Saturday 1 September
Ellie Simmonds is the latest Paralympian to get on the front pages, securing gold and a world record in pool in the 400m freestyle, while Sarah Storey wins more gold in the velodrome. The chair of the Local Government Association, Sir Merrick Cockell, says that local authority coffers will be empty in five years. Max Bygraves dies at the age of 89 and we also lose Hal David, legendary song writer, at the age of 91.

Sunday 2 September
Northumberlandia, a work of art in earthwork by Charles Jencks, is unveiled near Newcastle. At the Paralympic Oscar Pistorius loses the 200m sprint to Brazilian Alan Oliveira and immediately claims that Oliveira is gaining an unfair advantage from elongated prostheses. The Donmar is to stage an all-female Julius Caesar in November. Nestlé says that it is making tins of Quality Street smaller for Christmas. Azonto, a dance from Ghana, is apparently all the rage, sweeping across Europe all the way, we don’t doubt, to Leisure Industry Week. The British Retail Consortium reckons it has research showing that the London Olympics did nothing to boost retail sales.

Monday 3 September
The chief medical officer for the International Paralympic Committee acknowledges that the growing popularity of the Paralympics increases the risk of doping. Oscar Pistorius has still got the hump.

Tuesday 4 September
A government reshuffle sees the leisure sector waving goodbye to Jeremy ‘Berkshire’ Hunt and hello to Maria Miller at the DCMS. David Weir becomes a Paralympic double gold medallist, winning the T46 1500m, and the V&A reveals some of the details of their forthcoming Bowie exhibition, including access to Bowie’s own private archive of 60,000 items. Dr Hilary Cass, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says that adverts for junk food should be banned before 9pm. The Duke of Devonshire is to sell off one of the Chatsworth Raphael drawings from its collection. The London Legacy Development Corporation, which will take charge of the Olympic Park after the Games are over, vows to invest £2 million in Paralympic legacy projects. Sir Peter Bazalgette, infamous for bringing us Big Brother on television and less famous as a former chairman of the English National Opera, is confirmed as chairman of Arts Council England. A woman drowns off a Cornish beach trying to aid her sons struggling in the surf.

Wednesday 5 September
Sir Tim Berners-Lee explains, for the benefit of reactionary and ill-liberal governments around the world (including that of the UK), that it is not possible to turn the internet off. The BFI London film festival, opening next month, is to have a competition running in the manner (or, if you will, ‘manor’) of Cannes and Venice. At the Paralympics Alex Zinardi, former F1 driver, wins the individual wheelchair time trial at Brands Hatch, while on the running track the debate over blade prostheses rumbles on. Apparently the £8 billion redevelopment of the Battersea power station site will begin this year (start the clock). Lord Oaksey, jockey, broadcaster and journalist, dies aged 83.

Thursday 6 September
Medal madness in the Paralympics with Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and Sarah Storey winning yet more gold; the GB team has now passed its pre-Games target for medals and variety of sports in which they are achieved. Artist Frank Auerbach has donated nine etchings by his friend Lucian Freud to the Courtauld Gallery. On Planet Football the Premier League is to consider proposals for a wage cap to prevent any more of the game’s riches ending up in the pockets of the players (start the clock) and Stephen “Stevie” Gerrard, the on-pitch embodiment of bemused disappointment, says that the England team he now captains has to believe that “miracles do happen”, even though they don’t.

Friday 7 September
The families of the Hillsborough disaster are urging the prime minister to issue an official apology when an independent report is published later this week. Meanwhile, the PM is apparently minded to make sure the honours system is sufficiently warped to accommodate all the Paralympian and Olympians that need gonging. Amid Paralympics-related indifference, England win a football match on the road to a disappointing performance in the finals of some competition or other.

Saturday 8 September
Andy Murray is through to another major final. Super Saturday again at the Olympic park with Ellie Simmonds among those winning more medals. Apparently 77% of MPs do not think the UK’s drug policies work and the Bristol Old Vic is getting ready to reopen after a £12-million restoration. Jean Todt, president of the governing body of motor sport, is worried that Formula One might be a bit expensive, while Mark Cavendish seems to have come to the conclusion that the British Cycling road team is a bit too crowded and might be on his way to a team where he can be top dog.

Sunday 9 September
And with a sigh and a tear we say goodbye to our Olympic and Paralympic summer, thanking all things holy that the Paralympic closing ceremony was a damned sight better than the Olympic equivalent, even if the Paralympic version did have too much Coldplay for comfort (ie it had some Coldplay). Disability campaigners have pointed out that many of the UK’s sports centres, gyms and pools are a long way short of accessible, which could be an issue for any would-be Paralympians come Monday morning. It seems that London’s restaurants are having something of a mini-boom, largely based on a collective realisation that reasonable pricing policies might encourage people through the door.

Monday 10 September
A huge number of people gather in London to see the Olympic and Paralympic celebratory parade. Tate Britain opens its Pre-Raphaelites exhibition; expect a mass outbreak of whimsy any day. Olympic medallists Lewis Smith and Victoria Pendleton are among the contestants on this season’s Strictly, while Lord Coe is ready to take on the mantle of the head of the British Olympic Association.

Tuesday 11 September
In north London squatters have taken up residence in the Friern Barnet library, a building recently vacated by library staff and all the books. The Booker short list is published and includes Glossop’s fourth-best writer, the divine Hilary Mantel, and the Little Baron says that G4S never really grasped the scale of the Games security challenge. Tessa Jowell, former culture secretary and Olympic delivery minister, announces that she is stepping down from the shadow cabinet. Remember all the padlocks left on Rome’s Milvian bridge (see WoL passim)? The city authorities have removed them all to stop the bridge being damaged. Charles Van Commenee says he will be stepping down as head coach of UK Athletics. Cav wins a stage of the Tour of Britain and says he wants to stay in the rainbow jersey of the world champion rather than take the leader’s jersey as he only has it for another couple of weeks.

Wednesday 12 September
The independent panel looking into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster publishes its findings, laying bare the scale of the conspiracy and contempt at the heart of the authorities’ cover-up of the facts of the disaster in which 96 people died. After 23 years Kelvin MacKenzie finally apologises for The Sun’s headline of the paper on the day following the event, claiming that he has only just discovered that the story was in fact a complete fabrication. In Leicester they think they have found Richard III under a car park and the 2012 legacy is in safe hands, specifically those of Boris Johnson, who has taken personal control of the London Legacy Development Corporation. Cav wins his second stage on the trot and takes the ToB leader’s jersey, while the FA plan to celebrate their 150th anniversary next year by getting Germany, Argentina and Brazil to beat England at Wembley.

Thursday 13 September
The FA maintains its reputation for woeful ineptitude by not issuing, and then issuing but not quite, an apology for its role in the Hillsborough disaster; this, along with a statement by Norman “Sir Norman” Bettison, now chief constable of West Yorkshire but then a senior officer at South Yorkshire police with responsibility for the game, explaining that he had “nothing to hide”, serves only to further incense Hillsborough victims groups. Charles Van Commenee says that he was too relaxed as head coach of UK Athletics and that “we lost some medals because of coaching”. Meanwhile, Neil Black is installed as UK Athletics’ performance director. Manchester City’s £100-million training facility near its current stadium is scheduled to open for the 2014-15 season and Karren Brady reckons that West Ham in the Olympic Stadium can deliver an Olympic legacy; and nor do we.

Friday 14 September
The Duchess of Cambridge’s leisure proclivities seem to have captured the headlines, while Norman “Sir Norman” Bettison [See WoL passim] issues another statement including the classic non-apology: “if my earlier statement… has caused any further upset”; his job would seem to be hanging on an increasingly shoogly peg. The prime minister (still David Cameron) is among those reading passages for a project to compile a complete reading of Herman Melville’s fishing memoir, Moby Dick. The sale of all the surplus furnishings and equipment from the Olympic village gets underway in Tilbury, while in France two eminent medical researchers say that half of all prescriptions issued are useless at best and frequently damaging to patients’ health; €36 billion is spent on medication in France each year.

Saturday 15 September
Strictly’s back with a couple of Olympians on board, a pattern that will probably continue for several years. In the West End, theatre-goers are getting upset by professional queuers being used to snap up desirable tickets. At Old Trafford it seems a section of the United crowd hasn’t quite understood the implications of Hillsborough, taking the opportunity to taunt Liverpool FC as usual.

Sunday 16 September
The privatisation of the NHS will bring £20 billion of business to private sector companies in the next few years, apparently, while the British Social Attitudes survey shows that a growing number of Britons would like to see public spending rising even if it means tax rises. Andy Murray returns to his home town of Dunblane and is greeted by huge crowds. Tony Phoenix-Morrison finishes the Great North Run, the thirtieth half-marathon he has completed while carrying a fridge on his back. In his last day in the world champion’s rainbow stripes Mark Cavendish takes his fifteenth victory of the year, while Jonathan Tiernan-Locke becomes the first Brit to win the Tour of Britain in any of its formats for, ooh, ages.

Monday 17 September
Sarah Lund has a new jumper for the forthcoming series of The Killing. In Uganda British theatre producer David Cecil is arrested and bailed for staging a play that includes a gay character. In Leeds Declan Crosbie, who was arrested in the women’s changing rooms in a sports centre where the Chinese women’s swimming team were preparing for London 2012, is spared jail, having been convicted of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Tuesday 18 September
The Willow Man sculpture near the M5 is having a refit – head and arms – overseen by artist Serena de la Hay. Sales of digital fiction are soaring but paperbacks, the more traditional medium, are holding steady. New director general of the BBC George Entwistle would like to see more women’s sport on the Corporation’s channels. In Venice the city authorities are seeking to raise
€5 billion for restoration projects by selling advertising banners on the Rialto Bridge. In Holland British Cycling’s Elinor Barker wins the junior time trial world championships and back in Blighty British bobsleigher Simon Carty tests positive for clenbuterol, bringing a two-year ban.

Wednesday 19 September
Worry in the ranks as Inspector Knacker warns ministers that the planned badger cull could result in risks to public safety as brock batterers face off against pro-badger protesters all under the cover of darkness. Greece is preparing the mother of all fire sales as it tries to raise a bit of cash to throw into the bottomless pit of its EU bailout. Those who like to get to bed in time for The World Tonight on R4 will have to get used to a new voice as presenter Robin Lustig is to step down after 23 years. In the US the Anschutz group is selling its sports and entertainment business, which includes the 02 arena and numerous sporting franchises. In Newbury, Berkshire the racecourse has done a deal to raise £42 million by selling off parts of the course to a property developer. England’s women qualify for the 2013 European football championships with a 3-0 win over Croatia.

Thursday 20 September
Proving that the some people still just don’t get it, the Tory party treasurer, Lord Fink (sic), has been lobbying the chancellor to make the UK more like a business tax haven than it is already. Meanwhile, further down the Westiminster corridor, the Commons home affairs committee says that G4S should forgo the £57 million management fee that the company reckons it is still entitled to after the Olympic security fiasco. And then Serco, every government’s favourite outsourcer, admits that it has falsified NHS-related reports on several hundred occasions. It seems that a new seascape by JMW Turner may be authenticated by experts following years of research by its owner, Jonathan Weal, who bought it for less than four grand at a golf club sale; if genuine, the work could now be worth £20 million. Ofcom keeps a straight face while announcing that BSkyB is a “fit and proper” company when it comes to a broadcasting licence. The British Museum will be hosting an exhibition of artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum next spring, while, in an excellent example of
ironic cultural propinquity, Lazio supporters visit White Hart Lane and confirm that racism and ante-diluvian attitudes are alive and well in Italian football. And Roy “The Hodge” Hodgson reckons that the Premier League needs a winter break to improve the performance of his England team; yeah, because that will make all the difference.

Friday 21 September
Miriam O’Reilly reports that ageism and sexism is still running its dismal course at the BBC, even – in fact particularly – after the employment tribunal found in her favour. Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell reveals his inner patronising git while abusing Downing Street police for asking him to dismount his bike. Tate Modern will be staging the most comprehensive Lichtenstein exhibition ever attempted next year. Stephen Fry is coming back to the stage 17 years after his last unhappy experience on the boards and Helen Mirren is to play the Queen again. Was Keats an opium addict? Literary academics are arguing about it so we don’t have to. The European commission gives the green light for Universal Music to takeover EMI with some caveats.

Saturday 22 September
As if the last couple of years have been a bad dream of somebody else’s making, the Lib Dems are suggesting that the cuts to public services have been too deep and are nothing to do with them; a nation laughs bitterly and mirthlessly. Meanwhile the world of music is wailing at the proposed new Ebacc qualification, which, they argue, will take music out of secondary education; what are you going to do now, Govey?

Sunday 23 September
Tagging criminals has cost £1 billion over the last 13 years and has been largely ineffective, says Chris Miller, a former senior copper who was the Association of Chief Police Officers’ tagging expert. Another development project on Cork Street in London will see another four galleries disappear [See WoL passim]. John Terry announces his retirement from international football on the eve of his FA disciplinary hearing and Rebecca Adlington says she will not be competing at Rio 2016. An avalanche on Mount Manaslu in the Himalayas kills nine climbers and injures several others.

Monday 24 September
This could be a golden age of television, say British actors scooping up US Emmys for roles in Homeland and (brace yourself) Downton Abbey. Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell is still having to wriggle through apologies and denials after being told to ride his bike on the pavement by Inspector Knacker, anathema to every responsible rider whatever their views on social equity. A new DJ appears on the Radio 1 breakfast show and turns the world on its head by playing lots of records instead of telling listeners how brilliant he is. An exhibition of royal portraits at Windsor Castle will include a set of Warhol prints. Meanwhile the National Trust says that too many parents are cooping up their children, denying them an adventurous outdoor childhood. Both JJB Sports and Vince Power’s Music Festivals Group call in the administrators. The FA offers Wembley for the final of the Euro 2020, the competition that could see the European Championships held around Europe rather than by a single host.

Tuesday 25 September
For some reason that escapes the World of Leisure the BBC feels the need to apologise for a story that reveals the Queen has been lobbying the home secretary to influence the judicial process in relation to specific sub judice cases; should someone not have a word with one? Poor old Hornby: it seems that their die-cast models of London 2012 mascots Worlock and Mandible have not become “a lasting legacy” thus putting the behemoth of British modelling in the financial doo-doo; not enough people looked at the mascots and said, “That’s the one I’d get.” Or perhaps they did. Researchers in Oxford have published a paper in the BMJ suggesting that obese children run a greater risk of heart attack when adults. Tributes are paid to Michael Stanley, director of Modern Art Oxford, who has died suddenly at the age of 37.

Wednesday 26 September
The Royal Academy announces that it will hold an exhibition dedicated to Manet next year. JK Rowling’s latest novel, The Casual Vacancy, is published. Meanwhile, in a fantasy world reminiscent of the most bizarre escapades of Harry Potter, Kelvin MacKenzie is to ask South Yorkshire police for an apology for “the lies their officers told” (wake us up when Kelvin comes to his senses or the clocks strike thirteen). Shall we resurrect WoL Olympic Watch for a moment? It seems the Ministry of Defence has spent £2 billion on drones in the last five years. Singer Andy Williams dies at the age of 84.

Thursday 27 September
Ed Balls says his Treasury would be ruthless with “a proper zero-based spending review”. South Yorkshire’s chief constable, David Crompton, says that Kelvin MacKenzie won’t be getting an apology, while Nicholas Serota says Govey’s proposals for an English baccalaureate is a daft idea as it excludes the arts. Home Office figures suggest that illegal drug use is falling out of fashion. On Planet Football Newcastle United give manager Alan Pardew an eight-year contract (start the clock) and the FA bans John Terry for four games, having found him guilty of using racist language during a game.

Friday 28 September
It seems that Jimmy “Sir Jimmy” Savile is to be posthumously outed as an abuser of young girls in a television documentary. The Women’s Library, the oldest collection of women’s literature in Europe, has been saved with the LSE agreeing to take it off the hands of the London Metropolitan University. The French consul in London, Edouard Braine, says that the UK is “50 years ahead” of France in its attitude to disability. The chief executive of G4S, Nick Buckles, keeps his job while the chief operating officer and the director of global events lose theirs. Nice.

Saturday 29 September
A project to record every painting owned by and on behalf of the British nation is almost complete; the essential details include 210,0000 paintings by 46,000 artists in some 3,000 locations. The Michelin Guide is increasingly keen on the British gastropub, handing out stars aplenty, while in Italy literary critic Pietro Citati calls for a ban on tourists gawping at the Sistene Chapel.

Sunday 30 September
In Chicago Europe snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the Ryder Cup. The prime minister and the mayor of London have a quiet family get-together at Chequers and later at a local pub, a private event that is the subject of extensive press briefings to make sure everyone knows about it. Tory party chairman Grant Shapps says it is perfectly normal for people to employ several aliases and it in no way marks him out as a dodgy individual up to no good, even though evidence to the contrary is mounting. And in China it seems polo is “exploding”, according to the organisers of British Polo Day. Back home, Arsenal win the Women’s Super League.


the world of leisure
September 2012

On Planet Football the Premier League is to consider proposals for a wage cap to prevent any more of the game’s riches ending up in the pockets of the players (start the clock) and Stephen “Stevie” Gerrard, the on-pitch embodiment of bemused disappointment, says that the England team he now captains has to believe that “miracles do happen”, even though they don’t.

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