As a welcome diversion from the Referendum, which is turning more virulent and tribal than Game of Thrones, this week we got to see two business bigwigs give evidence before House of Commons Select Committees in further proof that capitalism can really, really suck.
On Tuesday, there was the rotund, surly Mike Ashley, billionaire owner of Sports Direct, the pile’em high, sell’em cheap emporium of sporting garb and leisurewear. Ashley also owns Newcastle United FC, which he has driven into the ground (and relegation) by appointing crap managers and denying it much needed funds for players. But I digress. Ashley was there to answer criticisms of Sports Direct’s employment practices, as disclosed by The Guardian in an undercover sting last year at the company’s Shirebrook warehouse. The paper revealed a working environment reminiscent of a Dickensian boot-blacking factory. Employees on zero-hours contracts are treated like dirt and subject to searches on their way out which means long waits to leave and for which they are not paid (thus breaching the minimum wage legislation). Conversely, should they arrive a minute late, they are docked 15 minutes’ pay. Ditto if they go to the toilet, leading some of them to wear incontinence pads. Too terrified to miss a day’s work (if they are permitted to work at all), employees go in when ill or heavily pregnant. One man had a stroke in the gents’ whilst a woman gave birth in the ladies’. The sound of ambulance sirens at Shirebrook is as common as the morning alarm clock with 76 visits in 2 years. Women are routinely subject to sexual harassment by their supervisors with fresh recruits described as “new meat”. The place is a hell-hole. Ashley’s defence was that it was nothing to do with him. Of course not. He only owns the business and pockets huge dividends. It is some other bugger’s fault. The company had become “too big” for him to manage. He admitted the breach of the minimum wage, although the company had denied it previously. He professed himself shocked at the allegations of harassment and ill-treatment, rather in the way that Capt. Renault was shocked at discovering gambling at Rick’s Bar in Casablanca whilst pocketing his winnings. It was unedifying to say the least.
The next day, we had another Select Committee enquiring into the car crash that is BHS, a British institution that went bust last month, leaving 11,000 people out of work and their pensions in the wind. BHS was previously owned by another billionaire, “Sir” Philip Green, through a vehicle called Arcadia. Green put all his shares in the hands of his wife, Tina, who is “resident” in Monte Carlo. Green spends most of his time floating about on yachts baring his creosoted paunch and swigging Krug. Last year, having removed £580m in dividends and loans from BHS in the 15 years he owned it, Green flogged it for £1 to a 3-times bankrupt called Dominic Chappell. Then another sizeable chunk of cash went out of the company before it all went tits up, leaving a gaping hole in the pension fund whilst Green and his wife await delivery of a new £100m yacht called Lionheart. Green says it is Chappell’s fault. Chappell says it is Green’s fault. Investors blame both of them. The Committee heard evidence from BHS directors who called Chappell a liar and a thief and from Chappell himself, who wrung his hands and said how terrible it was that 11,000 employees found themselves on the scrapheap. However, he declined to divulge his earnings from BHS and said he would send MPs a letter with those details plus what happened to the £1.5m taken out of BHS and all the millions he promised to put in, but did not.
You know what Readers? These people are despicable, utterly uncaring about those who work(ed) for them whilst they luxuriate with their cars and yachts and football clubs. Do you think any of them are lying awake at night worrying about the people who grafted for them? Because they are not. Sweet dreams…..
Let us turn to the week’s clothing cloaca, starting with Nicole Kidman at the premiere of Genius, wearing Rodarte.
Nicole! You are a busy woman, I know, but you should have sent a minion out for some mothballs. Your bits are showing….
We meet a newcomer to these pages, singer Andra Day at the Guys’ Choice Awards.
These are essentially cheap satin jim-jams with tits and a side helping of Animal from the Muppets.
And an old friend of ours, actress Sharon Stone, wearing Tony Ward couture.
Memo to Sharon. You are 58 and gorgeous. You do not need to play the peekaboo tits-and-minge trick. Especially as we have all seen all of you, in close-up, on a 50 foot screen.
To the Council of Fashion Designers of American Awards 2016, where shockingness was in abundance. We start with model Hilary Rhoda wearing Monique Lhuillier.
Hilary’s ladyparts are barely covered by golden fronds, like a couture Eve. One hopes Monique is never asked to design the costumes for her kiddies’ Nativity Play. It could get ugly….
More see-through gold stuff, this time on Swedish model Elsa Hosk wearing Naeem Khan.
Here we have a minge mosaic and it difficult to distinguish between Elsa’s Veronica Lake hair and those golden sleeves. As WTF aficionado Rachel remarked, this is like a bad outfit for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Now for a male triumvirate of terribleness. We begin with Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, wearing, er, Gucci.
Had this just been pink with black facings, WTF might, just might, have accepted it. But not the embroidery. And not the floppy bow tie, like spaniels’ ears. And DEFINITELY not the be-bowed patent pumps WITH WHITE SOCKS!!! And it has silver embroidery on the back like a rodeo rider!
And now a WTF bête noire, designer Thom Browne wearing, er, Thom Browne.
It was Thom who pioneered the shorts tuxedo as an actual thing, a look previously worn, in khaki versions, by Colonial administrators, wartime army personnel and Australian customs officers. WTF had hoped that Thom had got bored by now, but no – he is still flashing his hairy calves with curiously un-hairy ankles. Does he shave them? Even worse, he is wearing brogues and no socks, a look WTF hates almost above all things.
Finally, we have actor Ansel Elgort wearing Thom Browne. This Thom Browne is a pest. Fact.
No honestly, what the hell is this? If an undertaker went to a fancy dress party as Blade Runner, this is what he would look like. It is just about the stupidest suit WTF has seen in the history of ever.
This week’s It’s Got To Go comes from Tony from Herne Bay who has got it in for “Mod” haircuts. There is no need to improve upon his invective. Often sported by 50-something music journalists in documentaries about The Jam or Quadrophenia, this greying monstrosity usually features a receding Noddy Holder fringe with what resembles two wheat sheaves protruding southwards from the sideburn area. In extreme cases, this is paired with a spikey top. Anyone should be able to have any haircut they want at any age but this does not look good on the young, let alone the ageing wannabe mod. You are not Paul Weller. You are not even Liam Gallagher. And even if you are, Its Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Keep those comments coming in as WTF loves them like anything, not to mention your splendid suggestions for It’s Got To Go. And pass the word on to all you know to get reading. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good x