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Wildlife

Museum beasts

I took time out today to visit Portsmouth City Museum and in particular the Birds, Beast and Bugs exhibition. I have a great interest in the craft of taxidermy, perhaps a bit more of an unusual craft than knitting but amazing nonetheless.

Most of the exhibition was collected by Henry Guermonprez in the 19th Century and lots the animals and jars have beautiful little hand written notes by Henry. There are also sweet intricate paintings and drawings by him as well as activities for children. I rather enjoyed the jars containing snakes, octopus and mice. More photos here.

 

Photographs wanted for the Langstone Ark

Are you interested in taking photographs of local wildlife? If so, the Langstone Harbour Board would like to hear from you. The Board’s Environment Officer Louise MacCallum is launching a project called the “Langstone Ark” which aims to create a collection of digital images of all the species of wildlife, big and small, that can be found in and around the harbour to build into a website. Anyone with an interest in Langstone Harbour is being encouraged to contribute photographs of wildlife, from local yachtsmen, commercial fishermen to local residents.

Once a photograph of a particular species has been selected, a web page will be created including some information about the species such as its feeding habits and behaviour. The name of the contributor and where the image was taken will also be included. The Langstone Harbour Board hopes that the website will build into an engaging environmental resource which the harbour users themselves have helped to create.

Langstone Harbour is internationally renowned for its wildlife, providing nursery, feeding and overwintering grounds for a myriad of species. A number of internationally recognised laws are in place to protect the harbour’s habitats and associated wildlife, including Langstone Harbour being a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

You don’t need an expensive camera, or a qualification in wildlife photography to take part in the Langstone Ark Project – just the ability to take an interesting picture of one of the harbour’s wild residents and e-mail it to the Environment Officer. And remember, as the project aims to collect images of all the harbour’s residents, a photograph of a Gull or some Gorse will be just as welcome as a photograph of an Osprey or an Orchid.

The Langstone Ark website will launch online sometime in 2011, but harbour users are encouraged to start taking and sending photographs of wildlife now in order to catch some of the harbour’s 2010 winter visitors.

If you would like more information on the Langstone Ark project, or the wildlife and habitats that can be found in Langstone Harbour, please visit the Langstone Harbour Board website at www.langstoneharbour.org.uk. You can contact them directly at ark@langstoneharbour.org.uk

Photo: Quiet Corners

Portsmouth & District Angling Society

For those keen anglers amongst you the time has come to dig out your tackle box for the freshwater season.  Portsmouth & District Angling Association have been operating since 1948 and have control over 13 different sites in and around the Portsmouth area.  As well as having an Environment Agency Rod License you can pay an annual membership fee to the P&DAS to fish at one of their rivers, lakes or ponds.  The membership fee is worth every penny as it all goes back into protecting the environment and the wildlife at each fishing spot, making it more enjoyable for everyone concerned.

If fishing is something that interests you but you’re not quite experienced to start paying membership fees etc., don’t forget we are situated on one of the prime bits of coastline and fishing in the Solent is absolutely free either from the beach or by boat.

Langstone Harbour Flickr Group

Langstone Harbour is one of my favourite places, in contrast to Portsmouth’s busy main harbour Langstone Harbour is quiet, heavily effected by it’s strong tides and also a haven for wildlife. I looked to see if there was a Flickr group dedicated to the harbour and there wasn’t one, so I decided to create one.

If you have any photos from Langstone Harbour please join the group and add them so we can collectively create a pool of photos that show how special Langstone Harbour is.

www.flickr.com/groups/langstoneharbour

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

Harbour Seals

Langstone Harbour and its harbour seal population was profiled on Sunday’s Countryfile, it is available to watch online via the BBC iPlayer and the segment starts at 45:40. A really interesting watch concerning their movements around both Langstone Harbour, Chichester harbour and the Solent, their population and how they are tracked (mobile phone texts, believe it or not).

Never know, might see some on the Farlington Marsh walk on Sunday.

Seals

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

Features

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

Charlie Thompson 2
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
B Of The Bang
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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

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum

Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete is a brand new exhibition commemorating 10 years since the demolition of this distinct and controversial building that between 1966 and 2004 was a fundamental part of the Portsmouth skyline. The exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum goes far beyond documenting the building from an architectural perspective, although for the first time many, many original drawings, plans and photographs are on display from the building’s architects, much of it for the first time ever. Where this exhibition explores beyond the groundbreaking and (for many) iconic Brutalist architectural design is documenting how it was experienced and used by the people of Portsmouth. The exhibition opened on the 15th and formally had its opening celebration to a capacity crowd on Saturday 22nd.

The exhibition on the ground floor of the museum is loosely arranged in to two areas, with the first section detailing the origins of the building from concept to design and build. As you enter this space the striking architectural plans on the wall are what first catch the eye. The lines and form of the concrete structure can almost take you back in time to the exciting and economically optimistic early 1960s, with the original and then cutting edge design still feeling strangely fresh even now. This is reinforced with the many original pamphlets, magazines and books that show the enthusiasm the project launched with. This part of the exhibition also establishes where the Tricorn sat within the Brutalist movement and also with some other buildings in the city such as Portsdown Park and Portsmouth Central Library, both of which are in the exhibition in the form of architect sketches and models.

The second section focuses on how the people of Portsmouth experienced the structure over the years it stood in the city centre. Part of this section is an incredible collection of posters and artwork from the nightclub but there is also related music, photos and even period clothing giving a sense of how the building was, for a time, a hub for the community. This section also looks at how the building was a creative inspiration for many, including artwork, skateboard decks and in particular, photography. It is in this section the Strong Island community photo panel is located, with over 100 photos capturing the structure in artistic angles and light. This area is also home to some striking work by Jon King and James Earle, both of who explored the building with their cameras throughout it’s demolition. Both areas also contain oral history, with interviews, opinions and memories on the Tricorn from both architect and members of the public. Also in both areas of the exhibition are feedback walls, which welcome comments from people visiting the exhibition. Despite the exhibition only being open for a week these are already full with amazing contributions.

On Saturday 22nd the exhibition was formally opened including attendance by VIPs such as Owen Luder, one of the original architects, plus many people associated with the Tricorn from right back to it’s design and construction through to its final demolition. The event included speeches by Owen Luder, Celia Clark and Councillor Lee Hunt, possibly the most interesting was the story of the Tricorn told by Owen Luder himself. It was fascinating to see how for him the aspirations for the building were in many ways dashed due to an economic turndown happening with an extended delay in securing contracts with key business tenants. Of particular note were his thoughts on how the space itself has been used “54 years on it is back to how it was when I first saw it in 1960, a carpark”.

The exhibition runs through to the 29th June.

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (1)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (2)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (3)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (4)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (5)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (6)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (7)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (8)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (9)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (11)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (12)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (13)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (14)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (15)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (16)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (17)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (18)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (19)

Macbeth at the Square Tower

The Scottish play is coming to the atmospheric setting of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth this week. The Southsea Shakespeare Actors, who performed Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island last November, are swapping tomfoolery and twins for blood and revenge in their production of Macbeth, showing from 12th-15th March.

Rob Bartlett, who plays the title role, tells us why the play is so popular among theatregoers, and what the audience can expect from this production.

This is one of Shakespeare’s plays that most people know at least a little about, whether it be the ‘is this a dagger I see before me’ quote or the infamous character of Lady Macbeth. Why do you think it holds such appeal for audiences?

I think it’s because of the mix of supernatural, unbridled ambition and human weakness – we may not all do what the Macbeths do, but we’ve thought about it! If we were given a supernatural push and told by powers beyond our understanding that it would all be okay, we might just act on those impulses more often.

I also think it’s because Macbeth’s descent into madness is so well observed and written that it makes it utterly compelling, and a joy to play. In one line ranting and in the next line totally lucid. The jerkiness of his thoughts makes it a perfect portrayal of manic behaviour.

The play also barrels along at a heck of a pace – there isn’t the flowery poetry of Romeo and Juliet for example, it’s all plot, character and action. I also think that almost every character gets their moment in the spotlight – Lady M and Mackers obviously, but Malcolm, MacDuff, Lady MacDuff, Banquo and even the Porter get their chance to shine (to name but a few)!

There’s a superstition in the theatre world that it’s bad luck to mention the ‘M’ word on the night of a performance, regardless of the play. What’s that all about?

To be honest I have no idea!!! I talk about Macbeth all the time. I think there was some talk about bad things happening on various productions but to me it seems like a good way to get some publicity! 

You’re performing at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth – how do you think the setting will lend itself to the atmosphere of the play?

I think it will be brilliant! A big bare stone building, dimly lit with lots of shadows bouncing off the walls, candles – it will be fab. Also by doing it ‘in the round’ the audience will be really close. They will feel like they are in the scene, not just watching it. There will be times where they can’t see the face of the actor who is delivering the lines but that wont matter, a bit like when you are out with a big group of friends. You can’t always see the face of the person talking but you get a sense of what’s going on from everyone around you – and yes, that will include the other members of the audience on the opposite side of the room who can see.

We are doing some scenes with candles, so it will be really dim – really atmospheric!

Can you sum up in one (short!) sentence what we can expect from the Southsea Shakespeare Actors’ version of Macbeth?

It’s up close and personal – be ready to be part of the action!

 

To book tickets go to http://ssa.ticketsource.co.uk/events or find out more about the Southsea Shakespeare Actors at www.southseashakespeareactors.com.

Far From Home Project Exhibition on 14th March

The Far from Home project and exhibition is a collaboration between Armed Forces Community Covenant scheme, public funding from Arts Council England for Fusion lab taking place in Space, staff and students of the University of Portsmouth, Somerstown residents, local artists, Sharon Court (who ran the recent Somerstown Stories project) and Strong Island Media.

The Far from Home project brought together ex-service personnel and the family or personnel with students based at the Eldon building of the University of Portsmouth, with the group exploring the theme of being Far From Home. The theme was chosen as it was felt that both groups of participants in the projects could emphasise with the sense of leaving home for the first time, leaving friends and family and experiencing a new life. The students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries who have been working alongside these retired armed service personnel and their families learnt more about how it felt to be a new recruit, to be posted overseas, or to be far from home. The students have then created art, including photography, illustration, short films and creative writing based on these experiences for an upcoming Far From Home exhibition in Space. Film footage taken of students talking to and working with armed forces personnel on the project will also be shown. Additionally artefacts from the armed forces personnel will also be on display.

Residents taking part in the project have had the opportunity to also learn new things through taster workshops led by students and a tour of the recently extended Eldon Building, home to the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. These workshops and the tour are designed to break down barriers and increasing understanding for both groups of participants.

The Far From Home exhibition opens with a special afternoon tea on Friday, March 14 and will be open to the public from March 17-26. A book and film will also be produced showcasing the work created as part of the project.

You can find out more about the project at:

www.farfromhomeproject.co.uk

Far From Home Project (1)

Far From Home Project (2)

Far From Home Project (3)

Far From Home Project (4)

Far From Home Project (5)

Far From Home Project (6)

Far From Home Project (7)