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Curxes Album Launch Party With Support From Wyldest & The Boy I Used To Be

Tomorrow night sees the album launch party of Curxes ‘Verxes’ out now via digital download on Strong Island Recordings taking place at The Cellars which is sadly soon to be shut for good. Support for the Curxes launch party comes from the incredible Wyldest and also The Boy I Used to Be. Also Champagne Justice shall be deejaying throughout the night. ‘Verxes’ and the lead single ‘What You Want’ has been picking up a lot of blog and press coverage with ‘What You Want’ also being featured in the top five tracks you need to hear over on Q Magazine.  Dreampop Wyldest themselves have also been picking up a lot of press coverage for their new single ‘Danish Longball’ that was also featured as one of the tracks of the week on Amazing Radio. Third support act The Boy I Used to Be is no stranger to Strong Island Recordings having released ‘I Can’t Stand’ on our compilation late 2013 and since then The Boy I Used to Be have released two EP’s on Pie & Vinyl. Entry for the show is a mere £4 and the doors are at 8pm. The Facebook event can be found here.

poster verxes

 

Jamie’s Italian | Gunwharf Quays

I was recently invited to be the guest of Jamie’s Italian in my old stomping ground of Gunwharf Quays. It seemed like the perfect excuse to have a get together with four good friends.

It has to be one of the largest restaurants in Portsmouth as it can seat around five hundred people at one time. The restaurant has a very industrial feel which was inspired by Portsmouth’s nautical past with a reclaimed mosaic floor, old shipyard winches, and a décor of beautiful historic maritime relics. The Deli counter in the centre of the restaurant is certainly eye catching and a nice focal point to the restaurant.

First off we opted to try a selection of their mocktails, I opted for a Ginger Mojito (£3.25). I have never been much of a fan of Mojitos but I am a big fan of these although I would’ve been even happier had if there was a bit of rum in there.

As a starter I went for the Italian Nachos (£3.95). The crispy fried ravioli was stuffed with three cheeses and served with arrabbiata & Parmesan. This was easily one of my favourite starters on offer anywhere. I begrudgingly shared them with friends who agreed I’d won on the starters.

For the main course I chose one of the vegetarian options in the Baked Crespelle (£11.50). I thought I would go for something I’d never tried before. If I’m honest I’d never even heard of Crespelle before although I’ve since found out that it is simply Italian for crepes. The menu describes the meal as a gluten free buckwheat pancake was filled with Spinach, Westcombe ricotta & basil with smoked mozzarella, sweet buttery leeks, Sicilian tomato sauce & Parmesan. As vegetarian options go this was really good however I had a little bit of food envy going on when I saw a friend’s Steak come out.

I didn’t have it in me to have a dessert but I did manage to grab a taste of a friends Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake (£5.45). The velvety mascarpone & lemon cheesecake topped with Italian meringue, served with lemon curd & blackcurrants is certainly something I would recommend.

I am a fan of what they are doing in the restaurant and will definitely be returning over the summer. I still don’t think that they’d be able to beat my home made meatballs although thinking about it I’m pretty sure it was taken from one of Jamie’s cookbooks so maybe they might.

Jamie's Italian Menu

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Strong Island Recordings X Pie & Vinyl At The Great Escape Preview Part Two

This Thursday both us at Strong Island Recordings and also our friends over at Pie & Vinyl takeover Bleach in Brighton for the day for a Great Escape party and one of the biggest shows both of us have hosted so far. Anybody who has been to Southsea Fest and visited the Pie & Vinyl or Strong Island Recordings stage will know what to expect. The day is also being sponsored by the kind folk at Old Blacksmiths Studio who will be providing us backline for the day helping reduce outgoing costs for us massively. The event is free to Great Escape wristband holders and just £4 for all day without to help recoup costs.  You can check out the Facebook event here.

The second in our preview features the rest of the acts playing the day:

Theo Verney

Fuzz don Theo Verney has played a couple of Strong Island Recordings shows in the past including his first show outside of Brighton and London back in August 2013 and The One Eyed Dog. That was during the release period of the riff riot that was the Heavy Sunn EP on Hate Hate Hate Records the former home to The Wytches, Fat White Family and Kagoule.  Theo Verney’s latest effort ‘Mountain Rose’ and also ‘Brain Disease’ that was premiered on Fake DIY yesterday showcases a much more refined Theo.  If you leave a Theo Verney show without feeling like you’ve taken a piledriver to your neck then you were probably just at the wrong show. Catch Theo Verney at 10.55pm.

Flyying Colours 

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia; it’s fair to say Flyying Colours have come a bit far to play The Great Escape Festival. The psych/shoegazers create a luscious yet visceral wall of noise that crashes down upon you. Their latest EP was released on the excellent Club AC30 yesterday. If you dig MBV, Slowdive, Swervedriver etc then Flyying Colours are for you. This is their only Alternative Escape show where a Great Escape wristband isn’t needed and one of their last on their UK date so make the most of it. You can catch Flyying Colours at 10.00pm.

Man Made

Mancunian outfit Man Made create scuzzed out indie meets post punk topped in brain melting, grunge tinted basslines. The guys are set to dominate the festival season this year and recently had their latest 7″ single fly out off of shelves upon Record Store Day. You can catch the guys at 9.05pm at Bleach.

Gang

Strong Island Recordings label family Gang are quite simply put one of the most exciting new bands in the UK. Brighton at the moment is churning out some incredible new bands from Demob Happy, The Magic Gang, The Wytches, Black Honey to Theo Verney above and Gang are the latest grunge ridden psych band from Brighton to be unleashed.  The doom pop trio have released a couple of EP’s over the last year with Sandscrape on Strong Island Recordings and also ‘Silverback’ on Sexx Tapes. You can catch Gang at 8.10pm.

Morning Smoke

Brighton’s Morning Smoke are one of our favourite new bands. Combining intense shoegaze and aspects of post punk, the quartet leave the audience pulverised from their immense wall of sound during live shows. Thier recordings capture their live shows charm which leaves you wrapped around in a coil of noise whilst gorgeous textures whirl by. In a way they remind us a lot of our own Is Bliss (RIP?) which is a great thing indeed. You can check out ‘Unknown’ that was premiered just yesterday and you can catch the guys at 7.20pm at Bleach.

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Picture Box an Exhibition of Paintings by Ben Walker at Jack House Gallery

Jack House Gallery‘s second exhibition in Portsmouth’s newest gallery is an exhibition of painter Ben Walker’s arresting figurative images. Misty and haunting, like unexpectedly retrieved childhood memories, the artist works mainly on coarse grained linen which accentuates the otherworldly qualities of these shadowy episodes. Influenced by postcard art and by an illustrative style familiar from vintage children’s books, winner of the Jack Goldhill Painting prize, Walker approaches colour in a subdued, unhurried way adding to the ethereal narrative of pictures that linger long in the imagination.

“I use photos and other ‘found’ source materials such as old children’s book illustrations for my paintings. Over the last year or so I have become interested in making representations of childhood rooted in the past, often 1970s and 80s,” he says. “It has to be a scene or composition I feel I can translate into paint and I think the act of translating the image means it becomes mine. It’s impossible to say how I choose some images over others. I like simple compositions and I try to show a lot with very little,” often leaving out something substantial from the original, “so the painted image is a simplified condensed version.”

The exhibition runs from Saturday 16th May to the 20th June and is free. You can find this great new gallery in Old Portsmouth, check their website for more details:

jackhousegallery.com

Picture Box an Exhibition of Paintings by Ben Walker at Jack House Gallery

Picture Box an Exhibition of Paintings by Ben Walker at Jack House Gallery

Tall Ships Open Day in Portsmouth on Thursday 14th

The Tall Ships Youth Trust are welcoming Stavros S Niarchos back to Portsmouth on Thursday 14th May with an open day for the public. You can explore their 200ft Tall Ship, 72ft Challenger Yachts and the Tall Ships Catamaran. The open day is from 1pm to 5pm.

The 200ft brig is the biggest to be built in the UK in a century and the open day will give everyone the opportunity to go on board, explore her magnificent decks and learn more about a modern day square rigged brig.

For all photographers: Stavros S Niarchos is expected to be alongside in Gunwharf at 10am in case you wanted any photos of her sailing in from the Hot Walls between 8.30am to 9:30am.

If you’ve always wanted to sail a Tall Ship, there are a few spaces left on the Day Sail out of Portsmouth on Saturday 16th May, alternatively if you’d like to commit to a longer voyage there is a 6 night French Cruise taking place on Sunday 17th May, giving you an insight to life at sea. On the French sail you will cross the English Channel and experience the stunning coastlines of France and a variety of wildlife. To book and to find out more about the Trust, please visit the Tall Ships website:

tallships.org

Stavros S Niarchos

Stavros S Niarchos

Short Courses in Screenprinting and Photography at The University of Portsmouth

The School of Art and Design at The University of Portsmouth have just announced new short courses in Screenprinting and Photography at Eldon Building, Middle Street. The courses are open to all and refreshments / lunch included in the price which is £350.

From 29 June – 02 July and 13 – 16 July 2015 there will be two short courses in Experimental Screenprinting.
An opportunity to learn screenprinting with access to specialist printmaking equipment and expertise from instructor Christian Bennett. This course will allow you to experiment with a range of techniques and develop your skills and confidence in printmaking. Each course lasts 4 days.
For further details and information on how to book – http://port.ac.uk/school-of-art-and-design/cpd/experimental-screenprinting/

From 06 – 09 and 27 – 30 July 2015  two short courses on Silver and Salt – Traditional Medium Format Photography. An opportunity to learn the format using equipment on location and in the dark room, using traditional techniques to develop the photographs you take including cyanotype printing. Led by experienced photography instructor Russell Squires.
For further details and information on how to book – http://port.ac.uk/school-of-art-and-design/cpd/silver-and-salt-traditional-medium-format-photography/

Portsmouth Beer Festival – May 2015

On Friday 15th & Saturday 16th May the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK, including a variety of pale ales and golden beers which are perfect for the summer months ahead. Not forget there will also be more of my personal favourites, the darker stouts and porters. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Havant and Irving & Co to name just a few.

Co organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

During the festival the pub games room will again be open and the Saturday evening session will feature prize giveaways as well as a traditional meat raffle with a modern twist sponsored by Bransbury Park Butchers. Keep an eye out on Strong Island next week as I will be featuring some of the great live music you can expect to hear over the weekend.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session (some venues subject to booking fee) and include a souvenir beer glass, programme and beer token. Tickets are available online at pompeybeerfestival.co.uk, Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, Leopold Tavern and from our own Strong Island HQ at 12 Highland Road (open Thursday-Saturdays).

The festival is fast earning a reputation as one of the best events in the city. If you have never been before then I encourage you to get some tickets for yourself and some friends and check it out for yourself.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Portsmouth Beer Festival

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show: Gig Posters from Around the World at Portsmouth Guildhall

This Summer, Portsmouth Guildhall plays host to an exhibition by Pie & Vinyl of framed works of contemporary studios from all over the world: North, Central and South America, Europe and across the UK. The gig-poster as a medium has changed over the years. From letter-pressed bills listing performers much like boxing match promotionals, to lithographed variety show paste-ups, to screen-printed works of dazzling psychedelia, the roots of the gig-poster lie in advertising – tantalising and bold they fought for your attention, with the sole goal of securing ticket sales. Punk then tore up the rules with the xerox and ransom note collage and with the economy of modern reproduction techniques came a slide in the craft of the poster, if not in their “collectability”…

…fast forward a decade or more and poster design and production began to cater for the collector – many contemporary studios design work with the goal of creating a popular culture artefact, a memento of a time and its sound and the scene growing from it – something to be taken home and treasured.

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show in both the Cafe and the Zodiac Gallery contains work including numerous styles, techniques, colours and themes and was curated by Petting Zoo. The posters are on display now and runs until Tuesday 29th September, access is during the normal Guildhall opening hours and is free.

Some of the posters are from private collections but many of the framed exhibition prints are available for sale (via the Guildhall Box Office, collection once the exhibition has finished). Pie & Vinyl are also selling multiples from their shop.

Tomorrow sees the special opening event, open to all, from 7pm to 8:30pm. Pie & Vinyl will be DJing too! Cash bar available.

Pie & Vinyl Poster Show

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show: Gig Posters from Around the World at Portsmouth Guildhall

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show: Gig Posters from Around the World at Portsmouth Guildhall

Independent Film ‘Fratton’ Premieres at Portsmouth Film Society on 21st May

We’ve been closely following the Fratton film project from its early crowdfunding inception three years ago, through to the 13 days of production and then post-production, teaser, trailer and now with the film hitting the big screen. The film is completely independent and a labour of love for all involved, anyone taking on a feature length drama production should be given their due respect.

The film is a coming of age drama that tells the story of James following a brutal mugging and his relationship with one of the attackers on a journey of fear, excitement and self-discovery. Portsmouth newcomer Ben Caswell plays the leading role, supported by award-winning British actors Oliver Park, Joanna Howden and Edward Mitchell, with key performances from local actors Wil Sammes, Jayme Swiftt and Graham Cawte. Some of the local locations include The Cellars at Eastney, Palmerston Road, Drift Bar, Old Portsmouth and the streets of Fratton and Milton.

“Producing Fratton was a challenge but we’ve brought to life a story that we feel will stand the test of zero budget. Fratton is a testament to the dedication of all the cast and crew so we have been really looking forward to sharing it with the community and get their reaction” – Director Jack D Searle.

The Portsmouth Film Society will hold the first public screening of the independently produced local film FRATTON on the 21st of May at 18:30 in the Eldon Building main auditorium of the University of Portsmouth. The capacity is 200 people; tickets are £6.00 and are available at:

portsmouthfilmsociety.org.uk/tickets

YOu can find out much more about the film at: frattonfilm.co.uk

Fratton Film

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 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 #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram 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.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar Poster B 2016

Portsmouth Pride 2015 – Saturday 20th June

Saturday saw Portsmouth Pride officially launch their event with a celebration of securing a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, allowing the event to grow from its small Victoria Park origins. The cities’ first Pride event since 1999 will now feature two distinct celebrations; a family-friendly parade led by a variety of local groups including a ‘Cavalcade of LGBT Characters Through History’ created by the Groundlings Theatre from Guildhall to the common where the parade will join the Portsmouth Pride Variety Show. The show promises to be fun all-family affair featuring two live music stages,  market stalls and information points where you can find out about Portsmouth’s LGBT community.

The organisers are encouraging members of the public to show their support by ‘sending a selfie’ to their Facebook page making sure you include the rainbow colours and as many friends as you can muster. The best images will be featured in a film to be produced after the show so crafty creativity is highly recommended.

As a lasting legacy to Pride, the organisers have also been working with LGBT awareness and inclusion charity Stonewall on a project focussed on local schools to create a network of ambassadors and mentors whose goal is to eradicate bullying and prejudice in whatever form it takes, from racism to disability discrimination. 

You can keep up with events through the Pride Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @portsmouthpride2015.

A Midsummer Nights Dream At The Groundlings Theatre

Portsmouth’s Groundling’s Theatre has this week been transformed into a wooded, magical and glittering set to host Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

With productions running all the way from May 7th-May 16th the cast have given nothing but jaw dropping, dramatic and poetic performances which are an absolute must see.

The teasing, inventive and hilarious play with slight undertones of fleeting seriousness is exceptional and the theatre and its wonderful cast of actors and actresses have outdone themselves yet again.

Supporting the countries oldest theatre and one that we are lucky enough to call our local is vital to its continued success and so the team at the Groundlings invite everyone to attend and take part in these wonderful adaptations.

Follow the theatre on Facebook or visit the Website for upcoming performances, dates and times.

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Less Than Two Weeks Until Common People Festival

The brand new two day adventure is soon to be upon us and festival up dates are getting even more exciting with the recent release of the Day of the Dead Cocktail Bus.

Josie Da Bank and her team of artistic elves have spent months and months designing what is set to be the coolest bus bar and a central point of the festival with local Portsmouth, Astoria DJ’s hosting. The bus will serve a selection of colourful concoctions to sip whilst getting down to the likes of Jack harris, Owen B, Adam Baxter, So Positive Sounds, Midnight Riot Records and Sam Eynon as well as many, many more.

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A reminder of headline acts that will be literally gracing the stage include, the force of nature personality and performer, Grace Jones who is soon to release a brand new album and will as always show effortless panache on stage. She is absolutely not to be missed!

Fatboy Slim and his classic tunes will also be making an appearance and will have festival goers raving until the early hours.

Other treats to look forward too will include performances from the winners of the BBC Sound of 2015 and an enormous array of fantastic fun and daytime diversions to amuse and entertain everybody who attends.

Tickets are available from Ticketline from £30 and reductions for children and teens.

To stay up to date on all things Common People you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter @cpeoplefest and Instagram @commonpeoplefestival.

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Hilsea Lido Splash Street Art Event This Sunday

This Sunday sees a group of Portsmouth’s finest street artists, including Farkfk, My Dog Sighs, Dharma, Lex Luther and Mimic (amongst others) inject a splash of colour at Portsmouth’s Hilsea Lido. Hilsea Lido is a part of Portsmouth’s architectual and social heritage, now run by a hard working group of volunteers who took it over some years ago after a a long stretch of it being drained and closed. Hilsea Lido Pool for the People work tirelessly on little to no budget to keep it open for the public to enjoy through the summer months.

The artists will be going to work with murals on both the inside and outside walls of the lido. The painting starts at around 10am with the best views of the walls available in the late afternoon when the artists are finishing up. This event sees Portsmouth locals Farkfk and My Dog Sighs collaborate for the first time on a large scale mural on the outside back wall. This bringing together of both of their signature styles is going to be well worth the wait, they’ve been talking about it for almost 10 years.

All the work that takes place on Sunday is on a voluntary basis at the lido, with the artists giving up their own time. If anyone would like to sponsor an artist to help cover some of their paint costs then please get in contact with My Dog Sighs at www.mydogsighs.com.

There is also talk of a BBQ too…see you there!

Photos from a previous street art events up in the city centre by Adam Reeves.

New Theatre Royal Paint Jam - Photo by Adam Reeves (8)

Photos from the Portsmouth Street Art Festival by Adam Reeves (9)

Photos from the Portsmouth Street Art Festival by Adam Reeves (8)

Omega Centre Arts Fair

This Sunday 10th May sees the Omega Arts Centre open its doors to any and all for a celebration of work by local creatives, artists and makers alongside free taster workshops in a variety of mediums.

From 11am till 4pm, the Omega Centre will be hosting an artist-led exhibition with work available to purchase and the chance to talk to the creators of each piece. Covering mediums from photography to printmaking, glasswork and ceramic sculpture, there’s something for all artistic tastes and is a perfect opportunity to pick up original art at affordable prices. If you’re looking to exhibit yourself, stands are a reasonable £15 for the day; those interested should contact the centre here.

If you’d prefer to have a go at creating your own art, the centre tutors will be on hand throughout the day advising, running mini workshops and selling their own work to give you an idea as to what to expect from their tutorials. Food and drink will also be on hand from local businesses, making sure that you’re refreshed throughout the day.

The event is free to the public with equally free on street parking for all attendees.

Strong Island Photo of The Year Competition Week 4 Winner and Runners Ups

Sorry for the long delay…one of those weeks! For this week we saw lots of submissions come through Instagram, Twitter and email for the Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition (using the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015 on Twitter and Instagram). We’re happy to announce the fourth weekly winning photo and photographer, Billie Cawte.

Billie Cawte
Family in the Sea by Billie Cawte (Submitted by Instagram).

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 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 Monday (promise!). To enter simply email, Tweet or Instagram your photo that was taken in, on or around Portsmouth.


Photo by Tony Benham.


Photo by Sam Kew.


Photo by Ailsa Brims.


Photo by Alessandro Salvatore.


Photo by Matt Maber.


Photo by Johnny Black.


Photo by Danielle Gridley.


Photo by Chris Grant.

HMS Victory Was Launched 250 Years Ago

Today sees the 250th anniversary of the launch of HMS Victory. Construction first began in 1759 at Chatham Dockyard with the ships name being chosen in 1760 and launch on the 7th May 1765. The Victory is often first remembered as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 but had a very active history in battle in the 40 years previous including serious reconstruction in 1800.

HMS Victory is a key part of Portsmouth’s naval heritage and a distinctive part of the city’s skyline. A visit while at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is highly recommended (it’s easy as a local to sometime never get around to exploring some of the best local attractions) and the HMS Victory website is a great resource for information on the ship.

www.hms-victory.com

Restoring HMS Victory by William Lionel Wyllie
Restoring HMS Victory by William Lionel Wyllie.

The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (1822)
The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (1822).

HMS Dreadnought and HMS Victory
HMS Dreadnought and HMS Victory.

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

Road To Blissfields 2015 Review

Last week saw the Edge of the Wedge host the 2015 Hampshire leg of the Road To Blissfields. The event gave the opportunity for local artists to compete for a chance to play at Blissfields.

First up on stage was solo singer songwriter Just Millie. This can often be a difficult slot but Millie quickly grabbed the attention of the crowd who listened attently to her set. Millie performed a number of her own songs including a track inspired by Amy Winehouse. I enjoyed her set and am sure that she will have gained some new fans in the crowd after that performance. I have to warn you though, avoid her home on halloween as it is likely to be you on the receiving end of the trick and a treat if you are still around.

Just Millie Road To Blissfields

Second on stage was Jack Grace. This was a set I was really looking forward to, the Bournemouth based artist was one which really caught my attention while I was researching for my previews last week. Joined by his friends and regular supporting band they performed a number of tracks taken from Jack’s three EP’s. Highlights of the set included the haunting track ‘remember me’ and ‘406’.

Jack Grace Road To Blissfields

Third to take the stage were Duveax. They put on the most energetic set of the night and had the crowd were loving it and they could be seen having a little dance too. This was quite an achievement considering they didn’t bring any of their entourage to the show and the audience was full of people who were seeing the band for the first time. You have to give credit to any band who can win over a crowd so quickly into hearing them for the first time.

Duveaux Road To Blissfields

The next band on stage were alternative country/rock n roll band from Southampton The Family. They offered something very different from I have previously seen in Road To Blissfields and I enjoyed it. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a pedal steel guitar in action and I loved it. The Family are certainly a band I would love to see visit Portsmouth again in the near future for a full set of their own.

The Family Road To Blissfields

Dutch Criminal Record closed the competition and due to issues with South West Trains nearly went on stage without a drummer, fortunately he managed to make it in time. Known affectionately to their fans as DCR, we were treated to a selection of songs including ‘Bondi Bay’ and ‘Outside’ which the boisterous crowd was clearly enjoying with the repeated chants of “DCR” echoing through the Edge of the Wedge.

Dutch Criminal Record Road To Blissfields

While the judges, including myself, representatives from Blissfields and Breaking More Waves deliberated the crowd were entertained by local band Big Child Man Child. It was a tough decision, made even harder by the fact that all of the artists involved seemed so damn nice. There had to be a winner and after some discussion we all agreed that the winner based on the nights performances were Duveax! The band will now be given a slot at Blissfields festival.

Blissfields itself will be held on 2nd to 4th July at Vicarage Farm just outside of Winchester. The theme for this years event is ‘Somewhere In Time’. As Blissfields approaches it’s fifteenth anniversary, the weekend will give you a chance to look back over the festivals history and more, and to gaze into the curious future of the universe, permitting your imagination to run free.

Artists confirmed so far include The Horrors, John Grant, Simian Mobile Disco, Grandmaster Flash, Glass Animals, Public Service Broadcasting, Dub Pistols and the awesome Cosmo Sheldrake. Not to forget local Strong Island favourites Big Child Man Child, Kassassin Street, Luke Ferre, Curxes, Popobawa and Floella Grace. Tickets for the main event are on sale now from www.blissfields.co.uk.

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Tony Jupp for providing us with some cracking photographs from the night. Check out his Flickr to see more of his work.

Blissfields 2015 Logo

Creative Census – Measuring the Creative Temperature of Portsmouth

Every year, for the last five years, Strong Island has taken on a large creative project aiming to engage with people from all over the city of Portsmouth. We had the Strong Island Exhibition at the Round Tower, the PRIMARY photography project & exhibition, Creating Balance, Creative Cargo and for 2015 we’re running Creative Census.

The creative industries in the UK have grown dramatically in recent years, become a power house of economic growth and innovation in the national economy. As of January 2015 the Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy for the creative industries has increased 25.8% since 2008, with the creative industries contributing £8.8 million to the UK economy every hour*. In recent years the creative sector in Portsmouth has grown dramatically and for the very first time we want to take a measure of the sector in the city.

The first Portsmouth Creative Census aims to measures the size, shape and make up of the creative industries workforce in the city. It also aims to identify emerging trends and question what are the resource needs and funding issues that could benefit the industry by helping it to grow and flourish in the future. The census aims to look at any individual, organisation and business who is either based in the city or works primarily in the city (check the Creative Census website full details on if you can qualify for the census). We need your help to leverage local, regional and national bodies to address your issues and build a stronger creative sector.

The census aims to engage with people working in different creative sectors such as Advertising, Marketing, Architecture, Crafts, Design (product, fashion and graphic), Film, TV, Video, Radio, Photography, IT & Software (including web design & application development), Publishing, Museums, Galleries, Libraries, Music, Performing & Visual Arts and more. If you work within these different strands of the creative industries, we really want to hear from you!

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 launches today, with the census open for contributions throughout June to August 2015. Once the census is closed we’ll collate all of the data and working with statisticians, experts in the sector and graphic designers we’ll produce a presentation with all of the information created by the census. We aim to release the presentation by December 2015.

Creative Census Portsmouth is a Strong Island project, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth. To find out much more about the project please visit:

www.creativecensus.co.uk

Creative Census

* DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates – January 2015

Portsmouth Summer Show Announcement

This morning will there was an exciting announcement from the team behind the new Portsmouth Summer Show which is to be held on King George playing field in Cosham this June. The event looks like it is going to be a fun event for the whole family with boyband Blue, Professor Green, Alesha Dixon, X factor’s Matt Cardle, Lucy Spraggan and Luke Friend performing over the weekend.

Tickets are on sale now at £7 for adults, £5 for 5-15 year olds and Under 5’s able to attend for just £1. You can get your hands on tickets now by visiting the website www.portsmouthsummershow.co.uk.

You can stay up to date on all things Portsmouth Summer Show by following them them Facebook and Twitter @PortsSummerShow.

portsmouth summer show

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival Charity Football Game – Match Report

Saturday saw a Southsea Alternative Choir XI take on a special Victorious Festival XI in a charity football match to raise money for Samuels Fund. The game took place at Cams Alders in Fareham, the home of Fareham Town Football Club.

In a competitive start to the match team Southsea Alternative Choir went 1-0 after a goal by Joe Richards. Early on in the game while both teams found their feet the ball spent a lot of time in the air, however it wasn’t too long before both teams started to get the ball down and play some passing football. After a decisive attack from Team Victorious midfielder Lee Carter equalised making it 1-1.

Team Southsea Alternative Choir were unlucky not to retake the lead after goalkeeper Ian Leighfield pulled off a great reaction save from point blank range. Stuart Scott also went close for the Choir after beat four defenders and bringing the ball forward from the half way line he placed his shot just wide of the post. It was Team Victorious who went into half time leading 2-1 after a goal from Darren Cocking.

Team Southsea Alternative Choir were always looking to attack and play the ball forward into the opposition half however they were unable to get the equaliser. It was Team Victorious who were the most clinical going forward with Lee Carter and Darren Cocking both scoring their second goals so team Victorious came out 4-1 victors at the final whistle.

Both sides did themselves proud and there were good performances all over the pitch but for me it was Lee Carter who made the difference and deserved my vote for man of the match.

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival

Make Your Mark Creative Youth Project with Big World Impact and Making Space

Leigh Park arts organisation Making Space has for the last 6 months or so been working with local youth engagement charity Big World Impact on a project entitled Make Your Mark that engages with local young people in a variety of different creative disciplines. Young people from ages 9 to 19 have taken part in activities such as fashion design, jewellery design and making, photography, writing, textiles and much more, with many of them aiming for different levels of Arts Award qualification at the end of the project.

The end of the project also sees a celebration of the project with much of the work produced by the participants on display at a fashion show and exhibition this Saturday (9th May). From there the exhibition will then be on display to the public at Making Space next week from Monday to Wednesday, 12pm to 6pm.

Strong Island Media was pleased to take part int he project providing photography workshops for different ages groups, exploring the basic composition techniques through to photo walks and studio setups. A few photos from the young people who took part are shown below. Other local art practitioners also took part in the project too.

Make Your Mark (7)

Make Your Mark (3)

Make Your Mark (4)

Make Your Mark (2)

Make Your Mark (1)

Make Your Mark (5)

Make Your Mark (6)

Make Your Mark (8)

Strong Island Recordings x Pie & Vinyl At The Great Escape Festival Preview Plus Locals Part One

On the 14th May Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl team up for a showcase at one of Brighton’s best up and coming venues Bleach. The show is free entry with a main Great Escape wristband and just £4 without so even if you’re not down Brighton for the festival you can still come along.  First up in our Great Escape previews we’re going to showcase the locals heading over to the festival. You can find out more details on the Facebook event here.

Rickyfitts

Rickyfitts are probably Portsmouth’s finest and explosive live band. Tinnitus inducing thrash meets grunge meets hardcore punk, the destructive duo inflict listeners with a tidal wave of sludge. With releases on both Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl, it would have been madness had we not had Rickyfitts play. They play Bleach at 4.00pm.

Melt Dunes

Newest signings to Strong Island Recordings; Melt Dunes are the soundtrack to your nightmares. Doom laden psychedelia meets garage rock, Melt Dunes are one of the most exciting new bands from the south-coast and one of the best live acts too. Look out for their debut single on Strong Island Recordings very soon. Catch Melt Dunes kick off the day at 3.10pm.

Curxes

Having just released ‘Verxes’ on Strong Island Recordings, Curxes are Portsmouth’s finest alt-pop meets electronic act. Gaining praise from NME to Q Magazine and also being invited to remixes CHRVCHES ‘Recover’ the now trio will be bringing their frenetic blitz pop to The Great Escape playing at 5.40pm.

The Boy I Used to Be

Sun soaked garage pop meets folk and psychedelia, The Boy I Used to Be signed to Pie & Vinyl are a joyous, sonic experience. Another act having releases on both Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl, The Boy I Used to Be were always going to be playing our Great Escape stage. Catch the trio at 6.30pm.

Sacha 

Creating eccentric eighties synth pop, one man Gosport native Sacha is the newest addition to the Pie & Vinyl roster. It’s luscious left field pop that is the soundtrack to a summers night. Sacha plays Bleach at 4.50pm.

As well as the city being finely represented at our stage with Pie & Vinyl there are a couple of other splendid acts from the city playing across the weekend.

Kassassin Street

It takes a rather large national touring act to sell out the Wedgewood Rooms but Kassassin Street seem to have no difficulty in doing such thing. Arguably Portsmouth’s favourite sons and best known act since Shadow Child and Kry Wolf; Kassassin Street cross between indie, new wave and electronic fused psychedelia. The guys play Sticky Mike’s at 12 noon on the Friday and a Great Escape wristband isn’t needed.

Jerry Williams

I first caught Jerry Williams at The Wedgewood Rooms a couple of years back when Is Bliss won the road to Blissfields. Although Jerry may not have won, the talent was evident enough and Jerry Williams still deservedly got a slot at Blissfields that weekend anyway.  Intertwining from folk to jangly pop all coated in sweet vocals and lyrics of teenage love, it’s hard to not be taken to Jerry Williams’s charm ridden songs. Jerry Williams plays a fair few shows across the festival where many of the slot times haven’t been announced. If you have a wristband though you can check Jerry Williams on the 15th Mat at the Speigelpub at 6.30pm.

poster TGE

Curxes Debut Album ‘Verxes’ Out Now On Strong Island Recordings

Today Curxes ‘Verxes’ the debut album by the now trio was released via digital download on our Strong Island Recordings label. The album has been a long time coming for the amazing alt-pop outfit who are set for a few festival appearances across the summer with The Great Escape Festival, Blissfields and Victorious Festival all confirmed as well as a launch party on the 13th May with Wyldest at The Cellars in Eastney. You can purchase the album from the likes of iTunes and Amazon and also stream it from services such as Spotify. Thank you everyone for the continued support of our little Southsea based label.

verxes album

poster verxes

Dear Bill Bryson By Ben Aitken

Ben Aitken, 30 from Fratton in Portsmouth, Arts and Culture Editor of The Holborn decided that to mark the twentieth anniversary of ‘Notes from a Small Island’ By Bill Bryson, he would retrace the writer’s steps as closely as possible on a wonderful expedition.

Staying in the same hotels and eating the same foods as well as spending the same amount of time in the bath tub as Mr Bryson, Ben wanted to experience this journey exactly as it happened and even managed to finish his adventure outside Bill Bryson’s house on Christmas Eve.

Ben has almost finished writing a book about his adventure and when asked why he did it said, ‘I felt that a younger, less cosy, less American perspective on my homeland wouldn’t be the worst thing in the World and I was sick of serving taco’s in a Mexican restaurant.’

Ben wrote the first few chapters of his book as a ‘Writer in Residence’ at the ‘Shakespeare and Company Bookshop‘ in Paris and explains that as exciting as it may sound, he slept on the floor next to the Science Fiction Shelves during his stay.

To sell the book Ben has offered a selection of purchase options and prices which include a copy for the book alone for £15. A copy of the book along with him reading it to you in the bath for £350 or finally for the bargain price of £1500 you can have a copy of the book and a 1988 Nissan Vanette Campervan in which to read it.

Ben also boasts of his willingness to get an ‘I love Bill Bryson’ tattoo  done if he manages to get 400 backers for his book and will also donate 10% of all of his book sales after his initial 5k target to the charity ‘Room to Read’, which works to boost literacy rates for children in developing countries including Nepal, which was so recently and devastatingly struck by natural disaster.

Support Ben and his mission by checking out his book and follow him on Kickstarter or on Facebook for updates and progressions.

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Review of Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

Coastguard Studio this past weekend was host to it’s fifth (if I remember right) exhibition in a matter of six months or so, this one being a spin-off show to to the hugely successful Under the Spotlight exhibition earlier this year. Under the Spotlight | Photography brought together 30 photographers who are either based in Portsmouth or have strong ties with the city and the large open plan gallery space was packed full of diverse and engaging work.

I started off in the bar area, grabbing a beer and then checking out the panels lining the walls to this back space of Coastguard Studio. The first series that caught the eye were a pair of medium format, multiple exposures by Matt Ankers. I’ve seen a lot of Matt’s digital and commercial work (such as Victorious) so it was great to see his more personal work. The two images complemented each other well with emotive seaside scenes shot locally. Great to see film well represented in the exhibition. Next door on the wall was a series of film-noir inspired portraits by University of Portsmouth student Harry Murphy. This small wall right from the get go showed the incredible diversity of work produced for the exhibition and the different backgrounds of the contributors.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Matt Ankers
Work by Matt Ankers.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Harry Murphy
Work by Harry Murphy.

Another eye catching and intriguing panel was by Deborah Holton. The panel of 4 matched images showed x-ray collections of objects found on beach walks, going back over a decade or more. Each individual beach collection was kept in a 35mm film canister and could consist of beach glass, stones, sand and more. The idea behind the project and the dedication and composition consistency elevated this work to a highly conceptual piece that I’m sure inspired a few people to consider striking up their own ambitious concepts and projects in the future.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Deborah Holton
Work by Deborah Holton.

Also in this space were works by Andrew Hayward whose photography we’ve featured on a few occasions on Strong Island. On display were a small set of Andrew’s personal project capturing the oasis feel of service stations at night (also recently exhibited in a solo show with Aspex Gallery and Portsmouth Guildhall). The different garages shot in the same compositional style created a sense of consistency in the panel, drawing the eye in to discover more about the lit forecourts and bringing to mind the memories of late night road trips with friends and finding a sanctuary of fuel for the car and for the passengers. We’re actually exhibiting Andrew’s latest project in Strong Island Co very soon, keep an eye out for details.

Also shown in the room was work by Billie Cawte with her series of photos of projections shot around Portsmouth. These carefully considered images matched a location with a projection of a vintage image, shot at night, instilling a sense of continuity of a sense of place extending beyond normal, individual perceptions of time. These also, in a pleasantly strange way, bring to life forgotten functional corners of buildings. There was lots more to see in this space with other work by local photographers, I spent a little more time looking around before moving in to the large, open main exhibition space.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Straight away it was great to see the place so busy. It was early-ish on the Saturday night and the place was full of people of all ages checking out the work and chatting. Its always great to take a step back in an exhibition and just see people enjoying it. There is way too much work to go through individually here but a few panels really caught my eye for very different reasons. In one corner were a series of 360 images taken by Guilhem Brandy which showed different, familiar, spots around the city in an interesting new way. Changing up perspectives of familiar places is something I personally really like and this series from Albert Road, Southsea Seafront, Garrison Church and Guildhall Square drew you in to find out more.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

One of the many great things about a shared exhibition is that the work touches on so many different subjects, drawing out many different thoughts and feelings from the people viewing the work. In a matter of a few steps you could take in the B&W film street photography by Matt Maber exploring the physical, social and cultural boundaries of Fratton Park on a Saturday afternoon through to the questioning and bold nudes by Ashton Keiditsch. In particular the powerful image of a lady with a partial mastectomy meant that the exhibition tackled some heavyweight subjects and these honest and questioning portraits looking at contemporary body image issues rightly raised discussion. The work reminded me of the recent series by Bryan Adams and also The Battle We Didn’t Choose.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Ashton Keiditsch
Work by Ashton Keiditsch.

Also panels that caught the eye included: the photos of Diana Goss whose work has a foot in each of her professions: photography and psychotherapy, the long exposures by both Elmer Maniebo and Jon Neil, the portraits by Aaron Bennett, the views on old age by Yasmin Collins and so, so much more. Hopefully the photos below give you a glimpse.

If you want to see the work in person the exhibition is open until Friday from 12pm to 2pm. Check the Coastguard Studio Facebook page for more information HERE.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Yasmin Collins

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Aaron Bennett

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Strong Island Summer Portsmouth Photography Walkshops

Through Strong Island Media we have delivered photography workshops over the last 3 years to over a thousand people of all ages and abilities across the south coast. Working with Chichester Harbour Conservancy, University of Portsmouth, Making Space, Hampshire Cultural Trust plus many schools and youth groups we’ve developed Walkshops, where rather than sitting down in a classroom you actively learn different photography skills and techniques out and about with your camera, with support from a professional photographer.

We’ve delivered dozens of these Walkshops from Worthing through to Bournemouth and as far north as Surrey but for the first time we’re now offering them to the budding photographers in Portsmouth. We’re blessed with a visually rich and diverse city, with harbours, beaches, woodland, wildlife and lots of heritage to explore through photography. These photography workshops throughout the summer will take place at different locations around the city and will involve a leisurely 2 hour walk with fun & creative photo activities allowing you to find out much more about your camera and how to get the best from it in the future. We’ll be looking at composition, perspectives, textures, leading lines, creating narrative and also how to take control of aperture and shutter speed.

All you have to do is bring along your camera to take part. It can be anything from a digital compact through to an SLR and if you want to shoot 35mm film, cool! If you don’t have your own camera we have a selection of digital compacts you are free to borrow for the workshop. We can even offer 35mm SLRs for you to use if you like. Even if you just bring along your cameraphone you’ll learn loads that’ll make a big difference to your mobile photography.

Walkshops are 2 hours long (from 10am to 12pm) and cost £10 either in advance (booked online) or in person at the start of the workshop. Group size is limited to 15 per workshop. All ages welcome.

Walkshop dates and locations are as follows:

20th June – Old Portsmouth, meeting at the Round Tower
4th July – Southsea Seafront, meeting at Clarence Pier
18th July – Hilsea Lines/Foxes Forest, meeting at Hilsea
8th August – Eastney, meeting at Hayling Ferry Point
15th August – Southsea Castle
19th September – Southsea Seafront, meeting at Rose Gardens

You can book online on any of these walkshops right HERE using Eventbrite & PayPal. For more information give Paul a call on 07752 007101 or email paul@strongislandmedia.com.

Seal Primary Academy

Conservancy Sunset Workshop

Chamberlayne Photography Workshop

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 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 #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram 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.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar Poster B 2016

Created Local Special: Immy Smith and the Brain Tumour Research lab at the University of Portsmouth

We’ve featured many local artists, photographers, filmmakers, designers & makers under the Created Local series for many years (over 100 in the last 6 years), profiling work touching on many, many different subjects. Immy Smith’s background, artwork and working environment is something a little different.

Immy Smith is a rare creative, working in what initially might be thought of as two different worlds: one foot in science, the other in art. With a PhD in Pharmacology plus a strong arts background Immy has recently been working in the Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories at the University of Portsmouth on a 10 month residency which looks at how to foster better and more creative working relationships between medical science and the arts. The residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims specifically to create a sense of collaboration with not just laboratory staff but also the patients effected by brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“The project I’m working on here at the Brain Tumour Research lab is a Leverhulme artists residency where I work in the lab making art alongside science researchers. Our project aims to tell the story of brain tumour patients, scientists and clinicians, through art. We want to make these stories accessible and share the unique challenges of brain tumours with a wider audience to help raise awareness of this devastating disease.” – Immy Smith

Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Working within the laboratory environment sees the research staff and artists working in a shared space, with artwork becoming a part of the laboratory environment. The relationship allowing for artistic insight in to the latest treatment research and the scientist an appreciation of creative processes and different patterns of thought. The project has included workshops with scientists as well as patients, collecting stories and aiming to “fill the gap in understanding”; having perspective on cancer analogies, unique sensory & cognitive effects of these tumours due to their location in the brain and patterns of cells and diagnosis & treatment. The creative work aims to engage with all and to broaden the horizons and enhance the skills of both artist & scientists, through this particular interdisciplinary research.

Staff at Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Immy’s work includes ‘Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity’ which explores heterogeneity between brain tumours, through making art at the lab bench. The ingredients used are primarily inks – ultramarine and magenta. Other constituents include water and lab filters. Every filter contains both colours. From this limited palette of ingredients are made an array of unique patterns – more than 120 of them. The components are few but the outcomes are complex, heterogeneous:

“The cellular components of your brain are primarily neurons and glial cells. Neurons get a lot of the limelight, however glial cells – including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – play a crucial role in brain function, and neurons are lost without them. Other constituent cells include pericytes and endothelial cells in the brain’s blood vessels, microglia (immune cells), and ependymal cells (which line brain ventricles). From a limited palette of cellular ingredients, all the fascinating machinery of your brain is created.” – Immy Smith

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Another part of work produced during this pilot project are Immy’s Ugly Objects experiments:

“Some of the scientists here expressed a wish to depict brain tumours as something ugly – rather than using images of cells which are often quite beautiful. While this project is about using recognisable or non-exclusive imagery (so I wouldn’t use scientific images of cells anyway) it raised many interesting ideas. I previously discussed the scientists feelings of the dread and awfulness, that they associate personally with brain tumours as cancers. Another interesting idea was; what is ugly? Is what we perceive as ‘ugly’ in any way universal? What are common features in people’s descriptions of ugly? Can we use this as something recognisable, something not exclusive to science or art, with which to communicate about brain tumours? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know it’s harder to draw ugly than you might think.” – Immy Smith

Ugly Objects

Ugly Objects

Immy is working towards an upcoming public exhibition, with permission to use the event to fundraise for the charity Brain Tumour Research. We’ll let you know more details on the upcoming exhibition and the work included soon. For now, if you are interested in finding out more about Immy’s work you can visit her websites below:

connectingnarratives.tumblr.com
immysmith.com
imaginingscience.com

Immy Smith

Common People Ticket Competition

It’s less than a month until Common People takes place on Southampton Common. Artists performing include Fat Boy Slim, DJ Yoda, De La Soul, Band of Skulls, Grace Jones and Isle of Wight’s Plastic Mermaids. As well as friends of Strong Island Dead Rabbits, Rickyfitts and The Boy I Used To Be playing the Uncommon Stage.

Rob Da Bank and the team behind Common People have kindly donated a pair of tickets for us to give away. All you need to do is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answers to the following questions before midnight this coming Sunday. The winner be contact directly and announced on social media soon after.

1) Which South coast football team is Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim known to be a big supporter of?
2) Castle Road’s Pie & Vinyl will be in attendance at Common People. Name any of the artists signed to their record label?
3) Can you name the James Bond film in which Grace Jones starred?

To avoid disappointment you tickets are available from Ticketline from £30 and reductions for children and teens.

Common-People-line-up

To stay up to date on all things Common People you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter @cpeoplefest and Instagram @commonpeoplefestival.

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 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 #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram 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.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar 2016

Archives

Created Local – David Thompson

The Hiscock Gallery on Stanley Street behind Waitrose has some interesting new vintage style prints in stock by local artist David Thompson. They are a series of digitally drawn images reflecting upon 1930 – 1950s style advertising posters, enhanced with modern techniques. A really nice simplistic approach highlighting the main features of the subject, yet still very technical and intricate in places. The front of The Victory is awesome.

All reproductions are genuine giclée prints, printed with pigment based inks on 180gms Canon Matte paper, fade resistant for 100+ years. These “Poster” Prints are all personally signed by the artist. Head on over to Davids Gallery and take a look for yourself. Nice stuff for sure.

Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.

ride2

ride1

Southsea Circa ’51

After purchasing a few bits of old furniture the other day, under closer inspection we found the shelving to be lined with old newspaper.

Coming from one of the sheets is this, an advert for Southsea from the Sunday People dated 21st January 1951.  The best bit and also a point raised by more than one person, is the fact that in 1951 it takes 90 minutes by train from London Waterloo to Southsea the same as it does today!  Fascinating that in 61 years we haven’t managed to make it any quicker.

Google Maps – Street View

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

The Langstone Ark Project

The Langstone Ark is a project being run by Langstone Harbour’s Environment Officer Louise MacCallum that went live on-line in August. The project aims to create a digital collection of all the animals and plants associated with Langstone Harbour, by asking harbour users, visitors, and anyone else with an interest in the harbour to send digital photographs of wildlife taken on the water, or around the shoreline.

So far, over 150 photographs have been contributed to the project, and nearly 100 species are now represented. There are literally 1000’s of species of animal and plant to be found around the harbour however, so there are plenty of gaps in the project left to fill!

Autumn is a great time of year to see wildlife around Langstone Harbour, with thousands of migratory birds beginning to arrive and beautiful fungi springing up on many of the wildlife reserves dotted around the shoreline.

For more information about the project visit the Langstone Harbour Board’s brand new website at www.langstoneharbour.org.uk and send photographic contributions to ark@langstoneharbour.org.uk

Below are just a few of the contributors photographs so far, and you can see all of them over at the gallery HERE.

Kestrel by B.D. McGregor

Little Tern by Mark Milum

Grey Seal by Nick Lyon

Local Photographer – Rich Heath

I always search Southsea on Flickr at least once a week to see what sort of askew views people take on this fair town. Rich Heaths photographs stopped me dead in my tracks scrolling through pages when I saw his sunrise photographs. Simply awesome. Check out Rich’s Flickr Photostream for more photos and head over to his website Hampshire Light to buy prints.

The photograph below was chosen for the front page of The NEWS to accompany an article on the planned redevelopment of the sea front. I couldn’t find the article, but if anyone has a link post it up in the comments for all to see.

rich-heath

Old Southsea Skate Photos

Check the Skate Library for the first of a growing list of old Southsea photos including this one of Lance Mountain grinding the Law Courts back in 1988 (photo by Tim Leighton-Boyce).

Created Local Special: Immy Smith and the Brain Tumour Research lab at the University of Portsmouth

We’ve featured many local artists, photographers, filmmakers, designers & makers under the Created Local series for many years (over 100 in the last 6 years), profiling work touching on many, many different subjects. Immy Smith’s background, artwork and working environment is something a little different.

Immy Smith is a rare creative, working in what initially might be thought of as two different worlds: one foot in science, the other in art. With a PhD in Pharmacology plus a strong arts background Immy has recently been working in the Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories at the University of Portsmouth on a 10 month residency which looks at how to foster better and more creative working relationships between medical science and the arts. The residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims specifically to create a sense of collaboration with not just laboratory staff but also the patients effected by brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“The project I’m working on here at the Brain Tumour Research lab is a Leverhulme artists residency where I work in the lab making art alongside science researchers. Our project aims to tell the story of brain tumour patients, scientists and clinicians, through art. We want to make these stories accessible and share the unique challenges of brain tumours with a wider audience to help raise awareness of this devastating disease.” – Immy Smith

Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Working within the laboratory environment sees the research staff and artists working in a shared space, with artwork becoming a part of the laboratory environment. The relationship allowing for artistic insight in to the latest treatment research and the scientist an appreciation of creative processes and different patterns of thought. The project has included workshops with scientists as well as patients, collecting stories and aiming to “fill the gap in understanding”; having perspective on cancer analogies, unique sensory & cognitive effects of these tumours due to their location in the brain and patterns of cells and diagnosis & treatment. The creative work aims to engage with all and to broaden the horizons and enhance the skills of both artist & scientists, through this particular interdisciplinary research.

Staff at Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Immy’s work includes ‘Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity’ which explores heterogeneity between brain tumours, through making art at the lab bench. The ingredients used are primarily inks – ultramarine and magenta. Other constituents include water and lab filters. Every filter contains both colours. From this limited palette of ingredients are made an array of unique patterns – more than 120 of them. The components are few but the outcomes are complex, heterogeneous:

“The cellular components of your brain are primarily neurons and glial cells. Neurons get a lot of the limelight, however glial cells – including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – play a crucial role in brain function, and neurons are lost without them. Other constituent cells include pericytes and endothelial cells in the brain’s blood vessels, microglia (immune cells), and ependymal cells (which line brain ventricles). From a limited palette of cellular ingredients, all the fascinating machinery of your brain is created.” – Immy Smith

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Another part of work produced during this pilot project are Immy’s Ugly Objects experiments:

“Some of the scientists here expressed a wish to depict brain tumours as something ugly – rather than using images of cells which are often quite beautiful. While this project is about using recognisable or non-exclusive imagery (so I wouldn’t use scientific images of cells anyway) it raised many interesting ideas. I previously discussed the scientists feelings of the dread and awfulness, that they associate personally with brain tumours as cancers. Another interesting idea was; what is ugly? Is what we perceive as ‘ugly’ in any way universal? What are common features in people’s descriptions of ugly? Can we use this as something recognisable, something not exclusive to science or art, with which to communicate about brain tumours? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know it’s harder to draw ugly than you might think.” – Immy Smith

Ugly Objects

Ugly Objects

Immy is working towards an upcoming public exhibition, with permission to use the event to fundraise for the charity Brain Tumour Research. We’ll let you know more details on the upcoming exhibition and the work included soon. For now, if you are interested in finding out more about Immy’s work you can visit her websites below:

connectingnarratives.tumblr.com
immysmith.com
imaginingscience.com

Immy Smith

Seafront Lights: Adam Wintle

Southsea web designer and photographer Adam Wintle has recently been taking some really nice photos of the Southsea promenade lights and of the pier at night. Be sure to look through his Flickr for loads more great photos.

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Vintage Southsea Skatepark articles

Articles about Southsea Skatepark can be hard to come by, and articles from 1988 even more so. I found these on the ‘when we was rad’ website a while back. I remember having the picture of Tommy Guerrero pulling that slob torn out and on my wall for years. Sick.