Wednesday 1 April
The G20 is in London and all cultural thoughts are turned towards the Obamas. The so-called major sports governing bodies write to the press to request special tax breaks to support investment in community sport. Chair of UK Sport, Sue Campbell, says that the decision to fund sports likely to win medals at London 2012 is the right thing to do. In the football world cup qualifiers, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England win but Wales lose. Shearer is on a million-pound bonus if the Toon stay up.

Thursday 2 April
Birmingham City Council unveils its plans for a new library, the biggest ever built in Britain, which will bring an estimated three million visitors to Centenary Square when it opens. After years of financial uncertainty the English National Opera announces that it has £5 million in reserves and is, financially speaking, “in the best place it has ever been”. Michelle Obama visits the Elizabeth Garret Anderson girls school in London and changes a few lives. Two of the UK’s greatest cultural exports, Kate Moss and Topshop, are in New York to mark the opening of the latter’s first US store. Stena Line, the ferry company operating the Dublin-Holyhead route, says that a 10% increase in its passenger numbers in February is a result of the rudeness of Ryanair staff; Stena reckons people have got sick of being insulted by the airline’s staff and are using the ferry instead. Wins for Cavendish and Wiggins at the Three Days of De Panne bike race in Belgium. Southampton FC’s holding company is in dire straits, say the administrators. For the first time since its inception 120 years ago, Wisden has named a woman, England captain Clare Taylor, as one of its five cricketers of the year.

Friday 3 April
Wayne Rooney adds his name to a campaign to promote reading (Harry Potter is his favourite) and Andy Burnham orders an inquiry into the planned library closures on the Wirral. Sara Campbell sets a new free diving record, reaching 96m on a single, three-minute-36-second breath. Lewis Hamilton apologises for misleading the Formula One stewards after the Australian grand prix.

Saturday 4 April
Relief for bookies as Mon Mome, a one-hundred-to-one outsider, wins the Grand National. Newcastle United lose at home to Chelsea in their first game under the management of their latest messiah. The Cardiff City-Swansea City match features an outbreak of football hooliganism not seen for a while. Meanwhile, the FA announces that the summer women’s Super League will be delayed a year, something described by the FA as “a prudent measure in the financial downturn” and “shambolic” and “an easy option” by others.

Sunday 5 April
Tate Modern is to recreate one of the most notorious exhibits in the Tate’s history, Robert Morris’s Bodyspacemotionthings (sic), which in 1971 encouraged people to interact with the highly tactile and mobile work; the original show was closed after four days when an over enthusiastic public wrecked the piece and sustained numerous injuries. After numerous warnings regarding the daily climatic trends in the tropics, the Malaysian grand prix starts in the late afternoon and is stopped an hour later when a torrential downpour turns the track into a swimming pool. Andy Murray wins the prestigious Miami Masters tournament.

Monday 6 April
Electric Radio Brixton, a radio station run by the inmates of Brixton nick, is nominated for four Sony radio awards. The NHS is to focus its anti-obesity message on its own staff, a human resource numbering 1.2 million.

Tuesday 7 April
The British Museum announces a new exhibition featuring the Aztec emperor Moctezuma and promising an account of his death that will challenge the widely accepted historical account (spoiler alert: the conquistadors did it, apparently). The Marine Conservation Society says its survey of 374 coastal locations shows seaside waste and litter at record levels. The FA charges five players with gambling offences following last season’s match between Accrington Stanley and Bury. The Football League orders an inquiry into the finances of Southampton FC after the club’s holding company goes into administration. Maclaren sack sporting director Dave Ryan following the fall-out from the Australian grand prix steward’s inquiry. It seems that Australian rugby players involved in the English Super League could move back home as a result of the enforcement of tax regulations regarding overseas image rights.

Wednesday 8 April
It seems there is good news for the British in-bound tourism industry as Easter approaches; the Camping and Caravanning Club reports a dramatic rise in interest over recent weeks, with bookings up almost a third on last year. Weston-super-Mare opens its own giant ferris wheel near the old Grand Pier, which burned down last summer. Automotive designers Pininfarina has been commissioned to redesign the interiors of the Eurostar rolling stock. Olympics minister Tessa Jowell launches a competition to design a typically British garden that will be a feature of the London 2012 site. Sir Rodney Walker reveals snooker’s answer to Twenty20: Super6 matches (fewer red balls, six-minute time limit) and a mobile world championship (goodbye to the Crucible).

Thursday 9 April
The European Investment Bank has apparently approved a £225 million funding package for the 2012 Olympic village. Attendances at the UK’s museums continues to rise, according to figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; 45.3% of people in England have visited a museum or gallery in the last twelve months.

Friday 10 April
There’s a new attitude at Newcastle United: ice baths early nights by order of the coach. Liverpool FC players and fans speak of how the Hillsborough tragedy, which occurred twenty years ago next week, affected their lives.

Saturday 11 April
Usain Bolt explains the importance of his coach to his success and that he still doesn’t really like training. The state of California returns three renaissance paintings to the grandchildren of the original Jewish owners, from whom the paintings were stolen by the Nazis in 1935.

Sunday 12 April
Hugh Laurie is now a star in France thanks to a Gallic discovery of the American TV drama, House. It seems that Roger Federer has lost his mojo and some who know about these things think that the lack of a coach is the root of the problem. Campaigners take to the tunnels to make the case for a George Cross medal to be given to the town of Dover. An Argentinian Angel – Angel Cabrera to be precise – wins the Masters.

Monday 13 April
The Henry Moore Foundation has acquired the archives of the Public Art Development Trust, which includes all the entries for public art and monument competitions and commissions. The Italian culture ministry sends a team comprising one hundred experts into L’Aquila to begin an inventory of historic buildings and their contents; the town was hit by an earthquake last week.

Tuesday 14 April
Communities secretary, Hazel Blears, and culture secretary, Andy Burnham, unveil plans to enable creative use of vacant shops around the country; high-street art galleries could be on the cards. Chelsea and Liverpool finally provide some decent entertainment in the Champions League after five years of trying. The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra arrives in London for a residency at the Southbank Centre in London. Usain Bolt apologises for suggesting that all young people in Jamaica know how to roll a joint. The International Golf Federation steps up his campaign to get golf added to the Olympics.

Wednesday 15 April
On the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster Andy Burnham and justice minister, Maria Eagle, call for all records and documents regarding that day’s events to be made public. The county cricket season kicks off. “This is the biggest summer of cricket ever to take place on these shores,” says ECB head of marketing, Will Collinson. Mintel research shows people in Britain going out less and going on holiday to traditional British venues more. The GMB union adds its weight to the campaign against the big pub companies closing pubs around the UK. Barack Obama has added his name to the USA’s campaign to host the FIFA world cup in 2018 or 2022; it went so well last time.

Thursday 16 April
Work begins on the 2012 international broadcasting centre; the Olympic Delivery Authority say it’s a month ahead of schedule. A poster for a Jacques Tati retrospective in Paris has removed Monsieur Hulot’s trademark pipe following a finding that the pipe would break French advertising laws. Halford’s announce profits of £92 million following strong sales of bikes to commuters. The Professional Footballers’ Association calls for urgent action against the abuse of players by fans, a call immediately undermined to some extent by Wayne Rooney saying Everton fans giving him the bird spurs him on. Clement Freud dies at the age of 84.

Friday 17 April
It seems some of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants are shipping in pre-packed meals from a central preparation point. The Donmar Warehouse announces its new season with Dominic West, Rachel Weisz and Alfred Molina among its brightest attractions. Egypt’s state circus performers add their weight to the wave of strikes across the country. The first match of the Indian Premier League cricket competition takes place in Cape Town. Diving wunderkind Tom Daley reveals that his school mates haven’t got tired of throwing things at him yet.

Saturday 18 April
Artist Thierry Noir explains why remaining parts of the Berlin Wall, which include his and other artists’ work painted on them, should be preserved; he and others will be restoring the works on the wall. Arsene Wenger says that the Wembley pitch is “laughable” and a “disgrace” after Arsenal lose to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. AFC Wimbledon secure promotion to the Conference just seven years after being formed by former fans of Franchise Utd.

Sunday 19 April
Questions in the Sundays of the extent to which the image of police officers battering protesters in the street has damaged the UK’s cultural image. Phil Edwards of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains that population has an environmental impact and fat people are disproportionally adding to the climate crisis. Madonna falls off her horse. Again. Australian authors warn that the imminent demise of their national publishing industry will mean the end of the rich lexicon of Australian English as American and British publishers sanitise the language for international audiences. Four of the five owners of Camelot, the company that runs the UK lottery, are reported to be considering selling their stake, which could open the lottery to foreign ownership.  German football club Energie Cottbus sets a very dangerous precedent by apologising to fans who travelled away to see them get tonked 4-0 and offing to refund the cost of their tickets. Man Utd lose to Everton in the FA Cup semi and Lord Fergie of Enragement also blames the pitch; it wasn’t good enough to let some of his players walk on. Author and professional pessimist J G Ballard dies at the age of 78.

Monday 20 April
The list of the world’s best restaurants is out and Gordon Ramsay’s name doesn’t appear; Heston’s Fat Duck is at number two though. The chief constable of South Yorkshire police says there was no cover up over the Hillsborough disaster. Antony Gormley opens applications for members of the public to take part in his installation on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth. Dream, a 20m-tall public artwork on the site of the former Sutton Manor colliery near St Helens is finished. Arsene’s really upset about the Wembley pitch now, saying its affecting the England team and the stadium’s reputation. The All Party Parliamentary Football Group recommends 27 actions to strengthen governance of the professional game, including steps to end “financial doping”. Cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, says its blood passport programme is very close to making significant inroads into the ability of athletes to benefit from doping.

Tuesday 21 April
The Centre Court’s new roof is shown off to the press, the great and the good for the first time; all matches will now be played to a finish under the transparent dome. Neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, Lady Greenfield, calls for a study into the effect of computer games on children’s brains. Twenty-one polo ponies have died in Florida before a big game; foul play is not being discounted. The IOC’s co-ordination committee announce themselves “very impressed” by progress on the London 2012 Games. Ian McGeechan unveils the British Lions squad for the summer tour to South Africa. Meanwhile, in Durban full-time Englishman Kevin Pietersen is told to get his act together by the chairman of the Indian Premier League after a show of dissent during a Twenty20 game. An European Union working party says that the World Anti-doping Agency’s rules on athletes’ testing whereabouts for testing may contravene privacy laws.

Wednesday 22 April
Budget Day and a new physical activity initiative for those earning more than £150,000 a year: running around explaining how their wealth is essential to the wellbeing of the rest of us. The Royal Opera House in London announces that Placido Domingo is scheduled to appear this season as both tenor and baritone. The LibDems say that small businesses aren’t getting enough work from the 2012 project. Leaving aside the question of how a contemporary artist can have a retrospective, Damien Hirst is planning an extensive exhibition in Kiev. It’s time to renew your season ticket and Manchester Utd are raising the cost for all fans, the only Premier League side so to do.

Thursday 23 April
The Cannes film festival announces its line-up and includes Tarantino, Campion and Loach on the roster. Blackwell’s bookshops will be trialling the Espresso Book Machine, which is able to print any book while you wait, in some of its stores. David Blunkett is apparently drawing up plans to force all teenagers into voluntary work, bringing a meaning to the word ‘volunteer’ not seen since the days of national service. A policeman’s blog wins the Orwell prize for blogging and the IOC lavishes praise on London for its work to date, suggesting their score would be “very close to ten”. The death of 21 polo ponies in Florida could be down to a pharmaceutical error. Further questions over the 2010 British grand prix as it emerges that the track operators are being sued for failure to pay rent. Southampton FC are docked ten points for insolvency, a penalty that will be levied next season if they go down under their own steam. Having raised season ticket prices at Birmingham City by 5%, David Gold says that Football League clubs should increase crowds by halving prices. Bostin’!

Friday 24 April
It seems that Alberta in Canada has borrowed Northumberland’s Bamburgh beach as its preferred advertising image. The Arts Council announces a £40 million fund to help arts organisation in recession-related trouble. The Leicester Odeon has to write to those attending its Senior Screen film shows asking them to stop causing trouble and behave. Tom Daley is withdrawn from school as a result of continued bullying. To the surprise of no one Andrew Flintoff returns home from India/South Africa after picking up a knee injury. To the surprise of everyone Wembley National Stadium Limited agrees that its pitch is rubbish and says that the solution to the problems caused by digging up and relaying the pitch every ten minutes is to dig up the pitch and relay it.

Saturday 25 April
ITV has failed to make any income from the YouTube phenomenon that is Susan Boyle (her off Britain’s Got Talent that could sing). The curtain comes down at Ninian Park as Cardiff City host their last match before moving to a new ground next season; Ipswich gave them a 3-0 hiding to add to the club’s heritage. Meanwhile, AFC Wimbledon confirm their promotion to the Conference. The Scouts report an 11% increase in female membership but they need more adult volunteers. It seems that the recession and the reluctance of financiers to throw money into celluloid has seen a 75% reduction in the number of films in production in Hollywood. The Canton of Appenzell in Switzerland has voted to ban nude hiking, a problem arising from their German neighbours’ open-air proclivities.

Sunday 26 April
Michael Caine says his new film is too upsetting for his family to see. The London marathon starts with 36,000 runners; a record 155,000 people applied for places this year. Fears from some top heritage sites, including St Kilda and Highgate Cemetery, that their popularity could be damaging. A Bafta for David Attenborough and, as The Leisure Review predicted, for French and Saunders. Jenson Button wins again and Lewis Hamilton’s smile gets even thinner. Southampton FC could go out of business next week if someone doesn’t buy the club, say some in the know. The top people at Wembley National Stadium Limited shoulder responsibility for the pitch-related criticism and sack the groundsman. In women’s football, Reading may request relegation from the top flight as they can’t afford the travel required to fulfil fixtures all over the country. Kevin Pietersen says that one learns a lot more when one loses, meaning that England could all be well qualified to receive doctorates at the end of the Ashes summer.

Monday 27 April
Arthur Pendragon is ordered by the courts to end a ten-month sit-in at Stonehenge. Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman tells his audience in Los Angeles just what he thinks of American foreign policy. General Motors announces the end of the line for its Pontiac brand, putting a big hole in America’s cultural heritage. The Producers, the musical set in Nazi Germany, is scheduled for its Berlin opening next month; handy for Jurgen Klinsmann, who has been sacked as manager of Bayern Munich. It seems Michael Caine thinks that there are three and a half million people claiming unemployment benefit , all of whom are personally scrounging off him; he joins a list of people threatening to leave the country in protest at Mr Darling’s 50 pence tax rate. The FA is investigating a match between Forest Green Rovers and Grays Athletic after unusual betting patterns; big money at half time on Grays, then one-nil down, to win the match, which they duly did. Enzo Calzaghe says Joe would rather take on Strictly Come Dancing than Carl Froch.

Tuesday 28 April
Mayor Boris announces a £30 million investment plan to make the most of the Olympic legacy; street athletics, mobile swimming pools and green gyms are on the cards. The Turner Prize short list shocks the art world by including some painters. Problem over: Lord Peter Mandelson has stepped in to sort out the British grand prix. Howard Webb admits that the penalty he gave to Manchester Utd against Tottenham at the weekend probably wasn’t his best decision. The IOC says that six athletes tested positive for Cera, the new generation of erythropoitin, at the Beijing Games.

Wednesday 29 April
Wine is good for you again, according to Dutch researchers, and Lord Justice Wall quotes Philip Larkin’s poem, This Be the Verse, during his summary of a divorce case in the court of appeal. PRS says the total it collects in music performance royalties from pubs and clubs has dropped by 2% in the last twelve months. Those found to have been doping at the Beijing Games include medallists Rashid Ramzi, who won the 1500m gold medal in the athletics competition, and cyclist Davide Rebellin, who won the silver medal in the road race. GB cycling’s top cat, Peter Keen, says that UK Sport has almost found something for Sir Clive Woodward to do in the run up to 2012. Whip out the wimples: a new film focusing on the life of Jeannine Deckers, aka the Singing Nun, is released in Belgium. Usain Bolt has been given a nice new BMW by his sponsors but he’s crashed it, putting his early season preparations on hold.

Thursday 30 April
Never mind an epoch-marking recession, swine fever and environmental disaster: we’re going to have a hot summer! Kenilworth Castle garden, “worthy to be called paradise” according to one observer in 1575, is to open to the public after English Heritage spent £2 million on a restoration. Bernie Ecclestone says that the ideal driver for Formula One would be “a black, Jewish woman”; it was a joke, he explains later. Two people are reprimanded for having sex on the Queen’s lawn at Windsor Castle; police took fifteen minutes to intervene. ‘Sir’ Alex Ferguson is not happy: the dressing rooms at away grounds are too small. Stockport County are docked ten points after going into administration.



the world of leisure
April 2009

Thursday 2 April:
For the first time since its inception 120 years ago, Wisden has named a woman, England captain Clare Taylor, as one of its five cricketers of the year.





Monday 6 April:
The NHS is to focus its anti-obesity message on its own staff, a human resource numbering
1.2 million.

Thursday 9 April:
Attendances at the UK’s museums continues to rise, according to figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; 45.3% of people in England have visited a museum or gallery in the last twelve months.


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