The latest chatter around the industry

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A word in your ear

What does a podcast playlist say about you? It’s a question that came up in a chat at the Building Awards recently. A colleague cited Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts as her favourite listen (health warning: it contains lots of foul-mouthed rants about the climate catastrophe). It seems that Mace’s Mark Reynolds is also a fan and actually invited one of the series’ co-hosts to give a talk to his team. Did the futurist provocateur cut the cursing and stick to the corporate script? “No,” was Reynolds’ restrained answer.

You’ve got male

Last week’s Building Awards event was expertly compered by comedian and actor Rob Brydon who, around halfway through, dryly remarked on the gender of most of the people going up to collect their awards. “Where are all the men?” was the gist of his gentle mocking. “Men, get your act together.” Sign him up to be the voice of the industry.

Muyiwa Oki is taking the tradition for style to a new level. He was spotted recently wearing a two-piece camel-coloured suede suit and a large Stetson cowboy hat. Whatever next?

Going once…

The awards’ auction to raise money for charity included the usual last-minute bidding frenzy. My hack was sat next to one bidder who eventually snapped up some golfing memorabilia. An initial bid of £500 made at the start of the bidding was trumped by a rival £600 bid with just two minutes of the auction left to go. Determined not to be outbid, he raised his bid to £650, waiting for the clock to tick under 10 seconds before pressing submit. I think that’s called sealing the deal.

Going twice…

Speaking of auctions, Construction Products Association chief Peter Caplehorn recently discovered he had a talent for it. The winner of the top prize at the group’s autumn dinner, two nights at a central London hotel, seemed nonplussed and decided to auction it off. Caplehorn, who had been announcing the prize winners on the stage, rose to the moment, whipping the room into a bidding frenzy. He even found himself employing some auctioneers’ turbo-babble. Peter Patter anyone?

In his own fashion

RIBA presidents are known to be at the more stylish end of the built environment crowd, but current office-holder Muyiwa Oki is taking the tradition to a new level. He was spotted recently wearing a two-piece camel-coloured suede suit and a large Stetson cowboy hat. Whatever next?  A return to the red trousers era of former president George Ferguson?

Blind spot

Big business was a major presence at last month’s Labour party conference, including Specsavers, who were offering free eye and ear tests on the exhibition floor. One man who probably could have benefited from this offer was Lord Jim O’Neill of Gatley, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs. “Gentleman sitting on the floor at the top,” his Lordship said, picking out a questioner for the In Conversation With Rachel Reeves event he was hosting for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. “Not a gentleman – I think you might want to invest in a new pair of glasses,” the lady from Liberty Steel shot back.

It’s gone to his head

The conference was (no surprise) a rather boozy affair, with parties running into the early hours. One MP, who was compering a pro-YIMBY “Rally for the Builders Not the Blockers”, appeared to have overdone it the night before. Introduced to a rapturous round of applause, Andrew Western, the MP for Stretford and Urmston, croaked: “If you are able to clap a little quieter? I am slightly tender.”

Alright my son?

231108_Griff at Hanbury HallCMYK

Comedian Griff Rhys Jones, the man leading the campaign against Sellar’s plan for Liverpool Street station, has a confession to make: his son is an architect. “I may have to go and object to some of the things he is doing,” he quipped at a recent meeting of campaigners opposed to the redevelopment by Herzog & de Meuron. Generally, though, he is a fan of the profession. “I think they do amazing things.” Just not at Liverpool Street.

Send any juicy industry gossip to Mr Joseph Aloysius Hansom, who founded Building in 1843, at