ACN - Night of Witness at Westminster Cathedral

By Unknown on 15:45

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In an inter-denominational event organised by Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Emeritus Anglican Bishop of Rochester lights a vigil candle in the memory of Shahbaz Bhatti, the assassinated Minorities Minister of Pakistan who was gunned down as he travelled to work in 2011. Bhatti a Roman Catholic, had spoken out in support of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death under Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws. Shahbaz who knew that he himself was in mortal danger had recorded a video to be released in the event of his murder saying that as a result of his belief in Christ Jesus who had give his own life for us, he too would be ready to give his own and defend the rights of others. 

The Vigil of Light concluded the Night of Witness event at Westminster Cathedral which was held on Thursday the 17 May to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in practising their faith in various parts of the world. The sacrifice in respect of each of five selected incidents was first announced to the congregation. This was  followed by a scripture reading before each of those occasions was then commemorated with the placing of a picture on an easel, the lighting of a candle and prayers of the rosary. Please check my site  for updates and further images. High resolution images are available upon request.

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You are welcome to use my pictures for personal, religious and educational purposes without charge but if you share or distribute them in any manner, I would be grateful if you would kindly acknowledge the origin of the images. Thank You

Weenson Oo/

Congregating in N1

By Unknown on 10:05

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Last Thursday marked three lots of Pannack within a week and how visually satisfying they were too. One day my friends you will know her as a household name. Those of us who  have been touched by her ' stop dead in your tracks and gaze ' quality of photographic art already know this. Laura's pictures tell a story. You only have to look at her blog to appreciate this and rarely will you find there to be a need to embellish a post with more than one image. One picture says it all just as one picture won her the biggest prize of her young career so far, the World Press Photo Award in 2010 for the category of Portraits Singles. While one picture is enough to tell of a story she chooses to write, a few images taken on the preview night of her latest solo exhibition at the no half measures establishment going by the title of Gallery One and A Half might tell of another story, the coming of a bright star. 

I'm making myself a promise that once posted I will not chance an ounce of this blog. My glass half full approach sees me invariably going back and making edits to my posts. Not today. That which I have written is it. You can't make good on greatness.

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Remembering Gilles

By Unknown on 23:16

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Thirty years ago tragedy struck on a Belgian grand prix circuit east of  Brussels. Approaching the seventh turn during the closing laps of the final qualifying session, Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari was launched into the air off the rear wheel of a slowing car. With alarming ferocity the car somersaulted along the short straight which was the first part of a section called Terlamenbocht, at the end of it throwing it's driver out across the track onto the catch fencing. At just 32, Gilles Villeneuve's grand prix career was brutally cut short and a shining light was lost to the world of motor racing.

Gilles' first formula 1 race was at Silverstone in 1977 and though at the wheel of an aging Mclaren M23 acquitted himself very well,  running ahead of far better-established stars in the early stages and closing on Mario Andretti, the pacesetter of that season. Less than a year later in the fourth race of his first full season in the sport, he would lead the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach until half distance when an over hasty move to overtake a car which he was about to lap on a twisty section of the circuit resulted in contact with the wall. By then however Gilles had served notice of his ambitions and many would remember well his astonishing and near impossible levels of car control.

The tales of inhuman feats are many such as emerging with a lead of 12 seconds after practice at a rain-soaked Watkins Glen. That's Twelve Seconds!!! There might have been only six wins in his short career which lasted little more than four years but every one of them was memorable. The last two in 1981 probably most of all since they were achieved in a car that had no part to play at the front of a chasing pack of pursuers. Hanging onto third place which would then become second by the skin of his teeth, Giles wrestled a beast of a car and pressed Alan Jones until the Australian's Williams car broke, resulting in a most unexpected victory and a first for a turbo-powered car around the tight confines of Monaco. Till this day I do not believe this would have been possible were another driver behind the wheel of that Ferrari. Then just a fortnight later he led a train of five cars home at Jarama. No one it has been widely testified could have held it all together let alone at the front.

By far the most impressive characteristic about Gilles for me was his integrity. At the end of the 1978 season, despite having been with Ferrari for a year, the prancing horse team signed a more experienced Jody Sheckter to be the number 1 driver in the team. However as it turned out, the driver who would lead Ferrari's charge over the season would be Gilles so when it came to Monza in September, all Gilles had to do to be world champion was to overtake Sheckter, something well within his near limitless ability. But Gilles having given his word that he would help Sheckter to the world title was not about to renege on his promise. Thus when Didier Pironi overtook Car No 27 at Imola less than three years later when both cars had been given the directive to slow down, Gilles took the move as a duplicitous act of enormous proportions. That was why on the morning of May 8 1982 notwithstanding that once again his was generally the pacesetter of the two red cars, he felt a need to establish his role at the front of the team, a desire that cost him dearly. Former world champion contender Carlos Reutemann met with Gilles before the race at Monza 1979, saying to the Canadian that if he had an opportunity to take the title he should not throw it away. World championships were very hard to come by added Reutemann and there may not be another chance. " Nah " replied Gilles. " I've promised Jody I'll let him win. He's going to help me win in 1980... " Be it at the cost of a world title, for Gilles his word was more important. 

The stuff of champions, Gilles was the hero you would find in boys' own comic books. He had a sense of honour and a set of values from a bygone age. Enzo Ferrari once said he loved Gilles like a son. and called him " Il Piccolo Canadese ", the tiny Canadian, a term of affection he reserved for Gilles. Ferrari was a man who had seen them all and had contracted even for a short time, arguably the greatest of them all. 

Salut Gilles.

Picture Credits -,, actualfoto, unknown sources
Video Link - youtubeuser GDH1981
and Peter Windsor

Farewell Maurice Sendak

By Unknown on 15:41

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Maurice Sendak was according to the New York Times, the most important children's book illustrator of the 20th century. I wouldn't argue with that, having purchased a now-lost copy of Mahler's Symphony No3 on RCA Records by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was as much the sleeve as a desire to know the work that encouraged me to buy that particular recording from a now equally long-gone music shop on the northern reaches of Regent's Park Road, one of the few music stores which in my days on a student 's budget was offering brand new recordings at a discount. 

The magic of Mahler 3, now my favourite of all classical works was captured perfectly by the work of Sendak. Mahler would wake early each morning to work in his little studio, a composing hut as it was, built on a lakeside and surrounded by a flower-strewn meadow. Unsurprising then that such delights of nature would be encapsulated into music which opens with a movement intriguingly and delightfully entitled ' Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In '. From there Mahler revealed to us in music about what  the flowers told him and then the animals and then by man before the angels have their say and finally to be crowned by universal love. It was credit to RCA therefore that they recognised from Maurice Sendak's  own repertoire, the perfect technical and artistic rendition that would capture all of Mahler's musical vision as Sendak's work would tell us what came to Mahler in the night. 

Very Much Standing Room

By Unknown on 14:53

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The maiden visit of the Capella Musicale Pontifica " Sistina " otherwise known as The Sistine Chapel Choir, the Pope's personal choir to Britain, was greeted by a packed, standing room affair at Westminster Cathedral last evening, the proceeds of the collection going to The St John Southworth Fund which supports parishes, organisations and projects across a wide range of issues including poverty, homelessness, old age and issues affecting children in danger of deprivation.

Lasting an hour and a half, the choir under the direction of Mgr Massimo Palombella sang unaccompanied, performing music historically used in Papal Celebrations taking the audience on a journey through the Liturgical Year. The concert concluded with an address by Archbishop Vincent Nichols who expressed his gratitude to the Pope for sending the choir, referring to the uplifting nature of the music before going on to speak of the work of St John Southworth and the worthy cause of the charity. Then he made special thanks to Mgr Palombella and the members of the choir, speaking in very fluent Italian and highly impressive it was too before closing with a prayer from his heart. Mgr  Palombella additionally addressed the audience before leading a final encore.

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