While a fishmonger and a newt-fancier fight over a scrap of east London, a trip to the races proves a right royal to-do and the new housing minister gets slapped down by the Treasury
Picture this, sport
I dusted down the penny farthing on Sunday and joined one of the many bike rides taking place during the London Festival of Architecture. Velo2Velo took riders from the 1948 Olympic cycling stadium in Herne Hill to the site of the Hopkins-designed 2012 velodrome in Stratford. The highlight was a talk from Hopkins director Mike Taylor on the design concept behind the Pringle-shaped roof, but the day didn’t go without a hitch. Mike’s drawings were accidentally locked away on the morning of the talk and the keyholder was discovered to be in Belfast. “No problem,” said Mike, “I’ll bring my sketchbook.” And so it was that we enjoyed a fascinating presentation in the style of Rolf Harris. If only he played the didgeridoo, too.
Something fishy going on
Lance Forman, who battled a compulsory purchase order to save his family fish-smoking factory in the middle of the Olympic park, recently accepted his arch enemy Ken Livingstone as a diner in his new restaurant, Formans, which is next to the stadium. Does this mean that relations between the two men, who were engaged in a bitter, four-year battle over the site, are on the mend? Not necessarily, according to my sources. Apparently, Forman has vowed that if Livingstone does make another bid to become mayor in 2012, as he’s suggesting, he’ll stand against him …
Time off in loo
There are some well-known pitfalls involved in attending Royal Ascot: financial ruin and becoming the object of envy being just two. Doyle Group’s Stephen Harvey, however, discovered another danger. At the event earlier this month, Harvey wanted to send some work emails, so diligently shut himself in a toilet cubicle to deal with his correspondence in private. On emerging 20 minutes later, he was surrounded by a group of burly security guards, who mounted a thorough search of our luckless punter and his cubicle. Apparently, when the Queen is in attendance, all suspicious behaviour is treated with the utmost caution, and that includes lengthy stays in the loos. So do choose your temporary work stations with care.
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Good to see Paul Monaghan of AHMM and BDP’s boss Peter Drummond nattering away at Building’s terrace reception last week. It seems they are on the same party circuit. Both also attended BDP’s 25th anniversary, it emerged. Much more remarkable, however, was Drummond’s revelation that next year the firm is having a another bash - its 50th birthday. Neither of them look old enough …
Take nothing for Granted
Housing minister Grant Shapps used his inaugural Harrogate conference speech last week to announce a shake-up of social housing regulation. But his statement that the Tenants Services Authority was under review didn’t go as far as he wanted to, I understand. Shapps had previously stated that he intended to scrap the body. However, this plan had not been cleared by the Treasury and Shapps had to back down after much behind-the-scenes wrangling.
Not the best start. As one observer put it to me: “Is it wise to have picked a fight with the Treasury this early? These people have long memories …”
Oh, is there a football tournament on?
Following our naming and shaming of senders of press releases with feeble links to the World Cup, this week we’re outing those silly enough to bid for our attention slap bang in the middle of England’s game against Slovenia. You know, the match when everything stopped - except, that is, Tarmac, who chose a moment 55 minutes into the match to tell the world it had “become the first organisation to achieve certification to BES 6001”. Now, we think sustainable sourcing of products is admirable, but there’s a time and place.