Tuesday 1 May
Lord Browne resigns as chief executive of BP, possibly the most expensive example of lying about how often you go to the gym currently on record. Blackpool Pleasure Beach opens Infusion, the world’s first suspended looping rollercoaster to be built entirely over water and one of the first to be named after the process of making a nice cup of tea. Museum services are among those affected by a one-day strike by the Public and Commercial Services Union. Sports minister Richard Caborn demonstrates his fitness for purpose by taking the honours in a rowing machine handicap race against a few fellow parliamentarians. The 250m distance ensured there was little risk of any competitors pulling up lame.

Wednesday 2 May
Author Bill Bryson is unveiled as the new president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. A national campaign to tackle litter louts will be his priority and a charmingly wry publication will no doubt follow.

Thursday 3 May
A judge rules that the order for two groups of travellers to move from the site on which the Olympic village will be built is “very significant interference” but proportionate in light of the benefits the 2012 Games will bring to east London. Meanwhile, the ODA issues a tender document for the design of temporary venues for basketball and fencing at the 2012 Games. Thrilled by the clement weather of an unusually warm and dry April, the Peak District national park suspends the right to roam due to the high fire risk. Chinese landscape architect Ma Yansong, who did part of his training in London with Zaha Hadid, unveils his proposal to transform Tiananmen Square from a bare expanse of paving and flag poles into a lush green park.

Friday 4 May
Leeds United dives into the haven of administration to make sure that any ten-point penalty will apply this season rather than next, when they will be toiling in what we still like to think of as the third division. Ken Bates is among the directors of a new company that immediately seeks to buy the club from the administrators. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completes his second solo round-the-world voyage at the ages of 68, while the city authorities of Venice are to recruit ‘decorum patrols’ to ensure proper behaviour in the Piazza San Marco. “St Mark's really is a drawing room, and should be treated as such," says Augusto Salvadori, the city’s councillor with responsibility for tourism and decorum. "Would you wander around topless at home?” The Consumer Association surprises no one with its report that the UK’s major theme parks are quite expensive to get into and the queues are quite long once you’re in.

Saturday 5 May
Sixty-four leading figures in the world of arts and culture sign a letter to support BP chief executive John Browne and acknowledge his “unique contribution to business, the economy and to art, culture and the environment”. Under the watchful eye of anyone who thinks the 2012 Games might be worth the investment, the National Audit Office is called in to investigate how the project to widen the M1 has risen from £3.7bn to £5.1bn.

Monday 7 May
The Xinhau news agency reports that Chinese authorities have fined fifty people in Beijing in the last week for spitting, part of the city’s bid to improve its image for the 2008 Games.

Tuesday 8 May
Graham Sheffield, chair of the Royal Philharmonic society, adds his name to the list of 2012 refuseniks at the society’s annual awards ceremony. “Thoughtless damage” and “incoherent approach” about sums it up. His Royal Purpleness, the artist still known as Prince, shows his love for London by announcing a 21-date tour of the city. Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson reveals her hitherto secret tattoo in a newspaper interview; it’s on her right foot.

Wednesday 9 May
Write your own timetable joke as John Armitt, chief executive of Network Rail, is confirmed as the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Meanwhile, ahead of the prime minister’s announcement that he will stand down, speculation continues regarding the government department that will take on the Olympic project under PM Brown. Getting her bid in early and often, Tessa Jowell speaks at the CCPR conference to emphasise the role of the 2012 Games in making the UK a world-leader in sport and getting two million people more active within the UK. Also bidding early are Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and Glasgow. Both hand in bid documents for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Derek Casey, head of Sport England in those happy days when it was still the Sports Council and still had some staff, is front and centre for Scotland’s entry. The Royal Opera House announces a gift of £10m from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and in recognition of his largesse the Floral Hall will be named after the late publisher. And speaking of largesse, Bernie Ecclestone launches his annual attack on the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s control of Silverstone and the British grand prix, suggesting, as usual, that the government should invest in the venue and the sport.

Thursday 10 May
The Olympic cost comparator, number 210: an £840m rise in the cost of the national identity card scheme takes the proposed total to £5.75bn. Excellent value for anyone’s money. Hammer Film Productions announces that the great British house of film is back in business. “We don’t plan to go down the ‘gorenography’ route of slasher films,” says chairman and CEO, Simon Oakes. The National Theatre has its latest work of art watered: the exterior of the fly tower has been grassed by artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey. The Bristol Old Vic suddenly announces that it is to close until December 2008 for refurbishment, catching audiences and partners by surprise. The Chinese foreign ministry announces the appointment of a special representative to Africa, thought by many to be a response to threats of an Olympic backlash in response to China’s support for Sudan, currently the location of the humanitarian nightmare that is Darfur.

Friday 11 May
A statue of Bobby Moore is unveiled outside Wembley Stadium. The Natural History Museum hands over the remains of seventeen Tasmanian Aboriginal bodies to representatives of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, based in Hobart, ending twenty years of discussions. Lord Foster, architect of Wembley Stadium, the British Museum roof and what will forever be known as the Wobbly Bridge, sells a stake in his business to enable him to spend more time with his drawing board.

Saturday 12 May
Reports suggest that the Chinese are mobilising satellites, rockets, cannon and planes as part of its plans to control the weather for the 2008 Olympics. Weather plans for 2012 are rumoured to include a number of umbrellas and a traditional, mustn’t-grumble attitude, both thought to be currently within budget. The Rutland Osprey Project is on round-the-clock watch for the hatching of an egg.

Sunday 13 May
A study from the University of East London suggests that the 2012 Olympics will struggle to deliver the predicted boom in jobs, tourism and sports participation. Sydney and Barcelona did see some growth in jobs and investment, they say, but Athens actually lost 70,000 jobs in the three months after the 2004 Games. Pete Doherty’s paintings (all too predictably the chosen medium is his own blood) are on sale at the, wait for it, Bankrobber Gallery in London. The army helps a couple of thousand sodden teenagers off Dartmoor as the Ten Tors expedition is cancelled and Tanni Grey-Thompson retires, finishing her competitive athletics career at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester. There are tears on the final lap.

Monday 14 May
The Globe Theatre announces it is to follow Shakespeare’s lead by going on tour. The Cumbrian tourism board appoints a Manchester-based advertising agency with a brief to bring metropolitan types to the Lakes for funky weekends, cafes and bistros. First aspect of the campaign: finally ending the misconception that there are lakes all over the place because it rains quite a lot.

Tuesday 15 May
The British Journal of Sports Medicine reports on the development of a desk that fits over a treadmill so employees can walk and work at the same time. Doctors at the internationally acclaimed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where the desk was designed, estimate that use of the desk could contribute to a 20kg weight loss over the course of a year. No news yet of rigging it up to a generator so obese workers could become healthier and carbon-neutral but it is only a matter of time.

Wednesday 16 May
Prince Harry ponders his leisure options following the announcement that he will not, after all, be allowed to take his “sorry arse” [sic] to serve granny and country in Iraq. A Nepalese sherpa, Appa, is among 22 climbers to summit Everest today. The 46 year-old made this, his seventeenth, summit trip as part of an eight-member Sherpa team raising money for a education fund for the children of mountain guides.

Thursday 17 May
Education secretary Alan Johnson tells the Institute of Public Policy Research that the government will invest £217m from existing Department for Education and Skills budgets on free music, sport and drama lessons for disadvantaged children as part of an effort to tackle social injustice. The Good Beach Guide shows 494 British beaches meet the highest water standard, compared with 125 in 1997. A Cardiff University study suggests that the carbon footprint for someone watching this weekend’s FA Cup final at Wembley will be ten times greater than if they watched it at home, although they don’t mention that an overwhelming whiff of sour grapes can also harm air quality. Continuing the environment theme, Formula One big cheese Max Mosley proposes a “green revolution” for the sport, possibly the first time that the sport has used the colour to refer to environmental rather than financial issues. Culture minister David Lammy calls for the Labour Party to address a “democratic deficit” by considering all-black shortlists for party candidates and John Arnitt, newly appointed head of the Olympic Delivery Authority, warns politicians not to meddle with the Olympics. He denies that the cost of the 2012 Games could reach £16m, as rumoured; it certainly won’t be anywhere near that by September, which is when he takes up his post.

Friday 18 May
The BBC announces that after 21 years Neighbours will no longer appear on the channel. BBC1 controller Peter Fincham said that “the best part of £300m” now being asked for the daytime drama series was too much to pay, presumably putting the decimal point at least three places too far to the right. Press reports suggest that the Art Fund is to take over the Gulbenkian prize for museums and galleries, ensuring the continuation of the award. Media coverage of the run-up to the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley Stadium reaches saturation point and begins to drip on the carpet a full 24-hours ahead of the match.

Saturday 19 May
A late goal in extra time by Didier Drogba wakes 40% of the FA Cup viewing audience with a start. At the ground the United supporters demonstrate the speed at which a modern, state-of-the-art stadium can be emptied in the event of extreme disaffection. The rest of us wonder why, after seven years of construction, argument and investment, the pitch, surely one of the building’s key components, seems to have been laid the night before.

Sunday 20 May
Opposition leader David Cameron uses an article in a Sunday newspaper to reveal that he can remember several key sporting moments from his childhood, although strangely the Eton Wall Game didn’t feature. With the London Olympics only five years away the nation should work hard “together” to “make the most of it”, he suggests. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s new first minister, ponders the benefits of a Scottish team for the Olympics on Sunday television. Former BOA chairman, Sir Craig Reedie, warns him, very politely, to forget it.

Monday 21 May
The Cutty Sark, currently under restoration, catches fire under what are later described as suspicious circumstances. Although the damage is significant it thought not to be quite as bad as the sight of leaping flames first suggested. “The old girl needs more help than she did in the past,” says Chris Livett, chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprises, the group overseeing fund-raising for the restoration project. While the embers are being damped down, Prince Charles commissions a piano concerto in memory of his late grandmother, the Queen Mother. Composer Nigel Hess is to do the honours.

Tuesday 22 May
The Royal Horticultural Show opens at Chelsea.  Meanwhile, David Camerson formally unveils his party’s sports policy in a lecture at the Law Society. Restoring lottery funding for sport to the 25% of the total will be one of the key strands, he tells those attending the £200-a-head dinner. The Cutty Sark is declared a crime scene by police, while Prince Philip, president of the Cutty Sark Trust, declares it “a bloody shame”. Property developer London Land announces plans to make the 47-storey Leadenhall Building, already nicknamed the Cheese Grater, the City of London’s latest landmark. UK Sport appoints a board to run British basketball after the failure of two existing governing bodies to agree a method for funding distribution. BOA chairman Lord Moynihan, a former politician, warns against political interference, which could threaten medal prospects for 2012.

Wednesday 23 May
Athenian entrepreneurs trying to make a profit from the demand for tickets for the Champions League final outrage Liverpool supporters. None of them suggests it is just the sort of thing lovable rogues trying to make an amusingly quasi-legal living from everyday business opportunities usually get up to. Mike Ashley, the man behind the Sports Direct retail empire, looks to have done a deal to take control of Newcastle United. Freddy Shepherd watches developments from his hospital bed, where he is suffering from pleurisy, and probably decides he’s in the right place.

Thursday 24 May
Tehran launches city tours using red London buses as part of its drive for tourism. The Village London campaign, a tourism initiative for the capital, makes its point by laying 2,000 square metres of turf across Trafalgar Square, prompting an outbreak of al fresco lunchtime lounging among tourists and workers alike.

Friday 25 May
Horticulturalist Tony Wright claims a world record after staying awake for 266 hours in Cornwall. Control, a film about the late Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, wins the best European film award at the Cannes film festival.

Saturday 26 May
Tate Modern announces that one of Dali’s most recognisable works, Persistence of Memory, which features the melting clocks as part of a landscape, will be part of its Dali and Film exhibition next month. English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley tells conservation journal, Cornerstone, that architectural egos are threatening our cities. Speaking of which, David Beckham is recalled to the England football squad bringing to an end what will soon be known in historical circles as “the wilderness months”.

Sunday 27 May
Cakes rampant as Test Match Special celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with coverage of the Headingley test. Reports surely too good to be true emanate from Rome: it seems that the final of a football tournament featuring teams of priests and played in the shadow of St Peter’s ends in a dust-up when one cleric accuses another of diving for a penalty. Elsewhere in the city of the seven hills (that’s Rome rather than Sheffield), Barbra Streisand’s concert, scheduled for next month, is cancelled after much controversy regarding the premium ticket prices. Meanwhile, the mayor of Athens, Christos Kortzidis, reaches day eleven of his hunger strike to protest against the privatisation of beaches in Greece, a process that has restricted public access to the water. “I am prepared to go on for as long as it takes to see a result,” he says. PFI news includes an announcement by Tube Lines, one of the two companies involved in the £30bn public-private partnership to maintain the London Underground, to say that they are financially fine; this follows news that Metronet, the other company involved, isn’t. Lewis Hamilton breathes the faintest signs of life into the comatose body of Formula One by finishing second for the fourth race on the trot.

Monday 28 May
After discussions with organisers, the Brighton constabulary agrees not to up its arrest rate during the city’s leg of the world naked bike ride, scheduled for 8 and 9 June. Gypsy Moth IV, the yacht in which Sir Francis Chichester completed the first single-handed circumnavigation forty years ago, arrives in Plymouth Sound on its second round-the-world trip. Rebus author Ian Rankin is to have a go at opera, writing a libretto for a Craig Armstrong work and FIFA announces a ban on matches at more than 2,500m above sea level. Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru are not happy, particularly with the FIFA decision. In other sporting meteorology news, temperature during play at the Headingley test reaches 7.4 degrees centigrade, thought to be a record low for test play. The West Indies, as anyone watching the game can clearly see, are not happy.

Tuesday 29 May
Alan Milburn, former health secretary, is the latest politician to pack his conscience into a box and place it safely out of sight under the bed as it emerges that he is to be an adviser to Pepsi in the UK. He will have a seat on the company’s nutritional advisory board and a reported £25,000 a year to take his mind off things. The Royal Festival Hall is open to a select gathering for its first preview after its £15m refit. The Football Association votes to implement the Burns Report, which should mean some significant changes for the wayward organisation by the end of the century.

Wednesday 30 May
Research published in the journal Body Image suggests that ten minutes viewing of pop videos featuring thin women dressed for the warmest of weather can have an adverse effect upon girls’ self-image. Having lost out to London for 2012, Madrid is named as Spain’s candidate for the 2016 Olympics.

Thursday 31 May
Shirley Bassey is confirmed as one of the headliners at this year’s Glastonbury. Stephen Fry is to write the pantomime for the Old Vic this Christmas and erstwhile Python Terry Gilliam is to direct the opera Andrea Chenier at La Scala in Rome next July. Chinese authorities launch an investigation into the appearance of a new road through the Great Wall, one of the world’s most famous heritage sites. Mining companies seeking to avoid road tolls are high on the list of suspects. While Mike Ashley looks to buy Newcastle United, the share price of his Sports Direct company continues to dive; news that the company’s chairman has now quit don’t help. Freddy Shepherd probably perks up in his hospital bed.


the world of leisure
May 2007

Alan Milburn, former health secretary, is the latest politician to pack his conscience into a box and place it safely out of sight under the bed as it emerges that he is to be an adviser to Pepsi in the UK.




Reports surely too good to be true emanate from Rome: it seems that the final of a football tournament featuring teams of priests and played in the shadow of St Peter’s ends in a dust-up when one cleric accuses another of diving for a penalty.



A Cardiff University study suggests that the carbon footprint for someone watching this weekend’s FA Cup final at Wembley will be ten times greater than if they watched it at home, although they don’t mention that an overwhelming whiff of sour grapes can also harm air quality.




last edition


other news

an independent view for the leisure industry








about us

contact us