Wednesday 1 February
In the witness box at Southwark crown court Harry Redknapp’s defence against charges of tax evasion seem to rest on his admission that he’s a liar, which may yet prove to be a bit of legal chicanery too far for the jury. Conservators at the Prado have found a new Mona Lisa, thought to have been copied by one of Leonardo’s students while the master was painting one of the original versions. Almost as many people now listen to Radio 4’s Today programme (7.15 million) as to Radio 1’s Chris Moyles (7.24 million). The London-based auction house Christie’s reports a record year as investors turn to art in an age of financial uncertainty. In Cairo at least 73 people are killed in rioting at a match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry; accusations regarding the collusion of government security forces are rife. Angelo Dundee, celebrated boxing trainer, dies aged 90.

Thursday 2 February
It seems that the FA might be considering stripping John Terry of the England captaincy in light of his latest date with the beak. In Egypt the prime minister has sacked the entire board of the country’s football association after yesterday’s murderous events at the Cairo derby.

Friday 3 February
Another day of action for libraries, while John Terry is indeed removed from the England captaincy following a testing of the views of the FA board by chairman David Bernstein. It seems that zoos are having to put in extra security to prevent the thefts of rhino horns. Speaking of which, David Beckham launches his own brand of pants.

Saturday 4 February
Jobs in the north of England are being lost at four times the rate in the south. Mariafrancesca Garritano, the La Scala ballerina who lifted the lid on the eating and injury habits of dancers at the world-famous company [See WoL passim], is sacked for “damaging the image” of La Scala. The success of The Artist, the silent film currently doing the rounds, is prompting a rush of film-based nostalgia projects. Tottenham Hotspur is in discussions to host a Govian ‘free school’ at its new ground. The Cabinet Office reckons that the demand for online coverage of the London Olympics could cause internet to break (we’ll keep you posted if we are able) and disquiet in Falmouth over plans to dredge a channel in the Fal to enable cruise ships to dock in the currently quiet fishing village.

Sunday 5 February
At the Holy Trinity church in Dalston, East London the annual service in memory of the celebrated clown Joseph Grimaldi takes place. Joey Barton offers himself as a free-speech martyr after a series of tweets on the John Terry issue raises questions over possible contempt of court proceedings. The Environment Agency says that the Olympic park is now officially all cleaned up. Unesco speak out against the sale of the Wedgewood museum collection, short-listed as one of the world’s top 20 cultural assets, to pay off the Wedgewood company pension deficit. The Lucian Freud portraits exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery and faux scandal again at the Superbowl as UK rapper MIA apparently offends the whole continental USA by flipping the bird briefly during the half-time show.

Monday 6 February
The Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne, saying that she is rededicating herself to public service. There’s a bit of snow across a bit of the country, prompting calculations that “the national shutdown” costs the UK economy £280 million a day. Sadly for all concerned, the attorney general says that Joey Barton will not be charged for contempt of court. A study of shop vacancies shows the stark economic divide between north and south. The Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) confirms Alberto Contador’s two-year ban for a positive dope test, meaning that his victories in the 2010 Tour and the 2011 Giro, among others, will be rescinded; however, the backdating of the ban means that he will be able to turn a competitive pedal as soon as 5 August this year. England stumble like a silent-movie drunkard to a series whitewash defeat against Pakistan, prompting the coach Andy Flower to shoulder the blame for the team not being “ready”.

Tuesday 7 February
It’s the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens; cue a mass outbreak of Victoriana. The home secretary (it’s Theresa May!) seems to want Abu Qatada behind bars and deported, creating something of a quandary for her officials, and whatever it is she wants she wants it before the Olympic Games kick off; is he really such a medal contender? Still on Planet Olympics [Surely ‘Mount Olympus?’ Ed] this year’s Serpentine pavilion is to be designed by the team that gave us the Beijing birds nest stadium: Herzog, de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. The president of the World Anti-doping Agency says that no Olympic Games has been clean in the last 50 years. As if to prove the point, Contador says he will continue to fight his drugs ban. Meanwhile, high on life in Qatar, Cav wins his first event on the road in his rainbow jersey for his new team.

Wednesday 8 February
Not for the first time, World of Leisure spoke too soon: it seems the defence “I’m a liar” is highly effective in the face of allegations of tax evasion; Harry Redknapp walks away without a stain on his character. Just up the road at Wembley – which is actually a good long way up the road, involving a tube ride on the Metropolitan line and a brisk walk – Don Fabio resigns as England manager, defending his right to pick his own team captain, no matter how legally embroiled that individual might be. Harry the Teflon Taxpayer is immediately installed as favourite by almost everyone with a Twitter account. Further south, several stops along the Piccadilly line, the Natural History Museum announces the acquisition of a meteorite from Mars, which landed last year in Morocco. Back on the Central line [Put the tube map away. Ed], the West End will be hosting Gatz, the eight-hour theatrical performance of The Great Gatsby, in June; it will start at 2pm and finish at 10pm, having taken 90 minutes for dinner along the way. Further up the Thames to Putney where in 2015 the Boat Race will hold the men’s and women’s race on the same day. Incredible.

Thursday 9 February
It seems there is a trend of students for the UK heading to Dutch universities to study; expect skating and conversational bluntness as part of the cultural exchange. The Commons public accounts committee reveals that 15 Ministry of Defence projects are currently a total of £6 billion overspent. The publication of a children’s story by James Joyce has provoked a copyright argument in Ireland. With an admirable disregard for irony and a massive helping of stupidity Donald Trump tells Alex Salmond that plans for an offshore wind farm show the Scottish first minister to be “hell-bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline”. The Whitechapel Gallery announces that a work by Rachel Whiteread is to grace the gallery’s front elevation. Continuing violence in Bahrain might yet put the grand prix in jeopardy, although Bernie is covering his eyes and his ears as part of preparations for the race. Meanwhile, Cav wins a second stage of the Tour of Qatar. Still in the peloton, following a series of drugs scandals Jan Ullrich is banned for two years five years after his retirement from the sport.

Friday 10 February
In Cornwall two guesthouse owners are still trying to establish their right to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation in the face of overwhelming legal evidence that they are not allowed to; the appeal court offers the latest ruling. Enfield council is considering introducing a bylaw to ban spitting.

Saturday 11 February
Before, during and after its fixture with Manchester Utd Liverpool FC continues its ham-fisted attempt to ensure that the Premier League remains at the forefront of racism; Alex ‘Sir Alex’ Ferguson keeps the fire stoked by claiming Suarez “could have caused a riot” by not shaking Evra’s hand and then goes on telly in an attempt to pick the Liverpool team in perpetuity. As a sideshow to this main event Micah Richards quits Twitter having finally tired of the torrent of racist abuse his account was receiving. It seems that the British countryside could be changed this summer owing to the continuing drought conditions across much of the country.

Sunday 12 February
A big night for The Artist at the Baftas. The prime minister is to hold a summit to address the issue of racism in football and Waltham Forest, one of the Olympic boroughs, is told by counter-terrorism spooks that it – the borough – is a hotbed of extremism. Kenny Dalglish issues a surprisingly, and some say suspiciously, precise and eloquent apology for his part in the continuing story of Liverpool’s descent into confusion and idiocy. In the Davis Cup Great Britain beat Slovakia. Whitney Houston dies at the age of 48.

Monday 13 February
The Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition opens at Tate Britain. Lambeth council is coming under fire for proposing the sale of the Stockwell Studios arts centre. In Los Angeles Adele wins six Grammy awards. In Venice historians are campaigning against the opening of a Benetton shop in one of the palazzos on the Grand Canal. In Belgium a court has found that Tintin in the Congo was not intended to incite racial hatred. In Lusaka football fans welcome home the Zambian team that won the African Nations Cup on Sunday. On Planet Football it seems that Liverpool FC’s apologies over the Suarez case were not unrelated to the intervention of the club’s shirt sponsor, Standard Chartered, Mick McCarthy is sacked by Wolves after apologising for the team’s poor performance on Sunday, and both Glasgow Rangers and Portsmouth FC (once again) seem to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Tuesday 14 February
Some 400 works by the late Karel Appel, a celebrated Dutch 20th-century artist, have been found in a British warehouse after they were stolen in 2002 and Song Dong’s work Waste Not, based on the 10,000 items hoarded by his mother in her Beijing flat after his father’s death, goes on display at the Barbican. Tom Daley’s coach says that the fresh-faced diver is doing too much media and not enough training. The uprising in Bahrain continues but, with tanks on the streets of the capital, Manama, Bernie Ecclestone offers his informed opinion: “I don’t think it’s anything serious at all.” In France the proposal for a Napoleon-themed theme park gets President Sarkozy’s backing.

Wednesday 15 February
A group of Royal Academicians have called for the government to prevent the sale of the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent. Westminster council is considering reducing the number and noise levels of concerts held in Hyde Park after complaints from local residents. David Cameron is backing calls for a minimum price for alcohol in an effort to tackle the binge drinking culture. The exhibition Mondrian/Nicholson in Parallel opens at the Courtauld Gallery in London.

Thursday 16 February
Happy days: in the 1950s it seems MI5 declined to confirm the FBI’s attempts to label Charlie Chaplin a Bolshevik. Eleven UK model agencies have backed a Cancer Research UK campaign against sunbed tanning and a scientist in the US reckons that Stonehenge was built to create “sonic illusions”. Yeah. Roman Abramovich seems intent on taking Chelsea across the Brompton Cemetery to Earls Court, having objected to planning applications for the exhibition site to be redeveloped as residential property. The velodrome test event brings the UCI World Cup and British medals to the Olympic park. One of mountaineering’s periodic ethical debates erupts, prompted by the removal of hundreds of bolts on the south-east ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia. In South Africa Thandi Sibisi becomes the first woman in the country to open a major art gallery.

Friday 17 February
Did you feel a shiver? Rupert Murdoch was back in the UK to announce the much-predicted Sun on Sunday. Portsmouth FC are docked 10 points as a result of going into administration, as are Glasgow Rangers. A world-record time for Pendleton and Varnish in winning the women’s team sprint and former cricketer Mervyn Westfield is jailed for his part in a spot-fixing conspiracy during a county match.

Saturday 18 February
TV producer Peter Bazalgette, the man who brought Big Brother to our screens, feels able to criticise the BBC’s Sunday-night scheduling on the grounds that it has little to offer younger viewers. Carlisle is the latest city to be named as the UK’s happiest in some survey or other. Five hundred episodes and still going gloriously on for The Simpsons. Seven wins for Britain’s athletes at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham and the crowd is still going mad at the velodrome as GB’s track cyclists turn on the power.

Sunday 19 February
It seems ambulances will not be permitted to use the Olympic VIP lanes even in an emergency. It also seems, according to Sir David Hare and Mark Ravenhill, that subsidised theatre is avoiding challenging or experimental work. Sustrans research suggests that reduced speed limits in towns would increase cycling. Bradford’s new fountain, the largest water feature in a UK city, cost £24.4 million but they reckon it will bring in £80 million a year.

Monday 20 February
Researchers reckon that the NHS guidelines on weight loss overestimate the amount of weight that would be lost by a rigorous following of the advice. Official walking tours of the Olympic site are available at £9 a pop but local guides are also available for the unofficial tour of the local area. The south-east of the UK is now officially in drought and the 2012 aquatics centre opens for its test event; coincidence?

Tuesday 21 February
It’s Brits night and as Adele waves her awards about, millions watching at home wonder as one: what was Peter Blake on when he designed that? Offering an open goal for every satirist in the world, Eric Pickles launches the concept of the ‘big lunch’ to bring diverse communities together. Demand for black pudding is soaring; apparently “it’s not just for breakfast”. The Shrove Tuesday ball game is played for the 813th time in Atherstone, Warwickshire and Suffolk County Council has binned its big society approach to service outsourcing, now putting its faith in community groups. Carlos Tevez apologises to his manager and “everybody I have let down” prior to his reappearance at training; no doubt that’s the last we’ll hear of him for the rest of the season.

Wednesday 22 February
Will Self is to be professor of contemporary thought at Brunel. Boris Johnson wants London 2012 to be more open about the Olympic ticketing process and the Premier League is promising to work with the police to tackle online racist abuse. English Heritage has officially objected to plans for a skyscraper on Liverpool’s waterfront. President Obama marks Black History Month at the White House by adding vocals on Sweet Home Chicago with a pick-up band that includes BB King and Mick Jagger.

Thursday 23 February
It seems that there may have been a little bit of fraud involving A4e, the company paid to get people into work whose chief exec lives in a mansion, takes multi-million-pound annual bonuses and still has time to be David Cameron’s personal adviser on “problem families”; oh hang on, she’s had to resign. The closing ceremony of the London Olympics will be titled A Symphony of British Music and will feature artists “from Adele to Elgar”, presumably leaving out the rest of the alphabet that runs from Fine Young Cannibals to Zeppelin. One in six young people in the UK are now officially NEET – not in education, education or training – and JK Rowling is writing a novel for grown-ups, which will upset all those people over the age of 14 who have read nothing but Harry Potter for the last ten years. It seems that the Tate’s photographic archive was rescued from a skip. From 2013 the BBC Symphony Orchestra will have a Finnish conductor, one Sakari Oramo. Plans to sell ground tickets for the Olympic Park have run into safety concerns. Bernie still says there will be “no problem” with the Bahrain grand prix, unless you’re protesting against the brutal government regime and happen to get shot on the street amid the tear gas and tanks.

Friday 24 February
Shakespeare’s Globe has received an anonymous £1.5 million donation to its project to create an indoor Jacobean theatre. Vicky Fleetwood, hooker in the England women’s rugby squad, says that sevens’ acceptance into the Olympic programme has had a big impact on the popularity of the women’s game.

Saturday 25 February
Tessa Jowell, former Olympics minister, says that Saudi Arabia’s all-male Olympic team breaks their equality pledge and shows the scale of discrimination in the country. Having played at least 11 games in their old home strip, England launch a new one.

Sunday 26 February
Those with a dubious moral compass, a strong stomach and a short memory can buy a copy of The Sun today. Liverpool FC manage to miss fewer penalties than Cardiff FC and therefore win the League Cup, for which they are hubristically grateful. Cav wins in Belgium.

Monday 27 February
It seems that there will be an Olympic museum on the site of the London 2012 Games. Plans for a new town of some 25,000 people north-west of Cambridge are being discussed. British cruise ships are being turned away from Argentinean ports; something to do with the Falklands apparently. Towcester racecourse is planning to open a dog track to drive additional revenue and British Olympians will be banned from betting on the Olympics.

Tuesday 28 February
Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, suggests that there may be strikes during the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, the Occupy protestors are removed from their St Paul’s billet, thus solving all the cathedral’s pressing access problems. A Charlotte Bronte short story written in iffy French 170 years ago is to be published having been discovered in a Belgian museum. The NME is celebrating 60 years of publication, while in Rome the papal archives are to be opened to the public for the first time in about 12 centuries. An exhibition at the Barbican is to celebrate 50 years of Bond movies.

Wednesday 29 February
Stuart Pearce stands in as England manager for the friendly against Holland at Wembley. The estate of the late Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, has endowed graduate scholarships in the arts at Oxford University to the tune of £26 million. Palestine will be sending a four-strong team to the Olympic Games in London. Bernie Ecclestone may be blind to any political unrest in Bahrain but by God he can spot the numbers that show him the Australian grand prix is not delivering as much money to his bank account as it should be. Davy Jones, lead singer of the Monkees, jockey and actor, dies at the age of 66.



the world of leisure
February 2012

"The Cabinet Office reckons that the demand for online coverage of the London Olympics could cause internet to break (we’ll keep you posted if we are able) and disquiet in Falmouth over plans to dredge a channel in the Fal to enable cruise ships to dock in the currently quiet fishing village"

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