A heartfelt apology from this week's Building coverboy, which he - and we - feel is owed for unfortunate timing on three fronts. Well, at least two... (smokers will just have to wear it)

I’d like to make three apologies in the wake of my appearance on this week’s cover of Building.

Firstly, I’d like to say sorry for being pictured with grenades hanging from my chest in the same week would-be suicide bombers returned to Britain. Unwittingly tasteless as it is, it would be even more so had these pathetic clowns managed to kill anyone.

Secondly, I am regretfully shown smoking a cigar just days after the ban on smoking in the workplace was implemented. Luckily, the pages of the magazine do not legally constitute a ‘workplace’, or else I could be facing a fine alongside my presence on MI5’s ‘most wanted’ list. I would like to sincerely apologise for the stogie craving I may have inspired in your newly smoke-free offices and sites.

In spite of all this, I am very proud of the cartoon me, bedecked in ammunition and grasping my gun like I was Sylvester Stallone. As a mark of my admiration, I am using it as my Facebook profile image. My friends already think of me as at least 10% harder.

Not as hard, though, as real soldiers, none of whom, I hasten to add, wear ammunition in such a fashion, nor their helmets at such a jaunty angle. They don’t write ‘born to kill’ on their helmets, or grasp their guns with one hand. They also know better than to call a rifle a gun. And if my article left you in any doubt, Reservists are undoubtedly real soldiers.

A good friend underwent a nine-month tour of Iraq in 2004 as a Territorial Army officer. Having read his journal, I know a little of the fear he lived through, and the enormous courage it took to be a soldier out there. Many civilians still think of Gareth from the Office when they think of the TA, but the reality is quite different. When we think of the sacrifices made by those who are employed to fight in the Middle East, we shouldn’t forget the sacrifices of those who volunteered to do the same.

So my third apology is to soldiers who saw the article or even just the cartoon, and worried that Building was trivialising their efforts. You can rest easily, for the joke here is assuredly on the unfit, unkempt journalist who attempted for one weekend to follow in your footsteps.