Edition number 1; dateline 1 August 2007

7 out of 10 cats contented
Three quarters of people in England rate their satisfaction with life as seven out of ten, according to Defra’s 2007 survey of behaviours and attitudes. 30% of people said they had participated in some sort of leisure activity everyday or most days and 90% thought that it was very or fairly important to have green spaces near where they live; 27% visit a green space three or more times a week.

The private face of public voices
During August the HOST Gallery in London presents a new series of portraits by Laurie Fletcher. Titled Sorry, we cannot connect your call, the exhibition shows the person and the personality behind many of the voices that people hear every day. The voice of the classified football results on Saturday afternoon radio, James Alexander Gordon (right), is among those brought into view. www.hostgallery.co.uk

Flying the flag
Culture secretary James Purnell has published a consultation paper that proposes giving government buildings the freedom to fly the Union Flag everyday. Current protocol suggests flag-flying on sixteen days a year plus state occasions, including the opening of Parliament and state visits.

Banging the drum
A pilot project in Wrexham that provided free rehearsal space and instruments to young musicians is to be extended across the country. Former Undertone front man Feargal Sharkey will be working with the DCMS and the Department for Education and Skills to make it happen.

Expanding fitness
The Energie fitness brand has opened its seven new clubs in the past couple of months, taking the number of owner-operated clubs now open under the Energie banner to thirty. Six of the venues are Energie Fitness for Women venues.

One hundred Shokks
Shokk, the youth-specific fitness equipment specialists, have opened its one hundredth facility. Carter Community School in Poole, Dorset was the site that marked Shokk’s sales milestone.

Arts targets review
Culture secretary James Purnell has asked Sir Brian McMaster, former head of the Edinburgh Festival and member of the Arts Council, to undertake a review of the government’s support for the arts. Signalling a new approach to arts finance, the review will focus on how the DCMS can promote excellence in “a light-touch, non-bureaucratic way”. Announcing the review, Mr Purnell said, “The arts hold the ring for our national conversation. They are where we find our meanings, individually and collectively.” The review is due for publication in “the autumn”.

Live music reviewed
The Live Music Forum, set up in 2004 to monitor the impact of the changes to the Licensing Act on live performances, has delivered a report to the DCMS recommending 28 changes to the licensing regulations. The Forum has urged the government to grant licensing exemptions to venues with an audience of fewer than one hundred people and any venues putting on acoustic music. A key message of the report is that the government should do more for grass-roots musicians and the small venues that provide places to play.

Museum numbers rising
Visits to national museums and galleries totalled 39 million last year, according to the DCMS. The figure represents an 87% increase since all entry charges to national collections were dropped in December 2001. Visits to museums that have not previously charged were also found to have risen by 8%.

DC Leisure has appointed Phil Roebuck to the post of contract manager for Exeter. Previously Phil had been the general manager at the Pyramids Swimming and Leisure Centre. Alex Blackwell has been appointed pool programme manager by the Institute of Qualified Lifeguards. Jamie Sims is the new badminton development manager at DC Leisure. This new role has been joint funded by DC Leisure and Badminton England. Sue Sutton is now officially installed as chief executive of aspiring professional body, the Institute of Sport, Parks and Leisure, aka ISPAL.



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HOST Gallery
Laurie Fletcher's portrait of James Alexander Gordon at the HOST Gallery in London

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