Sunday 1 November
Ten gold medals for British cyclists in the first leg of the world cup, the competition through which riders qualify for the world track championships; Chris Hoy takes a clean sweep of the three men’s sprint competitions. Don’t panic: Stephen Fry says he’ll carry on tweeting. More tears from Paula Radcliffe as she fails to win the New York marathon; she had thought that tendonitis was just “a bit of a niggle” but it turned out after a few miles that it wasn’t.

Monday 2 November
A group called Ctrl.Alt.Shift is using cartoons, some say comic books, to create a new generation of activists and campaigners. The RSPB has, with the assistance of the Royal and Ancient, published a handbook to explain to managers of the UK’s 2,600 golf courses how they might support wildlife.

Tuesday 3 November
David ‘Dave’ Cameron takes to the London Underground to prove he is just a man of the people but, just like every other politician who tries it, he ends up looking uncomfortable and drawing attention to himself by being the only person trying to work on the Tube. The National Heart Forum says that predictions of the growth of childhood obesity may have been too high; the rate of increase has slowed, they reckon. The Ambassador Group completes the purchase of Live Nation’s British theatres for £90 million, a move that puts Ambassador among the UK’s biggest theatre operators. The Welsh Rugby Union has opened a centre of excellence to provide state-of-the-art training facilities for national squads from under-16 level up; it has cost £4 million apparently.

Wednesday 4 November
The National Heritage Memorial Fund announces a grant of £550,000, which should ensure that Cambridge University is able to secure the Siegfried Sassoon archive. The next work to grace Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth, the only high-profile site in the capital dedicated to the display of non-traditional art, is a highly traditional statue of an RAF Battle of Britain pilot. The Department for Children, Schools and Families launches a £25 million scheme to provide leadership training for volunteers working with young people. Ant hills constructed in Northumberland woodland by colonies of the hairy northern wood ant have been protected to preserve them from damage by forestry workings. Disney announces that it is to open a theme park in Shanghai, China, the company’s fourth outside the US. Unrest in Paris as DJs, promoters and various fans of late-night culture say that licensing legislation is ruining the French capital’s nightlife. And speaking of the world shifting on its axis, Mike Ashley has decided to rename St James’ Park, home of Newcastle and focal point of the Geordie Nation,’ParkStadium. Toyota says that it is to quit formula one, closely followed by strong hints that Renault are to do the same.

Thursday 5 November

A collector in Essex buys an old film canister on eBay and finds inside a previously unseen Chaplin short film. The first programme for the National Theatre of Wales is announced. The annual European drug survey shows that teenagers in Britain are moving away from cannabis. Irony alert: U2 perform a gig in Berlin to mark the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and to make sure only those with tickets can see the gig organisers – you’ve guessed it – build a wall round it. Josette Baujot, the artist who coloured Hergé’s Tin Tin adventures, dies at the age of 88.

Friday 6 November
Arlene Phillips says she hates Saturdays (she should try supporting Wycombe). Rachel Christie, a heptathlete and niece of Uncle Linford, hands back her Miss England crown after a scrap in a nightclub. David Haye explains how he has been training to fight the 7ft-tall Nikolai Valuev: he gets his trainer to stand on a box.

Saturday 7 November
A UK drug treatment charity, Addaction, says that weekend cocaine and alcohol abuse combine to create a potentially fatal cardiac risk. Tough love breeds smarter children, says Demos. Aramaic bowls taken from the site of ancient Babylon and loaned to University College London may have been looted from Iraq, according to a previously secret report now placed in the House of Lords library.

Sunday 8 November
Karen Pfeffer, an expert on child safety, says that cartoons and children’s programmes should portray the effects of violence and risk-taking much more realistically than they do at present. Having filled Padstowe with diners, it seems that Rick Stein is turning his attention to Falmouth. David Haye’s box-based training pays off and the Briton is now WBA world heavyweight champion. With the report on TV’s sporting crown jewels imminent, a number of sporting governing bodies get their retaliation in first, explaining how a loss of TV income would mean the end of sport as we know it. UK Music, the music trade organisation, urges the government to keep its promises regarding the scrapping of music licence requirements for smaller venues. Brompton reports that sales of its quirky folding cycles are up by 25%, despite Peter ‘Lord’ Mandelson being seen riding one. Fergie says it is simply ridiculous that the referee allowed another team to beat Manchester Utd. Birmingham City are officially to bring its women’s team into the club 41 years after the women’s team was formed.

Monday 9 November
Modern Warfare 2 is launched and the online video game's sales are setting records already. An article in the medical journal Addiction calls for the government to introduce a ban on alcohol-related sponsorship of sporting events. Jonny Bellis, the British cyclist who sustained a serious head injury in Italy, is back in the UK to begin a rehabilitation programme.

Tuesday 10 November
A couple in Newport and a seven-strong syndicate in Liverpool share the Eurolottery’s £90 million largesse. Sesame Street celebrates its fortieth birthday with an appearance from Michelle Obama. Bobby Goulding’s term as coach of the French rugby league side, seems to be in danger after news of last night’s “incident” at the player of the year awards in Leeds. Robert Enke, Germany’s number one goalkeeper, commits suicide after a long battle with depression.

Wednesday 11 November
Labour is planning to add proposals for a ‘John Lewis-style’ approach to public services, in which partnership rewards and ownership would feature, to its manifesto. Simon Cowell earned $75 million from his US television enterprises last year and in London the roof goes on Zaha Hadid’s Olympic aquatic centre. Penelope Curtis, currently curator of the Henry Moore Institute, is to be the next director of Tate Britain, replacing Stephen Deuchar who has been appointed head of the Art Fund. Kaka, the Brazilian playmaker, says England can win the world cup, adding his name to a lengthening list of the hopeful and the delusional. Kevin Pietersen says his injury was not his fault, it was someone else’s and nothing to do with him. Germany cancel this weekend’s friendly against Chile in memory of Robert Enke.

Thursday 12 November
A commitment to financial openness at the BBC means that director general Mark Thompson’s expenses are open for scrutiny; parking charges of £90 on his expenses and his £834,000 salary prompt debate. Yet more on the position of sport on TV; this time it is the broadcasters. Andy Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills sells for $44 million at Sotheby’s in New York. The FA make Alex ‘Sir Alex’ Ferguson the first Premier League manager to be banned from the touchline for post-match criticism of referees; a two-match ban and a £20,000 fine comprise his punishment. Fergie fails to ask the FA to take another 348 offences into consideration and the referees' union accuses the FA of bottling the decision. Still in the house of fun that is Planet Football, Lord Triesman reshuffles the England 2018 board in light of strong hints that England stand no chance of hosting the world cup while they still play with a round ball, while the Premier League, the august keeper of the Corinthian flame, says that a two-tier system with Celtic and Rangers would be ridiculous. Elsewhere Uefa fine Rangers £18,000 for crowd trouble at their game against Unirea Urziceni in Romania.

Friday 13 November
Damien Hirst says that anyone can learn to paint like Rembrandt, although he does concede that he hasn’t yet. The president of the Girls’ Schools Association, which represents private schools educating posh gels, says that a list of suitable role models could include Rebecca Adlington, Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe. Liz Forgan, chair of Arts Council England, calls for a commitment to the arms-length principle of arts management by the government.

Saturday 14 November
The Children’s Rights Alliance for England says that Britain is consistently in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the way children are treated by the UK legal system. Pop combo JLS turn on the Christmas lights in Birmingham but a collapsing barrier causes 60 people to be injured in the crowd. So much for FIFA’s promise of “an African world cup” in 2010; the hardy, drought-resistant kikuyu grass has been deemed insufficiently green in colour for the TV cameras so European ryegrass has had to be sown, which will require a lot more water to keep it alive for the duration of the tournament. Viv Richards says it is time for batsmen to abandon their armour and play the game like men; he also suggests that the England and Wales Cricket Board might like to stop moaning about overseas players damaging the domestic game while they continue to pick South Africans to play for the England team. Tomasz Humar, one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation, is killed on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan at the age of 40.

Sunday 15 November
Shirley Bassey, 72, is back in the album charts. The identity of blogger Belle de Jour is finally forced out into the public eye. Somerset House in London opens its ice rink for the winter, the tenth year of so doing. A new dramatic biography of Enid Blyton is cause to reveal that the children’s author was ignored by the BBC for thirty years on the grounds that she was a “second-rater”. Boxing is undergoing something of a resurgence as a junior amateur sport and is now ranking 75th most dangerous sport on RoSPA’s list. Hugo Chavez calls on Venezuela’s population to lose weight, pointing out that the revolution needs them to be fit and strong.

Monday 16 November
Some 40-odd years after it first opened, Hair will be back in the West End next year, a signal for the Daily Mail to get its pencils sharpened in preparation for fresh outrage. Having inherited a half-built Las Vegas casino when the original developer went bust, Deutsche Bank has been looking at major losses as the American gambling mecca copes with the downturn; how unlucky must they be feeling to discover that this desert-based building work has had to stop because the site has been flooded? Jenson Button confirms the rumours that he will be driving for Maclaren in next year’s F1 series. Arsenal winger Robin van Persie is having cow’s placenta rubbed on a troublesome ankle, something that passes as normal in professional football.

Tuesday 17 November
Assuming we can count Dairy Milk as part of the UK’s national culture (and we think we can), we note the news from the city pages that Hershey and Ferrero, American and Italian conglomerates respectively, are circling Cadbury with a view to a takeover. The BBC Trust says Radio 4’s Thought for the Day slot can legitimately remain the preserve of god-botherers in the face of a secular challenge. The Hoerengract, a work by Ed and Nancy Kienholz, opens at the National Gallery, which is an opportunity for the gallery to remind its public that “we’re full of prostitution”. The Washington Blade, one of America’s foremost campaigning newspapers since its founding in the 1960s, succumbs to the realities of the modern newspaper industry and gets off the stone for the last time. Former England rugby player Josh Lewsey says that Martin Johnson’s coaching team should be sacked and reports suggest that the MCC is considering selling the naming rights of Lord’s as part of its £400 million redevelopment plan. The FA finally bans someone under the ‘fit and proper person’ test; with arms dealers, coup stagers and human rights abusers all untouched, the FA has singled out Stephen Vaughan, who owns Chester City and who was known to have flouted FA ownership rules in the past. Meanwhile at Wembley Stuart Tinner, hooker with Welwyn RFC fifths and a spectator at the Saracens v South Africa match, wins £250,000 at half-time by landing the ball on the crossbar from 30 yards.

Wednesday 18 November
Nominations for The Literary Review’s bad sex in fiction awards include Philip Roth and Paul Theroux. Former Tory minister and supermarket magnate Archie Norman is named as chairman of ITV. In Australia the Crawford Report suggests that the green and gold should be realistic about achieving a top-ten place at the London Olympics in the light of budgetary restrictions, prompting the president of the Australian Olympic president to admit he was “pissed off” by the report’s conclusions. Back home the FA says it needs to cut £10 million from its budget as a result of the collapse of Setanta, although the £340 million of loans taken out to pay for Wembley Stadium, site of the FA’s new offices, cannot be helping. The International Association of Athletics Federations says it does not intend to make a decision on the fate of Caster Semenya at its next meeting, leaving the South African athlete uncertain of her future in competitive athletics. Thierry Henry manages to spoil the 2010 world cup eight months before it starts by cheating Ireland out of qualification for a trip to South Africa; FIFA breath a sigh of relief because he has saved them the trouble. With all 32 qualifiers now confirmed barring legal challenges, FIFA can concentrate on promoting its Football for Hope project, which will spend $9 million of the projected $3.2 billion commercial income on establishing a legacy from the 2010 world cup for the continent of Africa, which by our calculations comes out at about 0.3% of the revenue for the whole of Africa. Meanwhile, Samuel Eto’o has bought every member of the Cameroon team a watch worth £29,000.

Thursday 19 November
The Big Chill festival, which prided itself on being independent and ‘different’ from other festivals, has been bought by the Festival Republic organisation, which now runs most of the festivals in the UK. Rita Marcalo, artistic director of the Instant Dissidence dance theatre in Leeds, is planning a show in which she attempts to trigger an epileptic seizure (she suffers from epilepsy) during the performance. The Premier League is said to have decided not to provide any funding for the England 2018 world cup campaign. No sign yet of the Dutton Report, the enquiry into Sport England’s £20 million World Class Payment scandal, which was promised “in the autumn”.

Friday 20 November
The head of the Higher Education Funding Council, Sir Alan Langlands, says that universities are looking at a funding crisis and job cuts. A newly restored version of Powell and Pressburger’s celebrated film The Red Shoes is released. Thierry Henry says that the France-Ireland qualifier should be replayed but waits until FIFA has definitely ruled out such a prospect before he does so. German police are investigating allegations of match-fixing on a huge scale in European football; 200 games in nine countries are being looked at, which, according to Herr Knacker, represents the tip of ein iceberg.

Saturday 21 November
The O2 Arena, some say Millennium Dome (or even Mr Tony’s Tent) is now the world’s most successful music venue, selling nearly four times as many tickets as Madison Square Garden in New York last month. The UK Film Council is to promote work from first-time film directors already established as artists in other art forms. Geoff Smith, a composer from Brighton, reckons he has reinvented the piano by designing an outwardly conventional instrument in which each string can be retuned separately. Borders bookshop chain is reported to be in financial trouble.

Sunday 22 November
It seems that for some it’s black and white in the green and gold as rumblings continue in Australia following government plans to focus on participation for health rather than winning medals; and one national coach in the Aussie Olympic machine notes, “Those people don’t need funding. They need to get off their fat arses and take a walk.” Nicolas Sarkozy has upset French intellectual circles by proposing that the remains of Albert Camus are transferred to the Parthenon in Paris, the ultimate accolade afforded by the la patrie to its most famous sons and daughters; that a rightwing authoritarian anti-intellectual should appropriate the memory of a writer, philosopher and political resistance has put le chat among the pigeons. Andy Murray plays in the ATP world tour finals at the O2 arena in London, drawing, at 17,000 people, the biggest crowd every to watch a tennis match in the UK.

Monday 23 November
U2 will be headlining Glastonbury in 2010. Margaret Thatcher is allowed back into Number 10 to see a new portrait of Herself. Lenny Henry, aged 51, wins the best newcomer prize in the London Evening Standard theatre awards. Disney’s High School Musical is being remade for Chinese audiences. Revenues in the Swedish music industry rose 18% in the first nine months of the year, the result of new anti-piracy laws. Coors are to reopen the national museum of brewing in Burton-on-Trent after much outcry from the museum and beer-drinking communities. Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is working on a scheme that would persuade bookmakers to give Sport England millions a year to invest in grassroots sport; best of luck, Ger.

Tuesday 24 November
The National Gallery will be staging an exhibition of Victorian artist Delaroche, including a work, Charles I Insulted by Cromwell’s Soldiers, not seen since the second world war. The short list for the Costa novel prize includes Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a member of Glossop’s noted literary circle. Premier League chairman, Dave Richards, resigns from the England 2018 world cup bid committee. Liverpool FC fail to make the final stages of the Champions League, raising all sorts of speculation about their financial status.

Wednesday 25 November
Two male yeoman warders of the Tower of London are sacked following the bullying of a female colleague, Moira Cameron, who became the first female yeoman warder in 2007. The British Museum and the BBC announce a new project to tell the history of mankind in 100 objects from the museum’s collection; Neil MacGregor, the British Museum’s director, says it is “the biggest thing we’ve ever done”. An ancient theatre under the Acropolis in Athens is to be restored, say Greek officials. The lastest hazard identified for visitors to the FIFA world cup in South Africa is getting mugged by baboons; they will have the contents of your car as quick as you like, apparently. Sheffield City Council is to appoint three professional archivists to catalogue documents relating to the Hillsborough Disaster. Everton’s planning application for a new stadium in Kirkby are turned down by the communities secretary, John Denham.

Thursday 26 November
The hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold found recently in Staffordshire has been valued at £3.3 million by a panel of experts. A Scottish brewery, Brewdog, has brewed the world’s strongest beer and Australia is planning a cull of wild camels as the outback drought drives them into towns to look for water. Staff at the Pompidou Centre in Paris are on strike over plans to cut staff numbers by 20%. Having declared that there was nothing to worry about at Notts County, even though no one knew or knows who actually owns the club, the Football League now says that it is reopening the inquiry into, er, who owns the club. Genius. Everton says that perhaps a groundshare with Liverpool could be back on the cards; not on your life, says Liverpool. The International Olympic Committee says that an agreement has been reached that would see two sports moving from the London 2012 Olympic Park to Wembley Arena, only a few miles and several hours travel away from Stratford; £42 million will be saved as a result.

Friday 27 November
It seems that the economy of Dubai, that playground of the wealthy, the venal and the stupid, was in fact built on sand; cue another financial meltdown when another property bubble bursts; many sports stars, sports events and sporting organisation are bracing themselves for significant losses. More animosity between playwrights and critics as some of the latter are accused by the former of turning in reviews after a good long lunch. Investment banks are reported to be planning low-key, some say secret, Christmas celebrations. Manchester University’s centre for research on socio-cultural change is co-hosting an academic seminar in Leeds examining the TV drama The Wire; that’s how they roll in academia. Lloyd Grossman will be the next chair of Heritage Link, an umbrella body for organisations in the sector. Brian Eno will be the curator of next year’s Brighton festival. Another coup of stupidity for FIFA, which allows Robert Mugabe to pick up the world cup trophy, contact with which is usually closely guarded, and wave it around at a press conference. Tiger Woods fails to get beyond the end of his drive, even though he is at the wheel of a car and his wife is helping him by flailing at the windows with a golf club; minor lacerations ensue.

Saturday 28 November
Kieron Williamson, a seven-year-old with a penchant for painting, has sold a couple of watercolour landscapes for £17,000; he was inspired to paint during a family holiday to Cornwall. Festing Road in Putney, London has a commemorative pavement slab laid to mark it out as the street that inspired David McKee to create Mr Benn, the celebrated character that did fancy dress with aplomb.

Sunday 29 November
The Royal Society is to put 350 years of records and correspondence online. Lord Triesman says he will not be resigning as chair of the England 2018 world cup bid, despite the whole project having more doors opening and closing than a Whitehall farce.

Monday 30 November
Having misread their charts, five British yachtsmen are detained by Iranian authorities. Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset has set up a library in a phone box. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London reopens its medieval and Renaissance galleries after a seven-year, £31 million refurb. Jay-Z is to headline the Isle of Wight festival next summer and English Heritage says that more than £250 million has been spent on the repair of cathedrals across the UK since 1991. It seems the legacy of the Athens Olympics could include financial meltdown as the finance pages predict Greece “doing an Iceland”. The Premier League clubs have spent £70 million on agents’ fees in the year 2008/09, while Watford FC are reported to be on the financial precipice.



the world of leisure
November 2009

Tuesday 3 November:
The National Heart Forum says that predictions of the growth of childhood obesity may have been too high; the rate of increase has slowed, they reckon.



Wednesday 4 November:
The Department for Children, Schools and Families launches a £25 million scheme to provide leadership training for volunteers working with young people.





Thursday 5 November:
Irony alert: U2 perform a gig in Berlin to mark the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and to make sure only those with tickets can see the gig organisers – you’ve guessed it – build a wall round it.




Thursday 12 November:
Andy Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills sells for $44 million at Sotheby’s in New York.

Saturday 14 November:
So much for FIFA’s promise of “an African world cup” in 2010; the hardy, drought-resistant kikyuyu grass has been deemed in sufficiently green in colour for the TV cameras so European ryegrass has had to be sown, which will require a lot more water to keep it alive for the duration of the tournament.

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