This week, there’s a spot of mild concussion for a housebuilder’s chairman, some trouble with the clientele at a fashionable Highbury eatery, and Paul Morrell turns the volume up to 11
Ashes to ashes
As Connaught warned last week that it could breach its banking covenants and rivals circled the stricken social housing specialist in the hope of picking up its juiciest contracts, you had to pity anyone trying to dampen the fires of bad publicity surrounding the firm. But some plucky PRs were still holding out against the inferno of bad news. One housing trust that has contracts with Connaught called one of my colleagues with an offer to send through a press release praising the training residents had received from Connaught in … firefighting. The irony dawned mid-sentence.
Waiter, there’s an Arsenal fan in my soup
Architects should run more restaurants. Allies and Morrison’s excellent Table Cafe is just round the corner from Building Towers, and last week I found another top-notch eaterie, run by Barti Garibaldo of Paper Scissor Stone. Litro in Highbury is inspired by a traditional Venetian taverna and the design is distressed rustic. Architectural salvage hangs off the wall and the table tops are made from stair treads rescued from a skip. Not surprisingly it has been a big hit with the media types who live in the N5 postcode. However, it also lies opposite Arsenal FC and pub overspill after games tends to change the ambience. Food fights have been reported and apparently the “found objects” adorning the walls make tempting souvenirs. As a result, everything in the bar is now nailed down on match days.
Wait till you see him move
Is there no end to the talents of Paul Morrell? Speaking at a House of Commons drinks party organised by the JCT, the chief construction adviser spoke proudly of his other job, which is chairman of a modern dance company called Siobhan Davies. If, like us, you want to know more, beware of googling “Paul Morrell dance”, which leads you to a website that informs us that Paul Morrell has been “filling dancefloors for over a decade” and now has a monthly trance night called Classique at a club in the West Midlands. Does the construction supremo have yet another string to his bow? Actually no, the DJ is another Paul Morrell. Those hoping to network with our own Morrell will be relieved to hear they need not acquire white gloves and whistles and go raving.
Is there anybody there?
An interesting moment the other day. One of my colleagues was midway through a rather sensitive telephone conversation with a Brit in the UAE who is involved in legal action against a state-linked Dubai developer when the line mysteriously went dead. After a few attempts by both sides to call back, the connection was re-established. Just a coincidence no doubt …
Outgoing St George chairman Greg Fry may be about to leave the housebuilder, but he’s still shedding blood for its cause. At an annual sailing event hosted by parent company Berkeley last week, Fry was the proud captain of St George’s second crew - basically novices who, before they’d even reached the Solent, were plotting which route would be most likely to see them first back at the bar. All that changed, however, when the racing commenced. After being beaten by the highly competitive St George I boat in the first two races, Fry suddenly abandoned all thoughts of refreshing lager in favour of revenge. Cue a sterling performance in the final race, which saw Fry heroically persevering despite being lashed across the face by a stray rope, covering his nose with blood. The result? St George II had their best position of the day, leaving their rivals trailing in their wake. The overall scores, and the fact that the facial injuries looked far less dramatic by the evening, are, I’m told, footnotes barely worth a mention.