afrow

Black Girl on the Front Row!

Category: CELEBRITY

“Queen Of Soul”

Fledgling youth,

with, not yet, wings to fly…

…in sweltering sweatbox summers,

gave ear to tense disc-overy of

a stellar, sonic boom,

adding shine to the sun,

light to the moon.

Unique,

as a flake of gilt-glazed snow,

her voice,

at once, a two-edged sword

of thundered testimonials,

before a whispering gallery,

of honeydew refrains,

poured Glory into each prophetic note.

Stacked midst words,

the silence drawn, was her artistic choice.

Borne of boundless Creativity,

a treasury of inner wisdom,

glistening and profound,

drew out the “Limitless”, in me.

Phonic airplay, on repeat,

her soaring melodies

gave rise to memories,

firm friends,

through onset womanhood.

Now, Heaven’s eagles,

tuneful echoes, circle overhead

and spiral Spiritual Good.

Forever Love, Respect and Gratitude,

from this one,

to a Universal Queen,

whose Legacy, is Just and Right,

though, out of sight,

her Gospel Truth

will always be

the purest Soul crescendo,

always be

alive

and heard

and understood.

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

“King of Hearts”

“Are we good?”

We are GREAT!

Fuelled by the Infinite.

Fusing infinitives.

Headlines adorned with

Civility and Kindness.

The manners which made the man.

Decorum,

now expressed in global taglines,

scoring lifelines,

in ever-changing times.

Hitting the doubters for six,

with a century…

… but it’s not over!

Upon this date of new beginnings,

a day of rebirth is marked

in history,

with honourable winnings.

Wisdom, Humility, Compassion

expand the DNA of etiquette.

Increasing the set, in hand,

a “Key to the City” charts an open door,

to hail

the new “King of Vegas”…

who will always be “King of Hearts”.

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

 

Matt Goss: “Red Flares” (Preview)

Ladies and Gentlemen…

… Matt Goss is back and he’s kickin’ brand new flava in ya ear!

Alright, so, he’s already been back but, stay with me, because, after an interlude, (indicative of his meticulous attention-to-detail), the eagerly-awaited single, “Red Flares” is a-go, for iTunes pre-order, from today, and full release, this Friday!

From this morning’s teaser, “Red Flares” is hallmark ‘Gossy’, with all of his trademark creative flair… think, lyrically-driven and hook-laden, with a lush topline melody and deliciously tight-knit harmonies, which we have come to know, love, expect and respect…

However, in fashioning the dreamily aspirational Palms Studios production against a backdrop of R&B, we can hear that Matt has taken a slick and studied, successful sidestep away from the “tattoos and tuxedoes” facet of his extensive musical repertoire…rather, melting into open-necked Hawaiian shirts and snazzy snapbacks!

Married to the metaphoric ‘love S-O-S’, are surface hi-hats, skipping as lightly as a stone along the river of a driving bass, the sonic resonance, of which, is mirrored-to-perfection, by the conviction with which Matt delivers his message and will, surely, distinguish this summertime offering from other releases.

That said, “Red Flares” is a definitive, smooth gift-of-a-groove, for the morning, night and afternoon, destined for sing-a-long radio airplay, chilling in the club or up-close-and-personal, slow-dancing in the living room… You name it, this organic, Pop-R&B hybrid, (pre-cursor to an ace-of-an-upcoming album), is a cross-genre track that dares to, and does, have it all, and I defy you not to be lured into its brilliance, either, before the day is out, or the pre-order made, and this impressive soundtrack-of-the-summer is downloaded or despatched, straight to you!

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018-2019. All Rights Reserved

~

Click through to pre-order the sizzling new Matt Goss single, “Red Flares”, on iTunes now!

 

“The Power and Glory of Balenciaga!”

“Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion” at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is a veritable rhapsody.

A rapturous round of applause to the unmitigated guile and talent of a supremely-gifted tailor and cutting-edge innovator.

Laid out over two amazing floors of crystal-clear creativity, a culmination of past, present and future clauses of the highest quality design are seamlessly-rendered, through quintessential craftsmanship and ground-breaking technology, as only the V&A can do!

From the tenderest beginnings of a Cristobal, who is born in País Vasco, Spain, raised against the backdrop of a consummately-skilled dressmaking Mother and instructed under the tutelage of only the very best in their respective fields of design, to the Master Couturier, in his own right, it is an utter delight to quick-unpick and unpack the realm of raiment which would see him thrust into the fashion foreground and remain there.

Breathless, at every turn, am I. Inspirational in every era of his existence, was he.

Moreover, this exhibition is a power ballad to sartorial intent…

…the curation process, of which, began in 2015 and reaches its maturation in an assemblage which extends beyond the ‘comprehensive’, but is deep-dyed in its sensitive depiction of a uniquely imaginative and inventive world.

From the lab-coat efficiency of pattern-cutting precision (which we might now call ‘minimalist’), to the command of experimental flights-of-fancy (which we might now call avant-garde), the genius of Balenciaga is honoured, with the finely-tuned accuracy of the Maestro, himself. It is effortless glamour-on-demand!

Rather fitting, then, that the ground-level should be sprinkled with the glitter of socialites and movie-star patrons, such as Anne Bullitt Biddle, Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Ava Gardner.

…Toile-to-attire, the entire archival lay-out is akin to the ultimate ensemble…

Yet, not to be outdone by such levels of haute grandeur, the inclusion of C21st advancement is employed, with distinct aplomb. Not only do dress-making demonstrations adorn expansive HD screens, but, on ascending a staircase as grand as the pinpoint pick-ups of a couture wedding gown, they continue to be displayed upon the vast columns of the V&A, itself. Further revelations of the boning construction which lies beneath the gowns, are discovered through inspired collaborations between The London College of Fashion and X-Ray photographer, Nick Veasey, respectively. Each technique serving to enlighten the creative process in all of its methodical glory, acting like a hand-through-time in enlisting modernity to mirror and reflect the labour of love which it took to create, then, and disseminate Balenciaga’s originality, now.

 Earnest testimonials from couturiers and contemporary designers throughout the timeline, signify pertinent reminders of the extraordinary profundity and reach of Balenciaga’s influence. As if his, own, dextrous fingers had extended through history into the gloves of their giftings, such stand-out creators as Molly Goddard, Simone Rocha, Josep Font and J.W. Anderson recall, not only, his pure innovative power, but the exact point of departure for its impact in their own lives, let alone practice… although, it soon becomes clear-cut, that the two are, most definitely, one-in-the-same…

… which brings a romantic reciprocity to the story… for the glorious Balenciaga blueprint is bold and beautiful…the perfect parure… an unmissable suite of style, woven into every echelon of fashion finery, from menswear to womenswear… and echoing through functionality, from sportswear to eveningwear, with architectural sensibility.

All-encompassing proof, if proof were necessary, to “[re-assert] the fact that he’s not just shoes and handbags, he’s so much more”*…

…and always will be.

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

***

“Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion” is on now, until Sunday 18th February at the V & A.

~

Quotation Credit: * Cassie Davies-Strodder (Curator)

 

 

“Katharine Hamnett gives ‘Liberty’ to captivating SS18 collections!”

Nights like this should not be reserved for sleep…

… Not when you have had a meeting of minds, hearts and souls on monumental scales…

…and all in the premium package of the eagerly-awaited launch of Katharine Hamnett London’s SS18 women’s and menswear collections…

It takes someone truly revered to draw a crowd such as congregated in the hallowed halls of Liberty London’s lower ground floor. Place “Katharine Hamnett” into a sentence with a bona fide, high-end retail treasure of this great capital, and, together, you have the cadence of perfect creative alchemy, epitomising Balance…. Harmony…

….which neatly summarises the most captivating capsule collections of dreams… (that is, if I were to succumb to sleep!)… However, as stated, tonight is not one for repose, of any kind!

Having arrived early, it is still a veritable hive of organised activity… From re-merchandising to maximise optimal exposure of every piece, to hoovering the most out-of-the-way corners, nothing is left to chance, in achieving the flawless, final look. To say that the hard work paid dividends, would be a vast understatement, for the mission was more than accomplished!

 I am cordially-greeted by Janine Constantin-Russell, General Manager of Liberty, and immediately taken aback by her generosity of time taken out of overseeing the build-up, to talk all-things “Hamnett” with me! Even more delighted was I, to be conversing with this lit-from-within energy, herself as excited as I was about the need for such a grounded presence to be back, once again, so rightfully, front-and-centre. Sparkling with expressiveness, vis-à-vis collaborating with the prestige label on such an auspicious launch, Janine encourages my taking a tour, to see the gorgeous results for myself and so, I promptly set off on my voyage of discovery!

In an atmosphere replete with swirls of hiphop-jazz, my initial walk-through to get acquainted with the latest sartorial offerings from the living legend, synonymous with ubiquitous style, was like a fresh breeze through the beautifully-landscaped garden of menswear. From Lanvin to Loewe, Thom Browne to Burberry, Marni to Moncler, Hamnett’s re-entry into the design atmosphere is rife with delicate defiance, in the swish of one organic silk shirt.. or the sharp swoop of a billowing, full-length, draped dress.

Slogan Tees are refreshed, with hard-hitting, visual exclamations to address the “now”, such as “Protest And Survive” and “Women Against War”, bringing to an end the misconception that silence is easy… As Katharine so eruditely put it, “We have to up our game, as we aren’t achieving very much, considering the amount of man and woman-hours that have [already] gone into fighting.” In accordance, both collections are steeped in revolution and the messages carry as confronting a narrative, as the days in which 80’s pop phenomenon, “Wham” boldly proclaimed “Choose Life”, whilst gleefully waking up musical empires on both sides of the Atlantic!

That the collections should be so deeply-embedded in such a spirit of the indomitable, should come as no surprise. It is well-known that Katharine Hamnett has always been ahead-of-the very same game, socio-politically, economically and creatively. Her battle to imbue the fashion system with the plausibility of sustainability and fighting for the human rights of those within the supply chain of production… has been her clarion call… Her voice has continually chimed through the annals of design to a point, whereby, ethical practice is, now, beyond an intangible vision and is an actual, going concern.

Enthusiastically-steered through a fascinating life story, filled with industry anecdotes of both, the glamour and the grit, by British Vogue’s esteemed Chief Critic, Sarah Mower MBE, who was pristine in Celine, the fact that “it all came too easily” was a testament to the authenticity of truth which runs through Hamnett, like a rod of iron. So-much-so, that she could be the real ‘Woman of Steel’, what with her proverbial determination to change the world-at-large, by changing the world around her.

Recounting, at blistering pace, that her production process is “paraben-free, [with] no heavy metals”, is just the preface to an inventory which includes organic cotton, “certified by Diamond Processing” standards, silk, which is “about as clean a fibre as you can get”, “nickel-free zips, [because] nickel is poisonous” and an endless quest “to find more sustainable fabrics, as techniques develop”. Further insight into her supply chain being the “Made In Italy”, export route, affords her the opportunity to “stick [her] nose up to anyone who talks about trade”, in addition to promoting and benefitting from their artisanal passion, “know-how, legacy and technical expertise.”

The superior quality of craft on display in the exposition of her new season selection, is undeniable evidence of this specialist provenance. From the considered nature of precision-pleating, on the wide-legged khaki trouser, with double-buttoned front and notched-back waistband, with slim-leg, ankle-skimming lengths, the wondrous working of a tissue-fine silk shirt, with an, ever so gentle, high-low hemline, to the perfectly-tempered palette of lightning white, through super-jet black, energised by richest reds and texturised by stonewashed denim treatments, the Katharine Hamnett man is spoilt-for-sophisticated and understated choice!

This same exacting, yet, polished prowess is celebrated in a Katharine Hamnett woman, who is savvy, edgy and endlessly elegant. The slogan “Maggie” Tee, which was fabulously-styled and modelled as a T-shirt dress, will fast need replenishing upon the rails, as will the stunning gold jumpsuit and, my personal favourite, the floor-sweeping, fire-engine red, puff-of-a-gown, with deep, plunge-front and back neckline…as ready for the red-carpet, as for the beach-front after-party!

It is all as impressive as her unconditional covenant to create, in order to benefit the greater good and embolden others to, similarly, make their voices heard. In a time of “freefall manufacturing, cheap labour and bad labour”, the crusader for social justice entreats the amassed assemblage of admirers to put literal pen-to-paper and compose letters to those who are paid to represent us, as well as to those brands who could and should make vast improvements, with regard to recognising and lessening the negative effect of their ethical footprint upon, both, people and the environment. “They’re trying, but they should be trying harder and faster”, not only summons affirmatory nods, but also gives rise to further adoration.

Questions from the floor prompt reiteration of the Katharine Hamnett stance towards making sustainable fashion more affordable and accessible… that of “better prices, with bigger production… online [to avoid extra capital costs].” However, it is her vocal nod to the lengths to which award-winning proponents of the circular economy, “Rapanui Clothing”, will go, in order to manufacture and deliver her T-shirt lines, which seems to, most, touch those in the room. Describing the “adorable” enterprise as “a perfect prototype of a C21st company, based in the Isle of Wight” is high praise, heartfelt recognition and truly symbolic of someone who “collaborates with anything that’s exciting or touches [her] heart.”

It is also indicative of her humility.

She seems oblivious to the attention which revolves, tornado-like, around her.

Absorbing selfies with timely patience and grace, she is pure, radiant class, with the spirit of a lioness, within the physique of a prima ballerina. Effortlessly-chic in black-out shades, nothing looked cooler than sharing a camera-frame with her, nothing more inspiring than observing her, back in her artistic habitat…

…and whilst her name might end “CBE” (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), when asked the final question of how she would like to be remembered, she pauses and, with what must, surely, be accompanied by a twinkle in her concealed eyes, she cheekily replies “Watch. This. Space.” I, for one, cannot wait to see what this visionary next devises but, in my heart, I believe that the acronym will signify the success of her unrelenting message and stand for ‘Choose Buying Ethically’!

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

***

Katharine Hamnett London ~ Katharine Hamnett (Facebook)@katharinehamnett (Instagram) ~ @khamnettlondon (Twitter)

Liberty London ~ Liberty London (Facebook) ~ @libertylondon (Instagram) ~ @LibertyLondon (Twitter) ~ Liberty London (YouTube)

Rapanui ~ Rapanui (Facebook) ~ @Rapanuiclothing (Twitter) ~ Rapanui: Sustainable Fashion (Google+) ~ @rapanuiclothing (Instagram) ~ rapanuiclothing (Pinterest)

Sarah Mower MBE ~ @sarahmower_ (Instagram)

***

Wholehearted @A_F_R_O_W-Appreciation goes to Katharine Hamnett CBE, for her utterly impeccable collections, relentless inspiration and unswerving passion for contributing towards a better world…to her team at Katharine Hamnett London, who faithfully facilitate her creative and societal vision, to Janine Constantin-Russell and the absolutely fastidious Team Liberty, for extending such congenial hospitality and creating a truly unique and outstanding event, and to Sarah Mower MBE, whose lively repartee and unabated dedication to the quest for talent, catalyse that of my own, ongoing editorial development.

 

 

The Goss-pel According To Matt…

The night was shivering.

Even the rain was tapping the windowpane in submission. In search of compassion.

A door opened to a vocal undulation, warm enough to steam-press away the wrinkles of the day.

In response, followed a love-letter to sound, dotting the i’s of vocal and creative intention and inflection, whilst crossing the t’s of technique, tears, Truth.

Curled up at the foot of the laptop, I was content to become one with an imminent musical selection from Matt Goss, which I knew would cruise like a beguiling, classic Bentley… celebrating a songbook which I knew would shine like a city on a hill and beam like a lighthouse to articulate an emotive signpost.

I was justified to believe in my heightening expectations as, from Lewisham to Las Vegas, Ratpack to Rock, in excess of two memorable hours were to change through crooning gears of such greats as Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Kay Starr, Perry Como, Dinah Washington, Harry Connick Jr, Billie Holliday… and ever-onward.

The genius of this, the second Christmas compilation selected by Goss for “his favourite station in the world” of BBC Radio 2, would be the deftly-navigated hairpin turns visited by back-to-back features, allowing for revelatory anecdotes, with profound and courageous destinations of sentiment.

Winding along the, oft, searing side-roads of Donny Hathaway’s angst-infused renderings in ‘Song For You’, served to expand significant apertures into Matt’s life… The self-penned triumph of ‘Mustang’, with lavish strings and Sting’s ubiquitous hit, ‘Englishman In New York’ concisely charted the course of erstwhile love and the acute loneliness of feeling like a small fish in a big pond, respectively… Yet, it is with respect to following the poignant pathways of Roberta Flack’s ‘Killing Me Softly’, which led to the most painful revelation… that of it being played at the funeral of his beloved Mother, Carol.

Such intensely personal moments unified Matt, the presenter and we, the listeners, with experiences, swooping and spiralling into our collective soul. However, just before sorrow had the occasion to settle, rather than move through the experiential labyrinth, we were expertly manoeuvred into the surreal and mesmeric sounds of ‘White Room’ by rock triumvirate, ‘Cream’, dedicated to his Father. We were to be further uplifted by, yet more, divine back-to-back explorations via his mentor, the perennially-masterful, Stevie Wonder, to whom he attributed the extraordinary “ability to take words and describe a complete movie…” How wonderful it was to be wrapped up by the perfect pop-of-sound delivered in ‘What Christmas Means To Me’, whilst being encouraged to indulge in ‘Love’s In Need Of Love Today’, “…a song… seven minutes and six seconds long… [which is] a luxury that most musicians don’t have anymore”…

In a touching tribute to George Michael, “a generous man, a loving man [who] was blessed to be a great songwriter” and “a massive influence” on Goss, ‘Jesus To A Child’ would symbolize an unexpected first-hand flashback for me, to cool December days and eves, living in Northern France. Reflective of the New York recollection, I, too, was very much aware of being away from my precious London but, equally, as excited to be on a new adventure, breaking new ground in the unfurling story of my life.

“Tapestry-of-life kind of legends” whisked me back to the present…

I found it to be a particularly charming example of the song-writing eloquence with which to describe the collaboration between David Bowie and Bing Crosby, from he who has been donned ”The New King of Vegas”*! Matt is, of course, entirely correct in such a description of the delightfully unique pairing and was absolutely inspired in the placement of ‘Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy’ after the sumptuous ‘Favourite Things’, as stylishly performed by Tony Bennett, accompanied by deluxe orchestration which hopped and skipped like stones across a sinuous river, glistening in setting sunlight.

As if this most delectable chocolate box of treats could not get any better, the melodic trip through time signatures and tales was brought to a momentous resolution with Otis Redding’s version of ‘White Christmas’, an absolute classic which, to me, has always been an ultimate solid-gold soul gem, deliciously transposed through the dynamic medium of Redding’s agonisingly mellifluous vocal chords…

Quite possibly my favourite thing of the entire broadcast was, in fact, the spirit in which it was transmitted. Matt, not only, rolled out the Christmas red carpet with a cadence of class, but captured the imagination by metaphorically embracing emotion with sentimental croons, themselves, harmoniously aligned with concept tunes. Wholeheartedly-expressed through the viewfinder of family and underpinned by love, his was the festive gift that kept on giving, which saw us all sublimely into the wee small hours of the most wonderful day of the year…

***

©A_F_R_O_W2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

~

”Matt Goss Until Midnight” on BBC Radio 2 is available online, for the next 18 days at:-   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jqgtm

~

All quotes from “Matt Goss Until Midnight”, BBC Radio 2, 24/12/2017 except ‘New King of Vegas’* which is from MGM Resorts.

~

An Evening At The Mirage:-

Click through for ticket availability and further details, regarding the amazing Matt Goss Residency at 1OAK!

~

Social Media

@mattgoss ~ @TeamMattGoss ~ @MattGossMusic ~ @TheMirageLV ~ @1OAKLV

MGM Resorts ~ iammattgoss (Facebook) 

 

 

 

Private View: ‘Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains’ Prog-Rocked my world!

Remember the great old days of the multi-player grams?

In essence, when one 7-inch had played, the next would fall into place, in wait for the needle-drop which, in-turn, had the listener on the edge of their seat, anticipating three-minute hedonism…The comforting, rhythmic crackle of the revolving disc emitting through the speakers, accompanied layer upon layer of delicious acoustic nirvana…

Similarly, ‘Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum is an absolute layer-cake of multi-media escapism!

Thus, do not attempt perfect recall…. Simply receive the state-of-the-art Sennheiser cans, turn on, tune in and rock out!!

Far be it from me to suggest you turn up in your best swimming ensemble either, but I am charging you to ready yourself to dive into the deepest end of your psyche than, either you realised you could, or ever knew existed!

Yet, have no fear!

…Just don’t be surprised if the self-contained audio frees you to such an extent that you get raucous in your own mind, then get loose and strut like a star at your own concert!

F.Y.I…. Lay-out, unnecessary.

Simply, follow the cleverly-integrated repeat motif of telephone boxes and you won’t miss a beat.

Expect to be swallowed whole, though, by the frontal lobe of an entirely immersive moment in time, which challenges the norms of what we know to be time-travel and sends you hurtling through a vast maze of music, moods and ground-breaking creative moves.

I mean it….

…At times, everything engulfs you.

In one pace, you move through the avant-garde ambition of Pink Floyd, to the incredible physical objects of stage memorabilia. The next step, you round the corner and see pigs flying over Battersea Power Station! Mesmerising are the conceptual ideas behind the fine artwork and eclectic wardrobe and wondrous are the intimate band voiceovers, guiding you, like long-lost friends, through the stories behind such shifting sonic patterns and vivid chord progressions encountered in the vast ocean of soundscapes, known as their all-consuming albums!

What is remarkable is that you never, ever lose the feeling of being a child in the best room of toys…

…especially when up-close-and-personal with some of the most exceptional musical instruments, displayed at all eye-levels, adding an awe-inspiring reverence to guitars and drum-kits, which have vibrated some of the most directional hits in prog-rock history. However, before any childlike, look-but-don’t-touch disappointment tries to encroach upon the wow-factor, you spin on a dime and see the sweet-shop set-up of mixing desks, encouraging you to become über-producer and remix ‘Money’! Although already blessed with a biting, syncopated bass, my version became even more sizzling, when placing the line centre-stage, which is just where I love my bass to be! Then again, removing all else, save the pealing clarion of ‘Money’ and the subsequent vocal rendition was a sheer joy, particularly with a splash-and-dash more reverb…

I truly loved that particular, free-flowing quadrant of the collective Pink Floyd brain.

In fact, I wasn’t aware of trying to work anything out in a strictly linear fashion, but I am sure that there was a mass of rapid visual information processing going on, because I was still thinking about it all days later…

For me, that’s quite the point of the best memories.

No matter when or where you are, there’s no need to attempt to bring them to mind, because effortlessly, they revisit you.

In such a way will all of the treasured experiences in this extraordinary exhibition become and remain immortal.

 

©AFROW2017-2019. All Rights Reserved.

~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Brosette-For-A-Day: “A Beautifully Reciprocal Experience”…’

I wasn’t actually meant to be there…

I had a lot of thinking to do… Pontification, which had started over blueberry pancakes drenched with butter and maple syrup, at the superb Mondrian Hotel… Having mentally put my world to rights as succinctly as possible, I followed my feet back towards the Southbank, via Upper Ground… Overhead, clotted cream clouds were dispersed across a carpet of sky, quickly diffused by a determined sun… Immediately ahead, a sizeable crowd had been stealthily amassing… Curious, to ascertain the significance of the mélange between point-and-press ‘paps’ and an ever-increasing congregation of enthusiastic individuals, I began my quest to answer the next question within my mind-palace… What was all of the buzz about?

‘We thought you were making fun of us’…

…came the reply to my inquisitive mood… ‘A lot of people wonder why, after 30 years we still come’… Well, the answer would soon become apparent, when the object of such devotion came into view… Both Matt and Luke Goss had exited the building and were about to conduct an impromptu meet-and-greet session. I learnt that they had just been on ‘This Morning with Ruth and Eamonn’, sharing the news of their upcoming reunion and were now about to share the love with their family of fans.

I observed.

This was, by no means, idolatry… This was genuine continuity of care. A constant, in a consistently impressive set of emotionally-literate calling-cards, for two of the most revered artist/ musicians in the business… and no wonder why…

They might have been behind a low barrier, but the energy exuding from the brothers vaulted way beyond any metal obstruction. As, one after another, the expectant supporters made their way into the arms of a bear-hug from Matt or the soothing voice of Luke, confirming, with absolute, heartfelt conviction that, he, indeed, remembered one particular lady and her Father from their youth, I soon became an immovable force! Not even the fact that I was without a coat, in an intermittently windy sleeve of street would have shaken me from my spot… shivers-and-all!

I was mesmerised.

Ensconced within a bubble of quiet hysteria, years were being rolled back, as memories were offered in each rencontre. Whether it was standing outside of ‘the Bros house’ and being brought cups of tea by their dear, late Mother, Carol… to the never-ending search for bottle-top footwear accessories, the interiors of this room within the memory-palace were layered with a profound sense of colourful camaraderie and touching bonds of lifelong friendship.

I was deeply moved. A smile regularly touched my face, as all around, I witnessed the groundswell of butterfly-inducing anticipation spill over, into undulations of audible excitement. The dream had come true!! A long-anticipated reunion tour, in commemoration of an exhilerating past, a glittering present and a stadium experience which would throw down an emphatic gauntlet, to a creatively adventurous future.

Suddenly, smile still plastered over my visage, an unexpected event occurred. An existential eye-line appeared and it was my turn to get the attention of Matt Goss, himself. Inwardly perplexed, since I had been more concerned that those with whom I had conversed earlier got their precious moments, I was further intrigued to see that he had worn a natty bandana and I was sporting a Hawes and Curtis dress shirt, with a Tiffany & Co. necktie, so, in for a penny (as my late Dad used to say!), I inquired as to whether a swap might be in order! So… that didn’t happen, but I heard a few sharp intakes of breath, as if, perhaps, that might have been a, somewhat, cheeky request…

I believe he was amused!

I certainly experienced my grin expand into a laugh, accompanied by a hearty giggle and, before I knew it, we were face-à-face! What was a girl to do, but offer ‘les bises’ and a handshake… Except that, by now, my body temperature, having decreased yet further, manifested an ice-cold hand, which really was shaking! Never was the reciprocated warmth more appreciated… Never before had it felt as if a verbal exchange hovered above… and, my goodness, if a spiritual exchange didn’t wrap itself around this portal of time like the ultimate duvet, then I know not how to account for the most intense stillness and mystifying sense of breathing pure air…. especially in a London atmosphere which has major exhaust-emission issues!

Then. It. Clicked.

The authenticity of these men… the depth of gratitude to this fan-family for, not only putting them in the record books, but keeping them there, so as to be front-and-centre for another inspiring tour, formulated a potent mix, which extended time in a profound way. Evidently, the highly-impressive performances, of their hit-filled back catalogue, ebbing and flowing with up-to-the-minute exclusives, were the timely conclusion and commencement to an ever-greater season of prolific, combined creativity.

According to Matt, ‘Civility Costs Nothing’. Lyrics in his powerful track ‘Strong’ ring out, ‘Kindness Is King’ and I believe that the combined humility, faith and love of the brothers who were born on (what would become) ‘National Heart Day’, will see Bros move to new industry heights… Prepare for Matt and Luke Goss to scale the mountains of film, fashion and, undoubtedly, make continued musical breakthroughs…

You never know… I might just try and source some bottle-tops for m’self… Though, I do, rather look forward to working them with my Louboutins!!!

~

 

©AFROW2017-2019. All Rights Reserved.

 

The TriForce is strong with this Creative Network!

T.C.N.

An acronym, small in letters, but big in ambition.

If I were to mention it, you might not know what it stood for, but the people behind it certainly do, for this triumvirate of capitals signifies the ‘TriForce Creative Network’, an absolute, organisational antetype, rather than a copy-and-paste prototype. Founded by Actors and best friends, Jimmy Akingbola and Fraser Ayres, to be an edifying agency of change within the Creative Arts arena, it has at its core, a strategy which promotes diversity, inclusivity and access, via multi-disciplinary collaboration, innovation and support of, both, emerging and developing artistic talent.

Achieving such altruistic objectives demands optimism, idealism and pragmatism and the use of compound creative outlets, allows the Network to manifest its goals. For example, beneath the umbrella of T.C.N, reside the ‘Monologue Slam U.K.’, ‘Writer Slam’, ‘TriForce Productions’ and ‘TriForce Short Film Festival’, each serving to concretise an infrastructure, generating definitive opportunities for independent talent to shine (whether performance or production), in addition to encouraging increased audience engagement.

With such an ambitious ethos, it was the best of times, then, to attend the press launch of this year’s ‘TriForce Short Film Festival’, not only to learn more about the imminent December 3rd event (to be held at BAFTA H.Q), but also to view the UK premiere of Jessica Oyelowo’s stunning directorial debut, ‘After The Storm’.

From the lively Q and A session, it was an sheer joy to uncover how the fruit of the seed sown in Edinburgh 2004, by “creatives who wanted to open up Arts”*, was going “beyond labels…beyond the term ‘BAME'”*…an utter delight to ascertain that, a wide variety of categories, such as; ‘Family Values’, ‘A Question of Identity’, ‘Non-Scripted’ and ‘Microshorts’, within the competitive film-making element represented this by, yet again, producing a truly exceptional shortlist (expositions, of which, will be seen on the day and at the evening Gala).

Being able to dream dreams and pursue them as a bonafide profession will also be explored, via an ‘Industry Expo’, with a unique selection of seminars, to be hosted by the multi-talents of Reggie Yates and Charlene White, and keynote speeches from the likes of industry-leaders, ‘Shine Media’, ‘4Talent’ and ‘Creative Skillset’. Further endorsing the effectiveness of the sessions was last year’s ‘Best-In-Fest’ winner, David Kitchen. Enthusiastically attesting to their importance, he highlighted them as “so informative…[because] you get to speak to people…, [so] even if you don’t win, you still feel a part of a network.” In fact, making connections and forging friendships, led to the Director being able to call upon those very contacts, within the year (2015-16), resultant in his film now being developed into a three-part television series and a feature! (Cue audible gasps of excitement from the screening-room audience!).

My mind began racing…

…If concentrating on career development could work for adults, I had to inquire as to whether there might be the opportunity for an educational roll-out of such a bold initiative. Minnie Ayres (Actress and T.C.N Company Director), ebulliently explained that, being free to submit entries, the ‘MicroShort’ section was particularly popular with under-18’s. She also revealed the idea of expanding the entry-age of the ‘Monologue Slam’ competition, extending the reach of showcasing untapped acting excellence.

My heart leapt!

A mere 24-hours after an election, which seemed to have contracted global hope, here was TriForce, an outstanding network of understanding that navigating myriad creative pathways with ongoing support has never been more crucial… a shining beacon of an organisation, nay, a Family, which is not only proving itself to be game-changing within the Arts Industry but, undoubtedly, life-changing!

©A_F_R_O_W2016-2019. All Rights Reserved.

~

TRIFORCE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2016

DATE: DECEMBER 3RD ~ LOCATION: BAFTA, 195 PICADILLY

SCHEDULE & TICKETS

TFSFF 2016 SHORT LIST

@TriForceFest    ~ @TriForceEvents

TriForce Creative Network

TRIFORCE MONOLOGUE SLAM

@MonologueSlamUK   

*Quote: Fraser Ayres (Post-Screening Q and A)

~

Sincere Afrow-Appreciation to Minnie Ayres and Sophie Spirit for organising the invite! Super-congrats on a fantastic launch!

Bros ‘Push’ platinum reunion to a higher level!

It may, or may not have escaped your notice, but, I love to write!

Be it poetry, prose, press release… news, reviews, interviews, I get the greatest kick from spreading the positive word!

So, it gives me particular pleasure to share the good news with you that super-band, ‘Bros’  is back!

Amidst a whirlwind of press, brothers, Matt and Luke Goss announced their reunion tour, headlining two O2 Arena concerts (the second, of which, had to be added due to extraordinary demand), commencing on August 19th 2017. If the date looks familiar, it’s because it falls exactly 28 years to the day of the final Wembley performance on their landmark global tour, on August 19th 1989! (For the numerologists out there, they’ve also played the venue 19 times…go figure!)…

As per Bros tradition, the intel gave rise to a socialmedia frenzy, akin to the good old days of 80’s Brosmania….For two weeks, a flurry of hot-off-the-press, hard copy reports rallied with their online partners, with televisual appearances being skilfully served, alongside audio aces…each revealing, in greater detail, an event series, promising to go beyond a show, into a fully-fledged, feel-good, multiplatform experience of the heightened, holistic kind.

Taking things ‘over-the-top’ is quite in keeping with their honed creative skills. Let’s not forget that the boys from Bros have become men, with super-succesful careers, respectively. With Matt, the newly-crowned King of Vegas and Luke, a much-feted Hollywood actor, we should expect them to go big, as they pay homage to the past, reflect the present with relish and project the future boldly! Expect, too, the unexpected, in a contemporary twist on presentation which will, not only, be an authentic representation of the very best these two highly-creative minds can dream up when they become one, but will also honour their entire journey…and then some!

The cynics may say that reunion tours are a mere money-spinning exercise…A play on memorabilia…But I choose to spin that theory right around and say that, clearly, the money is a mere by-product of the blood, sweat and tears going into a production of such magnitude, which this will be! Luke’s hands are already the proof of the first, due to intense drum practice…now that’s real talk!

Yes, I’m all for riding the wave of nostalgia… All for the universal cry of unadulterated joy erupting, when devoted Brosettes, now, themselves adults, relive their youth, with fellow fans who have become firm friends, as well as family, alike… In fact, the experiential artist within me would love to see an exhibition à la the super-impressive ‘Return of The Rudeboy’ at Somerset House, or the more recent triumph of The Jam’s inspiring retrospective, ‘About The Young Idea’. (The latter was another family affair, in that it was curated by (lead) Paul Weller’s sister, Nicky). Cooler, still, would be to install it at the O2’s exhibition space, or another South London gallery (quite possibly the ‘South London Gallery’, on Peckham Road) or even the ‘Lewisham Arthouse’, in reference to their tender beginnings in the area. Whatever the final format, the prospect of a Brotherhood mirrored by a Sisterhood, united in sharing such beautiful memories and making new ones, in UK stadia, is totally tantalising!

That said, if status of ticket availability is anything to go by, then this will be an entire sell-out! As if being the youngest band ever to play Wembley wasn’t enough, the Brosmania has continued the trend, by doing so for the first night, in the fastest time, ever in (promoter) LiveNationUK’s history, of 7 seconds, flat!* Yes, SEVEN!! So I urge you… get on the case and do not miss out on this tour…and whilst you get your golden tickets, please spare a thought for me, head-in-Dictionary and Thesaurus, in search of synonyms, superlatives and adjectives, in order to do justice to this epic event…which, incidentally, is bound to go way beyond the words which I already love so much..

For now though, a hugely, exuberant, celebration of life, in an amazingly popular band, is a pretty fine place to start!

©A_F_R_O_W2016-2019 All Rights Reserved

~

Tickets/ Tour Dates: Live Nation  ~ The O2 Arena

Twitter: @BrosBandUK ~ Instagram: Bros_BandFacebook: Bros_Band ~ Website: Bros

  Merchandise: Bros Official Merchandise

 South London Gallery ~ Lewisham Arthouse

*Source: (Twitter) @LiveNationUK