More gossip detected by Building's giant ear, this week relating to political preferment, the battle for Battersea and an unlikely casting decision
Get me Zeta Jones …
He may be a top official in the Office of Government Commerce and former estates director at Cambridge University, but David Adamson can't be accused of egotism. The joint author of Change in the Construction Industry 1993-2003, reckons his offering is likely to go straight in at 204,040 in the bestseller list. Speaking at the launch of the book last week, Adamson said: "We've considered selling the film rights, but unless we hire Catherine Zeta Jones to play John Prescott, I'm not sure we're going to get any takers." Or, after recent revelations, perhaps Jude Law should get the part?
Nice to see that Sir Michael Latham has given his support, though. Latham cheerfully remarked to guests that although the book was a touch on the expensive side, he definitely would be enjoying a copy. Well, he was given it free, gratis and for nothing.
The staff at the Technology and Construction Court are clearly relishing their place in the media spotlight thanks to the trial between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge. For the past two years, a call to St Dunstan's House would be met by laboured coughing as a clerk brushed dust from their clothes and gingerly raised the earpiece of a candlestick telephone. But this week, a casual enquiry into the timetable for court 7 met with an excited response from a smart new information unit, led by a bouncy officer primed with up-to-the-minute court information.
Battersea power struggle
What is going on at Battersea Power Station? After what seems like several centuries of delay, confusion and despair, I hear that there is renewed speculation about the future role of Bovis Lend Lease in the £1.5bn redevelopment. Bovis insists that it is going to remain as construction manager and principal contractor for the scheme, but one source close to the project informs that client Parkview International may look to bring in other contractors once the project receives full planning consent.
Now that Margaret Ford has been made a baroness, I hear that it won't be long before she is considered as a junior housing minister. Ford, who is chair of English Partnerships, was reappointed for a further three years last year so by 2008 it may well be time for her to move to Whitehall on a more permanent basis.
I gather that Barry Campfield's appointment to the board of the Olympic Development Authority didn't go down too well at UCATT house in Clapham. Campfield, you see, is assistant general secretary of UCATT's archrival the T&G, and one brother informs me that, as a result, the ODA could well struggle to win a consensus on industrial relations.
Button the Buddhist
So Roger Button of lawyer Shadbolt & Co has finally come clean about his conversion to Buddhism. Roger revealed his achievement of enlightenment at a presentation he gave recently on the third edition of the NEC, a rather controversial contract in legal circles, and one that has hit the headlines thanks to its becoming the official form of the Olympics Games. Anyway, all was going swimmingly until the penultimate slide, which was entitled "The requirement to settle disputes by meditation". Roger's reaction was suitably serene. He merely commented: "I suppose it's as good a method as any …"
Miller Developments' annual champagne reception went down a treat among the guests in a packed room at Claridges, despite the fact that the "entertainment" was provided by opera singers who sang loudly enough to cause guests' spectacles to shatter. The problem was acknowledged by Miller Group chief executive Keith Miller, who remarked that the music made conversation difficult. Actually, his exact words were: "I said, I've seen them before and they're very good, but probably not in a room this size."