Strong Island Co.


Strong Island Recordings Spotify Series #1 Rickyfitts

So over at Strong Island Recordings we’ve been meaning to get a podcast up and running for the past 12 months but with releases, shows and everything else we haven’t been able to find the time and it looks to continue that way for the foreseeable future. The idea of the podcast was to showcase and share music we love as well as from label acts and friends of the label. Luckily we don’t actually need a podcast for that so instead we’re starting a Strong Island Recordings Spotify series featuring fortnightly curated playlists from label family and friends. The aim is to share music we all love where acts show their favourite tracks, albums, acts who influenced them and so forth and build a community of music lovers and despite Spotify’s rather questionable royalty rates, it does offer a great platform to share curated playlists.  So come and join us on our little journey as it should be a lot of fun whilst loads of acts share their various playlist themes featuring music they love and inspired them.

Kick starting our series is Bristol/London thrash twosome and former Portsmouth natives, Rickyfitts who have selected twenty tracks from past and present featuring an eclectic array of cuts from the likes of Flaming Lips, Girl Band to Songhoy Blues so their playlist may come as a surprise to those who have seen the grunge duo live. Go check it out below or here and be sure to follow our Spotify account to keep up to date with our playlists and future curated playlists curated by acts from our label and beyond in our Spotify series.

Also be sure to check Rickyfitts and the following dates if you’re around-

24th October – The Old Blue Last, London w/ Slutface for Fake DIY Presents

31st October – Powerlunches, London w/ Strange Cages for Fluffer Records

rickyfitts bleach

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

Next »


Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts the previous week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

The Pavilion on Clarence Pier looks amazing. No more donkey rides though. Shame.

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.

Created Local – Caleigh Illerbrun

Old University friend Tom Hall sent me over a link to his extremely talented and prolific girlfriend Caleigh Illerbrun’s online portfolio With illustration, painting and 3 dimensional work firmly tucked under her belt Caleigh has an impressive amount of work on her site, some of which is up for grabs. Currently selling coasters over in her SHOP, Caleigh needs a little help identifying the favourites as she has an advert coming out soon in a magazine.

I’m loving the ‘Wood Tree’ coaster set below, and very much so the ‘Bearlamb’ acrylic & pen at the bottom. You can also follow Caleigh on Facebook and also her blog.

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.

NatWest Carved Map

The NatWest Bank in Palmerston Road has an amazing carved map of Portsmouth that I must have walked past on loads of occasions and never really stopped to look at. The map has many local landmarks highlighted plus the islands in both Portsmouth and Langstone harbours. Not sure exactly how old it is. Next time you pass by if you have a moment spare stop and have a look.

Google Maps – Street View

Portsmouth now has street view enabled on Google Maps, giving an interesting perspective of the city. Good to see it was a nice, sunny day in Southsea when the car drove through. Sadly no Old Portsmouth though.

Strong Island Easter Bike Ride Video

The guys over at have put together a nice little edit from the Bike Ride on April 4th. It really shows the vibe of the day well. Good times. I better get on the phone and book the Police escort for August.

There’s Snow Day like a Snow Day

Tom Time Waster © just put a few more photos from last months snow day in Portsmouth. Cool photos as always, but I focused on the spills and slams. We saw some kids take proper slams that day. Lots of broken tailbones for sure. Good times.

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).

Old Portsmouth

I found this photo of Old Portsmouth shot form The Spinnaker last night. I don’t think I’ve seen it shot from this angle before. It almost looks like another town at first glance. Some great details. Cricket in full swing, all the catchers traps on the roof of the fish market, enjoying a beer at The A Bar, Lawn Bowls, all on a cracking sunny day. Click on the image for full size.

Photo – eNil

Strong Island Clothing Co.