Circus and animal filming skills are transferable to the construction industry, it seems, but the same cannot be said of building skills to the arena of competitive sport
Red all over
Architect and former RIBA president George Ferguson may have taken the reins as mayor of Bristol, but his battle to form a cross-party cabinet to run the council goes on. This week Ferguson, who famously only wears red trousers, offered the Labour Party half the seats on the cabinet - an offer that was at first accepted by Labour councillors, before being overruled by the party’s national executive. The refusal meant Ferguson had to abandon his hopes of a truly cross-party cabinet, and it will now comprise Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Greens. Perhaps it’s time for Ferguson to abandon his red trousers in favour of a pair that more properly represents the political make-up of his team.
If it is true that every young boy at some point dreams of running away to join the circus, then it is equally true that few follow through with such a fancy. One of these rare exceptions is Jason Dempsey, a senior media executive at Aecom, who revealed this week that long before he became a practitioner of the dark arts of PR, he was a fully-fledged fire-breathing, 10ft-high-unicycle riding, circus performer. A colourful past indeed. He is also, one suspects, the only man ever to have run away from the circus to join a construction consultant.
On the subject of unusual career paths, I was surprised to learn that the Building Centre director Andrew Scoones spent the early part of his career documenting the life of Scotland’s world-famous Hercules the Bear. Grizzly bear Hercules was best known for his appearances in Hollywood movies - including Octopussy alongside Roger Moore. Scoones says he spent a couple of weeks travelling around Scotland filming Hercules in 1983, in his first job as a film producer. This assignment included coverage of a staged wrestling match between Hercules and an “abrasive” Glaswegian wrestler. Oddly, the hottest demand for Hercules’ films was from Japanese television channels, he says.
It’s been a great year for Team GB, but not, I’m afraid to say, in the World Championship for Young Roofers. In 2010, Britain’s young roofers picked up three podium places in the metal (2nd), waterproofing (2nd) and pitched roof (1st) contests, but the team failed to win in any category at this year’s event in Lucerne. GB slating and tiling duo Matt and Stephen did, however, pick up a “president’s award” for a commendable performance in pitched roofing. Well done, lads.
For art’s sake
Well, excuse me! I mentioned in passing last week that the top-selling painting by an architect at the 10x10 Article 25 auction last week was by Zaha Hadid. Not true! The best-seller was actually by Roger FitzGerald, chairman of architect ADP. His painting of Holborn Circus was bought for £3,000, beating Zaha as well as artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. Bravo!
The construction industry has been going Movember mad this month and Mace, in particular, has been getting in on the tasche-growing action. More than 100 Mace staff have been donning moustaches to raise funds and awareness of men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancers. The firm is aiming to beat last year’s total of £18,500 and has so far raised around £12,500. Mace staff from around the world have been taking part, including this motley crew on a site in Azerbaijan in central Asia. Even Mace site hoardings have been sprouting tasches.