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Seafront & The Coastline

Southsea Beach Cafe – First Day On Site

With the increasing decline and surrounding speculation of South Parade Piers future it’s extremely encouraging to see anything positive happening with regard to our extensive seafront. Despite always being under scrutiny for one reason or another the seafront remains a very popular destination throughout the year and with continuous progress on the Southsea Seafront Strategy, the PCC backed Victorious Festival and the Seafront Masterplan, to name but a few, it really feels like things are starting to change for the better…

Southsea Beach Cafe most certainly suits the progressive nature we are all dying to see take place and is a welcome addition to what is currently a very run down area of the seafront. The new proprietors of the old toilet block and cafe opposite Canoe Lake and East of the pier have taken on something that will really bring a new lease of life to the area. Not to be overshadowed by movements of the once iconic South Parade Pier, SBC is set to become a very popular destination for both locals and passing visitors.

Today saw the real beginning as work on site began and progress became a reality in physical form. Once completed, SBC will be a well considered and contemporary cafe destination offering good quality food throughout the day and evening. Set in an very accessible area with the perfect vista the plans for SBC include both inside and outside areas for dining in a very relaxed and family friendly environment.

Offering a unique experience to Southsea is the addition of having a seasonally adaptable awning that can be retracted to reveal the delights of Summer sunshine, whilst also keeping off those chilly British winds, and equally in the Winter months shield you from the elements but still offer the feeling of being outside as you are protected by the awnings structural weatherproof glass. As awesome as it will be to visit in the summertime I’m certainly looking forward to some comfort food in the Winter with the sea crashing outside in the knowledge that I’m safe and sound from the elements!

We will be following SBC very closely over the next few months before their planned opening in early June and have a more in depth article with the owners coming soon to talk about the years of negotiation up to their final plans and down to what will be on the menu. For the time being you can follow Southsea Beach Cafe over at their Facebook page HERE.

Strong Island have the privilege to be working with Southsea Beach Cafe on both the brand identity and creative consultancy and we are extremely proud to be part of the journey with them and the people they are working with. We will be keeping you up to date with all the developments of this exciting new venture right up till the opening night, and beyond…

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South Parade Pier Sold?

Over the past couple of weeks quiet rumours about South Parade Pier being sold to a mysterious new owner/s have become more and more audible. So what truth is there to these whispers? The notion that Fred Nash and Dawn Randall are merely buying extra time in order to fend off any legal action from the council is perfectly plausible. However, it does appear that the structure is in the process of being sold to a group of local business men, with finalised contracts pending an ongoing survey. This group is believed to include local property and car dealer Tommy Ware, former owner of the Cambridge pub site before it’s bankruptcy. The group state that they are committed to reopening the entire pier and, incredibly, have been offered a grant of £100,000 by Portsmouth City Council who at this point are still shrouding the deal in secrecy. Malcolm Belcher of Vivid Surveyors has been retained by the prospective new owners of the pier to draw up a survey of what is required to restore the attraction. At the East Neighbourhood Forum held last night in the Royal Beach Hotel, Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson (head of the city council) was severely criticised by local residents who doubted the good intentions of the secretive new owners. A real fear is that only the landward end of the pier will be restored in order to generate quick revenue, whilst leaving the rest to carry on slowly crumbling away into the sea.

As expected, this current outcome raises some serious concerns; have PCC carried out the appropriate company background checks on this group? If so, what financial assurances can they give regarding their intentions? How do we know this “consortium” are not acting as a pressure alleviating patsy for Fred and Dawn? And is it really wise to offer this grant to a non-charitable organisation? The next couple of weeks will be crucial for our pier’s survival: whilst the surveyors are outlining a repairs programme and the local elections are looming, the west side hole on the decking is slowly making its way towards the east side hole (see first photo below, courtesy of Howard Thompson). Should the two meet there could be catastrophic consequences.

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Second and third photo my own.

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014

South Parade Pier Photos From The Air

The long and continuing story of South Parade Pier still doesn’t seem to have any resolution in sight just yet. The boards went up on the front of the pier the other day and with the serious damage under the pier and at the landing stage it is looking worse for wear. On the plus side, the South Parade Trust have received £10,000 to provide initial funding for a feasibility study in it’s plans to buy and restore the pier. The Trust itself is modelling its plans on the successful community takeover of Hastings’ pier which some years ago was devastated by fire, despite the continued long drawn out sale of the pier we 100% back the trust and hope things finally turn a corner soon.

On a more positive note, I’ve spent some time recently exploring the amazing Britain From Above website which has a vast visual library of images taken around Great Britain between 1919 and 1953. Portsmouth is heavily represented on the website with some incredible photos, in particular of Southsea in it’s holiday heydays before people travelled abroad. Below are some images from the website of South Parade Pier, obviously taken before the 1970s fire, showing it in some of it’s previous glory days.

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Victorious Festival on Southsea Common for 2014

As you may have seen over on the Victorious Festival’s Facebook page yesterday, the guys behind Victorious are working with Portsmouth City Council to move the festival to Southsea Common for this year’s August Bank Holiday weekend. The proposed plans (which you can read HERE in a proposal document for the upcoming PCC meeting) seek to grow the festival even more from the incredibly successful event last year in the Dockyard. This year’s Victorious would see it happen on Castle Field and much of the central part of Southsea Common, with the International Kite Festival happening on it’s usual part of the Common by the memorial. By bringing these two events together for starters it will mean Southsea and Portsmouth as a whole will have an awesome offer for locals and tourists on the Bank Holiday weekend, more than a match for the other large cities on the south coast.

The plans for Victorious this year will undoubtably see the festival grow in different ways. As wonderful as it was having a music festival in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with the attractions made available and the dockyard opened up for exploring, the listed buildings and layout may be restrictive to having more stages, more food, more events. The open space of the Common means these restrictions do not apply and the event can develop and grow this year and in the future. A real added benefit for having the festival on Southsea Seafront is that it seeks to engage and work with the local businesses and venues that are already there. For the seafront to improve it needs economic investment (such as the planned new cafes, etc.) and all of that is only possible when the area becomes more of an attraction. By working together to bring Victorious to the seafront, for at least the Bank Holiday Weekend these other businesses could see 50,000+ extra visitors to the local area. So far Southsea Skatepark, D Day Museum, Pyramids Centre, Blue Reef Aquarium, Pitch and Putt and Southsea Castle look to be free of charge to Victorious ticket holders. With the Castle and the D Day Museum it still means some of the great history of this city is available to festival goers. It will not only be the seafront that sees the benefits though, by being a city music festival it means these visitors to the city can enjoy the Common and Southsea beach but also visit places like Castle Road, Palmerston Road, Old Portsmouth, Albert Road, Elm Grove and of course the Dockyard too. All these visitors visiting the local shops, bars, cafes and restaurants over the weekend will no doubt help the local economy, all more accessible with Victorious on the Common. As a local resident, it seems perfect timing with the new Park and Ride due to open soon, which will offset increased traffic and parking issues hopefully.

Victorious Festival has very quickly put Portsmouth on the map nationally in regards to summer festivals and if the plan is approvad it is pretty clear to see that by combining it with many other great local businesses, attractions and events it will raise the profile of the city to new heights for visitors and create a weekend of events sure to please all the locals too. I’m sure that other cities like Southampton, Bournemouth, Hastings and even Brighton would love to have such a weekend of events in their calendar.

The proposal for Victorious Festival to move to Southsea Common will be put forward at the Portsmouth City Council meeting this Friday, 17th January. Let us know your thoughts on these plans by commenting here or on our Facebook page or by commenting over on the People’s Plan for Southsea Facebook page or over on the Victorious Festival Facebook page.

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(Photos from last year’s Victorious Festival coverage by Strong Island Media, by Joe Watson, Josh Knill & Jack Daly)

South Parade Trust Launch Party

On Thursday the 21st of November, the South Parade Trust would like to extend an invitation to everybody who has an interest in saving Hampshire’s last remaining Victorian pier, to join them on their official launch party at The Royal Beach Hotel. What better location to hold an evening of live music, charity raffle and exhibits? The entry to this event is free and begins at 7:30pm, naturally a bar service will be available. This is a great opportunity to meet the team behind the bid to save our pier and discuss ideas or memories. Don’t forget that you can also follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

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Strong Island – The Point

Jack Daly and Strong Island Media popped down to the Hayling Island ferry point on Langstone Harbour the other day to capture a bit of this start of summer on film:

Photography to be Banned on Southsea Beach and Southsea Common

Word quickly went around local photographers and photography groups that Portsmouth Council have plans to be implemented from today that will dramatically restrict photography on Council land within Portsmouth and in particular Southsea & Eastney beach and Southsea Common. The reasons for this and more details were announced in an email from Portsmouth Council’s media office spokesperson Jeff Widener:

“Two years ago local residents who live around Southsea Common raised complaints about people having BBQs on Southsea Common and on the beach and Portsmouth Council agreed this was a problem and came up with a clever plan of creating BBQ zones. Residents have recently raised a new complaint that people on Southsea Common and the beach are taking photos that may include their properties and sometimes also include them in the background without their permission. The council takes privacy concerns very seriously so as of the start of the month we are introducing ‘Photography Zones’ in small areas such as the Rock Gardens and the Rose Garden. Photography on the beach and the majority of Southsea Common will be restricted”.

This obviously comes as a serious blow to many local photographers but worse still was this follow up comment after the council were contacted for clarification:

“We can confirm that mobile photography, including the use of Instagram, will also be banned. We will be monitoring the #Southsea and #Portsmouth hashtags on Instagram and will be checking for people breaking the bylaw and will consider prosecutions if necessary”.

Thankfully there is a way of fighting back and letting Portsmouth Council know that these new rules are not on and this is by signing a new petition HERE. We at Strong Island have always loved photography and taking photos in Southsea and wish to get as many people to sign the petition so please share the news of this ban as much as possible on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Green Neighbours Beach Cleanup Walk

As part of Climate Week in March there will be a beach cleanup walk organised by Green Neighbours on Wednesday 6th March that aims to pick up litter and debris along the whole of the southern beaches of Portsmouth. The walk begins at The Thatched Public House at the end of Locksway Road in Milton and gloves & litter picking equipment and refreshments are provided. Meet up is at 12:45 and the walk lasts from 1pm to 3pm and everyone is welcome.

Beach Clean Up

Winter Dog Walk by Paul Gonella

South Parade Pier Painting by Richard Baker

Whilst researching some things for some upcoming articles about the South Parade Pier I found this painting of the pier, painted by artist Richard Baker in 1992. Loving the loose illustrative style and muted colour palette, sometimes the beach and pier can look it’s most striking in winter and this has that feel.

Click on the image below to see the painting as a bigger image and also see more of Richard Baker’s work including paintings of the Camber and Southsea from the 70s and 80s, right the way through to contemporary paintings around Hampshire. recommended.

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South Parade Pier Painting by Richard Baker

Features

Competition – Win Two Tickets To See Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice

Friday 3rd May the Wedgewood Rooms will be hosting a great night of music featuring Kassassin Street, Curxes and Juice. The guys at Kassassin Street have been generous enough to donate a pair of tickets for you, the Strong Island readers.

All you have to do to win these tickets are to email your answer to the question below to stuart@strong-island.co.uk by midnight on Sunday 27th May. The winner will be announced here on Monday 28th May.

Q – The band are named after the road in Eastney, name one of the three roads which junction with it?

Find out more about the event on the Facebook HERE.

Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice + Longlive DJs

Juice ‘Numbskull’ from Butchy Davy on Vimeo.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

Last November saw the launch of our 2014 Calendar at an Exhibition at the Wine Vaults. You can read an article from Becki Partridge about the event HERE.

We cannot take all of the credit for the exhibition, the content was all provided by you, the Strong Island readers. Not to forget the exhibition was made possible by the team at Southsea Gallery who printed and framed the photographs. If you see a photo that you like you can purchase it in Southsea Gallery located at 51 Albert Road.

The exhibition can be found in ‘snug’ on the far right hand side of the Wine Vaults.

If you would like to know how to get involved in next years calendar then click HERE to find out more information.

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Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition

Photos are by the awesome Phil Tickner, be sure to give him a follow on Flickr and on Twitter @HoldYourColour.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online: www.thecellars.co.uk.

Reviews:

Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

Charlie Thompson Fratton Park

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Both Charlie Thompson
Todd Lawton
Todd Lawton
Roberta Curxes
Roberta Fidora
Danny Miles
Danny Miles

Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

Becky Jerams
Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams
Popobawa
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SABRE
SABRE

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SABRE
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B Of The Bang
Bellyeyesmile
Bellyeyesmile

Bellyeyesmile
All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014