Tuesday 1 June
Cayton on the Yorkshire coast is the site of Britain-in-Bloom-related sabotage allegations; it seems that flowerbeds have been poisoned as competition heats up. Outcry over a survey in The Sun that asked whether gay people should be allowed to be cabinet ministers; much to The Sun’s disappointment 89% said yes they should. An archive of films thought lost made by some of the UK film industry’s biggest names has been discovered and will be screened at this year’s Edinburgh film festival. Sotheby’s is to sell a collection of rare books, said by some to be the most impressive collections of first editions ever assembled; the seller is anonymous and apparently ‘reluctant’. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reckons that $1.5 trillion was spent by governments around the world on arms last year, a 6% increase in real terms on the previous year. The FIFA World Cup will be played with a brand new ball, generally regarded as “dreadful” by any goalkeeper that has had a feel of it so far.

Wednesday 2 June
A collection of Churchill-related memorabilia is sold at auction in London for £570,000. A German sewage plant is playing Mozart to its microbes, claiming that waste is broken down more quickly with some music. Switzerland’s high court bans private poker tournaments, deciding that luck rather than skill is the main element of the game. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is said to be challenging the ‘football creditors’ rule which sees players and “football debts” paid in full before tax liabilities and St John’s Ambulance get their share.

Thursday 3 June
Olympic Price Watch [see World of Leisure passim] may be officially redundant in the post-financial Marxist meltdown but the figures still seem relevant to a conversation about cultural services; to wit, BP, polluter extraordinaire and the USA’s conveniently British new corporate enemy number one, is planning a $10 billion dividend pay-out. Closer to home but still related, Adam Crozier (former Mars Bar salesman and FA chief exec) trousered £3.5 million in salary, bonuses and pension the year he left Royal Mail. Liverpool FC offer their manager £6 million not to come to work tomorrow; he accepts. The New Economic Foundation thinktank reckons that medieval Britons had plenty of time off from their labours to enjoy life, about 170 days a year. Items for sale at the London international fine art fair, which opens today, include fossils. But are they art?

Friday 4 June
A few hours after arriving in South Africa Rio Ferdinand is on the plane home having injured his knee in the first training session. The prime minister (it’s David Cameron) has asked Frank Field to “think the unthinkable” about poverty in Britain. Apparently the British pine marten, a stoat-like mammal, is not quite as extinct as was first thought. FIFA has banned the distribution of information on safe sex and condom use around World Cup venues; one in five of adults in South Africa are thought to be HIV positive but that is no concern of Herr Blatter. Bryan Ferry, a former fine art student, has a quietly impressive collection of paintings by British artists and he is going to put them on show at the London international fine art fair. Town planners in Paris are making special provisions for book shops in the Latin Quarter in an attempt to stem the disappearance of libraries in this traditional haunt of intellectuals. British tennis poppet, Laura Robson, apologises for her comment in an interview with Vogue regarding the fact that “some of the tennis girls, they’re sluts”. “I still have a lot to learn on and off the court,” she adds, rather unnecessarily.

Saturday 5 June
First Rio, now Didier Drogba’s out of the World Cup (poorly elbow) along with Arjen Robben (hurty leg). The National Audit Office notes that Sport England has missed almost all its participation targets; ‘start the clock’ is the inferred message. The Local Government Association is urging headteachers to ease their requirements for gym kit, the purchase of which can be a source of financial hardship for many families. The Queen attends the Derby at Epsom but, despite Her Majesty’s flirting with the Tote, reports suggest off-course betting and television viewing figures are significantly down.

Sunday 6 June
The deputy prime minister (it’s Nick Clegg) says that there will not be a return to the savage public spending cuts that defined the Thatcher era. In Rome it seems that there has been a rise in far-right thuggery around tourist spots; areas popular with gay people are being targeted. Meanwhile in London, a pub in the Punch Taverns stable finds itself with some problems after staff refuse service to the Labour Party’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group. The coastguard has to rescue hundreds of party-goers who had gathered on a small island in the middle of the Firth of Forth, which was then cut off by the rising tide and bombarded with the best of Scotland’s summer weather. Fifteen people are injured after a stampede at a World Cup warm-up game in Jo’burg. The NBA is planning to hold a regular season game in the UK in the near future.

Monday 7 June
David Cameron warns that the government’s economic programme will change British life; the phrase “and not for the better” is generally inferred. Leeds Art Gallery announces it has acquired a work by Elisabeth Frink for its renowned British sculpture collection. The Indian government is exploring how it might establish guidelines for the practise and promotion of yoga. Rama Yade, France’s junior sports minister, criticises the French football squad for staying in flash hotels during times of austerity; in Italy a minister suggests that the team should pay for their own accommodation. FIFA have reviewed the incident of a stampede at a recent match in South Africa and officially decided that it was nothing to do with them; they also say that the World Cup is “97% to 98%” sold out.

Tuesday 8 June
Margaret Thatcher visits Number 10. The National Trust is ready to put a newly cleaned Tintoretto, until recently kept in storage while funds were raised to restore it, on display. It shouldn’t need saying but tourists in Guatemala are having to be warned of the dangers of standing on the edge of a live volcano. Bollywood is planning a film based on Hitler and the last days of the Third Reich. Two of Galileo’s fingers are to go on display in a museum in Florence.

Wednesday 9 June
The new universities minister, David Willetts, says that students are a burden on the taxpayer and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reckons that 750,000 public sector staff will be laid off. Meanwhile, the National Audit Office seems to have spent £80 million on refurbishing its own offices. The Lacuna, a novel by Barbara Kingsolver, wins the Orange prize.

Thursday 10 June
Communities secretary Eric Pickles (no, really) says that every local authority faces cuts of up to 2% on its 2010-11 budget. A huge sculpture by Anish Kapoor, titled Temenos, is officially handed over on Teesside, the first of five planned and linked works in the region. The LA Dodgers have hired a Russian scientist to beam thought waves to players during games. It seems that the World Cup has not had its usual impact on the retail sector; Argos is one of several retail chains to report a slump in sales.

Friday 11 June
The World Cup in South Africa kicks off to the incessant sound of the vuvuzela. Danny Jordaan, the head of the South African World Cup organising committee, likens the moment to the release of Mandela and, when South Africa score the first goal of the competition, millions might agree. The high court says that a London council was wrong to allow a fast food outlet to open near a school that had a healthy eating policy.

Saturday 12 June
Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old American sailor attempting to become the world’s youngest circumnavigator, is rescued from her yacht in the Indian ocean. England’s football team drops the ball, metaphorically and literally, in their first World Cup game. Four medals for Great Britain at the European amateur boxing championships, the best result in 63 years. Egon Ronay, foody and restaurant critic extraordinaire, dies at the age of 94.

Sunday 13 June
FIFA is investigating the mystery of swathes of empty seats at the opening games of the World Cup. “It looked like a lot of people did not show up at the stadium,” says a FIFA spokesman, rather unnecessarily. Meanwhile, in Durban a strike by World Cup stewards over a pay dispute is met by a deployment of riot police. The city of Barcelona is reported to be getting a bit sick of all the tourists turning up and enjoying themselves.

Monday 14 June
What a surprise: the government’s new Office for Budget Responsibility says that public finances are much worse than the chancellor was led to believe; cue more cuts all round. Culture Secretary Hunt says that he believes that the BBC licence fee will become obsolete sooner rather than later. Microsoft reckon they have invented a hands-free gaming console. Success for the Donmar Warehouse and the Menier Chocolate Factory, two small London theatres, at the New York Tony awards. Famed Italian couture designer Valentino  Garavani is taking his plans for a museum of his work to Paris, having been offended by the suggestion from the city of Rome that he should share space in their city with other designers. Franz Beckenbaur says England are all kick and rush.

Tuesday 15 June
Jamie Oliver is planning to set up his own school as part of a Channel 4 series. ITV World Cup pundit Robbie Earl is whisked off screen when the 36 women dressed in Orange at a Holland match (who’d have thought it?) are found to be holding tickets with his name on them. A report on last summer’s outbreak of E Coli at an open farm urges better hygiene at farms where children are able to touch the animals. The home secretary (it’s Theresa May) says she is putting plans to extend the vetting and barring scheme on hold, which prompts Barnardo’s to say, “Don’t cut the scheme too far.” Meanwhile, troubled leader of the racist rabble that is the BNP, Nick Griffin is off to Buckingham Palace for a garden party, offering everyone else yet another reason not to go. Uproar in South Africa over the ball; it’s too round or something. And more ticketing problems with 10,000 empty seats at a game said by FIFA to be sold out apart from 700 tickets. Johan Bruyneel, team manager of Team Radioshack and a man endlessly embroiled in drugs allegations, says his sport’s structure needs to change, particularly as the organisers of the Vuelta, AKA the Tour of Spain, says his team won’t be welcome. In Eastbourne a British tennis player makes headlines by winning a match.

Wednesday 16 June
Italian scientists think that they have found the mortal remains of Caravaggio. John Hayes, skills minister in the Con-Dem government, says that in times of trouble cultural pursuits are more valuable; he suggests flower arranging or dance courses, noting that “life, when times are tough, doesn’t have to be miserable”. A political own goal for Rama Yada, the French minister who criticised the French World Cup squad for their lavish hotel arrangements, (see World of Leisure passim) when it is discovered that her hotel room during her visit to the competition costs more than those used by the French team. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are urging other billionaires to donate half of their wealth to charity. Tyson Gay says that the new rules over false starts in athletics could ruin the sport.

Thursday 17 June
The first of the government’s budget-balancing cuts sticks the knife, naturally and obviously enough for a bank-based financial crisis, into public services; free swimming, the BFI national film centre and the new Stonehenge visitor centre are among projects worth £10.5 billion to be axed. Film directors Stephen Daldry and Danny Boyle are put in charge of the London Olympics ceremonies. The Office for National Statistics says that the World Cup has boosted retail sales, a contradiction of statements by some retailers (see World of Leisure passim). Sports coaching techniques are all the nation can talk about in light of Mr Capello’s refusal to let his players know who will be playing in the next game. England rugby legend Andy Ripley dies at the age of 62.

Friday 18 June
The Arts Council announces that each of the 808 organisations that it funds regularly will be subject to a budget cut of 0.5%, which equates to £1.8 million of the £19 million of total cuts to be found by ACE. Geoffrey Hill is elected to the post of Oxford professor of poetry. It seems that the success of the TV show Glee (you must have seen it) is fuelling a renewed interest in choral singing among school pupils. Black Hawk in Colorado becomes the first town on record to ban cycling, citing “health and safety”; it seems motorists keep hitting them. Night club company Luminar, which built its business on “boy meets girl”, is said to be struggling as big clubs have gone out of fashion. Spud-faced multi-millionaire Wayne Rooney is critical of England fans who chose to cast aspersions on the quality of the England team’s performance. Sebastian Horsley, the personification of a Soho that no longer exists, dies at the age of 47. So too Portuguese novelist José Saramango at the age of 87.

Saturday 19 June
Government plans to dismantle round-the-clock drinking may include charging pubs and bars for policing. Wayne Rooney apologises for criticising England fans. The Council of Europe is to recommend the ban of ‘mosquito’ devices that repel teenagers. A hosepipe ban in the north-west of England is on the cards following six very dry months. The harp is apparently very rock and roll at the moment. England’s rugby team actually win a game (against Australia by a single point).

Sunday 20 June
A case study in coaching in the England camp as the former captain suggests there is unrest afoot. Fine restaurants across the UK are embracing the bring-your-own concept as belts tighten. The longest day of the year will bring new verve to the campaign for double daylight saving; the tourism industry could be boosted by between £1 billion and £3 billion a year, some reckon. The Russian government is planning ski resorts in the North Caucasus to bring tourism and employment to an unstable region. Could London’s Olympic stadium be knocked down after the Games to make way for housing? The bookies have this option as third favourite.

Monday 21 June
Appropriate timing for the news that the government is to cut funding for the proposed Stonehenge visitor site. The North Korean authorities televise a football match live for the first time; the North Korean side gets thrashed 7-0 for their trouble. No problem in the England camp, says Coach Capello, as the promised insurrection fails to materialise. Wimbledon opens without a single Englishman in the draw and without an English player of any description in the second round. Chris Sievey, creator of Timperley’s own Frank Sidebottom, dies at the age of 54.

Tuesday 22 June
The great austerity budget brings cuts to public spending that no one thought to mention in the Conservative (or the Lib-Dem) manifesto; VAT up to 20% in line with the pre-election commitment that there were no plans to raise VAT. The chief exec of BP, Tony Hayward, is keeping his head low having been spotted sailing while oil pumps ceaselessly into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s officially Britain’s worst performance at Wimbledon ever, with only a grumpy Scotsman remaining in the competition's second round to swell the sale of strawberries. Daphne Todd wins the BP portrait prize, trousering £25,000 in prize money and a commission by the trustees of the National Portrait Gallery; Tony Hayward perhaps? South Africa beat France in the World Cup, sending the vuvuzelas into orbit. Wembley Stadium says that a Desso Sports Systems pitch will be laid, an outlay of £250,000. “The pitch is at the heart of the stadium and football is our number one priority,” says Roger Maslin, Wembley’s managing director, with a straight face.

Wednesday 23 June
England score another goal at the World Cup, which represents a significant step forward for the team. Sotheby’s and Christie’s report record-breaking art sales, suggesting no problems with an age of austerity for the super-rich. Prince Albert II of Monaco marries Charlene Wittstock, a South African Olympic swimmer. The Irish property group that owns the Battersea power station says that it is going to float the site on the Stock Exchange. The Queen turns up at Wimbledon for the first time in 30-odd years. The LTA says that the pressure of the championships is generally too much for home players and several people in the press room notice that Roger Draper, LTA chief exec, is notable by his absence.

Thursday 24 June
Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, meets Thierry Henri, past-his-prime striker and scourge of Ireland’s World Cup hopes, to discuss why the French team has been such an abject failure. Greece is to put some of its islands up for sale in an attempt to balance the nation’s books. Prince Charles turns up at Glastonbury and British authorities note the absence of any trouble among – or caused by – England supporters at the World Cup in South Africa. Galleries and museums across the UK are facing a summer of organised protests against their acceptance of BP sponsorship money. Wimbledon’s longest match – 11 hours and 183 games – finally ends. British Cycling names its squad for the Tour de France.

Friday 25 June
A high court judge is critical of Prince Charles and his habit of sticking the royal nose into planning issues that should not concern him. Sunburn alert at Glastonbury and a porn-specific suffix is approved for the internet by the authorities that do that sort of thing. We’re better than Germany, says David ‘Calamity’ James in advance of the second-round game at the World Cup. Playwright Alan Plater dies ages 75.

Saturday 26 June
Controversy over the contents of the Wedgwood Museum, under threat now that the Wedgwood company is in receivership. Pop-up venues housing exhibitions, events and performances are now de rigueur across the UK. Dwain Chambers wins the British 100m title, the fourth of his career; according to him he has reclaimed pubic approval.

Sunday 27 June
Gateshead Council is planning to clear vegetation that has grown around the Angel of the North so that it can be seen more easily. The 40th anniversary of Glastonbury comes to a close with thumbs up all round. More than 150 churches, chapels and synagogues are due to be added to the ‘at risk’ register of historic buildings. Fitness First is planning to float on an Asian stock exchange. England finally confirms that it is a third-rate footballing nation with a humiliating thrashing at the hands of an inexperienced Germany.

Monday 28 June
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt issues a hasty apology for implying that the Hillsborough disaster was something to do with hooliganism. The Football Association begins its post-World Cup review; start the clock and set the controls for ‘Do Nothing’. Two fighter jets are unveiled as the most striking of talking points of Fiona Banner’s exhibition at Tate Britain. Government cuts will include the Public Lending Right scheme, which pays authors for the books borrowed from libraries. Guardian, a 20m statue by Sebastien Boyesen, is officially unveiled at the Six Bells Colliery near Abertillery, South Wales. A crisis in Japanese sumo as top sumos admit involvement in illegal betting.

Tuesday 29 June
Prince Charles says that one is just acting as the voice of the people rather than interfering in the public realm. The National Gallery exhibition, Close Examination, puts its fakes and mistakes on display. England could be represented in the later stages of the World Cup in the shape of the referee, Howard Webb, and his team of assistants (some say ‘linos’). England's successful football coach, Hope Powell, says that Capello should stay in his £6 million-a-year post (sic) as continuity is the key in coaching.

Wednesday 30 June
Wonder Woman is to be given a new outfit in which to fight crime on the occasion of her 600th appearance in DC Comics. A conference in Bristol marks the 75th anniversary of the first publication of a Penguin paperback. Federer is out of Wimbledon but Andy Murray is still in. The president of Nigeria says that the national football squad is to be removed from international competition for two years after their humiliating exit from the World Cup. Sir Ian McGeechan joins Bath FC (now known by some -- but not The Leisure Review -- as Bath Rugby) as performance director.



the world of leisure
June 2010

Friday 4 June:
FIFA has banned the distribution of information on safe sex and condom use around World Cup venues; one in five of adults in South Africa are thought to be HIV positive but that is no concern of Herr Blatter.

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