Garvis Snook takes to the stage with his all-singing, all-dancing troupe of Rok staff, while property developers pretend to know about wine and Ken Yeang reveals a movie-star influence

No taste

The words wine, evening and tasting were all it took to tempt me along to Savills’ party at wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd last week. As one superb vintage followed another, an expert commented on the complexity and balance of the wine while a screen showed the region where it originated. As the map showed the terroir of a 1er Cru, Dom Colin-Deleger, a member of the Savills team, called out: “Is that close to Cannes?” Well, really, is MIPIM the only thing agents know of France?

Pretty fat incomes

One reason the PFI has attracted ever-increasing numbers of baying critics may be simple envy of the bulging order books and rewards being enjoyed by the contractors who do the work. Carillion, rumour has it, is to flog off £70m or so of PFI stakes to Secondary Market Infrastructure Fund, Henderson Private Capital and I2 in six weeks. Meanwhile, I hear that Hochtief PPP Solutions is to hang on to Roger Potts despite his being effectively replaced by John Cann. Apparently, growth in the UK has been quicker than expected, meaning that both senior men are needed.

Green is the new blue

The subject of climate change has never been so risqué as at last week’s Movers and Shakers breakfast. Adrian Wyatt, the chief executive of Quintain Estates, announced at the beginning of his speech that he had seen green architect Ken Yeang in a new light. He said Ken’s mission was to make buildings more sexy and sustainable so, in future, he was to be known as the Viagra of the building world. Ken, for his part, preferred to use a more innocent analogy. He said: “As Kermit the frog says, being green isn’t easy.”

Exit, pursued by Garvis
Credit: Scott Garrett

Exit, pursued by Garvis

Staff at contractor ROK were this week braced for their latest attempt at amateur dramatics, a hobby pursued by chief executive Garvis Snook. Never a man to take a conventional approach to management, Snook’s latest plan involves more than 90 staff from Rok’s north-west and Yorkshire offices training at a theatre. The staff will have to overcome any stage fright to learn about health and safety using theatre and interactive coaching. Let’s hope none of them breaks a leg.

Know thine enemy

I would like to extend my thanks to consultant McBains Cooper for inviting me on a tour of Arsenal’s new Emirates stadium last week. Little did I expect to have the opportunity to sit in Arsène Wenger’s dug-out seat, but the most entertaining part of the visit was when a guide explained that a small percentage of the grass on the pitch was plastic. Asked if this was allowed under Football Association rules, the operator grumbled that they had got the idea of strengthening the grass in this way from bitter rivals Spurs.

Aragon of virtue

Well done to Aragon Housing Association, which has boldly attempted to engage with teenagers by getting them to help address their housing-related problems, such as homelessness and antisocial behaviour. The housing association took the teenagers on a residential weekend to Weymouth, where earnest discussion was interspersed with campfires, abseiling, quad-biking and kayaking. Aragon reports that the weekend went so well that the teenagers didn’t want to come home. Splendid, though I do wonder whether this just adds to rather than solves their homelessness problem …