What do pukka builders, tap-dancing penguins, Russell Crowe and the Grand National have in common? Yep, you guessed it: they all appear in this week’s Hansom… Clever, isn’t it?

All talk

Following on from my revelation that Olympic contractors have taken to carrying guides to talking to journalists, it has become even more clear where the power lies at the Olympic Delivery Authority. Olympics minister Tessa Jowell was recently asked how many people worked for each of its divisions. She revealed that the communications team has 19 employees – more than the property, utilities, and infrastructure divisions put together. In comparison, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport employs 10.

Sink or swim

What’s the link between Murray Coleman, Bovis Lend Lease UK’s chief executive, and a troupe of tap-dancing penguins? The answer: Oscar-winning film Happy Feet. No, Murray didn’t make an appearance – the animated birds were the stars of the show. The film was in fact co-directed by his brother Warren. An Oscar winner in the family, eh? How can you top that? Building the Olympic Village on time and on budget might do it.

Murray Maximus

Returning to Murray Coleman’s Hollywood connections, the patriotic Aussie recently told me he is often mistaken for Gladiator star and fellow countryman Russell Crowe. Have a look above and decide for yourself. The comment put in my mind a conversation from Gladiator (given Coleman’s desire to return Downunder after his stint in the UK):

Marcus Aurelius: You have proven your valour once again, Maximus. Let us hope for the last time.

Maximus (Russell Crowe): There is no one left to fight, sire.

Marcus Aurelius: There is always someone left to fight. How can I reward Rome’s greatest general?

Maximus: Let me go home.

Marcus Aurelius: Ah, home.

Guess who I had in the back of my cab…

They may not be the most glamorous people to have in your taxi, but one London cab driver picked up two of the industry’s big hitters last month. He first played host to Davis Langdon’s Rob Smith, who offered to set up work experience for one of the cabbie’s family members. The grateful driver, however, was unaware he was speaking to the DL gaffer himself until a few days later, when he picked up architect Rab Bennetts, who saw Smith’s card and filled the cabbie in on who he had been driving around.

Let Building make you rich

Regular readers will be accustomed to my penchant for making predictions (sadly, not always as accurate as I’d like). However, it is with great delight that I can report that the winner of the Grand National was tipped in these pages – okay, not by me, but by Stef Stefanou in our piece on racehorse owners last week. Obviously the fact Comply or Die was a 7-1 joint favourite was purely coincidental. Now for Royal Ascot …

An evolutionary leap

FT-reading, Classic FM-listening and adult bib-wearing: this is the White Van Man of the future. Or it is if you believe van insurance company BGL, which has compiled a guide to etiquette for tradesmen in a bid to lose the “stereotype of the blokey neanderthal builder”. The guide say builders should read a broadsheet and try not to spill egg yolk down themselves. it also offers free braces to help individuals improve their image and meet one of its key targets: “Try not to expose part or all of your backside.” Isn’t all this going to be too much to remember?