Strong Island Co.

The Movement Initiative Presents ‘Celebrate’

The Movement Initiative Presents ‘Celebrate’, an evening packed with performances by some of the best dancers in the area across a multitude of genres.

The show is made up of pieces from some of the areas most prominent schools, dance organisations, crews and soloists under one roof for one night only in The Kings Theatre.

Confirmed to appear on the night include Phoenix School of Dance, Odyssey, Tiger Tone, #PPL, Kingsmen, Wolfpack, Tega Alex, Belle Fisher, Dream Chasers Collective and many more.

The show starts 7:30pm tickets are £9.50 or £7.50 for children and concessions. To find out more about the event check out the Facebook page HERE.


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 2016

Champagne Bar at Southsea Castle

Last Friday saw the return of the Champagne Bar to Southsea Castle. The sun was shining and the crowd was in equally high spirits.

With lighting provided by Mijaro the castle looked fantastic. On hand to provide music for the evening were Civilisation of the Rough‘s DJ Mark Persaud and Herma Puma‘s DJ Pimpernel Jones. Live music came courtesy of funk band Big Love Soul, they went down a treat and had everyone busting a move in the marquee area.

With upcoming DJ sets from Funktifino, Hipshaker, Gentle Bren, Handsome Dave Rocker as well as live music from Southsea Alternative Choir and The Smiley Campbell Band it’s clear that you are going to be hard pushed to find a better place to spend your Friday evenings this summer.

The Champagne Bar will be open from 6pm until late and be free entry every Friday (apart from the Victorious Festival and Americas Cup weekends where they will be having a week off). You can stay up to date with all things Champagne Bar by following them on Facebook.

Photo’s from James White Photography.

Champagne Bar James White 5

Champagne Bar James White 4

Champagne Bar James White 2

Champagne Bar James White 3

Champagne Bar James White 1

Champagne Bar 2015 Poster

Caleigh Ill

Regular visitors to Strong Island will already be aware of Caleigh Ill. The local artist creates the most beautiful animals and beast, as well as being known for incredible Russian Owls.

From midnight tonight she will sadly be closing her Etsy shop but you still have until then to get your hands on the stunning gifts on offer, including the coasters, tote bags and art prints. Take a look for yourself by visiting her Etsy shop HERE.

You will still be able to find on Facebook, Twitter @caleigh_ill and her website

Caleigh Ill

The Narwhal Pickler Caleigh Ill

Caleigh Ill Etsy

Tea & Pencils ‘Cinefilms’ at No.6 Cinema

On a recent trip to the No 6 Cinema in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard I noticed some fantastic illustrations featuring some of my favourite movies in the foyer. The posters featured movies such as Kes, Jurassic Park, Labyrinth, The Big Lebowski and the Goonies.

Tea & Pencils 2

The posters were created by Matthew Anstee aka Tea & Pencils. Matthew’s on-going collection entitled ‘Cinefilms’ was first exhibited his hometown of Winchester but has since been featured in various independant cinema’s across the UK.

Prior to his time illustrating, Matt describes on his Facebook how he spent four years as a freelance music video director and editor, but in 2012, feeling creatively unfulfilled as a filmmaker, he reconnected with a lifetime passion for art and design through sketching, and subsequently a new career in illustration. Finding inspiration in an eclectic range of visual mediums – from Will Eisner comics to David Lynch movies, and many things in between – his work combines the organic feel of hand-drawn sketches with digital post-editing. Matt’s diverse spectrum of interest manifests in a very particular style of graphic-visual storytelling, peppered with detail and nerdy references.

Matthew will be at No.6 Cinema this Friday from 6:15pm to host a small ‘meet and greet’ before the screening of Blade Runner. There will be more artwork on display plus Tea & Pencils freebies!

The posters are available to purchase via the Tea & Pencils website Tea & Pencils can also be found on Twitter @teanpencils and on Facebook, where you can find more of Matthews work.


Exhibition runs until the 30th of April during No. 6 Cinema’s opening hours (The box office opens one hour before each screening). Find out the No.6 Cinemas opening times by visiting

Shichinin no Samurai
Shichinin no Samurai

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

Road To Blissfields 2015

We have been supporting local artist involved with Blissfields for the last three years. This year the format of the Road To Blissfields competition has been expanded to the whole of Hampshire with the heats branching out even further across England.

The event is taking place on Thursday 30th April at the Edge of the Wedge. The Road To Blissfields will again give emerging artists and bands the opportunity to compete for a chance to play at Blissfields. The successful acts performing are Dutch Criminal Record, The Family, Duveax, Jack Grace, Just Millie and not to forget there will be a special performance by Big Child Man Child.

Keep an eye out here on Strong Island as we will preview each of the artists in the run up to the event.

The winner is decided on the night with crowd reaction being taken into account, the event is free entry so make sure you come to support the artists performing. Check out the Facebook Event page for more info on the event HERE.

Road To Blissfields 2015 Poster
Poster by Daniel Cook

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, Popobawa and Floella Grace.

Here is a little taste of Blissfields 2014.

The Fuzz Tones At Atrium

On Friday 17th April the Fuzz Tones will again be taking over the Atrium (above the Fat Fox). If you get yourself down there you can expect some of the finest Psychedelic Rock, Psychedelic Pop & Soul, Garage Rock and Rhythm & Blues.

This event marks their first birthday and to celebrate they will be joined by resident DJs LongDistanceDan and Martin Horn, not to forget the special guest DJs, You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons.

The Demons have raided their record collections to bring you some of their favourite psyched out tracks, this is going to be something special. For a taste of what you can expect then check out the awesome Fuzz Tones Mix Cloud below.

Fuzz Tones Psychedelic Cocktail by Longdistancedan on Mixcloud

Doors open from 7:30pm til midnight and entry is free all night. If you can get yourself down there between 7:30-8:30pm then you can treat yourself to one of their happy hour cocktails too. You can find out more by checking out the Facebook Event page HERE.


Blissfields 2015 – More Local Acts Added To The Line Up

Blissfields have announced the second wave of artists who will performing at the festival this July. Portsmouth is again looking like it is going to be well represented with the addition of Curxes, Luke Ferre, Kassassin Street and The Boy I Used To Be.

They will be joining local favourites already announced, Big Child Man Child, Popobawa and Floella Grace. Other artists confirmed so far include The Horrors, John Grant, Simian Mobile Disco, Ghostpoet, Grandmaster Flash, Glass Animals, Public Service Broadcasting, Dub Pistols, The Correspondants, Cosmo Sheldrake and up and coming Isle of Wight band the Plastic Mermaids.

Blissfields 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.

For information on the full line up, how to get tickets and more visit the website at You can also follow the festival for updates on Facebook and Twitter @Blissfields.

Blissfields Poster

Here is a little taste of Blissfields 2014.

This is the Week That Is: A Celebration of Political Satire

With the General Election looming, the University of Portsmouth are hosting a week of satire with public talks, events and screenings devoted to lampooning our dubious political elite.

The University will be working in partnership with Portsmouth Film Society and No. 6 Cinema, giving renewed credibility to the word “coalition” as they jointly host some of satire’s biggest names.

This begins on Monday April 13th with Steve Nallon, the man responsible for voicing Spitting Image’s Maggie Thatcher (among others) will discuss his contributions to satire of the 1980s and introduce a screening of the hilarious 1987 Election Special.

Full details of the schedule are available HERE. Other highlights include Laurence Marks, prodigious TV comedy writer (of Marks and Gran fame), revisits his government-baiting classic The New Statesman and its monstrous protagonist Alan B’Stard.

Alistair Beaton is one of the UK’s foremost satirists with television, radio and literary credits spanning more than thirty years (Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image and The Trial of Tony Blair to name but a few). He will discuss his experiences writing and producing satire and introduce a screening of his New Labour send-up A Very Social Secretary.

Eminent historians and film scholars Kevin Brownlow, Lincoln Geraghty and Van Norris will introduce screenings of satirical masterpieces The Great Dictator, Dr Strangelove and Heavy Traffic.

And for those of an artistic sensibility, why not try your hand at caricature? Professional illustrator Louis Netter will be running his own school for scandal and encouraging all who attend to have a pop at a politician of their choice.

“With election fever growing, what better time to celebrate the films and television programmes that have driven a comic wedge deep into the heart of the political process?” said the event’s organiser, Olly Gruner, a lecturer in the university’s School of Art and Design.

The project is supported by Film Hub South East with National Lottery funds distributed by the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). This Is the Week That Is provides a celebration of all things satirical at a time when political humour is most needed. Will it be the biggest satirical event since Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize? “You might think that; we couldn’t possibly comment.”

For further details and to book tickets, visit

Political Satire Poster

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The dockyards, taken on 18th July 1914. The dockyards and harbour are quiet as almost all the ships are anchored at Spithead ready for the Royal review by King George V.

(Click to see larger image)

Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).


The now defunct Brickwoods Brewery was Portsmouth’s largest local brewer before it’s final demise in 1983. Many old pubs (and many houses that are converted old pubs) still have tiles and signs with the old brewery’s name on so in a way, it still lives on, just in the city’s background. Keep your eyes peeled. You can find out more about the company here too.

I came across these amazing beermats via Google, some interesting designs. Notice the sun motif…


Matt O’Neill

Matt is one of Southsea and Portsmouth’s legendary skateboarders since all the way back to the 80s. This footage was filmed all in one evening about a year ago, still one of the best skaters to ever step on a board on this fair isle.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Totally forgot to add this one to the series of ‘Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea‘ that we had posted in the past. So following on once again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts and The Pier and Esplanade , here’s the final scan.

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

Vintage Southsea Postcards

You know we love a bit of vintage nostalgia here at Strong Island, and these old postcards of Clarence Pier are no exception. I always pick them up at the Car Boot sale opposite Clarence when I see one. When does the Car Boot start up again? Got to be soon. Answers on a postcard…



Created Local – Victoria Haynes

Friend of Strong Island, Charlie ‘Pet Sounds’ Waddington told me about a very talented work colleague of his the other day and kindly asked if she could send in some examples of her work. Damn straight she can. That’s what we’re all about here, you know that.

I’ll introduce Vicky with the little bio that sent me. “Right, erm. About me, I’m 28, married with a two-year-old little boy, and have lived in Portsmouth all my life. I work three days a week at Paul Smith, where I’m the visual merchandiser and a sales assistant. The rest of the time I spend looking after my son, seeing friends and family, drawing, crocheting, sewing, watching films, listening to music and reading – the dream is to eventually scratch a living from artwork and handmade goods, while living in an old house with the family and a cat or two. I’m socially awkward, and have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, I’m not very cool and tend to like clothes that everyone else thinks are repulsive – my favourite shop in Portsmouth is Dead Mans Glory, closely followed by any charity shop. I am actually addicted to period dramas, and love anything from the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s.”

Vicky’s print artwork is hand drawn, scanned in to the computer, coloured in Illustrator and usually drawn from a photograph for accuracy. Patterns are then self generated and added after. Inspiration comes from old objects, cameras, typewriters and suchlike – anything from days gone by captures her imagination. Crochet has so far been limited to homewares and childrens hats, but she would love to start making more wearable items to sell.

Undoubtedly a girl of many, many talents, Vicky’s work is eclectic, fun, unique and fantastic. Please add your comments and thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Keep up to date with Vicky over at her Blog All the best for the future and I hope you get that old house. Vicky also has prints for sale in the Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. Pop down and grab one.

Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.



Irving & Co. Local Brewery

Seeing as Portsmouth has such a rich history for pubs and naval culture I thought i’d bring your attention to something that combines the both.  Irving & Co brewers are situated at Railway Triangle in Farlington and have their doors open for tourists as well as turning out a fine range of real ales to a huge number of pubs in and around the Portsmouth area.

Irving and Co brings the welcome return of brewing to Portsmouth and a brewery to excite the taste buds of drinkers in Hampshire, Sussex and beyond. The company aim is to produce the highest quality traditional cask beers supplying the local market within 45 miles of Portsmouth.

Malcolm Irving ably assisted by Mark Doswell bring together 29 years of combined brewing industry experience to produce beers that they thoroughly enjoy and about which they care passionately. It’s not just a job, it’s definitely not just beer, it is a way of life.

Strong Island Clothing Co.