Last week's Variety Club Annual Property Awards luncheon, popularly known as the Props, retains its commendable reputation for stolid sobriety. First, property tycoon Sir John Beckwith walks off with the Best Newcomer Award for his lifetime in the industry. Then Sara Fox, the building director at Swiss Re, makes a speech pointing out that she is not married to Ken Shuttleworth – a point of confusion at another awards ceremony. Then, to cap it all, another winning property tycoon ends his speech by breaking into song and ultimately a romantic duet with the awards host, comedian Tom O'Connor. Good to see that the commercial market is keeping its spirits up in these difficult times.
Our moggies are safe
After the GlaxoSmithKline shareholders rebelled against the fat-cat remuneration package for chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier, a colleague of mine thought it would be fun to find out if the same thing could happen in construction. He abandoned the project after speaking to a construction analyst: "You're wasting your time, mate," the bean-counter retorted. "Construction chief execs are paid so little that this is about the only industry that will not experience any fall-out from that action."
It must be glove, glove, glove
My thanks go to Union Locks for one of the most useless press gimmicks I have received in a long while – a bag full gloves. On Wednesday I received seven left gloves. And on Thursday the right gloves arrived. The rationale behind the publicity stunt was to draw attention to the company's new range of locks, which – wait for it – are suitable for both right- and left-handed applications. Quite what I'm supposed to do with seven pairs of gloves eludes me, particularly as they look like the type of handwear most commonly worn by housewives and serial killers.
A laugh a metre
My contractor friends Fitzpatrick are drawing attention to themselves – literally – in Trafalgar Square. The contractor has supplied a 90 m long, 2 m high hoarding on which cartoonists are creating the world's longest cartoon strip. Readers may remember that the high-profile site was criticised in this magazine earlier in the year for being untidy. Now it seems the last laugh is on Fitzpatrick – the hoarding hiding the site will form part of the London Comedy Festival.
The future? A waste of time
The industry seems as cynical as ever about investing in IT. At a conference last week called "Making IT Pay", delegates were treated to a day of presentations by enthusiastic advocates of the business benefits of IT. At the end of it, a delegate from brick maker Hanson said he had not heard a thing that convinced him current levels of IT expenditure were justified. At this the audience, which had been soporific until then, burst into spontaneous applause. Great minds...