Strong Island Co.

Hotwalls Studios – Applications For Studios Now Open

Since the early beginnings of Hotwalls Studios (once previously named the ARTches project) local creatives have been keen to find out more and to sign up for one of the studio spaces. The time has finally arrived and formal applications for Hotwalls Studios are now open!

The Hotwalls Studios is located in the unique and important heritage buildings, known collectively as Point Battery. Thirteen studios are available in total, ranging in size from 194 square feet (18 square metres) to 258 square feet (24 square metres). Hotwalls Studios can be used between 7am to 11pm, seven days a week and Portsmouth City Council expect the studios to be occupied for at least 30 hours a week during this period. You can apply to rent a whole studio or to share with another person/business.

Portsmouth City Council have produced a studio application pack which contains detailed information about the studios, including rents and terms, to request a pack get in touch with PCC by emailing:

The deadline for applications is the 25th March 2016, so get involved!

Hotwalls Studios is due to open mid-summer this year, we’re really looking forward to seeing this fantastic new creative hub in the city.

ARTches Proposal Consultation (3)

New Film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ – Interview With David Jones

You might remember the name David Jones from the Creating Balance project, David is a highly skilled and experienced underwater photographer & filmer from Portsmouth and helped (with his team from Triton Scuba – located on Highland Road in Southsea) Strong Island place an Anglepoise lamp underwater (watch the video HERE). David has worked on numerous TV programmes and had photographs published all over the World but in recent years has been focusing on the organisation Plastic Oceans. Last week the film A Plastic Ocean was officially launched with a trailer and a series events in London including a visit to St. James Palace.

A Plastic Ocean is a new feature-length adventure documentary that brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. In A Plastic Ocean an international team of adventurers & researchers embark on an expedition around the globe that delves into the unknown lurking beneath our seemingly pristine and remote waters. During its four-year production period, A Plastic Ocean was filmed in 20 locations around the world in beautiful and chilling detail to document the global effects of plastic pollution–and introduce workable technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better.

We asked David some questions on what he has been up to with Plastic Oceans and A Plastic Ocean.

As a diver and underwater cameraman & photographer, at what point did the issue of plastic debris in the seas come to your attention?
It was brought to my attention 6 years ago by the producer, Jo Ruxton. At that time everyone was talking about this ‘floating island’ 3 times the size of Spain in the Pacific. That is not accurate, but the problem is far worse as we will explain in the film.

Is this an issue that effects the UK waters,such as around Portsmouth?
You only have to walk along the beach in Southsea to see that we are affected. Every time I organise a beach clean we pick up huge amounts of rubbish. Plastic pollution is a global problem. There is only ‘one’ ocean, they are all interconnected. Plastic thrown into a river in Indonesia may one day end up on our beaches here. It is pernicious, pervasive and persistent. The problem is that 80% of the waste that is now in our oceans is plastic and it is entering the oceans at a rate of 8 million tonnes a year. We have to do something to stop that or we will all pay a huge price in the end. We use over 300 million tonnes of plastic a year – the weight of the entire human population, and half of it we throw away after using it once – it is staggeringly wasteful and we don’t have the waste management systems to deal with it. That has to change.

A Plastic Ocean - Sri Lanka plastic bottle
Sri Lanka plastic bottle, photo by David Jones.

You are part of Plastic Oceans, how did that come about?
I worked on the BBC series called Life several years ago and one of the film crew, Mike Pitts who was actually the DOP for the film, gave my name to Jo Ruxton who was looking for media crews to work on underwater filming projects. She then told me of the plastic pollution issue and that ended up taking up most of my time for the past 6 years – with the occasional little project for Strong Island every now and then of course!

How did you get involved with the new film ‘A Plastic Ocean’?
The film is a means to an end and I suppose that I was involved with the film before I eventually became more involved with trying to change the worlds attitudes to the way we use plastic. The ultimate aim is to resolve the environmental catastrophe that is slowly unfolding. The film provide the means to tell people about the problem and the impact it is having not only on the oceans environment but also human health.

A Plastic Ocean - Sri Lanka Blue Whale dives
Sri Lanka Blue Whale dives, photo by David Jones.

A Plastic Ocean - The helicopter and the submarine support vessel
The helicopter and the submarine support vessel, photo by David Jones.

How has the film come together?
It took two years to raise enough money so that we could start filming. We managed to bring along a few major sponsors but without the support of thousands of people over the last 6 years we would not have managed this. The first major shoot was in Sri Lanka – that was where we filmed the Blue Whales. Since then we have added to the sequences, travelling to each major continent. In all I think something like 20 different location were covered. 12 months ago we were joined by Co-Producer Adam Leipzig who also worked on March of the Penguins and Dead Poets Society. He has made a huge difference to the edit and has woven the footage into an adventure documentary – he told me the other day that this could be the next ‘Inconvenient Truth’! Lets hope so.

A Plastic Ocean - Mike de Grys checking the camera
Mike de Grys checking the camera, photo by David Jones.

Were you directly involved in much of the filming? Where did you go?
Yes, I was involved with a lot of the shoots mainly as the underwater supervisor and production stills photographer. These included shoots in Sri Lanka where we filmed the Blue Whales, Canada, Fiji, Germany, Italy and the Mediterranean. I also was cameraman for some slightly less glamorous shoots around recycling plants on the Manchester ship canal, as well as Bristol and Brunel University – well you can’t be lucky all the time.

How did the launch of the film go?
It was good. Sir David Attenborough has been a long time supporter of the film and features in it, filming at his house was one of my lifetime highlights I have to admit, but he called on the day and unfortunately couldn’t make it for the launch. Hopefully he will be able to come to the first film screening. Even though he couldn’t attend there were numerous members of the press, MPs, and representatives from numerous NGOs including Greenpeace and Prince Charles conservation organisation.

A Plastic Ocean - Divers carrying waste
Divers carrying waste, photo by David Jones.

What do you have coming up in regards to Plastic Oceans and the film?
At this moment I am just really glad we are nearly there – it has been a long hard journey. The film is in picture lock and is currently being colour graded in LA. Obviously the main emphasis at the moment is trying to get as many people as possible to watch the trailer. We are now looking for a distribution deal as the film was made for cinema and if the trailer has a couple of million views that will help. And then of course there is the first screening. The film has also been submitted to some film festivals so that will take a bit of work. Apart from that I am trying to squeeze in my day job when I can!

David Jones

David Jones.

Since the films launch last week it has been covered in national newspapers, shared by people like Julian Lennon and Chevy Chase, with the trailer getting at one point over 200 views per minute. A Plastic Ocean will be out later this year and is currently seeking worldwide distribution.

You can view the film trailer below and find out more about the film on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and at:

A Plastic Ocean

Dave Mirra at Southsea Skatepark King of Concrete 1993

Very sad news this morning of BMX legend Dave Mirra passing, hands down one of the gnarliest BMXers ever. Check the video below of Dave Mirra smashing the then World Record for highest air on the vert at back at the infamous King of Concrete competition at Southsea Skatepark in 1993. The BBC camera crew from Record Breakers were in Southsea for the day and filmed for TV Dave Mirra hitting 12.5 feet…incredible considering that the vert back then wasn’t designed with high airs in mind unlike today’s ramp designs with larger transitions and much more vert.

Remember…this was 23 years ago (plus a huge backflip too), just a small part of an untouchable legacy that transcended BMX and made him a name known well in skateboarding and to the wider world too, all the more so with the dominance in competitions such as the X-Games. Thoughts go out to friends & family.

Dave Mirra, barspin tailwhip. Photo by Armen Djerrahian.
Dave Mirra, barspin tailwhip. Photo by Armen Djerrahian.

The Lifeboat Station Project Visits Portsmouth – The Final Photos

The Lifeboat Station Project is a photography project by Jack Lowe for the RNLI that aims to to document all 237 RNLI Lifeboat Stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland using Victorian photographic methods. The project recently visited RNLI Portsmouth back in January where the station and crews were photographed with a large format glass plate camera capturing beautiful Ambrotype (a variant of the wet plate collodion process) images. With each visit a photo is taken of the view from the station, the Coxswain and one of the crew.

You can find out more about the project and see all the completed stations galleries at The Lifeboat Station Project where you can also buy limited edition prints, with the Portsmouth photos now available HERE. The outcome of this incredible project looks to be a book and a large exhibition.

This image below of Jack Lowe at work was shot by me on a work trip, happening upon the project visit at Fowey in Cornwall.

The Lifeboat Station Project - Jack Lowe

Each station has the same set of photos, with images of the helmsmen/helmswomen or Coxswain, the crew(s) and a view from the station out to the water and the images below are from the project trip to Portsmouth.

The photos are used with the kind permission of the photographer Jack Lowe.

Six Portsmouth Lifeboat Station Helmsmen by Jack Lowe
Six Portsmouth Lifeboat Station Helmsmen by Jack Lowe.

Portsmouth Lifeboat Station volunteers with their Atlantic 85, RNLB Norma T. by Jack Lowe
Portsmouth Lifeboat Station volunteers with their Atlantic 85, RNLB Norma T. by Jack Lowe.

Three Women of Portsmouth RNLI by Jack Lowe
Three Women of Portsmouth RNLI by Jack Lowe.

Portsmouth RNLI Boathouse View by Jack Lowe
Portsmouth RNLI Boathouse View (overlooking the Langstone Harbour entrance) by Jack Lowe.

‘Our Worlds Are Minds Apart’ Group Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

Coastguard Studio is no stranger to epic group shows and this month we see another with ‘Our Worlds Are Minds Apart’. This new exhibition brought together by Oh So Curious Illustration, is an A – Z artist book exploring imagination from a wide variety of local creative talent. The project touches on lots of different mediums such as illustration, graphics, photography, fine art, 3-D, textiles, collage, printmaking, old school animation, street art and digital. The whole 9 yards of creativity pretty much.

The exhibition opening night is Friday 12th February 6pm to 9pm and will run just till Saturday 13th. So no sleeping on this one because if you snooze you will lose.

Artists involved in ‘Our Worlds Are Mids Apart’ are:


Check the Los Dave poster for more details (each artist has their own teaser poster which is a cool idea – collect the set) and hit up the Facebook event HERE.

'Our Worlds Are Mids Apart'

Southsea Flea Market This Saturday

This Saturday sees the return of the Southsea Flea Market at St Swithun’s Church Hall on Waverley Road, just off Albert Road. The market will be an eclectic and affordable mix of vintage/retro & modern mens’ and ladies’ clothes, bric-a-brac, jewellery, textiles, furniture and collectables. The flea market runs from 12:30pm to 3:30pm.

After browsing the stalls be sure to sit down for a chat over a tea or coffee and get involved with the homemade cake too.

Check the flyer below for more info and the Facebook page.

Southsea Flea Market Flyer

Southsea Flea Market (2)

2016 Pride LGBT Film Festival Begins This Evening

Tonight sees the start of this year’s Pride LGBT Film Festival, a collaboration between Portsmouth Film Society, the University of Portsmouth’s LGBT Staff Forum, Peccadillo Pictures UK, BFI FAN, Southeast HUB and the LGBT Society at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union. The film festival includes screenings of four different films at the Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3AH, with individual screenings only £6 and a 3 film pass only £10. Buy tickets online HERE.

The film to be screened are:

Thursday 4 February at 7pm.
During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’. The story turns to the leading role Turing played in breaking the Nazi enigma code during WWII, which significantly shortened the war.

“The film’s prime force is Cumberbatch, a great actor whose talent shines here on its highest beams. It’s an explosive, emotionally complex performance.” Pete Travers, Rolling Stone Magazine

“Engrossing, nicely textured and sadly tragic.” Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

52 TUESDAYS (Australia, 2013)
February 11th at 7pm.
16 year old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans to gender transition and their time together becomes limited to Tuesday afternoons. Director: Sophie Hyde. This screening is supported by the LGBT Staff Forum.

THE GIRL AT MY DOOR (Korea, 2014)
February 18th at 7pm.
Young-nam, a graduate of the Korean police academy is transferred to a small village. She encounters the Dohee, a girl excluded by her community. Compelled to protect Sohee from her family, all is well until Dohee’s father wants her back. Supported by the LGBT+ Student Society.

DEPARTURE (France, 2015)
February 25th at 7pm.
An English family prepare the sale of their holiday home in the South of France. Over one week, the teenage son wrestles with his sexuality while his mother confronts the end of her marriage. An enigmatic local boy enters their lives both are led to confront their desires. There will be live Skype interview with the director before the screening.

2016 Pride LGBT Film Festival Begins This Evening

Undergrowth Collective on Tour – Andy Skellam & Jet McDonald at Al Burrito

Bristol hits Portsmouth for the second time this week (after Massive Attack) with the west country’s Undergrowth Collective performing at Al Burrito tomorrow night (Thursday 4th). In conjunction with Southsea Folklore Society, The Undergrowth Collective’s Andy Skellam, shapeshifting fingersmith and surrealist songwriter and painter, and Jet McDonald, big haired songman and whoopla bookwriter and storyteller, will be upstairs at Al’Burrito, Albert Road from 8pm, free entry.

Andy Skellam
Andy is a Bristol based musician who creates an idiosyncratic blend of surreal folk & dissonant blues using acoustic/electric guitar, banjo and his baritone singing voice. ‘Green Moat’ plays like a surreal dreamscape.

Jet McDonald
Jet McDonald emerged from the Cleaner Collective of folkish Bristol musicians which included Kate Stables (This is the Kit Brassland) , Rozi Plain (Fence/Lost Map) and Rachael Dadd (Broken Music). He has toured and played nationally at festivals including Fence Home Game and End of the Road.

For more information check out:

Undergrowth Collective on Tour - Andy Skellam & Jet McDonald at Al Burrito

Seeded’s First Annual Craft De-Stash at the Square Tower

Craft store Seeded (located on Winter Road) are hosting De-Stash this Sunday at the Square Tower, their first annual event where people can bring along their stash of wool, fabrics, paper-crafts, buttons and general haberdashery to sell on and people can come along and buy items for new projects. All selling tables are now taken, but get in touch with Seeded to add your details to their list for the next event.

De-Stash kicks off at the Square Tower at 11am on Sunday 7th February and runs until 3pm, tea and cake will be available too. Admission is free!

Find out more at the Facebook event and check out the Seeded website too:

Seeded - De Stash

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 is Now Closed

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015, a project run by Strong Island and Claire Sambrook with the support of Portsmouth City Council to take a snapshot of the many people & businesses in the Portsmouth area who work in the creative industries, has now closed for submissions. A huge thank you to everyone who took part!

We’re now in the process of collecting all the data together and in the coming months we’ll be creating a report which we aim to release to the public before the summer. The report will contain all of the interesting information drawn from the data and we’re working with award winning Portsmouth graphic designer Sam Barclay on its design.

We’ll let you know as things progress and visit the Creative Census website for more information:

Next »


Local Photographer – Paul Gordon

Local photographer Paul Gordon has spent a lot of time hanging out and photographing the local skaters over the summer, both in the skatepark and out and about. The photos from the summer are now up in galleries on Paul’s website As well as the skating photos there are also loads of other galleries too including sport, portraiture, landscape, etc. Have a flick through.




The Tricorn

It’s fair to say that we all loved The Tricorn outside of it’s it intent. A classic example of people reinventing architecture far beyond it’s original purpose. This short film doesn’t delve too deeply in to the many uses and inspirations The Tricorn had to offer, but it’s still a nice watch.

“An imaginative portrait of a futuristic concrete experiment of a shopping centre (‘the ugliest building in the world’ according to Prince Charles), built in the 1960s coastal town of Portsmouth, England. Loved or loathed, it developed a passionate cult following of artists and skateboarders but has now lost the battle for life.”

Directed by David Ferrone and Martin Fickling.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Big thanks to Khalid who sent over these vintage photographs scanned from The Images of Portsmouth (1993). We have a small selection so I’ll put one page up each week.

Love this first shot of the band stand on the common in the 1920s showing how the site was originally used before the Skatepark was built around it in the 70s. So many deckchairs, it must have been big business back then. It’s a shame they didn’t keep the bandstand as it was with the little steps and iron railing. It’s a little different NOW as Marcus’s ariel shot shows. Click the image to see the high res scan up close.

Do we need to spell it out?

Letters from Ian Parmiter & Photo by Claire Sambrook

The Infamous Harry Pounds Scrapyard Submarines

Many of you will remember the once iconic Submarines at the Harry Pounds Scrapyard on the way in to Portsmouth. We even featured a few photos by Robin Hinson back in 2010.

Although I never got to explore the sub aquatic giants myself I was lucky enough to find this little gem a few weeks ago. Although I can’t remember where, so sorry if I nabbed it and forgot to mention you.

Watch the video for a unique view of these “Uk, Admiralty Standard Range Diesels 16 Cylinder V mechanical supercharged monsters!”

Vintage Southsea Skatepark

Bored Manager Tom sent us over this original Skatepark article and poster. It doesn’t get more back in the day than this really. The original proposal plan and the opening day poster. At last Skateboard Paradise. Truly amazing. The article is quite small, but I zoomed it to read back the first paragraph.

‘Skatepark plan caters for all plus band and roller skating. Fast elevated runs and steep twisting slalom – like tracks for the advanced skateboarder, are a design feature of the £60,000 skateboard arena proposed for Southsea Common’



Sunny Southsea

I went for bike ride today to take advantage of the nice, albeit cold, weather and take a few photos. Check them out over on my Flickr photostream.


Old Cycle Race

At some point between the wars this was taken during a cycle race at the Alexandra Park velodrome up in Tipner, which is still there.

Cycle Race
(Click on image to see a larger version)

Telly Savalas Looks at Portsmouth

There’s more than ‘meats’ the eye to Portsmouth. A city where everyone in the know goes. Classic stuff. Kojak takes time between sucking lollipops and fighting crime to give us the 411 on Portsmouth city through the ages. Love the eclectic soundtrack. Thanks to Harry for posting this up for us in a previous article. Here’s looking at you Portsmouth…

By The Castle

Apologies for a little self-linkage, but I’ve added some photos from a July day down by the castle on Forever Circling (a photography, etc blog I update daily).

It’s sunny today too, roll on spring and summer.

Around the Castle

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