afrow

Black Girl on the Front Row!

How do you solve a problem like ‘Utopia’? Follow the Arts Trail!

September was a SCORCHER of a creative month!

First up, was London’s inaugural Design Biennale, held in a Somerset House, replete with a host of 37 global delegations, problem-solving the notion of ‘Utopia’, through pure, clear Creativity… Yes, friends, I repeat, Creativity, with a definitive, capitalC‘!

Something about the socio-political mood revealed the V and A weathervane, in the courtyard, with new eyes. Surrounded by a singular weather-system, within the cobbled square… the perfect, windswept movement of a majestic installation called to mind the damage that the ever-developing power of such wind would and could do, in parts of the world which I could not see.

Ensconced within the wings, both East and West, resided ingenuity and innovation borne beyond blue-sky thinking… such as Sweden’s curated ‘We-topia’, which encapsulated the impact of serendipitous community collaboration, to form a collective of artisans, articulating the diversity of devastatingly desirable, stylish and, moreover, sustainable, homeware… via ‘Level’, Austria’s paean to light and balance, reflecting the pointed delicacy of the global butterfly effect… to Spain’s neon-laced, VR Reality vision of the future, accessed through a mirrored time-tunnel, reminiscent of the final, technicoloured vortex to the full-circle life-span, in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’… From navigating the modernisation of irrigation systems, in order to enhance the growth and yield of vegetation, in addition to stimulating ecosystems, proposed by the U.A.E, to Greece’s audio-visual honouring of the migratory patterns of peoples and their bespoke utilisations of a unique composition of marble…the entire London Design Biennale experience did more than represent the United Nations of Innovation… Underneath, and often, starkly, beautifully evident, was the best of expertise in fabrication, function and flair, infused with joyous wit and extensive wisdom. It has been, and will remain, one of the most engaging, thought-provoking private viewings which I have ever attended… where offerings (some of which were tantalisingly unfinished the day before the launch) of the power of dreams, were made pragmatically, believably real… It was a undeniable triumph and I am already declaring, alto voce, ‘Roll on 2018’!

If that were not enough, up popped the first, ever, Catford Arts Trail! This free, open-house event (including workshops and activities), spread over two consecutive weekends, was based in-and-around 31 venues, enthusiastically celebrating the creative energy and spirit of entrepreneurialism flowing throughout the area (much like the River Ford used to do!).

Event experience corroborated that I was up at the crack of dawn, set up with a super-hearty breakfast, my trusty map and an empty bag… ready to be filled upon my Arts Trail adventure… and what a brisk few hours of flying-visits it was! In fact, I’m sure that my, somewhat, ‘Phileas Fogg excursion’ at the London Biennale, had prepared me for my artistic treasure hunt…

Every house was handsomely bedecked in a clutch of brightly-hued balloons, a signpost, standing proud and true, emblazoned with the ‘Catford Arts Trail’ logo and quite often, the added bonus of a handwritten welcome, second only to the glorious souls inviting us in!

I first paid a visit to see the wondrous world of intricately-woven 3D structures created by Stella Harding… some which resembled robust, warrior masks, others, no less impressive,  fashioned with measuring tape! I was delighted to ascertain that there were two places remaining upon her contemporary basketry course, at Morley College (although I somehow doubted that would be the case by the day’s end, so great were the pieces). Work by accomplished ceramicist, Robert Cooper, was also on show… this time, woven around narratives linked to the Japanese tea rituals and foraging at the River Thames for broken fragments of old crockery, from which to devise new stories, through re-purposed pieces. I believe I overheard him regaling a tale of his Aunty, to a fellow visitor as I left!

With a cool breeze for company,  directing me onward, I wound around the corner, to take in the home textiles of ‘Sophie Home’ and locally-themed prints of ‘Place In Print’. Once again, the array of wares was first-rate! Although demonstrating differing elements of the design spectrum, both sets of products screamed ‘modern classics’. From tea towels to cushions, I was particularly taken by the bold use of minimal, neutral colourways, spiced up with slices of citric tones, in the soft furnishings, as well as the quirky and most charming individuality to the playful prints.

Now, you won’t believe this…but, what with all of the fun and creative fact-finding, time veritably flew by…but I had one last stop to make before winging my way back to the homestead… Quite frankly, amidst all of this awesomeness, I needed my fill of fantastic fashion… I found it, and then some, at House 24, upon the trail… which is where I also remembered to pick up my ‘Catford Arts Trail Card’, which, when stamped 9 times, at 9 different venues, would automatically enter me into the draw to win £100 worth of goodies from my chosen Catford Artist!

Once I got my stamp, I got to know the uber-cool sculptural jewellery of Katie New. Colourbursts, like the richest of cabochons, radiated through her collection of handmade articles. Standouts combined the strength of precious metals with the embossed textures of fragile leaves and were a perfect foil to the stunning designs of Jasmine Carey a.k.a ‘Deco 22’. Having followed Jasmine’s continual rise as an exceptional style artisan, I am an absolute aficionado of the clean-lined aesthetic of apparel that she produces, with the quality of her precision-cutting and the overall outstanding execution of assembly, giving masterly substance to highly-covetable and wearable works of art. Highlights? The entire collection!…If pressed, then, my star-buy would have to be the nod-to-40’s-glamour, expressed as a belted black-and-white overcoat, with a fit-and-flare silhouette to live for, invisible pockets that are so invisible, you’d think they were trompe l’oeil, and a steal at £65, (due to it being a sample)! As for accessories (yes, she designs and makes those too!), I adored all of the leather goods.. from wallets/ card-holders, to folios… and the cutest gift bags, containing a pin cushion and pins, perfect for new and experienced crafting types, which were simply darling!

With that… I was creatively spent!

… I returned to Afrow-H.Q, a fully-fledged member of the Catford Arts Trailblazers (as I like to call us!)… with the enduring memory of, not only the warmth of welcome at each and every home, the willingness of each designer-maker to share their inspiring stories, but most of all, the camaraderie of fellow Arts Followers, cheerily directing one another along the way…

The sincerest of congratulations to all involved in continuing to spread the word about the strength-in-depth of creative endeavour, both borough-wide and globally….

In an ever-changing world, moving from relative strangers to creative neighbours is, surely, the greatest treasure of all!

©A_F_R_O_W2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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London Design Biennale 2016 ~ Somerset House

Catford Arts ~ Stella Harding ~ Robert Cooper ~ Sophie Home ~ Katie New ~ Deco22

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Twitter Testimonial from London Design Biennale!

“LDN Design Biennale Retweeted Afrow:

“Problem-solving the notion of ‘Utopia’, through pure, clear Creativity” – thanks to @A_F_R_O_W for a great review of @londonbiennale 2016”

~

Twitter Testimonial from Sophie McNiven, Catford Arts Trail Organiser and Founder/Designer of ‘Sophie Home’

“Sophie Home@shopsophiehome Oct 30

thanks so much for this write up! As one of the organisers of too, I’m particularly delighted to read of your joy!”

BFI Black Star Season: ‘Malcolm X’.

Paul Beatty has just won the Man Booker Prize for his novel ‘Sell Out’…

The title throws me back to ‘No Sell Out’, a seminal piece of hip hop history by Keith LeBlanc, which sampled an excerpt from Malcolm X’s legendary speech… a work on wax, which I used to hear when growing up… when summers were consistently sweltering … when Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane were declaring, with pointed urgency, not to ‘believe the hype’ and that there could be, categorically, ‘no half-steppin’ to be taken amidst any naysaying voices trying to dissuade you from believing in and/ or expressing your innate greatness …

…which, in turn, sent me hurtling forward to the present day… quite some days post ‘Malcolm X’ screening at BFI Southbank. As part of the current ‘Black Star’ schedule, it was my first, ever viewing of the unfolding dichotomy of life-amidst-lynchings, projecting and protecting a ‘rep’ and the entirety of multi-faceted drama arising inbetween. Director/Actor, Spike Lee, boldly takes the helm of this labour of love (the first option, of which, dates back to heralded writer, James Baldwin’s first scripted version, in the late 1960’s), with an accomplished and gritty deftness… availing himself of an unflinching approach to expressing such an arc, which grabs you by the shoulders and pins you to your seat, from the get-go.

Lee captures the macrocosm of a seething America, trapped within the turmoil of violence and racism, in microscopic detail. Through a whirlwind of sound, vision and movement, the expanse of screen bursts vigorous story-telling, from hi-visibility power struggles of the streets, to the high-colour dress and dancehall days of Harlem. Of course, none of this can be achieved without the tour de force ensemble cast of players, whom, to a man and woman, summon up the absolute definition of authenticity and truth.

As the title role of Malcolm X, Denzel Washington delivers an acting 101. From the highs of becoming ‘the main man on the scene’, the denigrating lows of becoming ‘a number’ whilst incarcerated, to the turning point of his revelation of faith, Washington’s characterisation is as close to complete, as one can get. His on-screen opposite, the ever-engaging Angela Bassett,’co-chairs’ the piece, as Betty Shabazz, encapsulating sheer dignity and class, with deceptive simplicity. Having poured relentless tension out of the jar of biographical narrative, intermittent comic relief is served by Spike Lee, himself, who embodies overt humour, as Washington’s steadfastly devoted ally, ‘Shorty’. However, it is with Delroy Lindo that the epiphanies of Malcolm X’s journey are at their emotive best. Lindo, who plays ‘West Indian Archie’, is instantly unforgettable both, as, gangster in his ‘gambling-pomp’ (quite literally, making his affinity for numbers, pay) and ‘mentor’, taking Malcolm under his wing, as protégé. The quiet undercurrent of danger-in-designer suits, is a masterclass in menace, which serves to make the later, shared scene between a down-and-out, Archie, living in squalor and having suffered a stroke, and the post prison-release, reformed, X, beyond poignant, utterly heartbreaking, yet a wholeheartedly uplifting lesson in total love and forgiveness. Some time before the agonising ending, this was when I, absolutely, began to shed tears.

Faced with such extreme purity, I was absorbed by humility… embraced by a humanity, which transported me away from my plush, red seat. Out of my dramaturgical comfort zone, into a world, still ravaged by sorrow and injustice…and yet, one in which cinematic seasons can demonstrate how real stardom celebrates that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart…. Where the gift of experiencing and sharing this with one another, makes us all stars.

©A_F_R_O_W2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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The amazing ‘Black Star’ Season is on NOW, at BFI Southbank and nationwide! Click-through for more at:-

http://www.bfi.org.uk/black-star

@BFI  #BlackStar

Heartfelt @A_F_R_O_W-Appreciation to Ashley Clarke for the recommendation and Victoria Humphrys for the prize!

‘BLACK STAR’ will shine at the BFI!

When the BFI celebrates achievement in film and television, it celebrates!

Case-in-point, the glitz and glamour of the 60th London Film Festival, which wrapped with a glorious nod to director-extraordinaire, Steve McQueen, who was awarded with the BFI Fellowship.

Hot-on-the-heels of the highly-successful event, the baton of style and substance has been passed on to the ‘Black Star’ season, commencing today and billed by its programmer, Ashley Clark, as ‘the biggest ever celebration of black screen talent.’* Having seen the line-up, not only would I second that statement, but boldly add to it as, quite possibly, the most comprehensive collection, yet, of across-the-board artistry within the genre.

A constant in facilitating the continuance of creative excellence, irrespective of creed, colour or gender, the BFI announced the upcoming season to great fanfare at the eponymous ‘Black Star Symposium’, during the London Film Festival. Headlined by in-demand Actor, David Oyelowo, and attended by other such esteemed panellists as Amma Asante (multi-award winning Writer/Director) and Noel Clark (groundbreaking Actor/Writer/Producer), to name but a few, the conference also marked the first stage of research into the compilation of material, revealing the changing landscape of British cinema, both on and off-screen, purposed with being a game-changing benchmark regarding inclusivity and diversity, for decision-makers within in the industry. Asante being the first Black British Director to open the London Film Festival with ‘A United Kingdom’, starring aforementioned David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, marks an indelible tribute into such an inspirational endeavour.

With a schedule showcasing contributions from recent and distant past, ‘Black Star’ boldly goes where no season has gone before! Heroes and heroines from, both, small and big-screen, display the many narratives of the Black Diaspora, which are seamlessly woven into a tapestry, resplendent with grit, grace, class, cool and undeniable, landmark artistic virtuosity.

Landmark performances from Poitier to Prince, Baker to Bassett, Ejogo to Ejiofor, Kitt to Kid ‘n’ Play, Nicholas Brothers to New Jack City… Hollywood, Nollywood…culminate in a meticulously-planned, nigh on, inexhaustible selection! Add to that, a generous helping of Q-and-A’s, enough to quell the appetite of even the most inquisitive of movie-goers and a mid-season exhibition dedicated to the genius of Paul Robeson plus a 2-4-1 offer on tickets (see T’s and C’s below)** and you’re ready to plot your own cinematic odyssey!

Enjoy!

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Click below for more information about the ‘Black Star ‘ Season at BFI Southbank and Nationwide!

http://www.bfi.org.uk/blackstar

@BFI (#BFIBlackStar)

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Credits

*Source (Ashley Clark quote):BFI Southbank ‘Black Star’ Season Programme, p.18.

Ticket Offer Terms and Conditions

** To redeem the 2-4-1 ticket offer, you must quote ‘STAR241’ when booking online, in person or by phone. The code CAN be used more than once but the offer ONLY applies to the purchase of two tickets for the SAME film. The offer EXCLUDES previews and special events.

(Offer information correct at time of going to press).

©A_F_R_O_W2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

MATT GOSS: ‘GONE TOO LONG’…

There’s nothing like being in a recording studio.

Nothing like being faced with a mixing desk of many colours, ready and waiting to articulate the shades of life experience.

Whether decked out with lo-fi computer, turntables and a microphone, or the latest wall-of-sound set-up, being super-surrounded by a cocoon of creative possibility, anticipating the unique heart-mind-soul-technology reunion, emerging from that musical womb, is spine-tinglingly special.

I recently meandered down the lane of my sentimental studio-time recollections, whilst becoming reacquainted with the musical time-bank of Mr Matt Goss, who (seemingly a lifetime ago), courageously took the first, post-Bros step upon that proverbial thousand-mile journey, ending up across-the-pond.

As my solo listening-party took the scenic route from the pop-ode-to-ambition of ‘When Will I Be Famous?’ to the poignantly tender ‘Cat Amongst The Pigeons’, early indications were screamingly obvious as to the ever-increasingly creative potential and power to metaphorically encapsulate into 3-minute offerings, the dramatic vignettes of the everyday. Matt Goss’s continued metamorphosis from boy-to-man, a true grafter, navigating though joy and pain, has seen him honed into quite the multi-talented artisan, fulfilling all of his evident, early promise.

Traversing his life-path, both in real-time, and in multi-media formats, has seen the conception and delivery of projects via a myriad artistic outlets, including children’s author, autobiographer, poet and, of course, musician. In fact, his latest solo offering, has just come hot-off-the-presses, after his finishing at the crest of a 7½ year residency at Caesar’s Palace (with endless plaudits and ‘Icon Award’ in-hand), and seen him returning to our shores, to play a packed-out Wembley SSE Arena!

No less arresting than records from his extensive back catalogue, the intriguingly titled ‘Gone Too Long’ masterfully distils the loneliness of, simply, occupying the same space as the one you love and the insidious agony of acknowledging a certain coldness, where once was depth and warmth. Against a lulling backdrop of gentle piano, layers of atmospheric choral lines are awash with swathes of violins and stabbing pizzicato, plucking at the heartstrings, as the soulfully melancholic melody reiterates the refrain that ‘we should hold each other tonight…it’s not too late’.* As if peeling off a plaster from a wound that has yet to heal, the haunting echo of a spoken vocal, underpinned by a military drum-break, cuts through the false sense of emotional security, seamlessly overlaid by the ebbing and flowing of musical patterns, keeping the track entirely contemporary and tantalisingly Bond-like. Cue the monochromatic visual treatment (with the emotive performance akin to an indie film-short), also produced and directed by Goss, which compellingly mirrors the diminution of passion, into a world of stark desolation, through the modernity of clipped hip-hop choreography. Add to that some ultra-slick styling, spanning Hollywood glamour to present-day swagger, and you have a truly impressive production.

In Matt Goss, himself, you have an artist with the acute emotional literacy and attention-to-detail to access ‘the moment’, define it with clarity and intention, and deliver the epiphany of lessons learnt. Without becoming stuck or weighed down by the past, he boldly surrenders to the truth which is resident at the seat of the soul and openly encourages the listener to, not only, share in the experience, but recreate it in his/her own voice, whether of the internal, ‘thinking’, kind, or of the externally audible. In this way, his impact reaches far beyond the mere action of downloading or uploading.

I’ve found that to appreciate his present sound within the context of reprising the past, has been an expedient reminder that compassion, humility and civility run through Goss’s lifeblood. His entire body of work defies time and will continue to do so, simply because of the profoundly innate connection he has with that which emanates as his true treasure….music.

Whilst nothing happens before the time, I rather look forward to further examples of his unlimited giftings (an anthology of lyrics/ poetry would be wonderful!) because Matt Goss has certainly filled the outline of my heart with the purity of love of the craft residing within his and I have no doubt that ‘Gone Too Long’ will do the same for fellow heartfelt, hopeful romantics everywhere!

Enjoy!xxx

© @A_F_R_O_W2016 All Rights Reserved

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The new single ‘GONE TOO LONG’ by Matt Goss is OUT NOW!

See the video and buy the amazing track at: www.mattgoss.la

*Lyrics ©MattGoss2016 All Rights Reserved

Twitter: @mattgoss ~ Facebook: iammattgoss ~ Soundcloud: Matt Goss Music

“Punctured Perspectives” by Kirstie Macleod: A Fine Point on Embroidery!

Sometimes, intention and outcome do not marry… and yet, opposites attract… so they often court for a time.

Such was my experience, as I, inadvertently, paid a visit to Rook and Raven Gallery, the day after a much-anticipated Private View of ‘Punctured Perspectives’, the first U.K solo show by British Artist, Kirstie Macleod.

Reaching my destination with an hour to spare, I absorbed the environs surrounding its Rathbone Place location, meandering through Stephen and Charlotte Streets, winding my way, bobbin-like, around Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street… visiting bookshops and renewing my familiar vista of this global capital city, with replenished hidden gems of the ‘boutique’ descriptions, from hotels, to high-fashion!

Finding it all-too-easy to get happily lost in newfound objets d’intérêts, I retraced my route to the gallery. Now, past time for the event to begin, an event filled with the promise of multi-disciplinary artistry, I stood quietly, in wonderment at the stillness. With fewer guests than I had expected…in fact, just yours truly… the perfectly-timed arrival of the ever-accommodating Rook and Raven gallerista, to open the door, cheered my heart!

“Excuse me? Has the P.V been cancelled?”

The kindly face gently answered, “The P.V was yesterday…but you’re more than welcome to come in and have a look around!”

I cannot tell you the exact entirety of my emotional excursion, however, I’d compare the spike from crestfallen to elation, to the milliseconds it takes Lewis Hamilton to reach the corner first, at the start of a high-octane F1 race!

I can tell you the sheer bliss of being the only visitor within a space, itself, adorned with mixed-media and textile art of the most gently arresting order. Peppered, at intervals, with lively exchanges as to the dynamism and richness of Kirstie Macleod’s wide-ranging works, I marvelled at the ambition wrapped within deceptively simple formats and materials. I am drawn to the keenly-observed flight formations expressed in matt black thread upon cotton. Displayed one after the other, they hypnotically echo in the mind, as the titles ‘Murmur I’ and ‘Murmur II’, suggest. Juxtaposed in both position and hue, is ‘Lacuna’. A contemporary celebration of colour, the vibrancy is emboldened by a succession of acute, embroidered angles which cut like the Shard against a cumulo nimbus sky. Move, if you will, to ‘Mu’, 132 x 162 cm of glossy red, tonically reading as MAC’s ‘Ruby Woo’ with lashings of clear ‘Lipglass’ hovering atop… The drilled holes only adding a glorious imperfection, similar to the gentle fade of lipstain, over a giddy evening of fine dining! The textural exploration continues into ‘Flow’, where stark matt white creates a backdrop upon which the drilled finish portrays a prickly-heat, insistent energy.

The momentum is topped and stopped by ‘Barocco’*.

It is the unique centrepiece of the collection….

A highly-decorated gown of deepest red, which is exhibited within a perspex cube….

…the embellishment, of which, has been hand-embroidered by 50 global contributors, thus far! With each artisan comes a stunning narrative of idiosyncratic stitches, symbolism and distinct prismatic combinations, to mesmerise the onlooker. It is a gown of concentrated cultural conversations, which has taken extreme concentration to express and just as Kirstie’s performance of sewing the dress, whilst she wears it, you almost find yourself dancing around the cube in order to trace the path of these most intricately-layered patterns! Being a 10 year-project, due to end in 2019, the final embellished design of the dress is yet unknown, however the aim is that, resultant of the extent of needlework, the soft fabric will eventually become a robust sculptural piece, strong enough to stand, unsupported.

Although tonight will see the finale presentation of ‘Barocco’, before the piece travels to its next destination, due to popular demand, the entire exposition has been extended and this stunning acclamation of embroidery can be seen at the Rook and Raven Gallery until April 11th 2015. As with the best design motifs, I wholeheartedly encourage repeat visits, but be prepared to want to move and to be moved…because this ‘rough or imperfect pearl’ is a diamond of a ‘stand-alone’ exhibition!

***

The unmissable ‘Punctured Perspectives’ by Kirstie Macleod is on until 11/ 04/ 2015 at Rook and Raven Gallery, 7 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1HN!

Gallery Opening Hours: Tuesday ~ Friday: 11 a.m > 6.30 p.m; Saturday: 11 a.m > 6 p.m; Sunday: Closed; Monday: By Appointment Only

* Barocco: Ancient Portuguese for ‘rough of imperfect pearl’…

~

©AFROW2015-2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“A FAIR TO REMEMBER!”

I’ll say this

…for now, only once (with advance apologies for repetition to the affirmative, in future posts!), but, with regard to fairs of the Fine Art ilk, 2014 has, to my mind, been the strongest year, yet.

From ‘Works On Paper’ at the awe-inspiring Science Museum, ‘The Other Art Fair’, (or TOAF), with its ever-edgy takeovers, at The Old Truman Brewery and Ambika P3, through to ‘The Independent Artist Fair’, (or TIAF, not to be confused with TOAF!), only the pitch-of-a-stone from Brick Lane and encouragingly organic and lo-fi, the common denominator has been the ability to maintain creative integrity for all artists involved, whilst simultaneously harnessing the entrepreneurial energy, worthy of a well-loved and respected developing ‘cottage industry’ template.

Take, for example, the aforementioned, ‘TOAF’.

It stays cerebrally locked since, in one fell swoop, its Director, Ryan Stanier, has successfully orchestrated a move to combine the best of the Creative Arts and simultaneously do away with the stereotypes of a world, exclusively inhabited by those of a certain socioeconomic background. Having attended a healthy amount of Private Viewings, it is clear to see that, as per the inclusive nature of the creative energy, itself, all walks are, not only welcomed and encouraged, but, in fact, vital to the lifeblood of this event-model. Founded in a desire to expose the wide range and eclecticism of Art at its highest level and reflected by the practitioners selected, the experience is paramount… Thus, the propostion of meeting and greeting with inspirational emerging and established talent, seeing their work within buildings which mirror the dynamism of the artistic energy they will house and adding culinary and musical fayre to maximise ‘the vibe’ (and rival any top London nightspot), becomes immensely exciting and enticing!

Let me make it clear, that the zeal-for-zeitgeist is not to the detriment of an authentic desire to simply share and engage on a holistic level. Kinetic to kinaesthetic, Stanier employs the diversity of Arts and crafts them into an authentic dialogue between maker and potential buyer, whilst managing to dissipate any pressure to consume, through the lively rendering of the backdrop of London culture. It is intense as it is genius! As if to compound the vision for ‘all-access-Art’, TOAF was a brand-partner at the recent ‘Off The Rails’ menswear event. Held, once again, at The Old Truman Brewery, it served to blow the doors off the image of an ‘apparel man-cave’, rather, embodying a treasure-trove of classic and contemporary collections for the modern man…Naturally, this was an absolutely perfect fit, vis-a-vis promoting the cross-fertilisation of complementary accoutrements for such lifestyles. Attending the four-day event was a distinct pleasure, made all-the-more amazing, by the speed of site-turnaround, given that the venue had played host to TOAF, less than a fortnight prior!

It is this marriage of a sensibility to multi-platform creative expression and a supreme logistical skillset, underpinned by sharp media-savvy and the pure passion of their manifestion, which has resulted in the rise of bringing art to the masses. If the round-the-block queue at TOAF’s last event was anything to go by, the popularity is only set to increase…meaning greater exposure to even greater artistic talent…and that is fine by me!!

©AFROW2014-2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Other Art Fair

The Independent Artist Fair

Works On Paper Fair

Off The Rails

The Old Truman Brewery

INTERVIEW: “A 2014 SPACE ODYSSEY, WITH KEIR DULLEA AND GARY LOCKWOOD!”

…Somewhere in deepest Londinium, a truly unique event was about to begin…

The Mission:

To join a select group of journalists, for a ‘Q and A’ session with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, star protagonists of Stanley Kubrick’s legendary cinematic opus, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

…Undoubtedly, I had enthusiastically chosen to accept, and yet, somehow, I could not dismiss the overriding feeling that the stars had aligned and the opportunity had chosen me…

Arriving early, I took the space and time to dwell upon the imminent proceedings. Only in November had I disembarked upon my journey with the blockbuster movie…and now, I was installed in a low-lit, BFI Southbank Studio, sharing a front-row, replete with male counterparts, conversing about Kubrick’s created world and the chance for further enlightenment thereof, with the giddy excitement of a child, about to unwrap a plethora of gifts, on Christmas morning!

Our expedition ‘Captain’ was Rhidian Davis, Producer of the BFI’s hugely impressive ‘Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder’ Season. Relaxed and congenial, he was also enlivened by the audience response to the scheduled UK-wide selection of events, particularly indicated by all of the “really positive” social media feedback. As he waxed lyrically, the gentle hum of classical music began piping through the surround-sound, in turn, sending my mind through its own wormhole, to the opening sequence of ‘2001’..Seemingly, wherever I went, my world was happily fated to an endless soundtrackwithout the need of Soundcloud! Yet, with a topline punctuated, every so often, by the swing of a door, I would fall back into the realms of the present…to darkness falling…to the majestic ‘2001’ trailer…to new voices joining the chorus…and, at its close, to the recognition of the word “Fantastic” being uttered by one particularly familiar American accent…

…That of ‘Dave Bowman’…the one and only, Mr Keir Dullea! (Cue internal applause!)…quickly followed by another Stateside inflection, which (by process of elimination), could have been (and wasnone other than ‘Frank Poole’, a.k.a, Mr Gary Lockwood! (Ditto, with the applause!)… In stature, they were the exact opposite! Dullea, tall, lithe, piercingly-bright-eyed, silver-haired, bearded and elegantly-suited, with an air of suave, Savile Row. Lockwood, gracefully-greying, with eyes of warm, deep-set intensity and an imposing silhouette, wrapped in smart-casual attire, signalling the powerful physique of his days as a quarterback and stuntman. Yet, we were to learn that their personalities made them quite the most perfect interview double-act and their arrival had signalled our take-off, into streams of consciousness, run-on lines and priceless memories, which were to become an integral part of my own, and went a little something like this (‘stage directions’ and all!)…

[The room falls into an enjoyable outer space silence].

…Of the premiere of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’…

KD [Thoughtful. Considered. Bowman-like!]: “It blew me away… Nothing readies you… The ‘Dawn of Man’ Sequence surprised me the most..”

(It transpires that they had seen no rushes of that section, as the scenes were filmed after they had wrapped their own).

GL [Excitedly, as if reliving the moment.]:Everyone was reading about the hype of the film… but it wasn’t all that well received..”

(Save for the shuffling of a few pens on paper…the room is still, as we absorb their every word).

KD [Glancing over to GL, continuing the thought.]: “…[It] got unbelievably mixed reviews…I began to doubt that it was going to happen [be successful]…Not that it was less of a film…”

…On how they initially got cast

KD [Measured, with a wry smile.]: “I went to a fortune teller at the Battersea Funfair and the palmist said that he saw a rocketship [in my hand]!!…I returned home and my wife said I was to call my agent…I was told that Stanley Kubrick had offered me the part…but I was also in a play with Laurence Olivier, in London, already…”

GL [Confident. Quickly chimes in!]:I knew it was over! I knew it would be the job! None of us was going to be in a better part than that! Warren Beatty said ‘They were lucky!’…”

KD [Buoyant.]: “He was right!!!”

(The men look at each other in recognition of two friends having been in the once-in-a-lifetime experience, together. They chuckle along in the moment of nostalgia…Their warmth is infectious and the smiles spread around the room!).

On Kubrick, himself…

KD [With a real sense of awe.]: “In general, people rave about the experience. Kubrick was so easygoing with us. I felt I was in the presence of genius…He was the most prepared of any director I’d ever worked with. Part of his genius was the way he cast…He cast well.”

(At this point, we learn that prior to ‘2001’, Gary Lockwood was a stuntman and had already been in such epic films as Kubrick’s ‘Spartacus.’ He asked Kubrick why he had been cast)..

GL [With a cheeky glint in his eye.]: He said, ‘I thought you could do a lot, without doing anything!’…”

KD [Still caught up in awestruck mood.]: “[Kubrick] was the most curious man I’d ever met…”

GL [Bursts into the hushed atmosphere. Continues his thought!]: “People who are really good at something have to have a good I.Q! When the ‘Pentax’ was invented, he gave his daughter the ‘Pentax’ and told her to photgraph everything that looked good. She had ‘the eye’…”

(Recounting Kubrick, increases the momentum of memories, so much so, that the energy behind Gary’s statement somewhat renders it an announcement! The gravitas has us on tenterhooks…)

…Of the movie…

KD [With deep respect.]: “The genius of this film has withstood, generation to generation. What a compliment to Stanley Kubrick.”

(The silence is golden. We all feel the respect. We all agree).

…Of the films, ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’…

GL [Bold. Objective.]: “ ‘Interstellar?’ It’s not as good as ‘2001’ but there are some really great moments! Symbiotically… all things in ‘2001’ seem to work…I don’t think ‘Interstellar’ did that. The great sci-fi movie, other than ‘2001’, is ‘Blade Runner’… It’s incredible!

KD [Deliberate. Pensive.]: “ ‘Gravity’…It’s a different experience. I enjoyed it enormously. I’m proud to have been part of this movie [‘2001’]. The last really great film I saw, last month, was ‘Force Majeure’..Painfully funny is a good way to describe it. Don’t miss it!

GL [Cheery. Enthusiastic.]: “See ‘Birdman’* everybody! It’s great! Neorealistic film, with trippy little bits!”

(The pace moves evermore swiftly…)

…Of Kubrick’s character profiles for ‘2001’…

KD [Focussed.]: “We had a fictional biography…We [Bowman and Poole] both had double-doctorates and by the year 2001, they would be choosing people [astronauts] based upon their psychological profile, rather than the military [background].”

…On why they were in the pod…

KD[Informative.]: “Stanley would have us improvise scenes and then he would take the workshops and work them into the film…”

…On contributing ideas, in general…

KD [In quiet, secretive tone.]: “In the end, when I’m in that 16th century room and I’m the older person eating, and the glass breaks… The reason why I asked Stanley if I could knock it over, was in order to sense things in a different way……. The old-age make-up took 12 hours to do!”

…On re-acclimatising to Earth, after so many hours in outer space…

KD [Jokily]: “It wasn’t hard…you just had a coffee!”

(Laughter ensues!)

…On the lack of dialogue in the film…

KD [Wonderfully matter-of-fact!]: “We’ve been in space a long while…We know each other so well, that there’s nothing much left to say! It’s laidback, as it would be, after so long…One of the interesting aspects is that the computer was more human than the humans! The only real emotional scene was when I am taking HAL’s brain apart… What I used [for intention/inspiration] was ‘Of Mice and Men’…

…Of actor, Nigel Davenport, as HAL 9000…

KD [Jocular.]: “Nigel Davenport was cast as Hal before the ultimate actor…and for the longest time, it was like Michael Caine!”

(More laughter fills the studio, owing to Keir’s brilliant impersonation of an English-accented HAL…!!)

On such a high, the ‘Q and A’ session was ‘a wrap’!

Time spent in the presence of two of the wisest, most engaging, fun-loving people whom I have been blessed to meet-and-greet, was gone, in warp-speed..

The mission might have been over but, within that silent millisecond, a mental image of Dave Bowman, hurtling into the future, sprang to mind…Proof positive that, not only would the film continue long into my own…but, having met these delightful gentlemen, the words “Open the pod bay doors, HAL” would never be the same again!

©AFROW2014-2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

WARMEST AFROW-THANKS TO…

MESSRS KEIR DULLEA (KD) AND GARY LOCKWOOD (GL)

RHIDIAN DAVIS (BFI)

SARAH HARVEY PUBLICITY

THE BFI’S LEGENDARY ‘SCI-FI: DAYS OF FEAR AND WONDER’ SEASON CONTINUES…

*(Since the time of going to press, ‘Birdman’ has received 7 Golden Globes Nominations).