Friday 1 June
Diamond jubilee fever begins; hold on to your bunting. DC Comics is to have its own gay superhero with the introduction of the Green Lantern. Three children have had work accepted by the Royal Academy for its summer exhibition. Noor al-Malki is to become the first woman to compete for Qatar, which leaves Saudi Arabia as the only nation not sending women to compete at London 2012. And the outfits for the Games officials are unveiled, featuring regal purple and a bit of a zip as a reference, apparently, to our punk heritage. Fitness First is to get rid of half its sites as part of efforts to avoid administration; the company has debts of £560 million and is proposing a company voluntary arrangement. Liverpool FC appoint Brendan Rodgers as its latest manager. Fran Halsall reckons that this a golden age for women’s swimming in the UK.
Saturday 2 June
It seems that Inspector Knacker is planning “pre-emptive arrests” of people suspected of planning to disrupt the Games, which does not bode well given the government’s general attitude to ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and the Met’s record to date; Charles de Menezes, anyone? Meanwhile the culture secretary still hangs on to his job in the face of overwhelming evidence of mendacity or stupidity. The number of racehorses destroyed in the last year was twice that of the previous year, suggesting that the recession is having a fatal effect for some. Wada’s new draft code includes provision to ban drugs cheats from the next Olympic cycle; perhaps the next step will be to extend it to a life ban?
Sunday 3 June
The jubilee flotilla sails down the Thames to the rhythm of slashing rain and a collective sigh of ennui from a grateful nation watching on the telly, although an estimated one million people line the Thames. Next stop for Her Madge is a ‘pop concert’ featuring some of the most predictable acts ever assembled, although Grace Jones’ hula-hooping catches the eye. American prom-style events are now well established in UK schools, apparently, with even primary schools getting in on the act. The rising cost of nursery places is forcing many parent to keep their children at home. Mike Hall is on the verge of breaking the record for cycling round the world and will have taken 92 days to cover the 18,000 miles, which is about 200 miles a day.
Monday 4 June
It seems that the Fields in Trust campaign to protect 2,012 open space to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee is still some way short, with many of the royal boroughs noticeably slow in coming forward. The Olympic torch is in Ireland, making its steady way to somewhere else. In India Sachin Tendulkar is sworn in to the upper house of parliament.
Tuesday 5 June
Day four of the bank holiday madness marathon weekend and Prince Philip checks himself into hospital to get away from it all. Inspector Knacker is to investigate half a million people who might have evil designs on London 2012, while no doubt keeping plenty of resources in hand to inspect ticket-holders’ T-shirts at the gate. In London archaeologists have unearthed the foundations of The Curtain theatre, which preceded The Globe as one of London’s leading 17th-century theatres. Plans to stage a performance of works by Richard Wagner in Tel Aviv have been cancelled after waves of protest.
Wednesday 6 June
The Scottish whisky industry is worth an investment of £1 billion, reckons drinks giant Diageo, while the floor of York Minister has been turfed for a diamond jubilee dinner. Spiralling property prices are driving galleries out of Bethnal Green and Sebastian Coe hails his own lifetime high point: warm-up man for Jedward, who are carrying the Olympic torch. After three meetings of the GB Taekwondo selection board world number one Aaron Cook still has not made the list for London 2012. Ray Bradbury, science fiction author extraordinaire, dies aged 91.
Thursday 7 June
England’s footy team arrives in Poland for Euro 2012 to a notable lack of excitement back home. Meanwhile UK government ministers are to boycott the championship as a protest over the jailing of the Ukrainian opposition leader; but they are only boycotting the opening stages just in case we make the latter stages and it gets exciting. Even more meanwhile, members of the Dutch team are subjected to racist abuse by a crowd gathered to watch them train; in an excellent example of corporate stupidity UEFA says that the monkey noises were not racially motivated. A severe outbreak of legionnaires’ disease continues to put people in hospital in Edinburgh. The Royal Academy is to spend nigh on £6 million to upgrade facilities for its 94,000 official friends. A Malaysian development consortium has successfully bid £400 million for the Battersea power station site.
Friday 8 June
In Poland Euro 2012 finally kicks off and England team members visit Auschwitz and the Schindler factory. Back home storms batter the south east of England, creating a very British summer scene of flooded beach huts and waves battering the promenade. Some 2,000 viewers have complained about the BBC coverage of the diamond jubilee. The Olympic torch is in Scotland and the BOA ratifies GB Taekwondo’s selection process, leaving Aaron Cook out of the Games.
Saturday 9 June
Oh. It seems that the chief exec of the company being flayed for their appalling treatment of, let’s call them ‘work experience stewards’, has a criminal conviction, which, one would have thought, would have excluded the company from any bidding process if anyone had done anything approaching due diligence. Prince Philip emerges from hospital to face the music; lucky for him the jubilee concert has finished. Disquiet on the Thames as a hire boat company wants to moor craft on what is held to be one of the most tranquil stretches of this most celebrated of rivers. Roy Hodgson explains why he did not pick Rio Ferdinand, citing an injury-strewn season, questions over Rio’s durability during a tournament and not wanting to put an otherwise first-choice pick in the position of a second-string player. He omits to explain why he did pick John Terry.
Sunday 10 June
At the Hayward Gallery the exhibition Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012 opens. London bus staff vote to strike over an Olympic bonus. Tom Daley is officially selected for London 2012 after winning the national 10m platform competition in Sheffield. In Jamaica Usain Bolt crashes his car – again – but walks away unscathed – unlike last time. Bradley ‘Wiggeau’ Wiggins defends his title in the Dauphine stage race in France, putting him among the very greatest achievers of British cycling and among the favourites for the Tour. Gulp.
Monday 11 June
England fail to lose to France, prompting an outburst of patriotic punting on the outcome of Euro 2012. James Corden wins a Tony in New York while across the UK it seems public space is being eaten up by developers and private companies. Zara Phillips makes the GB equestrian team for the Games and will be able to compete in one of her granny’s parks. The set of Coronation Street fails to secure English Heritage’s approval for listed status. The Royal Academy is to exhibit art created by children and young people in its show Childhood – The Real Event. In Xi’an, China archaeologists have uncovered even more members of the terracotta army and in Italy there are molto recriminations when part of the Trevi fountain crumbles. In Paris Rafa Nadal becomes the first player to win seven French Open titles.
Tuesday 12 June
Danny Boyle unveils the outline of the opening ceremony for London 2012; it seems to our untutored eye to be The Archers on acid. Meanwhile, the head of Syria’s national Olympic committee is to be banned from attending the Games. Some of the British Museum’s most celebrated treasures are to go out on loan to regional museums across the UK. In Aberdeen there is unrest over plans to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens to create a modern and, it is important to note, privately run park on the Victorian park that seems to have done the job quite well for the last century or so. Dave Brailsford says that going to a discretionary selection system to choose the national squad for major competitions like the Olympics was “the best thing we ever did”. At Euro 2012 there is fighting in the streets but for once the rioting does not involve England fans; step forward Russia and Poland.
Wednesday 13 June
BSkyB and BT pay £3 billion to broadcast the Premier League for three years, a 71% increase on the last pay day for those inhabiting the pinnacle of English football. The torch reaches St Andrews beach in Scotland and the DCMS reckons it will be returning some £400 million of the Olympic Games budget to the Treasury. Still with the Games, Aaron Cook is to sue the BOA over his non-selection by GB Taekwondo and Chris ‘Sir Chris’ Hoy restates his opposition to the reversal of the BOA’s drug-ban policy when David Millar is named in the long list for the British cycling team. Salvatore Ferragamo stages the first fashion show to be held in the Louvre. In Moscow it seems that Lenin’s time as a public curiosity could be drawing to a close and in Moscow’s west London suburbs Roberto DiMatteo is officially put in charge at Chelsea with a two-year contract.
Thursday 14 June
Allen Stanford, once the saviour of English cricket owing to his ability to rustle up a million in cash for a photo shoot, is jailed in the States for 110 years. It seems Neanderthals may have been the world’s first artists, according to those studying cave paintings in Spain. Jacques Rogges says anyone refusing to compete against an opponent for religious or political reasons will be severely punished and in Liverpool Ringo’s family home has been saved from the bulldozer following a public campaign. Shares in BSkyB and BT fall after analysts run their drool-dampened fingers over the numbers relating to the Premier League sale.
Friday 15 June
Martha Payne’s school dinner blog hits the headlines while Russell Brand plays warm-up man to the Dalai Lama. In Falmouth they are getting ready for this weekend’s international sea shanty festival. England manage to win a football match to the surprise of almost everybody involved or watching at home.
Saturday 16 June
Rio Ferdinand finds himself in financially remunerative hot water following his adverts for an Indonesian company that as well as owning the rights to screen Premier League matches also owns tobacco businesses, a relationship which some suggest does not sit well with his status as a supporter of Unicef. It seems that Peter Bazalgette is a contender, some say nailed-on favourite, to become chair of Arts Council England. The British Film Institute has uncovered a veritable cinematic treasure trove of children’s films made in the 1950s and through to the 1980s, while some lucky householder has discovered a bundle of 15 sketches by Constable at the back of a cupboard.
Sunday 17 June
David Nalbandian is defaulted at Queen’s Club in the final for injuring a linesman; speaking to the crowd he blames the tennis authorities for making him play too many tournaments. In Poland Wayne Rooney outs himself as the first person to admit that they think England can “go all the way” at Euro 2012. Meanwhile, in the women’s game England beat Holland 1-0 to put them in a strong position for qualification for Euro 2013. And to the surprise of literally no one it seems that tickets for London 2012 are finding their way onto the black market from various national Olympic committees.
Monday 18 June
Before they can collect all their Olympic kit members of the British team have to sit through a video presentation by Clive ‘Sir Clive’ Woodward explaining what he’s been up to for the past couple of years. A beach hut in Mudeford near Bournemouth sells for £170,000 and the Royal Opera House installs a work by artist Yinka Shonibare showing a ballerina in a bubble which will be shown whenever there is an opera or a ballet on at the venue. Venezuela has told Germany that it wants its ‘grandmother’, a 35-tonne sandstone boulder that has been in the Tiergarten park in Berlin for the last 15 years, returned. The Treasury is looking at reintroducing tax relief for TV production projects in the UK. Uefa fine Nicklas Bedtner £80,000 for displaying pants with a bookmaker’s logo on them during a Euro 2012 match, which makes an interesting comparison with the fines levied for racism, which have tended to be much smaller. Hmmm.
Tuesday 19 June
England exceed expectations by winning another match and qualifying for the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, exposing the redundancy of the goal-line assistant referee in the process. American artist Aleah Chapin wins the National Portrait Gallery Portrait Award. Inspector Knacker is said to be targeting black market Olympic tickets, while Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum is named museum of the year and wins the £100,000 prize from the Arts Fund. The diamond jubilee weekend resulted in supermarkets and grocery stores shifting some £213 million in the preceding week, according to some research done by someone.
Wednesday 20 June
A cynic might conclude that only certain types of tax avoidance are “morally wrong” as the prime minister, himself a multi-millionaire with, one suspects, the odd source of income beyond the reaches of PAYE, decrying a comedian’s accountancy arrangements; we look forward to the chancellor’s thoughts on the matter. In Liverpool the Tate unveils its Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings exhibition to the press, while at the Science Museum in London there is an exhibition dedicated to the life of Alan Turing. The Stirling Prize long list is just long enough (50 entrants) to include the Olympic stadium. In Ukraine the opposition party is claiming that $4 billion of Euro 2012 funds have been stolen. In Italy – sorry, the Vatican – the Pope’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano [How does he find the time to do his poping and edit a newspaper? Ed], gives a big thumbs up to the film The Blues Brothers, recommending it as “a modern classic”, presumably on the grounds that it features a nun as a pivotal plot point. Back home, Fitness First enters a CVA to stave off administration, a move that will require its landlords to swallow sharp rent reductions.
Thursday 21 June
The prime minister’s enthusiasm for outing tax avoiders cools rather suddenly when faced with suggestions that he might like to comment on the tax affairs of ministers or supporters of his own party. Clive James tells Radio 4 that his struggle with leukaemia means that he probably will not see his beloved Sydney again. More than one million school pupils do not speak English as a first language. In Scotland someone has discovered a Rembrandt drawing in their loft while in China Ai Weiwei is told his strict bail conditions have been partially lifted but he cannot leave the country.
Friday 22 June
The latest Sport England participation figures reveal that taking part in sport once a week has increased among those over the age of 26 but among those 16 to 25 the numbers are down. Torrential rain continues for the festival season and the field of inventive tax arrangements draws Chris ‘Sir Chris’ Hoy into the line of fire, among others, including the prime minister’s father. It seems that there are dirty tricks afoot in the fight to lure holidaymakers to Blackpool and/or Skegness, with graffiti being employed as a weapon. A protest group occupies an unoccupied house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London that is owned by Anish Kapoor and the ECB, cricket’s governing body in the UK, bans Pakistan’s Danish Kaneria for life from all forms of cricket on the grounds that he represents “a grave danger to cricket”.
Saturday 23 June
More rain in a day than is usually seen in a month in the north west of England brings flooding and general mayhem. Actor Michael Sheen is planning to bring culture to disadvantaged pupils, with cinema and theatre clubs in his native Wales. Hackney’s Radio 1 Big Weekend kicks off and it seems that Clive James is ill but not quite ready to die yet. The BOA reject Aaron Cook’s latest bid for selection for London 2012.
Sunday 24 June
The Archbishop of Canterbury derides the big society concept as “waffle” in his new book due out later this year and there are general thumbs-up for the BBC’s Hackney concert. Shara Proctor breaks Bev Kinch’s 29-year-old women’s long jump record and England depart Euro 2012, allowing everyone to get back to the football.
Monday 25 June
Wimbledon starts and, somewhat counter-intuitively, it stops raining. In Olympicsland it seems that the only woman that the Saudis were going to allow to compete in London will now not be able to come owing to an injury to the horse on which she was going to compete. The University of Central Lancashire launches the first masters course in music industry management and promotion in association with Factory251, Peter Hook’s music venue. In Scotland Inspector McKnacker is to investigate possible criminality relating to Craig Whyte’s takeover of Rangers and it seems that the new Rangers corporate vehicle is unlikely to be voted into the Scottish Premier League. It also seems that Dwain Chambers will be going to the ball despite not achieving the qualifying time for the 100m.
Tuesday 26 June
Jersey is said to be preparing to take its tax loopholes off in a sulk, leaving the UK with, er, a more equitable tax system. Jennifer Saunders confirms that she is collaborating on a Spice Girls musical [Surely ‘conspiring’? Ed] and at Wimbers five Brits make it to the second round. Jacques Rogge says he is only worried about the weather, which makes us wonder why we bothered to pass all the legislation to create a police state if that is his sole concern; he also mentions that the BBC may well face competition for the broadcasting rights to future Games. In rugby league Bradford Bulls go into administration.
Wednesday 27 June
If Barclays is fined £290 million for breaches of banking rules one is prompted to enquire just how much they made in the process; at least we’re all in this together otherwise it could make people angry. Actors’ union Equity says that subsidised theatre in the UK has too few roles for women, while the Olympic rings go up on Tower Bridge and the mayor has had a haircut to mark the occasion. In Spain the battle between Barcelona and Madrid to attract a casino complex heats up, with Madrid saying it would overturn its smoking ban as a sweetener. At Wimbledon Heather Watson becomes the first British woman into the third round for a decade (it was Elena Baltacha). Film-maker Nora Ephron dies aged 71.
Thursday 28 June
In France they are saying goodbye to Minitel, the little table-top screen that was the Gallic precursor to the internet, after 30 years of service. Across La Manche and up Le Thames, Mayor Boris launches a cable car across the river and stumbles at the first question: who on earth is going to use it? Slightly further west, in Green Park, Her Madge officially unveils the long-awaited (by some) memorial to Bomber Command. LOCOG are under fire from campaigners against violence to women who say that the Olympic nabobs have reneged on an agreement to promote helpline information during the Games. Still in London, Wilton’s Music Hall, Grade II listed and perhaps the world’s last surviving grand music hall, wins a grant to develop plans for restoration. North at last and the Scottish Football League says that there is no guarantee that a new Rangers FC would start in their first division; could be down to the fourths for you, laddie. Still on Planet Football, Ryan Giggs gets the nod over Lord Beckham of Compton for a place in the GB Olympic team, prompting an outcry from the twitterati and a dignified confession of disappointment from Becks himself.
Friday 29 June
It’s a good job we all love the royal family as they’re costing us a bit more this year than they did last year; Charles is costing us 11% more. The Word magazine is to close following a reluctant realisation by its production team that it’s not possible to make a living out of magazines these days [Told you. Ed]. Our political parties are preparing to make political advantage out of the London Olympics and the smoking ban seems to have resulted in fewer heart attacks.
Saturday 30 June
It seems that the banks, with whom “we’re all in it together” have been exercising their rights to take our money and then perpetrate a massive fraud of the Libor system to make more money; for them, not us. With Wimbers in full flow Judy Murray is the toast of British women’s tennis. Sneak previews of the athletes’ accommodation for London 2012 (only two drinks are available: Coke and Powerade) and the Stone Roses manage not to make arses of themselves in their great Manchester come-back gigs. In Moscow it seems that the incarceration of the anarcho-agit-popsters Pussy Riot [see WoL passim] is drawing the condemnation of Russia’s cultural elite. The British women’s 100m relay team fails to qualify for their home Olympics and Yohan Blake beats Usain Bolt over 100m. Michel Platini says that the European Championship could be held in every city in Europe at the same time every fifteen minutes. Or something. And the Tour de France starts; Britain holds its breath.
the world of leisure