Strong Island Co.


Our 6th Birthday

This Saturday was Strong Island’s 6th birthday and unlike previous years we had a quiet one for a change. For the last 4 years we’ve had charity raffle birthday parties that have raised a significant amount of money for three local charities but due to a few reasons we decided this year we sadly just didn’t have the time required to organise the party and work with the 50+ local artists, designers and businesses who all step up and show incredible support & generosity by donating for the raffle.

This summer has been Strong Island’s busiest yet, with our Creative Cargo project launched this month including the publication of a 96 page book, being the official media partners for Portsmouth’s two music festivals Victorious & Southsea Fest, preparing an upcoming art event (to be announced this week), hosting a stage at Southsea Fest and working with hundreds of people of all ages and abilities in a series of photography and filmmaking workshops. All that…plus the biggest thing to happen to Strong Island in all those 6 years…which we’ll let you know about this weekend.

So for this year we would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the six years: our volunteer writers, people who have bought and represented the tees, mugs and more from Strong Island Clothing Co, our calendar contributors, everyone who has ever come to one of our exhibitions, events, parties and music nights, every person who has sent us leads for articles, allowed us to interview them, connected us with people to work with, contributed to our art projects, donated to our raffles, brewed Strong Island ales, worked with us to release their music, volunteered time and energy to what we do AND most of all to everyone who visits this website and hopefully becomes inspired to get involved in the arts and culture of this special city. A special thank you to all our friends and family too, who provide the understanding and support that makes us able to dedicate so much time to Strong Island and make many of the things we do possible. Thank you!

If you would like to donate to our three charities we always donate the money raised from the birthday raffles you can do so here:

Portsmouth RNLI Lifeboat Station
Portsmouth Autism Support Network
Feel Yourself Campaign

In Conversation with Ian Nicholson

Earlier this week you may have read about ‘Tender Loving Care’, a new play by Vickie Donoghue and Portsmouth theatre company Old Salt. A few weeks ago I caught up with the plays’ director Ian Nicholson in craft ale pub The Brewhouse next door to The New Theatre Royal where preperations were underway for the play. We discussed everything from Ian’s intriguing background and training to why it’s so important to develop creativity in Portsmouth and keep it here.

As Ian arrives to meet me next door to the theatre in the warm and relaxed Brewhouse it’s hard to not to be warmed by his bright smile and even brighter yellow coat. I’d first met Ian a few days earlier on a photo shoot for the productions’ poster at Old Portsmouth’s Hot Walls. I was intrigued to learn what draws successful creatives back to Portsmouth after leaving it for opportunities in London or further afield. ‘After graduating I studied a Masters at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’ says Ian as I enquire about his education and training, ‘after that I went off to France to train as a clown’.

This was something I didn’t expect to hear. It’s hard not to smile as Ian talks about this transition to clowning, something that inspired his first play The Last March which tells the tragic story of Captain Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole. ‘There is something funny and tragic about Scott’s expedition, they took a piano with them and other useless items; it was doomed.’

Photo by Josh Knill.

Ian has spent several years involved with youth theatre and working with young people at the Stafford Gatehouse before he set up Tinder Theatre which subsequently became Old Salt Theatre. So what drew Ian back to produce work in Portsmouth as he currently divides his time between here and London, where he is very successful? ‘Portsmouth feels like home but it feels like there are lots of stories waiting to be told.” Ian extolls, his passion unflinching, “I want to invite writers here, take them round the city and see how it inspires them.”

Drawing on his experience of working on youth productions, Ian recognises the essential role children play in telling the citys’ stories, “It’s also important to get families involved, especially children as workshops in schools are a great way for children to see how a play is made. People move away to London or elsewhere but we should make art in the city, for the city.’ We carry on talking enthusiastically about the importance of culture in Portsmouth and move onto Ian’s current play Tender Loving Care which opens in June. Using D-Day as the back drop to tell the story of women in wartime, the production utilises a predominantly female cast. Inspired by Ian’s grandmother who worked as a clerk in the Portsmouth Dockyard during WW2, the play has an exceptionally personal connection to him and Portsmouth.

Ian’s passion is real, he doesn’t simply preach about how we should create new creative work for Portsmouth, he is actively doing it. It’s not always easy and I admire his determination and obvious affection for his hometown. Tender Loving Care runs from the June 4th to 21st at The Square Tower. You can book tickets here.

University Of Portsmouth – Student Swap Shop

Students are being encouraged to swap their once loved clothes at a clothes swapping event to encourage reuse and recycling, by Portsmouth BIG Recycle, an initiative run by Portsmouth City Council to improve recycling in the city.

The Student Swap Shop event is on Tomorrow between 9am – 5pm at Third Space in the Student Union. All students of Portsmouth University are invited to attend. The union foyer will be brimming with clothes rails full of people’s old garments for people to browse and take home for free.

Students are asked to bring along items of clothing to swap and in return they will get tokens to use to ‘buy’ clothes. There is also the option to drop the items off prior to the event in a drop-off bin outside the union bar.

If students don’t have an item to swap they just need to sign up to the BIG Recycle in order to get a token to ‘buy’ an item of clothing.

There could be few a vintage gems on the rails and the best part is the students get to take them away for free. The BIG Recycle recycling officers have already collected many bags of clothes ready to be swapped, all in good condition and fit for Cara Delevigne!

There will be free pizza at the event and a chance for one lucky person to win £100 of Arcadia vouchers (Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge). The BIG Recycle team will be on hand to teach students what materials can be recycled in Portsmouth and getting them signed up to the BIG Recycle incentive scheme to be in with a chance of winning £250!

UoP Student Swap Shop

Old Poster for a Bored/Strong Island/LJRs Event Found in Bangkok

Adam Wintle some years ago helped design and build this second version of the Strong Island website and not long after moved to the far east, settling in Thailand and starting up his own web design business. Over the weekend whilst out and about in Bangkok Adam discovered on a wall a poster from an old event put on by Bored of Southsea with Strong Island and Little Johnny Russells. It was quite a while back, Tris designed the poster and guesses 2009 maybe. There is also a 2009 Strong Island bike ride poster, which we coincidentally posted up the other day again on the website. The posters are all at Pickdaily just off of Sukumvit 77/39 and seem to be part of the decor in some way.

Somehow the posters have made their way to Thailand and have been up on a wall in the capital city. If it was you who tucked it away in your rucksack when you went travelling maybe 5 years ago or you know the story behind how it got there, let us know!

Thanks to Adam for the photos.

Posters in Bangkok (1)

Posters in Bangkok (2)

4000 Articles on Arts and Culture in Portsmouth

Just noticed that we posted our 4000th article on Strong Island on Friday. That is now 4000+ exhibitions, gigs, artists, designers, bands, illustrators, festivals, crafters, painters, charities, community groups, cafes, bars, theatres, dancers, plays, restaurants, skaters, BMXers, filmmakers, photographers, events & way, way more…all in Portsmouth & Southsea in just over 5 years. Now if anyone tells you “nothing happens in this city”, be sure to put them right and send them this way.

…And We Are Back

Happy 2014! After our most manic Christmas and NYE (including a couple of us DJing at The Belle Isle) we’re getting back to business today. We have loads and loads of things planned for 2014, from exhibitions, new community arts projects, new collaborations, profiles on & interviews with new businesses, artists and designers plus our brand new website too…and a tonne more. Going to be a good one!

First thing done on the first day back? Visit Portsmouth Harbour on a sunny morning, batteries recharged, good to go. Hope you who are back at work too have a great day!

Portsmouth Harbour Panoramic
(Click on the photo to see the hi-res panoramic)

Happy New Year

Theft At All About Tea

We are very sad to announce a break in at All About Tea at 8:31 this morning. Whilst the rest of Portsmouth were enjoying The Great South Run, an opportunist brazenly broke through the front door window and stole £535 from the till. The CCTV evidence below is pretty clear, so if you recognise the offender please report it to your closest police station. What appears to be a student also walks by seconds after the act, if you can assist with any potential further information then please do.

Happy Birthday Ian Parmiter!

All of us at Strong Island want to wish a huge Happy Birthday to Southsea gent Ian Parmiter who is 50 years old/young/awesome today. Ian and family have shown us huge support and helped us in hundreds of ways over the years and we hold Ian in the highest regard. Ian is probably at an antique fare cornering the world market on vintage suitcases whilst looking strong in tweed as I type, safe to say there is only one Ian Parmiter and this city is lucky to have him right here.

The photo below is by Jack Daly from his People With Passions photography project:

Ian Parmiter by Jack Daly

Win a Load of Prizes From Victorious Festival Sponsors

Victorious Festival has collected together a haul of items from the event sponsors and are giving them away in a simple online competition, all you have to do is Like the Victorious Festival Facebook page, submit your email and share. Only takes a few seconds and the competition runs for only a few more days so get in quick.

To find out more and enter click HERE.

Win Victorious Festival Prizes

Southsea Fest & Other Portsmouth Brands Representing At The Great Escape

Our friends over at Southsea Fest this year have their first ever alternative stage at The Great Escape 16th May at The Black Dove from 14.00. The event is free whether you have a wrist band or not and the line-up includes two Strong Island Recordings acts being Boneyards who we’re going to be releasing a 7” vinyl and digital release very soon and shoegaze/grunge outfit Is Bliss. The event is headlined by Wild Smiles and also includes Dolomite Minor, Flatpack Recordings own Bloody Mammals and  Polio, B of The Bang from Pie & Vinyl Records, Axes, Unknown Soldiers,  Curxes and Sleep Committee. Make sure you head down if you’re in the area as it’s a great line up.

As well as Boneyards and Is Bliss representing Strong Island Recordings the guys who helped kick start the label altogether Arrows of Love play the main Great Escape on Saturday at The Hope, 21.45 just before Mazes at the Artrocker stage. Pick up a ‘Conspiracy Podcast’ 7”  vinyl when you’re over there.

Also the weekend features Portsmouth’s own Bear Cavalry playing Friday for the Alcopop Records! vs Big Scary Monsters Alternative Escape stage at the Pavillion Tavern on the Saturday at 17.15 and Portsmouth’s own Sounds of Sumo are represented by  Squarehead who has just released the ‘Close EP’ on SOS and he will be playing a set at Audio on Saturday eve/early morning Sunday from 2-4 am.

So over the course of the weekend many Portsmouth brands look to be very heavily represented. Some of us will be enjoying the weekend, we will probably be wearing our Drunken Sailor tee one of the days so come and say hi and make sure you help support Portsmouth on the weekend! See you there.

Southsea Fest Great Escape Poster

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Amazing Vintage Naval Posters

I found these truly amazing posters on one of my many Flickr travels. All circa 1930s and all fantastic. Click the images for the direct links to Flickr.

Ash Cloud

I took these photos the other week when the ash cloud was at it’s worst, there are more over at Forever Circling. if you have any photos online taken around the island effected by the ash cloud please pop a link in the comments and we’ll post some up later this week.

Two for a Fiver mate…

I’m really digging this Tea Towel they have for sale down Clarence Pier. Great little illustrations of some of our more recognisable landmarks and modes of travel. A great addition to any kitchen.


Southsea Common Barbecue Zones

I’m sure a lot of you enjoyed the fantastic weather this weekend and many of you no doubt had a barbecue on The Common. I was out of town on Saturday but heard it was seriously busy down the seafront. A few of us had a BBQ on Sunday and we’re approached by some council officials regarding our position. They were very polite and let us carry on as we were already cooking and handed us some details of all the new zones.

Unfortunately the new zones now means hundreds of people are going to be packed in to single areas. The main common by the War Memorial will be extremely busy over the summer. More so than usual for sure. I fully back having these zones in place, but feel I’ll no longer be going to the common for BBQs if I can help it as they have made a lot of areas no go zones. It was always more appealing when you could spread out from other groups.

Sunny Southsea

I went for bike ride today to take advantage of the nice, albeit cold, weather and take a few photos. Check them out over on my Flickr photostream.


BBC Reel History Event

Portsmouth Film Society is taking part in the BBC series of events celebrating local history through archive film, in partnership with the Wessex Film and Sound Archive. Join PFS for a look back at Portsmouth and Southsea history on the big screen, with a talk from local artist Jez Stevens who will discuss his project “No Diving” on the Hilsea Lido, which uses footage from local amateur filmmakers taken at the Lido, and Portsmouth historian Dr. Dave Allen.
Date – Wednesday, November 16 · 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Omega Centre, Portsmouth.
Entry is £2 or free for full Portsmouth Film Society members.

No Diving film

For those of you that missed our post of Dave Allen’s lecture here it is below.

Created Local – Marc B.B

Local Light Artist & Photographer Marc B.B sent over these incredible light images taken around Portsmouth. Specialising in Night Photography, Light Painting, Long Exposures and so on Marcs pictures are created at a time when most people would be packing away their cameras and heading home. Portsmouth has a strong creative vibe, especially in the photography realm and being part of a group called ‘Portsmouth At Night’, Marc regularly meets up with like minded folk to go on weekly excursions in and around the city to photograph it, in the dark.

“Whilst some may find it a little bizarre, i think the images speak for themselves. Turning everyday objects, landmarks, even benches into works of art of their own is both exciting and a challenge. Some of my best work has been in collaberation with others and being able to pool resources and ideas has always been invaluable to me. I am always striving to find parts of the city that can be shown in a ‘good light’ as Portsmouth is such a great place to live.”

Be sure to check out Marcs website for amazing photos, and if this style night photography interests you head over to Portsmouth at Night at They meet up as a group every week somewhere in Portsmouth and simply take advantage of the night. Everyone is welcome to join, at all levels of competency. Night, night.

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

Local Photographer – Harvey Mills

Okay, so it’s not quite on the Island, but hey, when the content is this good we can forget about the extra few miles. Harvey Mills shoots Murray Cross chomping the Langstone 13 set on the Havant roundabout with ease. Perfect timing and composition from Harvey.

Check out Harvey’s webiste and also his Flickr. Below are photos of Charles and Southsesa’s buttery own Bored teamrider Adam Keys.

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 3

The next episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up recently. This episode is of a round Portsmouth car journey back in 1998.

Strong Island Clothing Co.