Until recently, Boris Johnson was not known for his ability as a conjurer. As an adulterer, certainly. As a liar, definitely. As someone lazy and unwilling to read his brief, without question. But not as a conjurer. However, one is never too old to be surprised, usually unpleasantly, and Johnson’s ability to make money disappear into thin air (not dishonestly, just by being utter rubbish at his job) has been highlighted by the detailed breakdown of the £53 million spent during his tenure as Mayor of London on the Garden Bridge, a nonsensical leafy white elephant that was supposed to provide pedestrian access across the Thames by Temple Station. We all knew that Johnson could waste money – remember the £331,000 spent on three water cannon that were never deployed and were sold for £11,000? But at least there were three actual water cannon, albeit that they were never actually used because Theresa May, then the Home Secretary, blocked it. In the case of the Garden Bridge, there is not so much as a slab of concrete or a potted plant to show for it. The whole thing was a monument to Johnson’s ego and the old-pals act that allowed family friend Joanna Lumley to gain access to the Mayor and persuade him to commission her long-held dream of an oversized folly, London’s version of Kubla Khan’s Stately Pleasure Dome (And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree); except that Kubla Khan paid for his one himself. The design exercise was slanted in favour of architects Thomas Heatherwick, although they had never built a major bridge; of the three firms asked to tender designs, only Heatherwick got the tip-off that the bridge was supposed to be a garden bridge and not an ordinary bridge. Contracts were handed out like goodies at a kids’ birthday party. The Garden Bridge Trust was set up and fully staffed. It was like a giant bran tub of business opportunities.
They say that it is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good, and never was this so true as in this case. Thomas Heatherwick & Co were paid £2.7m. Designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialist company Arup was paid £12.4 million. French contractors contractors Bouygues Travaux Publics and Cimolai SpA were paid 21.4 million, including £2.1 million for ‘costs suffered … and charged to the Garden Bridge Trust for the demobilisation of staff, offices and repatriation of plant and labour’. £1.3 million was spent on boreholes and looking for unexploded bombs. Some bloke got £330,000 for designing the leafy bits that were going on top of the bridge. £166,000 was spent on designing the website. The Garden Trust management ended up with £1.7 million in salaries for not raising enough money to build the thing they were being paid to oversee the building of. And of course m’Learned Friends did not miss out – they pocketed £2.3 million, laid in the Krug and purchased new Ferraris and charming holiday cottages in scenic spots. Even the bloke who paid £3,200 to play table tennis with Johnson is getting his money back. But Readers, do you know who aren’t getting their money back? The taxpayers. The council tax payers. The People in London (who are both council tax payers and tax payers). They all shelled out for something that isn’t there, and continue to shell out for Johnson’s pension as Mayor and his salary as an MP. If only he had never materialised. At least the Garden Bridge looked nice.
Our weekly survey of sartorial shite takes us to the Grammys, where shockingness was in abundance like summer fruit in an orchard. We begin with Kylie Jenner, wearing Balmain Haute Couture.
This appears to be a candy pink designer straitjacket, worn with very unflattering trousers and pink Marigold washing up gloves.
More pink, this time on Tayla Parx, wearing granny’s bedspread.
Let us hope that Tayla’s granny is not suffering from the cold, what with her granddaughter swiping her cuddly bedcover (or is it a slanket?), and pairing it with colourfully-hued sneakers.
Ben Harper wearing who can even say what this is?
Ben is of African-American and Cherokee ancestry on his father’s side and his mother is Jewish, but for reasons best known to himself, he turned up dressed like a greeter from a Tijuana flophouse.
Meghan Trainor, wearing Christian Siriano.
WTF tried to think how this could be any more unflattering and then gave up. Meghan looks like the abominable snowman with tits…. and boy, she seems miserable.
And now an outbreak of Trump twattery, starting with the ridiculous Ricky Rebel, wearing Andre Soriano.
Andre Soriano specialises in designing ridiculous outfits for ridiculous non-persons to ensure that they get their picture taken at events such as this one. Ricky is a campaigner for LGBT rights. Has he ever had a chat with Mike and Karen Pence and the #MAGA mob, all of whom think he is going to burn in hell? WTF would not advise Ricky to walk into a Trump Rally dressed like this or he might never get out alive.
And here is serial offender Joy Villa. Joy usually wears Andre Soriano on these occasions, but this time she is wearing Desi Designs.
Oh for Heaven’s sake. Is she appearing in some sort of Alt-Right version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream?
Pyramus:- O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.
Thisbe:- [Kneeling to kiss him through the Wall.] I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.
Post Malone, wearing Ashton Michael and matching bootees by Scott Wayne.
Something very unpleasant is happening in the crotch department, the pink belt is camper than a Village People revival and only Barbie should be seen in pink boots. And probably not even her. Meanwhile, if there one thing WTF cannot abide above all things, even above a neck tattoo, it is a face tattoo. WHY??????
Katy Perry, wearing Balmain Haute Couture.
Katy has an innate genius for getting it wrong. Like here. Balmain has managed to make her look like Mr Blobby.
Leon Bridges, wearing Bode.
Apparently, this suit is covered in badges of places in Texas, his home State, that mean something to him. That is as maybe, but he looks like a boy scout who has outgrown his trousers….
Stylist Jeannie Mai, wearing Balmain.
Cardi B’s younger sister, ‘social media star’ Hennessy Carolina, wearing not enough.
Like a tangerine Pantomime boy. The pointy minge guard is excessively …er….labial.
And Cardi B herself, wearing vintage Mugler Haute Couture.
In the immortal words of Cheese, a character in one of WTF’s favourite films, Barry Levinson’s Tin Men, “there’s definitely some sort of sickness that runs in that family…..”
Andra Day, wearing Cheng-Huai Chuang.
If Phoebe from Sesame Street went to a fancy dress party as a stripper, this is what she would look like.
Finally, here is music engineer and distinguished former winner of the WTF Summer Stinker 2016, Shawn Everett, looking like a right idiot. No change there….
WTF is struggling to understand what is going on here, but has concluded that Shawn is very excited about the upcoming finale of Game of Thrones and has come dressed as Ser Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain.
This week’s It’s Got To Go is from WTF aficionado Humfrina who is aghast at the horror that is the Marks & Spencer Love Sausage. Yes really.
As Humfrina observes, this speaks for itself. M&S decided to mark Valentine’s Day by marketing the Love Sausage. Ooh er missus…. This is more a case of Carry on Up The Khyber than Casablanca and It’s Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Keep sending your splendid comments as well as your suggestions for It’s Got To Go. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good. x