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Walks & Rambles

Frankie Owens – Walking For Forgiveness

Award winning author Frankie Owens has achieved the kind of infamy AND fame normally reserved for reality TV stars and wayward ‘C’ list celebrities. Frankie however is no tango tanned 20 something, he’s an ex con with an eye on a positive future and over the coming months will be walking the length of the UK in support of The Forgiveness Project.

Frankie’s challenge is to walk from John O’ Groats to Land’s End, visiting towns and cities along the way. Each destination will include visits to prisons, probation trusts, youth offender groups, universities, and charities that work to help promote understanding, rehabilitation and re-integration of ex-offenders. Frankie began his 60 day walk on 1st September and finishes 1160 miles later on November 1st at Land’s End and every penny raised will The Forgiveness Project to:

• Collect and share real stories of forgiveness and reconciliation to help individuals transform the pain and conflict in their own lives.
• Run a restorative justice program in prisons helping build community resilience by working with victims to rehabilitate offenders.
• Create resources for schools to educate young people about peaceful solutions to conflict.
• Provide tools for resolving hurt and conflict by holding events and running training programmes.
After being a prisoner and losing everything Frankie is now an award-winning writer with 30 articles published to date, and counting. Frankie has been welcomed by The Huffington Post, Sabotage Times, The Guardian, Works for Freedom, The Justice Gap and The Royal Society of Arts. Numerous universities have also invited him to speak to them, with local newspapers and radio stations running articles and interviews too.

Frankie is the author of the ‘Little Book of Prison, A Beginners Guide’ and is inviting donations at www.justgiving.com/frankie-owens.

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge with Mandy Cobb

On Saturday October 6th 2012 Mandy will begin her trek up three of the highest peaks in Yorkshire. The challenge is to complete the circuit in 12 hours. Phew. Mandy is looking to raise money for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a chairty which is dear to her family’s hearts and inspired by her Auntie Carol.

“At the grand age of 48, Carol was certainly a fighter, which I’d say is how she is remembered. She loved being around all her family, especially her sisters (my lovely aunties) and everyone loved being around her in return. She was always happy and always smiling, no matter what. I can’t put into words how much she is thought of and missed everyday by everyone in my family.”

Strong Island wishes you all the best on your journey, your support to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and to the memory of Carol. You can help Mandy help raise money over at www.justgiving.com/Amanda-Cobb

Take action to save the Hayling Ferry!

Thanks to Jon Spencer for bringing this to our attention. Take action now, “The proposed city council budget for 2011/12 onwards proposes that the subsidy currently offered to the Hayling Ferry be cancelled. This will more than likely spell the end for the ferry service which provides a great route into and out of the city for cyclists and pedestrians. The budget will go to the vote at council on tuesday 8th February. If you would like the service to be saved then please phone, email or write to your ward councillors to ask them to oppose the motion to scrap the subsidy. Find your ward councillors HERE. Some reasons why the ferry needs to remain:

The Hayling ferry provides vital access to a rural area to the residents of Portsmouth. This is one of the very few rural areas that is accessible to the people of Portsmouth without requiring access to a car. Our MP, Mike Hancock, spoke very eloquently on the breakfast news on this week about how vital public access to rural areas is to the wellbeing of a community and how he was therefore, in opposition to his government’s plans to sell off woodland. He was absolutely right to make this stand but it will be prove pointless if means of accessing such rural areas are removed.

Despite the assertions made in appendix C of the budget report, the Hayling ferry is widely used by citizens of Portsmouth. It is used daily by workers at Hayling, Havant and Langstone (and further afield) who commute by bike. It is heavily used by people who wish to visit the beaches or to use the popular Billy Trail by foot or by bike. The Hayling Ferry link is part of the UK national cycle network route 2 and as such is used by cyclists from across the UK to get into Portsmouth.

The major transport challenge Portsmouth faces is surely the fact that most of the city is on an island and there are very few access routes. Removing one of these routes is surely, at best, extremely unwise? This will increase pressure on the already extremely congested Eastern Road and will remove, at a stroke, the most pleasant way onto and off of Portsea Island.

The Hayling Ferry is good value. It’s annual subsidy of £15,000 is only about 1.3% of what the pyramids is costing the city this year. In terms of the value of the leisure and travel opportunities it presents it is punching well above its weight.”




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You heard me. The army of the undead have risen and will be terrorising the streets of Southsea this Halloween. Apply white powder, fake blood and guts galore and join the zombie masses on a rigor mortis paced walk around the streets of Portsmouth, through shopping malls and busy streets, stopping at the odd pub along the way.

Grab all the killer info you need regarding time, place, tutorials and generally how to be the undead on a good day over at Facebook. Braaaaaaainnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Urrrrrghggghghgaragghhhggghgguhhhhhmhhhhrgggg

You heard me. The army of the undead have risen and will be terrorising the streets of Southsea this Halloween. Apply white powder, fake blood and guts galore and join the zombie masses on a rigor mortis paced walk around the streets of Portsmouth, through shopping malls and busy streets, stopping at the odd pub along the way.

Grab all the killer info you need regarding time, place, tutorials and generally how to be the undead on a good day over at Facebook. Braaaaaaainnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Urrrrrghggghghgaragghhhggghgguhhhhhmhhhhrgggg

You heard me. The army of the undead have risen and will be terrorising the streets of Southsea this Halloween. Apply white powder, fake blood and guts galore and join the zombie masses on a rigor mortis paced walk around the streets of Portsmouth, through shopping malls and busy streets, stopping at the odd pub along the way.

Grab all the killer info you need regarding time, place, tutorials and generally how to be the undead on a good day over at Facebook. Braaaaaaainnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzzz

New Section of Hayling Billy Trail

Hayling Billy trail is a really popular cycling, running and even horse riding trail that runs along the Langstone Harbour edge of Hayling Island. On the 26th February a new section of the trail will be opened to the public by David Willets MP, portfolio holder Jenny Wride along with Simon Pratt from Sustrans. The opening starts at Havant Road Langstone at the junction with Mill Lane at 10.30 am and then there will be tea and coffee at the Sailing Club after the opening with a small display showing future joint cycle improvement and safe routes to school projects that Sustrans, HCC and HBC are intending to carry out within the Borough over the next 18 months.

Hayling Billy also runs past the old Oyster Beds at the northerly point of the island, are a great place to visit to spot birds this time of year.

West Hayling Local Nature Reserve

On Saturday morning we passed through the West Hayling Local Nature Reserve (in Langstone Harbour) whilst on a bike ride along the Hayling Billy coastal path. In recent years the area has been heavily re-landscaped from the old rubbish tip back in to oysterbeds (as it was from Roman times right up to the first world war). This redevelopment was undertaken to provide a safe and secure habitat for wildlife. The reserve is a haven for sea birds at all times of the year and is also home to Little Terns, one of Britain’s rarest breeding birds.

The nature reserve can be easily accessed and enjoyed by bike using the Billy coastal path (like we did) but there is also car parking available if necessary and the whole area is great for walks with great views over the harbour, well worth a visit as it is only minutes from Portsmouth. Click here for more information and a full history of the reserve.

Nature Reserve

Farlington Marshes Official Tour

Farlington Marshes are located at the top of Langstone Harbour and are a wildlife reserve helping to protect the habitat of birds, insects and plants. On SUNDAY (21st) at 10am there will be an official tour of the marshes consisting of a 2.5 mile guided walk, a great way to learn about the wildlife of both the marshes and the harbour (seals!) and the management of the reserve. There is no need to book, just turn up on the day at the car park off the Eastern Road roundabout with the M27. Binoculars will be available to borrow for the walk. The walk is free but a donation of £1.50 towards the upkeep of the reserve is suggested.

For more information contact Jamie Marsh on 01489 774429 or check here.

EDIT: Oops, I got the date right but the day wrong, it is the 21st, which is the Sunday.

Marshes

Southsea Ramblers Association – Watership Down

We burst the bubble again last weekend for a pretty epic ramble, or should I say hike. Taking the advice of the Guardian Newspaper we embarked on a 6 hour walk across the North Wessex Downs. Although the walk is a good 45 minute drive away it’s well worth the journey and the reward at the end is one of the finest pubs I’ve ever eaten at, the Roayl Oak. Check out my Flickr for the full set.

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Features

Photos from Head Jam 2014

For the second year running Head Mens Hairdressing, Strong Island and My Dog Sighs (this year with Lex Luthor) put on the Head Jam street art event on Albert Road in Southsea. The yard out the back of Head and the Strong Island HQ had last year’s artwork covered during last week and Saturday saw local artists My Dog Sighs, Los Dave, M-One, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Stu Linfield, I am Posy, freakSTATIC, Midge and Samo get involved with new artwork on all of the walls plus the new sculpture too. Extra artwork is also being added today by My Name is Leila. A huge thank you to all the artists and to everyone who popped by throughout the day.

Check some of the photos from the day below, you can see a load more on our Flickr (which is a growing archive of our photography over the last 6 years) or on our Facebook page and if you want to pop in and have a look visit Head at 53 Albert Road.


































Southsea Comedy Festival Competition | Win Two Tickets

The first ever Southsea Comedy Festival opens with Eddie Izzard performing his most recent show ‘Force Majeure’ on 31st July and 1st August. We have a pair of tickets to give away for the Thursday 31st July performance. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following three questions.

1) What is the name of the character voiced by Eddie in Cars 2?
2) In which American city did Eddie begin his 2014 tour Force Majeure?
3) For which charity did Eddie run an incredible 43 marathons in 51 days?!

The deadline for entries will be midnight Monday 21st July with the winner being announced Tuesday 22nd in the evening.

If you don’t want to risk missing out then Southsea Comedy Festival tickets are available by calling 0844 847 2362 and online at www.southseacomedyfestival.co.uk. You can follow the Southsea Comedy Festival on Twitter @SouthseaComedy.

Eddie Izzard Southsea Comedy Festival Logo

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Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection

We’ve been exceptionally busy over at Strong Island HQ for the best part of 2014 so far and the latest Strong Island Clothing Co range has been in development for some time. We are now proud to announce the launch of our latest line of tee and crew designs for the Summer. This is the biggest run we have done to date and we wanted to ensure it was a really strong range so didn’t want to rush it.

We have a wide range of new colours and designs including our first 2 colour print on the popular Refuse to Sink and a return to our second tee style back in 2010 with a backprint (this time in navy) in the classic Strong Island logo. We also have a seriously strong collaboration with University of Portsmouth graduate and award winning letterform designer Andy Lethbridge AKA Hand Type. These are something truly special and we’re really stoked how they came out, the detail in the print really reflects the brush strokes of Andy’s work. We will have more on Hand Type and the development of these designs on Strong Island soon in a full interview. We also have pocket tees with the new Down the Hatch design which form part of something we are keeping under our hats for bit…some old favourites have been revisited too with new colourways and 2 new graphic tees as well. Our latest crew retains the same quality as before featuring ribbed side panels, a back neck loop, deep cuffs, a double v-insert on the neckline and raglan sleeves but with new striped cuffs. With a more contemporary and slimmer fit than most sweatshirts it’s certainly a more premium line. As always all our tees and crews are hand screenprinted in East London by the mighty Lovenskate, including the anchor signoff on the back and detail on the inside neck.

We have a few more mini launches coming up over the next few weeks including more tees, something for the cyclists out there, some very special hand produced items from Poland using original 1940′s techniques and also something to lounge on in summer and keep you warm in the winter. Not to mention another very special artist collaboration too.

All of the tees and crews from the main, initial drop will be available this weekend during Head Jam at Head Hairdressing, 53 Albert Road, Southsea (weather permitting). They will then go online in Shop Ahoy next week.

For now please enjoy our latest Lookbook shot by Strong Island Media over at Dell Quay, Chichester. The perfect day to go for a wander around the marina, fields and woodlands with a few cheeky beers at the Crown & Anchor.

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Strong Island, Lex Luthor & My Dog Sighs present Head Jam 2014 – Saturday 19th July

Last years Head Jam was such a resounding success with some of the nations best street artists that we eagerly began talking about the following year before the paint had even dried. We discussed how we could run the event again and where to do it, but the answer was simple and literally looking right at us. We hold it in the same place again. Make the courtyard at Head Hairdressing the centre of an annual event where the outcome is available to view for the year, then return, white wash the previous artwork away, and do it all again. After all, street art is an ever changing and developing media in it’s own right and in it’s usual environment where it gets ripped down, tagged, covered in fly posters, lost to demolition and built on, the artists have no fear of their art being lost. It’s part of the job so to speak…

Rick from Head Hairdressing at 53 Albert Road (just along from the Wine Vaults and next to Southsea Gallery) conceived the idea of having the courtyard to the rear of the local barbers transformed in to a permanent giant art piece. From precision multilayered stencils, through bubble gum cutsie to surreal illustrative mayhem, Lex Luthor and My Dog Sighs have hand picked some of their favourite artists to produce the ultimate street art dreamscape courtyard…again!

Head Jam will run all day so feel free to pop along, take a look, have a chat, hang out, meet the artists and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be music on all day, a BBQ turning over in the background if you want to stick a burger on (not supplied), and please feel free to bring along a beer too. Everyone is welcome, so bring the kids so they can see some of the finest street artists working together in this unique environment.

Attending artists include: MyDogSighs, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Fark, Nova, M-one Art, Los Dave, Stu Linfield, Morf, Freakstatic and Ooberla. Wow, this is going to be amazing! If you pop along please be sure to tag the event on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HeadJam and we will put up a series of your photos from the day.

Strong Island Clothing Co will also be launching their latest range of tees and crews before they go online the following week. So if you want to get in there for an exclusive purchase before anyone else head on down and check it all out. Everything will be out to view, and there is a sneak peak at the end of this post (the full look book will go up this week). Also all of our PFC tees and crews are on offer, bargain. We look forward to seeing you all.

Old paint on a wall

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (1)

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Head Jam, photo by Paul Gonella

Photos: Matt Maber

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Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer and Grace Aquilina – Day Three

Despite the effects of the night before, those who have arisen from their partially soggy tents and dared to walk through alcohol and rain sodden hay look forward to listen to live music at The Wild Stage and in The Hustle Den at midday. In keeping with the wildlife theme the crowd was littered with all sorts of animal themed costumes, and what I can only expect was a stag party of monkey’s.

Burning Beaches took to the stage at 12:00pm in The Hustle Den, where sleepy eyes were literally opened in awe of the band’s soft rock sound. Heavy bass woke even the most sluggish and grungy vocals perfectly complimented a latte. The vocals echoed around the tent, emphasising the roughness and fervency.

Blissfields is without a doubt well-deserved of it’s reputation for finding and nurturing local artists and upcoming talent, and this year was no exception; Saturday brought with it the chance for discovering yet more new artists, one of which being Australian singer-songwriter Ry X. His hazy almost whispered vocals drew comparisons to The xx and Blissfields favourites London Grammar, and Ry X transfixed the audience throughout his set with his soft tenor tones. His track ‘Berlin’ is well worth a listen.

Later on in the afternoon, Floella Grace wowed her audience in The Larch to complete silence and a dream-like-state. Her dreamy, sobering vocals accompanied by fellow string player Gareth and two silvery-voiced backing singers made for an awesome and enlightening performance. The ukulele was played sweetly and harmoniously with the slightly more robust guitar; the entire performance being one of sincerity courtesy of her unvarnished, honest lyrics.

After Floella Grace’s soothing and lulling performance, the audience was re-awakened with the The Boy I Used To Be’s garage pop sound. With breathy, low vocals and slightly metallic guitar riffs, the band’s ‘sun-drenched’ sound ironically complimented the gloomy Great British Weather.

A personal highlight of Saturday was the chance to catch Laurel in the Hustle Den; she has truly developed her own distinctive style, although it is easy to see why over the last year she has been compared to Lana Del Ray, Lorde, and Laura Marling. On stage, she mesmerises the crowd with her sultry and coquettish presence, and switches effortlessly between softer and louder tracks, such as the lead song from her Blue Blood EP, which showcases the depth and richness of her voice.

By now sky was taken over with cloud but with temperatures still high anticipation grew for the headliner, 2ManyDJs, the semi-incognito side project of prolific 90s DJs Soulwax. The Dewaele brothers’ experience was evident throughout their set, with their ability to bring the crowd effortlessly through highs and lows, and build the sweat and alcohol fuelled festival-goers into a frenzy. However, while there were certainly some sore heads as Sunday morning dawned, there were plenty of wide grins too.

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Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Cosmo Sheldrake @ The Hustle Den
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Beans On Toast Presents… At The Larch Stage
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Chlöe Howl @ The Wild Stage
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Laurel @ The Hustle Den
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014 Laurel
Laurel @ The Hustle Den

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth – Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’

We continue with our co-published history articles with aspex Gallery, researched by Laura McLean-Ferris who has recently been crawling through the Aspex Gallery archives and has produced a series of articles for aspex about their 33 year history. We’re very happy to partner up and cross post their aspex history blog posts here on Strong Island, you can see the original aspex blog post HERE. This fourth article in the series today looks at how aspex worked with Cornelia Parker in the late 1980s, and how Art Space Portsmouth & aspex became separate organisations.

Now in the Tate collection, Cornelia Parker’s Thirty Pieces of Silver (1988-89) is an installation of over 1000 pieces of silverware that the artist had flattened by a steamroller. Each is suspended from the ceiling using copper wire, hanging a few inches above the gallery floor in clustered puddles, forming a kind of grid. The work transforms domestic items, such as cigarette cases, trophies, and tableware, into pure elemental material, and yet each flat silver disc contains within it the ghost of a former life. Silver is commemorative – and many of the items are suggestive of occasions such as birth, retirement, engagement, triumph or memorial. The work displays Parker’s interest, around this time, in acts of material violence that expand the viewer’s engagement with the objects and materials around them.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (1)

Les Buckingham, then director of aspex, recalls seeing 30 Pieces of Silver at Ikon Gallery and being particularly taken with it, and so approaching Parker to invite her to show the work at aspex. ‘I knew the director of Ikon, Antonia Payne’, Buckingham remembers, ‘and she agreed that I could approach Cornelia about a second showing. The piece was installed at Ikon in the basement and was smaller than intended. When I talked to Cornelia she jumped at the chance to show it in a large and high space. The installation was the most complex of my career, filling the entire gallery, (1600 sq feet), and involving three weeks work and miles of fuse wire. Six to ten people worked on the project with the artist and the results were spectacular.’ Amusingly, there’s a note in the aspex archives which details that the height for suspension was ‘One toilet roll plus a piece of hardboard’.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (2)

In contrast to the way the work is now shown, visitors were able to walk between the pools of sculptures. Following a visit to aspex by the Arts Council the work was selected for the British Art Show. The artist discussed the time-lag that it took for the work to make an impact in a recent interview with The Guardian. ‘I made Thirty Pieces of Silver for the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and it didn’t get a single review’, she says. ‘It wasn’t until it was shown at the British Art Show at the Hayward a year later that people noticed.’ The work was purchased for the Tate Collection in 1998.

aspex was also going through changes during this period. Following several years of working as an artist-run space, the threat of climbing rents compelled the organisation to transform to its status to a charity, which meant transforming the structure of aspex. In an effort to protect the gallery and studio artists from high rents, the decision was made to seek charitable status and Aspex Visual Arts Trust was formed. Buckingham remembers this as a complicated period of transformation for the organisation, which essentially split the studios from the gallery, but it was one that was necessary to secure aspex, as a resource that would continue to exist after its founders were no longer involved. Though the two are now separate entities, the Trust continues to work together with the artist founders at Art Space Portsmouth.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (3)

All images courtesy of the Aspex Visual Arts Trust Ltd. and the artist.