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Country-house opera wonders where it will get its next million



There’s more to the English summer social calendar than sport – but it is in danger of being drowned out by the cries of disappointed football fans and sapped by lack of cash.

During the June and July evenings when much of Britain grinds to a halt to watch World Cup matches on giant screens in pubs and smaller screens at home, a different style of audience escapes to the countryside, wearing evening dress and carrying picnic hampers, for the 2010 season of country-house operas.

While the most famous are at Glyndebourne, a younger rival Grange Park Opera in Hampshire has also earned critical acclaim.

It is undeniably elite, but that does not mean it does not have money issues.

Whereas football is guaranteed enormous audiences and sponsorship deals, often in defiance of the quality of play, Grange Park ticket sales fell last year against the backdrop of global recession and funding cuts to the arts.

from The Great Debate UK:

In football, the biggest losers win

“Football is just a business nowadays, isn’t it?”

Well, actually no, it’s not, and it never has been - at least not if a business means an enterprise intended to maximise shareholder value.

In the “good old days” – so called because they were bloody awful – football clubs were financed by a Big Sugar Daddy, often the millionaire who owned the local mill or maybe a small chain of shops in the town.

Punters cash in on Darling’s budget tie choice


Smokers and top earners were clear losers in Britain’s budget this year, as the government hiked taxes on cigarettes and the highest incomes.


But a lucky few must have been cheering in front of their televisions during the 51-minute speech.

Can MV=PT solve credit crisis for BoE?


Britain could begin a telling exercise in classical monetary theory on Thursday as the central bank gets set to test a newly minted policy of “quantitative easing”.

In an effort to pump more money into the financial system and encourage banks to get lending again, the Bank of England has been given the green light to basically create more money.

Stripping off for money


A colleague tells me of a quick way to make cash for anyone who wants to. His neighbours discovered a pile of old taps and central heating pipes they had lying around had more value than they thought. A scrap Scrap metalmetal merchant gave them £75 for them. ”It’s a bubble,” the merchant said.

It may be a bubble, but it’s proving a lasting one and one that’s causing problems in unexpected quarters too. In my salubrious part of Surrey, local churches are struggling to keep their roofs on and it’s not because of the volume of their congregations’ singing either. Thieves are stripping lead roofing and flashing to melt down and sell on.

Could you live on a pound a day?


pounds-in-hand.jpgWhen Kath Kelly complained to friends in the pub she was so broke she couldn’t afford a wedding present for her brother, she decided to take drastic action.

She made a bet that she could defy the credit crunch and live on just one pound a day for a year.

Of course it’s genuine — I made it myself


tails.jpgEveryone, surely, would love to have a licence to print money. Well, one man has taken the concept to a whole new level. It might sound bonkers, but Sheridan “Shed” Simove has created his own currency.

“It makes the world go round. Oh, and it’s the root of all evil. Although strictly, the love of it is actually the root of all evil,” he writes in his new book, “Ideas Man: The Amazing Real-life Adventures of a Modern-day Creative Genius“. “Yes, I’m talking about the basis of our capitalist society, the units of exchange we use to obtain material goods — MONEY.”

Let’s talk about debts, baby

Money matters are climbing the list of the talks parents feel they must have with their children: the subjects of debt and saving for the future are now deemed to be more important than educating our offspring on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), racism or religion, research by Engage Mutual Assurance shows.

Debt is the most common financial topic of parental education (64 percent) followed by saving for the future (62 percent). That ranks them fifth and sixth in the top 10 topics for parental “chats”, ahead of racism (58 percent), illness and death (53 percent) and STDs (52 percent). The only “facts of life” considered more important than these money matters in children’s at-home education are drugs and alcohol (78 percent), personal hygiene (74 percent), talking to strangers (73 percent) and the “birds and the bees” (71 percent).