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Electric Arms – Synchronising

Local band the Electric Arms are a 4-piece band consisting of guitars, harmonies, percussion and a bass drum. They live in Southsea and have played pubs, clubs and festivals in the area. Originally a folk inspired combo, playing acoustically. Their sound has since evolved to incorporate indie, rock and folk influences.

The band consists of Dan Grocott (Guitar, kick drum and harmonies), George Regan (Bass, harmonies), Joe Roberts (percussion, vocals) and Chris McKenzie (guitar, harmonies).

The band have just released their latest track ‘Synchronising’ which has been taken from their upcoming EP. The track was produced by the awesome Sam McCarthy as well as being mixed and mastered by hugely talented Sam Higginbotham.

To stay up to date with all things Electric Arms you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter @ElectricArmsUK, SoundCloud and Instagram @electricarms.

You can catch Electric Arms playing the Honest Politician at the upcoming Icebreaker music festival at the end of the month. You can find out more about the festival HERE.

Electric Arms

Created Local – Tiana Pitman by Chantelle Wyatt

Tiana Pitman, a local Portsmouth born and raised artist has been making and crafting from a young age. Creating everything from sculptures, paintings, cards and books to up cycled jewellery and recycled nik naks, she now runs her own successful art business and is well know in the UK and abroad.

When asked about where and how it all began, Tiana told us, “I was raised in Portsmouth when times were hard. We spent summers with our Nan, Olive Dew, collecting stones and shells on Eastney beach or with our Mum, Margaret Pitman, finding pretty leaves and flowers or making Christmas decorations and cards. Life was about making your own entertainment and your own things and I was lucky enough to have some hugely creative women raising me, who inspired me to do the same with my children and even now with my grand children. We were never bored and never without anything we needed but it all came from being thrifty and learning how to make things.”

We see this very thing in our city today with fabulous local businesses all about getting us into crafts and it is really nice to hear about a local family who have done just that through the generations, one that reminds us to be artistic and creative and make more than perhaps we do now. To re use and recycle and to watch what we waste.

Tiana has made her passion to pass on these skills an active one and is now an ‘Artist in Residence’ at a local school where she works with 11-16 year olds at GCSE level. Believing whole heartedly that what she teaches is not only therapeutic and relaxing but are also skills for life. Tiana encourages Portsmouth to get creative and make as much as possible.

You can follow Tina on her wesbite, Facebook and on Twitter @tianaartist

By Chantelle Wyatt

Tiana Pitman

Tiana Pitman

Strong Island 2014 Review Part 1 – January to June

This took a little longer than hoped but for the first time we thought we’ld try and make a note of all the things Strong Island got up to last year. We’re not the best at letting people know what we do (too busy sharing what you lot get up to). Some of the headlines, as it were, included:

– Two large exhibitions
– Working with almost 1000 young people and adults with photography, film & animation workshops
– Two stages at two festivals
– Three releases by the record label
– Opening of Strong Island Co

So if you’ve ever wondered what a year in Strong Island is like, here is part one, covering the first six months of January through to June. Part 2 later this week!


Strong Island went straight in to a hectic first month of 2014 with a few ongoing projects running through from 2013. Our main 2013 project was Creating Balance which brought together ten Portsmouth artists/designers and teamed them up with 10 Portsmouth photographers, with all groups given an Anglepoise lamp for inspiration. The project had heavy coverage in national newspapers and had two very successful exhibitions in 2013, one in London at the London Design Festival and one in Winchester. In Late January we opened the Creating Balance exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, with an opening night that was the busiest yet for the gallery.

Back in November we had joined the Portsmouth Shipbuilding consortium as one of the founding members and the month saw the new website going up and the continued lobbying of trying to continue shipbuilding in the city.

Our animation project with young people from Portsmouth Autism Support Network finished with a film screening at John Pound Centre. The film was written, designed and animated by the group who also recorded all their own music and sound effects. The project was part of Artswork’s Strong Voices programme of activities and involved working with Portsmouth’s Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.

Creating Balance (1)

Creating Balance (2)


February was a busy month for Strong Island Media with many children and young people workshops in film, animation and photography in Portsmouth, Basingstoke and Gosport. We also worked with the University of Portsmouth and Sharon Court on the Far From Home project which connected university students with ex-service personnel and their families.

Our 4th Strong Island Homebrew competition saw the most brews entered in the history of the competition. The winner went on to be brewed by Irving & Co and sold in pubs and bars in Portsmouth and beyond.

February also saw the launch of Strong Island Recordings’ first album: the awesome Something by Yoofs. The band and the release were featured on many websites including Vice.

4th Annual Strong Island Homebrew Competition


Possibly the businest month ever for Strong Island media with a solid month spent in Winchester on a Lottery Heritage Fund project with Winchester Theatre Royal and ten groups from 9 Winchester schools. Each school had two days on the project, the first day a film or animation workshop and the second spent writing & filming or animating their own film about the history of the theatre. The project involved working with almost 250 young people with 10 films produced.

The month also included filming at night with Portsmouth visual artist Jez Stevens on a film commission from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Jez created a number of projections on both the soon to be opened Babcock Galleries and The Submarine Museum. The films were used to promote the opening of both cultural attractions.

In March the Tricorn exhibition opened at Portsmouth City Museum and included two aspects that Strong Island had worked on. The first was the large community photography panel. We had in previous months asked people to submit their photography of the Tricorn and the best images were put together in to a large wall section. Strong Island also worked with nine local artists, photographers and designers in producing the Tricorn Artist Series of prints depicting the structure. These prints were displayed in the exhibition and on sale in the museum shop.

The Far From Home project exhibition was held in the brand new exhibition space in the new Eldon wing of Portsmouth University. The exhibition included photography, film, illustration and more by final year students, work inspired by the lives of local ex-service personnel and families. The exhibition saw all participants come down and enjoy the event.

Kings Worthy

St Bede Group B


Tricorn Exhibition

Tricorn Exhibition


With the arrival of the sun and spring a new film project began with two schools as part of the Entrenched Project, working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and two other Hampshire based production companies. Strong Island Media worked with Crofton School in Stubbington and Wildern School in Whiteley on films relating to the First World War.

Workshops also began on the My Life project, run with the award winning SPUD group. The film & photography workshops begun with a youth group in Netley View, focusing on their local community and how young people are represented.




In the run up to the end of May’s Portsmouth Street Games event at Guildhall Square three short teaser films were produced by Strong Island Media featuring My Dog Sighs, Effraim Catlow & Most Wanted, showcasing the street art, BMX and street dance aspects of the event.

The My Life project continued, this time working with a group of young carers in Romsey who created a film that tried to tackle local misconceptions on young people and their contribution to society. Their film was screened to their friends and family and local dignitaries. A third group for the My Life project was a youth group in Burley in the New Forest. The group focused on photographing their local areas looking for what made the area both good and bad to live in as a young person. The group exhibited their photography at a final exhibition to family and local councillors.

Burley Photo Exhibition

My Life Project - Burley

My Life Project - Burley

My Life Project - Burley


The month began with the Portsmouth Street Games weekend. Strong Island Media were the official media partners for the event and produced a film for the organisers and participants.

A series of four adult photography workshops for Chichester Harbour Conservancy began, with them running through the summer months. The workshops looked at photography in Bosham, on the beach of Hayling Island and from the Solar Heritage boat out in the harbour. Photography workshops were also given to GCSE students from the Chichester High School for Boys at Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s education centre at Dell Quay. For the third year running these workshops introduced photography skills on ‘walkshops’ around the harbour shoreline.

Strong Island worked for Anglepoise through to June producing a series of short films on four of their product collections, these films were for their new website. The films can be viewed HERE.

June also saw the release from Strong Island Recordings of the Sandscrape EP by GANG.

Conservancy Photo Workshop - People 2014

Conservancy Photo Workshop - People 2014

Conservancy Sailing Photography Workshop

Conservancy Sunset Workshop

Conservancy Photo Workshop - Chichester High School for Boys

Kassassin Street At The Wedgewood Rooms

As of today you can get your hands on tickets for the upcoming Kassassin Street gig at the Wedgewood Rooms on 4th April.

Kassassin Street have established themselves as one of the best bands in Portsmouth after a hugely successful 2014. They will be joined on the night by local rising stars, and my pick for 2015, Big Child Man Child.

Tickets for the show are available for £7 from the Wedgewood Rooms website HERE.

Kassassin Street by Jon Neil
Photo by Jon Neil

‘Centre Straight Atom’ performed live at Casemates Rehearsal Studio.

Should Private Hire Vehicles be Allowed in Bus Lanes?

Portsmouth City Council are considering allowing mini cabs (officially called Private Hire Vehicles) to use the bus lanes in the city. The lanes are currently open to use by buses, taxis (Hackney Carriages) and cyclists. Portsmouth Cycle Forum have today published their response to this possible transport proposal with some statistics that show this could be a dangerous prospect for cyclists in Portsmouth:

“Portsmouth City Council is considering allowing Private Hire Vehicles to use bus lanes. To use technical terminology, a Taxi is a Hackney Carriage, and a Minicab is a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV). A Hackney Carriage licence allows the driver to pick up fares on the street, and a few other perks, for example, in Portsmouth, Taxis may use bus lanes, but PHVs ay not. Recently it has been proposed that PHVs should be allowed to use Bus Lanes. In addition to buses and taxis, bicycles are also permitted to use bus lanes.

You may know that Portsmouth has more cycling accidents per capita than most other cities, but it may surprise you to learn that (according to PCC figures) Taxis and PHVs are responsible for a disproportionately large number of cycling accidents. Taxis and PHVs represent just under 0.9% of registered vehicles, but are involved in 8% of all reported cycle collisions: and whilst cyclists make up only 4.7% of traffic in Portsmouth, they account for 21% of Taxi/PHV related casualties. Disturbingly, the most common contributory factor is the “driver failing to look properly”.

Allowing PHVs into cycle lanes would result in more occasions when cyclists and PHVs are in close proximity, and thus increase the likelihood of cyclist casualties in the one place where they currently have some protection from general traffic. Portsmouth Cycle Forum therefore conclude that in its current form this proposal is a terrible idea.”

You can read the full, detailed response from Portsmouth Cycle Forum HERE.

Let us know your thoughts on this.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum

Pink is a Problem Exhibition Opens Tomorrow at Make & The Craft Kitchen

Portmouth based art group MAMArt is a collective of mother artists organising pop-up exhibitions and events in Portsmouth, and encouraging women and male feminists to discuss current issues on parenthood in the studio. Created by a core of four raucous females who have reputations to upkeep both in the kitchen and on the Art platform, Charlotte Brisland, Penny Davis, Sadie Tierney and Kate Street.

Tomorrow sees the opening of MAMArt’s debut exhibition entitled ‘Pink is a Problem’, located at Make & The Craft Kitchen. Tomorrow sees the preview night is from 5-8pm, free entry and everyone is welcome. The exhibition featurs the work of local artists Roo Abrook, Mike Bartlett, Sarah Bowker-Jones, Charlotte Brisland, Roy Brown, Kirsty Crout, Penny Davis, Minuit de LaCroix, Rachel Pennington, Kate Street, Charlotte Thrane and Sadie Tierney (Roo and Sadie both featured in the Creating Balance project in 2013/2014).

On the opening night Dr. Emma Barker will be giving a talk on the art historical context of Pink. Barker first gave this talk in summer 2014 at the National Gallery in London and is one of the leading contemporary Art Historians in the UK. Some of her publications are Greuze and the Painting of Sentiment, 2005, The Changing Status of the Artist, 1999, Contemporary Cultures of Display, 1999. MAMArt are very happy to welcome her to the opening of their first show.

The Craft Kitchen will be serving non alcoholic pink punch with a hotdog for £3 at the Preview. You can find Make & The Craft Kitchen in Fratton at 1 Cornwall Road, Fratton, Portsmouth. PO1 5AA. Get in touch by phone on 023 9282 2026 or check their website at:

Pink is a Problem Exhibition Opens Tomorrow at Make & The Craft Kitchen (1)

Pink is a Problem Exhibition Opens Tomorrow at Make & The Craft Kitchen (2)

Pink is a Problem Exhibition Opens Tomorrow at Make & The Craft Kitchen (3)


With this miserable weather we are currently experiencing we could all do with a good reason to leave the house and with Icebreaker you have just the excuse. The event will feature over fifty local bands across six venues over one day. Ice Breaker takes place on 31st January and is brought to you by Pilot Promotions & It’s a Sin.

Tickets for the day are priced at £10 and will allow you access to The Wedgewood Rooms, Edge of the Wedge, The Fat Fox, The Atrium, The Deco & The Honest Politician. You will need to exchange your ticket for a wristband from Al’Burrito before you can gain entry to any of the venues. You can get hold of your tickets via the Wedgewood Rooms HERE.

The new annual event features the headliners The Butterfly Culture, Deluxe Flamingos, Seething Akira, Matt Jarvis, Belligerence & Electric Arms. Other highlights include Bellyeyesmile and The Day of the Rabblement.

To stay up to date on all things Icebreaker check out the Facebook Event page HERE.

Ice Breaker

Apply to Play Blissfields

With New Years Eve out of the way, people are already looking at the summer festival season and how to get involved this year. If your interested in performing at Blissfields at Winchester in July you can apply to get on the line-up in two different ways…the first is by getting in touch with the festival with an artist application online. This year Blissfields are also looking for applications for spoken word and comedy acts too.

As in previous years, another way you can get to play Blissfields is via the always popular Road to Blissfields event. We’ve been involved with this battle of the bands like event for a bit and this year sees it way bigger and better. First up, the event is now happening at three different national locations: Stoke, Manchester and Portsmouth. Judges on each night will consist of the festival’s organisers and representatives, music writers and journalists, radio presenters, promoters and industry-heads. Winners will be decided on the night. The Portsmouth event will be held at the Kings Theatre in a very special location on Thursday 9th of April.

We’ll have more details about Road to Blissfields (Hampshire) soon, for now if you would like to apply you can HERE. The Form will be open for entries until the 28th of February and finalists will be contacted with two weeks of the application closing.

Blissfields Main Stage Best

Blissfields 2015 Logo

Fark Birds by Gingerthread House

Kate Smith has been busy over the last 6 months making new felt designs and characters under the moniker Gingerthread House with items available at a few recent markets. In the recent weeks Kate has collaborated with local street artist Fark in bringing his highly recognisable birds in to 3D. These birds are out and about on walls all over the city and you can pick up a felt one in Like a Teatray in the Sky on Osborne Road in two different colours for only £12 each. These are really popular so best be quick.

Fark Birds by Gingerthread House (3)

Fark Birds by Gingerthread House (2)

Fark Birds by Gingerthread House (1)

Fratton Park 1978/79

While searching through my Facebook feed, amongst all of the selfies and cat photos I noticed a really fascinating post within the Memories of bygone Portsmouth group.

Tony Cook’s five photographs were taken at Fratton Park during the 1978/79 season. Featured in the photographs were the games against Wimbledon on Saturday 14th April and Barnsley on Saturday 5th May. The game against Wimbledon finished in a 0-0 draw and unfortunately the Barnsley game finished 1-0 to the visitors.

I wasn’t even born when these were taken but I can still remember going to Fratton Park in the late 80’s and early 90’s when there was still terracing.

Managed by Jimmy Dickinson Portsmouth finished seventh in division 4 that year, thirteen points behind league winners Reading. For our younger readers the old division 4 is now known as League 2.

Thanks to Tony for bringing these to photographs to my attention, I’m sure there are plenty of Pompey fans reading this who will be equally as interested to see the photographs.

If you would like to see more from Tony’s Fratton Park archive then you can find them on the Memories of bygone Portsmouth page HERE.

Fratton Park 1979 B
No. 3 Keith Viney takes a corner v Barnsley
Fratton Park 1979 A
Derek Showers holds off a Wimbledon defender
Fratton Park 1979 C
Steve Davey attacks the Wimbledon goal.
Fratton Park 1979 D
Peter Ellis can be seen in the foreground with Peter Mellor in goal
Fratton Park 1979
Portsmouth defending a corner v Wimbledon with Tony’s father on the right watching on intently

House Of Burlesque @ The Kings Theatre

On Saturday 31st January the Kings Theatre welcomes Joe Black and a cast of delightful friends to entertain us and cure the winter blues.

Guests include…
Katrina Darling – Burlesque bombshell. Playboy magazine cover girl and all round beauty!
The Great Aziz – Astounding magic straight from the golden age of hollywood!
Bruise Violet – Emerald inferno! Shimmys… Shakes and sass!
Elliot Mason – Musical comedy oddball and guitar toting mad man!
Rococo Chanel – Drag oddity and aspiring Disney princess!
The Winner Of Baghdad’s Got Talent – The only winner of Baghdad’s Got Talent! A mistress of many skills!
Terms Of Unnervement – Resident double act. A duo specialising in clown, burlesque and absurdity!

The event will be hosted by gin addled ringmaster himself Mr Joe Black and dressing up is positively encouraged!

For more information, check out HERE.

House of Burlesque

5th Annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition – 4/2/2015

Only a month to go until the annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition for 2015!  The rules are the same and last year we had our largest amount of entries and the strongest competition we’ve ever seen.  In a landmark 5th year we’re hoping for more of the same!

We’ve had great success in the previous four years with ALL winners going on to have their winning brews re-brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers and sold in a range of pubs in and around Portsmouth.

The judging panel will consist of Malcolm Irving from Irving & Co. Brewers in Portsmouth,  Stuart Ainsworth who is Landlord of the Leopold Tavern which is Portsmouth & South East Hampshire CAMRA pub of the year multi award winner and one other beer professional to be confirmed soon.

This year we are opting for a 2 categories again.  1st category will be the ale brew.  Whether you already are a home brewer or you really want to have a go for the first time and get involved, this is designed to make no boundaries for the brewer.  This category is made to really let the skills be shown of your home brewing talent.

The 2nd category will be the ‘Other’ category.  Lagers, Ginger Beers & Ciders for this one with same rules with the 1st category regards to unrestricted brewing rules.

Your brews will be judged on:


You can enter as many entries as you like either as an individual or a team.

The judging evening will take place at a new location for 2015, the brand new Meat & Barrel on Palmerston Road, Southsea on Wednesday 4th February 2015 so get it in your diaries.

Drop by Elm Grove and check out Get Brewing for all your ingredients and equipment supplies.

We look forward to seeing you at the competition.

Happy brewing!

5th Brew Comp Poster WEB

4th Annual Strong Island Homebrew Competition 4th Annual Strong Island Homebrew Competition 4th Annual Strong Island Homebrew Competition 4th Annual Strong Island Homebrew Competition 4th Annual Strong Island Homebrew Competition



Concrete Music Presents: Paleman (SWAMP81) at The Astoria This Thursday

Concrete Music have been putting on some serious parties for some years now from the legendary Tuesdays at the Registry to Ibiza and now to their brand new regular Thursday night at The Astoria’s basement. This new residency kicks off this Thursday (8th January) with Paleman (SWAMP81).

It all kicks of from 10pm through to 2am with support from the Concrete DJs. Expect to see some of the biggest (and up & coming) names in House, Garage, Disco, Grime & Bass music. £5 on the door plus a bunch of drink deals.

Keep up with all good things Concrete over at:

Concrete Music Presents: Paleman (SWAMP81) at The Astoria This Thursday

Strong Island Recordings – Life Model ‘Lilt’ Release Special Edition T-Shirt With 2 Track Single

Hot on the heels of the December release by Strong Island Recordings of ‘Here Comes Yesterday’ by Tasmanian psych-pop 6 piece band Violet Swells (which you can listen to HERE or on Spotify and buy on iTunes) is news of the first 2015 release.

The 8th official release by Strong Island Recordings will be ‘Lilt’ by Glaswegian shoegaze/dreampop band Life Model, out to buy from the 2nd of February and can be listened to below. As a special edition of the single the label is producing a limited edition ‘Lilt’ tee with the artwork screen printed with soft inks on a premium white t-shirt. The tee comes with a download code for not only ‘Lilt’ but also exclusively the b-side track ‘Enough (To Know)’.

Before the release date the tee is available as a pre-order on the Strong Island Co online store, with all pre-orders and codes to be sent out after the release date of the single. The tee will also be available in-store from the 2nd too.

You can pre-order your tee and the single plus b-side HERE for only £15.

Strong Island Recordings - Life Model 'Lilt' Release Special Edition T-Shirt With 2 Track Single

Life Model - Photo by Rachele Dunn
Life Model – Photo by Rachele Dunn

6 Nations Rugby At Southsea Castle

2015 is going to be an incredible year for us fans of egg chasing with this winter seeing the rugby World Cup being held in the UK. The build up begins next month with the start of the RBS 6 Nations. You will be able to see every minute, of every match live on a big screen at Southsea Castle.

Entry will be free and there will be plenty of draught beer, cask ale, ciders and plenty of food available.

The Champagne Bar during the summer is one of my favourite events and it’s great to hear that the Castle is going to be used a lot more this year. The success of Concrete Music’s event on New Years Eve just went to show that the venue can be a success outside of warm summer evenings too.

To stay up to date you can join the Facebook Event page HERE.

6 Nations

Super8 Films of Southsea from the Late 60s & Early 70s

Despite it being the end of the holiday season and cold and grey outside, these two super8 films filmed in and around Portsmouth in the 60s and early 70s will give you a nostalgic warmth about Southsea. Super8 always creates a sense of atmosphere and these vintage home films from times past might inspire a little summer’s warmth, if not, crank that radiator up.

Super8 Films of Southsea from the Late 60s and Early 70s

Rickyfitts Release ‘Tie Dye Goth Love’ With New Video

One of our favourite local bands Rickyfitts released their new single ‘Tie Dye Goth Love’ on the 3rd January via BandCamp. The song is one of our live set favourites and to coincide with the release they also dropped a video too, featuring a load of great cameos (keep an eye out for some of the Strong Island Recordings crew).

Listen to the song below and watch the video and you can buy it via BandCamp for only a quid HERE.

Rickyfitts (2)

Rickyfitts (1)

Portsmouth Black Light Run

The ​Blacklight Run is a 5K fun run with a difference, it focuses on UV fun with friends and family. Whether you are an avid runner or will prefer to walk the course, all are welcome. The event appears to be a rave version of colour run which we have seen over the past few years.

Participants are asked to wear a white t-shirt, if you don’t have one you will be provided with one with your registration. During the run you will be covered in UV neon glow powder and illuminated by their blacklight zones. At the end of the Clarence Esplanade course you will be welcomed into the black light after party.

Each participant receives:

– Commemorative white Blacklight Run T-Shirt
– Blacklight Run Glow in the Dark Tattoo
– Blacklight Run Race Bib
– Donation to local charity
– Blacklight Run Glow Pack given at the finish line!
– Admission to Blacklight Run After Party

If you are interested in entering when it comes to Portsmouth on 28th March then you can take advantage of the early bird offer of £20 otherwise the full price of participation is £30. You can sign up HERE or stay up to date via the Facebook event page HERE or on Twitter @BlacklightRunUK.

Black Light Run

Short Story Competition

We are really excited to announce that in February we are going to be holding a writing competition. This will be run in partnership with My Dog Sighs and will be open to everyone to enter. You will be asked to write a short story based on one of his tin can men, everything else is completely open to your own interpretation.

We can’t say too much about the exact details as they are currently being confirmed, however we can tell you that the categories will be split into three different age groups, each with a different word limit.

• 13 years and under
• 14 years – 18 years
• 18 years and above

For the younger age groups we looking for teachers who would be whiling to lend a hand going through the entries or would maybe like to invite their school or class to be involved, maybe as part of a class project.

This competition will run from February until March with the winner for each category being announced early April. The three lucky winners will receive a copy of their story created by graphic designer Sam Barclay and personalised by My Dog himself.

If you or your school are interested in getting involved then drop me an email with your details to

Tin Can Man 9

Tin Can Man 8

Quick Visit to Home Coffee on Albert Road

Paid a quick visit to Home Coffee earlier this week, the new independent speciality coffee shop on Albert Road. Home opened very recently and has a warm, welcoming atmosphere, great coffee, pasties from Bread Addiction and a great decor too. Home is open today if you are out and about and need a respite from last minute shopping.

Hit them up on Facebook for opening times, menu, etc:

Home Coffee (7)

Home Coffee (6)

Home Coffee (5)

Home Coffee (4)

Home Coffee (3)

Home Coffee (2)

Home Coffee (1)

Strong Island Recordings To Release Life Model ‘Lilt’

It’s Christmas eve but nonetheless we’re still relentless at Strong Island Recordings planning and scheduling releases ready for the new year. It’s been a great end to 2014 with the opening of the new shop and also the release of Aussie psych-pop outfit Violet Swells with ‘Here Comes Yesterday‘ which has been heavily pushed by Triple J and is also in the list for a possible Triple J Hottest 100 of the Year which you can vote for here. Our next release though comes from a little closer to home, kind of, being Glaswegian dreampop/shoegaze outfit Life Model with the single ‘Lilt’ which will be available via digital download from 2nd February 2015. It’s a gorgeous dreampop/shoegaze gem laced in whirling guitars and enchanting and ethereal vocals. We can’t wait for the release as we’ve been chatting to the guys for a long while about a release so it’s an early Christmas present for us. Anyway we hope you enjoy and thank you for the continued support of our little label. Have a great Christmas from all of us at Strong Island Recordings.


Boxing Day: COR’s Incredible Voyage to Atlantis…

On Boxing Day there is a tradition of turkey sandwiches, sport and the first day of the sales. In Southsea we also have Civilisation Of The Rough! This year they are hosting an underground soirée at the Pyramids on Clarence Esplanade.

This is going to be huge. We have a brand new venue for COR, some incredible guests, Wolf Music Recordings Matthew Neale and Stu Clark, Funktion1 sound throughout and festival level production. We will be transporting you to Atlantis.

There are limited tickets and this event will sell out so don’t hesitate to get yours now. You can get your hands on some here – You can find out more information on the Facebook Event page HERE.


Our Picks For No 6 – January 2015

If you haven’t visited the No. 6 Cinema before then we highly recommend it, it is a mix of thoughtful art house cinema, vintage Hollywood classics and new blockbusters all within the historic blockhouse in the dockyard.

Here are a selection of movies we recommend you check out. Be sure to check their website for full list of all the movies this being shown

Interstellar (12A)
Showing: 03/01/15 at 7pm

A team of explorers and scientists travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity. Amongst the group is Cooper (McConaughey), an idealistic everyman willing to leave behind his two young children to join a venture whose noble goals include saving humanity from its destructive excesses. Director Christopher Nolan creatively builds on the experimental cinematography he employed in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, using anamorphic 35mm and an IMAX camera attached to a plane with stunningly eye-boggling results. Please note this film contains strobe light effects.

My Old Lady (12A)
Showing: 08/01/15 at 7pm

Horowitz’s second directorial feature shows Mathias (Kevin Kline), a penniless New Yorker arriving in Paris to secure and sell an inherited apartment only to find it occupied by an imperious 90 year-old, Mathilde (Maggie Smith) who, supported by her equally obstinate daughter Chloé (Kristin Scott Thomas), has little intention of vacating it any time soon. Worse still an obscure French law enables Mathilde to charge Mathias rent. The emergence of Mathilde’s family secrets, Mathias’ comically-realised economic plight and an uneasy attraction that develops between he and Chloé are vividly executed by three hugely watch- able co-stars at the height of their game.

The Imitation Game (12A)
Showing: 09/01/15 at 7pm and 17/01/15 at 7pm

Benedict Cumberbatch masterfully portrays mathematical genius Alan Turing in his race against time to break Germany’s Enigma code during World War II. Flashbacks following Turing’s arrest for homosexuality chronicle his battles with the commander of Bletchley Park code breakers (Dance) before he wins the trust of an MI6 boss (Mark Strong) and the funding to build a huge electro-mechanical computer which will help him decipher the code. Cumberbatch’s twitchy, savant-like Turing doesn’t suffer the fools he initially has to work with but in Joan Clarke (Knightley) he finds an intellectual equal and friend. The result is both gripping and profoundly moving.

Mr Turner (12A)
Showing: 10/01/15 at 7pm to 11/01/15 at 2:30pm

This boisterous dissertation on Britain’s greatest landscape artist J. M. W. Turner is Mike Leigh’s first biopic since 1999’s scrutiny of Gilbert and Sullivan, TOPSY TURVY. Turner’s close relationship with his ailing father (Jesson), and the more complex ones involving the women in his life, are beautifully realised. Spall, as the muttering, opinionated eccentric whose eye is always on his work, delivers a performance amply justifying his Best Actor award at Cannes. Turner’s run-ins with the Royal Academy and his peculiar techniques are handled with humour and admirable impartiality. With Dick Pope’s cinematography the film is a joy to behold.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies (12A)
Showing: 24/01/15 at 7pm

In this concluding part of director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) has helped Thorin Oakenshield and the Dwarves to reclaim their Erebor mountain homeland from the dragon Smaug (voiceover by Benedict Cumberbatch). Furious at losing Erebor and its many treasures, Smaug unleashes his fiery wrath on the people of Laketown, who assisted the Dwarves in their quest to take back their home. The ancient and terrifying enemy Sauron and his Orc hordes join the fight against Bilbo, the Dwarves and their allies, triggering a war that will prove the defining chapter in this visually dazzling Middle-earth epic.

Paddington (PG)
Showing: 25/01/15 at 2:30pm

Arriving in London from his native Peru with a ‘Please Look After This Bear’ label around his neck, Paddington Bear is fortunately taken in by kindly Mr and Mrs Brown (Bonneville and Hawkins). Voiced by Ben Whishaw, and named after the railway station he arrived at, Paddington embarks on a series of bemused adventures as he searches for one of his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) friends and finds himself dodging a malicious taxidermist with an unnatural aversion to bears (Nicole Kidman). This charming amalgam of CGI, animatronics and live action will delight fans of Michael Bond’s perennially popular children’s books.

Get On Up (12A)
Showing: 29/01/15 at 7pm

This long-awaited Godfather of Soul biopic magnificently evokes James Brown’s high-octane life, thanks to Chadwick Boseman’s extraordinary performance as Brown and the no-holds-barred narrative from director Tate Taylor and co-writer Jez Butterworth. Beginning with Brown’s impoverished childhood the film follows his determined rise via gospel music to become a global soul legend and charts his tumultuous but steadfast friendship with long-time collaborator Bobby Byrd (Ellis). Brown’s vanity and numerous other faults aren’t shied away from, nor is the ruthlessness of his manager (Aykroyd). Producer Mick Jagger gives us a dynamic insight into Brown’s roller-coaster life story and celebrates his musical legacy.

What We Do In The Shadows (15)
Showing: 30/01/15 at 7pm

Clement propels the mockumentary into refreshingly original and hilarious territory, in this character-driven comedy following four vampires living uneasily together in a murky Wellington house- hold as they struggle to adapt to the 21st century. Being vampires they must prowl the nightclubs in search of fresh meat but flat-sharing also involves more mundane matters of quarrels, household chores, and cleaning up after bouts of bloodletting. Flight of the Conchords star Clement plays Vlad the Poker. His flatmates are the 379-year-old Viago (Waititi), Nosferatu lookalike Petyr (Ben Fransham), and Deacon (Brugh), a mere 183 and the young firebrand of the group.

The Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part 1 (12A)
Showing: 31/01/15 at 7pm

Director Francis Lawrence’s taut, gripping film is the third episode of the hit saga set in a dystopia where a cruel elite guard their spoils. After escaping the third Quarter Quell and destroying the Games, maverick District 12 winner of the 74th Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) has become a hero and inspiration to the downtrodden of Panem. Waking up in the unfamiliar District 13 and angry at her betrayal by the mentors she considered loyal, Katniss is desperate to rescue her District 12 co-victor Peeta (Hutcherson), with help from best friend Gale (Hemsworth) and District 13 president Alma Coin (Julianne Moore).

No. 6 Cinema

Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition Winner

Between the 1st and 12th December we have been asking a question each day relating to the prize on offer. One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves. Being honest I have been quite tempted to keep a few of the prize’s myself, although it is Christmas and I didn’t want to risk being put on Santa’s naughty list. So it gives me great pleasure to announce that the very lucky winner of all these prizes is Sophie Cousins.

We wanted to thank every one who donated something to this awesome competition.

Day One – Made By Burbs Print

Day Two – A pair No 6 Cinema tickets

Day Three – Angela Chick gift cards

Day Four – Magpie’s Lust Jewellery

Day Five – Caleigh Ill coasters

Day Six – Bread Addiction Bag

Day Seven – A meal at The Wave Maiden

Day Eight – Mia Mai framed Print

Day Nine – Meal and drinks voucher for The Marmion Pub

Day Ten – Strong Island Calendar

Day Eleven – Custom made animal toy by Ooh La Lapin

Day Twelve – Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery

A bonus prize courtesy of Staggeringly Good Beer.

Down The Hatch Recipes #4 – Warm Spiced Cider

What better way to end this gastronomical guide than with seasonally fortified booze? Yep, the last mug friendly recipe from the Down The Hatch series is a luxurious spiced cider. And don’t wait for Christmas to make this either, make it into an annual Bonfire night staple too.

brown sugar
all spice berries
star anise
1 x apple
1 x pear
1 x orange

Thinly slice the fruit and mix all of the above into the largest pot you might own. Set it to the lowest heat and allow all the ingredients to heat gently and mingle. Add extra sugar to taste and serve into your enamel mugs with a ladle. Merry Christmas you sorts.




Click here, here and here for the previous recipes.

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Short Story Competition – Open To Submissions

We are really excited to announce that our short story competition is now open to submissions. The theme behind your short story must simply involve one of My Dog Sighs tin can men pictured at the bottom of the page. There is a word limit for each age group but apart from that, everything else is completely open to your own interpretation.

The entries will be split into three categories for the different age groups, each with a different word limit.

• 13 years and under (150 words)
• 14 years – 18 years (300 words)
• 18 years and above (500 words)

This event is open to everyone to enter, but for the younger age groups we are looking for teachers who would be willing to lend a hand. This will involve going through some entries and maybe they would like to invite their school or class to get involved, maybe as part of a class project perhaps.

This competition will run until 25th March, with the winner for each category being announced soon after. The three lucky winners will receive a copy of their story created by graphic designer Sam Barclay and personalised by My Dog himself. The winning entries will also be featured in an exhibition in our Strong Island Co shop which you can find at 12 Highland Road, Southsea.

If you or your are interested in getting involved with helping judge the winner you can drop me can email to Submissions should be sent to the same email address, please don’t forget to include your contact details and what category this is applicable to.

My Dog Sighs has a great talent for capturing character through the expressions on each piece of art, which should serve as an ideal inspiration for your short story. We look forward to receiving your submissions.

My Dog Sighs TCM 1

My Dog Sighs TCM 2

My Dog Sighs TCM 3

My Dog Sighs TCM 5


Strong Island Co. Exhibitions: EQUINOX by Joanna Dawson

Strong Island Co. is proud to announce the first external exhibition our in store gallery space will host. From January 28th to February 18th, local artist Joanna Dawson will be exhibiting EQUINOX, a collection of large format, mixed media abstract landscapes with a focus on coastlines near and far from her travels.

Joanna is no stranger to utilising mixed media and unusual paint substitutes, dabbling in gouache, watercolour, acrylic and even tea and coffee staining to create her works. Working as a professional artist and designer allows her the space to explore her creative direction and conduct these material experiments.

To find out more about Joanna, her work and the exhibition, give her a follow on Instagram to keep up to date with her happenings in the run up to the exhibition.

Strong Island Calendar 2015 – Very Limited Stock Left!

We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the interest in our 2015 Calendar. In the last three years we have raised over £800 for the Alzheimer’s Society’s Portsmouth based services. We have a VERY limited number of calendars available and there is a good chance we will sell out quite soon, so if you haven’t got yourself one then don’t hang around too long!

You can get yourself a copy from our online shop HERE. They are priced at £10 each if you collect from Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea. Postal orders cost £12 each with international postage at £14 each.

Keep an eye out for the launch of the Strong Island 2016 Calendar #SICal2016 in the next few weeks!

Calendar 2015

Portsmouth Tricorn Centre: A Photographic Inspiration – New Strong Island Website Launched

For the 2014 Portsmouth City Museum exhibition, Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete, marking the 10 years since the demolition of the Portsmouth Tricorn Centre we asked the people of Portsmouth to submit their photos of the city’s iconic Brutalist structure. Over 500 images were submitted by more than 30 photographers, of these 100 were put together in to a community photography panel that went in to the exhibition.

From the outset the Tricorn was considered a likely source of creative inspiration for photographers throughout its history and the submitted photography for us proved this opinion. The light and shadow, the lines and corners of the building, all were captured in creative ways by photographers both from Portsmouth and the rest of the UK. Many of the images were shot with 35mm and medium format film.

We wanted to, for the first time, bring all of this beautiful imagery together online with a new website, we’re happy to say that the website is now complete and live. This website is home to an ever growing selection of the best imagery of the much loved & hated building that dominated the city skyline from 1966 to 2004.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed their photography. If you would like to submit your own images please EMAIL us. The website can be found at:

Portsmouth Tricorn Centre: A Photographic Inspiration - New Strong Island Website Launched (1)

Portsmouth Tricorn Centre: A Photographic Inspiration - New Strong Island Website Launched (2)

Under the Spotlight Coming Soon at Coastguard Studio

Under the Spotlight is an upcoming exhibition that will feature 40 spotlights on artwork & photography by 40+ local creatives, all homed in the beautiful new Coastguard Studio in Southsea. More details on the exhibition will be announced in the coming weeks by the Coastguard Studio so keep an eye on their website at and the date of 13th February firmly written in to your new diaries.

Under the Spotlight Coming Soon at Coastguard Studio

Strong Island Calendar 2015

You should all be well aware that over the last year we have been compiling a calendar using photographs submitted to us by you, the Strong Island readers. We are really excited by our 2015 edition, I didn’t think it was possible but the bar has been raised yet again!

The calendar again features photography submitted throughout 2014 from local photographers. The calendar is full colour printed A4 and folds out and hangs so that one side of A4 contains the month’s photos and the other side has a large format calendar perfect for keeping your important dates through the year.

£1 of each calendar sale goes to the Alzheimer’s Society Portsmouth based services. They are the UK’s leading care and research charity for people living with dementia and their carers.

The calendars are still only available as a pre-order from our online shop HERE. We are expecting to have them in hand by next Thursday. They are priced at £10 each if you collect from Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea. Postal orders cost £12 each and international postal orders cost £14 each.

I guess it’s about time we share with you some more of the amazing photographs which have been included this year.

Danielle Gridley
Danielle Gridley
Nick Weall
Nick Weall
Megan Barnes
Megan Barnes
Jay Hansford
Jay Hansford
Sam Brooks
Sam Brooks
Melanie Easthope
Melanie Easthope


Kings Theatre

The Kings Theatre in Southsea is continuing is restorations, this afternoon they were taking the roof top away, we’re assuming for some repairs and maintenance work.

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

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

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

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




Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Big thanks to Khalid who sent over these vintage photographs scanned from The Images of Portsmouth (1993). We have a small selection so I’ll put one page up each week.

Love this first shot of the band stand on the common in the 1920s showing how the site was originally used before the Skatepark was built around it in the 70s. So many deckchairs, it must have been big business back then. It’s a shame they didn’t keep the bandstand as it was with the little steps and iron railing. It’s a little different NOW as Marcus’s ariel shot shows. Click the image to see the high res scan up close.

Created Local – Caleigh Illerbrun

Old University friend Tom Hall sent me over a link to his extremely talented and prolific girlfriend Caleigh Illerbrun’s online portfolio With illustration, painting and 3 dimensional work firmly tucked under her belt Caleigh has an impressive amount of work on her site, some of which is up for grabs. Currently selling coasters over in her SHOP, Caleigh needs a little help identifying the favourites as she has an advert coming out soon in a magazine.

I’m loving the ‘Wood Tree’ coaster set below, and very much so the ‘Bearlamb’ acrylic & pen at the bottom. You can also follow Caleigh on Facebook and also her blog.

Southsea Strong Island Celebrates

I just can’t find the right images for this! Strong Island is 1 whole year old this Sunday the 27th. Time surely does fly hey. Meet us for a beer if you’re out and about. I think there’s something going on Albert Road this Sunday too…


and on another note…