UB40's Brian Travers to 'live life to the full' after surgery

UB40 saxophonist Brian Travers says he will “carry on living life to the full” after having two brain tumours removed.

The founding member of the Birmingham band, who topped the charts in 1983 with Red Red Wine, added that he does not plan to give up alcohol or smoking.

In March, the 60-year-old had a seizure at his home and was later found to have two tumours on his brain.

He underwent surgery on 29 March, the day UB40’s latest tour kicked off, which he was forced to miss.

Interviewed by Birmingham’s Sunday Mercury, the musician said he had a new lease of life following the surgery.

“Kids, don’t start smoking. It’s a no-brainer,” he told the newspaper.

“But I told the docs I wasn’t going to give up booze, I wasn’t going to give up fags and I wasn’t going to give up recreational drugs.

“I love them all and they give me my serotonin, which makes me happy and creative to do my art. I’ll do anything that makes me happy. From scoring music to writing stuff, I’ll do anything to get my brain motivated.”

He added: “I haven’t got a bucket list like so many people who suddenly reach a point and reveal all the things they wished they’d done.

“I’ve got no regrets. I’ve lived my life to the full and I’m going to carry on living it to the full – I’m a rock ‘n’ roller!

“I have never felt more alive, and I am bursting with ambition. I have never had a greater gift than this operation. I am going to make some great art, and I am so excited.”

Travers told of how he “wet the bed” during his seizure, the first one he had ever experienced, and that “all I could see was darkness” when he woke up later.

He was taken to hospital and had an MRI scan, where the double tumour in his frontal cortex was discovered.

He will now undergo chemotherapy in tablet form and he will have radiotherapy five times a week.

In a statement last month, UB40 said they were “deeply saddened that Brian, our lifelong friend and founding member of UB40, is unable to join us for our celebratory UK tour.

“We know he will be missed by all but his health and well-being come first, and we are sure our friends and fans will join us in wishing Brian a full and speedy return to health, and return to us.”

Game of Thrones: Amazon error as second episode is uploaded early

The latest episode of Game of Thrones was uploaded to Amazon early due to an “error”, the company has said.

The second instalment of the eighth and final series was not supposed to be broadcast until Sunday evening.

But some Amazon Prime members were able to watch it several hours before that.

“We regret that for a short time Amazon customers in Germany were able to access episode two of season eight of Game of Thrones,” an Amazon spokesman said.

“This was an error and has been rectified.”

It may have been taken down soon after it was uploaded, but it was long enough for many fans to view the whole episode.

As a result, screengrabs and plot details started appearing online before the official broadcast – which led to fans worrying about accidentally coming across spoilers (which we obviously won’t post here).

However, plenty of people had some fun with the leak.

US singer Mariah Carey suggested that she was about to post some “major Game of Thrones spoilers” on Twitter… before going on to upload a picture of herself on the Iron Throne.

This is the second week in a row that Game of Thrones has appeared online early.

Last week’s launch episode was made available to DirecTV Now customers four hours early.

A spokesman for AT&T, which owns the service, said: “Apparently our system was as excited as we are for Game of Thrones tonight and gave a few DirecTV Now customers early access to the episode by mistake.

“When we became aware of the error, we immediately fixed it and we look forward to tuning in this evening.”

Writing in Forbes, Paul Tassi said: “HBO has to be tearing their hair out that this keeps happening, but this show is so popular and there are so many of these markets to manage, it does almost seem inevitable that something will go wrong.

“At least we’re not dealing with people flat-out stealing episodes like we saw in a breach a few years ago, but this is not great either.”

Awon Boyz: Tolu Itegboje sheds light on life of Area Boys in Nigeria

“I no like trouble”, isn’t something you’d expect to hear from an area boy, but when you lose two friends from a fight over an ignorable issue like taking cabbage from a small pack of suya, your view of life changes entirely. This is the story of ‘Agamma’, one of the area boys whose story Tolu Itegboje told in his new documentary.

Awon Boyz

Beyond this story of loss, is also a tale of his meeting with Afrobeat legend Fela, a mentorship stint and a music career which hasn’t blown to the extent it should have, seeing that he grew up on Fela’s music.


Agamma’s story is one out of many intriguing stories captured in this new documentary, Awon Boyz, which provides a never seen before view of what it is like to live on the streets of Lagos- how people find themselves there, what they have to do to survive, and what the future holds for lives such as theirs.

There are certain expectations from people living on the streets. There is a reason they are called area boys; but the thing is, many of them don’t actually sleep on the streets like most people are led to believe. They often have homes, no matter how small they might be, with families of their own, and while they may share quite a number of similarities, their stories also carry some uniqueness that reflects what each person’s journey has been.

For one of the area boys, the documentary was an opportunity to reminisce about leaving home and deciding to fend for himself on the free streets of Lagos. It was also a chance to remember his first street fight and think for a split second if he could have avoided it and ensured the scar it brought with it was never earned.

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Not many Nigerian businesses can boast of a certain creditworthiness or a willing customer base ready to pre-order their goods; but area boys can. They are sweet talkers who have mastered the act of sales and negotiation like their lives depend on it, because they do.

Nigeria has a growing number of entrepreneurial ventures, with Lagos boasting the largest number of them, and the most successful of them; and one wouldn’t be wrong if they said that the wisdom of the streets has contributed in some way to that success.

Awon Boyz is more than just a documentary about area boys, and anyone who looks closely will find that the stories told in the film could as well be that of any Nigerian seeking a better life. In the form which they are told, each person draws the viewer into his own world and gifts them the power to imagine what they would have done if they well dealt same situations that they had.

On the outside, it is easy to think that everyone on the street came for the freedom it affords, running from homes where they could have been more protected and better nurtured, but like one of them says – life is a fight, and sometimes even when you run from the fight, e go still come meet you.

Influencers: How a 'new breed' of social media stars changed the game

Your last name doesn’t have to be Jenner or Kardashian to be able to make a living from social media posts, as a new generation of influencers and “micro-influencers” are proving.

It’s perfectly possible you’ve never heard of James Charles.

Birmingham City Council clearly hadn’t.

They were taken by surprise by the thousands of fans who brought the city centre to a standstill when he appeared for a meet-and-greet at the Bullring in January.

Charles is just one example of an influencer – a social media star who may not be an A-list celebrity by conventional standards, but inspires a cult-like following among fans, which is then often used to build an empire.

Huda Kattan, for example, has been described as “the Bill Gates of beauty influencers” for quitting her job and, with the help of social media, launching her own company, which is now valued at more than $1bn (£760m).

So how should an influencer be defined?

“It’s someone who has some influence which they can monetise,” explains SJ Nooth-Cooper, a senior manager at Models 1 Talent – an agency which now signs influencers as well as models.

“And they have a USP. So whether it’s beauty, fashion, cooking, mental health, being a chef, they can use that to make a business out of it.

“Everyone wants their hobby to be their job… and many people that we’ve worked with, they’ve quit their jobs and been able to go ‘wow, I’m earning from this one post what I would otherwise have been earning in a month’.”

For the generation who grew up studying traditional subjects at school, that can be a difficult concept to get your head around.

Natasha Ndlovu, who has built up 90,000 followers on Instagram with her fashion and beauty posts, says the very term influencer can be a “heated” word.

“I guess that’s because there’s still that generation, that group in society, that thinks we’re a bit obnoxious,” Ndovlu says.

But, she acknowledges, it’s understandable that many don’t comprehend why it has become a profession in its own right.

She recalls the confusion on a postman’s face when he began delivering a large number of products which were being sent to her by brands when she first launched her blog several years ago.

“I get a lot of mail. So a lot of the delivery people know who I am, they see me more than they see most people down the street,” she explains.

“And so one time, one guy casually said, ‘You seem to get a lot of packages’, and I said, ‘I’m a blogger’. And he was like, ‘what’s that?'”

Ndlovu then explained that she reviewed products online, but laughs: “I think he was still confused.”

Influencers generally make money from endorsing products on their page – which have to be clearly labelled as sponsored posts because of Advertising Standards Authority rules.

A brand may identify an influencer who has a specific audience they’re trying to reach, and pay to appear on their social media feeds in the same way they’d previously have paid for magazine advertisements.

The buzz surrounding influencers has led to major media companies taking them very seriously indeed.

News UK, which owns The Times and The Sun, announced last month it was creating an independent influencer agency.

‘Generation Z’

But while only a few influencers like Kylie Jenner are household names, there are thousands of “micro-influencers” who are able to make a living from being a big name within a specific, often niche, field.

“Micro-influencers are basically the new breed,” says Nooth-Cooper, “where you can have from around 10,000 followers to 25,000 followers, and they’re kind of the Generation Z of influencers.”

Sophie Grace Holmes, an influencer with cystic fibrosis, encourages her followers to lead healthy lifestyles and not to be held back if they have a condition like hers.

Her 34,000 followers might be a few short of Jenner’s 131 million, but because Holmes has such a specific audience, brands are keen to collaborate with her.

“For me, I’m really passionate about inspiring and motivating other people,” she says.

“My mission in life is to show what you can do when you’ve been given either the idea that you shouldn’t or can’t be able to do something.”

Generally, Holmes promotes brands and products related to health and fitness – recent endorsements include Holland & Barrett and gym wear brand Beachbody.

But, she says, she will only endorse something she genuinely believes in, and which might benefit her audience in some way.

“If I’m going to work with a brand, I have to make sure that it will aid what I’m doing for my health, my training, fitness, nutrition,” she explains.

“My main focus isn’t to be paid, it’s to have an impact on other people, to push them. I wouldn’t just advertise out of wanting to be paid.”

Ndovlu has a similarly specific audience, who rely on her opinions on fashion and make-up.

“As a darker-skin woman, when it comes to the high-end beauty brands, people need to know if it’s worth investing in an expensive foundation, because it’s very difficult to find high street foundations for darker skin tones.”

But there are difficulties in becoming known for a particular hobby or cause. Not least, integrity.

How can followers trust someone’s taste and recommendations when they’re usually being paid to promote particular products?

“Consumers are too savvy and too bored by endorsements and flat product mentions,” suggested RocketMill’s senior creative strategist Bethanie Mardon in an article for The Drum.

“They are influenced by the influencers they choose to follow, largely because they relate to them and trust them.”

But in December, research for BBC Radio 4 showed most consumers mistrust influencers, with 82% saying it’s not always clear when someone has been paid to promote a product.

‘Be a role model’

Many influencers point out, though, they don’t accept every deal they’re offered.

“I say no to a lot more stuff than I say yes to,” says Nooth-Cooper.

“The way that we manage talent, it’s all about the longevity, and the micro-influencer becoming that absolute authority.

“And they have their integrity… they have to be honest about ads and sponsored or gifted posts, but people are following them because they know they wouldn’t say yes to everything.”

Among Nooth-Cooper’s clients are The Bloom Twins, Sonia and Anna, who say they wouldn’t put their name to anything they didn’t believe in.

“We have so many photos that would have been very successful on Instagram, but they’re not us,” says Sonia.

“So we’re only going to post something that reflects who we are, and that could be us wearing pyjamas and eating ice cream.”

All three – Holmes, Ndovlu and The Bloom Twins – make the point that they sometimes keep the more light-hearted or less-polished posts to their Instagram stories, which, unlike images posted in the grid, expire after 24 hours.

Fashion designers have quickly come to appreciate the value that an influencer can bring to their brand.

“Today, you have to ask yourself, what is more important, to have Kim Kardashian in the front row, or [US Vogue editor] Anna Wintour? It’s a hard decision to make,” Philipp Plein told BBC News last year.

But Anna from The Bloom Twins warns against people becoming influencers solely for the purposes of earning money or becoming famous.

“Don’t be an influencer just for the sake of it, be a role model,” she advises. “If there’s something you want to say, talk about it, so people can relate to it.

GidiFest 2019: Shina Peters, Patoranking, others shut down 6th edition of Gidifest,Nigeria’s biggest music festival

Lagos – Music lovers were thrilled with scintillating and energetic performances from top-notch music artists and Djs at the sixth edition of Gidifest, the biggest one-day music festival in Nigeria.

Shina-Peters

Gidifest, which was aimed at promoting Lagos as an entertainment destination of first choice showcased actions that captivated music fans and lived up to its expectation.


The event which took place from late Saturday till early Easter Sunday at Landmark beach-front, Victoria Island, Lagos, was headlined by Shina Peters, Patoranking, Teniola, Wande Coal and a host of other entertainers.

Shina Peters entertained his audience with his energetic and evergreen ‘Afrojuju’ trademark dance.

It got the whole crowd singing along with Peters and dancing to the old-school tune.

Also, Patoranking, Teniola, Wande Coal were also at their best as they gave the crowd a breathtaking show and a value for their money.

Also part of the performers were Niniola, Dj Cuppy, Dj Neptune, Dj Obi and the host, Shody.

NAN also reports that in a bid to support the established and popular acts, the organisers also introduced a ‘NextGen’.

Patoranking
The organisers explained that ‘NextGen’ is the stage which was designed to raise the next generation of Nigeria’s raw and talented artists.

Performing on stage under this group were acts such as: Zlatan Ibile, Blaqbonez, Boogey, Dami Oniru, Goodgirl LA, Mo Believe, Organya, Oladapo, and Andre Music.

Dami Oniru, who was part of the ‘NextGen’ performing acts, commended the initiative for inviting up-and- coming artistes to exhibit their talents at the festival.

“This is a major stage for us, the next generation, to come show our talents, which is a privilege for me and my team.

“ I gave my best performance and I am positive that from this point, it will skyrocket bigger to greater platforms in my career,” she said.

NAN also reports that the highlights of the event include, the display of carefully curated art pieces and live sketching by incredible Nigerian illustrators, aimed at promoting the Nigerian cultural values.

NAN also observed that the fans were spoilt with choice foods and drinks as there was a range of appetising delights from various vendors and also exciting games to play.

“What other way to celebrate the Easter break that a gidi-festival experience,” says Fatima Okorie, a law student from the University of Lagos (Unilag).

“This is my first time of attending an event like this and it has been fun all the way.

Actor, Jim Iyke welcomes baby boy

Lagos – Veteran Nigerian actor, James Ikechukwu popularly known as Jim Iyke has welcomed a baby boy.

Jim Iyke and his baby
The 42-year-old who started his acting career in 2001 is one of the highest paid actors in Nollywood.

Popularly known for playing “lover boy” roles, the actor took to Instagram to announce the arrival of his son.


He wrote: “I’m ultra-private with my family but this is the rarest of moments.

“Back to 2hours sleep nightly. Back to cat naps with my subconscious peaked for the slightest movement. Back to groggy mornings and big unknowing smiles.

“Welcome home king. I can’t find the right words now. Every being in me is pulsating with raw primordial energy.

“A lion beget a lion, welcome to my pride dear son.

He went on to thank God for yet another blessing added to his life.

“I don’t know what I’m doing right to deserve it all. It takes a man to bring a child home, it takes a community to raise him,” he wrote.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Iyke has appeared in over 150 films including ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ which he featured in alongside Omotola Jalade.