Ah, Paris, prince of Troy, abductor of Helen and the man who loosed an arrow into Achilles' heel. It's a name steeped in legend, and one can imagine that Paris Moayedi, head of Jarvis, has always been fiercely proud of it. Well, perhaps not always. My friends in the Iranian community inform me that he was once called Parvis but changed his name when he moved to Britain. Could he possibly have foreseen that one day he would take the helm at a construction firm, and that he would forever thence be known by his former countrymen as "Parvis Jarvis"?
I hear that London mayor Ken Livingstone ran into some criticism at last week's RIBA debate on whether the UK should host the Olympic Games. Livingstone, champion of London's underprivileged, managed to raise hackles when he suggested that the residents of Hackney and Tower Hamlets could move into the Olympic village housing when the games were over. After all, he said, "they have lived in crap for years". The mayor's pro-bid stance was shared by most of the audience with the exception of one member who stood up to say, "I take exception to what you've said, young man. I come from the East End and I resent you calling it crap."
Fat cat got your tongue?
I hear that UCATT general secretary George Brumwell has been suffering somewhat in the wake of being part of the negotiating team finalising the landmark £55,000 Terminal 5 pay deal. Perhaps it was the detailed talks, or maybe it was the post-deal celebrations, but Brumwell ended up losing his voice. I wish him a speedy recovery, of course – although employers may be that it is out of action for a while.
Behind the bamboo curtain
Had enough of those home makeovers programmes on television? Not so the British Council, which has repackaged them as a cultural export industry and spun it off to the far corners of the globe.
Or, more precisely, to China, which the British Council has targeted for a "Hometime" exhibition next autumn as part of its "Think UK" campaign. Eight real and not so real celebrities, including Tony Blair, Kate Winslet, Sherlock Holmes and Everton's Chinese footballer Li Tie, will have rooms specially created for them by hip and happening British designers such as FAT, Casson Mann and Cottrell + Vermeulen. If you think it sounds a bit tacky, I suggest you look on the bright side – after all, they didn't invite Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to take part.
Still on a televisual theme, one of my colleagues recently had a strange request from a chap at a television production company. The little fellow wanted to film some sequences for a reconstruction of operation Market Garden, the ill-fated Allied operation during the Second World War. The programme, which will be screened on BBC2, is about people who won the Victoria Cross. And the request? The producer wanted the phone number of a demolition contractor so he could get some footage of demolition contractors doing what they do best – blowing things up.