Saturday 1 August
A survey by Camra suggests that more women are drinking proper beer  and Tilda Swinton is now well into her ‘pulling a mobile cinema around Scotland’ project. Goldie performs at the Proms and thousands turn up to take part in the Manchester Skyride, cycling around the city and its sporting venues to promote, er, cycling. Gold for Liam Tancock in the 50m backstroke in Rome, while GB Swimming’s performance director, Mike Scott, welcomes next year’s ban on ‘supersuits’ and a move “from technology to technique”; four golds, three silvers and two bronze medals is the final British medal haul.

Sunday 2 August
Bizarre goings on in the world of Man Booker Prize betting: suddenly Hilary Mantel’s novel, Wolf Hall, is the red-hot favourite, moving in the market from twelves to 2-1. Trinity College, Cambridge is reported to be in negotiations to buy the O2 complex in London and a spectator is killed at a motor rally in Wales when a competing car crashes. Catriona Matthews becomes the first Scot to win a major women’s golf tournament with her victory at the British Open at Royal Lytham. 

Monday 3 August
Adidas and Nike are among shoe brands to demand a moratorium on rainforest destruction by leather producers. Now it seems that the BBC thinks 39 is too old to dance; Karen Hardy has been dropped from the Strictly Come Dancing roster of professionals. The last of the spikes from the B of the Bang, the artwork that stood, albeit precariously, near the City of Manchester stadium, is removed. A history of British music includes Buckingham Palace among a list of significant jazz locations; it seems King George V hosted the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1919, possibly the last time anything of cultural note happened at that end of the Mall. Lord Attenborough is selling fifty paintings, including works by Lowry, Hepworth and Sutherland, because he and Lady Attenborough have run out of wall space in their house. Three Bath RFU players are banned for nine months after refusing to take a drugs test in May. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum admits involvement in horse doping, bringing a six-month ban from the sport.

Tuesday 4 August
It seems that deregulation, bringing a bookies on every street corner and in every TV ad break, was not enough for William Hill, which is moving its HQ to Gibraltar for tax reasons (note to Gerry Sutcliffe and his Treasury colleagues: the UK still owns that bit of Spain). Beekeeping is apparently the latest trend in urban areas and Ruby Mild, brewed by the Rudgate brewery in York, is named as the Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival in London. The British Library’s big winter show is to be early photographs from the museum’s archive of 350,000 images.

Wednesday 5 August
Research by Ofcom, the government’s media regulator, suggests that there is now a significant drop in the use of social networking sites by young people, largely as a result of oldies (25- to 34-year-olds) clogging up the ether and getting in the way. The government is to launch a review of the treatment of children on television talent shows and the TUC is to call for all contestants in such shows to be paid Equity rates in the latter stages of competition. CABE, the built environment advisory organisation, is urging Wandsworth to reject the plans for a new American embassy for its fortress-like design and lack of public open space. In Argentina the start of the football season is delayed owing to a financial crisis within the game; cue the hand of God. Joe Kinnear reckons Geordies hate Cockneys (keep up, Joe, keep up), while Headingley is to ban the Barmy Army bugler boy from the fourth Test.

Thursday 6 August
West End theatres are now breaking box office records; 7,627,426 tickets were sold in the first six months of 2009, 2.5% up on 2008, which was itself a record year. Proposals for a new high-speed rail link from London up North focuses on which bits of our green and pleasant will have to be put under the sleeper; High Wycombe and its leafy finery could prove a problem. The restoration of Brighton’s seafront bandstand is complete after a £950,000 project and more people now listen to Terry Wogan than Chris Moyles in the morning. The invisible hand of capitalism works in mysterious ways: ITV sells Friends Reunited to DC Thomson, the publisher of the Beano, for £25 million, just £150 million less than ITV paid for it. Bath RFU could be staying at the Rec after the council offers a new patch of land to the charitable trust that owns the ground on which Bath currently play.

Friday 7 August
David Sullivan and Karen Brady are officially cleared of financial impropriety after a lengthy enquiry by the Revenue. Film writer, director and producer John Hughes dies in Manhattan at the age of 59. The Edinburgh festivals report good ticket sales in advance of this weekend’s opening, something of a relief after recent hardships.

Saturday 8 August
England’s second batting collapse in as many days puts Australia firmly in charge at Headingley; all square with one to play looms in the Ashes battle to find the less incompetent cricketing nation. Dean Richards resigns as director of rugby at Harlequins, the latest fall-out from the fake blood incident. A powerboat driver is killed during a race in Dover harbour. Nine people are killed after a mid-air collision of a sightseeing helicopter and a light aircraft over the Hudson River in New York.

Sunday 9 August
Widespread upset as McDonald’s is reported to be negotiating its exclusive presence as the only branded restaurant at London 2012. More spurious research, this time claiming Glasgow as the UK’s laziest city, suggests that August is a good time to foist public relations masquerading as science on the national press. ‘All you can eat’ download services are the latest idea from the music industry to save itself after home taping killed it the first time. The England badminton team withdraw from the world championships in India after “a specific terrorist threat”. The Community Shield serves as the season’s opener for the Premier League and Alex Ferguson waits until several seconds after the final whistle before telling the referee how officialdom has once again failed to give his team the victory that the laws of economic excess dictate should be theirs.

Monday 10 August
Elizabeth Andrews attends an industrial tribunal as part of her claim for unfair dismissal against the Tate; Andrews has Crohn’s disease and the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern was too cold for her. Alton Towers has apparently banned Speedos from its water park as ‘inappropriate dress’, showing once again that August is not a holiday season in the public relations industry. CABE, the government’s architecture advisory body, says that modern houses are too small for the everyday needs of families. Christie’s will be holding another sale of Yves Saint Laurent’s possessions in November. Thirty British companies involved in the music industry are in Japan this week to promote the UK’s music to new markets. Badminton Scotland reckon that Badminton England have overreacted in pulling out of the world championships; oh no we haven’t, say Badders England.

Tuesday 11 August
Many trees in our urban parks are apparently being damaged beyond survival by ‘weapon dogs’ mauling them as part of training as attack dogs. In Edinburgh Nic Green is staging a theatrical exploration of modern feminism with female members of the public performing naked en masse. Less than a year to go and it’s happened: John Terry mentions that there is no reason England cannot win the world cup. Michael Schumacher will not be racing for Ferrari for the rest of the season because of an existing neck injury. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics and sister of JFK, dies at the age of 88.

Wednesday 12 August
Maurice Agis, whose inflatable artwork was involved with the deaths of two people when it blew off its moorings in 2006, wins an appeal against the £10,000 fine for breaching health and safety regulations. Two cars on the Big Dipper at Blackpool collide, injuring 21 people. The wearing of a ‘burkini’, an Islamic-style swimsuit, in a Parisian swimming pool causes ructions. David Mamet is to direct the story of Anne Frank for Disney. A film, titled Dead Man Running, has its first screening in London but two of its executive producers, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole, are busy with their day jobs, or evening jobs in this case, turning out for England against Holland.

Thursday 13 August
A 17% dip in outbound tourism trips by UK residents in the first half of 2009 but also a 9% drop in foreign visits to the UK. Women’s boxing is declared an Olympic sport for 2016, as are rugby sevens and, God help us, golf. Jacques Rogge says the decisions have nothing to do with the commercial clout of the sports concerned but no one believes him. The IOC demonstrates also its commitment to cash – sorry, equality –  by telling cycling, swimming and wrestling that they can have parity between men’s and women’s events but only by dropping existing men’s events. Feathers from three hundred rare birds stolen from the Natural History Museum’s ornithological collection in Tring in June could be used by jewellers and clothes designers, says Inspector Knacker. The tall ships arrive in Belfast as part of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge and the Last Night of the Proms is to be shown live in theatres around the world via satellite for the first time. Les Paul, who gave the world the Les Paul electric guitar and thus rock and roll as we know it, dies at the age of 94

Friday 14 August
Prompted by the Strictly line up, Michael Crick, political editor of Newsnight and practised controversialist, suggests that the BBC is “barmy” in its pursuit of a younger audience. Arlene Phillips has been named as the government’s ‘dance champion, which is nice. Still with Auntie, Jeanette Winterson has written a children’s thriller for BBC2; yet more excitement with the news that Una Stubbs is to play a leading role. Elizabeth Andrews, the gallery worker who argued her working environment in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall was too cold [see World of Leisure passim], loses her case. Cycle Friday, a scheme to get more Londoners comfortable with cycling in London by using experienced cyclists as guides and mentors, is launched by Transport for London and the London Cycling Campaign. Norwich City are quick off the mark in the new season, sacking their manager, Bryan Gunn, in the first week of the campaign; the words ‘marathon’ and ‘sprint’ spring to mind.

Saturday 15 August
Trafalgar Square hosts the world free-running championships. The Premier League kicks off, causing a leap in the price of hyperbole on world markets. Further revelations of Prince Charles’s determination to influence the architectural development of the capital without the unpleasantness of having to attend planning committee. The Arctic Monkeys come over all Willy Wonka, putting a pair of golden tickets among vinyl  copies of their new single, which is only available through Oxfam shops. Kerry McCarthy MP is now able to revel in the title of ‘Twitter tsar’ in her role of encouraging her fellow MPs to use new media. Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is detained by immigration at Newark airport, prompting outrage in many quarters. Meanwhile in New Jersey Bob Dylan is questioned by police who thought he was acting suspiciously; “I was out for a walk,” said his Bobness. The business pages report strong sales for tickets to comedy shows and speculate that a tanking economy means we all feel like a giggle.

Sunday 16 August
It seems that the world of opera is embracing svelte sopranos, a departure from the traditional image of the well-upholstered diva. In Rome the carabinieri are out to enforce a ban on drinking in public after recent incidents of teenage binge drinking. Jessica Ennis wins gold in the heptathlon at the world athletics championships. Usain Bolt runs the 100m in 9.58 seconds and brings a new attitude to the world of sport. Andy Murray is now number two in the world; drinks all round at Roehampton! YE Yang becomes the first Asian player to win one of golf’s majors, taking the US PGA at Hazeltine.

Monday 17 August
The Reader’s Digest files for bankruptcy in the US. Four of Bridget Riley’s recent works are to tour the country; they have never previously left her studio but have now been lent by the artist to the Arts Council. Tourist spend is maintaining a healthy property market in the West End of London, according to some property companies; demand for residential, restaurant and retail is outstripping demand for office space in the downturn. And Lego reports sales up by a third this year. Arsene Wenger looks forward to a European super league in the next ten years, presumably so that he will have something else to moan about. Boris Johnson is rumoured to be attempting to persuade officials from the IOC to use the train when they come to London in 2012.

Tuesday 18 August
The National Trust reports its best ever year in its gift shops and London museums are reporting strong sales; the National Trust’s 220 shops generate some £35 million a year and the total value of ‘cultural’ retail sales across the UK sector is thought to be around £100 million. Everyone’s favourite balding boffin, Alain de Botton, begins a week as writer in residence at Heathrow. Lance Armstrong turns up in Glasgow and uses Twitter to suggest a bit of a bike ride; 200 people turn up in the rain, including former world pursuit champion and hour record holder Graeme Obree. The UK consumer prices inflation index remains unexpectedly steady, which some put down to price rises in the recreation and culture sector, particularly games consoles.  Phillips Idowu wins GB’s second gold in Berlin.

Wednesday 19 August
Caster Semenya has her golden moment in Berlin tarnished by continuing insinuations over her gender. Cancer Research UK say that the three main risk factors for cirrhosis – alcohol, obesity and hepatitis C – are becoming increasingly common. The British Board of Film Censors refuses a certificate to the Japanese film Grotesque, which means it must be pretty gory. More fall out from Google’s plans to digitise the world’s published literature as opponents plan a class action in the US.

Thursday 20 August
Oxfam says that Dan Brown is the author whose works are most often donated to their second-hand bookshops. A heat wave brings huge numbers on the Paris Plages, the city beaches set up in the French capital each summer. “Paris Plages is the laboratory of the city of tomorrow,” says Stephane Chave, one of the organisers. Usain Bolt adds the 200m world record and gold to his Berlin tally.

Friday 21 August
Punt wars in Cambridge as things get a bit competitive in what has become a £2.5 million industry hiring out flat-bottomed boats to jolly types. Artist Martin Creed – think The Lights Going On and Off and Work No 850, in which runners scampered through Tate Britain – is to create a ballet. The Environment Agency says that a seaweed bloom is throttling the waters of the Solent as a result of untreated sewage and farm fertilisers.

Saturday 22 August
Lily Allen visits the Test Match Special commentary box to reveal an unlikely but heartfelt love of Test match cricket to a rather too enthusiastic Jonathan Agnew. On the pitch Andrew Flintoff starts his last Test as a batsman with a brief knock of 22. Back off the pitch, it seems that Netherland, the novel that is the subject of The Leisure Review’s Leisure Manager’s Library feature, is to be made into a film by Sam Mendes, something of a handy cricketer himself. Leonard Chuene has stepped down as president of the South African governing body following the furore over Caster Semenya. A team of British scientists, including staff from Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art, are planning to create a three-dimensional laser model of Mount Rushmore to test a scheme that could digitally preserve the world’s major heritage sites. The Liberal Democrats unearth figures suggesting that vetting childcare workers has cost some £600 million to date.

Sunday 23 August
England win the Ashes in a last-minute flurry of wickets. An employment law firm has commissioned some research (it’s still August) suggesting that the Blackberry has added fifteen hours to the working week. Disquiet in Paris over plans to radically refurbish the Hotel Lambert, a former mansion that was once home to Chopin, George Sand and Voltaire. At the world athletics championships Silver for Lisa Dobriskey in the 1500m, after some back-straight argy bargy, and the same colour for the men’s 4x400m team, bringing a total GB medal haul of six. Sports goods company Puma says its sponsorship of Usain Bolt is worth “hundreds of millions of dollars” to the company, of which Usain gets $1.5 million a year.

Monday 24 August
Billy Murdoch gets mentioned on virtually every page of the sports sections; the late Mr Murdoch was the last Australian captain to lose two Ashes tours and it seems his name is now inextricably linked to that of one Mr R Ponting, particularly by the Australian selectors who seem a little too quick to lay the blame for defeat at the door of the players. Meanwhile, Mr A F Flintoff is pictured on the front pages with his hand on his wife rather than a pint of breakfast; o tempora o mores. Chris Grayling, the Tory frontbencher who shadows the Home Office, grasps desperately for cultural relevance by suggesting that “Broken Britain”, a phrase that became tiresome long before it became hackneyed, is just like The Wire. Of course it is. Still flushed with the success of the Berlin world championships, Charles van Commenee, UK Athletics’ head coach, warns that there is “a huge difference between five and eight”.

Tuesday 25 August
A set of first-class stamps depicting Olympic and Paralympic sports, scheduled for sale in 2010, is unveiled by the Royal Mail. Caster Semenya receives an ecstatic welcome on her return to South Africa from Berlin. The BBC unveils the line up for this year’s Strictly; step forward Joe Calzaghe and Phil Tufnell, among others. Bob Dylan reckons he might be the voice of a satnav and Charles Burnet claims the world land speed record for steam-driven cars for Britain; a smidge under 140mph since you’re asking. No chance of the RFU drawing a line under the Harlequins’ blood scandal; Tom Williams, the player with the ‘is it, isn’t it’ injury spills his guts, splashing the shoes of Quins’ chief exec, Mark Evans, and the already stained reputation of Dean Richards. Violence at West Ham v Millwall takes us back to the dark ages, while Northumbria Police have been reported to the Police Complaints Commission for their actions in dealing with Sunderland fans on Newcastle station on 8 August.

Wednesday 26 August
Muhammad Ali visits Ricky Hatton’s gym in Manchester as part of a UK tour. Dominic Mohan is the new editor of the Sun, still the UK’s biggest selling daily newspaper. Channel 4 announces the demise of that other cultural behemoth, Big Brother; next year’s series will be the last. Arsenal’s Eduardo provokes an outcry with a crafty dive, obvious to the cameras but not the referee, for a penalty in their tie against Celtic in the Champions League. Author, journalist and film producer Dominick Dunne dies at the age of 72.

Thursday 27 August
Seventeen-year-old Mike Perham becomes the youngest circumnavigator after sailing for five months solid.  The coming bank holiday will bring fourteen million cars onto British roads, says the AA.

Friday 28 August
To the surprise of no one James Murdoch, chairman of his dad’s company, News Corporation, uses his speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival to say that it is not fair that the BBC is funded by the government to bring quality broadcasting to the nation and the world; he and his mates should be left free to make fortunes out of peddling rubbish without such competition, he argues. It seems there is a queue of teenaged mariners looking to break Mike Perham’s sailing record. Compass, a pressure group and ‘thinktank’, says that the drugs budget will crush the NHS; cue active leisure initiatives? Champagne exports have fallen 45% in value and 41% in volume in the first half of 2009, say French producers. Battersea power station is still under threat: its current owners, Real Estate Opportunities, an Irish property company, are rumoured to be struggling to survive. Charles Jillings, chairman of Harlequins RFC, says the fake blood scandal engulfing his club was all Dean Richards’ fault.

Saturday 29 August
Noel Gallagher says that Oasis are over following the latest ruck with his sibling. The cost of the Building Schools for the Future scheme has risen to £55 billion. Danny Struve, who’s 81, is going to the Reading Festival for the 39th consecutive year and it is carnival weekend in Notting Hill. The much-troubled gallery The Public in West Bromwich opens its final gallery.

Sunday 30 August
The Banksy exhibition in Bristol comes to an end with visitor numbers topping 300,000. Growing calls across the music scene to have Form 696, the licensing form that requests the type of music likely to be played at a venue, to be scrapped; it used to ask the ethnic mix of the likely audience and many still believe it smacks of racism. El Ingles, 67-year-old Brit Frank Evans, resurrects his bullfighting career in Spain after a new knee and heart bypass surgery. Arsene Wenger says Manchester Utd play a brand of “anti-football” that is damaging the game.

Monday 31 August
Bristol City Council is planning to let its residents vote online in response to a question of whether a graffito constitutes art or vandalism. Hilary Lister becomes the first female quadriplegic to sail round the British coast. The World Cancer Research Fund says that healthier lifestyles could prevent 40% of breast cancer cases. The Fringe Society says that 1.85 million tickets were sold in Edinburgh this year, a 9% increase on the record year of 2007 and 21% higher than last year’s troubled event. Disney pays $4 billion for Marvel.




the world of leisure
August 2009

Monday 3 August:
A history of British music includes Buckingham Palace among a list of significant jazz locations; it seems King George V hosted the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1919, possibly the last time anything of cultural note happened at that end of the Mall.




Tuesday 4 August:
Beekeeping is apparently the latest trend in urban areas and Ruby Mild, brewed by the Rudgate brewery in York, is named as the Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival in London.






Thursday 6 August
West End theatres are now breaking box office records; 7,627,426 tickets were sold in the first six months of 2009, 2.5% up on 2008, which was itself a record year.






Sunday 9 August:
‘All you can eat’ download services are the latest idea from the music industry to save itself after home taping killed it the first time




Saturday 22 August
Lily Allen visits the Test Match Special commentary box to reveal an unlikely but heartfelt love of Test match cricket to a rather too enthusiastic Jonathan Agnew.





Sunday 23 August:
Sports goods company Puma says its sponsorship of Usain Bolt is worth “hundreds of millions of dollars” to the company, of which Usain gets $1.5 million a year.

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