Tuesday 1 May
International workers’ day is celebrated by a report from the culture, media and sport select committee calling into question Rupert Murdoch’s fitness to run a major company; it’s almost as if they have never read The Leisure Review. The short list for the Turner prize is announced, featuring four artists that bring a “slowness” to their work, according to the director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis. The National Theatre’s Broadway production of One Man, Two Guvnors receives seven nominations for the Tony Awards, while the BBC has recruited the cream of British actorliness for four Shakespeare productions to be shown this summer. Rory Carroll of the Football Foundation makes claims for the contribution of local sports facilities to the fight against obesity and diabetes, while David Hockney reckons smoking could stop people getting fat, with attendant health benefits; it’s certainly one perspective. Stuart Lancaster’s England rugby coaching squad is supplemented on a temporary basis by Mike Catt. Roy Hodgson is officially unveiled as England footy manager. Alexander Dale Oen, Norwegian swimmer who won the 100m breaststroke world championships, dies during training in Arizona at the age of 26.

Wednesday 2 May
There are now two bouncy-castle Stonehenges in the country, inflatable works of art that reward active engagement from the viewer; take your shoes off though. The Barbican opens its exhibition on the history of Bauhaus. In Soweto a new theatre centre opens as a cultural focal point for the township. In Helsinki the city board reject proposals for a Guggenheim museum following concerns over costs. In Stratford the Olympic hockey venue gets its test event underway and some way to the east even as the Leveson inquiry continues to demonstrate just how odious the tabloid newspaper industry has been The Sun chooses to use its front page to mock Roy Hodgson for a perceived speech impediment; they just don’t get it, do they.

Thursday 3 May
In New York it seems that the Frieze art fair, showcasing British artwork, is something of a hit while a version of Munch’s Scream goes under the hammer for $119.9 million. Back in the IOC-occupied UK, Major David Joyce says that a Rapier missile battery on Blackheath is “just one club in a golf bag”. Adele’s album 21 has now outsold Thriller in the UK, with 4.25 million sales, which may be a higher number than the total number of people who voted in the local elections, the results of which express a general dislike for the ConDem government’s general approach to protecting rich people’s interests.

Friday 4 May
The British Universities and Colleges athletic championships kick off as the Olympic stadium’s official test event, although the facilities are rumoured to have been well tested already by the highly unofficial builders’ Olympics a few weeks ago. The Welsh coastal path, which runs from Chepstow to Chester some 870 miles away, is officially launched. Beastie Boy Adam Yaunch, once thought by the Daily Mail and others to be a threat to British society and all it stands for, dies of cancer at the age of 47.

Saturday 5 May
Could it be time to drop the ‘empire’ from the honours systems? It seems that the lords lieutenants, who advise Her Madge on who should get gongs, think so. Stephen Gerrard is among a group of celebs backing calls for cooking to be retained within the national curriculum. At the Olympic test events the general feeling is that everything is going pretty well, although there are some interesting winds within the stadium for competitors to deal with. Chelsea win the FA Cup and in Spain Lionel Messi scores his 72nd goal of the season, 50 of which have come in La Liga. At home it’s the Bank holiday weekend and it’s still raining.

Sunday 6 May
An audit by the Civil Exchange thinktank finds that Mr Cameron’s big society has been fatally undermined by the government’s spending cuts and a general lack of trust in the government among the general public. The Heritage Lottery Fund offers £5.9 million to the Ashmolean to help keep Manet’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus on its walls. Mark Cavendish wins the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, which takes place in Denmark (it’s a long story), the eighth Giro stage win of his career.

Monday 7 May
Across Europe the austerity message is undermined by electoral dissent in France and Greece. The art collection of the late Gunter Sachs, friend of Dali and Warhol, husband of Bardot, is to go to auction with an expected price tag north of £20 million. The Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner in London now includes a very small gallery in what was said to be London’s smallest police station. World squash number one, Britain’s own James Willstrop, says that writing made him a better player. Gary Gold will coach Bath RFC next season and Cav follows yesterday’s triumph with a spectacular crash in the final sprint of stage three.

Tuesday 8 May
Claire Lomas completes the London Marathon, sixteen days after everyone else; she has raised some £90,000 for charity in so doing. The Olympic expenditure is at the root of a few tough decisions at the Ministry of Defence, according to MoD chiefs, but this won’t stop the remaining 930,000 Olympic tickets going on sale this week, according to LOCOG; as predicted by The Leisure Review, Olympic Park general access tickets, a total of some 70,000, will be sold offering access to the park but not the specific venues, unless, of course, there are embarrassing swathes of empty seats where the sponsors’ guests’ backsides should be. In the Olympic stadium world records fall during the Disability Athletics Challenge. American boxer Lamont Peterson, the man who took Amir Khan’s world title in dubious circumstances, has failed a drugs test. Still in the laboratory, the IOC is considering testing the frozen samples from Athens 2004 now that they have some tests for substances undetectable at the time. Cardiff City’s Malaysian owners are said to be planning to change the Bluebird’s kit to red on the grounds that Asian fans prefer red to blue. Maurice Sendak, creator of Where the Wild Things Are, dies aged 83.

Wednesday 9 May
A u-turn on jet purchasing demonstrates once again how the MoD are allowed to take a cavalier attitude to budgeting while other departments implement austerity. The Tate programme for 2013 includes a Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at Tate Modern. In Greece the rehearsal for the lighting of the Olympic flame draws attention to the dilapidated state of the Athens Olympic venues and the impecunious state of Greek sport. In Italy it seems that match-fixing in football may actually be their national sport.

Thursday 10 May
The Olympic flame is lit in Athens and so it’s ‘next stop London’, where the bus drivers are considering introducing striking to the Olympic programme. Spaghetti Junction, aka the Gravelly Hill Interchange where the M6, A38 and A5127 meet, is 40 years old. The boss of Thomas Cook says that the government shouldn’t be promoting domestic tourism as it affects his business if people stay at home. In India innovative approaches to the rehabilitation of prisoners include music lessons and concerts. In Italy Cav wins another stage and in Wales it seems that Cardiff City will not be changing the club’s badge and strip after the club’s owners were surprised that many of the supporters were upset by the suggestions. Vidal Sassoon, crimper extraordinaire and one-time radical political activist, dies aged 84.

Friday 11 May
The Royal Court theatre announces the appointment of Vicky Featherstone as its director; Featherstone is formerly head of the National Theatre of Scotland and is the first woman to hold the Royal Court post. The Arcelor Mittal Orbit, the winding tower designed by Anish Kapoor at the Olympic Park, is opened officially with even the designer admitting that £15 is a disappointingly large amount of money to charge people who want to go up. Jeannette Winterton has been appointed professor of creative writing at Manchester University.

Saturday 12 May
In a fitting summation of our times, a dog seems to have won Britain’s Got Talent. The National Gallery is to host its first major photography exhibition. The European nations are to discuss whether they should boycott the European Championships in Ukraine on the grounds of a totalitarian approach to opposition by the Ukrainian president.

Sunday 13 May
Briton James Priest, head gardener at Claude Monet’s historic home, marks his first anniversary in the job. Meanwhile, in Manchester, City snatch the league title from United in a genuinely dramatic final few minutes of added time. In Derry, Britain’s City of Culture 2013, there are growing concerns regarding the culture of political violence that still seems to pervade. The pageant of 1662 will be the model for the diamond jubilee pageant on the Thames, according to pageant master Adrian Evans. Lord Coe defends the tough, some say Draconian, approach to Olympic branding as necessary to protect the finances of the Games.

Monday 14 May
It seems that Mr Gove’s beloved academies are not subject to the regulations regarding the foisting of junk food onto pupils that apply to schools under the auspices of the LEA. Jeremy Deller is to design the British pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale and Madame Tussaud’s unveils a new model of Her Madge to mark her diamond jubilee. BBC 6 Music is named radio station of the year two years after it was saved from the axe. Beaches in England receiving a Blue Flag now number 79. Scotland is to impose a minimum price on alcohol of 50p per unit. Gary Neville is now a member of Roy Hodgson’s coaching team; he’s got his UEFA A and B badges. The London Legacy Development Corporation says it will now not make a decision on the tenants of the Olympic stadium until after the whole Olympic and Paralympic bun fight has finished.

Tuesday 15 May
The V&A’s new exhibition is to be a celebration of the British ball gown. The BBC says that it will have 26 different channels across various platforms to deliver 2,500 hours of Olympic coverage. There are now 10 million users of Twitter in the UK, including John Prescott who comes out as an enthusiastic tweeter. Some 100,000 applications have been received by G4S for the 10,000 jobs available in the London 2012 security team. Scotland’s FA has expressed interest in hosting the 2020 European Championship in partnership with Wales and Ireland.

Wednesday 16 May
Remember World of Leisure’s Olympic Price Watch? It seems that the cost of a Greek exit from the euro might cost a trillion dollars (a one and twelve noughts). In Brent the campaign to save the Kensal Rise library continues; this time the council has decided not to remove all the books from the building in the face of onsite protests. The Bank of England, up to this point faultless in their predictions on all things, reckon that London 2012 will bring an economic boost to the host nation. The BBC is to drop Blue Peter from BBC1, moving it to CBBC; cue outcry from people who haven’t watched it for 30 years. A royal party comprising Her Madge, His Philness and the Boy Charles are pictured staring glumly from the bow of a barge in Burnley as part of the diamond jubilee tour of Britain. Chapeau à Aurélie Filippettie, the new culture minister of France and one of the 17 women in President Hollande’s new cabinet; half of all French cabinet posts are now filled by women. Kenny Dalglish is relieved of his duties at Liverpool FC, paying the price for a(nother) lacklustre season.

Thursday 17 May
In Athens a party of Brits including Princess Anne, Boris Johnson and David Beckham collect the Olympic flame. Tate Britain announces that it has been successful in raising the £45 million for significant improvements to the building that will allow the gallery to rehang the collection chronologically. Meanwhile, a little to the north, the Photographers’ Gallery reopens. Adele adds some Novellos to her awards collection while David Cameron says that parenting classes will help nation-building, conveniently forgetting that he has cut funding for the Sure Start centres which are, or were, doing exactly the job he is talking about. The royal pageant on the Thames will involve some 5,500 police and 7,000 stewards on duty. Donna Summer dies at the age of 63.

Friday 18 May
At last the Olympic flame arrives on British soil, touching down by helicopter to be carefully manhandled on the opening leg of its journey; Becks is on hand again to do the honours. The Hayward Gallery is to host a summer show exploring invisibility and emptiness, including a lot of art that visitors will not actually be able to see. The world’s first academic conference on the Harry Potter stories opens at the University of St Andrews school of Englishwith 60 academics from around the world in attendance. Stadium expert Simon Inglis laments the failure to stick with the original plan for the Olympic stadium, a 25,000-seat community athletics venue badly needed, rather than seizing another commercial opportunity to sell it off.

Saturday 19 May
Chelsea at last win the Champions League, picking up the trophy in front of a beaming Roman Abramovich and a bemused-looking George Osborne. Meanwhile John Terry makes an arse of himself by parading about in his playing kit even though he hasn’t actually played. Back in Cornwall, the Olympic torch relay gets under way and in the Philippines Lady Gaga has brought Christians and Muslims together; they all hate her. Roy Hodgson is to ask rugby union for help with a code of conduct for its players on tour.

Sunday 20 May
Tanni Grey-Thompson says that government benefit cuts will put the legacy of the Paralympics at risk. It seems that the government is also about to put the wheels in motion to replace Trident; watch the numbers tumble. Jose Angel Salazar, a 14-year-old product of Venezuela’s El Sistema, may be the world’s youngest professional conductor. Leinster win their third Heineken Cup in four years, an unprecedented achievement in rugby union.

Monday 21 May
The Chelsea flower show opens just as the weather seems to be about to switch from wet to hot. The Gargosian Gallery in London is to display Henry Moore’s Large Two Forms indoors, the first time they have been exhibited under a roof. On Everest there are further deaths, bringing the season’s toll to eight.

Tuesday 22 May
The IMF tells the chancellor that he does need a plan B, adding its voice to those questioning the wisdom and the efficacy of the cuts to public services. The phone company Orange is to end its sponsorship of the literary prize for women that has borne its name for the last 17 years. The exhibition of Damien Hirst’s work at the White Cube Bermondsey provokes some excoriating reviews. Season ticket prices in the Premier League are going up, including a 9% average rise at the home of the new champions.

Wednesday 23 May
Kielder Forest and Northumberland national park are to bid for ‘dark sky’ status to build upon the popularity of star-gazing among the general public, 30,000 of whom have visited Kielder in the last four years. The last tranche of London 2012 tickets have gone on sale, while British javelin thrower Ian Burns has been suspended following doping charges. Manchester City announce a £197-million loss for 2010-11, the biggest in yet recorded.

Thursday 24 May
It’s all getting very sticky for culture secretary Jeremy ‘Berkshire’ Hunt, who has revealed to the Leveson inquiry the extent to which he was in favour of News Corporation taking over BSkyB. Michael Gove admits his cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future programme was “clumsy and insensitive”. Meanwhile, the chancellor might be looking for plan C in light of financial figures showing that the UK economy is officially back in recession exactly as he said it wasn’t. The Professional Footballers’ Association is proposing clauses in players’ contracts that would make racism gross misconduct. Oh, and someone senior in UK Athletics apparently reckons that Jessica Ennis is carrying too much weight…

Friday 25 May
Twelve high streets have been chosen as pilots for Mary Portas’s retail regeneration project; they will receive £100,000 each. Jess Ennis laughs at the suggestion that she’s a bit lardy; she has the abs to make such a stance rather easier than for most of the rest of us. The IOC have refused permission for Majlinda Kelmendi to compete in the Olympic judo competition under a neutral Olympic flag; she will now compete for Albania. Tracey Emin’s homecoming exhibition opens at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Jacques Rogge is confident that Saudi Arabia will send a women’s team to the London Games. Watch this space.

Saturday 26 May
A number of street parties, including one outside the chancellor’s house, reveal that there are still a few republicans in the country despite news report suggestions to the contrary. It also seems that the good people of Margate have welcomed the return of its prodigal daughter, Tracey Emin. The Olympic torch continues with a series of the good, the famous and the sponsors’ choices carrying the flame, while Fast Girls, a British film being billed as the female equivalent of Chariots of Fire, hopes to ride the Olympic wave to the box office. Cav’s quest to become only the fifth cyclist to win the points jersey in all three grand tours slips away in the mountains on the penultimate day of the Giro d’Italia.

Sunday 27 May
A heat wave across the UK this weekend has resulted in five drownings. At Cannes Michael Haneke’s Amour wins the Palme d’Or. Porky old Jess Ennis sets a new British heptathlon record and Birmingham City win the FA Women’s Cup, beating Chelsea in the final.

Monday 28 May
The chancellor decides that actually he won’t be putting a tax on pasties. The Forth rail bridge and Gibraltar’s Gorham Caves are being proposed by the UK government for inclusion on the Unesco list of world heritage sites. In Berlin relaxed open-air karaoke is bringing big crowds to the Mauerpark but authorities are trying to stamp it out by increasing licensing costs. Back home the FA has voted to implement new rules for youth competitions, meaning that 11-a-side games on full-sized pitches will not start until under-13 level.

Tuesday 29 May
Department of Can’t Make It Up: the UN appoints Robert Mugabe as a tourism ambassador. Terry Pratchett wins the Everyman Wodehouse award for comic fiction. Also remember Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, who said that she had little sympathy for the Greeks because they should have paid their taxes? She doesn’t pay any tax. The Tate announces the gift of nine works of art from Mercedes and Ian Stoutzker. It seems that the Paralympics in London might actually sell out for the first time in the history of the event. The Kensal Rise library, famously opened by Mark Twain and the subject of ongoing protests over its closure, has its book removed by Brent council in the middle of the night. The BOA is to discuss GB Taekwondo’s selection process, which to date has omitted Aaron Cook, the world number one.

Wednesday 30 May
Operation U-turn now includes the pasty tax, VAT on static caravans, secret courts for security cases and a cull of buzzards. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller wins the Orange prize for women’s fiction. London 2012 news includes a snub by President Putin and a decision by Rebecca Adlington to give up Twitter during the Games in light of some nasty comments. Deaths on Everest reignite the debate over tourism on the world’s highest mountain.

Thursday 31 May
In New York Mayor Bloomberg is planning to ban the sale of fizzy, sugar-based drinks in the biggest sizes. Jeremy Hunt is still in a job despite his evidence to the Leveson enquiry having to be watched through the fingers by all the hardest-hearted. The BBC is to broadcast an adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses on Radio 4. This year’s Edinburgh festival fringe will be the biggest ever, including an outpost in Glasgow. In the world of Formula One it seems that the time is not right to float the company. Charles Van Commenee denies he was the culprit in the slanging match over Jessica Ennis’s waistline and Liverpool FC are to focus on expanding Anfield rather than building a new ground.



the world of leisure
May 2012

 In Stratford the Olympic hockey venue gets its test event underway and some way to the east even as the Leveson inquiry continues to demonstrate just how odious the tabloid newspaper industry has been The Sun chooses to use its front page to mock Roy Hodgson for a perceived speech impediment; they just don’t get it, do they.

last month


other news


an independent view for the leisure industry

front page


back issues





about us

contact us

back page