Human interaction takes many forms, from rapping to your clients to phoning confidential hotlines. But sometimes nothing says it better than the good old impersonal email and the hidden bugging device…

A letter from the heart

Clearly, chief executives have to watch what they say in public, but Jayne McGivern, the former boss of Multiplex, was equally guarded in a recent internal email she sent to announce her exit. It read: “I just wanted to let you know that I have, after much (rather sad) deliberation, decided to exercise the change of control provision in my contract and leave Multiplex.” Ah yes, the old “change of control provision”. Come on Jayne, get it off your chest – who do you really feel like laying into since Brookfield took over?

Glum landlords

Ever wondered why your landlord never returns your calls when your washing machine has been broken for weeks? Well, the National Landlords Association (NLA) has revealed that they’re probably on the phone to its advice hotline. The NLA received more than 31,000 calls last year, which works out at 122 a day. Most of the queries were, predictably, about removing troublesome tenants but some were slightly more challenging, including one from a landlord who discovered that a tenant had done a runner, taking with him the central heating and double glazing. Call me a crusty old reactionary if you like, but but shouldn’t he be dialing 999?

That’s what I call a key worker

“Prophet, madman and wanderer” is an unlikely slogan to find on a business card, especially at a party for QSs and lawyers, but that’s exactly what a guest at last week’s Gleeds-Davies Arnold Cooper pre-Mipim bash had on his. The foppish Steve Edge, known to his friends as Lord Shoreditch, runs an eponymously titled design practice and is reported to be working on a rebrand for a major player in the London commercial contracting market. And they say the credit crunch is making people more cautious …

Dressed to impress

Some people will go to the most extreme lengths to win a pitch. Mike Murray, managing director of fit-out firm Parkeray, puts his firm’s success down to going the extra mile when he bids for business. Past stunts include a pitch for Tower Records, during which Murray performed a rap. More recently, before a pitch he asked the client for a tip on what would impress. “Make sure you stand out,” the client advised. Murray went along to the meeting wearing a giant Grinch hat. It did the trick and Parkeray won the job, so, er, hats off to them. But tell me, what’s the maddest thing you’ve ever done in a pitch? Email us at

Extremely private equity

One private equity firm in the city likes to keep its business firmly under wraps. My on-site spook tells me that one floor of the company’s new offices, currently undergoing a fit-out, has to be swept for bugs every month in case of espionage. Quite who would want to listen in on a bunch of subbies debating the finer points of the weekend’s football is unclear.

Tip of the iceberg

Leonardo DiCaprio and Gleeds seem an unlikely pairing but the consultant has captured The 11th Hour, the Titanic star’s latest film, for an advanced screening, days ahead of its official UK premiere. The environmental documentary is seen as the successor to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and Gleeds is going full-out, with a pre-movie reception and a post-movie discussion by sustainability experts on the film’s virtues. Unfortunately, it was forced to admit that Leonardo would not be attending and that the talk would be led by Jerry Percy, their slightly less famous sustainability guru – although he does act in murder mystery weekends in his spare time …