Monday 1 June 2009
The Commons public accounts committee suggests that the Royal household should open Buckingham Palace to paying visitors a little more often in order to cover some of the expense of repairing the royal building stock elsewhere around the country. Keep Britain Tidy has changed its name back to Keep Britain Tidy (‘Encams’ anyone?) and is advertising for a celebrity to help them out with campaigns a couple of days a year. The computer game Tetris celebrates its 25th anniversary this week; Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov, now 54, invented but did not make any money out of it until 1996 when the rights reverted to him from the Soviet state.
Tuesday 2 June
Rebecca Adlington picks up another medal, this time an OBE from the Queen. The Design Museum in London opens an exhibition of ideas from fifteen designer who were asked to come up with something for the capital; new cabs, bunny bins and sky gardens are among the ideas. Add the debts of the twenty clubs in the Premier League and you end up with a total of £3.1 billion.
Wednesday 3 June
Marilynne Robinson’s Home wins the Orange prize for the best novel written by a woman. The Venice Biennale opens with artist Steve McQueen representing the UK. The Premier League is planning to offer its overseas rights packages to free-to-air broadcasters in an effort to extend its markets. Martin Johnson, manager of England’s national rugby squad, denies that the game has a drugs problem.
Thursday 4 June
James Purnell demonstrates politics as a blood sport with a last-minute, Brown-baiting resignation from the work and pensions post. A little way downstream Boris Johnson gets involved with cleaning the Pool river and takes the inevitable tumble into the water. “It was very refreshing,” he says with good grace. The BBC announces that David Proud, an actor who uses a wheelchair, will be joining the Eastenders cast, the first disabled role in the drama series to date. A first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce is sold for £275,000 in London; the book’s pristine condition was put down to the fact that it was kept in a box and that it appears to have been left largely unread. China and Singapore announce plans for a new environmental urban community for 350,000 people in north-east China. The company that owns Liverpool FC is reported to be struggling to refinance some £300 million of debt. Andy Robinson is appointed head coach of the Scotland rugby squad.
Friday 5 June
Two previously unpublished Agatha Christie short stories, both featuring Hercule Poirot, have been discovered at the author’s holiday home in Devon. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge says that its refusal to display the logo of a funding charity resulted in the loss of an £80,000 grant. The collapse of the £30 billion public-private partnership that was to fund the upgrade of the London Underground cost the taxpayer some £410 million, according to the National Audit Office. In what one assumes is an unrelated development, Hornby’s lack of profit means that the revered toy company will not be issuing a dividend this year. Amid growing concerns over the state of Liverpool FC’s finances, Warren Bradley, a councillor on Liverpool City Council, says that he still thinks it would be sensible for the city’s two teams to share a new stadium; cue Scouserage. Netherlands beat England at Lord’s in the Twenty20 world cup.
Saturday 6 June
The 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings is marked around Europe. One of the UK’s biggest restaurant company’s is revealed to have threatened staff who encourage diners to leave tips in cash with the sack. Andy Burnham, newly scooted over from culture to health, says he wants the NHS to invest more money in swimming, gym access and cycling to save the NHS money. With the dust settling on the cabinet reshuffle, we can spot John Denham at communities and local government, Ben Bradshaw moved into culture, media and sport, and Hilary Benn still at environment. Various people in various sports governing bodies, including, of course, the Football Association, swallow something hard and jagged as sports broadcaster Setanta are rumoured to be on the edge of collapse.
Sunday 7 June
Sports including polo, athletics, snooker, netball and golf are considering what it seems we must call the ‘twenytwentification’ of their offering in an attempt to meet the ever-decreasing demands of their audiences. England beat Pakistan to stay in the Twenty20 world cup and Jenson Button wins another grand prix, this time in Turkey. Roger Federer wins the French Open for the first time, taking his total of grand slam titles to a record-equalling fourteen.
Monday 8 June
The British Heart Foundation calculates that smoking costs the National Health Service some £5 billion every year. The British musical Billy Elliot wins ten Tony awards, Broadway’s highest theatrical accolade, including the award for best musical. Australia go out of the Twenty20 world cup and the Jockey Club announce profits totalling almost £19 million for its fourteen racecourses during 2008.
Tuesday 9 June
Anthony Browne, noted children’s illustrator, is named as children’s laureate, taking over the two-year appointment from Michael Rosen. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (sic) says that it’s going to be online or nowt in California’s classrooms so that school students can have a world of knowledge at their fingertips; or, depending on your level of cynicism, so that the skint state government can save cash on books. National Gallery director, Nicholas Penny, says that “there is an element of risk” to the gallery’s plans to stage an exhibition of “polychrome sculptures from the Spanish golden age”; the risk is in the hyper-realism of the devotional sculptures, which can be a little gory for some tastes. The Picasso Museum reports the theft of a Picasso sketchbook valued at nearly £7 million, although when he finds out that the cabinet was unlocked Inspecteur Knackeur may decide to classify it as a donated rather than stolen. Relief at Anfield as new banking arrangements are sorted out on the £350 million loan the club had to take out to, er, buy itself; bank charges of £3.5 million are incurred.
Wednesday 10 June
The inaugural Super8 athletics series kicks off in Cardiff, a concept that UK Athletics hopes to roll out across to other cities around the country, although without, they hope, the sponsorship rows that mean several top performers decide not to compete tonight. The BBC tells its top talent that new contracts might be 40% down on previous figures; apparently Gary Lineker is on a £1.5 million deal. The Edinburgh Fringe festival unveils its programme for this year after last year’s financial difficulties. A two-day Tube strike does wonders for physical activity levels in the capital as people take to their feet and their bikes to get to work. The FA are not happy though, as they have had to stop selling tickets to England’s game as they suspect people won’t be able to get to Wembley. In a pleasing coincidence Halfords says that sales of bikes and camping kit has helped them to profits of £9.2 million, a 2% rise on last year. Now the women are at it: another Twenty20 world cup over the next week and a half in Taunton.
Thursday 11 June
At last: Ronaldo is off to Real Madrid for a £80 million fee. The National Trust says that its experiment to see if biodiversity could be improved has yielded a seven-fold increase in flora and fauna on a farm in Cornwall over the last thirty years. Frank Gehry – Mr Bilbao Guggenheim – has been stood down on a high-profile stadium project in Brooklyn, New York.
Friday 12 June
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation names its first official ‘city of film’: it’s Bradford! The new visitor centre at the top of Snowdon is officially opened. An exhibition of Banksy’s work opens at Bristol Museum; apparently it’s his home town. Noted highly unqualified architect Prince Charles claims another planning coup when the Qatari owners of the Chelsea Barracks site announces that they are going to have a rethink of the project. Robert Mugabe’s latest idea to save the Zimbabwean economy is apparently to have a major tourism drive ahead of the FIFA world cup coming to South Africa. Among the teams claimed to have signed up for next year’s Formula One programme is the team USF1, who could well be including American driver-stroke-model, Danica Patrick, among their driver roster. Stuart Pearce signs a new two-year deal to remain as England’s under-21 coach.
Saturday 13 June
Tough times, tough measures: famous artists are reported to be taking to car boot fairs to sell their works; stop up to a Ford Orion to buy a Peter Blake. Tourists in Naples are being helped around the city by seventy ex-cons, all official guides and well-suited to leading people through the fruitier parts of town. The Sears Tower, one of Chicago’s greatest architectural landmarks, will have its name changed next month to the Willis Tower after it was bought by the London-based insurance agency, the Willis Group.
Sunday 14 June
The Pakistan cricket team has been accused of ball-tampering at the Twenty20 and England are cock and indeed a-hoop at beating India, the disappearance of whom from the competition will see sub-continental viewing figures plummet. Andy Murray says he won’t be getting caught up in the Wimbledon hype and Michael Owen is being hawked around Premier League clubs with the help of a 34-page brochure; only a printer will know the full extent of the decadence this displays.
Monday 15 June
Richard Rogers says that Prince Charles meddling in planning applications is unconstitutional. The British government intimates that the New Acropolis Museum will not be receiving the Parthenon marbles any time soon. The Italian city of Pisa is to fine anyone not getting into the spirit of its Ranieri festival €500; a light needs to be displayed in each house apparently or the whole thing is spoiled. Punch Taverns issues an emergency cash call for £375 million to meet its debt commitments and Six Flags, one of America’s top theme park operators, goes bust. India’s coach blames the demands of the Indian Premier League for the team’s failure in the Tweny20 world cup. John Barnes is named as manager of Tranmere Rovers and suggests that his failure to get a job prior to this has something to do with racism in football. Colin Montgomery says that what the Olympics really needs is a golf competition. God help us.
Tuesday 16 June
Electoral turmoil in Iran and Twitter takes its place among the world’s major news-gathering tools. A conference on women in the performance arts at the National Theatre hears that women are under-represented and often stereotyped in theatre and film. Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report is published covering all aspects of the modern media apparatus, including a judicious bit of top-slicing of the BBC licence fee. The government’s department for communities and local government is proposing a legal right for local councils to resist interference from central government. Whitbread reports an 8% fall in sales at its budget hotel chain, Premier Inn. Sport England chairman, Richard Lewis, asks former chair, Trevor Brooking, if he knows what might have happened to some £20 million that seems to have appeared unexpectedly in a Sport England bank account. Noted underwear magnate, Mr B Borg of Sweden, suggests that Andy Murray could well win at Wimbledon this year. John McEnroe agrees but says, “I can’t give him any advice. You have just got to live it.”
Wednesday 17 June
Some members of the Iranian football team wear green wrist bands during their game against South Korea; they’re gone by the second half. Playwright David Hare is turning his attention to the banking bailouts in a new work for the National Theatre. The British Library puts two million pages of nineteenth and early twentieth century newspapers online. Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report suggest that some profits from BBC Worldwide go to fund local news and children’s programming on other channels. Six “talented artists” from Australia are jailed in London after a graffiti splurge. Three former Bath rugby players are charged with drug offences by the Rugby Football Union while the international cycling authorities say that their blood passport scheme is about to cough up some bad guys. The Malaysian grand prix will start a bit earlier next year, even though Bernie said it wouldn’t. London 2012 is facing the wrath of boxing authorities by trying to save £40 million by moving boxing from to Wembley Arena, a few miles and few hours’ journey from the athletes’ village. The British Olympic Authority admits that it is a bit strapped for cash.
Thursday 18 June
Unrest within the TUC as proposals to rent out one of the Tolpuddle cottages owned by the union draws some flak from those remembering the origins of the union movement. Bristol University says that in order to protect bats we should turn off street lights. More questions about the £20 million account discovered by Sport England; it seems money was used to fund minor governing bodies and the chief executive, Jennie Price, knew nothing about it when she came on board. Mark Cavendish wins his second stage of the Tour of Switzerland, just in time for Wimbledon. The LTA and British Cycling: compare and contrast.
Friday 19 June
Chaos – well, more than usual – in the world of Formula One as the constructors say they will run their own competition next year. We’ll sue, says Max Mosley. The police threaten Wimbledon touts with anti-social behaviour orders if they turn up looking for “any spares”. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment says that sunbeds should be banned from use by anyone under the age of eighteen. The British Library acquires the archive of novelist John Berger but has to go to his home in the south of France to collect it. England’s women beat Australia in the semi-final of the Twenty20 world cup. Some concern about the effect of the vuvuzela, the plastic trumpet used by South African football fans, on the FIFA world cup next year.
Saturday 20 June
The British Lions tour of South Africa is causing concerns at FIFA because a lack of hotel rooms is becoming evident. The fact that the Lions get beaten in the opening Test is of rather more concern to the British rugby authorities. Kirklees Council says you cannot have bees on your allotment; they count as livestock. A critical response system to combat terrorism incidents costing £1.4 billion is unlikely to be ready for the 2012 Games.
Sunday 21 June
The hit of the summer music festival is going to be top-name chefs, apparently. Meanwhile, Michael Eavis, the king of Glastonbury, announces that he is to hang up his festival organiser’s hat. Ennis House, the house in Los Angeles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright which was used as a set for the film Blade Runner, is in a bit of a state and is now up for sale. The Acropolis Museum officially opens with no official attendees from Britain. The England women’s cricket team has only won the World Twenty20; Charlotte Edward’s team adds the title to the 50-over version. One of the Queen’s horses has tested positive which could mean a ban for trainer Nicky Henderson.
Monday 22 June
Dee Caffari skippers her all-female crew round the coast of the British Isles in six days, eleven hours and a bit, breaking the record. The National Gallery discovers a new Titian after giving one of the Ashmolean Museum’s a quick clean. Not to be outdone, the Metropolitan police opens the Met Collection, a museum of all things plod, in London. English Heritage says that our urban conservation areas are being ruined by poor repairs, shoddy improvements and cluttered streets; sort it out, is very much the message. Wimbledon kicks off and Laura Robson, the current darling of the LTA, achieves a gallant first-round defeat.
Tuesday 23 June
Research from the Department for Communities and Local Government suggests that the good people of Richmond upon Thames top the ‘happy with where I live’ tables, something the local council puts down to a low crime rate and green spaces, while others put it down to exceptional wealth. Day two of Wimbledon: cue the annual clubbing of British tennis development practices. This year Alex Bogdanovic (eight Wimbledon appearances, no wins, LTA support worth £31,000 a year) is the focus of opprobium as Anne Keothavong breaks down in tears during her post-match press conference; Elena Baltacha and Andy Murray are the only Brits in the second round. The £100 million Wimbledon roof is used for the first time during the championships to keep the sun off the royal box and betting is suspended on the Melzer-Odesnik match after suspicious betting patterns are detected. Transport secretary, Lord Adonis, announces plans for major railway stations to become ‘cycling hubs’ as part of a pro-cycling initiative. Four members of the Iranian football team who sported green, ‘pro-change’ wristbands during a recent match have been banned for life by Iranian football authorities. After months of speculation Setanta puts its UK operation into receivership. The Liljevalchs gallery in Stockholm opens an exhibition of fifty years of Ikea furniture. England rugby league international Gareth Hock tests positive for cocaine.
Wednesday 24 June
Tate Britain director, Stephen Deuchar, is to step down after twelve years in post. The gathering of the clans at Glastonbury begins. Sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, announces the creation of a government taskforce to tackle match-fixing. Rod Aldridge, a trustee of the Lowry in Salford, says that plans to open a northern branch of the Royal Opera House would be highly damaging to the Lowry and put £116 million of public investment at risk. To the general astonishment of anyone who has witnessed middle England queuing for days draped in the Union Flag to worship at the shrine of British tennis Anne Keothavong says that the Wimbledon crowd is “out to criticise their own players rather than get behind them”. Modern Aussie cricket legend Adam Gilchrist says that cricket should be in the Olympics.
Thursday 25 June
After three years on a pending list, Dresden is removed from the Unesco list of world heritage sites as a result of a four-lane traffic bridge across the River Elbe. Cricket Australia has written to all its players calling for an end to sledging, carping and whining; it could be a long summer. Michael Jackson dies at the age of 50.
Friday 26 June
Unesco’s week-long world heritage sites meeting ends with Bath still on the list but, along with 176 sites on the at-risk register, with a warning over future development. After 900 years of male domination, Venice admits its first female the ranks of its gondoliers; 23-year-old Giorgia Boscolo’s father, also a gondolier, says he still thinks it’s a man’s job. England’s under-21 footballers blow a 3-0 half-time lead in the semi-finals of the European championships but, to the amazement of everyone, win the penalty shoot-out. Andy Murray’s coaching team keep spirits high with forfeits and pranks, apparently.
Saturday 27 June
The Meteorological Office issues its first heat wave warning, letting us know that it is going ‘to be a bit hot’. Bruce headlines Glasto and draws a crowd; he breaks the 12.30am curfew and incurs a £3,000 fine. South Africa put five British Lions in hospital after a very close second Test match in Pretoria; South Africa’s coach, Peter de Villiers, expresses disappointment that the gouging of eyes is not accepted as part of the game.
Sunday 28 June
Charles Saumarez-Smith, director of the Royal Academy of Arts and former director of the National Gallery, says that British culture is in danger of becoming too deferential to business. The dean of Westminster Abbey is proposing a corona – a crown-shaped roof – for the top of his cathedral but only if it passes the test of public approval. Registro Profesional de Tenis, the Spanish tennis organisation, suggests that the Lawn Tennis Association has wasted its money by focusing on mini-tennis for under-11s.
Monday 29 June
Tate Britain unveils Eva Rothschild’s Cold Corners, a work using 1.8 tonnes of aluminium box tubing. The Queen wants a £4 million pay rise and a school in Kent decides that on balance they might be better off not to let the Motley Morris group perform in blackface make-up; head teacher Hazel King says, “It’s a ‘damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ scenario.” Russia is only days away from a total ban on gambling. At 10.40pm Andy Murray wins a five-setter under the Wimbledon roof, which closed suspiciously early in response to “imminent local showers”. England’s maintain a long tradition in losing to Germany in the European under-21 championship final. British Cycling launches a four-year plan to turn Britain into the “leading cycling nation in the world” by the London Olympics. The Little Baron says that he can guarantee that it will only take 38 minutes for boxers to get from the Olympic village to the proposed venue at Wembley Arena; better book those helicopters soon.
Tuesday 30 June
The immediate impact of the Wimbledon roof is evident in the BBC’s viewing figures: 12.6 million people watched Andy Murray’s match on BBC1. Leviathan, a book by Philip Hoare, is named a the winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction. It seems Andrew Flintoff missed the bus, literally, on the England team’s recent weekend trip to the Flanders trenches. England are being talked of as favourites to stage the 2015 rugby union world cup after being named as the International Rugby Board’s preferred bidder.
the world of leisure
Tuesday 2 June:
Add the debts of the twenty clubs in the Premier League and you end up with a total of £3.1 billion
Thursday 4 June:
A first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce is sold for £275,000 in London; the book’s pristine condition was put down to the fact that it was kept in a box and that it appears to have been left largely unread.
Friday 5 June:
Amid growing concerns over the state of Liverpool FC’s finances, Warren Bradley, a councillor on Liverpool City Council, says that he still thinks it would be sensible for the city’s two teams to share a new stadium; cue Scouserage.