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About

Born from a simple conversation between Paul Gonella & Tristan Savage over some drinks on Albert Road, the idea for Strong Island came from our passion about where we live and the fact that we would often miss certain events, gigs, exhibitions etc and had no real source to find out about them in one place…

We launched 8 days later on the 27th September 2008 with some of our own photos and videos alongside scans of flyers we picked up and articles we dug out about the city.

Unfunded and independent we’ve managed to keep the original ethos of quite simply being a resource designed to promote, showcase and inform people about Portsmouth and Southsea’s cultural scene. Be it past, present or future we’ll do our best to keep you up to date with photos, interviews and articles about the city. However, we really couldn’t have made it this far without our readers, contributors & the people who make up this fair city. From foraging for articles to write back in 2008, to being inundated with all manner of related information now.

Strong Island has really taken off since this humble beginning, with both of us operating, maintaining, updating and writing posts in our free time outside of ‘normal’ working hours.

“One thing we set out not to do from the start is pretend we know what we are talking about with particular subjects, when we simply don’t. Due to this the team has grown and grown, with people coming in and volunteering their own time to help add their own particular knowledge on subjects yet all tied in with a love for the city and it’s culture. ”

Another principle of Strong Island is to try and not only show people what is new and what is happening with the city now but also highlight some of the city’s long and fascinating history. We also strive to create original and captivating content ourselves or with our guest writers. You can find out about who writes for Strong Island HERE.

In recent years Strong Island began to work on cultural events that brought together different aspects of the city’s culture and community in new and exciting ways. In 2011 we worked with the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council in curating and managing the Strong Island Round Tower Exhibition, which brought a local landmark back to life and saw art, design and photography by local creatives viewed by over 3,000 people in two weeks – possibly the busiest exhibition of local art in Portsmouth ever. In 2012 we held our Primary exhibition which asked local people to try and photograph their city and it’s people with their mobile phones with a theme of primary colours. The exhibition opened on Albert Road with well over 500 photographs taken by over 100 people making it a huge community arts project, certainly the biggest in recent years in regards to engagement. As well as art exhibitions we run our annual Homebrew competition with the winning beer brewed by Irving and Co local brewers and distributed and sold in Hampshire and West Sussex. In 2012 we also had our first stage at local music festival Southsea Fest, with the stage packed out for the whole day. With all of our events we strive to engage local people, seek out new and interesting ways and locations to showcase local culture and we hope that all helps make a Strong Island event something different, something special.

2012 has also seen Strong Island grow dramatically in some new directions. In January we started Strong Island Media which brings together our own creative skills and services in offering graphic design, photography, film production, web design and education/training. So far we have worked with many different clients all over the South Coast and London with M&C Saatchi, Anglepoise, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council & Chichester Harbour Conservancy as a few examples. In May we launched Strong Island Clothing Co and dramatically expanded our clothing range and accessories with us selling online and at a range of events. We take great care in making sure all of our items are of the highest quality, created with care and craftsmanship and all have a sense of individuality, be that screen printed by hand or hand crafted accessories. In September we launched Strong Island Recordings, a boutique record label that strives to find, promote and release the best in underground guitar music. Strong Island teamed up with local DJs, label owners, promotors and A&R and as a collective work together to pull together our different skills and resources to make things happen in a dynamic new way. We’re working with local bands and bands from London and Hull and developing connections with bands from both the UK, Europe and beyond.

2013 sees us striving to grow these different threads of Strong Island but with a particular re-emphasis on making the Strong Island website grow, develop and continue to be the best cultural resource within Portsmouth. 2013 will see a new redesigned website and will also see us with our first real bricks & mortar home, in the heart of Albert Road. More on that soon…

Welcome to Strong Island.

Tristan & Paul

Interview with BBC Solent Radio about the Strong Island website

Interview with Claire Sambrook on BBC Radio Solent about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Feature on ITV Meridian News on 25th April 2011 about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Features

Competition – Win Two Tickets To See Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice

Friday 3rd May the Wedgewood Rooms will be hosting a great night of music featuring Kassassin Street, Curxes and Juice. The guys at Kassassin Street have been generous enough to donate a pair of tickets for you, the Strong Island readers.

All you have to do to win these tickets are to email your answer to the question below to stuart@strong-island.co.uk by midnight on Sunday 27th May. The winner will be announced here on Monday 28th May.

Q – The band are named after the road in Eastney, name one of the three roads which junction with it?

Find out more about the event on the Facebook HERE.

Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice + Longlive DJs

Juice ‘Numbskull’ from Butchy Davy on Vimeo.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

Last November saw the launch of our 2014 Calendar at an Exhibition at the Wine Vaults. You can read an article from Becki Partridge about the event HERE.

We cannot take all of the credit for the exhibition, the content was all provided by you, the Strong Island readers. Not to forget the exhibition was made possible by the team at Southsea Gallery who printed and framed the photographs. If you see a photo that you like you can purchase it in Southsea Gallery located at 51 Albert Road.

The exhibition can be found in ‘snug’ on the far right hand side of the Wine Vaults.

If you would like to know how to get involved in next years calendar then click HERE to find out more information.

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition 1

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition

Photos are by the awesome Phil Tickner, be sure to give him a follow on Flickr and on Twitter @HoldYourColour.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online: www.thecellars.co.uk.

Reviews:

Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

Charlie Thompson Fratton Park

Charlie Thompson 2
Both Charlie Thompson
Todd Lawton
Todd Lawton
Roberta Curxes
Roberta Fidora
Danny Miles
Danny Miles

Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

Becky Jerams
Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams
Popobawa
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SABRE
SABRE

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SABRE
B Of The Bang
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B Of The Bang
Bellyeyesmile
Bellyeyesmile

Bellyeyesmile
All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014

Strong Island Clothing Co.

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