Monday 1 February
Macmillan has forced Amazon to accept a price rise on its bestselling titles, a move that has been seen as a victory for ‘old media’. The National Trust says that Bath is the subject of the most popular of its walking guides, many of which can be downloaded from the NT website. Universities are facing up to what they expect to be funding cuts totalling £449 million. Italy’s agriculture minister, Luca Zaia, defends the launch of a McItaly burger by Macdonald’s, in the face of critics who see the burger as an affront to the nation’s cultural dignity.

Tuesday 2 February
Next onto Broadway with a musical: Elton John and his partner, David Furnish. Portsmouth FC are saved from receivership by their former owner (or more accurately one of their many recent former owners) who does not press for payment of a £9.5 million loan instalment. England’s short list for a new bowling coach is said to include Sarfie Allan Donald and two Aussies, Jason Gillespie and Mike Kasprowicz.

Wednesday 3 February
It seems that warnings over the likely impact on obesity have prevailed and government plans to allow product placement advertising during television programmes are being reviewed. The Foundry, the east London art gallery-cum-pub that has served as a focal point for the local art scene, could be replaced by an 18-storey hotel if developers and planners get their way. The National Gallery announces that it is putting a huge archive of images, correspondence and reports on its website. Carlos the Jackal is to sue producers of a film based on his life for image rights payments. Ooh: Portsmouth FC have got another owner since yesterday.

Thursday 4 February
The Duchess of Cornwall (some say Princess of Wales) pulls pints at the Rovers Return; they’ve got other people to see so they’ll let her know. The government is to provide the Cutty Sark with a £3 million grant to enable the restoration to be completed in time for London 2012. The mayor of Moscow declares his intention to drive all the artists out of the traditionally bohemian Rechnik area to free it for development. EMI declares losses of £1.5 billion for the last financial year. The eight-member panel overseeing the release of official documentation relating to the Hillsborough disaster meets representatives of families who lost relatives at the ground 21 years ago.

Friday 5 February
John Terry is relieved of the England captaincy on the grounds of moral failings; step forward next in line for on English football’s roll of honour, Rio Ferdinand, drugs cheat, executive producer of hyper-violent films and self-made porn star, who narrowly beat public brawler Steven ‘Stevie’ Gerrard and the short-fused, foul-mouthed ball of bile that is Wayne Rooney. The International Olympic Committee is considering banning a very dangerous move used by a few snowboarders. Emma Watson, formerly of Headington School and now, post-Potter, of the silver screen, is reputed to be Hollywood’s highest paid female actor. Actor Ricky Tomlinson is talking about standing for election to Parliament on the ‘Labour? My Arse’ ticket. There are now around 10 million cats and a similar number of dogs in the UK. Tanni Grey-Thompson is to become a peer. UK Anti-Doping is to issue athletes with ‘biological passports’ pioneered, with some success, by professional cycling.

Saturday 6 February
The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester opens its exhibition of wallpaper. Applications are invited for the position of manager of the Snowdon café in north Wales. Raised eyebrows for many with the news that a seven-year-old is to lead part of the Rio de Janeiro carnival, not an event noted for its asexual approach to entertainment. The Rotterdam School of Management reckons that football referees may well penalise taller players more often than shorter players.

Sunday 7 February
Rumours abound that the Tories have already set plans for deep cuts in public spending. London to Birmingham could be a 50-minute train ride, via Heathrow and Birmingham International, if plans to build a new high-speed railway come to fruition. Iran has severed cultural ties with the British Museum over the loan of an ancient Persian artefact from London to Baghdad. Archaeologists have found a Roman chariot circuit in Colchester. The Commission for the Built Environment has a right old go at plans for the proposed Stonehenge visitor facilities. Team Sky wins the team time trial in the Tour of Qatar. Jazz veteran Sir John Dankworth dies at the age of 82.

Monday 8 February
The Football Association cancels the launch of a film tackling the issue of homophobia at the last minute. A floating bus is being trialled in Glasgow. The Olivier awards short list includes fifteen nominations for the Royal Court and there is the promise of a Brazilian summer at the Southbank in London with a three-month festival of Brazilian culture. The world’s tallest building in Dubai is closed to visitors but no one quite knows why. Robel Teklemariam, Ethiopia’s only Olympic skier, puts the finishing touches to his training for the cross-country competition. French children are to be issued with a ‘citizen’s handbook’ outlining the “values of the republic”. Portsmouth FC and Cardiff FC are both saved from winding-up orders at the last minute, giving former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale two out of two since he is now at the helm of the latter.

Tuesday 9 February
Film director Richard Curtis and actor Bill Nighy are launching a campaign to introduce a levy on financial transactions to help the world’s poorest people. Teenage girls have the worst diet, according to the Food Standards Agency. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama launches a campaign to fight child obesity in the USA. The BBC paid its top presenters a total of £54 million last year. The Olympic budget has been adversely affected by declining property values, according to figures from the Olympic Delivery Authority. The Royal Shakespeare Company is to build a replica of its Stratford home stage in New York for a summer season next year. The British Olympic Association says that the collapse of the national governing body for British snow sports will not affect the British athletes competing in the winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Wednesday 10 February
There is a £80 million backlog of maintenance at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew; the Temperate House, the world’s biggest Victorian glasshouse, could have to close. Warner Music may stop licensing its artists to online streaming services and it seems Matt Goss (him out of Bros years ago) has successfully reinvented himself as a Las Vegas crooner. My Name is Khan, a new Bollywood film set in New York after 9/11, draws protests from Hindu nationalists after the film’s leading man made pro-Pakistan comments.

Thursday 11 February
The Winter Olympics kick off tomorrow in Vancouver but there is a noticeable absence of snow in the city. Brighton’s West Pier is illuminated in its glorious ruination to mark the Chinese new year. Fewer weddings in the UK last year than during any twelve-month period since 1895. Private Eye announces its biggest ever circulation. “People turn to us in times of trouble because they trust us,” says the managing director, Sheila Molnar. Blaenau Ffestiniog is campaigning to be included in the Snowdonia national park. Catherine Cookson has been knocked off the ‘most borrowed’ list in British libraries; it’s all crime novels these days. The city of Shanghai seems to be on a mass cocaine binge as its residents settle in for all-night mah-jong sessions. Film buffs gather in Berlin to await the screening of a newly restored print, with previously lost additional footage, of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The Sven-Goran Eriksson project at Notts County comes to an end when Svennis departs after the club is sold for £1; Eriksson gives an interview explaining that he was shocked that people should get involved with football schemes motivated by money. FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, says that he cannot understand what all the fuss is about with John Terry and Wayne Bridge’s former girlfriend. Two more straights are being added to the track at Silverstone in time for this year’s British grand prix. London 2012 confirms that it won’t be having a single torch for the relay. Fashion legend Alexander McQueen is found dead at his Mayfair house.

Friday 12 February
In a breathtaking example of Mr Pott introducing himself to Mr Kettle and passing comment on the colour of his knitwear, the Tories tell the Football Association that it should be doing more to tackle homophobia. The Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris chickens out of displaying a work satirising the president, Nicholas Sarkozy. Georgian luger Nodar Kumariashvili is killed when he crashes during practice at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Saturday 13 February
Some athletes at the Winter OIympics suggest that the Canadians’ determination to win medals in their home Games was a contributory factor in the death of Kumariashvili; access to the sliding track has been severely restricted for non-Canadians. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests that being a bit overweight when you are over 70 can prolong an already prolonged life. The world’s best restaurant, El Bulli in Spain, will shut next year and then reopen in 2014 as a not-for-profit foundation.

Sunday 14 February
Compass, a left-of-centre thinktank, calls for a ban on advertising in all public spaces. MySpace, the once all-powerful social networking site for which Murdoch paid $580 million in 2005, is said to be in a state of “total desperation” after its chief exec resigns after a year in post. A play-off for fourth spot, says the Premier League, trying to create competition and interest where none exists. Dick Francis, jockey and thriller writer, dies at the age of 89.

Monday 15 February
The Department of Health is considering obliging drinks companies to put health warnings on their products after the less-than-enthusiastic take-up of a voluntary code. A play written by a woman is to be staged at the Globe theatre for the first time only 400 years after the original theatre opened. The BBC Trust has told Radio 2 that its audience is too young and there is controversy over a “hijab-inspired” work of art to mark the boundaries of Brick Lane in London’s East End. Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe calls for tougher regulation from football authorities (never too late, Ger, never too late) and a London Assembly committee warns that there is a high risk of facility white elephants after the London Olympics. Problems in Vancouver with snow, electricity and the sliding track.

Tuesday 16 February
An exhibition of paintings by Sir Anthony Hopkins, more usually known as an actor, opens in London. The rolling maul that is the annual Shrove Tuesday football game takes place in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Richard Branson, who has launched a company to offer outsourcing services to local government, calls for immediate public spending cuts; we’re sure that it’s a coincidence. Oscar winners are to be limited to 45 seconds for their acceptance speeches on stage when the statues are handed out next month and Working Title Films, the lauded British production film company, is to dip into television production in a joint venture with NBC Universal International. Ally McCoist says that Rangers’ debt will make it impossible for them to qualify for the Champions League again.

Wednesday 17 February
Michelangelo’s drawings of romantic imagination, brought together for the first time, go on show at the Courtauld Gallery in London. A new video channel brings 3,000 hours of television from the BBC, Channel 4 and Five to online audiences. Boris Johnson cuts funding for a raft of community celebrations, including Black History Month, which has generally been hailed as a great success, but allocates £75,000 to USA Day. Columbia University in New York releases a study that suggests happy people have fewer incidents of heart disease and the National Trust says it might step in to save the Abbey Road studios after EMI says it might sell the building. Turkey’s hardline anti-smoking legislation has ensnared Tin Tin; a TV channel showing an animated Tin Tin adventure in which people are seen to smoke has been fined. England rugby coach, Martin Johnson, says the team will kick all afternoon if it means they can win a game. Rugby league international Terry Newton is suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

Thursday 18 February
The Glasgow Museum of Transport closes; its collection will move to the Riverside Museum, which opens next year. The Chandos Shakespeare, the portrait of the Bard thought most likely to be a contemporaneous likeness, is to tour the UK for the first time; it has not left London since the National Portrait Gallery made the picture its first acquisition in 1856. The number of UK residents travelling abroad fell by 15% in 2009, according to the Office of National Statistics. Nominations open for the post of Oxford professor of poetry, although things may be quiet after last year’s nastiness. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France pays €5 million for the manuscript of Casanova’s diaries. Multiple crashes in Vancouver during training for the bobsleigh competition.

Friday 19 February
A mea culpa from Tiger Woods in front of an invited audience and subsequently the world. Michael Winterbottom’s film, The Killer Inside Me, is booed at the Berlin film festival for its depiction of violence against women. “It was intentionally shocking,” says Winterbottom. The Southbank Centre says its 2010 summer programme will include a return of the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble, which wowed audiences last year. Anna Ford tells Martin Amis to stop whingeing and Vancouver’s Olympic organisers tells the British press to pack it in with the criticism. “We’re being picked on,” say the beefy Canucks. Flavio Briatore quits as chairman of QPR and Roman Ambramovich tells the Chelsea team that he doesn’t want any more scandals; best of luck, Roman. Danny Cipriani is off to Melbourne to ply his egg-chasing trade, leaving everyone asking the key question of an English star: will Kelly Brook go with him? Actor Lionel Jeffries dies aged 83.

Saturday 20 February
Demos reckons that we should be tracking children’s feelings from birth with a nationwide system of “psychological screening”. London Fashion Week gets headlines through the appearance of a few women on the catwalk who have recently eaten something. The public health minister (No? It’s Gillian Merron) says that TV serial dramas (No? Things like Enders and Corrers) should take up the campaign to encourage safe sex. Amy Williams wins gold in the Vancouver Winter Olympics in the skeleton bob competition.

Sunday 21 February
The Hurt Locker picks up more Baftas than Avatar in the British film congratsfest. The shadow culture secretary (No? Jeremy Hunt) says that arts funding will be safer under the Tories; what’s more it will be “significantly” safer. EMI says it won’t be selling the Abbey Road studios while up the road in Old London Town the celebrated club venue Ministry of Sound is said to be under threat from a nearby housing development. Taxis that run on hydrogen fuel cell technology will be ready for the London Olympics, apparently. Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley reckon that a daytime nap improves learning ability by clearing memory space in the brain. Just down the road (a very long road, admittedly) in Atlanta, professor of physics Sidney Perkowitz says that Hollywood film-makers should not break the fundamental laws of science more than once in science fiction films; cue Not-so-Superman.

Tuesday 23 February
All but five of the National Gallery’s rooms are closed by a strike by gallery attendants. As defence cuts begin to bite it seems that senior army officers are questioning the need for the renewal of Trident. A good, old fashioned literary epistolatory spat involving Anna Ford, Martin Amis and Peter Hitchens continues to rumble on in the press; how grand they all must seem to themselves. The design for the new US fortress – sorry, embassy – in Battersea is unveiled, revealing a big glass block and the ire of two of the design jury, Lord Rogers and Lord Palumbo, the former having built a few good ’uns and the latter responsible for the act of architectural vandalism that is No 1 Poultry. The first comic to have featured Superman is sold in the states for $1 million. English football clubs owe 56% of European football clubs’ total debt, according to a UEFA report. A still far from contrite Dwain Chambers is named in the British team for the indoor world athletics championships.

Wednesday 24 February
Robert Dee, a 23-year-old British tennis pro, is at the high court suing the Daily Telegraph for calling him the world’s worst tennis pro. An investigation is imminent in South Africa to look at the sudden jump in hotel prices for the World Cup; who’d have thought it? Indian crease-genius Sachin Tendulkar becomes the first cricketer to score a double century in a one-day international.

Thursday 25 February
Wayne Bridge has decided that he cannot play for England while John Terry is in the team. Wayne Hemingway announces a brand new mud-free version of the summer festival with vintage dress and old-style glamour. The Home Office says that raunchy music videos should be subject to the constrictions of the 9pm watershed. Yorkshire rhubarb receives official locational recognition and protection from the EU. France is worrying about the declining fortunes of its traditional brasseries and cafes; 2,000 closed last year in the Ile de France region alone. The British Olympic Association says that the British team’s performance in Vancouver was in line with expectations; chief exec Andy Hunt points to eight personal bests and seven top-ten finishes, although he didn’t mention that two of the latter were in ten-team competitions. Whale handler Dawn Brancheau is killed by an orca during a display in Florida’s SeaWorld.

Friday 26 February
Head of a Muse, a Raphael drawing sold recently for £29 million, has an export ban placed upon it by the arts minister, Margaret Hodge. Rumours abound that the BBC is responding to the traditional pre-election Beeb-bashing by planning to close two radio stations and halve its web presence. Heritage comes to Palestine with the Israeli government citing the protection of heritage sites as a reason for the demolition of Palestinian houses. Portsmouth FC go into administration, the first (but surely not the last) Premier League club so to do. Meanwhile Arsenal’s accounts show pre-tax profits of £35 million and debts reduced by £100 million.

Saturday 27 February
A number of local councils are planning to ban the opening of fast-food outlets near schools as part of the anti-obesity campaign. Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe urges that the recommendations of the Burns Report be implemented by footballing governing bodies in full with immediate effect. One footballer refuses to shake the hand of another but the world continues to turn.

Sunday 28 February
A green-and-gold protest at Wembley as Manchester Utd fans protest against the Glazer regime at Old Trafford (the colours were those of Newton Heath, the club from which United originally grew). Inspired by ski-cross from Vancouver, London 2012 is apparently looking at how it might jazz-up some of the minority sports. Hilary Mantel, the third-best writer in Glossop, says we should be reviewing our attitudes to teenaged motherhood. “The timetable is based on a former era,” she says. David ‘Dave’ Cameron is the latest sadder than sad politician to be photographed running along a rain-swept seafront in a desperate effort to look vigorous for the voters. Councils are said to be preparing to shed 170,000 public sector jobs. The Natural History Museum is piloting a scheme to turn Dorset’s Jurassic coast into a centre of learning. The campaign to raise money to preserve the only Roman chariot-racing circus found in Britain (it’s in Colchester) has raised the necessary £200,000. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has his leg broken very nastily during the match against Stoke. Ouch. On two wheels, British Cycling’s road team, in the shape of Juan Antonio Flecha, wins its first spring classic, the Het Volk in Belgium.



the world of leisure
February 2010

Tuesday 2 February:
England’s short list for a new bowling coach is said to include Sarfie Allan Donald and two Aussies, Jason Gillespie and Mike Kasprowicz.




Wednesday 3 February:
Ooh: Portsmouth FC have got another owner since yesterday.






Thursday 4 February:
The Duchess of Cornwall (some say Princess of Wales) pulls pints at the Rovers Return; they’ve got other people to see so they’ll let her know.




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