Sunday 1 May
A number of Hollywood directors and film-makers – ooh, more than 20 – have written to the studios in protest at the plans to allow streaming of films to home viewers while the movies in question are still at the cinemas. China has introduced a ban on smoking in indoor public places but the edict comes with no penalties so the chance of persuading its 300 million smokers to give up are slim. Sir Henry Cooper, one of the greats of British boxing, dies at the age of 76.

Monday 2 May
The Holburne Museum in Bath is set to reopen after a three-year, £15 million refurbishment. A study published in the journal Neurology says that obesity in middle age raises the risk of dementia by 300%. The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York previews a retrospective of the work of Alexander McQueen. Toulon have allowed Gavin Henson back after his latest career-threatening, non-rugby-related ‘incident’.

Tuesday 3 May
The No to AV campaign features a surprisingly large cast of sports people, including the never knowingly underexposed James Cracknell. The government has apparently drawn up plans to scale back its privatisation agenda. Dry conditions have brought forest and heath fires at sites around the UK and Northern Ireland. In Berlin the removal and subsequent recreation of some artworks on the Berlin Wall has sparked a copyright controversy among the original artists. Ken Bates reckons that buying 73% of Leeds United from undisclosed individuals for an undisclosed fee means that everything about the club’s ownership is now out in open (he’s wrong). Andy Flower’s new contract as England cricket coach includes a say in the scheduling of matches and tours.

Wednesday 4 May
A National Trust farm, the Wimpole Estate farm in Cambridgeshire, is now being run by 10,000 web users who will vote on the farming and management decisions. The Turner Prize runners and riders are announced ahead of the presentation of the award, which will take place in December in Gateshead. Suffolk County Council has put its plans for a ‘virtual council’ on hold after huge unrest among residents, staff and councillors. Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, says that ordinary football fans are being priced out of football, although he doesn’t mention that his club are among the most egregious culprits. James Priest, a 53-year-old Briton, is appointed to the post of head gardener at Giverny in Normandy, the former home of Claude Monet and one of the most prestigious horticultural jobs in France. Nelson Mandela’s former Johannesburg office is to become a museum and archive of the anti-apartheid movement.

Thursday 5 May
The Health Protection Agency, the body responsible for, among other things, public health advice during emergencies, says that the fact that it is scheduled to be abolished a few weeks before the London Olympics could threaten public safety at the Games. An international agreement between galleries and museums is to create a digital archive to help trace art works looted by the Nazis during the second world war. The England cricket team now has three captains: one for Tests (Strauss), one for one-day (Cook) and one for Twenty20 (Broad).

Friday 6 May
Shrek the Musical previews in London after a less than successful twelve months in New York. The producer of Dr Who, Steven Moffat, defends the show against claims that its monsters are too scary for a young audience. In Singapore the notoriously authoritarian government regime is being challenged by graffiti artists emboldened by the ‘Arab spring’. LOCOG announces a twelve-month programme of test events in the run-up to London 2012. Shane Warne announces his retirement from cricket at the close of the current IPL series. Seve Ballesteros, one of the golfing greats, dies at the age of 54.

Saturday 7 May
Greece has debts of €340 billion and is putting its faith in its heritage and tourism to save the nation. In the UK a group of major museums report that the number of school trips has fallen significantly in the last financial year. It seems that regional development agencies, now defunct under the Con-Dem regime, are selling off their assets, including numerous buildings and culturally significant development sites, but the assets are going straight back to the Treasury.

Sunday 8 May
We’re all in this together department: the UK can now boast, if that’s the right word, 73 sterling billionaires and the nation’s 1,000 richest people are worth £396 billion. A book by the director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, Sally Goddard Blythe, says that singing to your baby is “an essential precursor to later educational success and emotional wellbeing”.

Monday 9 May
Technology continues to shape our culture, and not least the law, as Twitter postings (some say ‘tweets’) challenge the courts’ ability to enforce celebrities’ privacy. It seems the phenomenon of ‘SlutWalking’, which originated in the US as a reaction to a police officer’s suggestion that women should not dress provocatively if they want to avoid assault, may be coming to the UK. The National Gallery is anticipating large crowds for its Leonardo DaVinci exhition in November and will be limiting the numbers of people in the galleries at any one time. The Heritage Lottery Fund announces a round of major lottery grants; recipients include the British Museum’s extension, Hastings pier, Kew Gardens and the Windermere Steamboat Museum. Gavin Henson is included in the Wales squad for the rugby world cup. A little further to the east the RFU is going to lose £1 million from Sport England after failing to hit its participation targets. Professional cyclist Wouter Weylandt, aged 26, dies after a crash in the Giro d’Italia.

Tuesday 10 May
Lord Triesman tells a parliamentary select committee that FIFA is full of scoundrels, criminals and liars; no one who has ever read a newspaper or never worked for the FA is surprised. Mr and Mrs Wales of Anglesey, recently married in a quiet ceremony in London, are on honeymoon in the Seychelles, according to a representative of the Seychelles tourist board, who just couldn’t help himself. Anish Kapoor dedicates his latest work, Leviathan, being shown in Paris, to Ai Weiwei, who is still missing. Still in France, Laurent Blanc, coach of the French national football squad, is cleared of wrongdoing in the row over race quotas in French development squads. Back in London the RFU now says that the post of elite performance director will not have responsibility for the England squad.

Wednesday 11 May
George Michael flatters himself that his bad behaviour, including serial displays of a stoner’s driving incompetence, has had a negative effect on the lives of young gay people, although there is little indication that many young gay people know who he is. Radio 4 is attracting a record number of listeners, around 11 million people a day. Works by Ai Weiwei are unveiled in the courtyard of Somerset House in London and in Manchester researchers have discovered 20 unpublished stories among the effects of Anthony Burgess. The cheapest tickets for the 2012 Paralympics will be a tenner or less. According to sports minister Hugh Robertson, there is a general international consensus that FIFA should be made to clean up its act, in a similar fashion to the IOC. Celtic manager and former Wycombe Wanderers player Neil Lennon is attacked by a fan during a game.

Thursday 12 May
Wandsworth Council is planning to charge £2.50 to use the playground in Battersea Park. Celtic FC and senior Scottish Catholics have called for action against sectarian attacks. In Twickenham its as you were with the elite performance director post after a board-level set-to. The FA Cup final will clash with Premier League fixtures again next year and the game could be moved to a 5.15pm kick-off.

Friday 13 May
What a good idea: political blogger Iain Dale reckons the heat has gone out of blogging and is therefore setting up an online magazine. The government’s cellar is to be rationalised with the sale of some of its most valuable wine and the purchase of plenty of the more drinkable variety.

Saturday 14 May
A good day for Manchester: United take the title, City takes the Cup. Tetiaroa, the Tahitian island owned by Marlon Brando estate, is to be turned into a luxury eco-hotel.

Sunday 15 May
The Butterfly Conservation charity is warning of the damage government spending cuts will do to the environment, not least to the revival of butterfly species. The Ernst and Young Item Club, an economic thinktank, predicts a decade of hardship for high street retailers. West Ham are relegated and their manager, Avram Grant, is sacked in the tunnel immediately after the game. Twickenham, home of the continuously beleaguered Rugby Football Union, has had its rateable value reassessed, saving the RFU the difference between £5 million and the new charge, £2.6 million.

Monday 16 May
Millions brace themselves as the payments for London 2012 tickets begin to be taken from accounts. A retrospective of the work of Tracey Emin opens at the Hayward in London. A report commissioned by English Heritage says that plans to redevelop Liverpool’s northern docks with high-rise buildings could threaten the city’s world heritage status. The RFU start an investigation into the behaviour of Leicester’s director of rugby and head coach, who were haranguing the referee throughout a recent match. Ai Weiwei, still detained by the authorities in China, is visited by his wife. In Russia some commentators are critical of the imagery being used to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics, which is said to be quasi-fascist in its design. Kenyan Olympic athlete Sammy Wanjiru dies after falling from a balcony at his home in Kenya.

Tuesday 17 May
The Queen visits Ireland, the first visit by a British monarch to the republic for 90 years. The English National Opera is to stage The Death of Klinghoffer, described as “probably the most controversial piece of the last 50 years”. Julian Eccles, director of marketing and communications at the FA, resigns after less than a year in post. Silverstone opens its new pit lane complex after a £28-million upgrade but Bernie does not deign to put in an appearance. Mark Cavendish wins the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia.

Wednesday 18 May
The decision to award the £60,000 Man Booker International prize to Philip Roth prompts the resignation of one of the judges, Carmen Callil. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that 9.1 million people in the UK are non-white, around one sixth of the population. Film-maker Lars Von Trier mentions that he has some sympathy with Hitler during a press conference at the Cannes film festival. The London 2012 velodrome makes the long list for the RIBA Stirling Prize, while LOCOG reveals the route that the Olympic torch will take around the UK next year. In Wakefield a new gallery, the Hepworth Wakefield, is opened. Analysis of the 2009-10 accounts of the 20 Premier League clubs reveals a total turnover of £2.1 billion, a wage bill of £1.3 billion, losses totalling £484 million and debts totalling £2.5 billion. Lord Coe defends the 2012 ticketing process; “This is not chopped liver,” he says helpfully. Manu Tuilagi, who plays rugby for Leicester, is banned for five weeks following what has been described as a “spectacular assault” on Northampton’s Chris Ashton during a match; Ashton received three punches but Tuilagi’s ban was halved from an initial ten weeks on the grounds that Ashton had pushed him a bit.

Thursday 19 May
Remember Lars Von Trier’s Hitler comments? They’ve got him banned from the Cannes festival. Andrew Lloyd Weber is to donate £32 million to the arts in the form of a range of grants and scholarships; the funds came from the sale of one of his Picassos. The Royal Academy is to host an exhibition of Degas’ imagers of dancers this autumn. Clive Woodward says he doesn’t want the job of performance director at the RFU anyway. Danny Cipriani seems to have had enough of Australia, asking Bath to bring him home. Cav wins another stage of the Giro and abandons the race in favour of preparing for the Tour. In the US Amazon is now selling more ebooks than printed books. The founders of the Frieze art fair are to take the concept to New York.

Friday 20 May
One million people might have bid for tickets to see the 2012 100m final but it seems that ticket touts are busy targeting the Chelsea Flower Show. A study from Sheffield University suggest that the biggest drops in “local environmental conditions” have come in the City of London, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea. In the States Harold Camping and his followers get ready for the second coming of Christ, along with the accompanying Armageddon and Rapture, which he has calculated is due at 6pm.

Saturday 21 May
Much to his annoyance, Harold Camping wakes up. Animal welfare groups say that most of the UK’s two million pet rabbits are being poorly treated. The e-Learning Foundation says that children without internet access are left behind in the exam stakes.

Sunday 22 May
A study in the children’s health journal Acta Paediatrica says that children are becoming weaker and less muscular than previous generations. Attacking Libya will have cost the UK £1 billion by the autumn. The National Grid is launching a design competition for the design of new electricity pylons. Some erotic illustrations by René Magritte are to go on show at the Tate Liverpool later this month. Relegation Sunday injects some excitement into the Premier League. AFC Wimbledon win promotion to the Football League; next stop a non-derby against Milton Keynes.

Monday 23 May
The fourth time lucky and the third relaunch for David Cameron’s big society idea today. However, Ryan Giggs grabs the headlines following his parliamentary outing as the man behind the most notorious of ‘super injunctions’. New York begins a ban on smoking in the city’s public parks and on public beaches. In Italy the town council of Camaiore, a town in Tuscany, is offering free days on the beach to the less well off. In Paris Heather Watson becomes the first female British tennis player to win a match at the French Open for 17 years. In Ireland President Obama does the decent thing and actually gets tucked into the Guinness during the obligatory photo shoot.

Tuesday 24 May
President Obama is in London and is forced to play table tennis Mr Cameron. Lord Wei, the PM’s big society tsar, leaves it a day before announcing that he is to stand down from his post. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation (aka the OECD) launches a methodology to measure happiness and wellbeing. The Little Baron admits that the London 2012 ticketing system is not perfect but says that it is better than first-come-first-served systems. Elena Baltacha joins Heather Watson in the second round in Paris. Bob Dylan is 70.

Wednesday 25 May
FIFA’s descent into corruption-induced chaos gathers pace as Sepp Blatter’s only challenger for the presidency of the world governing body, Mohamed bin Hamman, is accused of bribery and suspended from involvement in all football, including, of course, the presidential election. Mayor Boris launches a London-wide system of 150 charging points for electric cars. Economic indicators, including household spending, suggest that the UK’s supposed financial recovery is stalling. Bloomsbury, the publishing house, is to launch a new venture publishing ebooks of out-of-print classics.

Thursday 26 May
Brighton marks the honouring of Aung San Sun Kyi with the freedom of the city by unveiling a mural of the Burmese democracy leader. The Geordie nation is up in arms at the sacking of Cheryl Cole from the US version of the X Factor; her accent, rather than the audience, was felt to be “too thick”. The first festival of contemporary Arab arts will bring artists, writers and musicians from the Arab spring to London this July. In India work is to begin on restoring the medieval walled city of Lahore. In Eton the organisers of London 2012 confirm that the crosswinds on Dorney Lake could mean time trials to decide the rowing medals. No British women make it through to the third round of the Paris Open. Leonara Carrington, noted surrealist artist, dies in Mexico City at the age of 94.

Friday 27 May
Sports minister Hugh Robertson says that the FIFA situation is “fast descending into farce”. Radio 4 is to clear its schedule for the staging of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, a wartime epic. Boris unveils a prototype of the new Routemaster bus. Yorkshire is planning to enter the bidding to host the grand départ of the Tour de France.

Saturday 28 May
Lionel Messi (named by his father after the singer Lionel Ritchie, hence the anglicised pronunciation) sinks Manchester United at Wembley to take the Champions League title. Health secretary Andrew Lansley reverses the decision to freeze spending on public health advertising. There are fears among some of the cultural commentariat that the 2012 Cultural Olympiad will be dominated by Shakespeare at the expense of other writers worthy of recognition. Gil Scott-Heron dies at the age of 62.

Sunday 29 May
To the surprise of no one Sepp Blatter is cleared of corruption charges by the FIFA ethics committee (sic). A new book names the 100 places that have made the modern nation; castles, cathedrals and the Cavern are all in. A study by the University of Kent into the legacy of the Athens Games in 2004 concludes that there was little impact on grassroots participation; the same is likely, they suggest, to be true for London 2012. The Badminton World Federation finds that the recommendation that female badminton players be obliged to wear skirts for matches requires “further study”.

Monday 30 May
The National Trust is trialling benches that play a recording of a celebrity’s thoughts on the view when someone sits on them. Whitehall has been found to be spending £56 million a day on private contractors. The RSPB says that public interest in birds has had a positive impact on bird welfare. Las Vegas is set to be the new focal point for dance culture, luring top-name DJs to lure a younger audience to the tables. Swansea City will be in the Premier League next season after beating Reading in the play-off final. A last-day Sri Lanka batting collapse hands the first Test to England in Cardiff.

Tuesday 31 May
Blatter feigns surprise when re-elected as FIFA president in a one-candidate vote after calls by the FA representative to postpone the election. The Venice Biennale opens, including Mike Nelson’s installation within the British pavilion. Those bidding for London 2012 wake up to find whether money has been taken from their accounts; LOCOG braces itself for disappointment.



the world of leisure
May 2011

Monday 2 May:
A study published in the journal Neurology says that obesity in middle age raises the risk of dementia by 300%.



Wednesday 4 May:
James Priest, a 53-year-old Briton, is appointed to the post of head gardener at Giverny in Normandy, the former home of Claude Monet and one of the most prestigious horticultural jobs in France.

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