I am looking forward to joining the industry pilgrimage to Cannes next week for the MIPIM property fair (see pages 28-29). My thanks to fit-out firm Maris for its glossy pocket-sized guide to the event. However, I was surprised to find that the guide had precious few mentions of MIPIM itself.
An explanation for this omission can be found in the introduction to the publication, where the firm describes its production as reaching its audience "against the odds". The guide continues: "Stern warnings and threats of injunctions … were unable to thwart our efforts to meet your demand. At issue are allegations that we have infringed the MIPIM copyright … We have taken every effort to ensure that we cannot possibly be confused with other guides and brochures, or taken seriously." Proof of an Anglo–French spat to match Blair vs Chirac?
My spies have informed me that UCATT general secretary George Brumwell has become a little confused in his football team allegiances of late. Apparently Brumwell has switched from supporting his beloved Sunderland to Newcastle – just as as the Black Cats are stuck at the foot of the Premiership table and looking relegation in the face. The switch is unusual, as the two teams are arch rivals in the North-east and any turn in loyalties would be seen as a cardinal sin.
Hard-talking Brumwell was also spotted watching Newcastle at West Ham's Upton Park last month, but even more mysteriously was at the home end.
A trip to Lyon? What fun!
A weary colleague has relayed a disastrous press trip last week to the Lyon HQ of French materials giant Lafarge. After an informative morning, the journalists headed to Lyon airport expecting to arrive back in London in time for Eastenders.
But with Heathrow closed because of snow, a litany of miseries ensued – of cancelled flights and sleepless nights in an airport hotel and finally a three-hour Eurostar trip that took nine hours. It was all too much for some tearful hacks. There were some compensations, however: the Lafarge complimentary wine came in handy and my colleague is now the proud owner of a Lafarge "tour" sweatshirt bearing the slogan "FCUK'd en France" – a fitting epitaph to the trip.
Free Albanian with every order
I hear Klober, the manufacturer of roofing membranes, received a shock when its latest stock delivery rolled into its Midlands HQ – three illegal immigrants popped out of the lorry. Suspicions were raised when warehouse operative Pete Weir heard a cough from inside. The surprise guests, who had sneaked through immigration from Albania and Croatia, were in no position to escape, however, as they had endured freezing conditions for more than two days. The firm, which launched new customer training courses last month, expressed some surprise at receiving interest all the way from Eastern Europe.