Reading the Campaign for Real Ale's report on the nation's pubs almost made me to choke on my foaming mug of Old Speckled Beaver last week. My friends with the beards and the cycle-clips are inveighing against "the tat or bland open spaces that typify the modern pubfitter's repertoire". In fact, it seems that a mere 250 of our 60,000 hostelries have interiors with "outstanding heritage interest". However, just £2.50 gets you CAMRA's new National Inventory of all 250 perfectly preserved pubs, which I happily paid. Others are welcome to spend the money on four-fifths of a pint of Stella down at their plastic local.
Breach of privilege
Word reaches me of a security incident in the run-up to Building's well-attended terrace reception at the Houses of Parliament. Paul Larcey, sales and marketing boss of Lafarge Roofing, arrived somewhat early and decided to while away the time in a nearby members bar. So far, so pleasant, as Larcey ordered a drink and started to sip it leisurely. But the hapless exec then unmasked himself by making a mobile phone call and asking his interlocutor to guess where he was. Guards!
The green room of greatness
Nearly all professional practices start up with a tiny, unpromising project. Then, if they're hard-working and lucky, they slowly build up to gain strings of repeat commissions from high-profile clients. This is certainly the case with structural engineer Alan Conisbee and Associates of north London, which last week celebrated its 21st birthday. And talking about repeat commissions, the firm is still pulling in work from its first tiny, unpromising client – the nationally celebrated Almeida Theatre.
The publication of the Institution of Civil Engineers' annual State of the Nation report last week prompted relief that the terrible condition of the country's infrastructure had been brought to light. However, ICE director general Tom Foulkes rather distracted attention from his message by posing for the manifestly absurd photograph pictured above, which makes him look like Swiss Toni about to entertain us with his version of Feelings with the assistance of a luminous microphone.
Dressing up the numbers
Construction equipment provider Speedy Hire has come up with an ingenious variation on the dry and staid document known to humankind as the annual report. To get that gritty, on-site feel, one document comes with a health and safety warning sticker, and a second contains a series of envelopes stuffed with reports and targets for the firm. Who said equipment hire wasn't sexy?