Strong Island Co.

Sam Brooks – Modernist Portsmouth Exhibition at Strong Island

This Thursday the 6th August Strong Island will be holding our much anticipated exhibition ‘Modernist Portsmouth’ by local artist and designer Sam Brooks.

Portsmouth Modernism is an original art series consisting of twelve prints that explore modernist architecture in the city of Portsmouth, Hampshire. The series’ origin can be traced back more than ten years to a piece based on the notorious Tricorn centre, and an experiment in how far its iconic design elements could be simplified whilst still retaining their distinctive forms.

The piece was eventually realised in its finished state as part of a 2014 exhibition that coincided with the tenth anni 2014 exhibition that coincided with the tenth anniversary of the complex’s demolition.Since then it has been expanded into a collection that celebrates what are arguably some of the most recogniseable and important examples of twentieth century architecture in Portsmouth. Some have become local landmarks, whilst others remain overlooked and anonymous. Some have integrated with their surroundings, relatively safe from destruction, whilst others, like the Tricorn, have already been lost; others still will continue to remain at risk from redevelopment and neglect.

By representing these buildings using stark, binary images, historical and geographical context can be erased leaving the pure architectural forms and detailing as envisioned by the original designers. Without the additional ravages of time and human indifference, it is hoped that they can be looked upon with fresh eyes by a community which may have come to at best take them for granted, and at worst begrudge them for what they have come to represent.


Sam was kind enough to give us a little background to the process of his work.

“I had most of the subjects in mind already, it was just a question of how many would be in the final series. I went and took pictures of each one, (preferably on a sunny day,) distorted them in Photoshop to create more dramatic or unusual perspectives, and eventually chose one or two as a guide for drafting the design in AutoCAD. This allowed me to further adjust the geometry and level of detail on the fly whilst keeping the precision I wanted to come across in the final pieces. Following this I exported the line art to Photoshop and added the text, colour and half-tone backgrounds. The final step was to create the desired look of a vintage print, which involved adjusting virtual representations of ink presses along with their various inconsistencies.

I saw it as a kind of challenge to try and positively present buildings that many would consider to be lacking in architectural merit.
With the Tricorn, the most frequent complaints you would hear from detractors focused on its decayed, uninviting condition, and how it encouraged anti-social behaviour – more reflections of how it was maintained by the city than a direct fault of the building itself. So in that sense it was almost easy to let the design speak for itself.

However, Barnard Tower or 176 London Road, for example, are a lot harder to sell. To look at them in person, neither successfully integrated with their surroundings, and aren’t particularly inspiring – they certainly aren’t making anyone’s list of great architecture. But when you strip back the materials and the context and the history, fundamental elements of good design can still be revealed. So this was kind of the aim of the series.”

This exhibition can be viewed for free starting with the opening night on the 6th August, 7pm at Strong Island, 12 Highland Road, Southsea. We highly recommend coming to view Sam’s work. The detail and work that has gone in to these pieces of art is outstanding. Below is just a sample of the 12 works that will be on display.







A night of Burlesque at Southsea’s Kings Theatre

The Kings Theatre on Southsea’s Albert Road has been home to some incredible evenings in the past but none quite as sexy and intriguing as the ‘House of Burlesque.’

The shows sultry and seductive acts leave the viewers on the edge of their seat with jaws dropping as the mix of burlesque, magic, music and comedy collide.The shows organiser and host Joe Black was once again out in full force and casually wonderful as always. His charming, humorous and individually beautiful presence caught the attention of the whole theatre this weekend as seats were full.

Saturdays event not only bought out colourful crowds of Portsmouth’s finest but delivered exceptional alternative entertainment with its varied and spectacular acts including that of, Katrina Darling, The Great Aziz, Elliot Mason, Apple Tart, Rachel Rose Reid, Rococo Chanel, Terms of Unnervement and The Winners of Baghdad’s Got Talent.

The entertainers passion for performance beams through the whole show and the eccentric collection of artists brings a whole new dimension to modern theatre.

The House of Burlesque is due to visit again on the 25th July this year, so get your tickets soon!

By Chantelle Wyatt



All Aboard – A Show by MEGAMUNDEN

The insanely prolific Ollie Munden is set to pounce once again with his second art show this year following up the packed house ‘MEGAMUNDEN Show‘ at No Walls Gallery in Brighton showcasing his first publication ‘The Tattoo Colouring Book’. Local to Brighton but by no means unfamiliar with Portsmouth, Ollie is part of the internationally renowned local design studio ilovedust and treats Portsmouth very much as his second home.

Over recent years MEGAMUNDEN has immersed himself in tattoo art and culture which eventually led to the creation of ‘The Tattoo Colouring Book’ (now in it’s 90,000 edition) commissioned and published in 2013 by Laurence King Publishing. The book has over 100 pages of hearts, sailors, skulls, roses and alike, all drawn exclusively for this book alone. It’s seriously good. I’ve not had the courage to colour mine in yet though…You can buy your copy HERE

Continuing a very strong year for the publication and to round the year off nicely Ollie is holding the small, but visually packed, ‘All Aboard‘ exhibition at local tattoo studio ‘King’s Ship’ on Marmion Road, Southsea.

Naturally there will be a selection of prints available to purchase as well as 2 new screenprints and 1 very special customised piece too. If it’s anything like the Praying Hands from the Brighton show you’re in for a real treat.

We are also super stoked to see local businesses and brands endeavouring to keep the cultural side of this city moving forward and this latest exhibition held at King’s Ship is no exception. Owner of King’s Ship, Aaron Willett, is no stranger to the illustrative style MEGAMUNDEN delivers in his work. With many years experience under his belt and with a great love for all pieces Japanese and Traditional, the King’s Ship is the perfect venue for ‘All Aboard’.

This may be the first exhibition to be held here but they are really keen to offer the shop space up to artists to exhibit and sell their artwork. If you’re interested please do get in contact at

Opening night for ‘All Aboard’ is on the 7th November from 7-9pm with free beer supplied by local micro brewery ‘The Brewhouse and Kitchen’. With all these excellent people in place to make this happen it will sure to be a very successful night. Strong Island will be in full attendance and we look forward meeting the usual crowd and catching up, as well as meeting some new faces too.









Signature Clothing Co SALE

Need some fresh new gear for the party season? Of course you do. Go grab a slice of local skater run clothing company Signature’s style right HERE. Tie Dyes and Beanies are £10, all other tees are £15. FREE UK dleivery, £5 for international delivery.

All photos by the wonderfully tweaked James Sharp and modelled by Jackson Allgrove and Rose Roylance.

jackson rock 2

jackson rosie beach 2

jackson rosie rocks 4

rosie wall 5

rosie pirate 3

Signature Clothing Presents Milton Daze

So Tom from Signature Clothing got himself an iPhone 5s in Spring and started filming some clips at Milton skatepark, “Coz its rad quality for a phone, and I wanna show people the skill level of the dudes who hang out there”. Damn straight they have skills. The clips began stacking up so Tom started making some edits, named ‘Milton Daze’. These raw phone edits will be solely released under Signature Clothing so it gets more coverage and the fact that a few of the team are involved like Dobbo, Alex, Jak, and Nick.

“A lot is gonna change at Milton over the next 5 years. And I’m not the only head who is passionate about the place. The message I want to get across is that we’re not passionate about the quality of the ramps, but the fact that it has (without a doubt) the strongest skateboard scene in Portsmouth.”

These edits are going show the level of skateboarding happening locally right now and hopefully push for better things at Milton skatepark for the future. Signature believe the council should help direct some money in the right place as Milton has such a high skateboarder attendence (especially on a hot day) and the fact that they are kind of neglected (no sob story here though. They are not after sympathy).

WIN a Strong Island Care Package by Representing at Bestival

It’s that time of the year when dozens (if not hundreds) of Strong Islanders head over to the Isle of Wight for Rob Da Banks Bestival extravaganza. Since it’s beginnings the Southsea contingency has gone from strength to strength, and this year will be no exception.

As always we’re super excited to be going over and it looks like the weather is going to be on our side this year. I know I’m leaving my wellies at home, that’s for sure! The sneak peaks of sunshine is getting everyone even more eager than normal to go get involved.

Over the years we’ve seen a nice steady increase of people representing our tees and this year we hope to see even more. If you’re going over and fancy a chance to win a Strong Island Care Package full of goodies then it couldn’t be easier. Get a photo of yourself, your friends, a stranger or just a RAD photo of someone repping Strong Island and having fun.

You can email the photo’s to or simply hashtag #strongislandclothingco or #strongrepresent on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook for your chance to win. Make sure to tag all your friends.

Whether your going over to the festival or staying at home in Southsea have a great one and enjoy the sunshine.

FREE Strong Island Clothing Co. Tees

With payday just around the corner we’re offering a free tee to the first 10 people to make a full price purchase of any Strong Island Clothing Co. tee over at Shop Ahoy. This offer is only available on Friday 1st August 2014 so you’ve got to be in it, to win it…

Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 - Dell Quay

Strong Island Clothing Co. Collections - Summer 2014 (5)

Strong Island Clothing Co. Collections - Summer 2014 (2)

Strong Island Clothing Co. Collections - Summer 2014 (8)

Strong Island, Lex Luthor & My Dog Sighs present Head Jam 2014 – Saturday 19th July

Last years Head Jam was such a resounding success with some of the nations best street artists that we eagerly began talking about the following year before the paint had even dried. We discussed how we could run the event again and where to do it, but the answer was simple and literally looking right at us. We hold it in the same place again. Make the courtyard at Head Hairdressing the centre of an annual event where the outcome is available to view for the year, then return, white wash the previous artwork away, and do it all again. After all, street art is an ever changing and developing media in it’s own right and in it’s usual environment where it gets ripped down, tagged, covered in fly posters, lost to demolition and built on, the artists have no fear of their art being lost. It’s part of the job so to speak…

Rick from Head Hairdressing at 53 Albert Road (just along from the Wine Vaults and next to Southsea Gallery) conceived the idea of having the courtyard to the rear of the local barbers transformed in to a permanent giant art piece. From precision multilayered stencils, through bubble gum cutsie to surreal illustrative mayhem, Lex Luthor and My Dog Sighs have hand picked some of their favourite artists to produce the ultimate street art dreamscape courtyard…again!

Head Jam will run all day so feel free to pop along, take a look, have a chat, hang out, meet the artists and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be music on all day, a BBQ turning over in the background if you want to stick a burger on (not supplied), and please feel free to bring along a beer too. Everyone is welcome, so bring the kids so they can see some of the finest street artists working together in this unique environment.

Attending artists include: MyDogSighs, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Fark, Nova, M-one Art, Los Dave, Stu Linfield, Morf, Freakstatic and Ooberla. Wow, this is going to be amazing! If you pop along please be sure to tag the event on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HeadJam and we will put up a series of your photos from the day.

Strong Island Clothing Co will also be launching their latest range of tees and crews before they go online the following week. So if you want to get in there for an exclusive purchase before anyone else head on down and check it all out. Everything will be out to view, and there is a sneak peak at the end of this post (the full look book will go up this week). Also all of our PFC tees and crews are on offer, bargain. We look forward to seeing you all.

Old paint on a wall

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (1)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (2)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (3)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (4)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (5)

Head Jam, photo by Paul Gonella

Photos: Matt Maber

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Anyone fancy a little bike ride?

Ahhhhhhh, remember the good old days. From it’s humble beginnings in 2008 to over 250 happy cyclists one year, the Bi-Annual Strong Island Bank Holiday Bike Rides had become a definite diary entry for those in the know. Shame it all had to come to an end. Public liability and all that. Oh well…

With the May Bank Holiday very nearly upon us it’s put me in the mood for a little light refreshment at The Bridge Tavern and a casual cycle along the seafront and back to get me in the mood for the Summer ahead. After a busy 2013 you might have noticed it was a little quiet at the Bridge Tavern during previous Bank Holidays! We certainly did having been locked away working over a busy year. This weekend however I reckon I’ll pop to the Bridge Tavern for about 12pm on Sunday 25th May and set off around 2pm after some lunch for a reminiscent bike ride. I might even finish at Spice Island for a cheeky tipple after. Give me a shout if you’re in the area. Nudge nudge. Wink wink.

Southsea Beach Cafe – First Day On Site

With the increasing decline and surrounding speculation of South Parade Piers future it’s extremely encouraging to see anything positive happening with regard to our extensive seafront. Despite always being under scrutiny for one reason or another the seafront remains a very popular destination throughout the year and with continuous progress on the Southsea Seafront Strategy, the PCC backed Victorious Festival and the Seafront Masterplan, to name but a few, it really feels like things are starting to change for the better…

Southsea Beach Cafe most certainly suits the progressive nature we are all dying to see take place and is a welcome addition to what is currently a very run down area of the seafront. The new proprietors of the old toilet block and cafe opposite Canoe Lake and East of the pier have taken on something that will really bring a new lease of life to the area. Not to be overshadowed by movements of the once iconic South Parade Pier, SBC is set to become a very popular destination for both locals and passing visitors.

Today saw the real beginning as work on site began and progress became a reality in physical form. Once completed, SBC will be a well considered and contemporary cafe destination offering good quality food throughout the day and evening. Set in an very accessible area with the perfect vista the plans for SBC include both inside and outside areas for dining in a very relaxed and family friendly environment.

Offering a unique experience to Southsea is the addition of having a seasonally adaptable awning that can be retracted to reveal the delights of Summer sunshine, whilst also keeping off those chilly British winds, and equally in the Winter months shield you from the elements but still offer the feeling of being outside as you are protected by the awnings structural weatherproof glass. As awesome as it will be to visit in the summertime I’m certainly looking forward to some comfort food in the Winter with the sea crashing outside in the knowledge that I’m safe and sound from the elements!

We will be following SBC very closely over the next few months before their planned opening in early June and have a more in depth article with the owners coming soon to talk about the years of negotiation up to their final plans and down to what will be on the menu. For the time being you can follow Southsea Beach Cafe over at their Facebook page HERE.

Strong Island have the privilege to be working with Southsea Beach Cafe on both the brand identity and creative consultancy and we are extremely proud to be part of the journey with them and the people they are working with. We will be keeping you up to date with all the developments of this exciting new venture right up till the opening night, and beyond…







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Rolling right Inuit part II

Following on from the previous post about the Igloo seen on Southsea Common, Khalid Saleh was kind enough to get in contact with some more information and some photos. It took Khalid and 6 of his friends 5 and a half hours to build the Igloo using what looks like icecream tubs and glow sticks were donated by passers by from the Navy.

It’s still standing today and Meridian will be doing a short interview with them. Not sure when that will air, but hopefully I’ll catch it.







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)

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.

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

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.

Southsea Strong Island Celebrates

I just can’t find the right images for this! Strong Island is 1 whole year old this Sunday the 27th. Time surely does fly hey. Meet us for a beer if you’re out and about. I think there’s something going on Albert Road this Sunday too…


and on another note…


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

Vintage Skatepark Photographs

I’ve been holding on to these truly amazing vintage photographs that Simon Tiller kindly sent in as we went through a pretty heavy skateboard period and thought we should chill back a little. Loving the roller hockey team photos too. The 1978 trophies photo is a epic and they were British Champions in 1973 too. Belated congratulations to you all.

This is just a small picking from the Southsea Skatepark website Check them out and if you see anyone you recognise or want to bring something to our attention then remember to add your comments at the bottom of this post.

Special props to the final photo and all the Southsea boys representing ‘back in the day’. Some young looking faces there. Rippers.

Created Local – Marc B.B

Local Light Artist & Photographer Marc B.B sent over these incredible light images taken around Portsmouth. Specialising in Night Photography, Light Painting, Long Exposures and so on Marcs pictures are created at a time when most people would be packing away their cameras and heading home. Portsmouth has a strong creative vibe, especially in the photography realm and being part of a group called ‘Portsmouth At Night’, Marc regularly meets up with like minded folk to go on weekly excursions in and around the city to photograph it, in the dark.

“Whilst some may find it a little bizarre, i think the images speak for themselves. Turning everyday objects, landmarks, even benches into works of art of their own is both exciting and a challenge. Some of my best work has been in collaberation with others and being able to pool resources and ideas has always been invaluable to me. I am always striving to find parts of the city that can be shown in a ‘good light’ as Portsmouth is such a great place to live.”

Be sure to check out Marcs website for amazing photos, and if this style night photography interests you head over to Portsmouth at Night at They meet up as a group every week somewhere in Portsmouth and simply take advantage of the night. Everyone is welcome to join, at all levels of competency. Night, night.

Big Rave Night

Clearly ‘that top group from Portsmouth The Parkas’ used to rave hard at the licensed bar The Drill Hall in Camberley back in ’67. Awesome stuff for sure.

Flyer Seen : Pompey Pop Pix

Strong Island Clothing Co.