Robert Higgs, the smooth-talking director of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association, suffered a severe mauling at a fringe meeting at the Labour conference. Higgs was set upon by a delegate who took exception to some of his comments about employment conditions and the PFI. The furious delegate shouted Higgs down with a barrage of abuse and told him he needed to "get out more". Higgs later said that he welcomed the fury as "part of the spirit of the conference".
Still with the Labour conference, protesters from pressure group Friends of the Earth were spotted gatecrashing a disco hosted by airport operator BAA. Just as some of the BAA staff had begun to take to the dance floor at the Hilton hotel, the eco-shock troops, armed with giant inflatable sharks, began a protest at BAA's plans to build an airport in the Midlands. By the end of the night the glamorous venue was littered with anti-airport leaflets that had been screwed up by disgruntled BAA employees.
There was a little consternation at structural engineer Yolles' party, held last week at the Delfina Studio, a collection of artists' ateliers in central London. The problem was caused by a large, rectangular bowl of apples. The Braeburns, or were they Coxes? – it was difficult to tell in the subdued light – were immersed in a red liquid and arranged in neat rows. Was this an innovatively presented part of the buffet? Or was it one of the gallery's exhibits? And were they apples at all? In fact, they were part of the buffet … I think.
It all ads up
Has the Construction Industry Training Board got money to burn? Not content with placing full-page adverts in such distinguished publications as Loaded and FHM, it has now placed one in the New Statesman. And what did it tell us? That the CITB advertising campaign is going well, no less. Adverts about adverts? Has the CITB gone postmodern, or does it have a three-for-two deal with its agency?
We never tire of seeing the icon that is Bob the Builder turn up for another photo opportunity. On this occasion, the television legend is pictured with casually dressed industry figures Peter Rogers and Sir Michael Latham. The excuse? National Construction Week and the Jeans for Genes campaign, which encourages workers to dress casually to raise money for sick children.
Relieving the guard
Glazed atriums are popular with corporate companies eager to impress clients. They can have their drawbacks, however. Centrica, which owns British Gas and the Automobile Association, has had to spend £150,000 on a robotic arm to protect a security guard from the effects of the sun blazing through windows at its Windsor headquarters. Tensioned fabric secured to the arm will move with the sun to ensure the guard is protected all year round. This should be a relief to the guard, who for the past 18 months has been sitting at his desk wearing sunglasses.
Getting your point across
Staff at architect Carey Jones' Leeds office have an unusual distraction outside their window. Their building overlooks the Leeds Armouries' jousting ground and the peace of the studio is often disturbed by the clang of lance on bascinet. Perhaps jousts could be revived? After all, as a dispute resolution system, they are even quicker than adjudication.
Recycling to work
Argent chief executive Roger Madelin, the man with plans to redevelop King's Cross in central London, has a unique way of charming residents: he comes to meetings on his bicycle. "I've always used my bike as the best way to get from A to B, and I'm not going to stop now," he says. And no doubt it improves his cred when the debate turns to sustainable development.