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NICK TURNS HIS NOSE UP

ASTRAGAL

What a view. What a guest list. What a party. The RIBA's London Region has surely seen nothing like this before.

The chairman's annual dinner last week was held in the extraordinary surroundings of the Gherkin nosecone.

As one wag put it, looking at the reections of the bald heads in the glass and steel above, 'the domes in the dome'. All the big names were there. Not just the usual RIBA faces - but the likes of architecture minister David Lammy and Tate supremo Nicholas Serota. Astragal sat next to Serota for the dinner (which was much better than the scoff usually found at such functions). Ever the politician, the modern-day Medici gave very little away, apart from one slip: 'I wouldn't recommend Olympic organisers look for inspiration to Liverpool's Capital of Culture, ' he said knowingly. Fortunately Sir Nick is far too sophisticated to use such terminology, but the frustration in his eyes was reminiscent of a phrase that includes the words 'piss-up' and 'brewery'.

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