Strong Island Co.

Local Events

Read Rees book launch at Blackwell’s

Literature lovers can head down to Blackwell’s bookshop this Saturday for the Portsmouth launch of Read Rees, the long-awaited new book by local author Gareth Rees.

Read Rees contains stories of war, theology, blackberry crumble and the oppression of cleaning staff. ‘Forty years’ wanderlust, menial labour and mindful rebellion.’

A graduate of the University of Portsmouth (UoP), Gareth has written for The Guardian, The Contemporary Review and the award-winning No Such Thing as a Free Ride? series of travel anthologies.

Read Rees is published by 137 Albion Road Books, a project involving another UoP alumnus, the photographer and writer Alexander Sebley, and Tom Sykes, Lecturer in Creative Writing at UoP and regular contributor to the New African magazine.

At the launch there will be readings plus a Q&A with Gareth. Copies of the book will be on sale priced £6.

Summery snacks and drinks will be served.

The launch is in association with the School of Media and Performing Arts at the University of Portsmouth.

7pm, 2nd August, Blackwell’s bookshop, Cambridge Road, Portsmouth.

Writer Gareth Rees

Southsea Comedy Festival

Wow! So I’ve just got home from an amazing night of comedy on Southsea Common. A lot of laughs were had by all, and it was great to see such a good crowd turn out for the very first Southsea Comedy Festival.

The sun was shining bright as the crowd entered the festival site. I managed to arrive early enough to enjoy some sunshine and an ale from our friends Kings Street Tavern. I ventured into the comedy tent to see local compere James Alderson greet the crowd and introduce Larry Dean. I didn’t know very much about Dean before tonight but I quickly became a fan. I’m sure we will see much more of him in the future.

After a brief interval, 8:30pm rolled around and it was time for Alderson to introduce the headline act, Mr Eddie Izzard. When Izzard walked on stage the crowd gave him a huge round of applause, what a welcoming bunch we are! In return he put on a very funny show, covering obscure topics such as French speaking kings of England, how to improve dressage and the Lord of the Rings. He even handled the departure and arrival of a noisy Hovercraft like a pro! I wouldn’t want to risk any spoilers before Friday evenings performance but you are in for a treat. If you don’t have a ticket then I urge you to check out the Comedy Festival website to pick up and of the remaining tickets (if there are any?). It was that good that I will be going back tonight to see it again.

Southsea Comedy Festival is part of the build up to tomorrows Southsea Show which is also being held on Southsea Common.

You can follow the Southsea Comedy Festival on Twitter @SouthseaComedy and the Southsea Show @SouthseaShow.

Southsea Comedy Festival

Southsea Comedy Festival

Eddie Izzard Southsea Comedy Festival Logo

The Southsea Show Competition Winners

The Southsea Show returns next weekend. If you’ve been passed Southsea Common you will have seen the tents and marquee’s going up in preparation. It looks like this years event is going to be even bigger and better than last years!

The Southsea Show team have kindly donated two sets of family tickets to give away, so thats two adults and two children. These tickets can be redeemed on a day of your choosing. All you had to do to win this prize is answer the following question…

Hampshire based Batala Portsmouth are a local samba band playing authentic Afro Brazilian Samba Reggae music. They are returning this year and can be found performing on Sunday 3rd August. What three colours make up their uniforms?

The answer was of course Red, White and Black. The two lucky winners are Jean-Philippe Soulie and Nathan Jones.

Tickets for the event are £8 or £5 for concessions and are available on the website HERE. You can follow all things Southsea Show on their Facebook and Twitter @SouthseaShow.

Southsea Show 2014

The Southsea Show Competition

The Southsea Show returns next weekend. If you’ve been passed Southsea Common you will have seen the tents and marquee’s going up in preparation. It looks like this years event is going to be even bigger and better than last years!

The Southsea Show team have kindly donated two sets of family tickets to give away, so thats two adults and two children. These tickets can be redeemed on a day of your choosing. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following question…

Hampshire based Batala Portsmouth are a local samba band playing authentic Afro Brazilian Samba Reggae music. They are returning this year and can be found performing on Sunday 3rd August. What three colours make up their uniforms?

The deadline for entries will be midnight Wednesday 30th July with the winners being announced on Thursday morning.

Tickets for the event are £8 or £5 for concessions and are available on the website HERE. You can follow all things Southsea Show on their Facebook and Twitter @SouthseaShow.

Southsea Show 2014

Photos from Head Jam 2014

For the second year running Head Mens Hairdressing, Strong Island and My Dog Sighs (this year with Lex Luthor) put on the Head Jam street art event on Albert Road in Southsea. The yard out the back of Head and the Strong Island HQ had last year’s artwork covered during last week and Saturday saw local artists My Dog Sighs, Los Dave, M-One, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Stu Linfield, I am Posy, freakSTATIC, Midge and Samo get involved with new artwork on all of the walls plus the new sculpture too. Extra artwork is also being added today by My Name is Leila. A huge thank you to all the artists and to everyone who popped by throughout the day.

Check some of the photos from the day below, you can see a load more on our Flickr (which is a growing archive of our photography over the last 6 years) or on our Facebook page and if you want to pop in and have a look visit Head at 53 Albert Road.


































Final Southsea Fest Line Up Including Pulled Apart By Horses, Ed Harcourt & DZ Deathrays

Southsea Fest have announced the latest and final line up to the already marvellous bill which already includes the likes of Laurel, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Mazes, Blessa, Menace Beach, Kagoule, Eliza & The Bear and many more including local favourites Rickyfitts and Kassassin Street. The one day, multi-venue urban festival spanning across the intimate setting of Albert Road has pulled absolutely no punches with its latest additions and it looks set to be the biggest and best Southsea Fest yet.

Headlining the Wedge is gnarly hardcore punk, Leeds exports, Pulled Apart by Horses regarded by many as one of the best live acts today with their twisted, amp melting, gut busting ferocious sets. Their last Southsea Fest outing, for those fortunate to catch them was regarded as stuff of legend and with them playing the Wedge this year you’re four times more likely to be able to get a glimpse of their carnage. Along with Pulled Apart By Horses, Brisbane duo DZ Deathrays head back to Southsea and will deliver a face-melting, riot like set of thrash ridden pop. Another huge coup for Southsea Fest and headlining the Kings Theatre is established singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt who shall be a perfect fit for the glorious, Edwardian setting. Also on the bill confirmed is Fat Cat Record’s Glaswegian duo Honeyblood who deliver, scuzzy, grunge tinged, indie pop. Bringing the doom psychedelia and stoner rock is GANG, the latest signings to Strong Island Recordings who are ready to inflict a sonic assault upon senses with ear pounding riffs and gnarling, wailing vocals. Heading back to Southsea Fest is the splendid Talons who create intense and epic instrumental, math-post hardcore rock coated in  magnificently building violin sections also coated in merciless riffs. There are numerous other additions as well as in which you can find below.

Tickets are just £18 for what represents an incredible value for money and can be purchased HERE.

Pulled Apart By Horses -Ed Harcourt – Famy – DZ Deathrays – Flyte - Fear of Men – Laurel – Curxes – Talons – Brontide - Blessa – Mazes – Castles – Eliza & The Bear 100 Ounces – Alpha Male Tea Party – Andy Oliveri – Bad Grammar - Battery Hens – Beautiful Boy – Big Fin – Big Sixes – Body Hound - Boy Jumps Ship – Brawlers – Break-Ups  - Dear Everyone - Deluxe Flamingos – Doe – Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux – Elephantantrum - Eloise Keating – Emperor Yes – Employed To Serve – Fairweather Band -FALLS – Fickle Friends – Flash Fires – Floella Grace – Fred Page - FURS – Gang – Goodtime Boys – Gossling – Happy Accidents – Happyness - Harker – Holy Kasper – Honeyblood – House of Thieves – Hunter And The Bear - Iced Out – Jesse Wylde & The Stallions – Jimmy Islip and the Ghosts w/ Sam Russo - Joythief – Kagoule – Kassassin Street – Layers – Life – Lillian Todd Jones - LOOKS – Love Park – Lu’Ami – Lucky One Dies First – Lyger - Martha – Matt Emery – Matt Jarvis – Meadowlark – Menace Beach - Michael A Grammar – Natasha North – Nothing But Thieves - Osca – Passport to Stockholm – Pawws – Pedro Donkey - Personal Best – Phoria – Pixel Fix – Popabawa – Prides – Pure Graft - Racing Glaciers – Raglans – Richie & The Remedy - RickyFitts – Rough Hands – SACHA – Saint Agnes - Sam Brothers –  Slaves – Spring King – Tangled Hair – Teef – The B of The Bang - The Boy I Used To Be – The Cadbury Sisters – The Cairos – The Lion & The Wolf -The Magic Gang – The Plastic Beats Band – The Prestige - The Proper Ornaments – The Ramona Flowers – The SLM - The Southsea Alternative Choir – ThisPlanet – Thought Forms - Tigercub – Tom Moody – Trampolene – Uncle Luc – Unknown Soldiers – Waylayers - We The Wild – Woahnows – Wildest Dreams

Southsea Fest 2014 Poster

Gland Rock At The Wedgewood Rooms in Support of The Feel Yourself Campaign 5th July Headlined by 90′s Legends The Telescopes

The glorious Gland Rock belts down into Southsea 5th July in support of the Feel Yourself Campaign. This new Portsmouth music festival takes place across one day in one venue at the Wedgewood Rooms & Edge of the Wedge featuring some the finest bands across the land. Headlined by Creation Records (responsible for the releases of the likes of My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & the Mary Chain and Oasis) 90’s legends The Telescopes bringing their visceral realm of psychedelic, shoegaze and dreampop along with the likes of God Damn, a mind blowing twosome creating an atomic, thundering racket of noise which is totally perplexing as to how two men can create such a sound that almost defies the laws of plausibility. Along with Bo Ningen, they’re possibly the best live band at the moment and can be found heavily across the festival circuit. Possibly tomorrow headliners but if you feel any seismic activity in Portsmouth, it’s likely due to God Damn.

The line up also sees the weird and wonderful punks Claw Marks fresh from their Sexbeat release (Eagulls/White Lung) and UK tour with Fat White Family as well as scuzz pop duo Playlounge, punk quartet Human Hair, electronic two piece AK/DK, indie/post punk  and and Playlounge as well as some of the best locals in the area. Carefully curated, taking quality over quantity the line-up sees thrash duo Rickyfitts who have released on bothStrong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl, local cult legends The Demons recently re-releasing ‘Contact High’ getting high praise such as being touted a classic by Backseat Mafia as well as dreampop, shoegaze duo who also create luscious surf like riffs, Wildest Dreams, psych-doom outfit Unknown Soldiers, the bombastic, blitz pop duo Curxes, Eloise Keating who delivers haunting dream pop and colourful indie electro pop 4 piece Deluxe Flamingos.

There will also be a raffle on the day to help raise money for the Feel Yourself Campaign. The raffle prizes include:

- My Dog Sighs Painted Canvas framed by Southsea Gallery
- Victorious Tickets
- Southsea Fest Tickets
- £25 Art Is Hard Records Voucher and Surprise Test Pressing
- Unique Pompey Calendar and David James Painting by Official PFC Artist
- Strong Island Swag
- Pie and Vinyl Swag
- Artwork by amazing local artists (such as mynameisleila and m-one)
- plus much more…

You can listen to the playlist below and tickets can be purchased for merely £10 HERE or on the day, availability permitting.

Gland Rock Poster

Free Community Funding Workshops by Fratton Big Local

Fratton Big Local are putting on free drop-in workshops at Fratton Community Centre on Thursday 3rd July to help local groups apply for up to £10,000 of Awards for All funding. The one hour workshops will start at 10.30am, 1.30pm and 6.30pm and will cover the small grants programme of the National Lottery:

“We want to fund projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people. We will fund a wide range of community projects aimed at developing skills, improving health, revitalising the local environment and enabling people to become more active citizens”.

Funding is available for activities that will benefit the community, including:

- Putting on an event, activity or performance
- Buying new equipment or materials
- Running training courses
- Setting up a pilot project or starting up a new group
- Carrying out special repairs or conservation work
- Paying expenses for volunteers, costs for sessional workers or professional fees
- Transport costs

Check the flyer below for more information and www.frattonbiglocal.org.uk.

Free Community Funding Workshops by Fratton Big Local

Review and Photos of Portsmouth Festivities Spice Island Art Trail 2014

For the second year running the Spice Island Art Trail this Sunday saw dozens of artists take over different historic buildings in Old Portsmouth as part of this year’s Portsmouth Festivities. The day began in the morning with the doors opening at Portsmouth Cathedral and the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club which became home to 26 artists from a wide range of practices including photography, sculpture, illustration, design, painting, papercraft and much more. Becket Hall by Portsmouth Cathedral was home to student work (GCSE, AS and A-Level) from Portsmouth Grammar School, Admiral Lord Nelson, Ryde School and Cowplain Community School covering a diverse, creative collection of artwork. As well as the artwork on display inside down at The Hot Walls were local street artists Lex & Mimic, Fark and Dharma77 painting a set of panels in the shade of the arches.

Through the day a group of judges representing aspex Gallery, Art Space Portsmouth, Portsmouth Guildhall and Strong Island were looking for seven different artists to be selected for an exhibition at Portsmouth Guildhall plus a first place prize. For the schools there were also first, second and third prizes for students too.

The trail for me began with the cool shelter from the hot morning sun of Portsmouth Cathedral with initially the triptych of mixed media by Beth Davis-Hofbauer, a series focusing on the stages of coming to terms with a sense of comfort with the self.

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Beth Davis-Hofbauer
Beth Davis-Hofbauer

The first of the many 3d artists involved in the art trail was next, local artist Lyndon Richards with his painted slate paintings and his incredible brick/house paintings. Each finely detailed brick house is painted for the owners of the historic Portsmouth homes and together made for a ‘street’ full of local heritage in a creative new form. With a turn of the corner was Drayton based paper/3d artist Anita Bell, whose work with free-stitching and paper dye showed fine detailing and a sense of open creative expression. Close by was Making Space resident fine artist painter Agata Wojcieszkiewicz, with a series of passionate and compassionate paintings of herself and her father, rich in colour.

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Lyndon Richards
Lyndon Richards

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Anita Bell
Anita Bell

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Anita Bell
Anita Bell

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Agata Wojcieszkiewicz
Agata Wojcieszkiewicz

The far side of the Cathedral was home to many different photographers and painters, too many to detail here but all with great images capturing scenes around Portsmouth, I particularly liked a photo by Danish but now Portsmouth based photographer Fie Hansigne Petersen, with a model’s hand coated in sugar, touching on themes of addiction and infection.

I walked out the other side of the Cathedral through to Beckett Hall which was packed with student work from schools in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. The work was of a high level, with bold graphic design, passionate paintings, sculpture and much, much more.











The third venue for the Art Trail was the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club, a building packed with the history of the clubs and their associated members, going back well over 100 years. Nestling amongst these historic surroundings were artists based on different floors. In the bar area on the ground floor were the works of three artists and photographers, the first were a selection of abstract paintings by Amy Owen with a clean and fresh palette, giving a sense of the sea. Next to Amy’s work was the incredibly detailed pencil drawings by Kevin Hayward. Kevin talked me through his lengthy drawing process, building up layers and layers of graphite to form photo-realistic works of animals, including a recent commission by an Isle of Wight zoo of their tiger. Reflected in the large mirror were the large scale, long exposure/multiple exposure photos by Fiona Harvey.

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Amy Owen
Amy Owen

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Kevin Hayward
Kevin Hayward

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Fiona Harvey
Fiona Harvey

Across the ground floor was another room full of artists and their work (too many to mention them all, sadly). Paintings and linoprints by Peter Jackson and Chris Wood were fantastic. Finely detailed portraits in pencil by Wil Stevenson & the carefully stitched rigging of HMS Warrior by Jessica Taylor were inspiring and it was great to also talk through the creative processes on both of these intricate pieces of work. Also on the ground floor were illustrator & designer Kate Bishop with her colourful Kroma prints and jewellery plus the photography and print based work of artist Thomas Robson.

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Chris Wood
Chris Wood

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Jessica Taylor
Jessica Taylor

Also located on the ground floor was painter & sculptor Kas Williams, who was surrounded by her highly creative 3d paper sculptures made from old books. Each piece was hand shaped and cut and formed a unique object.

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Kas Williams

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Kas Williams

The floor upstairs was also full of too many fantastic artists to be able to mention them all but the atmospheric and abstract paintings of Sehila Craft caught the eye with their colour and questioning forms. The delicate and almost playful insects and spiders formed from old electronic components, PCBs, bulbs and pieces of old jewellery produced by artist Julie Alice Chappell were fantastic. The synergy of the entomological forms and the lines of copper & colour of resistors were as beautiful as they were fun. Speaking of playful, the illustration work of Lauren Hunt was also great to discover. Aaaaand…speaking of discovering, tucked away in the wonderful library was artist & painter Peter Jarvis whose structural paintings were a stunning blend of architectural plan-like detail and washes of atmospheric watercolour. As well as the work on display Peter was painting on-site too, when not engaging in conversation with every visitor who wanted to discover more of his work and his artistic process.

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Julie Alice Chappell
Julie Alice Chappell

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Lauren Hunt
Lauren Hunt

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Peter Jarvis
Peter Jarvis

Spice Island Art Trail 2014 - Peter Jarvis
Peter Jarvis

With the judges given a very difficult task of choosing winners, it was tough, but the overall winner in the end was Kas Williams who with six other artists chosen will exhibit at the Guildhall very soon. The schools first place winner was Jessie Colman from Ryde School.

If you want to find out more about the Spice Island Art Trail and Portsmouth Festivities visit:

www.portsmouthfestivities.co.uk

A Kind Of Conjuration Returns

Earlier this year New Apollo and Cop the Needle brought us ‘A Kind of Conjuration’, a play based on the 1944 Portsmouth trial of medium Helen Duncan, who was accused under the 1735 Witchcraft Act of ‘a kind of conjuration’. As part of Portsmouth Festivities, audiences will have another chance to see the performance this Wednesday at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, this time with the addition of a prelude featuring ghost hunter Harry Price. We had a quick chat with Stuart Olesker, one of the writers on the project.

The play is based on a true story – why did you choose this particular story to tell?

The notion of the trial was certainly intriguing. The discovery that the plaintiff was nationally acclaimed and with local connections was even more intriguing.

My collaborator, John Stanton, and I are founders of Cop the Needle Productions which specialises in dramatising curious and lesser known lives and events associated with Portsmouth’s multifaceted character. Here was a story about beliefs, deception, careless talk, wartime paranoia, and the distortions in the reporting of truth. The courtroom scenes in the play are verbatim dialogue from the trial. The exchanges between prosecutor and witness were, we thought, so bizarre that we could not improve on the original – so we left those bits in as ‘verbatim theatre’. The rest is our invention.

What attracts you to using a true story as the basis for a performance?

We have found that audiences never tire of hearing stories about their own city or of discovering unusual tales that require merely writers, actors and a director to bring them to life. In this we are lucky to work alongside New Apollo who ensure that the results are lively, memorable and true to the spirit of their sources.

Since its performance at The Cellars, Eastney earlier this year, you’ve added a prelude where ghost hunter Harry Price tells of his experiences while investigating the psychic claims of Helen Duncan. Why did you think the piece needed this addition?

Harry Price was a colourful individual in the 20s, 30s and 40s who, like his friend Harry Houdini, was a tireless investigator into the claims of mediums and ghost watchers. He could spot frauds – while himself being accused of fraudulent practice. He was at first convinced – and then dismissive – of the claims of Helen Duncan. Indeed he was continually changing his attitude from belief to scepticism – and back – throughout his life. As he saw it, he and Helen Duncan had much in common: a wish to believe in the supernatural, a desire for attention and the acuity of the performer/entertainer. The addition of a prologue by ‘Harry Price’ is essentially to place the trial in its historical and social context.

25 June 2014, The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth
Doors: 7pm, Show:8pm. Tickets: £10 advance, £12 on the door
Tickets available from www.thecellars.co.uk, but hurry, there are only a limited number left!

Henry Oastler in A Kind of Conjuration

Henry Oastler in A Kind of Conjuration

Archives

Local Photographer – Marcus Hunt’s

Marcus Hunt has rigged together an amazing radio controlled camera set up with a kite which allows him to capture photos of local places in and around Portsmouth with a unique perspective. Unlike photos from aeroplanes, the kite allows for photos from low altitudes giving way more detail. To see loads more than the photos below be sure to spend some time looking through Marcus’ Kite photo Flickr set.

Old Portsmouth

Pier

Vintage Southsea Skatepark articles

Articles about Southsea Skatepark can be hard to come by, and articles from 1988 even more so. I found these on the ‘when we was rad’ website a while back. I remember having the picture of Tommy Guerrero pulling that slob torn out and on my wall for years. Sick.

Vintage Old Portsmouth Photograph

We’ve not had a vintage photograph for quite a while on Strong Island, and this one is a winner. This photo of the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth was taken in 1958 by Mark Kauffman for LIFE Magazine. Click this LINK for a larger version.

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Thanks to Jubru for sending this over.

Bike Ride Panoramics

We will have loads of photos and stories from Sunday’s hugely successful Strong Island Bike Ride and to get started we have some huge panoramics taken by George Crick. Sadly we can only show some of the small versions here that do not do them justice so be sure to visit George’s website to see the all of the photos in full size, and spot yourselves in there!

George’s panoramics will be available to buy in Wallspace Gallery in Albert Road from Saturday for a bargain price of just £35.

Local Photographer – Matt Shaw

Louise from the Girls Who Ride crew gave us the heads up on the amazing photos of local photographer Matt Shaw, including some great images on Portsmouth, some in HDR too. Be sure to take your time going through Matt’s Flickr and here are a few to wet your appetite:

Strong Island Clothing Co.

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