Sunday 1 August
Some disquiet on the links of Stornoway as golfers continue to defy the ban on play on a Sunday. The Iranian embassy in London could be rebuilt to include cutting-edge architecture and an arts gallery. Nineteen medals for Great Britain in the European championships, a record tally.

Monday 2 August
The week kicks off with a maze appearing in Trafalgar Square, all part of a promotion of the West End that encourages people to “get lost in London”. Raymond Scott, handler of a stolen first folio of Shakespeare’s collected plays, is jailed for eight years. Charles van Commenee says that the success in British athletics is down to a much higher degree of accountability.

Tuesday 3 August
Be afraid, be very afraid: the Premier League is planning to take advantage of the government’s plans for education reform to set up its own schools. London Zoo is bringing in a gorilla from Ireland to join its current gorilla group. The chancellor (it’s still Georgie Osborne) was warned before his emergency budget by the home secretary (Theresa May) that the cuts to public spending could be illegal under equality legislation. China now uses more energy than the USA. Sprinter and noted drugs cheat Justin Gatlin wins his first race back after a four-year ban.

Wednesday 4 August
Michael Bloomberg and George Lucas are among the American billionnaires queuing up to promise to give away half their wealth to charity; no news yet on their thoughts on paying more tax and higher wages. A square mile of Grassington moor in the Yorkshire Dales is to be preserved as a site important to the heritage of lead mining. Audiences for BBC digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network were up last quarter, with the former bringing in a total of 1.2 million listeners and the latter 437,000; radio audiences in general are now at an all-time high.

Thursday 5 August
A number of local authorities are planning to sue the government for the cancellation of contracts under the Building Schools for the Future programme. An NHS trust in Northern Ireland has hired a Buddhist monk to teach its staff how to be happy. Surfers Against Sewage reckon that a third of Britain’s Blue Flag beaches do not actually meet the environmental requirements of the award. Portsmouth FC wins its case against Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which means the club can stay in business (start the clock). Can it really be true that gold-plated iPods bearing Frank Lampard’s signature were available for sale at six hundred quid during the World Cup?

Friday 6 August
It seems that in Derbyshire the stepping stones over the river Dove have been topped by limestone slabs to stop people slipping into several inches of water; for centuries the river has been regularly dammed by the piled bodies of those killed attempting the passage but thankfully that is now a thing of the past. Across some rather larger stepping stones, the governor of Wyoming is threatening to sell off chunks of the Grand Teton national park in order to balance state budgets.

Saturday 7 August
A study by the University of Staffordshire suggests that the majority of British football supporters would back an openly gay player. Disquiet in Italian coastal resorts at the impact of legislation allowing beachfront premises to hold music and dance events seven days a week, apparently an unintended consequence of legislation to tackle drink-driving. Further disquiet in an Italian: Don Fabio says that his players were too tired to do a good World Cup.

Sunday 8 August
Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, says that Britons are in poor health and it’s all their own fault. In the face of some high-profile criticism Secretary Hunt says that axing funding for the UK Film Council is not the same as axing funding for film-making. Andrew Flintoff is still being interviewed about something, perhaps to make sure that everyone knows he now lives in Dubai. Eri Yoshida has become only the third woman – the first Japanese woman – to play in the US male professional baseball leagues; she’s a pitcher. Sex workers in Rio de Janeiro are complaining that the 2016 Olympics will drive them away from the city. A British student, Andrea Watton, is killed on a Swiss via ferrata during a guided trip.

Monday 9 August
South Australia is launching a marketing push to sell the state to young Brits looking for unusual jobs and adventure; shark wrangling, anyone? Channel 4 says it is really going to promote the 2012 Paralympics. A damning report on the efficiency and effectiveness of Scotland’s National Trust prompts the trust to announce a sale of some of its properties. Meanwhile, the National Trust down south is hoping to buy Wales’s answer to Land’s End for £3 million. Even before the Premier League season starts one of its high-profile managers has walked; adieu, Martin O’Neill. The NBA is to stage two competitive games in London in March.

Tuesday 10 August
It seems that many holiday companies are slashing their prices in a bid to stay in business. Secretary Hunt has drawn some flack for not going to Edinburgh for the festivals. China is to build a replica of Cadaqués, the home town of Salvador Dali. Medals for British swimmers at the European championships. Antonio Pettigrew, the American sprinter who tested positive for EPO before forging a career as a coach and an anti-doping campaigner, dies at the age of 43.

Wednesday 11 August
The Playbuilder scheme, which was to fund the building of 3,500 community playgrounds across England, has been shelved by the Department for Education, saving, it is claimed, £235 million. Tate Britain unveils a new rehang of its collection, which includes the display of a number of William Blake’s etchings. The Fat Duck tops the list of the UK’s best restaurant for the third year on the bounce. The International Labour Organisation says that youth unemployment is now at an all-time high and will blight a generation. A third gold for Britain’s swimmers in the Europeans.

Thursday 12 August
Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood reckon that the decision to get rid of the UK Film Council is short-sighted. Hugh Laurie is now the highest-paid television actor in the USA; a hearty “soupy twist!” to him. Potholers are about to link North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire via a 100-mile series of underground tunnels and caverns. After an absence of 400 years wild beavers are once again born in the UK. The prime minister urges everyone to holiday in the UK. Having found out third-hand that he has been deemed too old to play for England, David Beckham lets it be known that Don Fabio can shove the suggested farewell friendly up his index.

Friday 13 August
Unlucky for us: cuts to the Defra budget could mean the sale of national nature reserves, the Forestry Commission, the Met Office and British Waterways. And the Cycle to Work scheme, which has been taken up by 400,000 people, is likely to be on its way out. Arsene Wenger says that the new Premier League rules on squad sizes and ‘home-grown’ players will be “a disaster” for the nation, but fails to explain exactly how things could get any worse.

Saturday 14 August
That noted old socialist Sir Alex Ferguson urges Manchester United’s fans to get behind the Glazers. Barack Obama spends a couple of days on holiday in Florida in an effort to boost the region’s oil-hit tourism industry. The Edinburgh festivals could be in for tough times as businesses and the city council look to cut back on financial support; the council is considering a bed tax, much to hoteliers’ dismay.

Sunday 15 August
The latest thing at summer music festivals is informal volunteer security teams. Armando Ianucci writes in the Observer to point out that every time the UK Film Council invests a pound five pounds result. It seems that quite a few people who work in London are living as permanent campers on some of the capital’s camp sites. At total of eighteen medals for British swimmers, including gold for Rebecca Adlington, as the European championships come to a close.

Monday 16 August
The scramble for university places and funding among students will see more students doing part-time degrees while living at home, according to some university experts. Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, adds his voice to those calling for serious consideration of the legalisation of drugs. In Germany legislation is going through parliament that will stop local residents objecting to the siting of kindergarten and children’s play facilities on the grounds of noise nuisance; it’s standard legal practice at the moment, apparently. Casino operator Regency Entertainment is struggling under €557 million of debt and things look grim.

Tuesday 17 August
Arsenal are to offer shares and a role in the governance of the club. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, New York is working on digitising recordings in the Savory Collection, a legendary collection of hundreds of recordings of the jazz greats made by William Savory, a radio sound engineer, that have to date been heard by only a few people. A slight draw back for South Australia’s latest marketing ruse [see WoL passim]: another surfer has been eaten by a shark.

Wednesday 18 August
At the current rate of progress women can look forward to achieving equality of earnings with men in 57 years. ‘Vuvuzela’ makes the Oxford Dictionary of English. John Tiffany, associate director at the National Theatre of Scotland, urges the next generation to “radicalise and revolutionise”. Moscow city authorities are to ban the sale of spirits between 10pm and 10am in an effort to tackle the city’s raging alcoholism and in south London a bowls club has had its alcohol licence withdrawn following persistent rowdy behaviour. Realtime Worlds, the video gaming company that gave us Grand Theft Auto, has gone bust, putting 150 people out of work in Dundee. Legend of literary criticism Sir Frank Kermode dies at the age of 90.

Thursday 19 August
Universities minister (we’ll give you a minute or two… It’s David Willetts) says that students unable to get a place on degree courses should consider volunteering to expand their CV. Two British climbers are rescued by helicopter from near Mont Blanc after sending SOS texts to their friends in Shrewsbury. Jeffrey Lendrum, convicted egg smuggler, is jailed. Contenders for the Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth go on show; works include a church pipe organ, a child on a rocking horse and – the headline-writers’ favourite – a huge cockerel. Fred Turok, chairman of LA Fitness, says that gyms are 50% empty during off-peak times and “the question is how do we use our industry’s spare capacity”. In Zurich Mo Farah breaks David Moorcroft’s 28-year-old British record for the 5,000 metres. In Spain forty people are injured at a bull fight when a bull leaps the barriers and runs among the crowd.

Friday 20 August
Defra announces significant expansion of protection for bird and sea life around the coast of Britain. AS Byatt says that the Orange Prize, which recognises women fiction writers, is sexist. The Cabinet War Rooms host an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s speech that gave rise to the notion of the Few (“Never in the field of human conflict…”). In Italy the argument over state control of local cultural sites goes to Rome; the city is demanding 30% of the revenue generated by the Coliseum’s four million visitors per year. The women’s rugby world cup begins in Surrey with sell-out crowds and a haka.

Saturday 21 August
Abroad first. Outrage in Italy with the continuing story of private clubs taking over beaches. In Haiti it seems Wyclef won’t be president; he’s been deemed ineligible to stand. In India there are accusations of inflated charges from contractors supplying the Commonwealth Games, some of which are British. Back on home soil polo players could soon be subjected to a breathalyser before they get on their horses (ponies?) to take to the field (pitch?).

Sunday 22 August
Detailed guidance for those planning on attending mass with Il Papa when he arrives in the UK: a “pilgrim picnic” should not include alcohol and should be within strict size limit of 20x13x8 (an imperial measurement, obviously). Simon Cowell is shocked – shocked – to find that the X Factor contestants have been put through Auto Tune to make them sound better (or perhaps worse) in post-production. The Reader’s Digest reckons its survey shows that one third of Britons never listen to classical music. Three medals for the GB team in the sprint canoe world championships.

Monday 23 August
FIFA’s technical inspection team arrives in the UK to run their rule over the England 2018 bid. Sepp Blatter said England would be the “easiest choice” for FIFA. Dr Wendy Chapman is up in front of the General Medical Council to answer for her role in professional rugby’s very own fake blood scandal [See World of Leisure passim]. A medical study suggests that a lack of sun may play a role in MS and arthritis. Andy Kershaw will be returning to work at the BBC with a Radio 3 world music show. Cutting the grass at Carlisle castle is apparently too dangerous so it’s been left messy. Losses are mounting at Fitness First and David Lloyd as the recession bites into their membership recruitment.

Tuesday 24 August
A bit of bother for London-based athlete and sprint coach Matthew Thomas, who’s competitive appearances have undermined the legitimacy of his claims for sick pay. The Handel House Museum on Brook Street in London now includes a Jimi Hendrix experience (as it must surely be called); Hendrix had a flat there during the 1960s. It seems that the Glazers’ US-based shopping centre empire is struggling; could it have a bearing on Manchester Utd’s fortunes? They should sign Usain Bolt, who has just signed a sponsorship deal with Puma reported to be in the region of £20 million.

Wednesday 25 August
Country houses and the white cliffs of Dover will soon become the images to define the UK in our passports. It seems that England’s exit from the World Cup [More a defenestration than an exit. Ed] had an adverse impact on the sales of beer back home, assuming that one defines a drop in sales as an adverse impact. Facebook could be about to float on the US stock market and so-called experts reckon its worth stands at some $33 billion; remember Bebo, anyone?

Thursday 26 August
Classical music’s answer to Glastonbury, Serenata, kicks off in Dorset. Kevin Spacey will be playing Richard III under Sam Mendes’s direction at the Old Vic. The V&A has acquired Gorge Speaight’s collection of Punch and Judy memorabilia. A report titled Back to Basics reckons that 20% of parents have forgotten how to play with their children. The Empire State building, currently noticeably isolated on the skyline of mid-town Manhattan, is to be joined by another tower a couple of blocks away following approval by the city planning authorities. The chief exec of the Co-op says that the recession is going to last until the end of 2011.

Friday 27 August
The BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, uses the MacTaggart lecture to point out that the dominance of the Murdoch media empire is not good for the nation’s culture. Ekow Eshun quits as the director of the ICA after months of finance-related wrangling. Antony Gormley’s latest work, an 85-foot sculpture titled Exposure, is ready to be officially unveiled in Holland; the Dutch call it de hurkende man (the crouching man) or occasionally de poepende man (the meaning of which is probably revealed by the first syllable, which is pronounced ‘poop’).

Saturday 28 August
Robert Devereux, former partner in Virgin and all-round rich bloke, is selling off 300 works from his personal art collection to set up a fund to assist artists in Africa.

Sunday 29 August
The world of cricket goes into meltdown as three Pakistani players are questioned by police about allegations of match-fixing; the evidence from television replays of specific incidents during the Test against England do not look good. Another long-running saga short on laughs, The Last of the Summer Wine, comes to a close after 295 episodes. Disquiet among the fruit and veg vendors at London’s oh-so-trendy Borough Market, who fear they are being forced out in favour of delis and fancy retailers.

Monday 30 August
Will the Pakistan tour continue? How long has the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit been investigating Pakistan’s cricket system? How many people who have been censured for match-fixing is it possible to fit into the current Pakistani team structure? No answers yet. Celebrated South African playwright Athol Fugard wonders where all the plays about big issues are these days. Sunshine for the last day of the Notting Hill carnival. Record sales at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe: almost two million tickets sold.

Tuesday 31 August
Police in Ibiza reckon they’ve cracked a big drugs ring and arrested 20 Britons. Pakistani cricketers are re-interviewed by Inspector Knacker as the match-fixing imbroglio continues. Meanwhile, in Yorkshire some people with tickets for the one-day international are demanding their money back and in Croydon it seems that Croydon Athletic is owned by Mazhar Majeed, heavily implicated in the match-fixing affair, and could well be a conduit for money laundering. Kevin Pietersen adds to cricket’s sense of idiocy by making a tit of himself with a Twitter account and a grudge against the England selectors. JK Rowling is donating £10 million to set up a clinic researching MS. The General Medical Council clears Wendy Chapman, rugby’s very own ‘bloodgate’ doctor, to go back to work. Pete Wyer’s ballet, The Far Shore, is pulled from the Shangai Expo by the British Council because it is dedicated to the people of Tibet. LOCOG’s annual report reveals that the average wage of its 389 staff is £80,383, a total of £31,269,000. Laurent Fignon, twice winner of the Tour de France, dies at the age of 50.



the world of leisure
August 2010

Monday 2 August:
Charles van Commenee says that the success in British athletics is down to a much higher degree of accountability.

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