Strong Island Co.

An Evening of Stuff & Nonsense with Tim Vine, Harry Hill, Neil Innes and friends

This coming Wednesday evening Portsmouth Guildhall will be playing host to an awesome night of comedy all in aid of raising money for Parkinsons UK.

The event features live performances from Harry Hill, Tim Vine, Neil Innes, Katherine Ryan, Aisling Bea and Abandoman, with exclusive video performances from Matt Lucas, Sheila Hancock, Jenny Eclair and many other special guests, all hosted by award-winning double act Max and Ivan. A very special one-off evening celebrating the nonsensical and the absurd for Parkinson’s UK, inspired by the work of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and Mervyn Peake.

Doors open at 6:30pm and tickets start from £10. You can find out more information HERE.

Stuff and Nonsense

Beats & Swing Present… Mr Woodnote & Lil Rhys

This first Beats & Swing event of 2015 will be 20th February at the Eastney Cellars. Headlining the evening will be Mr Woodnote & Lil Rhys.

Armed with a saxophone, loop pedals and practically whatever he can get his hands on; Mr.Woodnote creates every track live, whilst Lil Rhys drops his distinctive vocal flavours into the mix.

The duo have headlined here in the UK as well as internationally and are regulars at Glastonbury, Shambala, Beatherder, the Edinburgh Fringe. After earning a global following through their live shows, album sales and videos they are becoming a positive fixture in the underground music scene. Never playing the same set twice they carry on from strength to strength.

Support on the night comes from The Scandal and James Tattington aka Fugitive Orchestra.

Beats & Swing

Footnote For A Dream Exhibition

Following on from the Megamunden exhibition Kings Ship Tattoo‘s welcome local artist John Ainsworth for his ‘Footnote For A Dream’ exhibition. The event will be held on 30th January and runs from 7pm-9pm, with refreshments provided and the chance to get your hands on one of his work.

John’s use of extremely varied art mediums provide a unique take on his observations of the world around us. John uses of a wide variety of materials includes tea, coffee, and walnut ink as backgrounds for more traditional media. His work is also completed with drypoint and monoprinting: creative techniques that demand patience and an understanding of process and time.

His investigations into the world around him focus entirely on creating permanence in things that are transient and ephemeral, the skulls that are drawn are not a celebration or meditation on death but a way of describing an obsessive desire to collect things that most people overlook. Discarded feathers, lichen encrusted branches, expired beetles, lapsed hornets, corvid skulls and fox kills have all been sources of subject matter.

You can follow John on Twitter @whenwewerecows and on his Tumblr account. For more information check out the Facebook Event page HERE.


Strong Island Calendar 2015 – Very Limited Stock Left!

We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the interest in our 2015 Calendar. In the last three years we have raised over £800 for the Alzheimer’s Society’s Portsmouth based services. We have a VERY limited number of calendars available and there is a good chance we will sell out quite soon, so if you haven’t got yourself one then don’t hang around too long!

You can get yourself a copy from our online shop HERE. They are priced at £10 each if you collect from Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea. Postal orders cost £12 each with international postage at £14 each.

Keep an eye out for the launch of the Strong Island 2016 Calendar #SICal2016 in the next few weeks!

Calendar 2015

The Cribs After Show Party/DJ Set

Next month The Cribs are returning to Portsmouth to play a sold out show at The Wedgewood Rooms. Little Johnny Russells are hosting an after show party with guest DJ Ross Jarman of the Cribs performing a DJ set.

All the information that you need to know if on the poster below. It’s sure to be a good night so get down there early!

Cribs DJ Set at LJR

Electric Arms – Synchronising

Local band the Electric Arms are a 4-piece band consisting of guitars, harmonies, percussion and a bass drum. They live in Southsea and have played pubs, clubs and festivals in the area. Originally a folk inspired combo, playing acoustically. Their sound has since evolved to incorporate indie, rock and folk influences.

The band consists of Dan Grocott (Guitar, kick drum and harmonies), George Regan (Bass, harmonies), Joe Roberts (percussion, vocals) and Chris McKenzie (guitar, harmonies).

The band have just released their latest track ‘Synchronising’ which has been taken from their upcoming EP. The track was produced by the awesome Sam McCarthy as well as being mixed and mastered by hugely talented Sam Higginbotham.

To stay up to date with all things Electric Arms you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter @ElectricArmsUK, SoundCloud and Instagram @electricarms.

You can catch Electric Arms playing the Honest Politician at the upcoming Icebreaker music festival at the end of the month. You can find out more about the festival HERE.

Electric Arms

Created Local – Tiana Pitman by Chantelle Wyatt

Tiana Pitman, a local Portsmouth born and raised artist has been making and crafting from a young age. Creating everything from sculptures, paintings, cards and books to up cycled jewellery and recycled nik naks, she now runs her own successful art business and is well know in the UK and abroad.

When asked about where and how it all began, Tiana told us, “I was raised in Portsmouth when times were hard. We spent summers with our Nan, Olive Dew, collecting stones and shells on Eastney beach or with our Mum, Margaret Pitman, finding pretty leaves and flowers or making Christmas decorations and cards. Life was about making your own entertainment and your own things and I was lucky enough to have some hugely creative women raising me, who inspired me to do the same with my children and even now with my grand children. We were never bored and never without anything we needed but it all came from being thrifty and learning how to make things.”

We see this very thing in our city today with fabulous local businesses all about getting us into crafts and it is really nice to hear about a local family who have done just that through the generations, one that reminds us to be artistic and creative and make more than perhaps we do now. To re use and recycle and to watch what we waste.

Tiana has made her passion to pass on these skills an active one and is now an ‘Artist in Residence’ at a local school where she works with 11-16 year olds at GCSE level. Believing whole heartedly that what she teaches is not only therapeutic and relaxing but are also skills for life. Tiana encourages Portsmouth to get creative and make as much as possible.

You can follow Tina on her wesbite, Facebook and on Twitter @tianaartist

By Chantelle Wyatt

Tiana Pitman

Tiana Pitman

Kassassin Street At The Wedgewood Rooms

As of today you can get your hands on tickets for the upcoming Kassassin Street gig at the Wedgewood Rooms on 4th April.

Kassassin Street have established themselves as one of the best bands in Portsmouth after a hugely successful 2014. They will be joined on the night by local rising stars, and my pick for 2015, Big Child Man Child.

Tickets for the show are available for £7 from the Wedgewood Rooms website HERE.

Kassassin Street by Jon Neil
Photo by Jon Neil

‘Centre Straight Atom’ performed live at Casemates Rehearsal Studio.


With this miserable weather we are currently experiencing we could all do with a good reason to leave the house and with Icebreaker you have just the excuse. The event will feature over fifty local bands across six venues over one day. Ice Breaker takes place on 31st January and is brought to you by Pilot Promotions & It’s a Sin.

Tickets for the day are priced at £10 and will allow you access to The Wedgewood Rooms, Edge of the Wedge, The Fat Fox, The Atrium, The Deco & The Honest Politician. You will need to exchange your ticket for a wristband from Al’Burrito before you can gain entry to any of the venues. You can get hold of your tickets via the Wedgewood Rooms HERE.

The new annual event features the headliners The Butterfly Culture, Deluxe Flamingos, Seething Akira, Matt Jarvis, Belligerence & Electric Arms. Other highlights include Bellyeyesmile and The Day of the Rabblement.

To stay up to date on all things Icebreaker check out the Facebook Event page HERE.

Ice Breaker

Fratton Park 1978/79

While searching through my Facebook feed, amongst all of the selfies and cat photos I noticed a really fascinating post within the Memories of bygone Portsmouth group.

Tony Cook’s five photographs were taken at Fratton Park during the 1978/79 season. Featured in the photographs were the games against Wimbledon on Saturday 14th April and Barnsley on Saturday 5th May. The game against Wimbledon finished in a 0-0 draw and unfortunately the Barnsley game finished 1-0 to the visitors.

I wasn’t even born when these were taken but I can still remember going to Fratton Park in the late 80’s and early 90’s when there was still terracing.

Managed by Jimmy Dickinson Portsmouth finished seventh in division 4 that year, thirteen points behind league winners Reading. For our younger readers the old division 4 is now known as League 2.

Thanks to Tony for bringing these to photographs to my attention, I’m sure there are plenty of Pompey fans reading this who will be equally as interested to see the photographs.

If you would like to see more from Tony’s Fratton Park archive then you can find them on the Memories of bygone Portsmouth page HERE.

Fratton Park 1979 B
No. 3 Keith Viney takes a corner v Barnsley
Fratton Park 1979 A
Derek Showers holds off a Wimbledon defender
Fratton Park 1979 C
Steve Davey attacks the Wimbledon goal.
Fratton Park 1979 D
Peter Ellis can be seen in the foreground with Peter Mellor in goal
Fratton Park 1979
Portsmouth defending a corner v Wimbledon with Tony’s father on the right watching on intently

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Amazing Vintage Naval Posters

I found these truly amazing posters on one of my many Flickr travels. All circa 1930s and all fantastic. Click the images for the direct links to Flickr.

Portsmouth – Not The New Malta

Do you remember our post about Portsmouth, The New Malta and the advertising campaign that has been going on? The Telegraph has written a short article in response to the campaign. Check it out HERE and follow it up in the comments. Unfashionable, now come on Telegraph.

“We probably get about two weeks of sunshine at best, and you are more used to seeing people fighting than socialising in a quaint café,” said Tim Courtnell, a life-long Portsmouth resident. “The beach at Southsea is a mixture of shingle and Stella Artois cans on most days, and you wouldn’t think of swimming in the sea.”


Ben Schroeder Transfer

In the previous Ben Schroeder post I didn’t really describe the legendary trick very well, so I’ve dug out the photo! Ben frontside ollied out of the pool over the platform and in to the steep bank. Sick stuff.

Ben Schroeder, Transfer, Southsea (1991)

Above Western Parade

The other day I got to go up on to the roof of a house on Western parade with a great view over the common, Southsea and The Solent. Always interesting seeing Southsea in new ways. Below are some photos (click on ‘Read More’ to see more plus there are more over on Forever Circling).

Vintage Southsea Postcards

I dug these off the internet a while back and forgot I had them. Some real old school winners here. Click the read more link at the bottom of this article to see the full set.



Strong Island Clothing Co.