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Our Top 5 Acts To See At Blissfields 2015

In less than 24 hours Strong Island will be paying our annual visit to Blissfields festival. I am excited to introduce you my top five things to see and do at this years festival.

1 – First of all are Big Child Man Child, lead singer Matt Jarvis is well acquainted with Blissfields after playing on three previous festivals as a solo artist. Lloyd Hoy and Steve Probert are more commonly known on the south coast as the popular DJ’s The Business Partners. Together they have ventured into new musical territory for them both and have been producing exciting results. Check them out on the Larch stage on Thursday night.

Twitter @BCMBCmusic

2 – Some of you might have been lucky enough to see Cosmo Sheldrake‘s performance in the Fat Fox during Southsea Fest 2013. He describes himself as a multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer. Cosmo plays a wide variety of instruments and brings them together using a loop station to create some fantastic tunes. Pay his YouTube channel a visit so you can see some of the unique venues he’s chosen for his live sessions.

Twitter @CosmoSheldrake

3 – I was introduced to The Plastic Mermaids earlier this year by a friend. Band members Douglas Richards, Jamie Richards, Chris Jones, Tom Farren and Chris Newnham hail from across the Solent on the Isle of Wight. Described by Q Magazine as a “Gorgeously textural, Polaroids sounds like Mercury Rev going on a road trip with The Flaming Lips”. After Ok Go I am confident that you would struggle to find anyone that is producing brillaintly original and entertaining music videos. A personal favourite is ‘Saturn‘, I could only dream of being that good at dancing!

Twitter @PlasticMermaids

4 – Kassassin Street require no introduction to Portsmouth locals. For a long time now Rowan, Nathan, Ryan, Tom and Andy have been building a reputation as Portsmouth’s premier live band. The guys have another busy summer ahead which includes live shows at Bestival, Secret Garden Party and Victorious Festival.

Twitter @KassassinStreet

5 – Overnight I have downloaded Apple Music and my first download had to be a Taylor Swift track but my second was the incredible ‘Zaba’ by Glass Animals. The band have been capturing the attention of electro fans across the world and have just returned from a two month tour of America, performing in cities including San Diego, New Orleans and Seattle. For fans of Jungle, The xx and SBTRKT, the Glass Animals are definitely one for you.

Twitter @GlassAnimals

If you would like to join the fun then there are a limited number of tickets still available. You can get your hands on them from You can also follow the festival for updates on Facebook and Twitter @Blissfields.

Blissfields Poster

Southsea Summer Arts Fair at One Eyed Dog on Saturday 4th July

A quick reminder that this Saturday the 4th July the One Eyed Dog will be home to the Southsea Summer Art Fair which will have loads of local creatives involved such as Kendal James, Stu Linfield, Jennifer Hillier, Hannah Gordon, Chris Webb and April Lovelace. From the stalls in the pub you’ll be able to pick up some local art and craft plus tees, stickers, prints, jewellery and more.

The fair opens at 1pm but and to find out more have a look at the Facebook page HERE.

Poster artwork by Stu Linfield.

Creative Census Portsmouth Continues!

We’ve had a great first month for our Creative Census project with lots of people completing the questions about their creative jobs, businesses and organisations…but we need more!

With our Creative Census project we aim to measure the creative temperature of the city for the first time, with the help of everyone involved with the creative industries in Portsmouth and Southsea. The census is open for submissions at the Creative Census website, please take a minute to complete the questions and to share this with everyone. The more people who take part, the better the results!

Once the census is complete we will be analysing the data and producing a presentation on the findings which we hope can actively promote the city regionally & nationally and also help lobby for improved access to resources, training, funding and more.

Please share the census with all of your friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, your & your friends input can help make a difference.

We’ll be distributing flyers for Creative Census very soon with which you’ll be able to win a selection of locally created & designed prizes, more soon!

Creative Census Portsmouth

‘Her Story’ Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow

Innovation in video games is pushing out in many different directions at the moment, with heavy investment in new technology such as virtual reality, processor and graphics hardware heavy visuals & more but sometimes it is the innovation in game design and narrative concepts that create a buzz online and make for a successful game. Rather than looking in to a sci-fi future on radioactive landscapes or battlefields, how about becoming an investigator looking at the case of a missing person from over 20 years ago, just relying on the evidence recorded back then plus the VHS interview tapes?

Sam Barlow, writer and lead designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle launched his first independent title, Her Story, last week. Her Story is Barlow’s first release after going independent in 2014. Playing like an interactive true crime documentary, the game lets you go hands-on with a police database full of live action video footage. It stars Viva Seifert, actress and one half of the band Joe Gideon and the Shark. If you are fan of TV detective dramas or the fly-on-the-wall documentaries, this gives you the chance to try out your skills as a detective.

Her Story was passed through the Steam Greenlight process in only two weeks and has since received the backing of the prestigious Indie Fund. With its innovative use of video and a non-linear narrative, Her Story is one of 2015’s most original video games. Already the film has gained very positive coverage in the national press, is an Editor’s Choice in Apple’s App Store is is getting some great reviews.

The gameplay of Her Story sits players in front of a mothballed desktop computer and logs them into a police database. They search through hundreds of video clips that cover seven interviews from 1994 in which a British woman is interviewed about her missing husband. Players explore the database by typing search terms then watch the clips where she speaks those words and piece together her story.

“I’m excited for players to finally get their hands on the game and lose themselves in the many layers of Her Story…This is a game that puts you in the mindset of a detective — players will experience the eureka moments, the frustrations and the curve balls of a cold case mystery firsthand…As they piece together this story I hope players will come to understand and empathize with the woman telling it. This is a video game where the most important skill is the ability to listen.” – Sam Barlow

You can buy the game on a number of different platforms, the PC and Mac version of Her Story can be purchased on Steam, directly from the game’s website and from the Humble Store.

The iPad and iPhone versions of Her Story are available to buy on the App Store.

Find out more about the game at:

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (1)

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (2)

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (3)

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (4)

Strong Island Store Now Open 5 Days a Week

Hard to believe how fast time flies sometimes but our Strong Island store has been open for over 6 months and we’re really happy with progress so far but still have so many ideas on what we want to do to develop the shop, exhibition space and much more. The first of a run of big things with the store this summer is that as of this week we will now be opening 5 days a week, from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm. We’ve wanted to open for more days since we opened but had to be careful to get the shop just right first.

So as of tomorrow, feel free to drop by and visit the shop from Tuesday to Saturday, you can also check out this week the updated displays, new coffee fresh in, Tony Wood signature hair products for men plus the new Strong Island x PFC tee colourway. It is also your last chance to catch Andrew Hayward’s photography exhibition too. We have loads more exciting things to come this summer, keep your eyes peeled here or simply pop by Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea, PO4 9AH.

Strong Island Co Open 5 Days a Week

Strong Island Co Display

Strong Island and Hampshire Police Cycle Security Event

Portsmouth as a city possesses a high number of bicycle enthusiasts. Whether you are using your bike to commute to work, racing or just getting from A to B. Sadly bicycle theft is a relatively easy crime to commit. With their increased usage over the summer months we need to do as much as we can to deter criminals and assist the Police in recovering the bike if the worst is to happen and your bike is stolen.

In partnership with Hampshire Constabulary we are going to be hosting a free Cycle Marking event at Strong Island HQ on Saturday 11th July between 10am-midday.

Whatever type of bike you ride get yourself and your bike down to the store, you will find local Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be on hand to offer cycle security advice as well well as FREE cycle marking which can help identify your bike as yours if the worst were to happen and it was stolen.

Please share this event with friends, family and anyone you think would be interested. You can find out more information in the build up to the event on Facebook –

Strong Island x Hampshire police

Strong Island’s Spoken Word Stage at Blissfields

This year Strong Island have curated the Blissfields Spoken Word event on the Amoeba to Zebra stage. I admit to not knowing a lot about spoken word but I have since discovered that spoken word is not limited to just poetry, it incorporates a whole range of art forms such as music, rap, theater, and dance, with focuses on the aesthetics of word play and story-telling. This is evident in the diverse styles we’ve lined up for Blissfields. Enjoy!

1800-1815 Roya Shadmand
1820-1835 Toby Campion
1905-1930 The Many Faces of Spike

Roya Shadmand is a spoken word poet (in theory) and stand-up comedian (kind of) from Southampton. Her poems generally aren’t very funny and her comedy certainly isn’t very poetic. She calls it compartmentalising. Others call it a clear indication of multiple personality disorder.

Toby Campion is passionate about engaging audiences with poetry and co-runs the Midlands’ spoken word night, Find the Right Words. Toby performs at events and festivals across the UK & America and is a member of the Spare the Poets collective. Toby has performed at internationally acclaimed events including StAnza International Poetry Festival, BBC Main stage at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014, Sofar Sounds, Bestival and Lovebox. Toby placed second in the country at the UK National Poetry Slam finals 2014, was runner up at the BBC Slam Finals 2014 and Roundhouse Slam Finals 2015 and represented the UK at the Capturing Fire International Poetry Summit 2015 in Washington DC.

Toby Campin BBCslam

The Many Faces of Spike aka Spike Zephaniah is a an illustrator first and foremost, his work crosses into all manner of practices, such as writing, animation, puppetry and graphic design. Though the contexts may vary massively, his key interests remain consistent throughout my work. Spike describes that “above all else my passion is people, particularly faces. I’m also fascinated with monsters, and like to question what truly makes a monster. I am currently working as a freelance illustrator while developing my own unique blend of portrait poetry”. Spike’s unique combination of performance illustration with spoken word is a must see and is sure to be one of the highlights of the Spoken Word event at Blissfields.

Here is a glimpse of what you can expect take in the Chocolate Poetry Club in Camberwell.

If you’d like to join the fun then there are still a limited number of tickets still available. You can get your hands on them from You can also follow the festival for updates on Facebook and Twitter @Blissfields.

Blissfields Poster

Blissfields Preview – Strong Island’s Spoken Word Stage

This year Strong Island have curated the Blissfields Spoken Word event on the Amoeba to Zebra stage. I admit to not knowing a lot about spoken word prior to this but I have since discovered that spoken word is not limited to just poetry, it incorporates a whole range of art forms such as music, rap, theater, and dance, with focuses on the aesthetics of word play and story-telling. This is evident in the diverse styles we’ve lined up for Blissfields. Enjoy!

Friday Line Up
2030-2045 Selby
2050-2105 Craft D
2110-2130 Rex Domino
2135-2200 Blizzard

Joseph Selby is a young writer who uses a unique style of lyricism to portray his love for words. Through poetry, story telling and song writing he explores the musicality in language. Weather fronting a eleven piece music ensemble or standing alone Joseph invites you to step in, tune out and get lost his flowing reflections of life, his celebration of the beauty and chaos in our human condition.

Craft D is a spoken word poet from London, currently studying in Bristol, and a musician, rapper and battle rapper. His spoken word performance aims to bridge the gap between contemporary rap and traditional poetry, using experimental rhyme schemes and metaphors to convey important messages ranging from the fall of a city to overcoming personal struggle.

Craft D
Photo by Oli Duncanson Photography

Rex Domino first played Blissfields as a 14 year old in 2010 and has been back playing the festival in different guises ever since. This year, he’s bringing his own style of spoken word to our Amoeba To Zebra stage. 2015 is a big year for Huw. His solo project, Rex Domino, takes him on tour this autumn and his collaboration project with DJ Yoda, Breakfast of Champions, were recently seen on the Glade Stage at Glastonbury and can soon be found on Sunday’s main stage at Bestival.

Rex Domino was recently seen on the main stage of Camp Bestival with fellow Blissfields act DJ Yoda.

Blizzard is a Manchester based grime musician is a rising star of the UK underground scene. He has now amassed 5 million YouTube views, emphasising his already considerable credentials, and has reached #18 in the iTunes album chart and #3 in the Hip-Hop charts with his music. Blizzard is no stranger to a festival with previously playing at Glastonbury, as well as slots supporting Jessie-J, Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande. On top of all this, Blizzard is also an ambassador for the very prominent Dianna’s anti-bullying trust that helps combat the issue that touches so many lives in this country.


If you’d like to join the fun then there are still a limited number of tickets still available. You can get your hands on them from You can also follow the festival for updates on Facebook and Twitter @Blissfields.

Blissfields Poster

Strong Island Photo of The Year Competition Week 11 Winner and Runners Up

A great collection of photographs submitted this past week (week 11) sees a nice summer mix of photos with lots of sun. To submit photos yourself via Instagram & Twitter for the Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition use the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015 and you can always email photos in too to

This week’s winning image is an creative composition of a firm favourite, South Parade Pier, photographed by Pete Blackman.

Photo by Pete Blackman
South Parade Pier by Pete Blackman.

This weekly winner will now be entered into the finals of the competition which will happen in December where everyone can vote for their favourite weekly winning photos. This image will now become our Strong Island Facebook header image for the next 7(ish) days until next week’s winner.

Below are some of the runners up for this week. A huge thank you to everyone who submitted! Don’t worry if your photo didn’t win or make the shortlist, you can enter photos every week until the finals in December. You can now submit photos for this week’s weekly winner selection which will be chosen and shown next week. To enter simply email, Tweet or Instagram your photo that was taken in, on or around Portsmouth.

Photo by JL Crespo
Photo by by José Crespo

Photo by Megan Barnes
Photo by Megan Barnes.

Photo by Daniel Atienza
Photo by Daniel Atienza.

Photo by Norbert Mintoff
Photo by Norbert Mintoff.

Photo by Howard Hurd
Photo by Howard Hurd.

Photo by Richard O'Keeffe
Feeding time by Richard O'Keeffe.

Photo by Johnny Black
Photo by Johnny Black.

Photo by Nathan Jones
Photo by Nathan Jones.

Photo by Grzegorz Kopacz
Broken Window by Grzegorz Kopacz.

Photo by Alessandro Salvatore
Carrying the Sun by Alessandro Salvatore.

The Movement Initiative | Studio Open Day

Tomorrow the local dance company The Movement Initiative (TMI) are having an open day in their new home on Milton Road. Everyone is welcome to pop in and talk to them about the company, take part in classes or to see the company perform to show a taste of what The Movement Initiative provides. There will be free taster classes plus drinks and snacks available.

TMI was established in 2015 and aims to make dance related activities accessible to everybody no matter what age or ability. TMI believes that everybody should have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of dance. The studio offers dance classes or a large variety of disciplines including Hip-Hop, Break dance, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Musical theatre, fitness classes, pole dance classes, contemporary dance.

The new studio is 259m² and renovated by members of TMI making it is fresh new space. The ticket sales from the company’s ‘Celebrate’ show held last month at the Kings Theatre has contributed to the development of the studio.

The studio opens at 10am and the full schedule is below.

10am Display by Young dream Chasers
10.15-10.45 U12 beginner street dance taster
11.00-11.15 Pre school baby Ballet taster
11.30 Display by TMI Contemporary company
11.45-12.15 Contemporary Taster
12.45-13.30 Movers taster (40+)
14.00-14.30 12+ beginner/intermediate street dance taster
15.00-15.30 Beginners break dance taster
15.45 Display Dream chasers collective
16.00-16.30 Advanced Hip Hop taster

If you have an interest in dance or performance whether that is from a participant’s or spectators perspective then I encourage you to head down and check out whats going on. For more information check out the TMI Facebook page or the Event page. The company are also on Twitter @TMIports.


TMI studio

Next »


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

Southsea Seagulls

How good was the weather on Sunday. Albeit cold, it was a belter for sure. Me and Liz hit up the seafront for fish & chips and inadvertently got involved with dive bombing seagulls. They love them chips…

Photography : Tristan

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




Local Photographer: Paul Thurlow

I’ve been following local photographer Paul Thurlow’s blog for a little while, always some wonderful photos from our little piece of coastline plus some incredible portrait and wedding photography too. Put what you’re doing to one side for a little while and have a look through Paul’s website and Flickr too, so many beautiful photos including HDR images too.

The Infamous Harry Pounds Scrapyard Submarines

Many of you will remember the once iconic Submarines at the Harry Pounds Scrapyard on the way in to Portsmouth. We even featured a few photos by Robin Hinson back in 2010.

Although I never got to explore the sub aquatic giants myself I was lucky enough to find this little gem a few weeks ago. Although I can’t remember where, so sorry if I nabbed it and forgot to mention you.

Watch the video for a unique view of these “Uk, Admiralty Standard Range Diesels 16 Cylinder V mechanical supercharged monsters!”

Inside the Round Tower

The Round Tower in Old Portsmouth is an often visited landmark but few people get a look at what lies inside those walls. On Friday a few lucky members of The Solent Camera Club (on one of it’s Friday evening meets) were able to explore it’s cavernous interior including the brick arches, rusted cannons and stalactites.

Photos kindly supplied by Duncan Allan.


Vintage Photography by Richard Baker

Richard Baker grew up in Portsmouth and Southsea with many happy memories, but limited funds. In the 1960s Richard was studying at The Portsmouth College of Art and was lucky enough to be able to print off some wonderful black & white photographs. 40 years later he dug them out from hibernation.

The series captures people in the city going about their daily lives. Shopping, resting, having fun. Great candid shots from a simpler time. Check out the huge Pick & Mix on display at Woolworths along with the rest of Richards photographs over at his Flickr.

Vintage Portsmouth Photographs

Following up from our Vintage Portsmouth Postcards article on Monday, Strong Island reader Centro Design posted a link to some rad old photographs of the city.

As always click read more at the bottom to see a small selection, but be sure to click this link to view all of them online.



Portsmouth on Film – Episode 4

The new episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up yesterday. This episode is of a bus trip from Old Portsmouth to Southsea to Eastney.

I still lament the loss of the Portsmouth Transport Museum.

Old Ships and The Point

Continuing from the HMS Vanguard photos from earlier this week, this one shot from above shows the scale of the ship and her guns, which are as big as the pubs! The second photo is of HMS Victorious passing out in the 50s, with the old power station in the background. Hard to believe such a huge, dominating landmark like that is now just a memory.

Click on the images to see larger versions. Photos are taken from the wonderful Portsmouth From The Air book by Anthony Triggs.

Strong Island Clothing Co.