Friday 1 April
M&S are back in Paris, much to the delight of Parisians. Blackpool reports an earthquake measuring 2.2 on the Richter scale. The universities minister (it’s David Willetts) says that feminism is to blame for the lack of jobs available for working class men; and he said it in public – and out loud. The IOC says that the British Olympic Association should wind its neck in. Film distributors are planning to make the latest movies available to home viewers a few weeks after general release, much to the dismay of cinema chains. Rugby league pro Brett McDermott admits that he has been taking steroids. In rugby union, the Premiership says that there will no increase in the salary cap.

Saturday 2 April
India wins the ICC cricket world cup on home turf, beating Sri Lanka in the final.

Sunday 3 April
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings warns that hundreds of historic public buildings will be sold off by cash-strapped councils to the detriment of the public realm. Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist who designed the Beijing Olympic stadium, is detained by Chinese authorities at Beijing airport.

Monday 4 April
Sir Simon Rattle is planning to screen orchestral concerts in cinemas in 3-D. The government gives the go-ahead for changes to the roads around Stonehenge. The Bodleian library and a German library buy 100 letters by Franz Kafka at auction. The Italian football federation is investigating allegations of match-fixing in the Serie A game between Chievo and Sampdoria.

Tuesday 5 April
The Queen’s diamond jubilee next year will be marked by, among other things, a pageant of 1,000 boats on the river. Artists across the world ask the question: where is Ai Weiwei? Cliveden House opens a restored maze. Kate Bush has been given permission to use extracts from Ulysses in her new album. Bruce Lynn, emeritus professor of physiology at University College London, wonders why Sport England has not publicised the Taking Part survey, which shows a significant increase in physical participation.

Wednesday 6 April
Nick Clegg reveals that he is regularly moved to tears by music – and, more worringly for his electoral prospects, that his children call him “Papa”. Big Brother is shortly to bring a touch of class to Channel 5 and a French court has set the day rate for participants in reality TV shows at €1,400. Bob Dylan allows the Beijing authorities to tell him which songs he can and cannot play at his first gig in Beijing, even while Ai Weiwei is being detained and investigated for “economic crimes”. In Germany the government is to impose a 16.7% tax on turnover for companies that win the competition for seven national betting licences. The BOA ends its legal action against LOCOG.

Thursday 7 April
Further hardships for schools, which will now have to deal with a further £155 million taken from the national education budget. A study by Oxford University suggests that teenagers who spend their spare time reading are more likely to go to university than those who spend their time playing computer games; coming soon a study on where bears like to go to the toilet. The Stone Roses are not getting back together but – hurrah! – Right Said Fred are. The Mansfield Museum is named as ‘family-friendly museum of the year’. Sesame Street is coming to Pakistan with some new characters and plenty of Urdu.

Friday 8 April
Some of the business world’s so-called big guns – your Archie Normans, your Lord Wolfsons – are saying that they now fear for the health of the economy in the light of the drastic cuts to public spending, cuts that they whole-heartedly supported only a few short months ago. Transport minister Norman Baker has cycling in his ministerial portfolio and chooses not to wear a cycle helmet: cue outrage and accusations. In Russia the Voina art collective, recently backed by Banksy, has won a national art prize for its 65-metre penis on a drawbridge.

Saturday 9 April
David Puttnam says that the creative industries and spending on the arts will be at the centre of any economic revival. Police are targeting sex workers in London’s Olympic boroughs, a tactic that some say is driving vice underground and threatening the safety of prostitutes. Two horses die during the Grand National at Aintree. Rory McIlroy has lead the Masters for 54 holes; surely nothing can go wrong now? Beth Tweddle wins gold on the uneven bars in the European championships. Sidney Lumet, film director extraordinaire, dies at the age of 86.

Sunday 10 April
Animal rights campaigners liken the Grand National to bullfighting; only 19 of 40 horses finished the race. It seems that the government is considering introducing a law to make causing death by dangerous cycling a criminal offence. The Isles of Scilly is disputing Jersey’s claim to be the warmest place in the British Isles. Euro Disney is talking to its backers about a cash injection to deliver improvements before its 20th anniversary next year but visitor numbers have not been good recently. Stan Kroenke is to take full control of Arsenal. Rory McIlroy shoots a last-round 80 to leave the Masters conspicuously unwon by an Irishman but definitely won by Charl Schwartzel.

Monday 11 April
U2’s current world tour is likely to earn the band in the region of $700 million, a new record for rock tours. David Cameron says that local authorities are deliberately spoiling people’s plans for royal wedding street parties; a nation shrugs its shoulders and says ‘Meh’ in response. In France the government’s ban on veils in public spaces begins, along with challenges from Muslim women wearing the niqab and the burqa.

Tuesday 12 April
Action for Happiness launches, noting that after 60 years of getting richer as a society we’re no happier. The Commons foreign affairs committee says that the cuts to the BBC World Service should be reversed. Still in Westminster, John Major has written a book about music hall. Batman is the latest superhero to be given the musical treatment and will open in Manchester in July.

Wednesday 13 April
Having recently decried the low number of students of black or ethnic minority backgrounds at Oxford University, the prime minister plays another race card (the Tory Top Trump?) calling for restrictions on immigration and suggesting that everyone coming to the UK should learn English. The National Portrait Gallery unveils the short list for the annual portrait award, worth £25,000 to the winner. The 100 Antony Gormley statues on Crosby beach should be scrapped says a local politician, arguing that they cost £250,000 a year to maintain. The Arts Fund announces that it will make an additional £2.5 million available to galleries to purchase works of art; it also launches the National Art Pass which will give members free entry to 200 museums and reduced prices for some shows. Insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor says it has seen a 60% rise in companies “in distress” in the culture and leisure sector, with sports and recreation showing a 23% increase. Arsenal beat Chelsea in the inaugural game of the FA Women’s Super League.

Thursday 14 April
A pub in London’s Soho, the John Snow, throws out two men for having the temerity to kiss – in public; in a pub; in Soho; shocking. London 2012, “the public transport Games”, will bring a lot more people onto the capital’s public transport system, reveals a report by the London Assembly. In Paris Olivier Py, the writer/director of the celebrated Théâtre de l’Odéon, which has been enjoying a run of critically acclaimed productions, is sacked by the government, leading to uproar in French arts circles (and probably the stalls as well). In China the government has banned all television dramas featuring time travel. Birmingham City might not be able to play in Europe unless they can convince the FA and the Premier League that their finances are sound (our prediction: City will be playing in Europe). Meanwhile, the Premier League is putting its weight behind a campaign to tackle antisemitism at matches. Leyton Orient’s chairman, Barry Hearn, is challenging a £40 million loan made to West Ham by Newham Council and the mayor of London, a loan that is part of the deal to take West Ham to the Olympic stadium in due course.

Friday 15 April
At the John Snow in Soho 300 people gather for an evening kiss-in; the pub closes mid-afternoon, premumably to prevent its incredibly timid and reactionary staff from witnessing anything that might upset them. The police and Virgin Trains add their voices to those telling the FA that holding the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley is daft, not least because all four teams are of a northerly persuasion and will all have to travel south. Last year saw a small increase in the numbers of independent record shops in the UK, a reversal of an apparently inexorable trend; there are now 281. You can now hire Liechtenstein for $70,000 a night, all of it. Brian Kennedy, owner of Sale Sharks, says that “the game [rugby union] in the north is dying”, despite his investment of £16 million into Sale and Stockport County.

Saturday 16 April
The prospective councillor protesting about the cost of maintaining Antony Gormley’s Crosby beach statues has been condemned for talking “rubbish”; it doesn’t cost Sefton Council any money and huge numbers of people are able to – and do – appreciate them, says the deputy mayor. A survey of school sports partnership managers suggests that the amount and range of school sport is set to decline. In Italy campaigners are calling for an end to the traditional street horseracing which often proves dangerous to the animals and riders involved.

Sunday 17 April
All of the UK’s 278 environmental laws are included on a list of legislation to be reviewed as “red tape” by the government (“Vote Blue to Vote Green” anyone?). A survey of teachers suggests that pupils’ behaviour has declined. The London marathon pounds the streets in the name of charity and self-fulfilment. The Treasury is pressing ahead with PFI projects despite the process being derided by the chancellor when he was in opposition. Sir Ian McKellen reckons the Tate is being “northernist” by not exhibiting the works of Lowry in its collection in London. In Los Angeles health officials have traced the cause of illness among more than 100 people visiting the Playboy mansion; it seems that Hugh Hefner’s hot tub was harbouring legionella. The British Horseracing Authority is to investigate as many as five cases of race fixing.

Monday 18 April
The list of the world’s 50 best restaurants puts Denmark’s Noma at the top, with The Fat Duck down to number five. Andres Serrano’s controversial work Piss Christ is attacked while on display in Avignon. Still in France, Gavin Henson is suspended by his club, Toulon. In the States Tiger Woods’s 20-year-old niece, Cheyenne, has won her first grown-up tournament. In Berlin they have settled on a work of art to celebrate German reunification: a huge rocking dish called Citizens in Motion.

Tuesday 19 April
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is apparently in talks to buy Formula One lock, stock and four smoking tyres. Beryl Bainbridge is given a posthumous Booker prize. An Australian landscape garden designed by Kew Gardens opens in the forecourt of the British Museum. The British Olympic Association has called off the attack lawyers in its dispute with LOCOG over the post-2012 cash divvy. In China Ai Weiwei’s lawyer reappears after five days incommunicado. In Italy Herculaneum’s main street, Decumanus Maximus, is open to visitors for the first time in 20 years. The Tour of Britain, the UK’s most prestigious bike race, is to include a final-day time trial. Senrab, the London boys’ football club that has coached numerous professional stars, is appealing for funds to help it with the £12,000 a year it costs to run. Norwegian athletics superstar Grete Waitz dies at 57.

Wednesday 20 April
Oh: the prime minister will be wearing morning dress at the forthcoming big wedding, having said he wouldn’t for fear of looking a bit too posh. Celtic manager Neil Lennon has been sent a letter bomb in the post. Architect Ken Shuttleworth (no relation to John, apparently), who designed the Gherkin, says that the dominance of glass skyscrapers in modern urban landscapes is over; step forward “ground-scrapers”. The Rugby Football Union has put 250 grand on England reaching the semi-finals of the next rugby world cup in an effort to offset any bonuses that would be required. Michel Platini says that the tickets for the Champions League (sic) final are too high and, as if this was not mental enough, Sepp Blatter says that his candidacy for the FIFA presidency is based on “transparency”.

Thursday 21 April
In France a major cultural stand-off as the CRS, the notorious police riot squad, has the wine and beer removed from its on-duty ration packs. In London the Southbank’s 60th anniversary celebrations of the Festival of Britain kick off. A hotel in Brighton has apparently refused service to a lesbian couple looking for a room. Meanwhile in London, the John Snow [see WoL passim] pub closes again to avoid another kiss-in. Martin Roth, director of the Dresden state art collections, has been appointed to the post of director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. In Spain Real Madrid celebrate their recent cup triumph but manage to drop the Copa del Rey off the bus, which then runs over it. The luxury hotel group Von Essen, which includes Cliveden among its assets, has gone bust.

Friday 22 April
New York theatre critics are raving about Mark Rylance’s Jerusalem, despite the broad West Country accents. It’s the hottest Easter on record: official. Controversy over Newham’s granting of a licence to a casino on the site of the Westfield shopping centre near the Olympic park; rival bidders are not happy. Greece might be putting its Olympic venues up for sale to meet the conditions of an IMF bail-out. Turkey might not be willing to stump up the $26 million that Bernie want to bring the Formula One circus to town; a space in the F1 calendar looms.

Saturday 23 April
Julian Fellowes is writing a new drama based on the Titanic legend; it won’t end well. Soon to be published Robert Louis Stevenson’s Samoan fairy tales. More criticism regarding the government’s pubic health partnerships and their relationships with companies such as Nestle and Asda. Fernando Torres scores a goal, first down-payment on his £50 million fee.

Sunday 24 April
The London Games is apparently facing a £175 million fine from the IOC over its poor air quality. Defra begins a cull of parakeets, which have become established in the home counties. An 11-year-old boy dies after falling from a zip wire ride at a Snowdonia theme park. Norio Ohga, former head of Sony and the man behind the CD, dies aged 41.

Monday 25 April
Last chance for the first chance to bid for London 2012 tickets tomorrow and the organisers are expecting a last-minute rush. Girls Aloud are putting the band back together for their tenth anniversary, despite the fact that they haven’t actually split up. In China the world of fashion and haute couture is catching on in a big way. Jeff Probyn, former RFU council member, says appointing Clive Woodward to the post of RFU performance director would undermine Martin Johnson’s role as England team manager (not coach, oh dear no).

Tuesday 26 April
And lo, a mad rush for 2012 tickets ensues, crashing the site and necessitating a one-hour extension of the deadline; half of the 650 sessions of the Games will be sold out. The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens to the public after two decades under scaffolding. William Galliard, a UEFA executive, reckons that our very own FA is the “weakest” football association in Europe; we’re so proud. Poly Styrene, front woman of X-Ray Spex, dies at the age of 53.

Wednesday 27 April
A new version of The Picture of Dorian Gray is to be published with Wilde’s original dirty bits restored. For the second year running the number of pupils at private schools has dropped. Picasso’s painting of Marie-Therese Walter, which has not been seen in public for 60 years, is to be auctioned in London. Three million Sony PlayStation account holders have had their credit card details hacked. In China another of Ai Weiwei’s close friends has been detained.
Matt Cranch, aged 23, dies after a human cannonball stunt goes badly wrong.

Thursday 28 April
Only 168 years after its foundation St Andrews Golf Club is preparing to admit women as full members. The appearance of some mysterious white material on the Yorkshire coast causes the closure of several beaches. The cost of building two Royal Navy aircraft carriers, one of which will be instantly mothballed when completed, is likely to reach £7 billion.

Friday 29 April
A royal wedding takes place quietly and without fuss, as befits a private, non-state occasion. The CBI reckons the bank holiday cost £6 billion in lost productivity and overtime but VisitBritain, the British Retail Consortium and accountants PwC (who are never wrong) calculate a £2 billion boost to tourism receipts and spending. In France there are allegations that football officials have tried to limit the number of non-white players on youth training schemes in an effort to make the French national side rather more homogenous. In Rome its seems that the police turn a blind eye to organised looting of the change thrown daily into the Trevi fountain by tourists.

Saturday 30 April
It seems that Elstree Studios, once one of the great British film-making venues but more recently home to TV programmes, is back in fashion with Hollywood producers; three $100-million-plus productions are currently on the slate. A pilot scheme in a school in Surrey is exploring the effect of lighting on classroom activities.


the world of leisure
April 2011

Wednesday 6 April:
Nick Clegg reveals that he is regularly moved to tears by music – and, more worringly for his electoral prospects, that his children call him “Papa”.





Wednesday 13 April:
Insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor says it has seen a 60% rise in companies “in distress” in the culture and leisure sector, with sports and recreation showing a 23% increase.




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