Mister Samo and Lewis Hancox sign books in Southsea 

I took some time off from Portsmouth Pride planning and preparations to visit Pigeon Books in Southsea and chat to local authors and artists Mister Samo and Lewis Hancox.

Despite the heat - even at 6pm - I found them in good spirits, chatting to customers.

I had been dispatched with my teenage skateboarder's well-read copy of Lewis' first book Welcome to St Hell, with strict instructions to get it signed! He was the one who introduced me to Lew, via his videos and reels, and inspired me to feature him in our series on LGBT+ History Month. 

We discussed skateboarding (the new indoor Pitt Street Skatepark and Southsea Skate Park's upcoming 45th birthday event), the weather (then commented on how British that is) as well as his plans for future projects (watch this space!)

Mister Samo had packaged up the t-shirt and stickers I had bought via instagram (having missed out on the recent drop, I was quick off the mark this time round!) While there I couldn't resist buying a copy of his breathtaking art book I Exist, which he also signed for me. 

The photo was taken while Mister Samo explained that he chose the distinctive open weave binding on the book's spine to represent the weaving together of the individual stories inside the book, and because he liked how it aesthetically depicts his scars. 

Mister Samo wrote inside my copy of I Exist: "You are so loved." 

A message for us all.

Mister Samo (along with many others in the community) has spent the week creating this epic mural, seen from the balcony of my room at the Queens Hotel. He is also hosting a drop-in pop-up creative workshop with Form and Function at Portsmouth Pride on 10th June. 

His message to the community? "We are all United and we are all different yet We are all one"

By Abi (She/Her)

Volunteer Copywriter, Portsmouth Pride