Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nicholas McCarthy Recital + more Welby/Wonga

Went last night to St Andrew's Fulham Fields to hear a recital by the remarkable one-armed pianist Nicholas McCarthy. This had been arranged by a member of the congregation, Margena Swingler, who is in Trinity Hospice with terminal cancer and wanted her friends to hear her friend Nicholas before she died.

He only graduated last year but has already established quite a reputation - playing with the British Paracorchestra at the closing ceremony of the Paralymics.  He began with his arrangement of a Liszt arrangement of a Bach piece for Organ. He also played a piece of Liszt arranged by his pupil Zichy who was the first one-armed professional pianist, the Scriabin Prelude and Nocturne Op 9 (which he wrote when he'd contracted tendinitis in his right hand) and, as a finale, his own arrangement of the Chopin B Minor Ballade(!)

It is thrilling how well Justin Welby is doing!  It's rare that The Sun and the FT have a lead editoral on the same subject, let alone that they agree.
BOLD. Imaginative. Forward-looking. Not words often used in the same sentence as Church of England. But it is the sort of praise Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s declaration of war on Wonga richly deserves.... His idea is a very modern take on the church’s centuries-old mission to help the poor and the exploited. Despite the C of E’s pension fund links with Wonga that the Archbishop was unaware of, it is a plan The Sun supports. As will our readers, be they Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, atheist ... or even Jedi. For too long the church’s endless rows over women bishops made it look hopelessly out of touch. Its new Archbishop vowed to make it more relevant to ordinary people. In taking on Wonga he has successfully proved it does have a role in the 21st century. 
I imagine The Sun realises that they haven't actually used the words in the same sentence. Now here is the FT:
The archbishop’s war on Wonga
Welby’s battle with payday lenders is a way to do good
Justin inviting money lenders to the temple... The archbishop hopes this will help them supplant for-profit payday lenders, whose interest rates of 5,000 per cent or more he has called “sinful”...The archbishop has poured scorn on the industry in the past (although, embarrassingly, the church’s pension fund owns a small stake in Wonga, the target of his criticism, through a third party). Now, he says, he wants to compete it out of existence. That is a brave announcement, and an admirable one....he should be commended for using his imagination, and the resources of the church, to try to cure what he sees as a grave social ill. Such action is worth a thousand sermons. It remains to be seen whether the church can wrest borrowers away from an industry that is spending heavily on promotion...The archbishop’s proposal is ambitious. Success would give savers a new way to help the least fortunate. Even if it fails, he has shown how the church aspires to be a potent force for good
It's also worth looking at Ian Martin's Telegraph post on how Justin responded so sure-footedly to the "crisis" when it was found that the CofE had a small indirect stake in Wonga, and the Mail's take.

They are looking for a new Head of Media Relations - sounds as though they don't really need one!

(BTW there is a very good interview of him by Nicky Gumbel on YouTube here)

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