Interesting Question


I’ve managed to keep quiet about this for some time but, without knowing any of this, my sister has commented below as follows:

“I saw Strong Island saying on Facebook recently that they were starting a project centring on people’s memories of Pompey Guildhall shows. I wondered if you were aware of what they were doing, as it seemed to overlap the exhibition that already exists at the Guildhall.”

It’s also been publicised in the News. It’s a project that the Guildhall Trust has set up with Strong Island apparently funded by the Arts Council, so you might think they would be interested in involving Nigel, Audrie and Phil at AAA, perhaps Mick and his website or me/Pompey Pop/the Blog and the new Facebook site.

But they weren’t. We knew nothing about it. Nigel wrote to express a certain disappointment about this and got a pretty dismissive reply, since when, nothing


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

17 thoughts on “Interesting Question

  1. Probably worried about sharing the Arts Council Grant !!

  2. That’s extremely disappointing, to put it mildly. Earlier on I scrolled through Strong Island’s website and their Facebook page to look for the announcement but could find no sign of it, yet I’m sure it’s not long since I initially saw it.

  3. I can’t believe it that AAA has not only been ignored but also slapped in the face. All the people that were instrumental in setting AAA up – and particularly those stalwarts who are continuing to follow the project through – must be so upset.
    As a bit of a nerdy person I’m all for any projects that explore the local music scene in detail BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF EXISTING WORK !! As for Strong Island’s response and reaction, that is disgraceful and they should be ashamed of themselves .

  4. I don’t have it now but it was very brief – suggested Nigel had the “wrong end of the stick” and implied it was simply a separate project – which made no sense to me. I have a feeling Strong Island might have been interested in all the work of AAA, Mick, this Blog etc – maybe it was just that nobody thought of it, but they’ve been reminded and still nothing as far as I’m aware.

  5. The story is……as of Thursday…….I was at PME ,and had a chat with Nick Coles about how we felt somewhat abused by this ‘project’ and certainly implied that as the building is destined to turn into ‘the peoples guildhall’ the trustees of AAA have no objection as such to other projects in the building, and nor could we or would we want to be over objective about the cultural trust wanting to bring in
    other exhibits to enhance the general use of the building to further its importance in todays society……..however…
    On first hearing about Strong Islands project it appeared that they were destined to be treading on our toes and with arts council grant in hand, were about to take the p##s and even include some time filming in our space…….In fact ,I have now not only
    sown the seeds of….please use our space if you need to,but remember that we built it on next to nothing…….no arts council grants……and ‘renting’ the space would be favourable ……The reason no one ‘bothered’ to let AAA know seems to be that their project is specifically about putting together just “guildhall memories” to compile a project that celebrates the building and its events over the years to add their own ‘input’ to the 125 year celebration of the heart of the city……Seems like there will be quite a few relative happenings through August…..
    Oh and any filming and eventual Strong Island exhibit will happen in The Portsmouth Room ,and should not effect AAA at all
    That’s as end of last week………………………..watch this space……
    you never know !!!!!

  6. The problem is whereas the great and the good who contribute to this blog would through their combined knowledge be able to authenticate any memories of Guildhall shows,I have a feeling that because of their relative youth the Strong Island collective will be relying on heresay !
    Therefore mistakes are bound to be made and things that are incorrect will be recognised as fact!


  8. WHILE WE ARE STILL AROUND TO MAKE ALL THESE CONTRIBUTIONS……….Anyone who had a heart……..must feel a bit sad right now on hearing of the passing of Cilla………………………I have to say that the news did come as a bit of a ‘surprise surprise’ Thanx for being one of ‘our girls’ R I P Priscilla

  9. Mr Greedy, much as I totally agree with most things that you mentioned,there are a few major problems.
    The assumption that they are all youngsters is probably wrong. Also the ‘PR’ team there is very good. As for the mistakes made, anyone looking at their project will:- either not know any difference :- or not bother to say that they’ve seen a mistake. Unfortunately not many people are as passionate about our local music ( and therefore local cultural ) scene as Pompey Poppers are. The sad thing is that long after we are ‘brown bread’ unless the true and proper facts are recorded the future generations won’t get the true feeling of the period.
    Interestingly, by my mirror in the barbershop where I ‘work’ I’ve got a small copy of a Birdcage poster. It’s surprising how many young customers ask about that period -much to their peril!! Out come my photos !!! There is a genuine interest in word of mouth recollections, which is exactly what AAA provides. In a totally different genre one only has to witness the fantastic record that Bob Copper and his family have left to the English folk scene.
    The excitement of the major Guildhall concerts and Rendezvous and Birdcage nights can’t be described accurately by anyone who wasn’t there.
    ps, RIP Cilla Black

    • Maybe I underestimate them Oscar . As for their age I’d’ve thought they’re unlikely to be older than any of the old Pompeypunks who are now all over 50 and they wouldn’t have any knowledge of gigs in the early-mid 60’s .
      Look at the number of ‘Mod’ books written by people who were just about born in 1960-who get their information by heresay
      Just because their PR is good and they are well educated doesn’t make them the right people to oversee this project

    • Last time I went to a barber was about 1972. He found a bald patch under a tangle of curls. Never been back since.

  10. The key thing is that we (all of us including ALL of you guys who contribute here and elsewhere) are doing a great job of recording OUR history in ways that will survive. No one can take that away. If other people ignore us, it’s ultimately their loss because we know – and we’ve been very willing and generous in sharing it with the world. We’ll keep going and if the Guildhall or Strong Island want to know what we KNOW (not what we’ve heard, but what we know) we’ll share it with them. If they don’t, sod ’em.

  11. Well first let me say that I have no financial or sweat equity in AAA. Certainly have enjoyed seeing it come alive and that thanks to the efforts of several folks it is in my mind a really impressive area. I was fortunate to visit recently and wished I could have spent more time there. The Strong Island site seems to cover many aspects of life both past and present. I am not familiar with the politics of the funding so can’t speak to that however it would seem that the strong island project is funded and the guildhall portion is just a very small part of their total offering.
    There are several old sayings come to mind here one of which is when life hands you lemons make lemonade. The fact that people are coming into the Guildhall to show their memorabilia and relate their stories opens up some great opportunities for AAA. Since most of the people who came to a concert at the Guildhall would have also frequented the clubs and pubs of the time they would be familiar with the larger Pompey Pop Scene. Fresh meat and fresh memories. Seems to me that there needs to be AAA members on hand during the strong island interviews. Just to throw a few random thoughts out there….. Ensure that each person filmed gets an escorted tour of the areas of AAA. Treat them like a VIP and hey maybe a commemorative AAA Backstage pass (something Cheap). It seems that the strong island crew will capture some memories and those will be added to their site but pulling in people who enjoyed the music scene in the city and getting the word out about AAA is a gift. Listening in to the filming may just fill in some of the gaps in the history and the goal should also be to capture any memorabilia for the AAA that those folks may wish to part with. Don’t know if there is one yet but a link on the SI page to AAA and Pompey pop etc would be a good thing to work on. A couple of other thoughts I had and that was to get email addresses in the visitor book so that people can be reminded of displays and events. Send email flyers to all the Music teachers at the local schools. Maybe they can build a visit into their plans.
    Anyway you guys are on the front line so I am sure things will work out fine.

  12. That’s entirely reasonable Pete. The question remains, if the Guildhall initiated the project with Strong Island why it didn’t occur to them to invite our involvement – and masses of information – from the start? Maybe they don’t want our involvement(?)

  13. Well maybe they are just idiots Dave. One thing for sure is that “Common Sense” isn’t “Common for some folks. Bit of a shame really but like I said not knowing the politics involved I can only think that there may be some trust meetings that you guys are not invited to. That might be an error rather than enemy action so to speak. Or it could be just one person looking to get a little limelight. Time to send in Phil with his Pink Floyd PJs to sort them out. As a body of work AAA is supreme, Has the “governing” Committee for the Guildhall even visited the place recently.

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