This week we offer cutting-edge political satire, a celebration of northern friendliness, a look at the future of mobile phones and a non-existent walrus

He loves you not
Industry pensions providers B&CE gave a splendid pre-Christmas gift to construction journalists last week. Having treated guests to a spin round the London Eye and dinner at the restaurant owned by TV chef Tony Allan, the company rounded off the evening by presenting everyone with a signed copy of Allan’s recipe book. Open the cover, however, and the chef reveals his true feelings for the trade. “I’d like to thank my mother and father for getting me into cooking,” he says, “and thereby saving me from a career in the building industry.”

Very much the man in form
Much hilarity at the official launch of London 2012’s Olympic bid document at Canary Wharf.

A slick presentation was followed by a star panel of Lord Coe, Tessa Jowell, Jonathan Edwards and good old Ken Livingstone, who brought his usual gentle humour to the occasion. First he castigated Britain’s “Victor Meldrew” pessimism over the games. Then a young Times journalist asked him if he could think of any negative aspects to the bid. “Well,” he drawled, “the only negative aspect of the whole thing is that in 2012 your newspaper will still be here.” Ken’s clearly not a fan of the new compact quality.

The power of sport
The mirth continued as London 2012 unveiled its tubthumping new promotional film.

To the strains of M People’s “Proud”, the film showed a runner jogging through London, inspiring famous people as she does so.

Matthew Pinsent rows across the Serpentine in a dinghy; Joseph Fiennes is cured of stage fright at the Globe, and David Beckham completes a crossword. All great stuff, but Hackney residents no doubt wish she’s taken a detour past the Clissold Leisure centre.

Sour grapes
Continuing with the Olympic theme I regret to see that the whole country is not fully behind London’s bid. A colleague spotted a poster backing the campaign in Manchester last weekend that had received some unfortunate editing from a local. The “Back the Bid” words were crossed out and replace with “F*** London, give us our tram money back”.

Just checking
Tom Dengenis, head of internet-based project collaboration outfit Asite failed to impress my colleague at a recent BSRIA lunch. As the meal progressed and the wine flowed the conversation turned from changes to Part L to mobile phone technology. Inevitably, the mobiles and the process of oneupmanship began in true playground fashion. My colleague turned to Dengenis with an air of expectancy. Surely the head of an internet-based, IT touting, e-everything outfit would trump everybody with a secret NASA phone with GPS that can poach an egg, iron your shirt and communicate in blueberry and blackberry. Sadly not; instead Dengenis pulled out a Pre-Cambrian model. His excuse: “It’s the only one I’ve found that you can play chess on,” was his sheepish explanation.

I am the walrus
I hear there is a rather unusual demand for competitors vying to design the Halley VI scientific research station in the Antarctic.

As well as drawings and CVs and flowery prose describing the rationale behind the whizzy design, the competition organiser are asking for blood samples from the architects as they will need to be stationed out in the icy climes during construction if they win the contest. Which explains the stout gentleman with the enormous teeth and flippers in Ken Shuttleworth’s team.

The small cure-all
The small cure-all
I see those cunning foxes at New Labour have come up with a new wheeze for sidestepping all those targets they set themselves. First there was the "10-year transport plan", which was dealt with by ordering everyone in Whitehall not to talk about it any more. Now I hear of another Jason Robinsonesque sidestep with regard to the goal of building 100 hospitals by 2010. This target remains, but from now on it will include small hospitals that are easier to build. Trebles all round!