Friday 20 August 2010

And the Winner Is...

It is one of my life's ambitions to win an Oscar. And a proper Oscar, not Best Sound Editing or something. A real Academy Award, which will be presented to me by a tearful Halle Berry, and which I will accept wearing a chic tuxedo (Armani, naturally). I will thank Ms Berry profusely, then the Academy, then make a personal political statement ("Free Tibet" perhaps?), before saying that I couldn't have been named Best Actor In The World Ever without the support of everyone I ever met, but actually, I'm pretty amazing, and probably would have done it without them anyway. The Kodak Theatre will rise to its feet in applause, and my fellow nominees (Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Daniel Day Lewis and Russell Tovey) will graciously accept that I am in fact marvellous, and they deserved to lose to someone as fantastic as me.

This may not happen.

In reality, I've never won anything at work. I tell a lie: I seem to remember winning a Cadbury's Creme Egg while I worked at WH Smith in Birkenhead. I can't remember what for. I don't think it was for being the Best Actor In The World Ever, anyway.

I should have joined the rail industry as it turns out they have an annual beano: the RailStaff Awards. Due to be presented in Birmingham this October, the awards acknowledge the contribution of staff from across the rail network, and give a reward to those who go above and beyond the call of duty. And what prizes! 3d tvs, a New York break, a trip on the Orient Express... it's better than an Oscar in fact, as all you get there is a manky old lump of metal. Penelope Cruz didn't get an iPad for being Best Supporting Actress, did she?

I'm happy to report that Merseyrail has not one, but two nominees in the category of Station Staff of the Year. The first is Craig Munnerley, who by day works at the MtoGo in Hamilton Square. He's been nominated for his work with Liverpool Pride, and in particular, for getting Merseyrail to become such an integral part of the event. Craig helped to get them involved both financially and also in promoting the day across the network. It turns out that he was also the extremely enthusiastic guy on the microphone on the Merseyrail stand - the one who caused me to run a mile. A lifetime of cynicism has meant that I recoil whenever people are happy and keen - I'm far better at standing in the background, raising an eyebrow and pursing my lips.

Craig on the other hand is far more of a "doer", and his efforts at getting a rousing chorus of "Oops Upside Your Head" have now been rewarded with a nomination at the RailStaff awards. Well done him!

The other nominee is Gary Briscoe, who is the Duty Manager at Bromborough Rake station. The station backs onto a nature reserve, and Gary has been working with the wardens there to encourage wildlife - there are now nesting boxes on the trees. He's also been nominated for his community work, including helping a terminally ill man nearby and driving a drunk woman home after she collapsed outside the station. I like to hear stories like this, mainly because, as a professional drunk myself, I like to think that people will help me out when I'm sprawled in the gutter somewhere. I'll make sure that next time I'm comatose after too many JD and Cokes I'll jump off at Bromborough Rake.

Gary also proved his worth as a railway man, spotting a track defect and getting it fixed overnight, sparing the morning commuters all kinds of hell in the process. In recognition of his contributions, Gary's been nominated for the Outstanding Customer Service Award in addition to the Station Staff Award.

Both of them are worthy nominees but sadly, there's only one winner. You can vote for who you want to win the Station Staff of the Year Award here. Vote early, vote often, that's what I say. They're both clearly marvellous chaps and fully deserving of the accolades. It's also good to see Merseyrail itself getting some kudos for its customer service skills. I'll keep an eye out for the results of the awards when they're announced on October 23rd.

In the meantime, I'll be in front of the mirror, practising my speech.

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