The shop that offers vinyl, massages and tarot card readings

With many high streets losing their identity as they surrender to chain stores and well-known retail brands, the South Coast Emporium is a rarity.

Areas of the shop are rented out to local artists, crafters and collectors, leading to an eclectic mix of quirky and bizarre products.

You can find everything from naval memorabilia to restored road signs, and there’s even a coffee shop which transforms into a popular bar in the evenings.

T.J. Jackson, the man in charge of the Southsea store, explains how the system can help local traders kick-start their businesses.

 

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Lee Bradbury learning through adversity with Havant & Waterlooville

Tears on the terrace. Fans on the floor. Heads in hands. That was the reaction to Havant & Waterlooville being relegated from the National League South. They had just drawn 1 – 1 with Weston-Super-Mare, but it wasn’t enough to save them.

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Havant & Waterlooville fans react to their team being relegated

Relegation always hurts, but being sent down on goal difference must have made it extra painful for the Hampshire club and its fans.

Just eight months later, things are different, as the Hawks are flying high in the Isthmian League. They’ve lost on just four occasions so far, as they aim to get back to the level where they feel they belong.

However, despite the mood around Westleigh Park being a far more positive one these days, manager Lee Bradbury still doesn’t hide the heartbreak that he felt on that fateful day in April.

“It was awful,” Bradbury says. “We found ourselves in a position that, myself included up until about five games to go, didn’t think we’d ever be in. Continue reading

Interview with singer-songwriter Gavin James

(Originally published in The Galleon, available to read online here)

Singer-songwriter Gavin James, who performed at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms earlier this month, has had a whirlwind year.

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From supporting the likes of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran on tour, to appearing on James Corden’s TV show in America, it’s understandable that he finds it difficult to pick out a highlight.

“I got to do all the good places I never thought I’d be able to play like Red Rocks in Colorado, which is insane,” he said, referring to one of his nights on tour with Sam Smith. “The U2 ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ video was shot there, so I kind of freaked out a little bit!”

“Then there was the Ed Sheeran gig. We did Croke Park which was absolute madness. There was 90,000 people there or something like that. It’s been scary! All very scary things, but a lot of fun.” Continue reading

‘Tales from the Training Ground’ – an interview with Pompey kitman Kev McCormack

The Northern Blues, a Portsmouth FC supporters club for fans living in the Midlands and Northern England, recently sent me to Fratton Park to chat with larger than life kitman Kev McCormack.

In this episode, we talk about which football club Kev used to support when he was younger, as well as memorable characters such as Brian Clough and Ian Holloway.

The series can only be seen on The Northern Blues’ official website, where you can find all previous episodes. Click here to watch the latest installment.

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Interview with ‘Pay the Ghost’ author Tim Lebbon

Ever wondered what it would be like to have your idea turned into a film starring cult hero Nicolas Cage? That’s exactly what happened to author Tim Lebbon, whose horror novel Pay the Ghost was adapted for the big screen by director Uli Edel in 2015.

In the past, authors have generally disapproved of Hollywood re-tellings – Anthony Burgess, Roald Dahl and Stephen King have all condemned big-screen adaptations of their books – but Lebbon admitted that having one of his works on the big screen was always an aspiration.

“I’ve always hoped it would happen one day. Before Pay the Ghost I probably had a dozen options. Every time it happens I get excited because, of course, the person or company optioning always say it’s definitely going to happen. Continue reading

Best of the Football League: an interview with ‘Journey to the 72’ author Shaun Best

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In recent years, ‘groundhopping’ has become more than just a hobby, it’s become a competition. Soccer fans from up and down the country who support clubs from up and down the football pyramid have dedicated themselves to visiting as many stadiums as possible.

Shaun Best is one of the few hoppers who is able to say he has visited every single ground in the Football League, and he’s written a book about his adventure called ‘Journey to the 72’ to prove it. From Accrington Stanley to York City, every league club was visited over the 2014/15 season, which is an even more impressive feat when you consider Shaun’s previous lack of groundhopping experience.

“I was the laziest football fan ever, had only visited London once and had never really been out of my comfort zone.” Shaun explained. “Friends floated the idea of groundhopping, I did some reading up on it and decided to go for it. I haven’t looked back. It’s been one of the best experiences of my life and I wholeheartedly encourage anyone on the fence to go and visit a new ground or two.” Continue reading

Northeast Bows Out in Style

(Published in The Galleon and also featured on Somerset Stadiums)

Perry Northeast has now finished his reign as Portsmouth Ladies manager. The former Chichester City defender originally took over as Blues boss in 2013 in a co-manager role with Katy Poore, but announced he would leave the club just over a week ago.

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In his three years in the hot seat he has won the Hampshire Challenge Cup on three occasions, got as far as the quarter-finals in the FA Cup and guided Pompey to the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.

This season, Northeast has led his team to fourth in the league – although they could still be overtaken by Coventry who have two games in hand – and he bowed out in style with a 2 – 1 win over Cardiff City in his final game. Continue reading