Strong Island Co.

Laurel – American Rag Sessions

Strong Island favourite Laurel has recently been in Los Angeles. While she was there she spent some time with the folks over at American Rag recording a live session of ‘Blue Blood’.

If you are in the capital tonight you can see Laurel follow up her performance at Radio One’s Big Weekend as she is headlining a show at the Victoria in Dalston. You can get your hands on tickets here.

To stay up to date on future releases you can follow Laurel on Facebook, Twitter @ClassicLaurel, YouTube and SoundCloud.

Taken during the Aesthetic Magazine photo shoot

Ladies Of Letters – An Alphabet Of Reconstructed Pin Up Girls

I first became aware of Create by Law during our Strong Island Exhibition in the Round Tower back in 2011. This Friday Law will be opening her solo exhibition ‘Ladies of Letters’ at King’s Ship Tattoos on Marmion Road.

Law describes her collages are often inspired initially by text, which is then followed by a ‘visual treasure hunt’, to source and find appropriate ‘original’ imagery and papers that can visualise the concept that she has sketched or imaged. “I mainly use paper ephemera and found material from the 50’s and 60’s as these seem to work with the chalkier colour palette I favour but also the visual language that the imagery of this era inspires.”

Law has created a sequence of traditional cut and paste collages, using vintage paper ephemera and original 50’s images of Pin Up girls. The Pin Up imagery has been re-constructed and given new narratives, with each image having a level of euphemism and humour attached to give each piece an individual story. Pieces include DJ Darling, Hotwire Hottie, Telephone Temptress and Wild Whiplash so you get the idea of the ‘Carry On’ esqe wit and sauciness that you can expect to find.

The event itself opens from 7pm but for more information check out the Facebook Event page HERE.

You can find out more from Create by Law on her website and Facebook.

Created By Law
Night Nurse
Created By Law
Hotwire Hottie
Created By Law
DJ Darling
Ladies of Letters

Safer Portsmouth | Bicycles

Portsmouth as a city possesses a high number of bicycle enthusiasts. Whether you are using your bike to commute to work, racing or just getting from A to B. Sadly bicycle theft is a relatively easy crime to commit. With their increased usage over the summer months we need to do as much as we can to deter criminals and assist the Police in recovering the bike if the worst is to happen and your bike is stolen. There are some simple steps to follow…

* Get a good bike lock (preferably a D-Lock) and attach your bike to something secure, e.g. a bike rack or a lamppost.
* Always lock your bicycle, even if you are only leaving it for a couple of minutes.
* Have your bike’s frame security-marked or engraved.
* Keep your bike in a secure garage or shed. Keep the door locked and keep it out of public view.
* If you have quick-release wheels, lock them up as well or take them with you.
* Remove lights from the bike and take them with you.
* Register your bike with schemes such as Immobilise or Bike Register.

One of the biggest problems the Police encounter is the victim being unable to offer a full description of their bike. This makes it much more difficult to identify it as stolen, please take the time to make a note of your make, model and frame number. The frame number can be found in a number of places including the head tube, under bottom bracket, seat tube and down tube.

The Safer Neighbourhood Policing Teams in Portsmouth are really pro-active and offer a FREE security marking events. You can find out your nearest one by contacting your local Safer Neighbourhood Team, you can find their details by entering your postcode on the Hampshire Constabulary website Here are just a few of the events that you can take your bike along to be marked.

You are likely to have seen the brightly painted unclaimed bikes locked up around the city. These were put there by Portsmouth Police to encourage cyclist to lock their bikes up securely. The bikes were placed around the city, particularly where there are increased reports of bike thefts.

Northern Portsmouth
Cycle marking events

Southern Portsmouth
Milton Park, Mondays (13.00 hours – 15.00 hours)
25th May | 22nd June | 20th July | 17th August

St Mary’s Hospital, Thursdays (11.00 hours – 14.00 hours)
28th May | 25th June | 23rd July | 20th August

Canoe Lake, Sundays (11.00 hours – 14.00 hours)
7th June | 5th July | 2nd August

Eastney Community Centre, Thursdays (19.00 hours – 21.00 hours)
11th June | 6th August

Hampshire Police

Portsmouth Beer Festival – This Weekend

This weekend the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK. The team behind this weekends Portsmouth Beer Festival have put out the list of beers that you can expect to see at the festival this weekend but please note that this is subject to availability.

Thornbridge, Saltaire, Mad Squirrel, Tiny Rebel, Northern Monk Brew Co., Magic Rock, Great Heck Brewing, Beavertown, Dark Star, Titanic, Ilkley Brewery, Gipsy Hill, Arbor, Wild Beer, Vibrant Forest, Burning Sky, Liverpool Organic, Brass Castle, Naked Beer, Staggeringly Good, Wychwood, Sunny Republic, Siren Craft Brew, Milk Street, Triple FFF, Mallinsons, Longdog, Sharp’s, Irving & Co., Bowman Ales, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Southsea Brewing Co., Upham, Hopback Brewey, Suthwyk Ales, Langham, Sixpenny Brewery, Joseph Holt, Exmoor Ales, Thwaites, Arkells, The Great Yorkshire Brewery, Merrie City, Belhaven, Marston’s, Ringwood, Belma and Bank’s.

There will also be plenty of awesome food available along with live music from bands including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Jerry Williams, Fleetingwood Mac, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

Tickets are now only available from Meat & Barrel, Leopold Tavern, Brewhouse and Portsmouth Guildhall box office and online.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Portsmouth Beer Festival 2015

Jamie’s Italian | Gunwharf Quays

I was recently invited to be the guest of Jamie’s Italian in my old stomping ground of Gunwharf Quays. It seemed like the perfect excuse to have a get together with four good friends.

It has to be one of the largest restaurants in Portsmouth as it can seat around five hundred people at one time. The restaurant has a very industrial feel which was inspired by Portsmouth’s nautical past with a reclaimed mosaic floor, old shipyard winches, and a décor of beautiful historic maritime relics. The Deli counter in the centre of the restaurant is certainly eye catching and a nice focal point to the restaurant.

First off we opted to try a selection of their mocktails, I opted for a Ginger Mojito (£3.25). I have never been much of a fan of Mojitos but I am a big fan of these although I would’ve been even happier had if there was a bit of rum in there.

As a starter I went for the Italian Nachos (£3.95). The crispy fried ravioli was stuffed with three cheeses and served with arrabbiata & Parmesan. This was easily one of my favourite starters on offer anywhere. I begrudgingly shared them with friends who agreed I’d won on the starters.

For the main course I chose one of the vegetarian options in the Baked Crespelle (£11.50). I thought I would go for something I’d never tried before. If I’m honest I’d never even heard of Crespelle before although I’ve since found out that it is simply Italian for crepes. The menu describes the meal as a gluten free buckwheat pancake was filled with Spinach, Westcombe ricotta & basil with smoked mozzarella, sweet buttery leeks, Sicilian tomato sauce & Parmesan. As vegetarian options go this was really good however I had a little bit of food envy going on when I saw a friend’s Steak come out.

I didn’t have it in me to have a dessert but I did manage to grab a taste of a friends Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake (£5.45). The velvety mascarpone & lemon cheesecake topped with Italian meringue, served with lemon curd & blackcurrants is certainly something I would recommend.

I am a fan of what they are doing in the restaurant and will definitely be returning over the summer. I still don’t think that they’d be able to beat my home made meatballs although thinking about it I’m pretty sure it was taken from one of Jamie’s cookbooks so maybe they might.

Jamie's Italian Menu





Portsmouth Beer Festival – May 2015

On Friday 15th & Saturday 16th May the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK, including a variety of pale ales and golden beers which are perfect for the summer months ahead. Not forget there will also be more of my personal favourites, the darker stouts and porters. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Havant and Irving & Co to name just a few.

Co organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

During the festival the pub games room will again be open and the Saturday evening session will feature prize giveaways as well as a traditional meat raffle with a modern twist sponsored by Bransbury Park Butchers. Keep an eye out on Strong Island next week as I will be featuring some of the great live music you can expect to hear over the weekend.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session (some venues subject to booking fee) and include a souvenir beer glass, programme and beer token. Tickets are available online at, Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, Leopold Tavern and from our own Strong Island HQ at 12 Highland Road (open Thursday-Saturdays).

The festival is fast earning a reputation as one of the best events in the city. If you have never been before then I encourage you to get some tickets for yourself and some friends and check it out for yourself.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.


Portsmouth Beer Festival

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram 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.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar Poster B 2016

Road To Blissfields 2015 Review

Last week saw the Edge of the Wedge host the 2015 Hampshire leg of the Road To Blissfields. The event gave the opportunity for local artists to compete for a chance to play at Blissfields.

First up on stage was solo singer songwriter Just Millie. This can often be a difficult slot but Millie quickly grabbed the attention of the crowd who listened attently to her set. Millie performed a number of her own songs including a track inspired by Amy Winehouse. I enjoyed her set and am sure that she will have gained some new fans in the crowd after that performance. I have to warn you though, avoid her home on halloween as it is likely to be you on the receiving end of the trick and a treat if you are still around.

Just Millie Road To Blissfields

Second on stage was Jack Grace. This was a set I was really looking forward to, the Bournemouth based artist was one which really caught my attention while I was researching for my previews last week. Joined by his friends and regular supporting band they performed a number of tracks taken from Jack’s three EP’s. Highlights of the set included the haunting track ‘remember me’ and ‘406’.

Jack Grace Road To Blissfields

Third to take the stage were Duveax. They put on the most energetic set of the night and had the crowd were loving it and they could be seen having a little dance too. This was quite an achievement considering they didn’t bring any of their entourage to the show and the audience was full of people who were seeing the band for the first time. You have to give credit to any band who can win over a crowd so quickly into hearing them for the first time.

Duveaux Road To Blissfields

The next band on stage were alternative country/rock n roll band from Southampton The Family. They offered something very different from I have previously seen in Road To Blissfields and I enjoyed it. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a pedal steel guitar in action and I loved it. The Family are certainly a band I would love to see visit Portsmouth again in the near future for a full set of their own.

The Family Road To Blissfields

Dutch Criminal Record closed the competition and due to issues with South West Trains nearly went on stage without a drummer, fortunately he managed to make it in time. Known affectionately to their fans as DCR, we were treated to a selection of songs including ‘Bondi Bay’ and ‘Outside’ which the boisterous crowd was clearly enjoying with the repeated chants of “DCR” echoing through the Edge of the Wedge.

Dutch Criminal Record Road To Blissfields

While the judges, including myself, representatives from Blissfields and Breaking More Waves deliberated the crowd were entertained by local band Big Child Man Child. It was a tough decision, made even harder by the fact that all of the artists involved seemed so damn nice. There had to be a winner and after some discussion we all agreed that the winner based on the nights performances were Duveax! The band will now be given a slot at Blissfields festival.

Blissfields itself will be held on 2nd to 4th July at Vicarage Farm just outside of Winchester. The theme for this years event is ‘Somewhere In Time’. As Blissfields approaches it’s fifteenth anniversary, the weekend will give you a chance to look back over the festivals history and more, and to gaze into the curious future of the universe, permitting your imagination to run free.

Artists confirmed so far include The Horrors, John Grant, Simian Mobile Disco, Grandmaster Flash, Glass Animals, Public Service Broadcasting, Dub Pistols and the awesome Cosmo Sheldrake. Not to forget local Strong Island favourites Big Child Man Child, Kassassin Street, Luke Ferre, Curxes, Popobawa and Floella Grace. Tickets for the main event are on sale now from

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Tony Jupp for providing us with some cracking photographs from the night. Check out his Flickr to see more of his work.

Blissfields 2015 Logo

Portsmouth Summer Show Announcement

This morning will there was an exciting announcement from the team behind the new Portsmouth Summer Show which is to be held on King George playing field in Cosham this June. The event looks like it is going to be a fun event for the whole family with boyband Blue, Professor Green, Alesha Dixon, X factor’s Matt Cardle, Lucy Spraggan and Luke Friend performing over the weekend.

Tickets are on sale now at £7 for adults, £5 for 5-15 year olds and Under 5’s able to attend for just £1. You can get your hands on tickets now by visiting the website

You can stay up to date on all things Portsmouth Summer Show by following them them Facebook and Twitter @PortsSummerShow.

portsmouth summer show

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival Charity Football Game – Match Report

Saturday saw a Southsea Alternative Choir XI take on a special Victorious Festival XI in a charity football match to raise money for Samuels Fund. The game took place at Cams Alders in Fareham, the home of Fareham Town Football Club.

In a competitive start to the match team Southsea Alternative Choir went 1-0 after a goal by Joe Richards. Early on in the game while both teams found their feet the ball spent a lot of time in the air, however it wasn’t too long before both teams started to get the ball down and play some passing football. After a decisive attack from Team Victorious midfielder Lee Carter equalised making it 1-1.

Team Southsea Alternative Choir were unlucky not to retake the lead after goalkeeper Ian Leighfield pulled off a great reaction save from point blank range. Stuart Scott also went close for the Choir after beat four defenders and bringing the ball forward from the half way line he placed his shot just wide of the post. It was Team Victorious who went into half time leading 2-1 after a goal from Darren Cocking.

Team Southsea Alternative Choir were always looking to attack and play the ball forward into the opposition half however they were unable to get the equaliser. It was Team Victorious who were the most clinical going forward with Lee Carter and Darren Cocking both scoring their second goals so team Victorious came out 4-1 victors at the final whistle.

Both sides did themselves proud and there were good performances all over the pitch but for me it was Lee Carter who made the difference and deserved my vote for man of the match.

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival

Next »


The Fog

Anyone who was out in Southsea and some surrounding areas would have witnessed the rolling fog that made it’s way inland this Sunday. Creeping past the Isle of Wight and finally making it’s way to the beach and taking people by total surprise. Hundreds of people were out having BBQs and generally enjoying the sun when all of a sudden things got weird when you could see your breath in the air and pockets of mist were passing right in front of your eyes. It’s rare to see this during day and normally only occurs first thing in the morning, so this was pretty cool to see.



Check out some more photos of “The Fog’ over on my Flickr Photostream.

CHAOS – 20 years & out!

20 years!!!! That has to go in the books as Southsea longest running night? Give or take, most people you bump in to have been to a least one Chaos night, and most spent a grimy late one down the pier dancing like idiots and spilling Newcastle Brown all over the place. I’ve a lot of fond memories of the earlier days at Chaos, mostly after skating and sitting in the pub saying I’m not going. Not this week. Then 8 pints later jumping in a taxi…

If you have any stories or cool photos from Chaos we’d love to see them. Or even some of the old flyers. There have been some pretty interesting designs over the years. I’ll always remember the photo flyer of the kid on the dance floor with a girl and his ‘wandering hands’.

Jay Dunstan got in contact and had this to say:

“To coincide with our 20th Birthday on Saturday 26th November – we’re announcing that this will be the last ever “Chaos”.

Starting in 1991 at South Parade Pier, moving to the Wedgewood rooms in 2008 – we’ve been crowned the South Coasts longest running Independent Club night, winning The Guide Awards “Best club night”, “Best DJs” (x 2) and the promoters Ped & Jay being awarded a special award for contribution to the Portsmouth Music Scene. Chaos has provided Dj’s and club nights at Guilfest, Southsea Fest & Isle of Wight Festivals.

Having been a constant in our lives and the Portsmouth clubbing & music scene for 2 decades – Its been a very tough decision to stop the regular club night. But we feel that now is the best time to unplug the speakers for the last time.

Chaos was always quite literally about being ‘alternative’ – alternative in music policy, but also offering an alternative to the traditional and mainstream clubs. Our ethos was always simple – play music we liked, to people to we liked & do it prime time on a Saturday night 52 weeks a year!

Our feeling is that the current scene is very different now and although still loving every element of the gigs, festivals and guitars – a regular club night offering everything we did, now isn’t whats required. Clubbers will always want an alternative, but the music scene is now so split and venues, pubs & clubs are all competing for survival – we felt it was a good opportunity to step back, take a deep breath & raise a glass to rock n roll!

We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of Chaos over the last 20 years – venue managers, bar staff & door stewards – sound & light technicians – – street teams – performers & bands and of course the roll call of DJ’s past & present that have provided the soundtrack to so, so, so many silly, drunken and above all fun Saturday nights.

Hey ho, lets go!”

The 20th Birthday & Last EVER Chaos – Saturday 26th November 2011

Flyer: Chaos Flickr

Portsmouth at Night

Claire Sambrook from the sent me a link to a Flickr group called Portsmouth at Night, and let me say this, their photos are amazing. Lots of playing with lights, angles and exposures make for some fantastic photography.

Check out all the PAN photography on their Flickr.




NatWest Carved Map

The NatWest Bank in Palmerston Road has an amazing carved map of Portsmouth that I must have walked past on loads of occasions and never really stopped to look at. The map has many local landmarks highlighted plus the islands in both Portsmouth and Langstone harbours. Not sure exactly how old it is. Next time you pass by if you have a moment spare stop and have a look.

Welcome to Southsea

Ian Parmiter recently found this photo at a sign makers on one of his many travels. A Facebook debate has already begun as to it’s original whereabouts. Any ideas?

Created Local Special: Immy Smith and the Brain Tumour Research lab at the University of Portsmouth

We’ve featured many local artists, photographers, filmmakers, designers & makers under the Created Local series for many years (over 100 in the last 6 years), profiling work touching on many, many different subjects. Immy Smith’s background, artwork and working environment is something a little different.

Immy Smith is a rare creative, working in what initially might be thought of as two different worlds: one foot in science, the other in art. With a PhD in Pharmacology plus a strong arts background Immy has recently been working in the Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories at the University of Portsmouth on a 10 month residency which looks at how to foster better and more creative working relationships between medical science and the arts. The residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims specifically to create a sense of collaboration with not just laboratory staff but also the patients effected by brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“The project I’m working on here at the Brain Tumour Research lab is a Leverhulme artists residency where I work in the lab making art alongside science researchers. Our project aims to tell the story of brain tumour patients, scientists and clinicians, through art. We want to make these stories accessible and share the unique challenges of brain tumours with a wider audience to help raise awareness of this devastating disease.” – Immy Smith

Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Working within the laboratory environment sees the research staff and artists working in a shared space, with artwork becoming a part of the laboratory environment. The relationship allowing for artistic insight in to the latest treatment research and the scientist an appreciation of creative processes and different patterns of thought. The project has included workshops with scientists as well as patients, collecting stories and aiming to “fill the gap in understanding”; having perspective on cancer analogies, unique sensory & cognitive effects of these tumours due to their location in the brain and patterns of cells and diagnosis & treatment. The creative work aims to engage with all and to broaden the horizons and enhance the skills of both artist & scientists, through this particular interdisciplinary research.

Staff at Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Immy’s work includes ‘Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity’ which explores heterogeneity between brain tumours, through making art at the lab bench. The ingredients used are primarily inks – ultramarine and magenta. Other constituents include water and lab filters. Every filter contains both colours. From this limited palette of ingredients are made an array of unique patterns – more than 120 of them. The components are few but the outcomes are complex, heterogeneous:

“The cellular components of your brain are primarily neurons and glial cells. Neurons get a lot of the limelight, however glial cells – including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – play a crucial role in brain function, and neurons are lost without them. Other constituent cells include pericytes and endothelial cells in the brain’s blood vessels, microglia (immune cells), and ependymal cells (which line brain ventricles). From a limited palette of cellular ingredients, all the fascinating machinery of your brain is created.” – Immy Smith

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Another part of work produced during this pilot project are Immy’s Ugly Objects experiments:

“Some of the scientists here expressed a wish to depict brain tumours as something ugly – rather than using images of cells which are often quite beautiful. While this project is about using recognisable or non-exclusive imagery (so I wouldn’t use scientific images of cells anyway) it raised many interesting ideas. I previously discussed the scientists feelings of the dread and awfulness, that they associate personally with brain tumours as cancers. Another interesting idea was; what is ugly? Is what we perceive as ‘ugly’ in any way universal? What are common features in people’s descriptions of ugly? Can we use this as something recognisable, something not exclusive to science or art, with which to communicate about brain tumours? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know it’s harder to draw ugly than you might think.” – Immy Smith

Ugly Objects

Ugly Objects

Immy is working towards an upcoming public exhibition, with permission to use the event to fundraise for the charity Brain Tumour Research. We’ll let you know more details on the upcoming exhibition and the work included soon. For now, if you are interested in finding out more about Immy’s work you can visit her websites below:

Immy Smith

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on from photos of The bandstand and Tennis Courts the other week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

Back before East Jet in the late 1940s, early 1950s people flocked to Southsea seafront. Check the beach huts near Canoe Lake. Dozens of them and the Paddling Pool which is now occupied by the Sealife Centre. Love the little train to the right of the picture. Click for a closer look.

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.



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.




Southsea Rock Gardens circa 1985

More random finds. It’s a shame to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Rock gardens looking this nice. Not sure how often upkeep fits into the Council agenda these days. Back in 1985 however it looks amazing. Click the photo for a bigger view.

Photo : Dom Walton

Strong Island Clothing Co.