Wednesday 1 July
The London Assembly committee for the oversight of the 2012 Games publishes a report suggesting that the Olympic stadium could be a white elephant without a post-Games tenant. Invited to ponder the matter by the National Portrait Gallery, Elton John names Graham Taylor as one of his ‘gay icons’; ten other public figures offered their own icons for a new exhibition. Mark Cousins and Tilda Swinton announce plans for their film festival this year: they are going to physically pull a mobile, eighty-seat cinema across Scotland. The Sears Tower (soon to be Willis Tower) in Chicago opens a glass-bottomed balcony 103 floors up. Greece (Greece!) adopts a national smoking ban. The Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, says that the Premier League would benefit from a salary cap, while the International Cricket Council’s chairman, David Morgan, says that five-day Test matches might be history sooner rather than later.

Thursday 2 July
Michael Owen is selling his Ferrari –  under ten thou on the clock and yours for £150,000 – and could be off to Manchester United. The British Medical Association conference votes to support a ban on alcohol advertising. The Olympic Delivery Agency says that its venues are ahead of schedule and chief executive David Higgins defers half his 2007-08 bonus in view of the difficult financial circumstances faced by the nation as a whole.

Friday 3 July
Andy Murray runs into Andy Roddick and comes off worse, making him Scottish rather than British for another year. St Paul’s Cathedral has commissioned two video art works for permanent display. The BBC reports that only 40% of its management have accepted the invitation to relocate to Manchester by 2011. It’s July but Planet Football is still spinning in its own crazy orbit: Michael Owen is now a Man Utd player; Man City are willing to pay John Terry £270,000 a week if he’ll cash in his Oyster card and head north; and Birmingham City say they are prepared to employ Mr J Barton, although his £65,000-a-week wages might be a bit rich. Horse trainer Nicky Henderson is banned for three months and fined £40,000.

Saturday 4 July
Serena beats Venus at Wimbers, the Lions beat the South Africans in the third Test and the Tour de France starts in Monaco. Dominic West, who has made a good living as a British actor playing an American detective, says that American actors are playing too many British characters on screen, before acknowledging the pot and kettle coincidence. Joyce DiDonato fractures her leg during the first act of The Barber of Seville at the Royal Opera House but completes the performance with the aid of a crutch.

Sunday 5 July
Radio 4 is planning a tour of three universities to promote the station to a younger audience; as Radio 4 controller, Mark Damazer, says, “It’s not a club. Anyone can join whatever their age.” The Manchester festival’s Procession, organised by artist Jeremy Deller, takes to Deansgate to celebrate the lost and the unrecognised aspects of the city and its culture. Roger Federer wins a very long Wimbledon final to take his fifteenth major title and Mark Cavendish, the Mardy Manxman, takes the Tour’s green jersey by winning stage two. Police issue a warning of the dangers of ‘wild swimming’ after the deaths of three people in the recent hot weather. Cricket umpire Alcwyn Jenkins, 72, dies after being hit by the ball during an attempted run out.

Monday 6 July
One and Other, Antony Gormley’s installation on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, kicks off with an unscheduled anti-smoking protestor getting up first. Rule changes in the calculation of housing receipts will mean a boom in council house building over the next decade, according to the Homes and Communities Agency. Cav wins another stage of the Tour. Bernie Ecclestone has meetings cancelled all over Germany when he mentions something about Hitler sorting out unemployment and the economy, showing a mastery of historical detail to match his diplomacy skills. BBC director of sport, Barbara Slater, says that the 12.6 million people who watched Andy Murray’s late-night victory at Wimbledon shows the value of free-to-air television.

Tuesday 7 July
The Hampton Court flower show opens, as does the Royal Show at Stoneleigh, the last to be held by the Royal Agricultural Society, which says the event is no longer viable. Nicholas Serota and Neil MacGregor both tell an audience at the London School of Economics that the future of museums will be serving as multi-media organisations. A memorial to those who died in the London bombings in 2005 is opened in Hyde Park.

Wednesday 8 July
Google is planning a new operating platform to rival Microsoft’s Windows. Cardiff hosts the opening day of the Ashes, with England and Wales seemingly united to take on the Australians. Bernie tries to put the Nazi genie back in the bottle with a grovelling apology, which does little to soothe raging tempers in Germany. Knut the polar bear is to stay at Berlin Zoo following a payment of €430,000 to settle an ownership dispute with Neumunster Zoo. Climbing Uluru (some say Ayers Rock) could be banned if a draft management plan for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park is approved.

Thursday 9 July
The Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo) warns of the dangers of “white flight” from inner-city schools. It seems that Sarah Brown, the PM’s wife, has refused to eat veal during her visit to Italy on the grounds that it is produced with added cruelty. The BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane – the famed concrete doughnut of Shepherd’s Bush – is listed Grade II on the advice of English Heritage. BAA report a 5.9% drop in air passenger numbers when compared to the same month last year.

Friday 10 July
An inmate in the US prison system is refused permission to read books written by President Obama; apparently they contain material “potentially detrimental to national security”. Meanwhile, in Russia, a TV station cuts an episode of South Park that takes the mick out of Vladimir Putin. A runner at Pamplona’s running of the bulls festival dies after being gored.

Saturday 11 July
Calls to preserve a seaside shelter in Margate in which TS Eliot is known to have wielded his pen are supported by a growing literary retinue. Witcham in Cambridgeshire hosts the 39th annual world peashooting championships; it’s all down to selecting the right pea apparently. Nelson Mandela is trying to stop a London gallery selling signed prints of his drawings; he says he never signed them.

Sunday 12 July
Monty Panesar and James Anderson pull off an unlikely draw in the first Test in Cardiff. Perhaps even more unlikely is the news that Mark Webber has won a grand prix. A National Trust survey suggests that a third of children spend less than an hour outside every day. Although Bodyspacemotionthings, Robert Morris’s legendary installation piece now revived at Tate Modern, has resulted in quite a few minor injuries despite some modern health and safety precautions, everyone seems quite relieved. Now the music industry is saying that illegal downloading has dropped dramatically owing to the prevalence of music streaming websites. California is considering closing its 220 state parks in response to a $16 billion budget shortfall.

Monday 13 July
A low-carbon Britain will not price the masses out of air travel, says climate change secretary Ed Miliband; does he realise in which direction he’s supposed to be heading? Private schools need to be offering “significant” community benefit if they are to retain their charitable status. Birmingham sees a world record set in simultaneous drumming: 580 sticksmiths in unison. The BBC Trust is to rethink the religiosity of Thought for the Day, part of the Today programme since time immemorial. A bit of Cornish beach that was the setting for Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse is sold for £80,000.  Alex Ferguson, the purple-faced exemplar of the pot-kettle interface, says that Manchester City have been putting up transfer prices with their profligate spending.

Tuesday 14 July
Neil MacGregor says that the British Museum has secured two thirds of the £135 million funding for its new exhibition space. Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw says that local authorities should get their bids in for the UK city of culture by October. Alan Bennet and Andrew Motion add their literary weight to the “save TS Eliot’s windbreak” campaign. It seems that the Vatican has warmed to Harry Potter, not mentioning anything to do with Satanism in its review of the latest film. More Tour success for Cav but not good news for sporting clothing manufacturer Canterbury which goes into receivership.

Wednesday 15 July
Andrew Flintoff announces that he will be done with Test cricket at the end of this Ashes series. Tate Liverpool announces an exhibition next spring focusing on Picasso as a political artist and activist and the government confirms £16 million of funding for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. President Obama mounts the  mound in St Louis to make the ceremonial opening pitch of an all-star charity game and reveal his skill at basketball. Christie’s launches an iPhone app that will allow iPhone users to view auction lots around the world. The French parliament approves a weekend trading law which makes Sunday trading a possibility in the near future. Mark ‘the Manx Mouth’ Cavendish wins his fourth stage of the Tour de France. Chapeau encore!

Thursday 16 July
Children’s laureate, Anthony Browne, says that authors should expect to be subjected to vetting arrangements when they visit schools. The Travel Trends report from the Office for National Statistics shows 31.9 million foreign visitors coming to the UK in 2008, a 2.7% drop against 2007, but they did spend a record £16.3 billion. The Olympic Delivery Authority’s annual accounts show that the failure to bring private finance to the media centre and the Olympic village meant an £11 million-plus write-off. British films accounted for 15% of worldwide box office takings in 2008, bringing in $4.2 billion, some $1 billion more than the previous year.

Friday 17 July
Questions over attitudes to age are put at the top of the news agenda by the BBC’s decision to bin 66-year-old (surely not) Arlene Phillips as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing in favour of a unqualified but younger model; Radio One has also deemed 44-year-old Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman (35) surplus to disc-spinning requirements. Tiger Woods misses the cut in the Open for the first time. Usain Bolt runs 9.79 in the rain in Paris and a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology says that elite athletes are getting bigger; elite sprinters have apparently 6.4 inches taller than their counterparts one hundred years ago.

Saturday 18 July
Alan Yentob, the BBC’s creative director, says the Corporation is to give other national institutions greater access to its historic archives. It seems that Sandy Nairn, director of the National Portrait Gallery, has done his time on the fourth plinth; apparently there is a list of people who live and work nearby the site of the One and Other installation willing to step in at short notice in the event of a schedule ‘performer’ not turning up. A woman is killed by a Tour de France motorcycle as she crosses the road between leaders and peloton.

Sunday 19 July
Tom Watson falls at the final hurdle in his efforts to become the oldest winner of one of golf’s major championships. Rebecca Adlington says she will not be using a Jaked 01 swimsuit, despite its undisputed impact on times in the pool. Cinema attendance in June was the highest for any month in the last seven years. The clubs and vice unit of the Metropolitan police is starting work in the Olympic boroughs to combat an expected surge in the sex trade in the run-up to 2012. The first Sunday ferry to leave Stornoway for Lewis is sent on its way with psalms and prayers from gathered protesters. Bonuses all round in the perpetually-on-the-brink music industry as a report from PRS for Music shows income growth as sponsorship deals have a lucrative effect. Turkey’s ban on indoor smoking is extended to bars, restaurants and coffee houses. Amir Khan wins the WBA light-welterweight title in Manchester. Henry Surtees is killed in a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch.

Monday 20 July
Cultural furore as the new Doctor Who’s wardrobe is revealed (think posh student). England beat Australia at Lord’s for the first time in 75 years. BSkyB is set to demonstrate how big money in sports broadcasting is good for grassroots sport with some research it has commissioned from Deloitte, who, of course, will be unaffected by the desires of its client.

Tuesday 21 July
A court hears that Steven ‘the Huyton Hammer’ Gerrard is the posessor of deft boxing skills to go with his prowess on the footy pitch. Tom Daley, 15-year-old Olympian and owner of the whitest teeth in Devon, wins the world diving championship in Rome. Civil rights campaigners note that the powers given to the 2012 organisers with a view to protecting the advertising rights of the sponsors give private contractors the right to enter private homes without a warrant. The National Gallery announces plans to stage an exhibition of fakes and forgeries. Groans and cheers in equal measure as Sven-Goran Eriksson is revealed as the new director of football at Notts County. Harlequins’ wing, Tom Williams, is suspended from all rugby for twelve months by the International Rugby Board after he faked a blood injury during a Heineken Cup match last April.

Wednesday 22 July
It seems that a £100 million “black hole” has appeared in the DCMS capital budget, putting a number of major building projects on the back foot. Mick Jones turns curator as he opens his collection of Clash ephemera and memorabilia to the public for the next five weeks in London. Nottingham opens an urban beach in the Old Market Square and the Keats House in Hampstead is reopened after refurbishment. Kevin Pietersen’s poorly ankle will keep him out of the rest of the Ashes and a Football Association hearing bans four players after concluding that there was irregular betting in an Accrington Stanley v Bury match in 2008. Keri-Anne Payne wins GB’s second gold in the world championships in Rome and Andy Murray scares the life out of quite a few club players by turning out for the North of Scotland in County Week in Eastbourne.

Thursday 23 July
Robyn Davies starts work as the National Trust’s first surf project co-ordinator. Red faces at Asda when an advert for a £70 bike shows it wrongly assembled; cue swift product recall. Twelve-year-old Bolivian Mauricio Baldivieso is hailed as the world’s youngest professional footballer after his debut for Aurora. The biggest retrospective of the Bauhaus movement opens in Berlin and there is fevered activity in the German courts as a result of a copyright dispute over yodelling. In Salzburg the International Mozarteum Foundation says that it has discovered two new works by Mozart. Asafa Powell suggests that British sprinters might consider working a bit harder in the pursuit of success, while controversy continues in Rome over the impact of the latest advances in swimsuit technology.

Friday 24 July
Schools are to be invited by the Department for Education to nominate under-privileged pupils with talent, be it academic or sporting, to qualify for an annual bonus payment of £250. The British Museum’s scheme for an extension to expand its exhibition space is refused planning permission by Camden Council and the Outgames, the gay equivalent of the Olympics, opens in Copenhagen. Five Jamaican athletes are reported to have tested positive, while Mark Cavendish wins his fifth stage of this year’s Tour, beating Barry Hoban’s record for most stages won by a Brit. The world swimming authorities decide to make polyurethane-coated swimsuits illegal next year. John Ryan, the animator who gave us Captain Pugwash, dies aged 88.

Saturday 25 July
Antony Gormley’s Field for the British Isles, the artwork that comprises 40,000 hand-made tiny terracotta figures, is to go on show at Torrey Abbey in Torquay as part of the abbey’s year of contemporary art. Four short, newly discovered satirical plays by PG Wodehouse go on display for the first time at the South Bank in London. Bradley Wiggins rides himself into fourth place in the Tour on Mont Ventoux, site of the memorial to fellow Brit Tom Simpson, described by Bradley’s ever-eloquent team mate, David Millar, as “cycling’s very own Icarus”. It seems that the government is thinking of appointing a tsar to get a grip on the 2012 legacy. Nottingham Contemporary, a new gallery for contemporary art, will open in November with a Hockney exhibition featuring 60 of the great man’s works.

Sunday 26 July
A feature in the Sundays suggests that quite a few of Britain’s Olympians have struggled to pick up the post-Beijing pieces of training, working and handling the consequences of celebrity. Research by Experian surely surprises no one in suggesting that retired people are tending to look to settling down inland rather than at the seaside. Controversy in France over plans to make the Calanques in Provence into France’s tenth national park. Shadow sports minister, Hugh Robertson, tells the Observer that London’s Olympic stadium could be used as a venue for Test match cricket; no, he really did. Plaudits for lifeguards in Tenby who rescue a group of forty people from a very dangerous sandbank. Mark Cavendish rewrites all sorts of records by winning the final stage of the Tour on the Champs Elysees by an almost literal street. Silver and bronze in the pool in Rome for Jo Jackson and Becky Adlington, the latter still wearing her by-now-outmoded Speedo LZR suit.

Monday 27 July
The civil service now has a guide to how government departments should use Twitter; to the surprise of many it is not a piece of paper bearing the word ‘Don’t’. The Commons public affairs committee says that the Learning and Skills Council behaved recklessly in promising almost £3 billion of non-existent funding to colleges. It’s three years to go until the London Olympic Games open and journalists are whisked to the Olympic Park on the new St Pancras-Stratford link to view the work in progress in the rain. Spotify has developed an iPhone app and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has issued thinly veiled threats of violence against Sacha Baron Cohen after his latest film offended them. Beer sales in Germany dropped 5% in the first half of the year, the largest fall in consumption ever recorded in the country forever associated with a big head on your pint. Two football fans are killed during a riot at a league game in Honduras and celebrated choreographer Merce Cunningham dies at the age of ninety.

Tuesday 28 July
The International Agency for Research on Cancer publishes research showing that sunbed use is in the same category for cancer risk as tobacco smoke. After a bid promising a £102 million profit for the International Rugby Board, the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be held in England. Meanwhile, Wookey Hole has a new witch, Carole Bohanan. Protesters upset at the disruption caused by major rock gigs delay the departure of U2’s stage set from Croke Park in Dublin. Shockwaves in the pool in Rome as Michael Phelps is beaten in the 200m freestyle but Gemma Spofforth wins gold for GB in the 100m backstroke.

Wednesday 29 July
The Met Office concedes that it hasn’t been a barbeque summer as yet but notes that there are still five weeks to go, meaning it might yet be an official scorcher. Louise Brown, 91, from Stranraer is thought to be the UK’s greatest book reader, having borrowed almost 25,000 books from her local library. Riding a motorcycle over pupils’ hands marks the final straw in an Indian proclivity for stunts involving schools students; the Indian government has now banned such malarkey. Michael Schumacher is coming out of retirement to drive for Ferrari and Andrew Strauss thinks Australia may have lost their aura.

Thursday 30 July
An audit of the English coastline by Natural England shows there is still much to be done to make the 2,748 miles of coastline accessible to the public; currently 921 miles have no legal access. Michael Fisher wins a high court battle to prove he wrote the riff to Procul Harem’s Whiter Shade of Pale; dirge-like it may be but lucrative it certainly will be. It seems that the East German secret police thought that a 1988 concert in Berlin by Michael Jackson could have been an event to signal the collapse of the regime. Kevin Pietersen suggests that falling attendances outside England could spell the end of Test matches as we know them. The BBC has told the sports broadcasting ‘crown jewels’ review that all home nations’ qualifying football matches should be free to air, along with the Six Nations rugby tournament.

Friday 31 July
The Edinburgh festivals report an unexpected surge in ticket sales, something to do, they think, with people holidaying at home and the desire to find some joy among the economic gloom. The city of Plymouth celebrates the achievements of diving world champion Tom Daley. It seems that celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz is facing a bad case of the skints after legal claims against her for outstanding debts of some $14 million. At last a drugs scandal in the Tour de France: Spaniard Mikel Astarloza, winner of stage 16, shows evidence of EPO use in a pre-Tour out-of-competition test. The world of football pauses from its work for a moment to pay tribute to Sir Bobby Robson who has died at the age of 76.



the world of leisure
July 2009

Friday 3 July:
It’s July but Planet Football is still spinning in its own crazy orbit: Michael Owen is now a Man Utd player; Man City are willing to pay John Terry £270,000 a week if he’ll cash in his Oyster card and head north; and Birmingham City say they are prepared to employ Mr J Barton, although his £65,000-a-week wages might be a bit rich.




Sunday 5 July
Radio 4 is planning a tour of three universities to promote the station to a younger audience; as Radio 4 controller, Mark Damazer, says, “It’s not a club. Anyone can join whatever their age.”





Friday 10 July
An inmate in the US prison system is refused permission to read books written by President Obama; apparently they contain material “potentially detrimental to national security”

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