While bigwigs from our own industry forgo power lunches and business-class flights for the communal fridge and easyJet, at least Dubai’s know the value of pointlessly exorbitant gestures …

Easy does it

Oh, the indignity of doing Mipim on the cheap. Waiting for a much-delayed easyJet flight to Cannes on Sunday, a colleague witnessed the US director of a well-known architect suffering an acute attack of air rage. Having pushed his way to the front of the queue claiming “priority boarding”, he was heard on his phone bellowing to a minion: “Whatever happens, no matter how bad this recession gets, we are never flying easyJet again!” One suspects this situation will be played out several times in the waiting areas of Gatwick airport during the course of the week.

The scavenger gourmet

There has been no shortage of stories recently showing how detached some company bosses have become from reality. Remember the furore surrounding the bumper bonuses for the bosses of Bellway? And will we ever forget Fred The Shred? Well, the latest chief exec to forget what life is like on the frontline is John Frankiewicz at Willmott Dixon. However, his crime does not involve multimillion-pound bonuses or pension pay-outs, but some sandwiches and a soft drink. The genial Frankiewicz recently ventured into the staff kitchen for the first time in years and, ignorant of generally accepted communal fridge protocol, helped himself to whatever he fancied. Puts a whole new spin on greedy bosses, doesn’t it?

Where’s my lunch?

Yet more evidence that the recession is taking its toll on corporate etiquette: now it seems hopeful sales people can’t get a foot in the door without promising to bring their own sandwiches. One consultant’s business development manager reports that he was asked to bring sandwiches, crisps and nibbles for four potential clients after driving halfway across the country to their offices. Perhaps Gordon Ramsay should stick whatever money he has left in Pret a Manger …

The man with two brains

According to the London Evening Standard, the office of mayor Boris Johnson has been unaccountably lax in not complaining about a Building article. An interview with Johnson’s deputy, Sir Simon Milton, was presented in Building under the banner “I am Boris’ brain”. Apparently, this was very confusing to the Standard’s staff, who weren’t entirely clear whether it was supposed to be taken literally or not. So to limit any confusion, we’d like to point out that Milton isn’t really, nor has he ever been, Boris’ brain and that the mayor has a functioning cerebrum of his own. And at no point did Milton actually claim anything to the contrary.

BAM picks its big red nose

The good folk at BAM Construct have done some blue-sky thinking for this year’s Red Nose Day. On the contractor’s site for South Thames College in London, project manager Andy Lock has ordered red T-shirts, helmets and noses for all of the site team, donated the hire costs of the project’s tower crane to charity, and designed an eight-foot red nose for the crane itself. You can see the crane and (more importantly) donate to the good causes of Comic Relief by going to http://snipurl.com/dfz78

Preaching to the converted

Fresh from his pilgrimage to Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh in India, diminutive RIBA president Sunand Prasad has now revealed a Damascene conversion. “I used to call myself an agnostic, but I think the credit crunch is the final proof of God’s existence,” he announced to the faithful last week at the green construction trade show Ecobuild. Prasad was apparently talking about divine intervention in the timing of the recession just as investment is needed in sustainable construction. But zealous evangelism at a sustainability event? Fancy that.

A final spurt

It’s good to know that Dubai’s taste for excess hasn’t entirely dried up just because of a little global recession. Thousands of people may be losing their jobs and their visas but we can reveal that plans for a giant water fountain to be built in the shadow of the Burj Dubai remain on course.

Developer Emaar tells me that the supersized sprinkler, 275m in length, will shoot water sprays to heights of more than 50m and will have 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment. It is all costing $210m (£150m) – a comfort, I’m sure, to those given 30 days to leave the emirate after finding their job no longer exists. Send any juicy industry gossip to hansom@ubm.com