Monday 1 November
Staines in Surrey is thinking of changing its name; Staines on Thames is the rather unimaginative alternative being offered. A privately owned work by Titian is to be displayed in public for the first time in 30 years as part of a pre-auction world tour; Sotheby’s offices in Paris, London and Amsterdam will show the painting before the sale in New York in January. The Church of England wants £5 million of state funding to help promote community cohesion and a ferry company is calling for Channel swimming to be restricted on the grounds that it is inconvenient for commercial shipping. A building in Kensington Gardens previously used as a magazine (as in armaments store rather than a glossy monthly) is to be turned into an art gallery by the nearby Serpentine Gallery. Tour operator Thomas Cook’s plans to shave 5% off its payments to hotels are to come under legal review following action by hoteliers.

Tuesday 2 November
University fees could rise to £9,000 a year, the ConDem government lets slip. A new military entente between Britain and France in also announced; will a cultural exchange follow? We may all be in this together (copyright D Cameron) but it’s full speed ahead in the art market: New York’s auction houses are expecting to shift $1 billion worth of art over the next ten days.

Wednesday 3 November
Kengo Kuma and Associates, a Japanese architectural practice, has won the competition to design the new Victoria and Albert Museum outpost in Dundee. We’re (still) all in this together and who would not want to have their own photographer and filmmaker on the pay role at public expense? Certainly not the prime minister, who has hired both. Anish Kapoor says he is nervous about his first exhibition in his native India. The O2 hosts an exhibition of memorabilia from the Titanic. Secretary Hunt pokes his head out of the DCMS bunker to note that he is worried – and worried “a lot” – by the Premier League’s penchant for leveraged buy-outs. Meanwhile, the government is backing a UK Athletics bid for the 2017 world athletics championships now that the governing body has dropped its bid for the 2015 event. The American Ballet Theatre performs in Cuba for the first time in 50 years.

Thursday 4 November
The prime minister says that the London Olympic site will rival Silicon Valley for innovation and entrepreneurial verve once the Games have moved on. It emerges that an edition of Countdown was bowdlerised when a contestant, faced with a hand of DTCEIASHF, came up with ‘shitface’; dictionary corner said it was OK but failed to wonder why the D had not been added to bring home the 9-letter bacon. In Liverpool 32% of households have no one in employment. Britain is experiencing a video games brain drain, with 9% of this lucrative industry’s jobs lost in 12 months. The Arts Council announces an overhaul of the arts funding system; 850 organisations will have to reapply for grant aid. Ashley Page is to leave his post as artistic director of Scottish Ballet after a ‘contract dispute’. Yorkshire is to launch a partnership scheme to give the Yorkshire coast the cleanest waters and beaches in Europe, a title currently held by Portugal. Hopes are fading for the FA’s 2018 World Cup bid and apparently it’s all the fault of the British media, which has been pointing out the rampant and deeply ingrained corruption within FIFA, much to the dismay of the rampantly corrupt officials therein.

Friday 5 November
An NUJ strike means little news and sport on the BBC networks. West Ham and Spurs put in bids to make the 2012 Olympic stadium their home but controversy still centres upon whether the running track will remain. We’re all in this together (again) but few of us would have the brass-necked hypocrisy to employ two stylists at the public expense in the midst of slashing benefits and making misery for the least well-off in our society; step forward David Cameron, who has done just this, to explain the Big Society concept one more time. Spider-Man the Musical, at $40 million the most expensive musical yet, has run into problems on Broadway.

Saturday 6 November
The V&A is to launch an appeal to raise funds to save Charles Dickens’ manuscripts, which are rotting as a result of the acid in the paper. Chris Hoy makes an early exit from the cycle sprint competition in the European championships after letting an apparently beaten opponent catch him on the line.

Sunday 7 November
A leaked document shows the extent to which services in inner London authorities will be hit by the government’s spending review; leisure services are likely to be among the hardest hit. Artist Ai Weiwei tells the prime minister to push the Chinese on human rights during his visit. The British Council says more British students should do part of their degree courses abroad; only one in 200 currently do so. One of the ancient buildings in Pompeii collapses, prompting an outcry over the Italian government’s treatment of its historic realm. The GB rowing team records its best performance at the world championships, taking four golds.

Monday 8 November
Chelsea FC may be reviving their plan to move to the other side of the Brompton Cemetery to Earls Court. A visit by a team from the Natural History Museum to remotest Paraguay is criticised by anthropologists and indigenous leaders. Jarvis is putting the band back together: Pulp will be playing five gigs next year. Video game excitement knows no bounds with the imminent release of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Warner Brothers will become the first Hollywood studio with a permanent UK base when it buys Leavesden Studios near Watford. The company that makes London black cabs is trying to establish a sales foothold in Paris. Rok, “the nation’s local builder”, goes into administration. Joey Barton says that the national football team should be picking people on their footballing skills rather than the cleanliness of their criminal record. The Spanish Cycling Federation prepares to open an investigation into Alberto Contador’s positive drugs test. Jack Duckworth, aka Bill Tarmey, takes his leave of Corrie after 31 years.

Tuesday 9 November
The government won’t be using voice recognition lie detectors to catch those we must now legally refer to as “benefits cheats” on the grounds that the system doesn’t work, won’t work and never has worked, even after they spent more than £2 million on speculative trials. Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations will include a festive haiku competition.

Wednesday 10 November
Students protesting on the streets of London against tuition fees put through the windows of a Conservative Party office building. The EU’s drugs agency says that cocaine use in the UK is the highest in Europe. Somerset Council cuts all direct grants to arts groups in the county. Big money for Andy Warhol paintings in New York auction houses and in France there are attacks from historians on President Sarkozy’s plans to immortalise himself in a museum of “national identity”.

Thursday 11 November
Government plans for the ‘reform’ of the national park system could put such national assets at risk of development and damage, say conservationists. Boris unveils a mock-up of the new Routemaster bus and says it will be in service by early 2012. A collection of works by LS Lowry sells for £5.2 million at auction in London. Bayern Munich star Mario Gomez says that gay players should come out, a view not shared by German football authorities. Joey Barton is banned for three matches following a punch on an opponent during a game and awaits his call-up to the England squad.

Friday 12 November
Physical activity is to be one of five new policy networks established by the health secretary (it’s Andrew Lansley) and is to be co-chaired by the Fitness Industry Association; the food network will include representatives of MacDonald’s, Unilever and Pepsi, among other big food businesses. A Treasury ‘crackdown’ on tax avoidance via offshore tax havens is likely to bring in £10 billion rather than the predicted £1 billion; how long can it last? John Lewis, the current bell wether of economic activity, says trading has been subdued, particularly in the regions. Planning permission is granted for the £5.5 billion redevelopment of Battersea power station, which has lain unused for 27 years.

Saturday 13 November
Claims of wrongful dismissal and a culture of racism and drunkenness in the West End theatre world: Leon Donnelly is pursuing a case against the New London Theatre. The head of Croatia’s football federation says that gay players should be banned from representing the country. Inward investment in the British film industry reached £780 million in the first nine months of 2010, the second-highest figure on record. England beat Australia at rugby.

Sunday 14 November
The government is planning to measure the nation’s psychological and environmental wellbeing, an official happiness index that will start now, when misery reigns, and, they hope, show a happiness increase by the time an election is called. ‘Ultra-flexible’ working hours are being introduced by Tesco, whereby people can work odd hours to suit their other commitments. In the battle for clean water 86% of British beaches reached the highest European water standard this year. The Unesco committee overseeing the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity scheme will meet this week to consider 47 nominations from 29 countries looking for recognition of their traditions. The England 2018 World Cup bid team agrees with FIFA that it is highly inconvenient that a potential host nation has a free press and a commitment to the rule of law.

Monday 15 November
Government cuts will see a 25% reduction in frontline police officers, says the Greater Manchester constabulary. Calls for an inquiry into the health secretary’s plans to put companies such as MacDonalds and PepsiCo at the heart of health policy. Seb Coe says a £135 million sports fund, titled Places, People, Play, will deliver the pledge of Olympic legacy. The Louvre is launching a public appeal for funds to keep the painting Les Trois Graces, the first time it has felt the need request public donations. Two members of the South African rugby squad fail dope tests and are sent home from their European tour.

Tuesday 16 November
Under the cover of a royal wedding announcement Downing Street quietly tries to remove the PM’s photographer and filmmaker from the payroll but someone spots it and puts it on the front page. The National Portrait Gallery is cataloguing the archive of one of its first directors, Sir George Scharf, and has discovered bits of the coffin of Richard II among his things, relics thought to have been whipped from the tomb in Westminster Abbey when it was opened in a fit of Victorian curiosity in 1857. The Beatles will now be appearing on iTunes, bringing decades of Apple-related legal argument to an end. In response to criticism of Paris’s declining night life the French capital is promoting Le Nuits Capitales, a weekend of concerts and club nights.

Wednesday 17 November
The government says that public sector employees should start up John Lewis-style co-operatives to deliver public services. Nick Hornby is going to open a Ministry of Stories, a drop-in centre to encourage children to write and tell tall tales. The DCMS says that it will stop funding seven museums – the Geffrye, the Horniman, the Design Museum, the People’s History Museum, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, the National Coal Mining Museum and the Tyne and Wear Museum – in four years. Meanwhile the Royal Opera House is opening a new £8.5 million production workshop in Purfleet, Essex. England’s football team are outclassed by France in a friendly at Wembley but at least we’re not still paying a foreign coach millions a year to under perform time after time. Oh.

Thursday 18 November
The Heritage Lottery Fund is to provide £10 million of the £27 million needed for the new Stonehenge visitor centre and improvements to the environs of the stones. Dr Nick Sheron, an expert on alcohol-related health issues, says VAT should be cut on drinks in pubs. The Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection, formerly housed in the collectors’ suburban London home, is to be found a permanent residence at the University of Bristol. Figures show that 43% of cycling fatalities in London have been caused by lorries, prompting calls for a ban on HGVs in city centres. In Holland the government is planning to restrict purchases of soft drugs at its coffee shops to Dutch citizens. Capita, which makes around £3.3 billion a year charging the government to provide public services, says that cuts to government spending will mean modifying the services it provides rather than reducing its own profits. FIFA ethics committee (sic) bans six officials involved in various World Cup-related scandals and then criticises the British newspaper (the Sunday Times) for “twisting the facts”.

Friday 19 November
Tate Modern is planning an exhibition of Joan Miro. The film by Banksy, Exit Through the Giftshop, has been long-listed for an Oscar. The Australians are apparently getting nervous about the Ashes and in the outback there are plans to tackle the problem of feral camels (no, really) by turning them into Aussie rules footballs. The Dickens House Museum in London is awarded a £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In Detroit the city’s celebrated orchestra is going on strike in protest at funding cuts. Seb Coe says that he will not be budging on the decision to reroute the 2012 marathon in favour of London landmarks rather than through the East End.

Saturday 20 November
Eric Cantona is trying to stage a run on French banks as part of the economic protest. It seems such times of depression and wealth have reignited interest in The Great Gatsby; a new film version is in the offing. Tax breaks for overseas film-makers working in Britain is stifling British film-making talent, says producer Jeremy Thomas, who’s won an Oscar. The ashes of actor Sir Ian Richardson have been buried in the foundations of the new Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon; front row, of course.

Sunday 21 November
The Sunday press has school sport and cabinet splits over the proposed funding cuts on the front pages. Even David James thinks the cuts are a bad idea, and he’s a goalkeeper. Leading authors, including Kate Mosse, Philip Pullman and Will Self, attack the impact government cuts will have on libraries. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment warns against the prevalence of “Tesco-towns” in modern development. You will soon be able to pay up to £100 to watch an Arsenal match thanks to the incoming VAT rise. Scottish football referees vote to strike next weekend in protest at continuing and escalating abuse.

Monday 22 November
The latest Harry Potter film breaks box office records in its first weekend. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, “the man who invented the worldwide web”, says social networking sites threaten the web’s future. A survey by the National Foundation for Education Research reckons that English teenagers get more intolerant as they get older. In Italy cultural workers go on strike in protest at government cuts to the arts; cinemas, theatres and concert halls are among the facilities closed. Germany is to abolish its compulsory military national service. Surprise, surprise: the chief exec of Capita says that the government’s plans for mutually owned public service delivery companies won’t work. The Scottish FA are trying to recruit scab referees to break the strike. Ashes fever reaches, er, fever pitch with only days to go before the first ball is bowled down under.

Tuesday 23 November
News of leisure’s own Irene Lucas makes the diary pages: it seems her role as a top civil servant at the Department for Communities and Local Government is in doubt following clashes with the secretary of state (No? It’s Eric Pickles). On the letters page in the Guardian Ian Kendall says that the chief exec of Capita is full of cap (sic; insert your own R): Oldham Community Leisure shows that mutually owned delivery structures can work. Calloo, callay: William Saxe-Coburg Gotha and his fiancée name the day (29 April), which will become a national holiday. The Shard in London becomes the EU’s tallest building. The Lords vote to restrict the ability of ministers to abolish quangos, an embarrassing defeat for the government. Hammer horror star Ingrid Pitt dies at the age of 73.

Wednesday 24 November
Students take to the streets across the UK in protest at cuts in education budgets and proposals for an increase in university tuition fees. The Royal Shakespeare Company opens its new home in Stratford after a £112 million refurbishment. VS Naipaul pulls out of a literary festival in Istanbul after protests from local authors regarding comments he made about Islam 10 years ago. There is going to be a Bollywood remake of The Italian Job. Michael Grade says that Channel 4 should be paid for by the licence fee.

Thursday 25 November
Ooh, it’s chilly; snow and ice arrive early in the UK. Eric Pickles, still local government secretary, suggests that the Local Government Association’s prediction of 140,000 job losses across local authorities is scaremongering. The Turner Prize will be going to Derry in 2013 when it will be the UK’s official city of culture. The Royal Ballet is going to stage performances at the O2 Arena in London’s docklands in June with seat prices below those usually charged at its Covent Garden home. Meltdown 2011, the Southbank arts and music festival, will be curated by Ray Davies. Italian students hang banners protesting against education cuts from the Leaning Tower of Pizza. The Swiss authorities are to investigate FIFA in the latest ‘cash for votes’ row. FC United of Manchester are given planning permission to build a ground in Newton Heath, the original home of Big United. The Ashes finally kick off and there are three balls before England’s captain is taking the long walk back to the pavilion; it’s going to be a long winter on long wave.

Friday 26 November
Prince Charles wants his own Foundation for the Built Environment to have a ‘big society’ planning role. In the USA a wage dispute between players and team owners of the National Football League (their football rather than ours) is threatening preparations for next season. One of the last British independent record companies, Chrysalis, is sold by its founder Chris Wright who has decided to go into “semi-retirement”.

Saturday 27 November
Sixty headteachers from across the UK are to lead “a revolt” against the government cuts to the school sports funding system. Oxford Street and Regent Street in London are pedestrianised for Christmas shoppers, who respond by spending an estimated £200 million in a day. There’s a growing row about beavers that have escaped the areas in which they were reintroduced: to capture or roam free? Is this the very definition of a pyrrhic victory: the Office of Budget Responsibility (sic) reckons that 100,000 public sector jobs could be saved thanks to the welfare budget being cut even more deeply than first thought. 

Sunday 28 November
Could a hedge fund billionaire reinvent artistic patronage? The All Visual Arts organisation, founded by Mike Platt and Joe La Placa (billionaire and art dealer respectively), is giving it a go. The BBC is advancing plans to sell off Television Centre in Shepherds Bush. In Spain the government is to insist on changes to the composition of chewing gum sold in the country to make cleaning up discarded gum easier and therefore cheaper; Barcelona reckons it spends €100,000 a year on gum removal.

Monday 29 November
Culture minister Ed Vaizey reveals a plan for the replacement of the UK Film Council; the British Film Institute will now distribute lottery funds to film-makers. Lord Mandelson is to set up as a consultant. A podium of elite athletes add their collective voice to campaign against cuts to school sport funding. An electrician in Paris is found to have a suitcase full of previously unseen works by Picasso, 271 in total worth an estimated £50 million. “He gave them to me,” says the sparks. “Hmmm,” says the Picasso estate. Panorama claims that FIFA officials were involved in a bribe scandal worth hundreds of millions of dollars. England’s cricketers set new records (in a good way) in the first Test.

Tuesday 30 November
Tate Britain, the original Tate building on Millbank, is to be treated to a £45 million refurbishment. Somerset Maugham’s collection of theatre paintings is to find a permanent home at the Holburne Museum in Bath when it reopens in May. A new health white paper is published by the Department for Health, promising funding for anti-obesity campaigns and much more. More collapsing stonework at Pompeii puts yet more pressure on the Italian heritage minister. The prime minister joins Prince William and David Beckham in Zurich to plead with FIFA to bring the World Cup to England.



the world of leisure
November 2010

Tuesday 2 November:
A new military entente between Britain and France in also announced; will a cultural exchange follow?




Wednesday 3 November:
We’re (still) all in this together and who would not want to have their own photographer and filmmaker on the pay role at public expense? Certainly not the prime minister, who has hired both.




Friday 5 November:
We’re all in this together (again) but few of us would have the brass-necked hypocrisy to employ two stylists at the public expense in the midst of slashing benefits and making misery for the least well-off in our society; step forward David Cameron, who has done just this, to explain the Big Society concept one more time.

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