Wednesday 1 August
Phew. Some gold for Great Britain as Glover and Stanning become the first British women to win any rowing gold ever, while Colonel Wiggo (as the French press apparently refer to him occasionally) does the job in the time trial. Elsewhere there are silvers and bronzes but those boats have sailed; it’s gold or nowt these days. Eight badminton players, comprising four pairs, are kicked out of the competition for trying to lose their final group matches to get a better draw in the knock-out round. Mayor Boris spends five minutes hanging from a jammed zip wire in Victoria Park to the general merriment of most onlookers. Upstream from Dorney Lake, experts at the Bodleian are trying to work out how to photograph their First Folio, the 1623 bound copy of Shakespeare’s plays, so that it can go online. Meanwhile, downstream from Dorney Lake [For gods’ sake stop it. Ed] Time Out, the still definitive guide to culture, entertainment and sarky London-centric commentary, is to become a free magazine. In Mexico the ministry for health has started a campaign to tackle obesity, a condition that affects some 70% of Mexicans. In Tehran the Shah’s collection of modern art, thought to be the best collection outside Europe, is put on display for the first time since the revolution. Australia’s treasurer, Wayne Swan, explains how he turns to the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen for economic guidance. Back home, clothing retailer Next is blaming the Olympics for a steep decline in sales. Rather more seriously, an individual riding a bike from the Olympic park is killed by an Olympic bus. Questions on this prompt Bradley to say he is in favour of compulsory helmets for cyclists. Gore Vidal dies at the age of 86.

Thursday 2 August
More medals, including gold in shooting, canoeing and yet another for Chris Hoy. The “Wiggo effect” on cycling as a viable means of transport and enjoyment is the hot topic, while Japanese Olympic equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu is having to retire from competition at the age of 71 because his horse is too old. Judoka Gemma Gibbons, British silver medallist, talks about her abuse at the hands of her former coach. Lord Moynihan, chairman of the BOA, says that it is “wholly unacceptable” that half the GB team in Beijing was privately educated. Rupert Murdoch is back in London and will be attending the Olympic Games as a guest of Boris Johnson. The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has won his battle to return the bank of the Seine currently given over to a two-lane motorway to pedestrians; in the spring 2.5km of the right bank will become car-free.

Friday 3 August
Gold for Victoria Pendleton and the men’s pursuit team on a bike (they had one each), and Anna Watkins and Kath Grainger in a boat (they shared a boat) as the UK gradually accepts defeat and goes completely Olympics-mental; some decent weather and a huge medal haul seems to be helping. Wojdan Shaherkani becomes the first female competitor to represent Saudi Arabia at an Olympic Games. In Moscow the trial of Pussy Riot [see WoL passim] is unfavourably compared to Stalin’s show trials by the band’s frustrated lawyer. The Belfry in Warwickshire is sold to a US private equity firm and in the Super League the Bradford Bulls are fighting to stay in the competition for the rest of the season in the face of debts totalling £1.5 million.

Saturday 4 August
This is getting ridiculous now: six gold medals for GB athletes in what is being described by plenty of overwhelmed pundits as the greatest day in British sporting history. Step up Jess Ennis and Mo Farah on the track, on the rowing lake the men’s coxless fours, Hoskins and Copeland in the lightweight doubles, the women’s team pursuit in the velodrome and Greg Rutherford in the long jump. In non-Olympic news, the fight for the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe continues and Rangers kick off their season in the lower leagues.

Sunday 5 August
Usain Bolt confirms his position as a legend of the track, Andy Murray finally wins at Wimbledon and Ben Ainslie wins his fourth Olympic gold to confirm his position as a legend of the water. Away from the top step of the podium, the British team continue to deliver medals by the bucketful, reaching third place in the medal table. Government ministers, usually so keen to be associated with success, are noticeable by their absence; could it be that they are none too keen to answer questions about the slashing of funding for school sport, a subject that Colin Moynihan continues to bang on about. Culture secretary Jeremy ‘Berkshire’ Hunt tears himself away from glad-handing Rupert Murdoch (no, really) and stands in front of the news cameras to try to defend the government’s school sports funding policies. Harriet Harman says that Labour’s Gambling Act, which deregulated the betting and gaming industry, has ruined lives and should be repealed. Crates full of looted treasures are returned to the Afghanistan national museum following work by the British Museum among others [Start the clock. Ed]

Monday 6 August
Into the second week of London 2012 and more gold for GB, including the first showjumping win since 1952. US judoka Nicholas Delpopo fails a drugs test and says that he ingested marijuana inadvertently in some baked goods. As success grips the UK, attention begins to focus on the government’s record on supporting sport and its plans for the future; Jeremy Hunt, still in  a job, says school sport provision is “patchy”. The V&A reckons it has found Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever suit for its new exhibition and Blood Brothers, the musical that has brought Scousers to the West End stage seven times a week, is to close after a 24-year run. Australian author and critic Robert Hughes dies aged 74.

Tuesday 7 August
Chris “Sir Chris” Hoy is now the most medalled British Olympian, having won the keirin. The British team has now taken more gold than any British team since 1908. Gregg’s reports an Olympic boost in sales, particularly in London. In Russia prosecutors argue that Pussy Riot must be jailed to isolate them from society for the “sin of feminism”. In Australia the Sydney Opera House is to host a Broadway musical for the first time.

Wednesday 8 August
Sir Mervyn King, still governor of the Bank of England, says he reckons that there will be no growth in the economy this year, to the surprise of no one who is not a professional financier or economist. Government figures reveal that the target of £5 billion in “waste and efficiency” savings has been exceeded. The Ashmolean has raised the £7.83 million to save a Manet for the nation and marks the event by taking a little girl’s pocket money. Cornwall is not going to mention England in its promotional material and in Paris the re-staging of a traditional swimming race in the Seine is called off by police on the grounds of water quality. McDonald’s posts its worst trading figures for nine years, suggesting either the scale of the global economic downturn or the good sense of consumers. Rory McIlroy says that technological advances in golf equipment is levelling the playing field to too great an extent.

Thursday 9 August
It’s all about Usain from now on, the only man to defend the 100m and 200m Olympic titles. More medals for the British team, including Nicola Adams’s gold in the boxing ring and Nicola Dujardin’s in the dressage ring. David Rudisha breaks the men’s 800m record, becoming the first man to run under 1min 41sec. The Tory party comes to metaphorical blows regarding how best to deliver school sport, with (another) Old Etonian, Boris Johnson, saying that pupils should be forced to do two hours of sport every day just like he was, although he pointedly neglects to claim that it never did him any harm.

Friday 10 August
A survey suggests that more than half of Britons are of the view that London 2012 and its £9 billion price tag represents good value for money. The British men’s 100m sprint relay team maintain their form and get disqualified for a botched change over. Tessa Jowell wants a gender-equal Games in 2016 and it seems that shoppers have been returning to the high street, with sales of sports gear, bikes and TVs showing significant rises. Meanwhile, Portsmouth FC have been saved from liquidation and the former owner is now able to buy back the club from the administrators. The flotation of Manchester Utd on the New York stock exchange has not quite been the massive success that the Glazer family had anticipated; shares were not showing a premium at the end of trading.

Saturday 11 August
Mo Farah brings down the house with his second gold of the Games and then the Jamaican men’s 100m sprint relay team breaks the world record, making it a double triple for Usain.
More British gold in the men’s boxing and men’s sprint canoeing. The performance director of British Swimming, Michael Scott, says he will not be stepping down despite the disappointing British performances in the pool. Anglers want something to be done about the prevalence of cormorants on inland waters, who are coming over here and eating all our fish.

Sunday 12 August
Phew. We made it. Boxer Anthony Joshua squeezes in a last gold and pentathlete Samantha Murray a last silver to confirm third place for Britain in the medal table. A toe-curlingly embarrassing closing ceremony (George Michael’s new single anyone?) brings the whole thing to a close. In a strange bit of timing that suggests Mr Cameron has not read a newspaper, never mind The Leisure Review, in the last seven years, the Little Baron says he has accepted the prime minister’s invitation to become “legacy ambassador” for London 2012. Charles Van Commenee, head coach of UK Athletics, says he might not resign after all; he will have a little think while he is on holiday. And in another stunning piece of economic prescience, Mervyn “Sir Mervyn” King says that the economic impact of the Olympics on the British economy may be short-lived, which suggests he has done nothing but watch the telly for the past seven years, waking up only in the last two weeks. Away from the Olympics, Rory McIlroy wins the US PGA, his second major, by eight shots. Sid Waddell, the voice of darts, dies at the age of 72.

Monday 13 August
Now for the post-Olympics. The military’s man in charge of Olympic planning, Wingco Peter Daulby, says that the army may well take two years to recover from its London 2012 exertions. Gordon Brown says that the British medal haul shows that Scotland should stay part of the UK. The Little Baron, now walking taller than ever, says that politicians must invest heavily in elite sport. It seems that plenty of British pop royalty (Bowie, Kate Bush and the Stones to name but a few) turned down the closing ceremony, which explains a lot (but not the presence of George Michael). Lord Moynihan gets in quick to say he will be standing down as chairman of the British Olympic Association. The Dandy, once the comic of choice for the discerning junior reader (along with The Beano, obvs) could be about to close. Bournemouth is to establish the first national coastal tourism academy in Europe and Sir Ian McGeechan and Peter keen are to lead a performance review of England’s rugby team. A footballer suggests that his fellow air-kickers might have a thing or two to learn from the Olympic spirit; his team-mates look at him blankly.

Tuesday 14 August
It emerges that new regulations for school premises, passed the week before the London Games opened, has removed specifications regarding the amount of outdoor space required in schools; the new regs say space should merely be “suitable” for physical education purposes. In his role as the current culture secretary Jeremy Hunt announces record-breaking annual visitor and visitor spend numbers, predicting that an additional 10 million tourists will be coming to Britain by the end of the decade. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch says that he is tired of the “posh-bashing” he sees as prevalent in the UK and may well move to the United States [Start the clock. Ed]. The England cricket team decides that it can do without Kevin Pietersen; meanwhile KP is attempting the difficult feat of performing a U-turn having already burnt all available bridges.

Wednesday 15 August
According to the spooks there was the whiff of an Olympic cyber attack in the days before the Games. Having announced his intention to stand down from his role as director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson is to head to pastures new at The New York Times. Labour MPs are calling for a parliamentary vote on the sale of school playing fields. Paralympian gold medal winners will now also have their images slapped on a stamp. Getty Images has been sold to a private equity firm and it seems Portsmouth FC may now be about to come into the ownership of its supporters.

Thursday 16 August
Unilever is to end its sponsorship of Tate Modern’s exhibition series in the Turbine Hall. In Moscow the on-trial members of Pussy Riot say that they have won whatever verdictthe court hands down. The selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate puts Ayn Rand’s bizarre novels back on the cultural radar of neo-liberals. In the UK Cineworld reports half-year profits of £13.4 million, almost double the predicted total. Adidas spent £127 million to be a “tier one sponsor” of London 2012 and the experts reckon it has already proved value for money for the brand.

Friday 17 August
Surprise, surprise: Pussy Riot are found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in a penal colony; sat in the glass-walled dock, the three young women laugh when they are handed a copy of the verdict. It seems that Michael Gove was given “wrong information” about the number of school playing fields sold off (funnily enough, the number he announced was quite a bit lower than the actual figure) and it turns out that one of the playing fields featured in the Olympic torch relay is among those to be sold. A book containing contributions from five Tory MPs will label Britons “the worst idlers” in the world who avoid hard work (anyone counted the day a year MPs actually spend in Westminster?).  Thanet district council is to invest £10 million in the Dreamland site in Margate to create the world’s first heritage amusement park. The Chinese are set to become the biggest-spending tourists as the new Chinese middle-class gets a taste for travel.

Saturday 18 August
Lord Moynihan says that private schools should be obliged to share their sporting facilities with the rest of us. Noted Shakespearian Dame Janet Suzman says it is time for other leading actors to stop fuelling the “conspiracy stories” about the authorship of the Bard’s works. The V&A is to stage an exhibition of David Bowie’s life and works next year, a project co-curated by the Dame himself. To an almost audible collective groan the English Premier League kicks off. London 2012 medallist and gymnast Louis Smith, 23, says he is getting on a bit and is unlikely to be at Rio 2016.

Sunday 19 August
Macmillan Cancer Support says that the number of older people with cancer will treble in 30 years. It seems that Tory councils are the biggest sellers of school playing fields. Legacy watch: the group of volunteers who re-enacted the suffragette protests for the London 2012 opening ceremony were so moved by the experience that they are going to continue the performance to focus on women’s rights. Iain Duncan Smith has put in a formal complaint about the BBC’s coverage of the government’s inability to find its arse with both hands; the BBC denies any wrong-doing. In Paris the anti-niqab laws are used to arrest balaclava-wearing supporters of Pussy Riot protesting over the group’s imprisonment.

Monday 20 August
It seems that the Department for Education is now putting pressure on schools to sell their playing fields. Cork Street in London may be about to lose its reputation as a focal point of the art gallery world as landlords plan extensive redevelopment to sate the desire for luxury apartments. In the US Augusta National announces that it has admitted two women to membership of the club, the first in its 80-year history. Back home, fencer Keith Cook is to take his sport’s governing body to court following its failure to select him for London 2012.

Tuesday 21 August
It seems that someone thinks it has been too long since Dallas was on the world’s TV screens; brace yourself. Francis Maude, the cabinet office minister (we don’t know either), says that 109 quangos have been abolished, which he claims will save the Treasury some £1.4 billion by 2015 even though the process has cost some £900 million to date. Dean Richards makes his return to the rugby union fold after a three-year ban.

Wednesday 22 August
Research by the King’s Fund suggests that for all the health promotion messages of the last decade very little evidence is to be found of any health impact beyond the well-informed middle class. Paralympic flames are kindled on the summit of each of the home nation’s highest peaks before starting the journey to Stratford.

Thursday 23 August
Elisabeth Murdoch surprises quite a few people with a MacTaggart lecture distancing herself from the values of News Corp and speaking in favour of the BBC. Meanwhile, outgoing BBC DG, Mark Thompson, says that the budget cuts have pushed parts of the BBC to the edge of collapse. In Norway the Soli Brug Gallery confirms that it has lost a Rembrandt etching in the post, a method of transfer chosen to save on insurance and courier fees. Just to emphasise that the Paralympics are proper sport, there appears to be an issue of competitors boosting their blood pressure to gain an advantage. And getting right into the Olympic spirit already, it seems Rio de Janeiro is planning to evict artists as part of its building project.

Friday 24 August
Boris and Cams are studiously polite to each other as they join the lighting of the Paralympic flame in Trafalgar Square. Lance Armstrong gives up his apparently (until now) incessant fight against the doping allegations that have mounted against him over the years, resulting in the US Anti-doping Agency stripping him of a competitive lifetime of victories. In Cornwall they are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of surfing being introduced to the county. Novelist Howard Jacobson says that unadventurous readers are threatening the future of the novel.

Saturday 25 August
It seems that West Oxfordshire District Council, which includes the prime minister’s constituency on its patch, has been outspoken in its condemnation of changes to local authority funding. Further east the Notting Hill Carnival kicks off hoping for some decent weather to match the spirits of the revellers. Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, says it is time to stop using the word ‘disabled’ to describe the Paralympics; it is just sport, not disability sport, he says. It seems that the Treasury is looking at a tax incentive for television production companies intended to bring drama production to the UK. Gavin Henson’s rugby-playing comeback with London Welsh ends after half an hour with a fractured cheekbone.

Sunday 26 August
With no apparent sense of irony, Rupert Murdoch defends the publication of pictures of Prince Harry in Vegas in terms of freedom of the press. The Creamfields festival in Cheshire closes a day early owing to flooding. In Moscow Gorky Park, once the Soviet capital’s focal point, is enjoying something of a renaissance thanks to some much-needed renovation. Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, dies aged 82.

Monday 27 August
It seems that there is a lion loose in Essex, according to local trackers and Inspector Knacker. British prisons are now 7,300 over capacity, according to the Prison Reform Trust. The Paralympics will be seen on television in more countries than ever before and in Venice the Biennale has been marked by Swiss artist Julian Charrière painting some of the pigeons in the Piazza St Marco red. In Germany a sports official, Dieter Strack, is killed after being hit by a javelin during competition. Four people die in a canoeing incident on a Scottish loch.

Tuesday 28 August
The Paralympic flame reaches Stoke Mandeville. In Essex Inspector Knacker confirms, having deployed a sizeable cohort of coppers and the plodcopter, that there is not a lion loose. Mark Rylance releases a Shakespeare flashmob onto the unsuspecting streets of London as part of the London 2012 cultural festival.

Wednesday 29 August
The Paralympic’s opens in the Olympic stadium, prompting déjà vu still being only on the Bs after best part of an hour; Professor Stephen Hawking is front and centre as opening ceremony’s host. Philip Hindes, gold medallist at London 2012 in the track cycling team sprint, has had his house burgled and his bike nicked. Andrew Strauss surprises everyone by retiring from all formats of cricket while still England captain, saying, “I’ve run my race”, which suggests he may never have actually understood the game he was playing.

Thursday 30 August
Paralympics GB denies that the British team staged a protest against Atos by hiding the logo-covered lanyard attached to athletes’ accreditation; the rest of the country hopes they did. Debbie Jevans, LOCOG’s director of sport, said that the Paralympics is reaping the rewards of a genuinely integrated approach to venue planning. Remember Martin Sorrell who was so outraged by the UK’s tax regime that he moved the headquarters of his company WPP to Ireland (not himself, we note, just the company HQ)? Well he’s so thrilled by the Tory version of taxation that he is bringing it back; nothing to do with the total collapse of the Irish economy, of course. Sarah Storey becomes GB’s first Paralympic star, taking gold in the velodrome.

Friday 31 August
Seb Coe celebrates the level of passion at the Paralympics and British cyclist Jason Cundy grabs proves the point by going into a full-blown trackside meltdown when he is refused a restart in the kilometre time trial. Meanwhile, Boris is playing sitting volleyball with Barbara Windsor; yes, Barbara Windsor; yes, that Barbara Windsor. The International Paralympic Committee has expressed its disappointment with the level of TV coverage in the US, where there is no live broadcasting of events; the head of the US Paralympic team concurs. In Venice Haifaa al-Mansour, the first Saudi Arabian woman to direct a feature film, explains how she had to hide and give her male crew instructions by walkie talkie to avoid protests or arrest.



the world of leisure
August 2012

" In a strange bit of timing that suggests Mr Cameron has not read a newspaper, never mind The Leisure Review, in the last seven years, the Little Baron says he has accepted the prime minister’s invitation to become “legacy ambassador” for London 2012."

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