Bill Oddie, ornithologist, nature enthusiast and one-time Goodie, was gracious enough to stand in at the last minute at the CIBSE's annual dinner at Le Meridien Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane last week, after the scheduled speaker fell ill. As usual, the heating and ventilation boys managed to sit and listen politely for all of five minutes before resuming their tittle-tattle. The Rochdale lad was furious when one individual continued to natter even after he had asked him to shut up. A frustrated Oddie took matters into his own hands: on leaving the stage, he walked up to the baddie and poured a drink over his head.
It's art, innit?
Hoarding art is back on building sites. And I'm not referring to those slick CAD images of how the finished building might appear bathed in implausible Mediterranean sunshine. At St Bartholomew's Hospital in the City of London, the historic West Wing has been transformed into a giant artwork depicting idyllic English countryside, complete with long, winding road meandering through rolling wheatfields and verdant hedgerows. This scene comes in the form of a 20 m-high fabric drop sheet, screen-printed by the internationally renowned artist Julian Opie. Opie's vision may not tell you much about what is happening to the building behind, but maybe the long and winding road is symbolic of the construction process – or something.
The horror … the horror
Services engineer Baily Garner forwent its traditional December finger buffet to finger its partners instead. The firm decided that this year it would ask its clients, suppliers and staff to give their all on stage – for charity, naturally – at the Late Christmas Party in a pub in London's Cannon Street last week. I'm told the highlight of the evening was the firm's partners "doin' the Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Show dressed in fishnet stockings, high heels, slinky basques and feather boas. It is nice to hear how open-minded the construction industry is becoming …
Which reminds me … It was good to hear that 43-year-old architect Charles Jones has made a stand for enlightenment by becoming the UK's first out-and-proud gay amateur boxer. Jones made his debut last night under the moniker "The Pink Pounder".
I recognise the fez
I see that contractor HBG is doing its bit to encourage youngsters to join the industry – although the two rather scary figures here may be unsuitable for smaller children. The firm's mascot, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Bob the Builder, is pictured with the fez-headed camel that is the mascot of the Saracens rugby union team. They are standing at the club's Vicarage Road ground in Watford, and the publicity shot marks the culmination of a sports stadium design competition launched during last year's National Construction Week.
Is that the excuses hotline?
Apparently, so many contractors have called the Meteorological Office to confirm this record-breaking statistic that one project manager’s call was answered with the curt question, “You’re a contractor, aren’t you?” before he had even opened his mouth.