Wikipedia page for UK earthquakes.) [0pt]

[Score: 3/6]

Sport

  1. Great Britain & Northern Ireland will win 21 gold medals at the Summer Olympics, and over 50 medals in total. [1pt: GB&NI won 29 gold and 65 in total]
  2. Great Britain & Northern Ireland will top the medal table at the Paralympics. [0pt: third, after China and Russia]
  3. Spain will win the Euro 2012 football tournament. [1pt]
  4. The United States will regain golf’s Ryder Cup. [0pt: Europe won in a very close finish]
  5. Jensen Button will regain the Formula One championship. [0pt: Sebastian Vettel]
  6. Manchester City will win the English Premier League. [1pt: with a last-minute goal on the last day of the season]

[Score: 3/6]

Science and technology

  1. Having miraculously survived 2011, Steve Ballmer will definitely be fired as Microsoft CEO. [0pt: still there!]
  2. CERN will announce the official discovery of the Higgs boson. [0.999pt, rounded up to 1pt]
  3. Apple will launch a TV. [0pt]
  4. At least one of the co-CEOs of RIM will be fired, and the company will be bought. [0pt: Jim Balsillie resigned but was not fired, and RIM wasn’t bought]
  5. The next version of the iPhone will include an NFC chip. [0pt: rumoured for the 5S]
  6. Amazon will release a free version of the Kindle. [0pt: but Chris wishes they would, as he sat on his and broke it]

[Score: 1/6]

Entertainment

  1. The 2012 season of X Factor in the UK will be the last. [0pt: nothing announced – time will tell!]
  2. In Doctor Who, the replacement for the Ponds will not be from Earth. [0pt: nothing to suggest she’s not from earth – time will tell!]
  3. Best Actress Oscar: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. [1pt]
  4. Best Actor Oscar: Jean Dujardin, The Artist. [1pt]
  5. Best Picture Oscar: The Artist. [1pt]
  6. CNN will fire Piers Morgan. [0pt: although competing petitions to deport/refuse repatriation suggest nobody wants him]

[Score: 3/6]

Celebrity Deathwatch

  1. Former anthropology student, US evangelist Billy Graham. [alive!]
  2. Former ophthalmology student, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. [alive!]
  3. Former chemistry student, Baroness Thatcher. [alive!]
  4. Former naval cadet, Prince Philip. [alive!]
  5. Former Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali. [alive!]
  6. Former Hitler Youth, Pope Benedict XVI. [alive!]

[Score: 0/6]

[Total score: 10/30]

Not as good as last year. I suspect I was a year early on most of the science and technology predictions. And my celebrity deathwatch category maintains its staggering 100% failure record.

Stay tuned for Avaragado’s 2013 predictions…

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A government in three acts

The three-act structure is a staple of the movie business. Look behind most popular movies and this structure reveals itself: beginning, middle, end. Or setup, confrontation, resolution.

In act one, we meet the protagonist and other major characters and the nature of the plot is revealed to us. The end of act one sets the story moving properly. Think Elliott meeting ET, or Dorothy landing in Oz.

Act two is about confrontation. The protagonist experiences setbacks and danger. The stakes rise. Things are tried, which fail. But there is forward motion: ET builds his machine from a Speak’n’Spell and starts to form a psychic link to Elliott. Dorothy meets new tin, fur and straw-based companions and skips towards the Emerald City and the wizard.

At the end of act two all seems lost. ET is captured and dies. The wizard turns out to be a man behind a curtain. And here, as at the end of act one, the story turns again. ET is resurrected. There is a way for Dorothy to get home.

Act three takes us from there to the final fade to black. ET escapes with Elliott and his mates, and is picked up by those who left him behind. Dorothy clicks her heels together and repeats “there’s no place like home” and wakes up in black-and-white Kansas.

It’s not just movies that have three acts of one form or another. Books often do. Lives do. Blog posts like this do (welcome to the end of act one). And so do governments.

The current government’s first act ended at about the time Nick Clegg abandoned the pledge not to raise tuition fees. Regardless of the merits or not of the final legislation, the story changed at that point. The honeymoon was over, if you like, and the mid-term blues set in: the act two confrontations of unpopular austerity policies, of riots, and disruption.

I haven’t mentioned one aspect of the theoretical second act: you’ll often find another pivoting point somewhere in the middle of the film, where something happens to raise the stakes or change the game. This helps to avoid the all-too-common second-act lull (second acts tend to be the longest). In ET, the midpoint is where we realise that ET and Elliott are linked — that wonderful sequence cutting between a schoolroom frog dissection and ET watching TV with a beer or two.

We’ve reached the midpoint of the government’s three acts about now. We’re about half-way through the five-year term, there’s just been a cabinet reshuffle, and we’ve had the massive mood-changers of the Olympics and Paralympics.

How these affect the story remains to be seen. It’s especially hard to judge whether London 2012 — in all its aspects — will have a lasting effect. As someone who attended both the Olympics and Paralympics as a spectator, I can only say that I came away with a huge sense of pride at all the achievements — in organisation, in delivery, in service, in sport. We can do better than we think. We have done better.

Do we want to return to the old ways?  To the petty bunfights and playground games of parliament? Will the rest of the second act of this government squander this midpoint twist with the reshuffle’s apparent lurch to the right? And then more cuts: slicing away the remaining safety nets, selling off chunks of the NHS, condemning another generation of schoolchildren to endless educational dogmatic tinkering.

Sadly, this seems inevitable.

But at some point, act three arrives. Something happens to allow the escape to the UFO, or the return to Kansas. The beauty of the three-act structure is that the acts can be as long or as short as they need to be. The “midpoint” needn’t be dead-centre. The act two twist can be right before the end of the movie.

So when does Nick Clegg return to Brussels?

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Avaragado’s 2012 predictions

Now spelunked into the Brechtian caverns of history: the year of the Arab Spring, the deaths of several prominent nutjobs, the end of the Screws, the looting of cheap sportswear, the Royal Day Off, the Occupy tent sale, and, of course, what is believed to be Sir Paul McCartney’s 49th or 50th marriage; estimates vary. And what will 2012 bring forth? Here’s your exclusive guide.

News

  1. It will be announced that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant.
  2. Ed Miliband will be replaced as leader of the Labour party.
  3. The US presidential election will be between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama will be re-elected.
  4. At least one country will leave the euro.
  5. Boris Johnson will be re-elected as Mayor of London.
  6. There will be an earthquake in the UK of magnitude 4.0 or above on the Richter scale. (I’m only using this scale as it’s the one used on the Wikipedia page for UK earthquakes.)

Sport

  1. Great Britain & Northern Ireland will win 21 gold medals at the Summer Olympics, and over 50 medals in total.
  2. Great Britain & Northern Ireland will top the medal table at the Paralympics.
  3. Spain will win the Euro 2012 football tournament.
  4. The United States will regain golf’s Ryder Cup.
  5. Jensen Button will regain the Formula One championship.
  6. Manchester City will win the English Premier League.

Science and technology

  1. Having miraculously survived 2011, Steve Ballmer will definitely be fired as Microsoft CEO.
  2. CERN will announce the official discovery of the Higgs boson.
  3. Apple will launch a TV.
  4. At least one of the co-CEOs of RIM will be fired, and the company will be bought.
  5. The next version of the iPhone will include an NFC chip.
  6. Amazon will release a free version of the Kindle.

Entertainment

  1. The 2012 season of X Factor in the UK will be the last.
  2. In Doctor Who, the replacement for the Ponds will not be from Earth.
  3. Best Actress Oscar: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady.
  4. Best Actor Oscar: Jean Dujardin, The Artist.
  5. Best Picture Oscar: The Artist.
  6. CNN will fire Piers Morgan.

Celebrity Deathwatch

  1. Former anthropology student, US evangelist Billy Graham.
  2. Former ophthalmology student, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
  3. Former chemistry student, Baroness Thatcher.
  4. Former naval cadet, Prince Philip.
  5. Former Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali.
  6. Former Hitler Youth, Pope Benedict XVI.

I look forward to your company next New Year’s Eve when all shall be judged.

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