resents for your delectation: Nick Grimshaw’s statistical puzzles, Nigel Griffiths’ sardonic satire and Winston Churchill’s provocative punchline

‘Statto’ Grimshaw

Sir Nick Grimshaw has thrown a party to celebrate the 25th birthday of his practice. As you might have expected, the occasion provided an excellent opportunity for our hero to look back fondly on his firm’s many triumphs. “All our buildings work for the public at large, and this gives us a very good feeling,” he gushed. He even had some hard statistics to back himself up with: Grimshaw buildings were used by 64 million people every year.

Admittedly, it helps that many of these buildings are stations or airports, including the Eurostar terminal at Waterloo and Zürich airport’s passenger terminal. And that’s not forgetting the recently refurbished Paddington station, which apparently plays host to about 36 million passengers every year. Still, I’m sure that Bath Spa will boost the numbers yet more when, and if, it opens for business.

You’ve watched the cock-up …

I see that the controversial programme on the making of the Scottish parliament, The Gathering Place, will at last be screened on BBC2 Scotland next month. The show’s makers, the Wark Clement outfit part-owned by Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, got into hot water during the Fraser inquiry for refusing to hand over video tapes of the show. It then attracted criticism for its budget, which ran to more than £800,000 – art imitating life – and was expected to be delayed until after the May election. For my readers north of the border, or those who have digital access, the first of the four-part series airs on Thursday 10 March. Oh, and thanks to extra funding from quango Scottish Screen, there could be a 90-minute theatrical release. Given the amount of money they’ve handed over so far, I hope the entire population of Scotland demands a free ticket.

Blue joke

To Claridges last week for the glittering launch of M&E consultancy Foreman Roberts, which pulled out all the stops for the bash. An audience of the great and the good were in attendance, and were regaled by a speech from property “character” Adrian Wyatt, chief executive of Quintain Estates. Among his non-PC gags was one about an unnamed cabinet minister from the 1940s who apparently had made rather an embarrassing public spectacle of himself. Reports of the man’s conduct reached Winston Churchill, who was told that he was caught in flagrante delicto outside Buckingham Palace at 4am. “And what was the temperature?” asked the prime minister. “Minus fourteen,” came the reply. “Makes you proud to be British,” responded the Great Man.

Our Nigel

Heroic construction minister Nigel “hard work” Griffiths, fresh from his masterly performance at the Bath Spa job (Building’s passim) was his lovable roguish self at the safety summit last Thursday. The minister was still a wee bit miffed by press reports that he spent only seven minutes at an industry event at the Labour conference last year, so he took the stage with rather a pointed aside: “We’re running late … so let me get you right back on track.”

Bowing out of the game

I was sad to hear of Graham Rice’s departure from Balfour Beatty arm Heery International last week. Word reaches me that Graham is in fact retiring after 12 years’ hard graft at the firm.

I hear he is hoping to enjoy a better work–life balance – more time, particularly, to spend following his beloved footie team Brentford, who as this page went to press were due to play Southampton this week in a crunch FA Cup clash. Congrats/commiserations as appropriate …

A civil tongue
A civil tongue
I see that there is yet another plan in the offing for the much-delayed Paddington Health Campus project, which if you recall is a plan to plonk a £800m PFI megahospital in central London. The scheme is still under consideration by the Department of Health, which I’m told is getting a little cheesed off with all the to-ing and fro-ing of plans, land deals and so on. I understand the latest business case for the scheme is being referred to by civil servants as the “outline business catastrophe”.