It’s summer and everyone’s getting hot, bothered and a bit worked up, from PRs bickering over press releases to complaints about Chinese cooking and some giggling about a silly name
As you will no doubt be aware, Foster + Partners awarded its founder a 41% pay increase this year, thereby bringing his salary up to a tidy £1.7m. This aroused comment as the firm also gave about 300 of its architects their P45s this year. What you may not know is that one of the great man’s lieutenants may be about to get a little richer. Mouzhan Majidi, Foster’s chief executive, was pictured in a national newspaper last week in front of the red brick Crest home he is selling in the London suburb of Surbiton. It’s hardly the Reichstag, but the asking price is almost exactly the same as Foster’s salary. Coincidence?
Cock and ball story
I received an email this week from Clare Woodward of Glendyne regarding our speculation that a Cyril Sweett/Franklin + Andrews merger would create a firm called Sweett F+A. “Years ago we used to deal with John Mycock who worked for Miller Civil Engineering and Ed Balls who worked with the Washington Development Corporation,” she writes. “We were desperate for them to go into business – imagine the receptionist greeting callers with, ‘Good morning, Mycock & Balls’.” Any other ribald potential name mergers out there?
Too much information
A hawkeyed PR at Hill International got in touch to say a story on our website had an incorrect figure, diligently cc-ing two other Hill press officers. My colleague duly replied that we had amended the story. She was surprised when another PR replied (to all) saying our original figure was, in fact, correct. Up popped another group email. “Please do not issue any other releases without obtaining client approval first,” it snapped. Then, a terse response: “No release has been issued other than the one approved by the client.” The group emails continued: “I mean please do not issue any correction without approval.” Now, I wonder why the client is supposed to approve all messages sent to the press?
War on taste
Beijing’s Olympic extravaganza yielded one or two lessons for organisers of London’s Games, not least on the issue of waste. One observer, during a late night wander in the park, spotted “recycling” trucks tipping rubbish from carefully separated bins into the same container. Unfortunately for the Chinese, that observer was Shaun McCarthy, chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, who shared his observation at a CIRIA meeting last week. However, his fiercest criticism was reserved for the chefs: “The food was so crap. London must do better.” Good to see the commission has its eye on the really important stuff.
Credit crunch confessions
A colleague of mine had lunch with a “banker who tells it like it is” last week and was a little dismayed by some of his revelations about how the financial world works. He informed our man that the “cut of someone’s jib” was almost as important as hard numbers when it came to deciding who to lend to. Pressed on exactly how he built up a psychological profile, he replied: “I never really had any training in that.” Even more worrying was his admission that, despite most banks claiming to be open for business, his own had unofficially bolted the door on new construction clients. Are you really surprised?