TOP TOPPING OUT… To Clippers Quay in Salford, where all the stops were pulled out to deliver the epitome of construction pomp and circumstance earlier this week. The topping out event saw introductions from the Lord-Lieutenant, a conveyor-belt of speeches shouting to compete against the wind on the blustery rooftop, a ceremonial Yew tree planting, tankards of ale, bell ringing, and in reference to host Sir Robert McAlpine’s Scottish heritage, bagpipe playing throughout. A rickety goods lift ferried all guests to the top of the building in dusty and hair-raising fashion, before heading back to a hotel for champagne. Now that’s a ceremony.
EMERGENCY SERVICE… When not attending construction milestone celebrations, Clippers Quay forward funder Grainger is a build-to-rent operator prizing itself on diligent customer service for all its tenants. However, for Khush Rajgor, a concierge in one of Grainger’s London blocks, this customer support was pushed to its very limits when she was called upon to perform an emergency delivery of a tenant’s baby. With pillow cases for gloves, and lots of towels, in the end “you just have to get on with it, stick your hands out, and grab it”, a no-nonsense Khush told Place when we saw her at the topping out.
OUT THERE ART… An art installation is set to take over Crewe market square this weekend, bringing an “alien soundscape” to the town as part of the wider SHIFT digital art programme. Expect big blue globes, strange sounds, and rubber hugging.
FAT FINGER… There’s a “but for the grace of God” approach to publishing, with all writers only one blurry-eyed early morning away from an unfortunate typo. However, this slip-up from our friends over at the Liverpool Echo was too good to go unacknowledged. No doubt that’s news that many local residents have been waiting for for some time…
FLIGHT MODE… The blurring of boundaries between games and life continues, with BAE Systems’ new training facility in Warton using “latest gaming technologies”, such as commercially available interactive headsets and gloves, alongside military aircraft simulators and Formula 1 engineering, to get pilots used to being in the cockpit before taking to the skies IRL (that’s “in real life”, for those not down with the latest youth jargon). Augmented reality creates a totally immersive 3D environment to train in, whether your preferred aircraft is a Hawk or a Jet.
ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY… Today marks Mayor Andy Burnham’s first session at the helm of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the monthly meeting of all 10 councils, and it’ll be interesting to see how he juggles the various personalities prominent across the local authorities. Burnham’s certainly worn down his shoe leather in his first weeks in office, and is rarely found in one place for too long. This is probably why he’s expected to make some changes to the set-up of the GMCA meetings, turning what was previously a full day of committee-after-board-meeting-after-advisory-panel, into a more palatable series of sessions throughout the month. Spreading his exposure, and perhaps saving him a headache.
FAMILIAR FACE… Ex-Chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne has added another role to his already-brimming roster, taking an honorary professorship in economics at the University of Manchester, a job that not everyone may think he’s qualified for. Perhaps he was missing his commute from London to the North, as well as his regular chinwags with former Manchester chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, who’s also a Man Uni professor. Alongside the day job as editor of the London Evening Standard, advisor to Blackrock, and fellow of US thinktank McCain, Osborne is a busy man.