There may be trouble ahead, but while there’s music and moonlight and love and romance, let’s face the music and dance. Alternatively, we could just change our names

What’s in a name?

What, I wonder, possessed Taylor Wimpey boss Pete Redfern to drop the “r” from his first name? Last year he signed off on the housebuilder’s accounts as “Peter”, but last week he used the New Labour-esque “Pete”. Can we expect a similar chummy gloss on the housing meltdown from Marky Mark Clare at Barratt or Mickey F at Persimmon? Whatever the reason, I fear Sir Godfrey Mitchell, who retired as Wimpey chair in 1973 after masterminding the company’s rise to prominence over half a century, would be turning in his grave. And that’s before he got to the numbers.

A rude awakening

Young architect Feix&Merlin has created an optical illusion for Urban Splash on one of its latest designs, but unwittingly gave it some suggestive undertones in the process. Blue and white rods across the building’s facade spell out the words “Urban Splash” from certain angles, and the rods have been designed to move freely to give the wall a water-like quality. Just one problem – the hundreds of cylindrical poles bare more than a passing resemblance to another erect, and far less innocent, implement. “They do look a lot like dildos,” grimaces Tarek Merlin, one half of the architectural duo. “Especially when they were all turned up on end and stacked in the boxes. Everyone took one look and burst out laughing.”

Saw point

We know the Swiss are efficient, but sustainable timber structures specialist Eurban Construction, has taken exceptional measures to make sure its production line runs like clockwork. Before the trees for its panellised building system are sliced up at the saw mill, they are x-rayed to reveal if there is any Second World War shrapnel embedded inside – it seems their high-speed saws don’t react well to lumps of metal. Nor, presumably, do they do much for the timber’s eco-credentials.

Ice breaker

Ice skating fans prepare yourselves – the construction industry’s very own Christopher Dean is about to join Davis Langdon. John Jenkins is a former Olympian turned quantity surveyor, who made the career move after many years at the centre of the Disney on Ice troop. Apparently the bear costume and glittering lights got too much for him, but at least his years spent skating on thin ice will have prepared him for the downturn.

Losing their head

All change at Como, the fit-out arm of Mace. Long-serving MD Damien Kenny will leave for rival fit-out business Vivid Interiors at Morgan Sindall at the end of the month. Kenny had his leaving do last Wednesday, but by then his replacement, Steve Root, had already been proudly installed as Kenny’s successor on Mace’s website. However, Mace seems to have moved a tad too hastily as the site lists Root as both Como MD and head of its interiors and IT/Comms division. A little interior redecoration in order, methinks.

Do turkeys vote for Christmas?

Foxtons may be in deep financial doo-doo but it’ll take more than a little market downturn and a business review to stop this lot living it up. Despite rumours that the agent is trying to strike a deal with lenders to keep its head above water, the property company will apparently not be scaling back its Christmas party as I reported last month. According to the group it has changed venues – but only for a change of scene and not to scale back costs. I feel I am stating the obvious here guys, but I would suggest that if you’ve called in banking advisers to help you manage your £250m debt and annual £26m interest payments, scaling back the festivities is okay! In fact, it is probably advisable, and if you haven’t cut the booze budget yet, that may be a good place to start.