While CABE thinks of the children, we’re more concerned with the latest Olympic rumours and the inimitable comedic stylings of Peter the Prosecutor
Ray joins the fray
You won’t be surprised to hear that Ray O’Rourke is causing a stir in the organisation of the London 2012 Olympics. The Strategic Forum has brought Ray onto its Olympic taskforce, which has apparently met with a frosty response from the Construction Confederation. I wonder if it’s got anything to do with Laing O’Rourke’s refusal to become a member of the confederation?
Talking of the Olympics, a certain Alison Nimmo is emerging as another contender to take over the job of chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Nimmo, the former chief executive of urban regeneration company Sheffield One, helped to win the Games while at the London Development Agency and, with CABE’s Joanna Averley, is now frantically working to set up the delivery body. The question is, how much will another seven years appeal?
They’re the future, you know
CABE chairman John Sorrell certainly knows how to tug at the old heartstrings. At the launch of the RIBA’s client design adviser initiative last week, he pleaded with the audience of architects and clients to consider the importance of building for 700,000 children who will be born in the next 12 months. We await with interest the 700,000 children’s views on the CABE design review process.
Saved by the bell
Technical hitches at conferences can be the bane of both speakers’ and organisers’ lives. But at last week’s PPP Financing Conference in London, Richard Wade, the National Audit Office’s head of PPP, breathed a sigh of relief when the intermittent blaring of a fire alarm interrupted his question and answer session. He quipped that it had saved from the ferocious grilling he was being subjected to by audience member Adrian Ewer, John Laing’s finance director. The mystery alarm intervened later to rescue Michael Ryan, managing director of Infrastructure Investors, as he squared up to the Treasury’s Danny Daniels. Could this be the way to smooth relations in the fraught world of public–private financing?
Worth every penny
Rumours abound that the new Scottish parliament building could be in for a double win this awards season. A source very close to the judging panel says the building, which went a trifling £390m over budget, is tipped to walk away with the Stirling Prize tomorrow. Another hint, the source added, was that the prize was being awarded in Edinburgh – and the judges wanted to leave the city in one piece.
Spitalfields’ latest immigrants
To the opening of Bishop’s Square on the old Spitalfields market site in east London last Thursday, where guests could have been forgiven for feeling a little confused. Before the presentations, the suited throng was bisected by a parade of drum-banging schoolchildren representing the many waves of immigration into the area, going back to 17th-century Huguenot silk weavers. Then during the speeches, crowd members were distracted by the sight of some poor souls dangling off the side of the building in huge red slings. As it turned out it was in preparation for a spectacular aerial climax, which finished with cannons blasting red confetti from atop the building. But despite the spectacle, the lawyers from Allen & Overy should not get too excited about moving to their new building just yet: they aren’t allowed in for another year …
Peter for the Perrier?
You can tell a gifted comedian by his ability to think quickly on his feet and adapt his routine to different situations. Take, for example, Peter the Prosecutor, the after-dinner speaker at last week’s annual dinner of Construct, the concrete sector trade association, held at London Zoo. Faced with an audience of 350 of the concrete world’s finest, including a large Irish contingent, Peter cunningly reinvented one anti-Irish jibe: “Have you heard the one about the two Hungarian guys …?” he began confidently. “No? Well, they’re called Paddy and Murphy and …”