Cornets, carbuncles, coronets and more

Hansom new 2008

Just one cornetto

A recent jazz night at Gleeds’ Fitzrovia office and the wonderfully named Ray Gelato was the star of the show. The tenor sax belted out the tunes and for my scribe, who knows nothing about jazz, what a great bunch they were. Gelato is a bit of a noise in the jazz world and a quick trawl on Wikipedia shows why: a regular at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, he has played for Paul McCartney and the late Queen Elizabeth. Still, my hack can’t help but feel a little disappointed after discovering Gelato’s real name is Ray Irwin. Let’s hope Wikipedia is wrong.

Monstrous carbuncle mark II

It’s fair to say that the plan to redevelop Liverpool Street station is shaping up to be a battle royale with more and more names, such as actor Stephen Fry, artist Tracey Emin, as well as three past presidents of the RIBA, all lined up against it. They join a host of heritage groups headed by Historic England which are all campaigning against the proposals. Of course, this is the kind of ruck that King Charles might have waded into a few years back when he was just the humble Prince of Wales, but he is keeping mum. For now.

The modernist architect and the tradition-loving monarch have not always seen eye to eye, having been embroiled in a very public row over RSHP’s Chelsea Barracks back in 2009

Not entirely fraternal

A mole tells me that the Andaz, the listed hotel which is set to have a 15-storey building constructed above it as part of the Liverpool Street development, has a bit of history with the freemasons. Apparently, during renovation work in the 1990s, builders knocked through a wall and found a secret room dedicated to the group. Perhaps the scheme’s rather bruised supporters might be reaching out to, you know, those in the know if the criticism keeps on piling up. In a letter penned by Fry et al, their views on what might become of the Andaz are laid bare with brute force: “The claim that a cantilevered building directly on top of a heritage asset somehow ‘preserves’ that asset is nonsense.”

Moving stories

Mixed emotions no doubt for RIBA president and Sheffield Wednesday fan Simon Allford at the moment. Leeds United are on the verge of relegation from the Premier League. A good thing. But Sheffield United will be in that division next season. A bad thing. As for his own team, the Owls are hoping to make it to the League One play-off final. But they were thrashed 4-0 in their semi-final first leg by Peterborough United, giving them a mountain to climb in this week’s second leg. The ups and downs of being a football supporter.

1649 and all that

Norman Foster appeared on Radio 4 to say that he would “love to talk” to King Charles about “the benefits of change” in architecture. Well, I suppose that’s nice. The modernist architect and the tradition-loving monarch have not always seen eye to eye, having been embroiled in a very public row over RSHP’s Chelsea Barracks scheme back in 2009. Come to think of it, maybe Foster’s “love to talk” olive branch was actually code for “off with his head”.

Life’s rich tapestry

Journalists and industry professionals across the country were whipped into a patriotic frenzy last week by the coronation of King Charles, in which the new monarch was presented with various orbs and spoons to touch to confirm his role as our anointed leader. Even the normally dour Construction Leadership Council was swept up by the celebrations. The group sent out a stirring press release wishing Charles and Queen Camilla “a long and prosperous reign”. All sorted on the prosperous front, surely?

Pitch perfect

Bam chief operating officer John Wilkinson’s sport of choice when he was younger, he tells my scribe, was rugby union, later continuing his association with the game as a coach in his spare time of a team near where he lives in Northumberland. He can’t have been bad. Two of his proteges recently signed professional terms with Newcastle Falcons.

One chilled Gelato

hansom pic online

Does this man look like someone who should be called Ray Irwin? (See above.) He will always be Ray Gelato to all those at the Gleeds jazz night last month. Gentle ribbing aside, he and his band were great.

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