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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.






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

David Cameron Satire

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

Portsmouth in a New Children’s Book by Michael Rosen and Southsea Illustrator Neal Layton

Monster‘, the third (with Rover and Howler) in a series of children’s books written by Michael Rosen and Southsea based illustrator Neal Layton will be published this month. The story is set in a school, and Neal based the pictures on drawings he did at Cumberland Infant School (where his daughter is in Year 2) here in Portsmouth. Some of the shops and pubs from Albert road also feature in artworks too!

To coincide with the publication of the new book Aspex Gallery are holding two exhibitions of Neal Layton’s children’s book work opening on Wednesday 18th March 2015.

The first, offsite at Portsmouth Guildhall shows artworks from the series of books Neal has done with Michael Rosen. The second exhibition held concurrently at Aspex Cafe Gallery concentrates on process and artifacts from Neal’s studio. Both exhibitions run until May.

Find more information about both exhibitions on Neal’s blog HERE, or Aspex’ website HERE.

Portsmouth in a New Children's Book by Michael Rosen and Southsea Illustrator Neal Layton (1)

Portsmouth in a New Children's Book by Michael Rosen and Southsea Illustrator Neal Layton (2)

Portsmouth in a New Children's Book by Michael Rosen and Southsea Illustrator Neal Layton (4)

Portsmouth in a New Children's Book by Michael Rosen and Southsea Illustrator Neal Layton (3)

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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Submarine Graveyard

Portsmouth’s Pounds scrapyard has been the final stop for the lives of many military vehicles over the years but most noticeable it has been the location for a submarine graveyard. So iconic was the sight of the submarines as you entered Portsmouth that they became the inspiration for the architect when designing the new swimming pool at the Mountbatten Centre.

Robin Hinson has a large collection of photos of the scrapped submarines here, with a few shown below.

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 1

Jonathan & Matthew Ring recently released a book of archive Portsmouth photography that was taken by their grandparents over the years (find out more about the book HERE). As well as photographs they also found a load of footage filmed around the city and have just released their first episode of their Portsmouth on Film.

This episode has some great footage from the early 90s, including some from the Tour de France.

South Parade Pier

We’ve mentioned Diana Goss on Strong Island before. A touch of class behind the lens and a really nice lady.

Here’s another great example of Diana’s work in this Cross Processed, 120 shot of South Parade Pier.



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)

Vintage Southsea Skatepark

Bored Manager Tom sent us over this original Skatepark article and poster. It doesn’t get more back in the day than this really. The original proposal plan and the opening day poster. At last Skateboard Paradise. Truly amazing. The article is quite small, but I zoomed it to read back the first paragraph.

‘Skatepark plan caters for all plus band and roller skating. Fast elevated runs and steep twisting slalom – like tracks for the advanced skateboarder, are a design feature of the £60,000 skateboard arena proposed for Southsea Common’



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