Tuesday 1 March
Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, tells the Treasury select committee the need for public sector spending cuts is the fault of the financial services sector and that he has been surprised that the public has not been more vocal in their protests. Most of the lions killed for sport in Africa end up in America as trophies, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, says that illegal gambling is putting the future of sport in danger. Actress and screen siren Jane Russell dies at the age of 89.

Wednesday 2 March
England lose to Ireland in the cricket world cup. The Arts Council announces the 12 commissions to mark the 2012 Olympic Cultural Olympiad. In Mexico telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim opens a new museum to display his collection; Rodin’s The Thinker is one of the gallery’s signature pieces. Cheltenham racecourse announces that it is planning a £30 million renovation project.

Thursday 3 March
Anish Kapoor accuses the Conservative Party of having a “castration complex” regarding the arts and says that the cuts to arts funding will cause years of damage. Meanwhile the tourism minister, John Penrose, is looking at plans to convince potential visitors to the UK that its not half as wet as they might think. Bronwyn Hill is appointed to the post of permanent secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, meaning that as many women as men are now permanent secretaries. Tate Modern is to hold a retrospective of the work of Damien Hirst in 2012 to coincide with the Olympic Games. To the surprise of no one Jeremy ‘Berkshire’ Hunt says that Mr Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB is of no interest to anyone but the shareholders. Manchester City’s Kolo Touré fails a drugs test and immediately starts explaining why it wasn’t his fault. Still on Planet Football, Lord Fergie of Vodafone is so incensed with referees not allowing his team to win that he has stopped talking to everyone, including himself. The British Olympic Association has a £4 million hole in its funding pot for London 2012. Racing for Change says that 25 racecourses will give free entry during April. French artist JR, famous for his paintings of faces on buildings in the Rio favelas, is asking people to send him photos, which he will then blow up to billboard size and return so that the sender can stick them up on a building somewhere. In France the government publishes details of the plan to ban women from wearing a veil in public places.

Friday 4 March
The last line from Tennyson’s Ulysses has been chosen to be inscribed prominently within the 2012 athletes’ village: “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” Kolo Touré reckons that his wife’s diet pills are to blame for his failed drugs test; he popped a couple to keep trim, apparently. Poor old Bangladesh: at the cricket world cup their team is thrashed by the Windies (Bangla’s 58 all out didn’t help) and then their fans show similar skills by stoning the wrong bus, targetting the Windies vehicle by mistake. Saracens are looking at the Barnet Copthall Stadium for a major refit to make it their long-term home. The New Jersey Nets play the Toronto Raptors in London in the first NBA regular-season game in Europe. A pre-Olympic renovation of Rio’s harbour has revealed archaeological remains of a 19th-century slave market.

Saturday 5 March
Spending by UK households that include someone over the age of 65 passed the £100 billion mark in 2009. Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which has not been on public display since 1961 and last year became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction, is coming to Tate Modern. The Labour Party has admitted that its policy while in government of a tough penal code was not effective in stemming reoffending. In the European indoor athletics Helen Clitheroe wins the first gold medal of her career in the 3,000m at the age of 37.

Sunday 6 March
Labour MP and noted historian Tristram Hunt writes an article explaining why the UK’s leading museums and galleries should be charging an entrance fee; essentially he feels regional venues are suffering while the national collections get all the support.

Monday 7 March
We’re all in this together: Barclays give five of its bankers £110 million, with two taking home more than £40 million each. The British Museum has acquired a collection of ancient Assyrian ivories and Bournemouth is hoping to have its own wedding chapel on the beach. Too good to be true department: Cliff is going to Vegas, all thanks to Gloria Hunniford.

Tuesday 8 March
The installation of a work by New York-based artist Miya Ando, which was to use steel from the World Trade Center (sic) for a sculpture to be sited by the Thames at Potters Fields in London, has been put on hold following protests by British families that lost relatives in 9/11. Representatives of Rangers, Celtic, the Glasgow constabulary and the Scottish government sit down to discuss how to cut the violence associated with the Old Firm games. Betfair is to move its operating licence to Gibraltar to avoid the UK’s tax on 15% tax on betting profits. Manchester United’s chief executive, David Gill, says that the FA should be stripped of its disciplinary powers, presumably for having the temerity to question the omnipotence of Lord Fergie of Vodafone.

Wednesday 9 March
Disquiet on the River Lea with rumours of British Waterways plans to get rid of boaters moored near the Olympic site by raising mooring charges by a factor of ten and limiting lengths of stay. Children’s charity Barnardo’s is to provide play facilities for families at the deportation centre that has replaced Yarl’s Wood. Kate Moss takes to the Louis Vuitton catwalk in Paris and amazes the crowd by smoking a fag while walking. A cycle of the works of choreographer Pina Bausch will be staged by the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells as one of the focal points to the Cultural Olympiad. The Natural History Museum is to repatriate bones from its collection to the Torres Strait Islands near Australia, the largest repatriation of human remains by a British museum. Palestine’s national football team plays its first competitive home fixture, in the Olympic qualifying tournament, 49 years after the nation’s formation and 13 years after FIFA recognition. The IOC are going to have to arbitrate in the unseemly squabble over money between LOCOG and the British Olympic Association. Meanwhile, the Olympic cycling time trial will start and finish at Hampton Court.

Thursday 10 March
Chris Patten, soon to be the chairman of the BBC, says he does not watch the telly much. Josie Rourke is named as the next artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse. Now it seems that the BOA is taking its claims directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, in  an attempt to bypass the IOC.

Friday 11 March
The north of Japan is devastated by a huge earthquake and tsunami. The BBC is looking at dropping many of its current sports coverage in an effort to achieve a £600 million saving in its annual budget. Kate Bush is said to be preparing a new album. In Italy the Cinecitta film studios in Rome, where Roman Holiday and Ben Hur among others were filmed, are struggling in the face of productions heading to cheaper locations abroad. In India England’s cricketers lose to Bangladesh in the 50-over world cup.

Saturday 12 March
Regional theatre cuts prompt some of the UK’s finest actors to attack the “philistines and buffoons” forcing financial retrenchment (Jeremy Hunt, they are looking at you). Internet piracy is threatening the future of the British film industry, say some digital copyright experts. The Lib-Dem conference hands Nick Clegg a resounding defeat over government plans for the health service. In Venice local campaigners have won a battle to save the ancient fish market that had been under threat from plans to extend the dock to cater for the huge cruise liners that visit La Serenissima on a daily basis. In Texas the South by Southwest festival kicks off with plenty of British musical talent on display. Back in London there are stern warnings for ticket touts targeting London 2012 and government ministers are still hoping Sporticus, hero of CBeebies’ LazyTown, is the man to help them promote physical activity. Remember RBS, the nationalised bank of no return? Three hundred of its staff are paid a million a year. The BBC says that it generates £2 for the UK economy for every £1 of licence fee. Italy beat France in the Six Nations.

Sunday 13 March
After the Dance, a Terence Rattigan play first performed in 1939 is the big winner in the Olivier theatre Awards. Six health organisations have walked away from a government task force looking at tackling binge drinking in protest at the influence of drinks companies within the policy group. Zandra Rhodes is working on Godiva Awakes, a 21st-century reimagining of the Lady Godiva legend, for the Cultural Olympiad. Welcome back Olympic Watch: the Treasury could be missing out on £16 billion of taxes from companies disappearing with unpaid taxes outstanding, according to a report from Tax Research UK. The International Rugby Board is to apologise to Ireland for the match officials failing to spot a technical infringement regarding the use of specific match balls during their game with Wales; Wales went on to score and took the match by six points. Still on the rugby field, England’s women beat Scotland 89-0; that’s got to hurt. Bradley Wiggins finishes third in the Paris-Nice, the first Brit to make the podium in the traditional season-opener since Chris Boardman some 15 years ago.

Monday 14 March
Will Hutton’s review of public sector pay notes that the comparison of local authority personnel earning more than the prime minister is otiose; Mr Cameron’s salary is actually equivalent to £580,000 with all the benefits and pension rights. The BBC is planning to save the Asian Network digital radio station. English Heritage has listed a derelict building on Cleveland Street in London as it may have served as a model for Dickens’s portrayal of the work house in Oliver Twist. Diabetes UK and the British Health Forum duck out of the government’s public health initiative in protest at drinks and food industry influence. In the west country the surprise is not that Bath City are hoping to recruit the local Polish population into their fan base with discounted tickets but that they charge thirteen quid in the first place. Having spent two years studying the way children play, a group of academics concludes that popular media inform rather destroy playground games. London 2012 tickets go on sale and Peter Keen, UK Sport’s performance director, reckons that GB will set new medal records. A clock in Trafalgar Square starts the ‘500 days to go’ countdown.

Tuesday 15 March
Bugger: the 2012 countdown clock in Trafalgar Square has stopped. Robert Redford is to bring the Sundance festival to the O2 in London and he takes the opportunity to say that governments should be supporting the arts rather than cutting funding. Web expertise agency Foolproof reckons that London 2012’s Visa-only payment policy is a bit of a flaw but that the ballot system is a good ’un.

Wednesday 16 March
The Office of National Statistics reckons that public sector jobs are being lost far faster than officially predicted. Kate and Wills have asked that the public respect the ‘no gifts’ policy at their wedding, which has saved embarrassment all round. More than 50% of Britons are not planning to take a two-week holiday over the summer, a 20% drop in the last five years. Gennady Yanin, director of the Bolshoi, resigns from his post after rather inappropriate photos of him appear on the internet; he claims a dirty tricks campaign. The FA actually applies its rules to Alex Ferguson, banishing him to the stands for five games after his criticism of referees. The Deloitte enquiry into the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky has found no major problems but has made some recommendations regarding clarity of roles, responsibilities and financial accounting. David Howman, director general of the World Anti-doping Agency, reckons that criminal gangs now control “a significant proportion of world sport”.

Thursday 17 March
It’s ten years since the Eden Project opened. Björk is to headline the third Manchester festival this summer. Antony Gormley has prevented the Angel of the North being illuminated in green light to mark St Patrick’s Day. Five bankers at the bailed-out RBS share £20 million a year between them. In a definitive display of the meaning of “skin of the teeth” England’s cricket team qualifies for the world cup quarter-finals.

Friday 18 March
Research commissioned by the UK Film Council suggests that a majority of cinema-goers see films as reinforcing stereotypical images of older women, black and gay people. Custodial sentences for the Mears brothers, AKA the Lapland Two [see World of Leisure passim]. In Paris plans are unveiled to built a 27m-high Russian Orthodox church on the banks of the Seine. Part-time jockey Sam Waley-Cohen wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup on board Long Run. The IOC has ruled that the 20% of the Olympic surplus to which the British Olympic Association is entitled should be calculated on the total outfall from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Saturday 19 March
No money for libraries but, it seems, plenty for aviation fuel: David Cameron gives the go-ahead on bombing raids on Libya. PR firm Freud Communications is paid half a million a year by the government to promote the Change4Life health programme but also has firms on its books that sell unhealthy foodstuffs; some people profess themselves shocked by the apparent conflict of interest. Portugal is planning to improve its balance of payments by staging a festival of performances to attract British tourists; musicals and concerts are on the schedule. Remember the fuss over Knut, the German tug-of-love (some say ‘tug-of-Euro’) polar bear cub? Sad to report that the bear has died rather suddenly in the Berlin Zoo. Unsettled by criticism of the coaching qualifications of Martin Johnson outlined in an article in a recent issue of The Leisure Review, England’s rugby team fails to win the Grand Slam, getting thumped by Ireland.

Sunday 20 March
Andrew Witty, chief exec of GlaxoSmithKline, says that big companies should see themselves as part of the community in which they operate, not float off-shore to save money. The government’s drive for deregulation is to include cutting health and safety inspections by one third, a reflection of the 35% cut in the budget of the Health and Safety Executive by 2014. Speaking of red tape, overseas artists and performers are being subjected to lengthy and intrusive visa regulations; American cellist Kristin Ostling was questioned for eight hours by the UK Border Agency before being sent home on the grounds that she was “taking work away from British musicians”. Stolen Greek relics have been found for sale in a London gallery, prompting enquiries from Knacker of Mason’s Yard. Separate hordes of Roman coins and Iron Age torcs (a form of necklace) have been secured for museums in Somerset and Scotland respectively. Experts have used a portrait on display in Kensington Palace to diagnose Peter the Wild Boy, a feral child given the run of George I’s court, with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. Punch Taverns, Britain’s largest pub company, is looking at radical restructuring to deal with its £3 billion debt.

Monday 21 March
Funds for an extension to Kettle’s Yard, a Cambridge museum and gallery, are being raised via contributions of works from some very famous artists, including Hirst, Kapoor, Hepworth and Gormley. The security company G4S is appointed to provide security services inside the Olympic park. Mohamed bin Hammam is to challenge Sepp Blatter for the position of glorious leader of Planet Football.

Tuesday 22 March
The government nominates some UK venues for world heritage status; the Forth Railway Bridge, Jodrell Bank and the Lake District are on the list. Reassurance from the chancellor of the exchequer that the cost of bombing Libya will be “in the order of tens of millions not the hundreds of millions of pounds”, which is supposed to be reassuring. Hugh Laurie, the highest-paid actor on US TV, is releasing a blues album and the BBC is considering scrapping late-night programmes to save money. Could it be true that the Bolshoi Ballet is little more than “a quasi-escort agency for wealthy donors”, as former Bolshoi star Anastasia Volochkova alleges. Sports minister Hugh Robertson says he will listen to the arguments in favour of allowing terracing at top-flight football grounds and then dismiss them. Rob Andrew will now be the RFU’s new director of rugby operations but no word yet on the possible return of Sir Clive Woodward to Twickers. The ECB says that there will be fewer Twenty20 matches this season.

Wednesday 23 March
Behold George Osborne’s budget; remember, we’re all in this together. This year’s Edinburgh Festival will have the east as its theme, while the Wellcome Collection opens an exhibition dedicated to filth and our fascination with dirt and detritus. American artist is told to destroy millions of dollars worth of work following a court’s decision that his manipulation of Patrick Cariou’s photographs to create new works were a breach of copyright. Elizabeth Taylor dies at the age of 79, as does Fred Titmus, aged 78.

Thursday 24 March
Ray Davies, erstwhile Kinks frontman, is curating the Meltdown festival’s sixtieth anniversary. Martin Sorrell (remember him?) says that – surprise, surprise – he is likely to move WPP’s tax base back to the UK from that bastion of fiscal probity, Dublin. The culture secretary says he’s “very concerned” about the spat between the BOA and LOCOG. The International Cycling Union is to challenge the Spanish cycling federation’s decision to turn a blind eye to Alberto Contador’s positive drugs test.

Friday 25 March
Sean Donnelly, AKA MC NxtGen, sees his rap attacking health secretary Andrew Lansley go viral on YouTube. Lansley was also obliged to publish details of a survey that shows 72% of people polled are satisfied with the NHS, a survey he had somehow forgotten to let anyone know about. Author Julia Donaldson is refusing to let her children’s classic, The Gruffalo, be turned into an ebook. Leading figures from the arts have written to the prime minister urging dialogue about long-term support for public investment in the arts and warning against a situation akin to cultural apartheid. Martin Scorsese is to curate a four-day film festival in Port Eliot, Cornwall this June. The CBI says that the creative sector, including the British film industry, needs to be championed in the interests of the wider economy. The remote town of Nazareth in the Amazon has banned tourists having found that the benefits of welcoming visitors are outweighed by the problems caused.

Saturday 26 March
Some 250,000 people march in London to protest against government cuts to public services. Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, the venue synonymous with Alan Ayckbourn plays, is struggling to survive in the face of budget cuts. England beat Wales at football.

Sunday 27 March
Natural England is concerned by the decline in numbers of the adder in the UK. The United
Nations is to add the Mediterranean diet to its list of intangible cultural assets. PRS for Music says that music royalties have dropped for the first time since the system was established. Brazil play Scotland at football in, er, London and the Brazilian Neymar reckons he was racially abused, pointing to the presence of a stray banana on the playing service as evidence. The GB cycling team take only a single gold medal in the world track cycling championships but Dave Brailsford is happy that the team is going well for London 2012.

Monday 28 March
A report by the Commons culture select committee says that the Arts Council should sell off its highly valuable art collect; “But we show it to people around the country”, is, to paraphrase slightly, the Arts Council’s response. Adders down in the UK but tiger numbers up in India, according to a tiger census. The Victoria and Albert Museum announce a new £35 million scheme for its courtyard and the space beneath it. The National Trust is trying to raise £1 million to buy a farm at Llyndy Isaf in Snowdonia.

Tuesday 29 March
The short list for the Man Booker International prize is announced; thirteen authors are on it, including Philip Roth, Anne Tyler and Philip Pullman. Acoustic equipment and techniques developed for opera venues is being used to simulate sounds of the proposed high-speed rail link between Birmingham and London in order to placate (or not) residents affected by the route. The Olympic stadium is completed. Lord Fergie of Vodafone says that holding the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley when all four teams are from north of the Midlands is daft. Meanwhile the FA admits that the changes to Fabio Capello’s contract on the eve of the world cup were a “corporate governance mistake”, also known as “a cock up”. Still with the FA, it is to hold talks with the Premier League and the Football League to see whether UEFA’s ‘financial fair play’ rules should be applied in England (our money’s on a resounding “No” from them both and the FA representatives getting lost on the way to the meeting). The banana on the pitch at the Scotland-Brazil game was thrown by a German, not a Scot; Inspector Knacker says there was “no racist intent”. Sir Ian McGeechan is to take sole change of coaching matters at Bath RFC next season.

Wednesday 30 March
Arts Council England announces its grants for supported organisations; 200 arts organisations lose their funding. Meanwhile, back in the department of ‘we’re all in this together’, Lloyds Banking Group, which was bailed out by the government, is to pay its new chief executive a £4.6 million ‘golden hello’ to join them. The environment secretary (still Caroline Spelman) says that 15% of England’s public forests will still be sold off over the next four years despite all the public opposition and government backsliding. Spurs are to challenge the decision regarding the tenancy of the London Olympic stadium in the courts. India beat Pakistan in the cricket world cup semi-final.

Thursday 31 March
The Leisure Review symposium opens in Oxford. A second person is arrested in the inquiry into security at the London Olympic stadium. The Local Government Association says that young people will be hardest hits by the cuts to public services as libraries and children’s services are targeted for savings.



the world of leisure
March 2011

Thursday 3 March:
Anish Kapoor accuses the Conservative Party of having a “castration complex” regarding the arts and says that the cuts to arts funding will cause years of damage



Saturday 19 March:
Unsettled by criticism of the coaching qualifications of Martin Johnson outlined in an article in a recent issue of The Leisure Review, England’s rugby team fails to win the Grand Slam, getting thumped by Ireland.

last month


other news


an independent view for the leisure industry

front page


back issues





about us

contact us

back page