Have you ever done a doubt formula on Scientology? Where did you find the stats of Scientology?
On The Bridge?
Gray Levett is one of the Scientology organisation’s Top 100 International Patrons. This essentially means he gives huge sums of money to Scientology.
Gray Levett is Back From The Front - Amateur Photographer - news
Monday 25th June 2007
I often reflect upon the odd things that shape one's life without one really knowing it. My interest in photography was ignited after I saw Michelangelo Antonioni's movie Blow-Up, in which David Hemmings plays Thomas, a successful, yet bored, English fashion photographer. The film has been described as a baffling, beautiful critique of the 'swinging London' of the 1960s. I have held Blow-Up in some affection since that time.
In my teens, my interests were broadly divided into music, photography, reading and film. I read voraciously and carried a camera wherever I went. In those bygone days I walked almost everywhere, often covering seven to ten miles per day. Walking enables you see things others speeding past in their cars do not. I took roll after roll of film, shooting rock bands in London's sweaty clubs, and then I would escape into the forests. I enjoyed myself immensely but had little idea what the future held except that somehow photography and music would, I hoped, become a part of it.
Blow-Up was released during an extraordinary period of cultural change. The music of the mid-1960s was new and exciting. One band, The Soul Agents, became local heroes, especially after introducing a new singer named Rod Stewart. Rod, himself, snuck my cousin and me into gigs in our hometown under the improbable assertion that we were roadies. I was determined to capture this atmosphere on film and reasoned that perhaps the equipment I desired might be more affordable if I worked in a camera shop.
My first job in the photographic world was at Hartle Photographic, a camera shop in Bournemouth. The proprietor was not only knowledgeable of cameras and photography but possessed an old-fashioned psyche that pursued with absolute conviction the concept of pre-Second World War methods of dealing with customers. He worked like a drill sergeant and put his staff through a similar regime, involving us in daily cleaning, dusting and presentation. He also demanded we show customers impeccable manners and unflappable professionalism at all times.
The hardest part of this apprenticeship was the daily quiz. He would walk up unannounced and say something like 'Focal plane shutter – definition?' If you lagged with your answer it was off to the nearest photographic dictionary, and you would go back and forth between study and reciting the answer until you had it right. This went on for nearly a year, and for the rebel in me it was a hard bullet to bite. Then about a year later, something unexpected happened.
I moved to London and went for an interview at a photographic store in W1. I was questioned intensively and my responses were immediate, confident and without hesitation. All my studying of photographic nomenclature and learning how to provide a professional service suddenly clicked. I realised that my much-cursed boss had given me a precious gift. He made me competent in a subject I had little prior knowledge in, and I was prepared to deal with nearly any query. Most importantly, he taught me that a full knowledge of one's trade and complete professionalism are tools that can open doors. The one thing I have noticed over the years is that the most successful shops have training programmes on these key elements as a matter of importance.
For the record my old boss's name was Mr. Hartle. He had a first name but I would never have dreamed of using it, and even today I cannot bring myself to call him by his first name. Somehow it would not be right. It might break just the spell.
Gray Levett is the co-founder of Grays of Westminster the exclusively Nikon dealer, as well as the editor of Nikon Owner magazine. He started his career as a photographer and his work has appeared on album covers, book dust jackets and in magazines all over the world. He has been involved with the Nikon brand since 1971 and is an acknowledged expert on the history of Nikon, having written extensively on the subject. He is a member of the London Press Club, the Explorers Club, the Institute of Directors (IoD), the Nikon Historical Society and the Royal Photographic Society for whom he has lectured.
Gray Levett | Grays of Westminster
The legendary award-winning Grays of Westminster is a charming period shop, specialising exclusively in Nikon. It offers what is probably the widest range of new and second-hand Nikon in the world. It is situated in a quiet location in central London and offers a fast and reliable mail-order service on any Nikon item - available to all world-wide destinations. Tax free shopping to non-European Community residents is also available.
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By Marc Horne
Last updated at 4:47 PM on 7th August 2011
Suspicious: Prime Minister Harold Wilson wanted to keep track of Scientologists
The Church of Scientology was considered such a threat to the UK that in 1975 the Government put its members under secret surveillance, according to newly released files.
Previously classified documents reveal that Ministers wanted to undermine and discredit the group because it was said to be ‘mafia-like’ and its activities ‘harmful and evil’.
They believed senior Scientologists were inflicting ‘barbaric’ punishments on followers and drove them away from their families.
The papers show the Government held clandestine meetings to discuss how to reduce the activities of Scientologists in the UK, which included moves to tax the church’s income and turn down visa applications from foreign members.
Today, the Church of Scientology attracts a celebrity following, particularly among Hollywood’s elite. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and John Travolta are among its supporters.
However, it has been claimed it is a cult that defrauds its followers by charging them exorbitant fees.
The documents, contained in secret files on Scientology and placed in the National Archives, reveal that in July 1975, the then Home Secretary Roy Jenkins hosted a summit on how best to rid Britain of the group.
Secret base: Scientology's British headquarters at Saint Hill, East Grinstead, Sussex
Ministers of Harold Wilson’s Labour Government agreed to begin undermining the group, and a 1976 document entitled Action To Curb Scientologists reads: ‘Police forces should build up as detailed a composite picture as possible of the organisation’s activities.’
Founding father: L Ron Hubbard, creator of the Church of Scientology
Scientology, founded by American sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, was the subject of much scepticism at the time. A 1968 exclusion order, based on the idea that followers of the so-called religion were ‘socially harmful’, banned foreign members from entering the UK.
In 1975, internal correspondence from the Home Office said: ‘The Church of Scientology does not merely persuade people to part with their money. It is a harmful movement with an evil reputation.’
It classified the group as ‘an organisation designed to make money, and perhaps also to gain power’ which targeted ‘the anxious, the lonely, the inadequate, the credulous and deluded’.
The papers added: ‘It is obtaining large sums of money for its courses on the strength of wild claims that they will cure all sorts of physical and mental ills.’
Further Government material said to be based on Scientology documents claimed there was evidence of abuse.
It says: ‘Members have been imprisoned for 48 hours in a hatch which was too small to allow them to lie down or stand up and a water hose was frequently turned on them.
'Others have been ordered to work for 48 hours in the bowels of a ship in darkness, chipping away rust with a 15-minute break every six hours.’
Prominent members: Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes are both Scientologists
One police report sent to Scottish Office Ministers noted: ‘The organisation is mafia-like in its hold on adherents and rarely, if ever, does one relinquish voluntarily his membership.’
The Church of Scientology sent The Mail on Sunday a seven-page response denying the alleged abuses and providing 45 pages of additional information.
Spokesman Graeme Wilson said the archive papers were a ‘snapshot’ of ‘government harassment’, adding: ‘The Government of the United Kingdom owes the Church of Scientology an apology for this atrocious treatment.’