A Casualty of the Great War?

S&C Contributing Editor John Oke Bartlett revisits a family mystery of war, trauma and Christmases past. Nana didn’t talk much about life with her first husband Victor Nash. According to my parents’ marriage certificate, Victor had been a director of a London wine company. He volunteered or was called up for the Great War, which he Read more

Dodging the ‘N Word’: Being Black and Female in (Mostly) White, Male Student Halls

What happens when a woman of colour from vibrant South London moves into a student flat in Portsmouth with a group of mostly white men? Dyanni Swhyer-Brown reveals all. I stared out of my window at the sunset shining through the gaps between the James Watson Hall and the surrounding buildings. I ducked at one Read more

WWBD? (What Would Buffy Do?)

Portsmouth University student Penny Ward delves back into her childhood to moments when she learned some tough lessons about gender – and discovered the role models that would prompt her to become a feminist. I remember the first time I realised just how differently boys and girls are treated. I was six years old, long before Read more

A Pompey Muso: Lost in America Part I

Portsmouth writer and S&C regular JS Adams recalls a frightening episode in his music career when he found himself stranded in Austin, Texas amid some dangerous characters, with only a hat and glasses to his name. It’s about nine at night, the sun has gone down and I am lost in Austin, Texas. It wouldn’t be Read more

The Loss of Fortitude: My Father’s Battle with Dementia

Sue Roome recounts a very personal – and timely – story of illness, old age and confusion. Dad sat listless in the armchair. His left side drooped as if all of his bones had been removed. His face sagged and the stench from the vomit and faeces was a violation of my senses. He turned his Read more

Guns, Glitter and Gewgaws: A 1950s Christmas

In a S&C Christmas exclusive, actor, playwright and S&C Contributing Editor John Bartlett recalls the Christmas customs of his childhood. Some of these customs remain with us, others now seem alien or eccentric. In 1956, my father Reg fell ill whilst serving on board the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. He had to leave the ship Read more

Talking to Pompey Students Helped My Mental Health

Star & Crescent Contributing Editor Rikki May remembers the first time he ever spoke publicly about his mental illness at a University of Portsmouth event – and how it helped him no end. For the past five years I’ve worked for the University of Portsmouth’s Sport and Recreation department. One morning in February 2014, I Read more

The Sailor Dad I Never Knew

S&C Contributing Editor John Oke Bartlett never really knew his father, who served in the Royal Navy in World War II. Now, some years after her death, he’s compelled to record as much as he can to put some substance around the weathered gravestone in the naval cemetery in Gosport that marks Reginald’s final resting Read more

Home Thoughts of Portsmouth From Abroad

Having left Portsmouth for the United States and then come back to Pompey in later life, Gareth Rees ponders the meaning of travel and the definition of home. It’s hardly uplifting hearing folk running down their hometown. It’s the locality which is sunk in apathy. It’s not me, of course. And I’ve been guilty of Read more

What’s Happening in Syria Once Happened Here Too

New Star & Crescent Contributing Editor, Gareth Rees, takes a philosophical and psychological tour of Portsmouth’s own Cathedral of St Thomas. A guy from Dubai once told me that if, in his travels, he couldn’t find a mosque, a visit to a cemetery would be an adequate substitute. My mind flies to old Mr Goddard Read more