Wednesday 1 September
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre will re-open in November after a £112 million, three-and-a-half-year refurbishment. Britain has become a “selfish, hedonistic wasteland”, according to Edmund Adamus, pastoral affairs director at the Roman Catholic diocese of Westminster and a man who presumably believes in the concepts of original sin and papal infallibility. Greece introduces a ban on smoking in enclosed public areas; 42% of Greeks over the age of 15 smoke, against a European average of 29%. In South Africa the director of South Africa’s National Gallery, Riason Naidoo, defends his decision to replace some paintings by European masters with the work of African artists.
Thursday 2 September
Three of Pakistan’s cricketers are suspended by the ICC and charged under the game’s anti-corruption code. Scotland is planning legislation to impose a minimum charge for alcohol at a rate of 45p per unit. Artist and founder of the Stuckist group, Charles Thomson, accuses Damien Hirst of plagiarism with reference to 15 of the great shark slicer’s works. A maze at Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall first laid out in 1833 is re-opened after extensive restoration.
Friday 3 September
Yoko Ono visits Liverpool and several of the city’s Lennon-related sites. Eleven Rangers fans are jailed for their part in the riots in Manchester after the UEFA cup final in 2008; judge Andrew Blake puts everything in perspective by describing the riots as “the worst night of violence and destruction suffered by Manchester city centre since the blitz.” Tapestries from the Sistine Chapel are to go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum alongside Raphael’s cartoons for works that hang in the same chapel.
Saturday 4 September
As an unnamed Sri Lankan player comes under the match-fixing spotlight, a judge in India reckons that betting rings in South Asia are channelling funds to terrorist organisations. There are calls for a more fitting memorial to the poet Sylvia Plath than the small headstone in Heptonstall, Yorkshire. Jonathan Harvey, one of Britain’s leading composers, says that classical music should be amplified to attract a new, more youthful audience.
Sunday 5 September
The ICC adds a fourth Pakistan cricketer, Yasir Hameed, to its enquiries. A report from thinktank ResPublica reckons that the Gift Aid system costs charities some £750 million a year. England lose narrowly to New Zealand in the women’s rugby world cup final at the Stoop. Golfer Laura Davies wins her 75th career victory in Austria.
Monday 6 September
If you’re unfit, middle-aged and a man working more than 45 hours a week your chances of dying of heart disease are twice as high as those working fewer hours, according to a study in Heart, a medical journal dealing with, er, hearts. As the UK prepares to deal with the effects of Chancellor Georgie’s cuts for poor people, in the USA the government is preparing a $50 billion spending plan on public works to buoy their economy. Who knew that there is a thriving riding club in Gaza City?
Tuesday 7 September
A psychologist at Northumbria University has published an explanation of why so many men can’t dance very well; it’s about a varied repertoire, apparently. Play England’s research suggests that parents think that schools are too concerned about health and safety, and this is having an adverse effect on their children. Russia complains that its bid for the 2018 World Cup is being undermined by sniping by the English FA. Still on Planet Football, Birmingham City admits that it might owe HMRC more than £5 million in relation to image rights payments.
Wednesday 8 September
Experian says that the planned public spending cuts will hit the north of Britain hardest. The Royal Academy announces plans for its first exhibition of British sculpture for 30 years. Tony Blair cancels a book-signing event at Tate Modern following concerns about protests. In the USA a small-town reverend is planning a book burning. In Sydney a circus has had to drop the act in which a woman swallows a live fish after protests from animal rights campaigners. Blackwell, the bookshop chain, is to be restructured along the lines of John Lewis to give the business to its employees rather than see it swallowed by investors. Signor Capello confirms that he will be stepping down at the end of his current contract as England manager. In snooker John Higgins is banned for six months but cleared of match-fixing. Sheffield Wednesday escapes receivership with help from the Co-op Bank. In rugby Welsh players have been left “stunned” by the Welsh Rugby Union’s decision to use the rugby-shy Gavin Henson to promote its new national kit. Concerns regarding the risks being run by white-water rafting companies in Turkey. Twelve American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are facing trial on charges that they were part of a “kill team” that shot civilians for sport.
Thursday 9 September
Jimmy Page has written an autobiography, which is available to you for £445. A new sculpture by Jeremy Deller is centre stage in the atrium of the Imperial War Museum in London. Tate Modern is to host a major Miro exhibition, the first in London for 50 years. The Roman baths in Bath have now been restored after a section-by-section restoration project; 900,000 people visit the baths each year, bringing £92 million into the local economy and a £3.3 million profit to the council. A crèche in France is to put tracking chips into children’s clothes. The Royal Bank of Scotland has put the debts relating to Liverpool FC into it toxic-asset division.
Friday 10 September
Visual artists, including Tracey Emin and David Shrigley, launch a campaign against the public spending cuts. In France controversy at Versailles (again) with an exhibition of the provocative sculpture of Takashi Murakami. Middlesbrough Ladies football club embarks on a tour of North Korea.
Saturday 11 September
The Tour of Britain cycle race starts in Rochdale. A “treasure trove” of 40-year-old British television broadcasts has been found in the US Library of Congress. HMRC is likely to face problems reclaiming the £2 billion it has undercharged PAYE tax payers given the news that it has written off more than £40 billion (we’ll say that again: more than £40 billion) in the past five years. Real ale in Britain is now gaining market share against the all pervasive lager and there are now more than 700 brewers of proper beer in the UK. The catalogue for the sale of Lehman Brothers’ art collection has been published.
Sunday 12 September
David Cameron’s vision for Britain includes neighbours taking over the running of local parks, along with post offices and generating their own energy. Tory peer Lord Sainsbury is to give £25 million to the British Museum, allowing Secretary Hunt to point to the efficacy of philanthropy for funding culture; £12.5 million of it will be from the Linbury Trust and another £12.5 million from the Monument Trust. A survey of new graduates shows that they are more pessimistic about getting a job than they were when they started their courses and that a third of male graduates would be happy to swap work for taking care of their children. A theme park in Mallorca titled the Holy Land will be offering “live resurrections” for punters when it opens. An 11-year-old girl is killed in a boating accident at a watersports club in west London.
Monday 13 September
It’s Roald Dahl Day! Cue a month-long celebration of the author’s works. The police say they won’t be able to protect the public when they, the public, protest against the government’s cuts to public spending if they, the police, have their budgets cut. Nottingham is officially the UK’s least car-dependent city. A decorative Roman helmet is found in Cumbria and is thought to be worth in the region of £300,000. Sport England, UK Sport and the Youth Sport Trust could be moving to the London Olympic site. Steph Brennan, the former Harlequins physio who was involved in the ‘Bloodgate’ affair, tells a misconduct hearing that fake blood had been used on five other occasions and he had been trying to get the club to stop doing it.
Tuesday 14 September
It seems that there are some concerns regarding the Catholic church’s understanding of what constitutes a reasonable child protection policy. The Health Protection Agency points an accusatory finger at British restaurants, particularly their dish cloths which are frequently less than pristine. The V&A announces plans for a exhibition dedicated to the aesthetic movement of the late 19th century. Steph Brennan, former Harlequins physio, is struck off.
Wednesday 15 September
The British fashion industry is worth £21 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by the British Fashion Council. More research, this time from Aberdeen University, says that exercise cannot solve the obesity crisis on its own; we also need to eat less. The Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,500-year-old Babylonian relic, goes on display in Iran on loan from the British Museum; it’s due to be returned in January and in Bloomsbury fingers are being crossed. The FA cost-cutting move of its offices from Soho Square to Wembley has cost £17 million. Chapeau!
Thursday 16 September
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the UK. The Department for Communities and Local Government is rumoured to have agreed a 30% budget cut with the Treasury, indicating large-scale cuts for local authorities. Mervyn Westfield, a former Essex cricketer, is charged with spot-fixing. Another cricketer – make that ex-cricketer – Andrew Flintoff announces his retirement; that he does so on the last day of the county championship, thus stealing the headlines from champions Nottinghamshire, ensures disgruntlement in cricket circles. Mark Cavendish wins his third stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
Friday 17 September
The Italian culture ministry threatens to take control of the Venice film festival following accusations that the head of the festival jury, Quentin Tarrantino, has given all the prizes to his mates or former girlfriends. Works of art some 5,000 years old have been discovered at sites in Somaliland in eastern Africa by a team from University College London. File under ‘WTF’: a primary school in North Yorkshire has felt obliged to alter its arrangements for playtime following complaints about the noise from neighbouring residents. The Scottish Premier League is planning to restructure to counter dropping standards and falling interest; the Old Firm derbies will still take place four times a year. Dave Brailsford admits that British Cycling’s first Tour de France was a humbling experience.
Saturday 18 September
It seems that the department headed by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has been able to find a post for the highly inexperienced daughter of a Tory donor while everyone else in the department is looking for a new job. David Puttnam says that a Murdoch takeover of BSkyB would be an affront to democracy. The National Farmers Union want Chinese lanterns to be banned; it seems the lights in them can set crops ablaze. There will be opera at London’s King’s Head, a noted fringe theatre, as leading lights of the theatre world (Jonathan Miller, Joanna Lumley among them) say it’s high time people could afford to see Mozart (other composers, they note, are – and will be – available). Ricky Hatton admits that he’s got a few problems, but only a few. Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup squad are having to sue FIFA bigwig Jack Warner for their promised bonuses.
Sunday 19 September
Frankfurt could be accessible from London by a direct, high-speed train service by 2013. The government’s planned public spending cuts are not going to include Trident if the defence secretary has anything to do with it; spending £700 billion on big toys you can’t use is apparently essential. Frenchman Philippe Croizon, a quadruple amputee, completes a cross-Manche swim in 13 and a half hours. Plan UK says that their research suggests that half of girls feel unsafe in the cities in which they live. Butlins pays out £60 million in dividends, having had a very good year. Ijaz Butt, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, says that England were paid to lose a recent one-day international; cue blustering outrage. Mark Cavendish becomes only second Briton to win the points jersey in one of cycling’s Grand Tours, and only the third to win any jersey outright (oh, alright: Malcolm Elliott and Robert Millar).
Monday 20 September
Among the 1,700 people sacked by the Department of Health are most of their public health and physical activity promotions staff. The European Tour Operators Association warns that the 2012 Olympic Games may adversely affect tourism numbers in the UK; other Olympic hosts have found a dip coincides with the Games. High dudgeon, we salute you: Andrew Strauss threatens legal action against Ijaz Butt. The Active People survey suggests that progress towards a 2012 legacy of physical activity is going rather slowly.
Tuesday 21 September
Whoops: a bridge collapses near the site of Delhi’s Commonwealth Games main stadium, plus the small matter of an athletes’ village not quite ready for visitors; numerous athletes are finding hamstring niggles serious enough to prevent them travelling to India. Birmingham City Council denies that it is planning to sell off some of the city’s cultural buildings. The city of Paris, meanwhile, is unveiling the first fountain that spouts sparkling water in an attempt to wean it citizens off the bottles. The CBI, not noted for its Keynesian leanings, says that the government’s public spending cuts will harm the economy.
Wednesday 22 September
The CWG organising committee give Delhi 48 hours to sort themselves out. Suffolk County Council says it is looking at outsourcing everything, even the decision to outsource everything (we made this last bit up, but not the first bit). Apparently the police see the tackling of the minor irritations that make up most of our society’s anti-social behaviour as beneath their professional dignity. Switzerland has a new cabinet in which women outnumber the men. The interminable and troubled Pakistan tour of England comes mercifully to a close. Liverpool FC’s managing director admits that the club is barely able to pay its bank charges.
Thursday 23 September
The Guardian names James Cameron as the most powerful person in the film industry. Barnet’s plan to become an ‘easyCouncil’, with minimal services supplied, falls foul of the auditor’s scrutiny; it seems they don’t yet have a business plan two years after starting the initiative. Inspector Knacker is investigating the death of five trees on Sandbanks; they suspect foul play. A report commissioned by the Department for the Environment finds that England is failing to protect its wildlife. Four British cyclists say that they won’t be going to the Commonwealth Games, while Victoria Pendleton wins her ninth consecutive national sprint championship.
Friday 24 September
In Spain grandparents say they are going to go on strike; half of all Spanish grandparents look after their grandchildren every day. Unison threatens strike action over government’s proposed cuts to public sector services. Corrie is now the longest-running soap in the world and William Roache is now the longest-serving actor, having been in for the whole of the Street’s 50-year run. Chris Hoy gets beaten in the semis of the national match sprint championship.
Saturday 25 September
Sir Ian McKellen says that there has been a decline in acting standards in the UK, a result of money-driven culture and the loss of regional and amateur theatre. The Cirque Romanès, one of Paris’s cultural fixtures, is threatened as part of France’s decision to deport the Roma population. The secretary of state for health (it’s Andrew Lansley) wants to encourage the fight against obesity by obliging restaurants to show calorie values on their menus.
Sunday 26 September
Glasgow is at pains to remind everyone that 70% of the venues required for its hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 are in place. Meanwhile, there’s a bit of a ‘to do’ about who opens the Delhi games: Prince Charles or the president of India. The BBC announces the end of In the Night Garden, home of Iggle Piggle. Architect Boris Pasternak, grandson of his more literary namesake, protests against the design of a new museum to be built opposite the Kremlin. Rugby league’s grand finals in Warrington are marred by violence (among spectators rather than players). Terry Newton, a rugby league player serving a drugs ban, commits suicide.
Monday 27 September
A survey of new academy schools finds that many of them are spending their extra cash on, among other things, sport and music. Sheffield City Council sends preliminary redundancy notices to 8,500 members of staff. In Cambodia Angkor Wat, one of the world’s most famous temples, is threatened by falling groundwater levels, the result of unchecked urban development nearby. Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror is unveiled in Kensington Gardens. Yawar Saeed, the manager of Pakistan’s cricket team, stands down from his post.
Tuesday 28 September
Designs for Dundee’s Victoria and Albert Museum outpost are revealed. David Higgins announces that he is to quit the Olympic Delivery Authority to become chief executive of Network Rail. Wasps and Wycombe Wanderers reveal their preferred location for a new ground. Culture secretary Hunt gathers his 500 staff at Central Methodist Hall to tell them that 70 of them will be gone by April with more to follow.
Wednesday 29 September
Sam Mendes is to oversee a Shakespeare season for the BBC. The Lehman Brothers’ art collection goes under the hammer in London. Trevor Brooking is said to have finally given up on his ambition to have the FA control coaching in all areas of the game, whether amateur or professional. British cyclist Emma Pooley wins the world time-trial championship in Melbourne.
Thursday 30 September
Ireland, one of the nations that have pioneered the economic approach of making savage cuts to public spending to tackle budget deficits, says it hasn’t worked and more cuts are coming. Michael Grandage is to step down from his post as head of the Donmar Warehouse theatre next year. Manchester City lost £121 million last year, having spent £133 million on wages. Alberto Contador, winner of this year’s Tour de France, is suspended following a positive doping test; he protests his innocence. Tony Curtis dies at the age of 85.
the world of leisure
Wednesday 1 September: 42% of Greeks over the age of 15 smoke, against a European average of 29%.
Monday 6 September:
As the UK prepares to deal with the effects of Chancellor Georgie’s cuts for poor people, in the USA the government is preparing a $50 billion spending plan on public works to buoy their economy.
Saturday 11 September:
HMRC is likely to face problems reclaiming the £2 billion it has undercharged PAYE tax payers given the news that it has written off more than £40 billion (we’ll say that again: more than £40 billion) in the past five years.