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The Battle Of The Sexes

Feel Yourself Campaign aims to promote awareness in younger men and women about the importance of checking for breast and testicular cancer regularly. Both types of Cancer are on the increase  and catching them early is the key to successful treatment.

Feel Yourself was started by Maddie Wallace while she was being treated for breast cancer. With no family history and no previous health problems, Maddie never checked herself. One day she bumped into a friend who had just undergone chemotherapy and that friend reminded her how important it is to check yourself often. This is probably what saved her life.

Maddie has been a whirlwind of motivation for Portsmouth and a drive to encourage us all to monitor ourselves for signs of Cancer.

The Battle of the Sexes is an event that will be held on the 23rd April at Southsea Castle. Doors will be open from 7:30pm and tickets cost £5.

The charity fundraiser evening will aim to raise awareness about Cancer and help enable people to spot the signs of it early enough to act on it quickly.

Special guests including Marley Blandford and the Fugitive Orchestra will entertain event goer’s and help mark the night with some fantastic music.

To purchase tickets please visit the website and follow events on Facebook.

Battle of the sexes

Battle of the sexes

Battle of the sexes



Record Store Day 2015 and the Castle Rd Fete

Is it really a year since the last Record Store Day? Tomorrow brings every vinyl fanatics’ favourite day of the year with the Pie & Vinyl team putting together their biggest RSD to date. The release list for tomorrow can only be described as exhaustive, featuring far too many artists and special editions to name in this post but you can check out the full inventory available tomorrow here (.xls download). If you spot something that you absolutely need in your life, make sure you get down to the store well in advance of the 8am opening and join the sure-to-be large queue. Tea will be on hand for all attendees alongside many music-orientated conversations so there’s no need to hide behind your iPad while you’re waiting.

For those without an inclination to black circles of musical goodness, Castle Rd will be taken over by a plethora of market stalls selling everything from vintage clothes and gluten free baked goods to pizza and festival tickets. The fete kicks off around 10am with the sellers accompanied by Pie & Vinyl’s obligatory stage featuring sets from the likes of Curl, TRAAMS, Kassassin Street and special guests The Champs. Bands will be taking to, and potentially destroying, the stage from midday all the way through to 8pm so make sure to pace yourselves out there.

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

Torn Speaker Launch Party At The Cellars With Science Of Eight Limbs, Rickyfitts & More

Tomorrow being Thursday 16th April, Torn Speaker launches at The Cellars in Eastney with an amazing line-up featuring experimental, psychedelic rock duo Science of Eight Limbs who are mindbogglingly tight, punk duo Frauds from Croydon as well as local favourites and one of the finest live bands to come out of Portsmouth, the thrashy twosome Rickyfitts playing a rare hometown show and also opening the night will be Freak a new grunge trio born out of the ashes of Dirty Legion combining doom filled, sludge riffs with elements of punk.

Torn Speaker themselves are Max Goulding of Rickyfitts and The Park Studio and also Holly Mullineaux, guitarist of the buzzy Wyldest who are blowing up the blogosphere right now. The two decided to start the night to promote and put on bands they love, bringing some of the most exciting new acts to town. They’re already planning their second show and by the sounds of the line-up that they have planned, it’s going to be a great one. Entry is just £4 and doors are at 7.30pm and with it being a four band bill on a week day, expect an early start. More details about the show can be found on the Facebook page here

Southsea Fest 2014 - Rickyfitts

Southsea Fest 2014 - Rickyfitts


SomaHigh Come To Portsmouth

SomaHigh came to Southsea last night to play the infamous Wedgewood Rooms. Supporting Bipolar Sunshine, they warmed up the crowd before the main act came on.

SomaHigh are new to Portsmouth and Southsea and have some brilliant gig venues lined up for the upcoming months including ‘The Fat Fox’ on the 2nd May as part of Feedback Festival.

Introducing band members Sean Strugnell (bass and guitar), Leon Azor (bass and vocals), Paul Wolf (vocals, synth and keys) and Ryan Smith (drums), the band are keen to introduce themselves to Portsmouth.

Southampton based SomaHigh began when Singer/Songwriter, Sean Strugnell and bass player, Leon Azor were introduced to the notorious Camden music scene by Buzzcocks legend, Steve Diggle. Aspirations grew and the guys careers as musicians began. The band’s stage presence is energetic and  their adventurous sound, described as a blend of Indie, Rock and Electro creates memorable melodies.

SomaHigh have performed numerous live shows and have shared the stage with artists such as Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, 65 Days of Static and Cage the Elephant.

The bands powerful and charismatic performances have won them slots at Bestival in September last year and their new material will see them playing various festivals in the future including this year’s Common People.

Follow SomaHigh on Facebook or visit their website for event dates.







Crafts In The Tower Exhibition

‘Crafts in the Tower’ is an exhibition by artists, designers and crafts people from in and around Portsmouth. It takes place in the Square Tower, a 15th century naval fort on the seafront in Old Portsmouth .  The aim is to promote high quality individual designer makers and artists who are appealing to a contemporary market and the quality and prices of products are reflective of this.

Several new exhibitors will be taking part in the event including, Jane Athron and her fascinatingly surreal paintings. Collage artist Lorna Apps-Woodland, who will exhibit some arresting pictures made from a wide range of materials and sources. Printmaker Pam Lake, who makes screen prints and lino prints in vivid colours.  She will also join regular printmaker Sue Meredith, who specialises in scenes of Portsmouth’s streets and historic sites.  Kelly Hickman is similarly inspired by her surroundings to create gilded images of Portsmouth’s famous naval vessels.

They will join regular favourites Katherine Webber with her contemporary jewellery and Gary Renouf with his beautiful and intricate designs in wood.  Photographer Jan Fowler will also be in attendance and there will be a welcome return for glass maker Cherie Lubbock, who has been busy extending her techniques at West Dean College.

Ceramics will be represented by Bernice Hughes with her delightful illuminated cottages and castles and Maggie Ambler who has some new designs in painted tiles.

The upcoming exhibition is being held on April 19th from 11am until 4pm and admission will be free. The vintage tea room will be open all day, selling home made cakes, savouries and drinks and it will surely be a pleasurable and artistic day.

To find out more about the event see the ‘Crafts in the Tower’ website.








Return To The Forbidden Planet At The Kings Theatre

The adored & critically acclaimed Olivier Award winning rock spectacular, returned on a much anticipated 25th anniversary UK tour last night at the Kings Theatre in Southsea. Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and packed with rock ‘n’ roll classics such as, Heard It Through the Grapevine, Young Girl, Good Vibrations and GLORIA with stunning special effects and a brilliant cast of actor musicians, it was a night out to remember!

The high flying show features a bevy of 1950’s and 1960’s rock and roll classics, performed on stage by the cast. The campy sci-fi setting consists of silvered space suit costumes and space ship sets concealing keyboards and drums. The show’s dialogue is largely adapted from well-known passages from Shakespeare. The whole production was filled with uproarious energy and its old songs and quirky adaptations gave a sense of total nostalgia.

The show will cast up until Saturday 18th April 2015 here in Portsmouth and it a must see!

For tickets visit the Theatre website.






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

Access All Areas At The Portsmouth Guildhall

The Portsmouth Cultural Trust (PCT) is delighted to announce an open evening for Access all Areas – The Portsmouth Music Experience.

Access all Areas is a growing exhibition documenting the history of popular music in Portsmouth since the end of the Second World War, exactly seventy years ago. AaA includes a range of images and memorabilia celebrating the great years of poprock, folkblues, jazz and dance. It includes a 1960s Gallery showcasing leading venues, musicians, posters and local personalities, the Guildhall Gallery documenting a history from Louis Armstrong and the Beatles, through to the Clash, the Smiths and Take That to the present day, plus the story of the filming of Tommy across the city in 1974. There is also a bijou cinema 16, and a Hall of Fame with hundreds of photographs of local acts over the whole period.

The Open Evening offers a chance to see AaA’s recently completed 16 track digital and 8 track analogue recording studio and home of AaA Music Radio, soon to begin broadcasting online with an eclectic group of presenters playing music from the last 50 years. You will also be given the chance to see the new summer exhibition, Rock Shots – 50 years of music photography in Portsmouth, featuring photographs of the local music scene by a range of local photographers.

Come and relive your memories of some great days – or learn something you didn’t know about Portsmouth and in particular, ‘Pompey Pop’.

Plus, accompanying the show, debut performances by two new Pompey acts will be playing and will include, The Southsea Skifflers who are comprised of a mix of experienced musicians and beginners who may well be the largest skiffle orchestra in the country; reviving memories of the great days of the 1950s skiffle boom and folk revival. This will be their first-ever performance with a few songs at around 7.45pm.

Scarlett Town have been rehearsing for a few months following the final gig by popular local band Reet, Petite & Gone last year. They were together for 22 years and three of their members Dave Allen (vocals), Nick Evans (lap steel & mandolin) and Denis Reeve-Baker (guitar) recruited Sue Dobbyn (clarinet & violin) for a new acoustic line-up. But while Reet, Petite & Gone performed music rooted in pre-war country and blues, Scarlett Town will perform a selection of more recent songs by some of the finest songwriters including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, John Martyn, Gillian Welch, Lou Reed, Tim Buckley and Willie Nelson.

For event details visit the Guildhall Website or see on Facebook.




Corners & Morning Smoke At The Fat Fox For Blownzone

This Sunday at the Fat Fox, Blownzone returns once again after their killer show at The Edge of the Wedge with The Shivas and The Red Cords back in December. This time they feature the excellent Californian garage rock meets post punk outfit Corners who are currently touring Europe as well as support from one of our favourite new bands over at Strong Island Recordings; scuzzy post punk/ shoegaze outfit Morning Smoke from Brighton.

Morning Smoke will also be playing our first ever Strong Island Recordings show in Brighton mid-May which we’ll have details about over the next couple of weeks. First though they visit Portsmouth with Corners where entry is £6.00 on the door.

This is another show not to be missed from the Blownzone guys who are once again bringing over some of the finest international bands to the city as well as some of the best new bands in the UK Doors are open from 7pm.

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Nike Football’s ‘Risk Everything’ by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust – Exclusive Interview

In the last few weeks Nike launched ‘Risk Everything’ their new football marketing campaign that features the England football team as well as other players from all around the world including Cristiano Ronaldo & Neymar Jr. Risk Everything also includes the new England kit for the 2014 World Cup with striking imagery of the players and the three lions. The artwork & branding of this vast, international marketing campaign by one of the largest brands in the World was created by Portsmouth’s very own award winning ilovedust design studio, located at the heart of the city. Established in 2003 the company and design team have grown dramatically, working with international brands as well as on local projects. Strong Island caught up with ilovedust’s Matt Howarth, senior designer, and found out more about ILD’s involvement with Nike’s Risk Everything:

ilovedust has been working with Nike for some time, can you give us a quick history of how you hooked up with them initially? Some of the past projects with them that you guys have been particularly stoked on?

We’ve been working for Nike for the last 7 years, it all started off with an illustration for a Jordan x Levis 501 project back when we were a small 4 man studio, i guess we did a pretty good job and the word spread internally at Nike world headquarters that ilovedust knew their shit! Since then we’ve grown our relationship year on year and been lucky enough to meet some inspiring people and work on some great projects along the way.

Can you give us some background on when and how you guys got involved in the England World Cup promotional branding and Risk Everything?

The initial brief for the “Risk Everything” campaign came from advertising agent Wieden & Kennady (W+K) in Portland, Oregon, over the years we have a made a few friends there and they emailed us way back in September saying they’ve got the perfect project for us! The project became so big that we ended up working directly with the Nike Football department directly.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

From what has been released already I’ve seen the mural on the Southbank of Jack Wilshire & Wayne Rooney the backdrop for the England team for their World Cup kit, retail displays and more, it is clearly a huge project, can you break down what is involved in a project of this scale?

Oh god… where to start!! Initially W+K briefed us to create illustrations for their 5 top footballers to be used in a print campaign (these will released in a couple of weeks), then Nike Football tasked us with creating illustrations for 7 different countries which Nike will be sponsoring at the World Cup, these would be used online and across retail destinations in each of the 7 countries. Since all of these have been completed we’ve been contacted by W+K London, Amsterdam, Rio and Tokyo for additional illustrations, this is where the Wayne Rooney/Jack Wilshere piece comes in to play, curated by W+K London and currently on display on the Southbank.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (5)

With Risk Everything you guys have stamped your distinct signature style all over it, what level of creative control do Dust and the team have in the collaboration with Nike?

When the brief came in it referenced a lot of our work, the client had a distinct idea of what they wanted, we took it, run with it, and made it better. Luckily we have good, open relationships with our clients, and we know a thing or two about football, so they trusted us.

As well as having your main studio in Portsmouth you have a studio in Portland, working with a brand the size of Nike and a project of this scale have there been practical issues with working with a brand on the other side of the World? Advantages?

We’ve visited Nike HQ 3 times during this project and our small studio in Portland has allowed us to work on the project in real time with the clients. We’re used to being 8 hours ahead of them everyday, and working until midnight is not uncommon, so being able to work and get feedback instantaneously was a real advantage.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (1)

The ilovedust lion is the striking backdrop for the England team in the new Nike kit in the run up to the World Cup, what design constraints did you experience (if any) with working with essentially a national sporting icon? Were the FA involved in sign-off?

This project was a fun one to work on with hardly any design restraints, and as far as we know The FA were not involved in sign-off, but as with all Nike work it had to go through legal checks, we we’re pretty safe with the 3 lions.

The lion and associated artwork are already gracing huge sports retailers’ windows plus on TV adverts, how does if feel seeing your work on this level in the UK?

It’s always nice to see months of hard work pay off when it’s released to the world – a bit surreal to see it in shop windows in your hometown!

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

I’m assuming there is still much more to come in the run up to June and the World Cup? Will you guys be getting out to Rio?

Yes, lots more to come. The “Risk Everything” campaign will run beyond the World Cup and into next season so we have started to work on a different style of illustration for Europe’s top clubs; Barca, Man Utd, PSG, Juventus etc etc

ILD is home to some die hard Portsmouth FC fans, ever think about what you could do in regards to the club in respect to design? Maybe a new kit for 2014/2015 season?

Ha, the current kit’s not too bad but i’m sure we could improve it if given the chance!

Without letting too many cats out of the bag, what other projects are you guys working on for 2014?

Some very cool projects in the pipeline, one for Pepsi which is also World Cup related, we’re continuing to work with Microsoft for the launch of Xbox One’s Sunset Overdrive computer game in 2015, hmmm what else… lots more Nike that’s for sure, a few bits for Red Bull and a couple of top secret projects which you’ll have to wait for… sorry!

The Risk Everything artwork continues to roll out through the press and on TV, below are some images of the artwork already in the wild, be sure to keep up with the ILD website, blog, Twitter, Instagram & Behance to see more.

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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).

Inside the Memorial

Due to possible damage due to the storm and the high winds it was possible to access the inside of the war memorial down on Southsea seafront the other day. I always though it was a solid structure but it turns out it is hollow with sunken foundations and access to the top. From the plaque inside, it looks like the ladder is for maintenance if there is a lightning strike (the top of the memorial has a huge copper globe).

No disrespect was meant by taking a very brief look inside, just architectural curiosity and finding out something not commonly known about a Southsea landmark.

Ladder Up




Old Southsea Skate Photos

Check the Skate Library for the first of a growing list of old Southsea photos including this one of Lance Mountain grinding the Law Courts back in 1988 (photo by Tim Leighton-Boyce).

Created Local – Inksquatch

Here’s an interesting little blog I stumbled upon. Inksquatch are a collective of Portsmouth based artists, illustrators and designers that comprises of four people working on anything from books, maps, sculptures, bags, badges, you name it from the sound of things. Check out their BLOG and WEBSITE for more info.


Southsea Flats by Cat

Tearing Down The House – Roller Hockey Club

It has been on the cards for a while now but finally yesterday the old Roller Hockey Club House at Southsea Skatepark was torn down. It had become unstable and hadn’t been used for a while. I was lucky enough to gain entry back last year and took a few photographs. If anybody has any old photographs of the club house seen in better times then please let us know.

The Old Days - Roller Hockey Club
Free Art and Live Painting Event at Southsea Skatepark

Lots of exciting plans at the Skatepark so watch this space.

This photo of Cody taking a leap of faith form the club house roof has always been a winner in my book.

Bricks & More Ta

Illustration – Tristan

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ by Sue Pike

I’ve been holding on to this for a while now as I wanted to make a feature of it and had to wait for the exhibition to finish to give it pride of place on the front page. If like myself you’re always looking around at our local architecture you will have noticed many of the buildings within the book Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’. Some could even be right on your doorstep but you have never noticed, or peeked over that high wall. Thomas Ellis Owen’s work is all over the city and you’d be forgiven for walking past as a lot of it is hidden or down those streets you may not stroll down too often. Other buildings however are right in your face. Ever noticed the huge block of flats at the entrance to Waitrose, the detailing on the building at Dover Court opposite the old Havana bar?

“Thomas Ellis Owen is probably the best known of Portsmouth’s nineteenth century architects, his construction of villas and substantial terraces in Southsea being responsible for the emergence of the district as a middle class locality. His work was recognised by Pevsner and Lloyd in their magisterial Buildings of England: Hampshire, and later by a rather more detailed architectural enquiry by two students, Preedy and Stewart. My own research was principally concerned with dating Owen’s properties and analysing their inhabitants. What Sue Pike has done is to cast the net very much wider, not only by providing great detail about Owen’s family, but also by demonstrating the impressive breadth of his activities outside architecture. Indeed, his interests were so wide that there must have been few aspects of Portsmouth’s development in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s in which he was not involved. Infrastructural fields such as gas supply, the Portsea Canal, railways, the Camber Docks and hospitals lay within his purview, while he assisted in the purchase of land for one of Portsmouth’s defining features, the Palmerstonian forts. His tithe map has proved of inestimable value to local historians. Meanwhile Owen was an important local politician. All these facets of Owen’s life have been fully laid bare in this thoroughly well researched book by Sue Pike, who is to be congratulated on her labours.” Professor Ray Riley

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ is a really interesting read and contains stunning colour photos of many Owen properties in Southsea and Alverstoke by Gosport photographer, Tim Martin. There is no real target audience and hopefully it will appeal to old and young alike. The detailed captions may be helpful to first year architecture students but it showcases Southsea well and may well appeal equally to academics, photographers, interested newcomers and people who just want a really nice book to put on their coffee table. I’m a huge fan of both history and architecture so this book is a real winner for me, and I have no doubt that if that’s not really your bag you will still appreciate what Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ has to offer.

You can purchase a hardback copy for £25 via the publishers and and read up on the book and the author Sue Pike over at

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea poster

You know we love a bit of Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea here at Strong Island. Not too much info on this one, perfect for holidays though. The flickr link states the photo of the poster was taken in Eastney, but I’m not sure where.

Via : Bob Franklin

Vintage Photos

Adam Wintle recently uploaded to his blog loads of photos from an old book about Portsmouth passed down to him by his dad. Some of the photos in the book are incredible, be sure to spend some time having a good look through, below are a few examples:

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