Tania Follett Breaks down Barriers and Smashes Through the Glass Ceiling

Tania Follett Breaks down Barriers and Smashes Through the Glass Ceiling

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Tania Follett is our number one trailblazing female in our campaign to identify courageous women who have broken gender stereotype rules and succeeded against the odds.


Tania tells her story:

When most girls were playing house or holding tea parties for their dolls. I was glued to the TV watching boxing matches with my dad. It was after seeing Leon Spinks defeat Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight title in 1978 I decided to become a ‘corner woman’. I was nine years old at the time, and so where else can you get a better seat in the house than the corner of a boxing match where the action is. But when I announced to my father my ambition, he laughed and dismissed it saying it wouldn’t happen as boxing was definitely just for men.


But Boxing has always been deeply rooted in my blood. My father had boxed for North Hammersmith Boxing Club, my great, great uncle 8181 private Denis Regan was a regimental boxer and welterweight champion in India, boxing for the Kings Royal Rifle Cops between 1904 and 1914. My grandfather was army fitness instructor and amateur boxer, my grandmother’s brothers named the Rooney twins, who were in the Army Border Regiment and the Air Force boxed at a good amateur level.

Tania with Frank Maloney

Tania with Frank Maloney

It was Frank Maloney the manager of WBC World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis, who gave me my first chance to work the corners by becoming the first female corner lady in 1993 and in 1997, and the first female boxing manager in British Boxing History, an accolade I am extremely proud of. I was also the first family member to be involved in professional boxing in spite of my father’s warning.


I always encountered a lot scepticism from everyone and my gender was a massive bone of contention as some people felt that another male bastion had been stormed. In retrospect there was both positive and negative remarks from all sides of the boxing fraternity.

I received a tremendous amount of support from people who came to boxing shows, congratulating me on my achievements, and many boxers who supported me were extremely proud. My father could hardly believe what I had accomplished, and I knew he was quietly pleased as he would always tell his mates when I was on TV.

There was also a lot of discrimination from other males and I was once banned from a boxing gym for being a woman, which I found unbelievable. Some boxer’s trainers and promoters were not happy about a woman in the corner. Asking the question, ‘what does a woman know about boxing’? Even twenty years ago boxing was and still is to some degree, still entrenched with a backward thinking mentality which is mainly a generational mind set – because the only girl that should be involved in boxing was the glamorous ring card girl as far as the diehard boxing fraternity are concerned.


But I was incredibly lucky to be able to meet some remarkable people, who guided me and encouraged me to grow within the sport. I was also able to use my boxing status to set up youth projects in London and be involved in cancer charity work. I cornered some amazing fights from 4 rounders to title fights. Boxing has given me transferable skills which have helped me in my personnel and business life, and it has been a massive learning curve. I wouldn’t change any of the experiences I had being involved in Boxing – even the challenges.


Looking back to when I first started in 1993 there was Alma Ingle and Katherine Morrison who were the only females to had been granted licences to become promoters. At that stage no other females were licensed to work in boxing let alone work boxing corners, manage fighters or even fight. That is why I attracted a lot of attention, and in some respects opened the door and paved the way for other females to be accepted in those roles.   It was rare back then to see a female speaking in a TV studio about boxing, even commentating live at ringside and the interest was such that my documentary “The Lady and the Champ” won the BBC green award. I was very lucky to receive that amount of interest and even to this day people ask me to relate my experiences for TV or Radio programmes, an achievement in itself.

I now have my own Security Business and am very happy working within the security industry although again it has been very tough. I started my Company Empire Security Solutions Ltd up with my last £50.00, with my uncle warning me that I had made the wrong decision and giving it just a year!   Fourteen years later I have a highly successful business. I am still trading and employing a lot of people which again is a great achievement. Having my own security company has allowed me to fulfil a long-life ambition to train and operate drugs detection dogs and once again I have been involved in some great drugs dog operations taking drugs off the streets. Working with my 3 operational drugs dogs has brought me incredible joy and a lifestyle balance.


My future now very much involves dogs. I am embarking on my bomb dog course in 2017 which I hope will compliment Empires Security Solutions’ ever growing K-9 Division. I have become a drugs detection dog trainer, instructor and assessor and will be running courses for students who want to operate as handlers. My security company will be expanding next year and I hope to employ even more people. As for boxing, if the right fighters came along, “Yes” I would definitely work with them, but for now my attention is focused on my love affair with dogs.


If I could give advice to any female entrepreneur wanting to start a business or to enter a male dominated work domain, I would suggest you really research what you want to do, be very realistic and have many contingency plans in place. Structure is very important, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, try and find someone who will mentor you, but make sure you are always revaluating your business and if things are not working make sure you change it. There will be areas that you will have difficulty being accepted in, make sure you are always professional and deliver what you say you can.


Obstacles will always be put in your way to overcome, you must assess if these obstacles are worth the effort to bypass or take another direction using your time and money more proficiently. Your gender shouldn’t be an issue in the 21st century, however be aware there is still misogynist views harboured by some and some glass ceilings haven’t been truly shattered – but like me if you have the passion and determination, you could be the first to do so.


A Heartbeat Away From A Legend – Lady Day With Audra McDonald

A Heartbeat Away From A Legend – Lady Day With Audra McDonald

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the presence of the Divine – the inimitable Audra McDonald – portraying Billie Holliday in her final days, lives and breathes the Legend with an enthralling ingenuity – a heartbeat away from the Icon herself.

The Musical Play – LADY DAY – at The Wyndham’s theatre written by Lanie Robertson is a revelation as Audra invites us to join her as she entices us into the world of Billie Holiday, the most revered Jazz artist of our time, along with the betrayal, despair, racism and genocide that were reflected in her lyrics.   Audra’s performance is remarkable, with her undeniable talent and echoes of the Legend herself, with her underlying pain and the haunted memories of childhood abuse.

The magic is relived through Audra as what can only be described as a spiritual conduit for the Legend as she wails and weaves her way through the lyrics, portraying Holiday’s demise, and bringing us nearer to the torment which is tangible and inevitably touches each member of the audience.

We witness the impact as we encounter a nervous ripple of excitement that emanates from the crowd as the show delves into the intricacies of her relationships and drug abuse, and the tension of her musicians as she threatens to lose control at every turn, regaining composure by the skin of her music.

Responses are sometimes inappropriate when silence is demanded, but the house are invited to experience the images of Strange Fruit, with Blood on the Leaves, and God Bless the Child written after a confrontation with her Mother – which is a prickly way to spend an evening if you are not equipped.

But those of us who have already become familiar with the Legend and have explored her songs, will be prepared to take on the heady power of Billie Holiday so thrillingly performed by the multi-talented Grammy award winning Audra McDonald and spend the following days recovering from the intensity of the narrative and glory of the interpretation.

The show runs until 9th September, so beg, steal or borrow a ticket now to avoid disappointment.

Visit Audra’s Official Website – http://audramcdonald.net/

Book Tickets – http://www.wyndhamstheatre.co.uk/

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I Did It All For Love – Bruno Tilley In The Studio with Dee Anderson

I Did It All For Love – Bruno Tilley In The Studio with Dee Anderson

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Bruno Tilley visited us at Pinewood Studios recently as he was launching his new art based T-Shirt company and wanted to show us. We were definitely impressed with the T-shirts, but even more so with Bruno himself.

An old friend of Bruno’s told him ‘when something really bad happens, good will follow’ which is why in the turbulent industry of Music and Art, Bruno has always remained positive and focused on a good outcome.

It has certainly paid off and in spite of the fact that after Art School Bruno was living in a chaotic but rather creative squat, this is where he landed the dream job as designer at Island Records.

Bruno one of those rare individuals who is both creative and practical, and after enlisting a design team was the first person to create an ‘in house’ art department within a record label – his job description being ‘One foot in art and one in Marketing’.

His passion for art and music drove him to ensure that his success was not short lived, and he remained at Island Records for ten years having worked his way up to creative director and onto the board of directors. In that time he directed videos and lead campaigns for legends like Bob Marley, U2, Grace Jones and many more. Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley was the first music video that Bruno directed.


Wherever possible he would like to meet with the artists first and then create their campaign image, which was a huge part of their ultimate success, both with their imagery as well as their music.

Not only has Bruno designed major album covers he has also produced various music videos and even music videos based on cult television series such as The Prisoner and Thunderbirds. Bruno was especially keen to do a video based on Thunderbirds as it was his favourite TV series growing up. You can see the Thunderbirds music video below. A little known fact is that as in the original TV series of Thunderbirds real human hands were used for close up shots, the human hands in the video are actually Bruno’s!

He always loved working with fellow creatives and commissioned some of the leading photographers, Illustrators, designers, film makers and even sculptors to create the campaigns.

Very often these campaigns would include T-shirts which were then worn by celebrities all over the world. Sometimes the T shirts sold more than the records.

During his time at Island Records, as one of his assignments Bruno fell head over heels in love with a beautiful young singer, who he discovered was dangerously addicted to heroin.
On Bruno’s mission to save the singer, he was beckoned into ghettos, drug dens, and rehab centres, and describes this phase of his life as now seeming unreal, “Every day was like living in a movie” As a form of a personal exorcism and warning to others Bruno took the experience and has written a full length feature film called ‘Hooked’ which he hopes to direct.
As painful as it was, Bruno felt it was a turning point in his life and is now happily married with a lovely young daughter, whom he absolutely adores.

So back to the T-shirts, if you log onto the Website, www.aware.zone you can see a wide range of images featuring top photographers, painters and image makers which are not only innovative, exciting but above all unique.

The quality is first class, and the high photographic imagery is indelible as they are produced with a dye process and which means they won’t fade. The T shirts are Eco friendly and printed using recycled plastic bottles leaving a positive footprint on the planet. The prices are great too, and I can feel several Birthday and Christmas presents coming on, as well as a few personal buys.

As we filmed Bruno he said he suddenly was feeling very serious, and joked that he is usually a very entertaining man. However, we looked at it from another perspective, as he reminisced over his incredibly creative and successful life, he was beginning to realise that Bruno Tilley is a bit of a legend himself, and one thing for sure – as he said when referring to his campaign with the young female singer, he ‘did it all for love’, and we know that it is the most powerful emotion of all.

Check out Bruno’s unique collection of Wearable Art at http://www.aware.zone/
You can see more of Bruno’s fantastic work on his website https://www.brunotilley.com/
You can like and follow Aware.Zone on twitter https://twitter.com/zone_aware

You can watch the exclusive interview with Bruno below

With special thanks to Richard Selwyn Barnett.


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Under God’s Table – A Manifestation Of The Man – The Author and Film Maker, Tony Klinger

Under God’s Table – A Manifestation Of The Man – The Author and Film Maker, Tony Klinger

Reading Time: 5 minutes

When I met up with Tony Klinger for an interview at Pinewood, the first thing that struck me was his gentle charisma and casual glint in his eye.   So initially I couldn’t work out whether this was as a result of his heavy association with ‘A’ listers, or having inherited a famous family film legacy with his father Michael Klinger of ‘Get Carter’ fame.

But it is Tony’s own achievements that have given him the ‘edge’ and they range from producing Movies, writing Novels and being privy to the world of the Film Elite. In other words, Tony has steered his own ship without compromise, in his own right and on his own terms.

Tony knew from an early age that he wanted to make films, and even at school was awarded prizes from sponsored writing competitions, and running an underground school magazine called Fanfare with some of his friends. At 18 he was also writing and producing his own short films.

He has achieved a long list of film credits over the past four decades from action-adventure films such as Gold (1974) and Shout at the Devil (1976) both staring Roger Moore.

Tony also made rock films, documenting Deep Purple “Deep Purple Riser Over Japan” and “The Butterfly Ball” and The Who, including The Kids Are Alright (1979). Klinger’s book, Twilight of the Gods, recalling the making of the film The Kids Are Alright, was published in 2009–10.

‘Twilight of the Gods’, will have you hooked and as it documents his time spent with legendary rock band The Who, and as Director of the film and in command of the unpredictable activity of the Cast.

In 2012 Klinger directed music videos for Honest John Plain featuring The PretendersHanoi Rocks and Mott the Hoople.

As if this isn’t enough, Tony has served on international boards, such as National Secretary of The Association of Media Practice Educators (AMPE) and The Audition for Hollywood Company. He has also run Film Production courses at the UK’s renowned Bournemouth and Northern Film Schools and was Director of the Media Production Centre at the University of East London. He has co-founded the Screen Commission Northants and is a newly appointed Patron of The UK Film School Charity and is on the NEL Creative and Cultural Strategy Board for who he represents the Digital and Creative Sectors.

Tony went on to serve as company President or Chief Executive for several media production, sales and distribution companies both in the UK and USA, including Avton Communications & Entertainment Inc., Small Giant Media Ltd. and Production TLMH Ltd.

Now in his sixties, Tony has no intention of slowing down, and his latest Novel, Under God’s Table has just been published and tells the story of two boys growing up in a divided society. Tony has clearly written this based on his own theology and has transported much of his inner world into this extraordinary Novel which is current, relevant and completely compelling. The separation of the two men to become staunch enemies, tears us apart as we live their pain and feel the agony of their ultimate destination.

tony klinger

A man of talent and intelligence, Tony Klinger continues to be an inspiration, and we are celebrating his success and watching his space, as he embarks on his next creative endeavor.

Check out Tony here : tonyklinger.co.uk

With special thanks to Richard Selwyn Barnett.

You can watch the GloTime.tv exclusive interview with Tony Klinger here.

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Love’s Labour Is Not Lost With The Royal Academy Of Music – At The Hackney Empire

Love’s Labour Is Not Lost With The Royal Academy Of Music – At The Hackney Empire

Reading Time: 5 minutes


These were the words quoted by Daniel Bowling the Head of Musical Theatre at The Royal Academy of Music, and when I saw their latest production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, I fell in love with both the cast and the production.

Anyone who read my recent ‘roasting’ of another show recently at Hackney Empire (YARDBIRD – At the Hackney Empire) will know that as a seasoned theatre goer, I am not easily impressed, but was transformed by the level of performances and quality of the music and storytelling in this stunning adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ adapted by Alex Timbers and with songs by Michael Friedman.

The energy and passion of the cast at their first Matinee was overwhelming, and as the show progressed, each performer provided the same level of commitment, regardless of their role.

The house was sadly smallish in size, but a magical verve swept through the audience – an experience that is rare in musical theatre these days.   The smallish house confirmed that size is just a number, and everyone revelled in the sheer joy of witnessing brilliant musical theatre at its best.

In the interval I managed to catch up with another member of our team, Valerie Mowle, who frequently enjoys musical theatre but is also a hard task master. She was brimming with excitement, and commented upon the level of talent and the show itself. I found her holding court with a group of tourists who had stumbled upon the venue and the show, and who were expressing their delight at being fortunate enough to experience such incredible theatre.

Costume design artwork

This was good to hear as the Royal Academy of Music offers nearly 500 concerts per year – mostly free- and are committed to training the World’s finest young musicians, opera singers and theatre performers. Attracting new audiences is an important part of their purpose and mission, and so this venue had succeeded in drawing in an unlikely crowd.

Some of the performers in rehearsals

While the Academy of Music’s own theatre in Marylebone is being rebuilt, they are taking to the road, and performing at a variety of venues in London, including Theatre Royal Stratford East, Shoreditch Town Hall and Hackney’s Round Table as well as Hackney Empire.

The runs are short, but as we have discovered, are fuelled with enthusiasm and the Academy do indeed take us back to a time when ‘love’ was an overriding component for theatre. Love of the text, the music and the performance, and a determination to bring to the table all that is essential to showcase their craft, and inspire the crowd beyond their wildest dreams.

‘And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods makes heaven drowsy with the harmony’ William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Check out upcoming performances from the Royal Academy Of Music at http://www.ram.ac.uk/

Watch the behind the scenes video here

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