Sunday 1 July
The police say they fear another summer of riots because they don’t have enough officers and everyone seems to be getting a bit uppity. The London Symphony Orchestra marks the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth by playing Transits, music composed by a machine. P&O marks 175 years in the tourism business by sacking 150 crew who dared to voice their unhappiness with their working conditions. Spain win their third major footy tournament in a row.

Monday 2 July
Across Africa it seems that great works of art are being destroyed by religious fundamentalists. At home the Royal Opera House stages a performance by Streetwise Opera, which features homeless and formerly homeless performers. The New York gallery Pace is to take over the west wing of the Royal Academy for a Rothko exhibition. Last month was the wettest June on record. In the Tour Cav wins a stage, while Wiggo has not yet fallen off. The administrators of rugby league’s Bradford Bulls sack their coach and 15 other staff.

Tuesday 3 July
Barclays boss Bob Diamond resigns, leaving him with only a snivelling pay-off of some £20 million to fall back on. Meanwhile, Lloyds Banking Group, also in the Libor scandal up to its corporate neck, has calculated that the London Games will make everyone in the UK £165 happier. The De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill now has a coach on top of it as part of an art installation. The Institute of Fiscal Studies reckons the NHS will need an extra £20 billion by 2020. Charles Van Commenee says he will quit his post as head coach of UK Athletics if the team do not reach their expected medal tally in London.

Wednesday 4 July
Panic over: they’ve found the Higgs Bosun particle. Meanwhile, Oscar Pistorius is to become the first athlete to compete at the Olympics and the Paralympics in the same year, having been selected for South Africa’s 4X400m squad. George Entwhistle, a BBC insider, is appointed as the Corporation’s next director general. Paula Radcliffe says she is carrying an injury but she is going to carry on regardless. Eric Sykes dies at the age of 89.

Thursday 5 July
Remember that £20 billion the NHS was going to need? The cost of financing the private finance initiative (PFI) will end up costing the taxpayer some £300 billion so we could use some of that if we binned it. Pre-Games interventions by Operation Olympic Knacker include stopping a coach on which someone was trying to deal with their nicotine habit. At the Giant’s Causeway the National Trust acknowledges that the Earth may only be 6,000 years old. The Heritage Lottery Fund is to accept applications for match funding from owners of private stately homes in return for greater public access. Meanwhile, Chatsworth opens a new gallery showing works by Rembrandt and Leonardo, while in a castle in Milan a cache of sketches attributed to Caravaggio is uncovered. In London Mark Ramprakash announces his retirement from professional cricket.

Friday 6 July
Andy Murray becomes the first British tennis player to reach a Wimbledon men’s singles final since the days when people who had not served a prison sentence were happy to be called Bunny. Matt Fox is looking forward to this weekend’s performance of Swindon: The Opera, for which he has written the libretto. Roger Hiorns’ work Seizure, which took the form of covering every internal surface of a council flat in blue copper sulphate crystals, has been painstakingly removed from its original location and will find a new home at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park next year. In France it seems that there is widespread public support for tax increases to support public services. Not good news for GB Wrestling as one of the members of the Ukrainian sparring team that have conveniently qualified to represent Britain at the Games tests positive.

Saturday 7 July
The other – some say ‘real’ – Olympics kicks off in Shropshire: the 126th Wenlock Olympian Games. The makers of The Killing are bringing their dramatic approach to life to the streets of Nottingham and it seems that tourism authorities in Majorca are now trying to move their island up market, targeting boozy Brits and Germans for litter fines. In London it seems that hotels are strangely not sold out for the duration of the Games, having had to cut their rates from the planned Olympian heights of extortion. Organisers of the British grand prix are now saying, ‘No, do come to the race.’ Serena Williams wins her fifth Wimbers title and Roger Draper explains to anyone who will listen how the LTA is all set to take advantage of an Andy Murray win to promote tennis; how the LTA will manage to claim any credit for his continued success is less clear but we’re sure he’ll be working on it. In France Bradley Wiggins pulls on the maillot jaune. In London QPR are planning to move from Loftus Road. And it’s still bloody raining.

Sunday 8 July
A report from CofE on last summer’s riots points to the social consequences of austerity measures and, they hope, sends a “clear warning note”. The security contractor G4S still has to train and accredit some 9,000 of the 13,700 security guards needed for London 2012; good job they’ve not been paid best part of £300 million to do it. Oh. Meanwhile, Roger Federer wins his seventh Wimbledon title. Move on now, everyone.

Monday 9 July
Mr J Terry of Surrey appears in court to answer charges of racial abuse; he admits using the language but claims that it was done “sarcastically”. Has irony ever been spread so thin? The Olympic rings are cut into the grass of Richmond Park for the benefit of air travellers and the British team is now complete, topping out at 542 athletes; Dai Greene is named captain. Still on Planet Rogge, BMW are lobbying the EU to prevent a cut in the permissible emissions from cars, which, some would say [We’d say it. Ed] sits at odds with their role as sponsors of a ‘green’ Olympics [There, we’ve said it. Ed]. In France Wiggo becomes the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour in yellow, securing a significant lead in the general classification. London Welsh have amused everyone by employing Gavin Henson, presumably on a fortnight rolling contract with bonuses linked to any fleeting moments of not being an idiot.

Tuesday 10 July
Frances O’Grady becomes the first woman to lead the TUC in its 144-year history. Near Aberdeen Colin Montgomerie loses a few more friends and gains a few more pounds as he joins Donald “The Donald” Trump in officially opening Trump’s golf course which has been ploughed though a site of scientific interest amid the bullying and intimidation of local residents. Sir Roger Bannister lights the Olympic torch in Oxford and, in one of the most alarming developments of the whole London Olympic exercise, organisers are reported to be only now contemplating what might happen if we were to have days of torrential rain; did no one tell them London is actually in Britain and the Olympics takes place in the summer? And still on Planet Ohmygodwhatwereyouthinking, the BOA is contemplating a £2-million-shaped hole in its budget caused by (we kid you not) unexpectedly slow sales of Team GB supporters scarves; could the clue have been in the name of the SUMMER Olympic Games? The silver lining of these particularly water-laden clouds is that at least the Stock, Aitken and Dennis Waterman memorial concert had to be cancelled. Some Spanish regions may have decided that bull fighting is a bit over the top but Castilla La Mancha is fighting back by making pig-sticking legal again. In Bradford the Bulls have not quite gone out of business yet.

Wednesday 11 July
Having just issued redundancy notices to members of HM armed forces, it seems the Ministry of Defence may have overlooked the demands of incompetent contractors for the Stratford sports day; some 3,500 soldiers additional to the 13,500 already booked will be needed to hassle Olympic ticket-holders. The British Board of Film Classification is to undertake research into public attitudes to the depiction of sexual violence on screen and Chris Moyles is standing down from the Radio 1 breakfast show. Aware that the idiot’s idiot, Donald Trump, is in the UK, Bernie Ecclestone ups the bluster stakes by announcing that plans for a London grand prix are “100% completely no joke”. On Planet Football, it seems that spot-fixing may well have been rife among Southampton FC players a very long time ago indeed and its not been proved and FIFA is committed to investigating it, in contrast to its attitude to clear evidence of bribery and corruption involving its then president, Joao Havelange, and a senior committee member, Ricardo Teixera; for Herr Blatter a couple of hundred quid on the first throw-in is clearly one thing but €40 million in backhanders is not actually anything whatsoever to worry about.

Thursday 12 July
Meet the sponsors day for the press at the Olympic park and it seems that the bus manages to get lost en route between the media centre and the athletes’ village, a distance as the javelin flies of a few hundred metres. The World Service moves out of Bush House in London, bringing a noble era of broadcasting to a close. In Berlin there is disquiet over the decision to move all the Old Masters from the Gemaldegalerie to be replaced by a 20th-century collection bequeathed to the nation on the condition that it is shown in its entirety. In France Le Wiggeau (as no one but The Leisure Review is calling him) becomes the first British rider to spend four days in yellow on the Tour (or Le Tour as everyone in France calls it). Still in France, an avalanche on Mont Blanc kills nine climbers.

Friday 13 July
John Terry is found not guilty of the charges of racist abuse laid against him, which seems unlikely to soothe the situation across the upper reaches of professional football. The BBC is to cut its wage bill, starting with some of its highest-earning talent. If a £10-billion investment in the railway network is to be paid for by rises in ticket prices can it really be said to be a government investment? A Henry Moore sundial is stolen from the garden of the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green in Hertfordshire and the musical Chicago is to end its West End run after 15 years. In the Tour David Millar becomes the fourth British rider to win a stage this year, the fifth Tour stage victory of his career. On the track Victoria Pendleton explains how her relationship with her coach, now her fiancé, created a toxic environment within British Cycling’s track sprint programme.

Saturday 14 July
A new version of Vivaldi’s opera Orlando Furioso has been discovered in Turin some 270 years after the composer’s death. Everyone’s getting the Olympic jitters as the security arrangements go into a outsourcing-related meltdown. In the aftermath of the Terry trial and verdict Rio Ferdinand takes to Twitter to leave no one in any doubt that the size of his ego is not matched by the scale of his intelligence.

Sunday 15 July
The Little Baron insists that security at the Games will not be compromised even though its security contractor G4S have as good as admitted that they couldn’t find their corporate arse with both their corporate hands; it then transpires that this is mainly because these hands are being kept for grabbing the contract payment that they still think is rightly theirs. Meanwhile, the first Olympians arrive for the Games. In Hyde Park Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney are cut off before they have finished their encore on the grounds of (seriously) “health and safety”; this presumably based on the fact that people in London are not used to being out after half past ten at night and may get frightened on the tube. In France they too have security issues as carpet tacks are strewn on the road in front of the peloton of the Tour, causing predictable, Scooby Doo-style mayhem; our man in yellow, Monsieur Wiggeau, takes control the situation and organises a go slow until everyone is back in the race. Rio Ferdinand tries to dig himself out of an ever-deepening hole of stupidity by employing a bigger tool for the job; unfortunately his tool of choice is his mouth.

Monday 16 July
A bit of a bus-driving navigation issue sees some arriving Olympic athletes spend best part of four hours getting from plane to village; Londoners calculate this to be “about normal” for the journey across town. Britain now has four women in the tennis top 100, ranging from 71 to 100, and Oliver Pistorius is still getting irritated by the people who suggest that the absence of his legs gives him some sort of advantage over other people running the 400m. In Scotland it seems that Rangers will be starting next season in the Scottish Football League third division. It also seems that the Indian cricket authorities have invited Pakistan to play some matches at the end of the year, the first time the countries will have played since 2005. Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord dies aged 71.

Tuesday 17 July
It’s a good job we’re all in this together and that the financial industry is the key to the nation’s future prosperity otherwise the revelations that HSBC has been sanctioned by the US authorities as a launderer of illegal money on a huge scale would imply that the government looking after our interests on this side of the pond didn’t know what it was doing. That the chief executive of the government’s preferred law and order outsourcing contractor, G4S, takes what is by common consent the worst going over ever handed out by a commons select committee would only seem to add fuel to this particular bonfire of incompetence. And, with the Olympics almost here, there are now 110 fewer – 37% fewer – school sport partnerships than there were before the current administration started getting to grips with the economy. Staff at the National Gallery will be holding two-hour strikes to coincide with the start of the London Games as part of protests against new staffing arrangement that they say put paintings at risk. Richard Branson reckons he might repurchase Virgin Records, the company that got him started and almost got him nicked (something to do with a van full of records and boxes being stamped for export; he was young, it was a long time ago). In the US the Boy Scouts of America uphold their ban on anyone who is gay being a member of their club, but only if they happen to be “open or avowed”. Back at London 2012, the capacity of some of the football venues is being restricted as not all tickets have been sold and, as if Uncle Seb didn’t have enough problems, it seems that Bernie wants to bring his F1 circus of conspicuous consumption to the Olympic Park. It’s enough to make us yearn for the good old days when there were some certainties in sport that one could rely on. Speaking of which, Frank Schleck, the slightly older but equally hapless of the two cycling Luxemburger Schleck brothers, has tested positive during the Tour.

Wednesday 18 July
The Tate Modern’s new space, the Tanks, opens to the public. Downstream there are a few teething problems preparing for the Stratford sports day, with the director of the opening ceremony getting the hump with the Olympic film crew, disgruntled performers moaning that they have been cut from the running order and questions over the water supply to the Olympic park. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine. A study in the BMJ by Oxford University researchers suggests that there is no substantial evidence for the efficacy of sports drinks on sports performance; surely the scientific guff in the adverts can’t just be a marketing exercise? Speaking of which, four of London 2012’s sponsors (we’ll not mention them; they thrive on the oxygen of publicity) have announced that they won’t be applying for the tax exemptions applicable to their Games-related activities. And the Olympic security process, once a cornerstone of London 2012 but now just an entry in the dictionary under ‘omnishambles’, swings into gear by arresting innocent artists on the “suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage”, a charge that could arguably be laid at the door of G4S. Qatar is to provide the £8.7 million needed to put the British Library’s Gulf-related collection online and in France Bradley can almost see Paris from the top of the Tourmalet.

Thursday 19 July
It’s as if AA Gill were a member of the IOC: it seems that if you’re a female Japanese or Australian Olympic competitor you only qualify for standard air travel, even though your male colleagues are up front in business class. And in The Leisure Review’s department of We Bloody Told You This Would Happen, we find that the IMF has told the UK government (we like to think of them as the Eton Mess) that it must start spending and investing to prevent an even longer depression and permanent damage to the UK’s economy. It seems Dr Martens are back in style and Labour reckons that in government it may well look at the charitable status of private schools. A Matisse stolen in Venezuela ten years ago has been found safe and well in the States by the FBI. Chris “Sir Chris” Hoy will not be defending his Olympic sprint title as Jason Kenny gets the nod and the press conference with the GB women’s beach volleyball team lasts a good 60 seconds before correspondent from The Sun decides they have waited long enough to bring up the subject of bikinis. In another press conference, this time in France, Le Wiggeau (we persist in the face of indifference) gets testy with yet more dope-related questions, this time whether his victory will be tainted by the people who are not there; no, they’re dopers and those dopers who started the race were not noticeably threatening the maillot jaune so shut it, is the gist of his response.

Friday 20 July
Ministers are set to drop the requirement that developers include social housing in residential building schemes as part of their plans to tackle the housing crisis; coming soon, book burnings as part of a national literacy drive. Harrods toy department has followed Hamleys in removing the gender demarcation on its sales floors. Norman Lamont says that he hates sport but he will still be going to the Olympic opening ceremony. Remember Pussy Riot [See WoL passim]? They are still awaiting trial in Russia and could face a seven-year term. Back in the UK, Goals Soccer Centres have been sold for £73 million. In France Cav wins the last proper road stage of the Tour and Bradley is as good as there.

Saturday 21 July
The Department of We’re All in This Together reveals that a global elite comprising the world’s super-rich is hiding an estimated £13 trillion in tax havens, which equals the combined GDP of the US and Japan. Rupert Murdoch has quit the boards of News International, insisting that he is not withdrawing from the UK and prompting World of Leisure to start the clock. The Olympic stadium is in for the Stirling prize and in France news that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to be paid €1 million a month by PSG prompts widespread outrage.

Sunday 22 July
The whole of the UK and, touchingly enough, France scrambles to pay homage to Bradley Wiggins who becomes the first Briton to win the Tour de France. Wiggo and Cav do great honour to their jerseys (yellow and the world champion’s rainbow stripes respectively) on the final stage on the Champs Elysées, with Cav becoming the first reigning world champion to win in Paris. In Olympic news ministers are discussing sacking UK Border Agency staff who are threatening strike action. Sales of Tess of the d’Urbervilles are soaring; it is mentioned in Fifty Shades of Grey, the current best seller taking porn to the top of the charts. Paraic Casey dies while swimming the Channel.

Monday 23 July
Good news from the Olympics security queues: the G4S staff who do turn up are likely to be unable to spot anything on the scanner screens, which should speed the passage of ticket holders. While Boris Johnson reads a poem written in Greek to the assembled members of the IOC, the prime minister is planning 17 different summits to boost a UK economy that he has spent the last two years damaging. Downing Street has also assured the public that ministers will keep their use of the Olympic ‘Zil lanes’ to a minimum. Treasury minister David Gauke suggests that cash-in-hand payments to the building trade represent a real threat to the economy, presumably in a way that shifting billions of taxable pounds off shore to Treasury-endorsed tax havens and pouring trillions of Treasury cash into a corrupt and inept banking system do not. Portsmouth FC are two weeks from liquidation, says the club’s administrator. Chris Hoy is to carry the British flag in the opening ceremony and he thinks the success of Wiggo and Cav in the Tour will inspire the British Olympic team. In County Durham a seven-year-old boy is killed in an accident at the Beamish museum.

Tuesday 24 July
The government’s attempts at measuring happiness brings the Office for National Statistics to publish the findings of research based on questioning 165,000 people; the end result seems to be that people in Thurrock are the most miserable. The British team arrives at the Olympic village and the FA charge Emmanuel Frimpong with Twitter-related misconduct.

Wednesday 25 July
It’s official: George Osborne has absolutely no idea what he’s doing; his hard work has resulted in the UK economy being in its biggest slump since the 1950s. Scotland is to legalise same-sex marriage and the judges of the Man Booker prize announce that they have focused on “novels not novelists” in compiling the competition’s long list. Never short of chutzpah, Tony Blair tells us all to buck up and stop worrying about the £9 billion the Games have cost. Some thirty years after another Tory prime minister turned their attention to the plight of Battersea power station and talked utter cods about its future, David Cameron says that the redevelopment of the site will create 20,000 construction jobs. Manchester Utd’s flotation on the US stock market seems to have been postponed and there is the usual uncertainty over Paula Radcliffe’s fitness, not to mention that of Phillips Idowu. At least nothing can go wrong with the Olympic football competition, which gets underway today; only the tiny issue of mixing up the flags of South and North Korea jars slightly but the North Korean women’s team is not happy and strops off for an hour until apologies sufficiently profuse are forthcoming. WADA will be testing for human growth hormone during London 2012 and England’s women’s football team win their first match. Nothing can go wrong now.

Thursday 26 July
As the Olympic torch finally hits London, Mitt Romney, the man in charge of the Salt Lake City Winter Games which were so corrupt that even the IOC admitted that they could not get away with it any longer, casts aspersions on London’s ability to host an Olympics. The British Film Institute year book shows that film contributed £3.3 billion to the national GDP. Steffon Armitage, a flanker with rugby union side Toulon, has tested positive for morphine, which has, according to him, occurred in his body naturally owing to something else he has been taking; his career may be hanging on the shoogliest of shoogly pegs. Almost beyond belief in light of the British summer of 2012 are concerns among some competitors in the Olympic aquatics centre that the weather is making the building and the water in the pool too hot; given that this is Britain, experienced weather watchers suggest it might not be a problem for much longer. In Stoke more cases of legionnaires’ disease are reported following a recent outbreak.

Friday 27 July
Right. It’s here so let’s all enjoy it. First up, Danny Boyle gives the world both barrels of a massive shotgun loaded with Britishness; Britons embraced it with tears in their eyes while the rest of the world was reminded that of all the things they love about the UK the utter mystery of a high proportion of everything we say and do is close to the top of the list. And after all the flame-lighting speculation, the task fell to seven young athletes, to the general acclaim of everyone who had suggested someone else. Apart from Aidan Burley MP, who labels the spectacle “leftie multicultural crap” on Twitter (presumably not including the Queen’s first acting role) which provoked a storm from everyone who had forgotten that this was the man who lost his ministerial job for going to a Nazi-themed stag night and thinking this was perfectly acceptable and justifiable behaviour.

Saturday 28 July
No medal for Cav as celebrated doper Alexandr Vinokourov takes gold but it has at least stopped raining. Oh, it’s started again. The first problem for London 2012 organisers is the plethora of empty seats all over the place, one of the things that they promised would definitely not happen after all the controversy over exactly the same thing in Beijing; a “full review” is promised only four years too late.

Sunday 29 July
Blimey, is there no end to all this Olympics business? The UK’s first medal is provided by Lizzie Armistead in the women’s cycling road race, with gold taken by the peerless Dutchwoman, Marianne Vos. A few hours later Becky Adlington takes a bronze in the pool. It seems that the BBC’s angst at having no information during the men’s road race yesterday is blamed on Twitter by the company responsible for providing the pictures. Paula Radcliffe is not going to be running, having injured her foot.  Away from the Stratford sports day, the tunnels, bridges, stations and viaducts of Brunel are to be listed to ensure their preservation and in Coventry a massive, articulated Lady Godiva is unveiled as an example of just how good the manufacturing industry of the UK’s Midlands can be.

Monday 30 July
John Leonard, head of the World Swimming Coaches Association, raises questions, along with both eyebrows, over the performance in the pool of Chinese gold medallist Ye Shiwen. Meanwhile, it seems that WADA is drawing a distinction between dopers who dope out of competition and “dopey dopers” who dope in competition and therefore get caught. Britain’s male gymnasts win a team bronze, the first medal in this event for GB for a century or so. David Cameron adds his name to the list of people who think Aidan Burley MP is a tit and the Cultural Olympiad has now given us 21 hats on statues around the capital. Busy times at the FA, who are already charging John Terry with being a Burley and now have to find the time to carpet Rio Ferdinand for his Twitter-related obtuseness. And it seems the temptation to tweet without recourse to thought [See @leisurereview. Ed] has resulted in Switzerland’s Olympic footballing contingent to be shrunk by one following the sending home of Michel Morganella for a racist comment on Twitter.

Tuesday 31 July
Michael Phelps wins his nineteenth Olympic swimming medal and the GB equestrian team win a silver. Elsewhere in London it seems that much of the capital’s centre is largely deserted as people heed the warnings to stay out of town. A little to the north, the outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in Stoke has been traced to a hot tub in a discount warehouse. The mayor of Rome announces a €25 million restoration project for the Colosseum; work will take two and a half years. Back home, the sponsorship deal between the Rugby Football League and Stobart the haulier, which involved no money changing hands, has been cancelled by mutual agreement, while the flotation of Manchester United on the stock exchange in New York is likely to see an awful lot of money changing hands, a huge proportion of it going straight into the pockets of the Glazier family and “senior staff” of the club.


the world of leisure
July 2012

"The security contractor G4S still has to train and accredit some 9,000 of the 13,700 security guards needed for London 2012; good job they’ve not been paid best part of £300 million to do it. Oh."

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