Strong Island Co.

Cultural & Exhibitions

Back to the Future Mini Exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum

As part of the current large exhibition A Hard Choice at Portsmouth City Museum a community case & display area was set up to allow local people to have the opportunity to share their own treasured collections with the rest of the city. A few weeks ago three winning collections were selected from the incredible shortlist of submissions with judges Rosalinda Hardiman the city’s collection manager, Mark Waldron from The News and myself from Strong Island. The collections submitted were fantastically diverse including vintage postcards, royal clocks, an 80s fashion designer, glasswear and much, much more. Finally three submissions were selected for the community display and the first of these to go in to A Hard Choice is all about the Back to the Future Trilogy.

The Hill Valley Preservation Society present a small portion of their Back to the Future props and costume display at Portsmouth Museum. This collection includes some of the most iconic items from the Back to the Future Trilogy and is made up of officially licensed replicas, screen-used/production made props, reproductions and vintage items. If you are a fan of the films this is an incredible collection and well worth a visit, alongside ‘A Hard Choice’ exhibition, from the end of March until the end of May. Don’t forget that entry to Portsmouth Museum is FREE.

Back to the Future Mini Exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum

Back to the Future Mini Exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum

The BANFF Mountain Film Festival At The King’s Theatre

Attracting sell out audiences across the globe, the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival visited Portsmouth for the first time last night with a selection of extraordinary short films from the world’s leading adventure film makers. Exhilarating and thought provoking, it was a must-see for anyone with a spirit of adventure!

Introducing individuals such as, Danny Macaskill, a world famous trail rider and Wilfred Thesiger, one of Britain’s top explorers and writers, the series of short films are not only inspirational and motivating but also utterly breath taking to watch.

The Kings Theatre hosted the festival and will support the event in the future, boasting that it is an exceptional performance of incredible individuals.

The festival draws together experiences of the environment, mountain culture and the outdoors and is a fantastic watch for anyone who has a passion for the extreme, encouraging all of us to embrace, experience and explore.

See the BANFF website for upcoming tour dates.






Ooh La Lapin’s ‘The Return of Ovlov’ at Strong Island Co.

As you may know by now, we host exhibitions down at our Strong Island Co store on Highland Rd and our wall has currently been taken over by Ooh La Lapin and her beautifully detailed fine liner illustrations.

‘The Return of Ovlov’ builds on the ever-growing ‘Totem’ body of work that debuted at the Under The Spotlight exhibition, following the journey of the magical character Totem as he searches near and far lands for his yet unknown purpose. These illustrative pieces serve as a preview to an upcoming book chronicling Totem’s wanderings in his own world before breaking through to ours to continue his search.

Prints of the exhibition are available to purchase in store at Strong Island Co or online here in A4, A3 and A2 sizes on 330gsm fine art paper.

Essence Of Ireland At The King’s Theatre

This weekend the King’s Theatre in Southsea was host to the ‘Essence of Ireland’, a production/musical set against the backdrop of Ireland, England and America in the 19th Century.

The production tell’s the story of Coro McGowen and Sean Dempsey, a couple separated by emigration from each other and their beloved home of Ireland.

The story based on true events, is heartwarming and dramatic with incredible dancers who liven the stage with exquisite control and flawless movements. Musicians lead the night with the sounds of violins, drums and sing song and along with the performers were exceptional and received a standing ovation at the end of the night.

Essence of Ireland are on a UK tour which will go on until the end of April 2015. You can find information about up comings venues on Facebook. Please also follow the King’s for future tour dates.

Essence of Ireland

Essence of Ireland

Essence of Ireland

Essence of Ireland



Created Local – Daniel Cook

Daniel J Cook a.k.a Scruffyhightops, 32 from Portsmouth is a local man who has contributed much to the local art culture. Working in animation, film, art and illustration he has just held his first exhibition at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

Being part of the Portsmouth Creative Movement (PCM), Daniel has often described himself to fellow PCM goers as a ‘Pop Culture Blender’. He admits that this passion came to be after years of growing up with Star Wars, Star Trek and video games, all of which encouraged a highly imaginative and creative nature.

Daniel’s art work could be described as momentary in that he does what he feels or what comes to him at that moment in time. He tells us ‘ If I felt like drawing Godzilla then I just would. I don’t really have a prebuilt agenda or a signature image.’

A big inspiration in local music also inspired Daniel and he has recently worked on a project with Pilot Promotions called ‘The Dug Out Sessions’. They took three bands, SomaHigh, Electric Arms and The underground Pilots and filmed short sessions, collaborating them into a final piece of short films.

Daniel is up to all sorts this year and will be working on lots of local projects which can all be found on his social media. He can also be spotted at the infamous Southsea based Doodle Club where he admits he spends much time enjoying drawing nonsense and catching up with other local creative personalities. He can also be bumped into this year at London Super Comic Con, as well as the same event in San Diego and the MCM expo.

Daniel was also behind the UFO hoax that made it’s way onto Buzzfeed and say’s his proudest moments have been when he met William Shatner and Lance Guest and when a piece of his artwork was signed by Stan Lee, one of his heroes.

Follow Daniel on Facebook, YouTube, on his website or catch him at the Southsea Skatepark.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook Guardians

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook

Strong Island Recordings Free In Store Party With Melt Dunes & Death of the Author

At the end of last year Strong Island proudly opened up our store, studio & exhibition space at 12 Highland Road in Southsea. So far there have been a few wonderful exhibitions in store but our label arm over at Strong Island Recordings has yet to have a house warming party so to speak. After much discussion we have decided to change that and on the 28th March between 6-8pm we present to you a free, bring your own booze party with full sets from Strong Island Recordings own Melt Dunes and our good friends Death of the Author taking place instore at Strong Island Co. Capacity for the show is obviously limited so be sure to head down early.

We’ll also being doing some amazing one-off in-store deals on label tees, vinyl, tapes and more, more details on that soon. See you there!

Hit up the Facebook event for more info.

melt dunes sir

Hedda Gabler At The Groundling’s Theatre

The Groundling’s Theatre tonight hosted it’s first of 4 productions of Hedda Gabler, a play written by the Norwegian writer, Henrick Ibsen. The story is considered to be one of the great and dramatic stories in playwright history and this quaint theatre setting in the elder part of Portsmouth only embellishes this.

Thrilling, enigmatic and destructive, Hedda Gabler is one of theatre’s most irresistible heroines. Returning from her honeymoon and already bored with her marriage, Hedda finds herself caught between the brilliant but dissolute Eilert Loevborg and the clutches of the predatory Judge Brack. A shocking path of destruction unfolds and there can only be one outcome.

Actors and actresses dominated the tiny stage with powerful characters and projected voices and captured onlookers full attention. The play is an absolute must see and your viewing not only supports this special performance but also a special theatre with an incredible and award winning Adult Drama School.

To purchase tickets, contact the box office and follow the whats on guide to the Groundlings on Facebook.

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

Hedda gabler

The Woman In Black At The King’s Theatre

Tonight, Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story came dramatically alive in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation, The Woman in Black, at the King’s Theatre in Southsea.

A Lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes is cast over him by the spectre of a Woman in Black, engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying tale that he is bound and haunted by. The story begins innocently enough but quickly turns into a tale of eerie marshes and moaning winds as they dive deeper into his deepest memories.

The Woman in Black has celebrated 25 years of production in the West End and is brilliantly successful. The actors create complete illusion and atmosphere and have viewers gripped for more. The story is one of complete suspense and tension and is perfectly paced.

The King’s Theatre will host the production up until the 14th March and offers a superb setting for the play to unfold. The theatre’s old feel and historic background take you back in time to watching real actors, on stage, doing just that, acting. With minimal props and a minimal cast, the production is cleverly delivered and enthralling. Swirling fog, a creaking rocking chair, shrieks and gasps and humorous sniffs conjure up a drama that is hard to predict.

The Guardian called it a ‘Masterpiece’ and Time Out magazine said that ‘The chills are irresistibly effective… A delicious spell of malevolence and menace.’

To find out more about The Woman in Black check out the website or purchase tickets from the box office at the King’ Theatre.

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

Crazy Sexy Cool At The Groundlings Theatre

From 5th-6th March the Groundling’s Theatre in Portsmouth has hosted Crazy, Sexy, Cool. This riotous satire explores the teen politics of a friendship group, and the chaos and torment that can come with stardom at an early age. The play is about desire, fantasy and worship with a hilarious and horrifying showdown finish.

The Groundlings is proud to work with young actors and has built a fantastic relationship with Connections for this exciting project. The Youth Theatre Group will be performing not only here but also at the Salisbury Playhouse in April.

The Groundlings is one of the UK’s most impressive and dynamic Georgian theatres and was formally known as the Old Benny. It is committed to offering both adults and children the adaptability, flexibility and openness needed to sustain a career in the stage and screen industry through it’s drama school projects.

Going along to this theatre is nothing but exciting with its quirky interior, beautiful structure and incredible design. It is defiantly worth popping by for a production and upcoming events include superb plays such as, A Midsummer Nights Dream and Jane Eyre.

Portsmouth is full of incredible history and the Groundlings is a stunning example of this. Grab a ticket to an event and support your local theatre.

To hear about upcoming events follow the Groundlings on Facebook.


Youth group


Youth group



Doodle Club Get Together

Last night avid doodlers joined together at the King Street Tavern for Southsea’s infamous ‘Doodle Club’ and with a themed evening of ‘Danger’, doodlers laughed and joked at each others creative interpretations.

Kendal James of Eyecandy, organiser of the event was keen to tell club goers about some fantastic upcoming events, ones that will show Portsmouth and Southsea just what they get up too.

On the 10th July, Art Space will host Doodle Club’s exhibition  and include over 2 years of doodles displayed on over 60 meters of doodle roll. The event is a brilliant opportunity for all who have attended over the past few years to come together and review numerous themes and evenings that have spilt all sorts of artistic flare onto pub tables lined with blank paper.

GASP’s (Gallery Art Space Portsmouth) weekend long exhibition will feature all work created from now until July as well as previously. People will have the opportunity to take part by attending club nights which are held on the first Thursday of every month to contribute to the exhibition.

The doodle club has been hugely successful since it began and it is fabulous to see the club going strong with new and exciting events on the agenda.

Follow Kendal on Facebook and check out events on the doodle club page.

Kendal James

Doodle Club

Doodle Club

Doodle Club

Doodle books


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The Doomsday Project

From 1984 to 1986 people, in particular school children, all got involved in collecting information on their local area to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Doomsday Book by creating a new, updated, electronic version. The collected information became The Doomsday Project which was a collection of laserdiscs and special BBC computers. The country was broken down in to ‘D’ blocks with the data collection done mostly by schools, the information included text on local geography, history, legends and also more contemporary personal things such as favourite music, games, etc. As well as the text each block could also contain up to 3 photos. Many schools bought the discs and computers as a learning resource (the World Wide Web as a concept was still some years away).

A few days ago the BBC launched a new website where all of this previously difficult to access information (only a handful of working systems still exist) is now online and searchable. It’s an amazing glimpse in to Portsmouth and Southsea life in the early to mid 80s and there are some great images. The new website also allows you to upload new information and photos too.

If you are 38+ you may well have memories of being involved in the project in collecting and writing information. Personally I remember the day my group went out to a tiny village in Essex in the hot summer but instead of writing things we played near the river and weir. Oh well. Does anyone have any memories of taking part in the project? If so please add a comment, would love to hear people’s memories.

You can find out more about the original project on HERE and the BBC article and access the online version below:

Domesday Project

Portsmouth City Museum

As with so many things that are right on your doorstep, you always say yeah I’ll go do that soon, but never do. Me and Liz had the day off together and rode around a few places before popping to the Museum after saying we’d go for years now.

If you like your local history then I advise going down. Check the Portsmouth City Museum website for more information. Click read more at the bottom for a few more snaps.


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

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.

Created Local – Caleigh Illerbrun

Old University friend Tom Hall sent me over a link to his extremely talented and prolific girlfriend Caleigh Illerbrun’s online portfolio With illustration, painting and 3 dimensional work firmly tucked under her belt Caleigh has an impressive amount of work on her site, some of which is up for grabs. Currently selling coasters over in her SHOP, Caleigh needs a little help identifying the favourites as she has an advert coming out soon in a magazine.

I’m loving the ‘Wood Tree’ coaster set below, and very much so the ‘Bearlamb’ acrylic & pen at the bottom. You can also follow Caleigh on Facebook and also her blog.

Strong Island Clothing Co.