Wednesday 1 December
In Switzerland the FA team bidding for the 2018 World Cup are confident of success. Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois are collaborating for an exhibition in London next February. David Cameron orders a rethink over cuts to school sports partnerships; “We’re listening to people’s concerns,” say his people. In the US the National Portrait Gallery bows to pressure from Christian groups to remove a piece of video art that features an image of Jesus. The numbering of stalls at British racecourses is to change to come into line with numbering in other countries (number one will be on the inside rail).

Thursday 2 December
Well that’s another £18 million of the FA’s money wasted: Russia is going to host the World Cup in 2018, with the next one going to Qatar. Mick Hucknall apologises to the many women with whom he has had very brief relationships but refuses to apologise for the musical output of Simply Red. Works from the Government Art Collection are to go on public display for the first time; the Whitechapel Gallery in London will host an exhibition opening in June next year. Just across town the Dulwich Picture Gallery announces it will be marking its 200th anniversary next year with old masters loaned specially for the occasion. A sculpture of poet Philip Larkin is unveiled at Paragon railway station in Hull. Artist Ai Weiwei is prevented from leaving China by Chinese authorities.

Friday 3 December
MPs vote through a bill to set up an inquiry into the benefits of putting the clocks forward. Sotheby’s puts a Titian painting, The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine, on display before next month’s auction in New York, the first time the painting has been shown in public for 200 years. The British Film Institute has been given the Halas and Batchelor archive of animated films. Fears for the state of Europe’s heritage sites spread in the wake of governments’ spending cuts; the Greek cultural ministry is asking the EU to come up with the €540 million it needs to make ends meet, while Italy, with some 400,000 protected buildings, spends only 0.8% of its public spending on culture. Roger Burden, the acting FA chairman, says he does not want the job full time because he cannot face having to work with FIFA and now the Commons culture select committee wants an inquiry into the FA’s World Cup bid.

Saturday 4 December
It seems that ballet is an increasingly popular art form across the UK. Plans are afoot for school pupils and teachers to take to the streets to protest against the cut in funding for school sports. Suggestions that the FA might have a good long look at itself in the wake of the World Cup bid humiliation have been dismissed by, er, the FA. Strikes by air traffic controllers in Spain gives the government a good excuse to bring in the military, demonstrating to some the importance of tourism to the Spanish economy and reminding others that it was not so long ago that the army was in charge of everything.

Sunday 5 December
Lots of snow in Scotland, turning Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh into an impromptu ski run. Around 7,000 people take to the streets of Liverpool in the annual Santa Dash. BBC director general Mark Thompson outlines how £500 million is to be taken out of the corporation’s annual budget. More shark attacks off the coast of Sharm el-Sheikh put a major downer on Egyptian tourism. Hold on: the FA’s general secretary says that the FA should be looking at a post-bid review and he suggests that closer ties between the FA and the Premier League is the way to go. At last: Anne Widdicombe disappears from Strictly.

Monday 6 December
Susan Philipsz’s sound installation wins the Turner Prize. Justice minister Ken Clarke says that the number of people sent to prison should be reduced; training and rehabilitation will be features of a new approach to the prison system. On the Today programme Jim Naughtie articulates what so many of us were thinking when he mispronounces culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s surname. Newcastle United sack manager Chris Hughton.

Tuesday 7 December
Ruth Mackenzie, director of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, unveils her team and her tactics. The Curzon cinema chain is to offer access to new film releases online. Hundreds of school pupils and a few Olympic medallists protest outside parliament about the school sports cuts. In Milan there is a riot outside La Scala as protestors voice their opposition to cuts in Italy’s arts and culture budget. Meanwhile, down the road in Rome, Silvio Berlusconi is being investigated for blowing €400,000 on flying film directors and actors in for the Venice film festival to collect non-existent awards. In Australia England go one up in the Ashes series after an impressive display of winning cricket. Jack Warner, one of FIFA’s finest and dodgiest, says that the British media was to blame for the World Cup bid fiasco.

Wednesday 8 December
Jeremy Hunt launches a new campaign to get more people to give charitably to the arts, including £80 million of matched funding. The Little Baron says that VIP traffic lanes are essential to the success of the Olympics in London but that they are not just for the ferrying of bloated IOC officials and sponsors; all sorts of athletes, officials, dope-testing teams and maintenance teams will need to be zipping about. Sepp Blatter says England are arrogant and bad losers. Liz Nichol, the chief executive of UK Sport, says that there are now no excuses for British athletes to fail at the Olympics given that elite sports funding has been protected up to the Games.

Thursday 9 December
Rioting in the streets of London as protestors make their point about planned increases to university tuition fees. Richard Caborn is among a number of former ministers who have their Commons passes suspended for trying to cash in on their parliamentary access on behalf of lobbyists. HMV reports a £40 million loss and is thought by some to be on its last legs. The Arts Council England is to take over some of the roles of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Commission but with only 75% of the MLA’s budget. Health minister Anne Milton is forced to disclose just who is shaping national health policy these days; step forward Unilever, McDonalds, Diageo and Kellogs, among others. The cost to the Treasury for the installation a Christmas tree under the PFI building management deal? £875. Or would have been had permanent secretary Sir Nick Macpherson not decorated it himself rather than cough up the inflated readies. At Tate Britain the traditionally non-traditional tree has no decorations; not a one. The State of Florida pardons Jim Morrison only 41 years after the alleged incident of public indecency even though everyone knows he did it.

Friday 10 December
Some 14 million people tuned in to see Coronation Street flattened under a runaway tram earlier this week. Political parties spent £57 million in campaigning between 1 January and the election on 6 May. Tickets to live screenings from the New York Metropolitan Opera are being snapped up at cinemas all over the UK. Research commissioned by a group of urban councils suggests that the least well off will be the hardest hit by new council budget cuts.

Saturday 11 December
It seems from the minutiae of the Wikileaks paper storm that North Korea asked the US ambassador to arrange a gig by Eric Clapton in Pyongyang as a goodwill gesture. The National Gallery’s hopes to borrow da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine from Krakow for its next blockbuster exhibition suffer a setback when Polish art experts advise against transporting the work, insured for £250 million, for fear of damage.

Sunday 12 December
Mario Testino’s photograph of the soon-to-be-happy couple, the future Mr and Mrs Windsor, is released to a waiting world. Banksy donates £80,000 to support a pair of Russian artists awaiting trial in Moscow over charges of hooliganism. Having lost four of their last five Test matches, Cricket Australia announces an Ashes inquiry. Almost 19 million people watch The X Factor final. Tom Walkinshaw, one of motor racing’s key characters and chairman of Gloucester rugby club, dies at the age of 64.

Monday 13 December
Communities secretary Eric Pickles announces the government’s localism bill plus an emergency fund of £85 million to compensate local authorities representing some of the poorest communities which will be hardest hit by the cuts to public sector budgets. Cornish hoteliers, Hazelmary and Peter Bull, are in court to face charges under the Equality Act, having refused to allow a same-sex couple to stay in their establishment. The Chilean miners are guests of honour at Old Trafford to see Manchester Utd play Arsenal. Sharm el-Sheikh reopens its beaches following recent shark attacks. Sam Allardyce is “shocked and disappointed” to be sacked by Blackburn Rovers.

Tuesday 14 December
The Parliamentary public accounts committee savage the Ministry of Defence for wasting a significant proportion of their £42 billion annual budget. FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter faces further calls for his resignation having suggested that any gay people visiting Qatar for the 2022 World Cup should “refrain” from sexual intercourse for the duration to avoid being arrested and executed for the Qatari crime of being gay. Tacita Dean is named as the next artist to take on the vast expanses of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The Department for Education admits that the £162 million funding for school sports is not being subsumed into general education funding as originally claimed; it is disappearing altogether. In the US the influential Warhol Foundation says it will be withholding funding from the Smithsonian in response to the museum’s recent removal of an exhibit following protests from Christian groups. Back home, the British Olympic Association says that all home nations must be represented within the British Olympic football team.

Wednesday 15 December
Estimates suggest that 100,000 public sector workers will be losing their jobs come the new year. Readers of The Stage vote Judi Dench the greatest stage actor. The Bunnett and Muir collection of musical theatre memorabilia, the largest such collection in the UK, has been left to the Victoria and Albert. Andy Parkinson, head of UK Anti-doping, says that lifetime bans for athletes failing drug tests are not working; athletes are being deterred from providing information.

Thursday 16 December
Jerry Seinfeld is to play a one-off UK gig, his first since 1988, next year at the O2 Arena in London. The British Film Institute is to close its Southbank gallery, relocate its library and make substantial job cuts. Meanwhile, Corrie is to leave its central Manchester studios for Salford. Coastguard stations are to be cut (slashed might be the mot juste here) from 19 to eight, says the shipping minister (it’s Mike Penning; he’s probably only just found out himself). Paris is planning to expand its Velib bike hire scheme to include cars: 3,000 Autolib cars are scheduled for a launch next autumn. Back across la Manche, the Active People survey shows declining participation in 19 Olympic sports; Sport England is telling governing bodies to start delivering some numbers over the next 12 months as a matter of urgency. Meanwhile, the FA is to invest £2 million in a televised women’s league, launching in April next year. Surely nothing can go wrong? This is the FA we’re talking about.

Friday 17 December
Something of a U-turn from Govey as the education secretary announces that key elements of the school sports partnership system will be retained but only temporarily. Paul McCartney puts his Rickenbacker where his mouth his and stages a gig at the 100 Club in London which is threatened with closure. Nine bids are on the short list for taking over the athletes’ village after the 2012 Games. Detroit city authorities are planning to downsize the city itself by cutting essential services, such as schools, sewage and refuse, from under-populated areas; 45 square miles of the city are to be bulldozed as part of a regeneration plan. In Italy questions are being asked of the Ravello concert hall which is still silent a year after its official opening and several years after an 8 million euro grant from the EU. Captain Beefheart dies, aged 69.

Saturday 18 December
The next star of Bollywood is predicted to be Katrina Kalf, a British actor who lives in Finchley. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is planning a Wallace and Gromit ride. The Archers is promising an earth-shattering event for its 60th anniversary edition. Artist Alison Watt’s work [see TLR passim] is to be exhibited at the Uffizi.

Sunday 19 December
England’s cricketers lose in Perth, making it one each in this Ashes series. Jockey Tony McCoy wins BBC sports personality of the year. More gold for British Cycling on the track in the world cup in Columbia; standings in the world rankings have implications for Olympic qualification. Reports of extensive links between Russian football supporters’ groups and neo-Nazis might make someone at FIFA swallow something hard and jagged, but probably not. Elsewhere on Planet Football the match between Club Brugge and Anderlecht is suspended for seven minutes while fans on the terraces bombard players with snowballs.

Monday 20 December
The government unveils the route for the proposed high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, a line that will cut through the Tory heartlands of the home counties. Other government news includes a temporary reprieve for school sports partnerships funding; £112 million has been found. The Wikileaks documents reveal that American authorities were warning against doing business with Allen Stanford even while Lord’s were snuggling up to him and his millions. The EU decides that Dan Flavin’s 1987 untitled work of art which uses fluorescent light tubes should be classified for tax purposes as light fittings rather than art. The National Audit Office says that the bailed-out banks should have contributed a further £4 billion to the asset protection scheme.

Tuesday 21 December
A government consultation paper signals a new governmental emphasis on providing children with "improved life chances" rather than the old fashioned, old Labour concept of tackling child poverty. Funding is also to be cut from the Booktrust charity, a £13 million programme that distributes free books to children. Famed sports coach Tom McNab questions the recent sports participation figures and reckons Strictly Come Dancing does more for adult health than Premier League football. Enzo Bearzot, who coached Italy to victory in the 1982 World Cup, dies aged 83.

Wednesday 22 December
Tilda Swinton is to become curator of the Edinburgh film festival, heralding a new approach. The video game Call of Duty: Black Ops has reached sales of $1 billion in the first six weeks since launch. David Bernstein is to be the new chairman of the Football Association. In Scotland, the president of the SFA says that football should be a summer game north of the border.

Thursday 23 December
The National Foundation for Education Research finds that children from poorer families rate themselves as happy as those from wealthier backgrounds. Still lots of snow.

Friday 24 December
A big outcry from literary figures, including Philip Pullman, against government plans to axe the free books for children programme. Elizabeth Beresford, creator of the Wombles, dies aged 84.

Saturday 25 December
Almost one million people are working in the UK on Christmas Day, according to the Office for National Statistics. The archbishop of Canterbury says that the rich should shoulder their fair share of the current economic burden. Frozen water results in the cancellation of the annual swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

Sunday 26 December
British men are now a stone heavier than they were in 1986, according to a study by Oxford University and the British Heart Foundation. Is he making it up as he goes along? Michael Gove’s latest U-turn says his department won’t be cutting funding to the books programme after all. Boxing Day in Melbourne and Mitchell Johnson is back to his erratic worst, putting England in charge in the crucial fourth Test.

Monday 27 December
There is strong public resistance to a Murdoch takeover of BSkyB, according to an ICM poll. Two million pupils, mostly from poorer homes, do not have internet access at home. Artistic differences in Barcelona where shopkeepers who commissioned artists to decorate their shutters are being fined for permitting graffiti.

Tuesday 28 December
The big society as it happens: cash machines should ask users whether they would like to donate to charity. The national lottery has created 158 millionaires in the past 12 months. In Delhi there are plans to turn the Indraprastha power station into an art gallery.

Wednesday 29 December
Shadow culture secretary (it’s Ivan Lewis) tells Jeremy Hunt (sic) that the Tories’ obvious contempt for the BBC means that parliament should decide who chairs the corporation. England captain Andrew Strauss refuses to take credit for retaining the Ashes after his team thrashes Australia by an innings and plenty in Melbourne.

Thursday 30 December
David Robinson, the founder of the Community Links charity, warns the prime minister that his big society idea will be undone by the savage cuts to public spending. The bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, says that faith charities will not be able to plug the gap left by state funding cuts, while the TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, predicts that 2011 will be “a horrible year”; even the CBI is less than ebullient, foreseeing “bumpy times ahead”. Ticket sales for big rock concerts have fallen by 12% in 2010. Kevin Pietersen says that his decision to be sacked as England captain prepared the ground for this Ashes win.

Friday 31 December
The new year honours list is announced. Did you get one? The GMB union says that public sector redundancy notices will fly around like confetti when everyone gets back to work. Filmmaker Ken Loach is starving himself of music as a personal protest against the cuts to the NHS. The Licensing Act 2003 is still resulting in live music venues closing. In France the museum built by President Jacques Chirac to house the collection of gifts presented to him during his time in office has become “a bottomless financial pit” and a drain on the local economy of the rural community that hosts it.


the world of leisure
December 2010

Friday 3 December:
Fears for the state of Europe’s heritage sites spread in the wake of governments’ spending cuts; the Greek cultural ministry is asking the EU to come up with the €540 million it needs to make ends meet, while Italy, with some 400,000 protected buildings, spends only 0.8% of its public spending on culture.



Monday 6 December:
On the Today programme Jim Naughtie articulates what so many of us were thinking when he mispronounces culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s surname.



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