Throughout the running of the current exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum people get to choose their favourite items from the Portsmouth City Collection that are on show in A Hard Choice (you can see and read our preview of the exhibition HERE). Every month different items chosen by many visitors are given rosettes showing the current favourites. Strong Island, working with the Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services (with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund), are asking lots of different people from around Portsmouth what their personal favourite items are in the exhibition and why.
You can read the previous Best in Show interviews, featuring Mark Waldron, Editor of The News, Megan Barnes a photography student and Matt Wingett a local author.
Next up in this series of articles we met up with Barry Abrook, ex-professional skateboarder and designer, at Portsmouth City Museum. Barry checked out the A Hard Choice exhibition, then let us know what were his own Best in Show.
Hey Barry, can you start by telling us what your first best in show object is and what you liked about it please?
My first choice (from the A Hard Choice Exhibition) is the mole. I love animals and nature and I like this because it is hard to see a mole, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a real mole and this is really the only opportunity a lot of people get to see these animals, basically in a zoo or taxidermy. I’m interested in taxidermy…I used to be really against it, but if you are a graphic artist, illustrator or painter it is a good way to actually observe animals to draw and paint them. I think everything about the mole is really cool. It is designed to live underground. They are nice animals, I like it, it is intriguing. All the taxidermy in the exhibition is good, the bat, magpies, it was tough to choose.
And could you tell us what the second exhibit you’ve chosen is and what you liked about it?
My second choice is the fabric by Lucienne Day. I love fabric and printing and I used to screen print quite a lot and I still do on fabric. I also like this item in the exhibition because of the era it is from, the late 60s. You’ve got bold poppy designs, block colours…I like patterns and I like symmetry…and this has got quite a lot going for it! It reminds me of childhood…this is the sort of fabric that would be made in to curtains or bed spread that could have been in my house. It has that 60s/70s feel so nostalgic for me too. The Days were pretty amazing at what they did.
And what is the third and final exhibit and why do you like it?
Third choice are the saucy postcards! These are from around the 1950s, that sort of end-of-the-pier era, good seaside ephemera. I like these for quite a few reasons, I live in Southsea, by the sea, I wasn’t born here but I love living by the sea. As a child I was taken to the seaside for holidays and these were the sort of things you might see. They are cheeky, they leave you to your own thoughts…how you interpret the captions…which was the humour at the time. They have a nice feel. They are well designed too, as a designer it is difficult to design something that small and detailed and these were drawn and hand painted, they’re an art form in itself, a style all of their own too. I also love postcards, I collect them and I use them in my own work and I love the messages you get on the back of old postcards, they can be emotional things. People used to send them but not as much anymore with emails, Facebook, etc. But postcards were sent during a holiday, from a good time so postcards generally remind you of good times, they’re a positive thing.
if you could think of something, of your own or something in Portsmouth, that you could donate to the museum and the city collection, what would it be?
I was thinking that maybe if I won the lottery, Euro-big style, I would love to be able to fully restore the South Parade Pier into something that the people of Portsmouth, and especially Southsea, could use and be proud of again. Whether it be Victorian or later period restoration, the important thing would be to ensure it continued to offer the ‘complete seaside escape’ for anyone who needed it. Part of the city collection. A funfair ride, candy floss, good food, music, comedy and a Shant!
Don’t forget you can visit A Hard Choice exhibition and the rest of Portsmouth City Museum and other museums in the city for free this summer and beyond. You can find out more about the museums and what activities are taking place at:
The lovely guys and girls behind next weekends Victorious Festival have donated two pairs of tickets for the festival for us to give away, so that is one pair for the Saturday and another pair for the Sunday.
Sadly we can only give one pair per winner but you are welcome to answer both questions and indicate on your emails which day you prefer to attend if successful. Please send your entries to email@example.com before midnight on Sunday 23rd August. The winner be contact directly and announced on social media soon after.
Q) Which orchestra did Laura Mvula team up with for her Abbey Road Studios live album?
Q) Elle Eyre featured with Bastille on the cover of which TLC song?
If you don’t want to leave it to chance then tickets are available and you can pick one up via the website HERE, or in person from the Meat and Barrel on Palmerston Road.
You can stay up to date on all things Victorious via Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.
For just over a month now I have been training with Luke Newton at SWEAT Southsea. If you don’t know about SWEAT Southsea they are based in Haslemere Road, which is just off Highlands Road. It’s a gym facility with a difference, unlike most gyms it is dedicated to personal training although still offers bespoke pay as you go group classes, sports massage therapy and physiotherapy. Inside you will find a fully equipped gym designed specifically for personal training, giving you the privacy to train one on one with the personal trainer.
Managing Director of SWEAT Southsea and Co-Founder of Southsea Fitness Festival Luke Newton opened the business with his partner Tina four months ago. Since then they have been going from strength to strength building up a client base who possess varying all levels of fitness.
SWEAT Southsea team include Luke Newton, Geraldine Ruffle, Lauren Allen, Sam Davey and Team GB Boxing Performance and Team England Talent Development coach ‘Q’ Shillingford MBE. Not for forget there is now a Sports Injury Clinic providing a range of services from highly qualified Physiotherapists and Sports Massage Therapists.
The team pride themselves on their ability to deliver results and get the best out of their clients. This sounds like the perfect recipe for anyone with a short term goal or event coming up. A Great South Run personal best anyone?! If one on one personal training isn’t quite your thing then they offer a whole range of group classes too. You can find out more information on them by checking out their website www.sweat.fitness/classes.
A few months ago I took part in a taster session with Luke and really enjoyed it. I have since booked myself a block of personal training sessions which have obviously been hard work but a lot of fun and I’m noticing the difference even after a few short weeks. I’ve been a member at a couple of different gyms over the last twenty odd years but I’ve never been particularly good at going on a consistent basis. I would get myself into a good routine for a few months notice the benefit and then allow myself to get out of that routine for whatever reason thus setting me back to where I started. Personal training isn’t as cheap as a gym membership but for me I’ve found one hour at SWEAT Southsea more beneficial than about three hours training on my own in a gym. I certainly can see this being something for me in the long term.
I would thoroughly recommend the services on offer and I would encourage anyone with even a small interest to pay them a visit, have a chat and see for yourself. The team are very welcoming and will quickly put you at ease, getting rid of any anxiety you might have because for some people this environment can be quite daunting.
You can find SWEAT Southsea on Facebook, Twitter @SweatSouthsea and Instagram @sweat_southsea.
Photos come courtesy of Johnny Black Photography – www.johnnyblackphotography.co.uk
Many of you may have noticed that last year there was no Strong Island 6th Birthday celebration. We were gutted that the event didn’t take place however it was all for a good reason, the design, build and opening of our first shop and studio space.
Thanks to your continued support the shop has has been going well and we would like to say thank you to you all by inviting you all to join us for our 7th birthday at the Meat & Barrel on Thursday 24th September.
Many of you may remember our previous Birthday and Charity Raffles have been hugely successful and we have all helped raised over £4000 for the Portsmouth RNLI and Portsmouth Autism in the last few years.
There will be more information to follow in the near future but in the mean time feel free to share and invite all of your friends. If you think that you would be able to make a donation to the prizes on offer then please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org every donation is welcomed. Every donation will be hugely welcomed and will be promoted in the build up to the event as well as on the night itself.
The Facebook event can be found HERE.
Earlier this year we invited everyone to take part in a short story competition. The theme of the story had to centre around one of My Dog Sighs tin can characters. I have been overwhelmed with the interest and the high number amount of entries that I received. It has taken much longer than I anticipated but with the help of Naomi Hewlett (Park Community School) and Angelo Tirotto (No Place Like Home author) we have managed to decide on the winners for each category.
Choosing the winner wasn’t an easy task but it was a lot of fun reading everyone’s interpretation on the tin can man theme. We will also be publishing some of the other entries over the summer so please keep an eye out on the website for those. We will run another short story competition next Autumn. Next time round we hope to recruit a panel of 4-5 judges so we can get through the entries a lot quicker. If you think you would like to be involved then don’t be shy, send us an email or get in touch on social media.
The three lucky winners will receive a copy of their story created by graphic designer Sam Barclay and personalised by My Dog Sighs.
I hope you agree with us and enjoy the stories as much as we did.
13 years and under (150 words)
Hannah Richardson – Year 7 at Milton Cross School
I am just a can…
dumped outside a garage,
left to rust in pain,
never to be used again.
I roam the streets in search of cover,
but no one wants me, not even my mother.
My tears fall down my old tin face,
as I stare away into space.
I hide in the shrubs,
to avoid humans coming from the clubs,
but they see me,
and kick me along the street till I plea.
They leave me, shrivelled up,
it’s just my luck
That tonight I was struck.
So I crawl across to my corner
the corner where I was left.
It’s not my fault,
it’s not I swear.
I didn’t ask for this torture;
this everlasting pain.
I cover myself in plants and leaves,
and cry myself to sleep,
hoping to see tomorrow…
14–18 years (300 words)
Peyton Owen – Year 10 at King Richards School.
There once was a homeless man called Harold. Despite his dire situation he always had a smile on his face.
Harold was different to a lot of other homeless people. He didn’t beg. He never asked for anything. Instead he made beautiful artwork to sell with an old paint set he’d found and any rubbish he could get his hands on. He’d then display them in the subway and sell them cheaply to anybody who wanted them. His most popular pieces were the tiny faces he’d paint onto old discarded tin cans.
He lived this way for years. On some days he’d make enough money for a hot meal and he’d be happy for the rest of the week. As time moved on he aged and became ill, his artwork became less regular, until one day it stopped altogether. When the community heard of his death they all came together to hold a service for him.
Everybody had known him, he’d been an unfortunate soul who had always made the best of his bad situation. For weeks after his death his graveside was littered with cans which people had painted in memory of him.
To this day, the town still remembered Harold; the homeless entrepreneur.
18 years and above (500 words)
‘BANG BANG BANG! In my drawers baby’ As the B52’s famously didn’t sing. The buckshot peppered my tin hide like torrential rain on a corrugated roof, knocking me stone-cold sparko.
I came to my senses just in time to see the All Day Breakfast Gang ride out of town in a cloud of dust. My partner, the treacherous varmint Butch Gassidy had pumped me for information on our latest heist, then betrayed me and threw his lot in with the Breakfast Bandits. I felt rich tomato sauce raging through my veins and swore revenge on the two-timing son of a can.
I roused myself and stumbled to my feet, spotting my loyal steed, I flung myself upon the mechanical bull and with a cry of “Hi-Ho Silver Alloy!” I was off in grim pursuit of the bean-based outlaws.
A few miles out of town, I came to a fork in the road with a mini frankfurter impaled in its prongs. A crude ketchup arrow, pointed towards Green Valley Gulch.
Silver, responding to my command obediently bucked down the track towards the Valley.
The sun was setting as I spotted the bandits camp, and in a scene reminiscent of Blazing Saddles they were sitting around a campfire, laughing and joking how they had made a fool of the Baked Bean Kid. At the head of the campfire sat the low down Butch Gassidy and judging from their relaxed manner and noisy bowel movements, the overpowering stench told me it was very High Noon.
Crouching behind my hidden vantage point, I gripped my trusty Tinchester Repeater and took aim.
Unleashing my 57 varieties of hell, the outlaws scattered and ran for cover into a shabby outbuilding marked: “Green Valley Recycling Centre.”
I followed at a distance and found them cowering in a battered metal truck.
With my eyes growing accustomed to the gloom, I saw the truck was sitting on an old dusty conveyor belt. A lightbulb popped above my head and I knew, cans gotta do what a cans gotta do.
In a flash, I ripped off my ring pull and hurled it at the far wall where it hit its intended target. The big lever marked “Activate”.
With an awful clanking and grinding of gears, the belt burst into life and began rolling, taking Butch and the Breakfast possee ever closer to their deserved fate.
I rushed outside towards the exit, just in time to see the bandit’s less than triumphant transformation.
The once-feared outlaws stood sheepishly before me, resplendent in their shiny new glory…Butch Evaporated Milk and Grapefruit Segment Boys.
I handed them over to the Sheriff of Aldi and had myself a satisfied chuckle, content that the All Day Breakfast Gang’s notorious shelf life had now come to a sweet and sticky end.
I saddled up Silver and with a triumphant wave, noisily clanked off into the sunset.
So long, pardners…
Fareham Shorts, Fareham’s first International Short Film competition, brings together amazing judges from the world of art and film.
Filmmakers from Hampshire and beyond are getting the chance to have their work viewed by Internationally acclaimed judges this summer for the inaugural Fareham Shorts (Fareham International Short Film Competition) as part of Fareham Arts Festival curated by Live Art Local CIC.
Judges from the world of film, art and academia will be choosing their favourite films in four categories from a shortlist and the their overall film of the festival.
The full line-up of judges is Daisy Jacobs (BAFTA winner, Oscar nominee), Anna Cady (Award winning artist and filmmaker, Official Selection Sundance Film Festival for 30%), Ben Thompson (Principal Lecturer & Section Lead for Video, Film & Broadcasting and a cameraman, director and producer with many years experience), Aysegul Epengin (Chair of Portsmouth Film Society) and John Hayes (Director of Winchester Film and Art CIC and co-ordintor of Winchester short film festival).
Short listed films will be shown and awards handed out at a Gala Screening at Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham on Thursday 13th August, where members of the public can not only view the winning material but also question some of the filmmakers. You can purchase tickets for this very special evening via Ashcroft Arts Centre for £3.
The winning film will also be shown at REEL cinema Fareham before feature films for a period after.
This is a great opportunity for local filmmakers to get their work seen by esteemed industry experts and the general public. Submissions close at midnight on 20th July and you can enter via Film Freeway or HERE.
Ed Davis-Hofbauer, co-curator of Film at Fareham Arts Festival, said:
“It’s a great opportunity for filmmakers to get their work seen by professionals in the industry and a great chance for local people to see new and groundbreaking work by up and coming talent, bringing a little bit of movie magic to Fareham this summer.”
If you would like to find out more about Fareham Arts Festival and submit your film, or find how to buy tickets click HERE.