Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael: all have had their wares displayed before faithful congregations. Now we hear that two of the UK's most cutting-edge artists – Turner Prize winners Mark Wallinger and Antony Gormley are competing to create a less traditional spiritual masterpiece – to be displayed in Chichester Cathedral.
The artists' brief is an interpretation of Christ's resurrection to "inspire a sense of contemplation and engage the imaginations of all who visit the Cathedral" and "express new life, transformation and hope". When completed, the chosen piece will sit above the Arundel screen at the front of the nave. Currently both Gormley and Wallinger's proposals – as well as those of three other artists – are on display within the cathedral. A winner will be chosen later this month.
Chichester, of course, has a long history of embracing the arts; indeed this particular commission is to celebrate the centenary of Walter Hussey, the cathedral's art-loving former Dean – though this particular shortlist is boundary-pushing even by his standards; Gormley has previously spoken of his atheism and Wallinger has claimed to be agnostic.
Still, the judges are not to be deterred. "We won't have discussed the personal beliefs of any of the artists," explains a spokesman.
Knight and Rea replace Rowan
Whatever has happened to Rowan Atkinson? We only ask because the
enduring funnyman's excellent monthly motoring column in Octane magazine (Pandora's absolute favourite source of news when it comes to the classic car trade) has been "temporarily" usurped by a series of guest writers. This month's substitute is, er, Greg Knight, the Tory MP for East Yorkshire (and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Historic Vehicles). Next month: Eighties soft-rocker Chris Rea. Look out!
Everyone wants a piece of Rolf
Well tie my kangaroo down and keep me cockatoo cool: it appears Rolf Harris is back in vogue.
The hirsute Aussie, long the butt of music industry jokes (but never Pandora's), is already working with Status Quo's Rick Parfitt on a Christmas single. But now it appears he may also join forces with hot-to-trot rapper Dizzee Rascal, himself recently a collaborator of Dame Shirley Bassey. "I had him saying he would love to work with me doing all my weird sound effects," Harris is reported as saying.
Also in the works; a potential Chemical Brothers hook-up. Says Rolf: "The Chemical Brothers have agreed to collaborate with me on some songs but we've never got the time to do it." Well hop to it!
Surely not short on opinions, Clare?
We do hope life on the back benches hasn't robbed Clare Short of her famous pluck. The former thorn in Tony Blair's side appears to be lacking in the stubborn determination that saw her resign the whip. According to recent figures, she only participates in one in eight votes. Explains Short: "I'll vote on an issue where it is a matter of principle, or where my vote might make a difference to the outcome... But everyone knows the Government is going to win the day whether I take part or not." Tsk – defeatism!
Ramsay's New York nightmare
More bad news chez Gordon Ramsay. We hear that the strident chef, following a string of poor reviews and rumours over unprofitability and legal problems, has been forced to hand over the financial reins of his much-vaunted Michelin-starred New York eatery, Gordon Ramsay at The London, to the hotel group in which it's located – a move he has already had to take in Paris and Los Angeles. Even worse, in the official announcement distributed by The London to vendors, Ramsay's name is spelt wrong. Insult to injury?