The construction skills crisis gets worse and worse. Bovis Lend Lease has been forced to ask the client to second staff to help in its £400m rebuilding of the BBC's Broadcasting House headquarters in central London. Yes, it's Pudsy the Bear (pictured), mascot for the Beeb's Children in Need charity extravaganza. Apparently, the beast is going to be placed on one of the scheme's cranes to publicise the telethon. Surely I'm not the only one to question to wisdom of employing a severely injured cuddly toy for this kind of work – at height and without so much as a hard hat?
Laugh? He nearly died
Attendees at this year's Little Britain regatta in Cowes will be devastated to hear that comedy has been banished from the event. As you may recall from last month's "Rubber chicken" column, Tim Clarke's stand-up performance was greeted by some extremely critical critics – "hopeless", "pathetic" and "an absolute disgrace" were a representative sample of the reviews. And the organisers' opinion? "The guy was just not used to playing to thousands and thousands of people," says my Little Britain source.
Suggestions as to who or what could possibly replace Mr Clarke can be emailed to my new address (see below). Some early recommendations have included "30 minutes of complete silence" and "Nigel Griffiths singing the Cheeky Girls' greatest hits".
The great biscuit battle
My launch last week of the 2003 Biscuit Best Practice Awards (rewarding excellence in the field of office biscuitry) triggered a minor avalanche of replies. John Zeffertt of Skanska emails me with exciting news that architect HOK provides "homemade cookies, Danish pastries and excellent coffee" at its Oxford Street premises. As a result, HOK is fighting it out for the supreme champion title with fellow architect Watkins "Melting Moments" Gray. I'd like to stress, however, that the competition is open to all construction types, so QSs, contractors, structural engineers: get baking. Anyone sufficiently impressed by their hosts' fodder should email me at email@example.com.
A touch of crass
The champagne was flowing at PR firm Tamesis' knees-up last week. What's more, the hosts had done their damnedest to ensure the whole affair displayed a touch of class by hiring ace UK jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard to lend a laid-back, Miles Davis-inflected groove to the proceedings. Sadly, such treats are largely wasted on the construction industry, which doesn't know about music, but does know where to find Radio 2 on the dial. In fact, everyone stood with their back to the stage all night and one aesthete was overheard to moan: "Can't we have some Wham?"