Somebody, somewhere, has seriously fucked up. Self-evidently, a concrete building like Grenfell House, home to 124 families, should not burn like that. Self-evidently, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (“RBKC”) spent nearly £10m on cladding, possibly to tart up the exterior, but was much less interested in the interior. Self-evidently, the management company neglected the tenants’ needs (we hear of lifts out of action for weeks in a 24-storey block, power surges with nothing done about them). Self-evidently, tenants’ concerns about being burnt to death were ignored until many of them, so far an unknown number but likely to be in the high dozens, burnt to death. Or suffocated to death. Or leapt to their death. And if the cladding conformed to all building standards, then self-evidently there is something seriously wrong with those building standards because the fire spread upwards in 15 minutes. Fitting retrospective sprinklers would have cost £200,000. That money was not spent. And how appropriate that our Prime Minister, clinging to office like shit to a blanket, appointed Gavin Barwell as her new Chief of Staff. Barwell was the Minister of Housing until 8 June. During his tenure, he was urged to expedite a review of housing safety standards and promised that he would do so. Except that he did not do do. He lost his seat on Thursday and walked straight into a new job on Saturday. A nice fat MP’s pension and a salary, all courtesy of the taxpayer. Meanwhile, it took the Government until late Thursday afternoon to promise to rehouse those left homeless.
People are angry. They are shocked. They are bereaved. They know they have been shafted. They were promised things and those things didn’t happen. They complained and they were ignored. RKBC seems not to have sent officials to co-ordinate the amazing work being done by volunteers and pastors and imams and rabbis and local residents. The Police cannot say who is and who is not dead as they have to rely on sniffer dogs (lighter, quicker) to go into the upper floors since the building, burnt and water damaged, is dangerous and fires are still sporadically flaring. Identification of the bodies, even when they are recovered is very difficult. Theresa May came and went, not stopping to meet a single resident or willing to show the, any empathy. Like the election (and look how well that turned out for her), May does not do people. She does photo opportunities. Sadiq Khan came and copped all the anger, abuse and frustration that has been welling up in everyone since it happened. It is much to his credit that he took it and he understood it. And everyone knows that had this it happened in the Borough’s posher streets, the multi-million-pound mansions of the Camerons and the Beckhams and Russian oligarchs various, or to Kensington Palace which has had a gazillion pound refurbishment, there would have been a damn sight more effort and visual presence to resolve something that would not have happened in the first place. The residents of Grenfell Tower were just not that important. The first named victim is a Syrian refugee, an engineering student, who fled the murderous maniacs in that country only to perish on the 14th floor of a building manifestly unfit for purpose.
But you know what, Readers? In the middle of this miserable, depressing, obscene vision of rich and poor, corporate and voiceless, this have-and-have-not Britain, there were stories that made you feel humble, moved and, well, better. The magnificent bravery of the firefighters. The young Muslims waiting to start the fast for Ramadan who ran into the building and rescued people, waking them up when the alarms (of course) did not ring. People who turned up at the scene with provisions and clothing, some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles to get there whilst RKBC seemingly could not send people down the road. There was the man from Hanley in West London who went to the scene with £300 in pound coins and distributed them to the kids so they could experience a few minutes of normality by going to the sweet shop. There was the woman from Stepney who filled bags with food and drink and went to St Mary’s Paddington to give them to the exhausted, shocked, medical staff. There was the man from Leicester who loaded his van with supplies donated within two hours by people of all faiths in response to his Facebook posting and drove down the M1 to distribute it. There was the woman in a wheelchair who went to the scene straight from the airport to help after she arrived back from holiday and heard the news – she was still there 24 hours later, accommodated overnight by someone working alongside her. There were the people who contributed mountains of clothes and bedding and toiletries and the people who turned up to sort them and to bag them and the van drivers who volunteered to transport them. The contrast with those whose moral and statutory duty it was to look after the residents of Grenfell Tower is sobering but it does remind you that despite the ineptitude and the indifference and the pursuit of profit over people and the savage, swingeing cuts, there are fundamentally good men and women about and thank God for them.
What follows is the usual stupidity and frivolity, but then we need something to smile about, don’t we? So just forget the misery and the anger for two minutes and read about the week’s sartorial shockers. We start at the CMT Music Awards with singer RaeLynn.
Brocade frou-frou and illusory sheer (which is oddly disconcerting). Raelynn is 23 years old and married. There is something a bit Little Miss Sunshine about this ensemble, which is even more disconcerting.
Next up, we have former Real Housewife of Beverley Hills, Brandi Glanville .
Well, this is classy. Not that Brandi does classy any more than Theresa May does people. Skin the colour of cuprinol, fake tits like footballs, what appear to be like giant cartoon eyeballs peeping out of the cleavage and an imminent Minge Moment. Ugh.
Next up, we have model Bella Hadid. This one is actually from the Cannes Film Festival several weeks ago but WTF missed it. Thanks to WTF aficionado Jen for drawing it to her attention.
Bella is lovely and all that but honestly….she is wearing a panty-pad under one of those little laundry bags you use to wash your undies in the machine. It is just terribly, terribly, terrible.
To the Tony Awards in New York, the theatrical equivalent of the Oscars, where much nonsense abounded. Here is TV presenter and former dancer Keltie Knight wearing Rodarte.
More sheer tedium but the worst of it is that it is just so damn ugly.
And now a trio of ridiculous gentlemen, starting with Vogue Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles.
Dear me. He looks like a perambulating pink fondant fancy. And the frilly shirt is very barmiztvah boy.
Next up, we have artist and costume designer David Zinn.
The faux-kilt is bad enough but the yomping boots and fancy socks with it are beyond anything. You wouldn’t see this walking down Sauchiehall Street. Happily.
And finally we have theatre-owner – quite a few of theatres actually – Gucci-wearing Jordan Roth.
Here’s Jordan, glowing like a neon watermelon with preposterous buckled shoes as worn by a extra in Tom Hardy’s Taboo. Yours for only $4,900 (the suit, not Tom Hardy. If that were all Tom cost, WTF would be down the cash machine in seconds flat. But I digress.) This is the back….
Tony the Tiger lives on. All we need is Katy Perry singing I am a tiger, let me hear you roar…..
WTF described this last week as “Blue lipstick. Tits. X marks the spots. Minge. The whole nine yards. Offensive. And then some”. As Sundy got 16% of the vote, way ahead of her nearest rivals, it seems that you shared that sentiment. Talking of Katy Perry, she came joint second with actor Tommy Dorfman.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Keep those comments coming as well as your excellent suggestions for It’s Got To Go (which had to go this week for reasons of space). Let us meet again next Friday. Be good.