FANCY awards dinners have a reputation for being duller than dishwater, so it’s refreshing to hear of an upcoming ceremony that aims to break the mould. That’s right: the Sharecrazy Worst Company of the Year awards are back by popular demand, having gone down a treat with frazzled City folk last time around at a ceremony at the Master Gunner on Moorgate.<br /><br />Last year saw Sir Derek Wanless the former chairman of the audit and risk committees at Northern Rock, take the gong for most useless non-executive director of the year (metaphorically speaking, you understand, since none of the honourees were particularly bothered about turning up in person to collect their award). Bradford and Bingley’s Chris Willford was named the most inept finance director, while RBS’s takeover of ABN Amro was the worthy winner of the most disastrous acquisition of the year.<br /><br />Nominations for this year’s categories – the worst company, chief executive, finance director, broker, acquisition and non-executive of the year – is currently underway, and potential voters should email Richard.email@example.com by the end of play on Thursday, before five shortlisted candidates for each category go head to head next week in an online poll.<br /><br />Perhaps the hardest category to judge, given the events of the past year, will be the lifetime award for achievement in value destruction. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and disgraced former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin spring immediately to mind, but The Capitalist supposes any number of their colleagues, rivals and contemporaries could pip them to the post at the last minute.<br /><br /><strong>GIRLS GONE WILD</strong><br />The powers that be over at Transport for London really are a wily lot.<br /><br />Fresh off the back of last week’s Tube strike, which had the welcome side-effect of introducing (or re-introducing) thousands of wobbling bicyclists to the streets of London, The Capitalist hears the transport body has come up with an ingenuous way of encouraging employees to cycle to work.<br /><br />Any coiffed City lady worth her salt knows the importance of hair straighteners to her daily grooming routine, so TfL has shelled out to install premium GHD hair stylers in the bathrooms at its headquarters in the hope of converting image-conscious workers to mayor Boris Johnson’s two-wheeled cause.<br /><br />At over £115 a pop, the styling tools don’t come cheap, but workers tell me they are worth their weight in gold.<br /><br />“We’re even using the straighteners at local schools to encourage pupils to get on their bikes,” one proud employee tells me. “The kids go wild for them – especially if they can’t yet afford to buy their own. It’s a great incentive.”<br /><br /><strong>THE X FACTOR</strong><br />Rumblings are afoot among well-heeled social butterflies eagerly anticipating Campari’s new pink X-Rated Fusion liqueur, which is coming to the UK from across the pond.<br /><br />The drink, made of vodka, blood oranges, mango and passion fruit, is immensely popular Stateside – though The Capitalist hears they’ve had a few issues marketing the drink with its raunchy title, given stiff upper lipped Britons’ penchant for pooh-poohing anything glamourising heavy drinking, and have had to re-brand it X-Centrique for the UK market. The company’s passionate Italian bigwigs must really be getting their knickers in a twist.<br /><br /><strong>SADDLE SORE</strong><br />Congratulations to Eric Newham, the chief of WPP’s outdoor advertising arm Kinetic, who is back in the office today, albeit a little saddle-sore, after leading a team of 20 colleagues and media friends along the Somme Valley on a 200 mile bike ride for charity.<br /><br />The gang have already raised over £22,000 for the Royal British Legion, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong prostate cancer charity, though further donations are welcome via pledges to firstname.lastname@example.org.<br /><br />“We’re not exactly athletes,” Newham tells me, “but it’s the effort and exertion that counts, right?”<br /><br />Well, yes, though watching a business grandee don skin-tight hot pink lycra in the name of a good cause – as Newham did throughout the bike ride – must surely come a close second.