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Southsea Fest Returns In 2016!

One of the country’s leading new music, metropolitan festivals, Southsea Fest is returning for 2016 on it’s 10th anniversary and it will be the biggest one yet taking place across 20 venues in Southsea where over 100 acts shall be gracing the many stages including The Pyramids for the first time.

As many of you may be aware the one day, multi-venue festival taken a short hiatus in 2015 (which saw the collaborative Dials Festival keep the seat warm until the return of Southsea Fest this year) and will be returning on the 1st October where tickets are just £20 in advance which will allow full access into the 20 venues.

Across the years everyone from Drenge, Bastille, George Ezra, Temples, Pulled Apart by Horses, Blossoms and Django Django have played in the intimate venues Southsea Fest has had to offer and this year Southsea Fest will be continuing the spirit of championing the best new acts in emerging music across the U.K and beyond as well as supporting local acts and promoters.

The line-up and all the venues involved will be announced over the coming months so keep an eye out for on Facebook and Twitter for updates. In the mean time block out Saturday 1st October in your diary and be sure to get your tickets here.

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Dials Days Featuring Fear of Men, ESTRONS, Dead Rabbits, Femme, Wyldest, CHAMPS, Is Bliss & More This Saturday At The Wedgewood Rooms

This Saturday Dials Days following on from the success of Dials Festival  is taking place at the Wedgewood Rooms & Edge of the Wedge across the day and features a tremendous, eclectic line-up across two stages.

Headlining Dials Days is indie/dream-pop outfit signed to Fear of Men who are signed to Brooklyn indie label Kanine Records and are currently readying up for the release of their next album. PIAS Recordings and Isle of Wight natives CHAMPS are co-headlining the all dayer bringing their dreamy, catchy folk-pop,

Headlining the Edge of the Wedge is band of the moment, fuzzy indie/alt-rock Welsh outfit ESTRONS fresh from tearing up the BBC stage at SXSW. The rest of the immense line up includes buzzy dream-pop Wyldest fresh from their sellout London show, psych-pop crooners Fake Laugh with their Mac Demarco meets Kurt Vile sun-soaked sound, hip-pop songstress FEMME, electro-pop singer Avec Sans, popular Southampton psych/shoegaze outfit Dead Rabbits,  one of the best live bands in the UK at the moment Melt Dunes who will be transporting minds far into the cosmos with their heady, doom-laden psych sound, one of Portsmouth’s most popular and greatest exports Is Bliss bringing their euphoric wall of sound, lo-fi/surf-pop outfit The boy i used to be, Brighton grunge-poppers Thyla as well as Temples of Youth, George Reagan and Little Robyn.

Tickets for all of the above are just £10 and will be kicking off from around 4.oopm. You can purchase tickets from the Wedgewood Rooms as well as instore at Strong Island Co and Pie & Vinyl and find out more details over on the Facebook event.

Strong Island Recordings Free Easter All Day Fest at the Shacklewell Arms, Dalston

After the success of our recent Strong Island Recordings party back in January we will be returning to the The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston this Sunday for our Strong Island Recordings an Easter all-dayer. The event features a handful of some of our favourite and best up and coming psychedelic bands at the moment. Entry for the all-dayer is free so it’s the perfect way to spend your Sunday.

Headlining the all-dayer is Reading’s Palm Honey bringing their Tame Impala like, crunching, psychedelic pop. Expect to be transported far into the cosmos.

Our good friends, rock n roll psych-blues outfit Saint Agnes will be playing their first ever show for us. Representing Strong Island Recordings is Melt Dunes who will bring their heady-doom psychedelia back to The Shacklewell in the vein of Black Angels. Also on the bill is garage-pop sixties revivalists Love LUV who also recently featured on our compilation along with Kassassin Street, Wyldest & more.

Brand new psych-pop outfit Indigo Child have been making waves in their early days with their dreamy, woozy, sun-soaked, psych-pop that’s perfect for a summer’s day. Completing the bill is one of Portsmouth’s finest being Is Bliss bringing their visceral wall of noise back to London.

You can find the Facebook event here with set times included. Also be sure to keep up to date with Strong Island Recordings on Twitter on @StrongIslandRec.

Strong Island Recordings Label Party At The Shacklewell Arms With Dressmaker, The Red Cords, Melt Dunes & Frauds

On the 29th January our Strong Island Recordings label returns to London taking over one of our favourite venues being The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston for the evening where entry is free and features a handful of our favourite new bands from far and wide. It’s the perfect way to cure those impending January blues.

Headlining our first show at The Shacklewell Arms is dressmaker. Described by Vice as “one of the loudest, noisest and msot intense live bands around” (and the Strong Island Recordings team can vouch for that!) they’re the perfect band to headline our first ever show at The Shacklewell. Support comes from frenetic, snotty garage-punk outfit in the vein of Ty Segall, Reatards and John Dwyer’s projects, Falmouth’s The Red Cords who featured on our compilation a while back as well as having released material on PNKSLM and Art Is Hard. Also playing is Strong Island Recordings’ Melt Dunes one of, if not the best live band from Hampshire and shall be bringing their heavy, doom-laden psychedelia back to The Shacklewell Arms where they played this year supporting Creation Records legends The Telescopes. Opening the night will be banterous, heavy-punk favourites of ours being Croydon’s Frauds who have played a couple of shows in Southsea this year for our friends at Torn Speaker (who now help co-promote our  shows in London) as well as Dials Festival.

So if you’re in London or at odds of what to do on Friday 29th January come to The Shacklewell Arms with us as we party with some of our favourite acts today all for the mere price of zero pound. Go and check the acts playing below and the amazing poster designed by Southsea graphic designer, Sam Brandon. You can also keep up to date with the event over on Facebook.

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Strong Island Recordings X-Mas Party At Al Burrito With The Demons, Melt Dunes, Strange Cages & Cosmic Forces

This coming Friday is the Strong Island Recordings & Champagne Justice Christmas party and also our last label party in Portsmouth for a little while so hopefully we’ll see many  of your faces there for it. Taking place in our spiritual home, the sweat-pit that is upstairs of Al Burrito the line-up features a collection of some of the finest and most exciting psychedelic and garage -rock on the south-coast for a small sum of £5.00.

Headlining the show is SIR favourites You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons who opened for us at our launch show back in 2012 at Southsea Fest. They’re no doubt going to bring their brand of heady, doom -psychedelia in the vein of Acid Baby Jesus and Bo Ningen. Main support comes from one of the most exciting and best live acts in the south at the moment being Melt Dunes. Heavy, dark, swirling psychedelia, Melt Dunes are going to bring the true nightmare before Christmas. Also playing the night is another from our Strong Island Recordings family being frenetic, snotty, psych/garage-rock trio Strange Cages coming with heavy support from Q Magazine to Fred Perry Subculture. They killed it at Dials playing to a packed crowd where it was in a one in one out and they’re only going to slay harder come Friday so be sure to catch them. Opening the show is brand-new Southsea based garage-rock trio Cosmic Forces.

If you dig your psychedelia, garage rock -n -roll then come on down as it’s going to be one very fun Christmas party. Doors are at 8pm and the first act being Cosmic Forces hit the stage at 8.30pm so be sure to head down early as capacity is limited!

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Bill Bailey Is Coming To The Portsmouth Guildhall

This flippin marvelous comedian, actor and musician Bill Bailey is coming to the Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday 4th Decemeber to perform at the his latest tour Limboland.

It was announced that he was continuing his tour in the UK to the delight of fans, who enjoy his quick wit and trademark intelligence merged with a sharp stage presence and his unforgettable performances.

Best known by some for his roles in Black Books and Never Mind the Buzzcocks but for most he’ll be known for his previous live tours Dandelion Mind, Tinselworm, Bewilderness and Part Troll.

Tickets are still up for grabs on the Guildhall website for £27.50 but be quick to ensure you don’t miss out. Visit the Box Office to book.

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One Man Breaking Bad – The Unauthorised Parody At The Kings Theatre This Coming Weekend!

LA based actor Miles Allen smacks the senses with his super charged, hilariously funny renditions of all of the characters from the hit series, Breaking Bad. Slipping into various roles from the show including, Walter White, Jesse, Hank, Skyler, Walt Junior, Mike, Saul and Gus. Miles has been said to nail impressions and offer an alternative twist to the show, making it completely his own.

The show has had over a million YouTube hits and has been a sell out at various festivals including the famous, Edinburgh festival.

This show is hugely popular and is must see! Funny, manic and beautifully executed. The Guardian described the show as a ‘high energy, warp speed romp through all five seasons which brings the house down every night is shows.’

Tickets are still on sale for this weeks performance so don’t miss out! Visit the Kings Theatre Box Office.

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Strong Island Recordings X Champagne Justice Christmas Party With The Demons, Strange Cages & Melt Dunes

On the 18th December Strong Island Recordings are to team with our Champagne Justice pals for a sweat filled, psychedelic Christmas party at Al Burrito. It will be our last hometown show for a little while so we hope many of you (or as many of you that can actually fit into Al Burrito!) can make it to our Christmas party at the very place we launched at back at Southsea Fest (then known as Bar 56). It’s a perfect Christmas homecoming!

Playing the show shall be heavy, space, psych rock lords You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons plus Strong Island Recordings’ doom-laden acid psychedelic rock quartet Melt Dunes bringing a true nightmare before Christmas and dragging everyone into the darkest netherworld of the psychedelic realm as well as another of our label family being Brighton’s snotty surf-punk meets psych outfit Strange Cages who brought down the house back at Dials Festival in front of a capped out crowd. If you dig any of the likes of King Gizzard & Lizard Wizard, Ty Segall, Night Beats or The Cramps then they’re for you.  Also on the bill is brand new garage rock outfit Cosmic Forces playing their debut show.

So come and party with us before Christmas in a tiny sweat-pit above a Mexican restaurant, eating burritos and nachos, drinking beers and tequilas whilst watching some of the finest psychedelic and garage rock bands the south-coast has to offer because what else is Christmas really about? More details can be found on the Facebook event.  See you there!

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Dials Festival Diary

Saturday saw the inaugural Dials Festival take place across Southsea and what a day it was! It was humbling to see so many people fill up the venues of our new community run festival and the touching, positive response we have had for our first year has been truly amazing. Kicking off from the early afternoon to evening Dials featured 40 plus acts from across the day to evening in five different venues across Albert Road. Being the co-booker, also running the social media and also being runner of the festival I managed to catch a fair few across from across the day so here’s my diary of the day at Dials minus all the boring bits.

After a swigging one of those disgusting, suspiciously cheap 35p energy drinks it was time to jog from the station to the debrief of the day in the morning at Edge of the Wedge. After this and making sure all venues were well equipped it was approaching time for wristband collection. During this brief calm before the storm I decided it was probably time for some mid-day breakfast where I quickly managed to neck a burrito at Al Burrito but unfortunately the storm arrived promptly during my “breakfast” and it was time to metaphorically put out many fires. Football traffic amongst other events going on meant acts were waiting for their taxis for nearly an hour which caused a lot of chaos first thing and we wondered if the festival was going to run behind with immediate effect..

Luckily everything worked out and we managed to remain punctual so the first venue I headed off to was The Loft for Jimmy Stuart of Is Bliss who was playing a solo set. Jimmy proved to be a one man psych machine bringing a whirling, wonderful, colorful racket that was in the vein of Morgan Delt and Jacco Gardner. Guitars being thrown on the floor, a guitar strings breaking, it was beautiful chaos and I really can’t wait to see how Jimmy Stuart’s solo material progresses. Staying at the Loft for Strong Island RecordingsMelt Dunes the quartet brought their brand of heavy acid/psych rock to Southsea. Their nightmarish, doom-laden, visceral sound was perfect for the psychedelic sweat-pit that is The Loft and their potential is frightening. Biased or not, they’re one of the most exciting acts to emerge from the south-coast in a while.

I’d already seen a lot of doom psych and spent a lot of time in a dark, sweaty room so I decided to have a break at head over the road for the naturally lit Little Johnny Russells. Sam McCarthy managed to hop out of the taxi straight onto stage and his summer tinted, acoustic folk was perfect for a warm sunny day in the afternoon.  Next up I managed to catch Fever (albeit very briefly until I was called for some errands). They sounded wonderful at Edge of the Wedge with their fuzz tinted, grungy, indie-pop. After running around for a bit I managed to head back to LJR’s for an act I have been a fan of for a while being Dog in the Snow. Playing to a very full house the duo charmed the crowd with their dreamy, haunting art-pop and went down very well which was is always great to see. Their new EP is out now on Brighton’s Love thy Neighbor label.

After Dog in the Snow and running around like a madman once more it was time for Strange Cages at Al Burrito. It’s fair to say many weren’t ready for the sheer heat of the venue and Strange Cages sounded perfect in it with their heavy snotty garage punk meets surf and psych rock sounding like a cross  between the likes of Coachwhips, The Cramps and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. Al Burrito was fully packed out with one in one out and Strange Cages delivered a mind-blowing, raucous set to the sweaty audience. After Strange Cages it was time to run to the Wedgewood Rooms to catch Wyldest. Walking in to see a fully packed out Wedgewood Rooms crowd watching Wyldest was a pretty great moment from the perspective of booking the festival and seeing our good friends play to such a large amount of people. The now quartet delivered a truly wonderful set in front of such a crowd delving from their dreampop sound to shoegaze that sounded massive in the Wedge.

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After some much needed fresh air it was back into the Wedgewood Rooms to watch Strong Island Recordings’ Curxes who’s set sounded enormous in the Wedge. The frenetic, blitz-pop trio played a blistering set with a number of favourites from their debut album ‘Verxes’ sounding incredible on the Wedge PA. Immediately as Curxes’ set concluded  next door in the Edge of the Wedge saw another from the Strong Island Recordings family being Gang bring down the house with one of the sets of the day. Bringing their grunge ridden, doom laden pop, Gang’s set melted minds across the Edge of the Wedge proving they’re one of the finest live acts in the UK at the moment. The trio’s slacker like showmanship on stage is on level with their scolding sound and many in the fully packed out Edge of the Wedge who hadn’t seen Gang were probably not anticipating such tinnitus inducing brilliance.

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After witnessing Gang and needing a double Jack Daniels to get my brain back in sync with what was happening it was back up the road for Peluche at LJRs. It’s hard to describe Peluche to be honest which is a very good thing. They’re somewhat shimmering dreamy, avant-garde pop meets jazz. dub, psychedelia and world music that’s perfect for a summers evening and it’s fair to say Peluche smashed it. Hopefully Peluche get some summer festival slots next year as they’re perfect for dancing in a field especially with songs such as ‘Ohio’ and ‘The Guy With The Gammy Eye’.  I had done a lot of walking (and running) during the day so I decided to stay put at LJR’s for Jerry Williams who I had seen a number of times but never with a full band set-up. In the end it was brilliant funky-disco pop and Jerry’s charm ridden vocals sounded perfect coated with a full band set-up making tracks such as ‘Boy Oh Boy’ and ‘Cold Beer’ sound as ace live as they do on record.

Straight after Jerry Williams it was off to the Wedge and Edge for the rest of the evening. I managed to catch some of Kagoule’s set and it was amazing to see them play in front of such a large crowd especially as last year at our Southsea Fest stage they played to about 50 people. The Wedgewood Rooms managed to capture the post-punk meets scuzzed out melodic grunge trio’s sound perfectly. Next door Rickyfitts were gearing up for their set and what was about to occur was utter chaos and mayhem. The thrash twosome played in front of a near riot out in front of them with mosh-pits and crowd surfing from the fully packed out crowd. They themselves sounded as great as always with Thom Dalmut-Rudd bringing a monsoon of riffs and Max Goulding smashing up his drum kit to pieces. It was a great, rare homecoming for the duo who now live in Bristol and London.

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After Rickyfitts, back in the Wedgewood Rooms things were somewhat more calmer but just as great with special guests Fickle Friends bringing their incredible indie/electro-synth pop to the Wedgewood Rooms. Tracks such as ‘For You’ and ‘Swim’ showed why the Brightonians have such immense potential and why they should probably be MASSIVE soon. It was joyous, danceable pop at it’s best. Back in the Edge of the Wedge Black Honey played their first ever Portsmouth show and probably last here in such a small venue. Bringing the surf doom/grunge akin to The Wytches but laced in oozing noise pop goodness Black Honey were incredible.  Izzy’s (front woman) charisma on stage is rather infectious and with tracks like ‘Spinning Wheel’ and ‘Teenager’ on show, Black Honey’s potential as the next big thing was evident.

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After Black Honey I realised I hadn’t eaten for hours so I had to find somewhere to sit and reflect on the day knowing that I could leave and everything would be okay which meant a trip to get some food and crash. Overall the response and turnout was incredible and with such a great atmosphere from everyone who attended I and the Dials team cannot thank everyone enough for making the first ever Dials Festival a very special and memorable one.

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Dials Festival Taking Place Tomorrow In Albert Road

So we’re officially on the eve of Dials Festival Portsmouth’s newest music festival taking place across various venues in Albert Road with 40 + bands spanning across the day and evening plus an afterparty featuring Rowan of Kassassin Street, Billy Colburn and Fuzz Tones all deejaying the Wedgewood Rooms and Edge of the Wedge until the later hours.

The line-up at Dials consists of some of the “buzziest” emerging acts in the country who if you’re a regular listener of BBC 6 Music or a reader of the likes of NME, Mojo, DIY etc you will probably be well aware of many of the acts playing. The line-up consists of the likes of Hooton Tennis Club, Kagoule, Fickle Friends, Black Honey, Dingus Khan, Crushed Beaks and many-many more plus some of the finest acts from around the area. The times and stage splits for Dials have been announced and you can plan your day ahead at Dials Festival with the Clashfinder here so you can workout at  what point you’re going for that burrito/pie break.

You can check out the Dials playlist below of a number of the acts on the bill and you can purchase tickets on the day at just £20 if you haven’t got them in advance at £18. Entry allows you in to all venues (age permitting) and you can see some of tomorrow’s festival heavyweights in an intimate setting plus an afterparty which is free to Dials wristband holders. Also our label arm Strong Island Recordings are offering a 30% discount on all label merchandise to Dials wristband holders in Strong Island Co on Saturday. You can keep up to date with Dials on Facebook and on Twitter on @DialsFestival. Hopefully we’ll see many faces there for Portsmouth’s newest multi venue, community based festival.

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Friday, Saturday & Sunday in Southsea

We couldn’t possibly of asked for better weather this weekend. From straight out of the door after work on Friday till finally retiring to our couch on Sunday evening the sun was blazing and Southsea was rich with activity and happy people. We spent pretty much the entire weekend outside on the seafront, changing the vista every now and then and sinking more than our fair share of corner store beers. Let’s hope it keeps up for at least a while longer hey. Check my Flickr for a few more Sunny Southsea photographs.

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When The Tour Came To Portsmouth – A Conversation With John Bagnall – Part 1/2

With the 101st edition of the Tour de France due to begin on Saturday and a summer of sport well underway, I believe the time is right to delve into the past and look to when the world’s greatest cycling race crossed the channel to our shores. On the 7th of July 1994 Hampshire was gripped with cycling fever; a 187km long 5th stage was about to begin and end in Portsmouth. Half a billion eyes around the world were glued to television sets as the peloton, which included cycling legends Marco Pantani, Miguel Indurain, Chris Boardman and a young Texan called Lance Armstrong, powered past HMS Victory in the Historic Dockyard. For a day, Portsmouth played host to one of the most prestigious sporting events on the calendar. So how did this extraordinary day come about? In a two part post, I catch up with Southsea resident and ex-council employee John Bagnall, a key player in bringing the event to the city.

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Hi John, thank you for taking time out to speak to us. First of all can you tell us what you were doing during the lead up to 1994?

I was the Marketing Communications Manager at Portsmouth City Council, it was looking after press and media relations.

And I believe that this whole venture arose from a discussion over a pub lunch, is that right?

My colleague David Knight, head of leisure for the city council said to me “What can we do that will really put Portsmouth on the map and be a counter point to the D-day commemorations? What is international, bright, young and youth orientated?”

So when you say the commemorations? This was the 50th D-day celebrations? Quite a big deal.

Yes, it was the 50th anniversary of D-day. So for a week at the start of June, Portsmouth became centre to the world in terms of commemorating the liberation, or the beginnings of the liberation of Europe. Clinton and the Queens were here, many world leaders came to Portsmouth and stood in a special bandstand built on Southsea Common. There was a huge international flypast, I think a couple of hundred planes came over Portsmouth; Spitfires, Lancaster Bombers, Flying Fortresses, it really was the world solemnly marking D-day and the beginning of the end of World War Two.

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OK, so press-wise, a pretty good window of opportunity here. What was discussed over lunch?

As I said to David over that pub lunch “Hey, why don’t we bid to get the Tour De France to England?” I’d never really thought at that moment there was a realistic prospect of getting them here, I just thought the council would probably laugh it out of court anyway. Even if we did get as far as sending an invitation to them they would just turn round and say “I’m sorry, why would we come to England? You have no history or heritage of cycling”.

So to add a little context, I believe The Tour had come to England once before? In 1974?

Yes, the time before they raced on the newly completed, but not yet opened, Plympton By-pass near Plymouth. It was just coned off at each end and they went up the dual carriage way for X number of laps. And that was it. I think a few hardcore cycling clubs came to see some of the riders of that time, but there was no broadcast coverage and precious little coverage in the newspapers. By all accounts it was very dull and very boring. The Tour didn’t like it because of the amount of time it took to get the riders there and then take them back again.

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I see, so it seems like The Tour organisers weren’t exactly scrambling to recreate another UK leg?

No, the tour had no thoughts of coming to England ever again after the Plymouth stage. So during that pub lunch the idea really was to “fly a kite”, let’s do something a bit crazy. My argument to David was; they will probably say no even if they bother to reply, but I can still get some publicity out of that. Perhaps a little story into the cycling friendly The Guardian about how a town in Portsmouth bids to get France’s biggest sport event there (wry laugh)… So David and I went to talk to a guy called Richard Tryst who was the chief executive of the council. Richard was quite a frightening man with a hawkish and cynical sharp manner, but he didn’t suffer fools gladly. He liked boldness and directness. We went to see him and basically said “it’s crazy but we think this is a good thing to do, it ticks all the boxes of what the council are looking at”. He sorted of nodded and said “well yes, there are a lot of other questions to answer as well, but we’ll keep this alive”.

Richard bought in the then leader of the conservative council, a guy called Ian Gibson, who like all local politicians that get to be leaders of the council, was a very upfront, bold and visionary guy. And he got really excited about it as well. So on the 18th of December 1990 I drafted a letter to Henry LeBlanc who was the president of Amaury Sports Organisation, which was the company that controls the Tour De France. And about two weeks later they came back basically saying; “Subject to commercial confidence we are interested, and we are very grateful for your support”. They went on to explain that the Tour at that time was losing direction as the Tour De France; it had this great tradition attached to it but it wasn’t going anywhere with it. What they were trying to do was to introduce a policy that they called “mondialisation”. The organisers wanted to take it global and they were actively looking for other European countries that they could go to. They even discussed the possibility of, and this was back when people were excited by Concorde, to go across the Atlantic and even starting it in America or Canada. So to have an approach from an English city saying “what can we do to help?” was brilliant to them.

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Could you perhaps detail some of the ins and outs of trying to organise an event of this scale whilst remaining compliant with the confidentiality agreement? Seems impossible to me.

We had to sign legally binding documents with them not to divulge the fact that they might be coming here, and from there it became a planning operation. The organisers want to be able to book up every hotel going within, in some cases, 50 to 60 miles of a particular stage town. And at a competitive rate too. If it was common knowledge that the Tour was coming to Portsmouth every hotel in Hampshire, Sussex and Dorset would be ratcheting up their prices. Not only that but we had to make sure that the public knew where to be and what they were going to see. We took care of safety and we made sure there were no embarrassing blockages such as level crossing gates being down. It was a massive planning operation that went into incredible detail; and day after day more and more levels of detail were added.

One of the first things that came up was that the Tour uses a massive bandwidth of transmission frequencies. Back then, before radios were used with the riders, the teams still had their private frequencies so that the Director Sportif could talk to the team cars and any other helpers he needed to contact. The race officials too needed an overall race frequency that everybody could listen to, as did the aid operations, the radio operations, the feeding operations, the signing operations and for the clearing up of the signing operations. The list just went on and one. Hundreds of frequencies and sod’s law would have it that was the most of them were in the band of frequencies used in the UK for hospital radio paging systems. There was no way that we could bring the Tour through with hospitals being disrupted and lives being put at risk because of radio interference.

Immediately we set up a meeting with a government agency called the Radio Communications Agency. This was a formal meeting with about 30 of their wise men. We bought over the communications manager of the Tour and a specialist from France Telecoms. During the meeting’s presentation you could see various people around the table shaking their heads; “impossible”, “far too hard”. But a couple of the right senior people listened intently, and one of them I think the deputy chief executive said “well look, I have no idea how were are going to do this because it will be a massive problem, but leave that to us, if we can’t solve it we shouldn’t be doing our job, we think we can do it.” Suddenly the head shakers were agreeing. We got their commitment. From then on the RCA also undertook all that was necessary to make sure that the hospitals, for those two days, would be working from a different wavelength and there would be no clash.

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Another major issue was that the overall physical envelope of the Tour is massively more than just the peloton. You have the advanced publicity caravan, you have the people who would have gone over two or three days prior: putting up signage, checking access to the routes, checking where they can take off vehicles that might break down. All the kind of technical aspects. They are physically working several days, and perhaps hundreds of miles distance, from where the Tour is at that particular point. It is all part of the live event. Then you have the security operation that physically surrounds the tour: the motorbike marshals that escort the official’s cars, that monitors the press and first aid cars. They have their own radio frequencies and take up physical space on the roads. Amongst those you have the camera bikes that are filming the close-up of the derailleurs and the break-aways. They are beaming a signal up to a helicopter above and there will be four to five other helicopters covering the breakaways and the peloton. Each group of cyclists needing their own cameras.

For two days they would have to touched on Gatwick’s airspace and the approach path for Heathrow. I remember being in the office when Alan Rushton called Directory Enquiries (this was pre internet days) to get the number for the Civil Aviation Authority. He phoned up the switchboard and asked to speak to whichever department was responsible for closing the airspace above British airports. You could sense the stunned silence on the other end of the phone. Thankfully the CAA came back very quickly with a can do attitude. The only stipulation being that any emergency aircraft landings would have to take priority, but otherwise they would work with the French air traffic specialists to bring the Tour through safely.

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Be sure to check in on Wednesday, when we bring you the second part of our interview with John. We will touch on what else was required to bring the race here and what cycling legacy (if at all) the Tour left, not just in Portsmouth, but for the UK.

Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.

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Local Photographer – Pompey Shoes

I’ve been following Pompeyshoes on Flickr for a while now, yet somehow missed this great shot of a sunset down on the seafront. Be sure to check his Portsmouth & Southsea set for more great photos and interesting perspectives.

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Southsea & Portsmouth Guide

Local photographer Steve Bomford recently sent over a series of scans from the 1926 Official Publication of the Southsea Beach & Publicity Committee Portsmouth Corporation book ‘Southsea & Portsmouth’.

‘It is of little use to invite intending holiday makers to a town, unless there are attractions to offer, under all conditions of our notorious fickle ‘English’ climate. We do not make the statement that the sun shines every day at Southsea, but records show that we do get the maximum amount of sunny hours. Last year again, 1,923 hours were recorded, the highest number (with one exception) in the United Kingdom. Admitting that the question of sunshine is an important one, it is contended that a holiday resort must have other attractions, such as charming amenities, efficient public services, splendid variety of amusements, good facilities for all outdoor sports, and a good selection of cheap excursions and places of historical interest, to make a general appeal to those who are seeking a health-giving and enjoyable holiday.”

I love all the old hand drawn adverts and especially like the ‘medically recommended’ page. Where the sun lingers longer. Couldn’t be closer to the truth still to this day. It’s a shame the ‘most artistic cafe in Southsea’ is no longer in operation and the amount of people gathered on South Parade beach is incredible. Be sure to check out the full set with over 80 pages of photos, adverts and chapters all about Portsmouth & Southsea over at Steve’s Flickr HERE. A really interesting read if you like your history. And we know you do.

It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Join The Team

Righto chaps, keep that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to our MoSpace if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to www.uk.movember.com and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Dockyards

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.

Dockyard
(Click to see larger image)

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

Transport No. 2: The Hovercraft

Southsea seafront has iconic and familiar structures and views but ever since the mid 60s we also have the familiar sound of the hovercraft engines as it repeatedly arrives and leaves for Ryde. This hovercraft route itself was the first Hovercraft passenger service in the world and Hovertravel Limited, founded in 1965, is the world’s longest established commercial hovercraft operator. The first hovercraft was first developed on the Isle of Wight in 1955 when inventor Sir Christopher Cockerell tested out his idea for a floating/flying craft by putting a cat food tin inside a coffee tin. After fine-tuning his designs, Sir Christopher Cockerell secured funding to build a hovercraft. Saunders Roe, the flying boat firm in Cowes on the Isle of Wight was given the contract. The commercial success of hovercraft was initially huge but subsequently suffered from rapid rises in fuel prices during the late 1960s and 1970s. Since the channel routes abandoned hovercraft the United Kingdom’s only public hovercraft service is now our one operating from Southsea.

In 1972 Hovertravel’s SR-N6 012 overturned off of Southsea with a loss of five lives. This was the world’s first fatal accident involving a commercially operated hovercraft. Apart from this one incident the service has an incredible safety record and is used day in day out to transfer up to 100,000 passengers a year.

The hovercraft is a wonderful and now unique form of local transport and something to celebrate and also to actively enjoy with a trip. Booking and travel information is available at the Hovertravel website.

To discover more about hovercraft we are lucky to have the Hovercraft Museum just down the road in Lee-On-Solent which houses the world’s largest library of documents, publications, film, video, photographs and drawings on hovercraft and a collection of actual hovercraft too including the last two remaining SR.N4 craft, the world’s largest civil hovercraft.

Fog Lights!

I love fog, even more so at night time because all the street lights are on and it’s like this weird eerie zombie town. People appear out of no where and even cars creep up on you before you notice them in the deathly silence of the fog. I watched, or should I say waited, as the the Hovercraft came over from The Isle of Wight. I could hear the roar of the engines for five minutes till I could actually see the craft as it pulled on to shore. Spooky.

My little point and shoot isn’t much cop in low light fog but there are a few more over on my Flickr

Strong Island Clothing Co.

Departments