Archive for May, 2009
CD Tenerife on track with away win at home

What a way to celebrate the national holiday, Dia de Canarias, a thumping 4-0 away win at Sevilla Athletic for CD Tenerife – promotion is almost in our grasp. I spent the day in Santa Cruz to make the most of the festivities, and watched the game on a 15 metre screen at the Pabellon de Deportes, in the shadow of the CDT ground.

My day started early, heading for Parque Ofra in Ingenieros, one of the stops on the new Line 2 of the Santa Cruz tram system. The official inauguration was at Noon and the trams didn’t start running until after, so I had to use a mix of the Line 1 tram and Titsa bus to get there. the second line from Tincer to La Cuesta cost 55 million euros, and consists of just 6 stops, intersecting the first line at 2 points.

Parque Ofra has a permanent exhibition about recycling and environmental awareness, the wind turbine exhibit and the solar cooking dishes made a nice modern contrast to the tradition and culture of the Canarian dancers and musicians. After the usual politicians had made their speeches, all the dignitaries went up and down the line crammed on the 2 trams, leaving the platform crowded with people waiting to get home. I narrowly avoided being the first person to get splattered by a tram, and eventually got on and made the return trip to central Santa Cruz.

I stopped at the Teatro Guimera, there was a Romeria going on with music, dancing and plenty of bunting. A straw circle had even been marked out for a farner to display 2 of his livestock, though he later moved them into the shade, there’s nothing worse than sweaty bullocks.

On to the football, and time for a few Doradas, the sports hall was pretty busy, probably near 1,500 people in, it was FREE, and all in good voice. I was worried that over confidence against the bottom team could trip us up, that was dispelled in 10 minutes as Ninos blocked shot came to Alfaro who blasted CDT into the lead. just before the half hour mark Nino scored from a Juanlu corner and Daniel Kome, just before Cameroon duty, made it 3-0 a couple of minutes after. Sevilla were poor but Tenerife still had a job to do and a Nino penalty in the second half sealed the game. Three games left and still in second place, leaders Xerez at home next week is a tough one and providing the travel company don’t try to shaft us again, I will be at Girona the week after for what could be the clincher, leaving the Castellon home game as one big party. Sunday Stop Press – Hercules have just drawn this morning, that means CDT need just 4 points from 3 games to go up.

Canaries Day heralds concert season

Just when we thought that Tenerife would be deprived of its summer concerts, they have burst into life, starting on Saturday 30 May, with a big 14 act event in honour of Dia de Canarias.

The national holiday will be marked in the Playa de las Americas football stadium with Tiembla Tenerife from 8.30 pm, tickets are 30 euros, but you do get 14 performers, headed by Murcia band, M-Clan. The mainly Spanish bill also includes Innata, Blue Child, Alex Ubago, and (below) the UK’s Brinsley Forde. A former member of Aswad, Brinsley started out as a child actor and starred in The Double Deckers – ask your Grandad-although he probably doesn’t like to admit to it.

Anyway the concert is to raise funds to help struggling Canarian families and tickets are on sale at Carrefor and from

One of the big summer music festivals, Eolica, looked under threat from lack of funds but is now happening, on July 19 at the ITER wind farm on the Granadilla industrial estate. Top of the bill will be Teenage Fan Club from Glasgow and  The Cat People, from Galicia, supported by Marvel Hill, and electro band Telephunken, more names will be announced soon.

We can also look forward to the 4th annual Platano Rock festival as part of the Santa Cruz + Viva programme. Running from June 6 to 29, it will feature film events as well as 3 concerts in La Recova and Plaza Candelaria. The groups will be drawn from Tenerife, Madrid and Barcelona. The big gig is on June 12 at 10 pm in Plaza Candelaria with Catalan groups The Right Ons and OVNI, plus local band, Line. All we need now is a few people on the island to form a crowd.

Fat Lady tunes up as CD Tenerife win 3-0

Character is just as important as talent in many ways for a winning team. CD Tenerife showed they have bags of it, bouncing back from last weeks defeat at Hercules, to defeat a stubborn Alaves 3-0 in Santa Cruz. Promotion rivals results all fell into place to leave CDT 2nd with 4 games to go.

Aragonoses was back in goal for Tenerife but it was hard going in the first half as Alaves, desperately fighting to escape relegation, Â played a tight marking game and hung on to the ball. They gave the home fans a scare after 15 minutes when Pablo Sicilia had to make one of his telling clearances to keep them at bay.

Alfaro seized his chance a few minutes later when Kalderon made a defensive error, letting in the CDT striker for his 18th goal of the season. Nino had a clear chance to quickly add to the lead but his usual coolness deserted him. Former Santa Cruz goalkeeper Bernardo kept straying way outside of his area but Alaves hugged the ball to deny any chance of a testing long range chip.

The second half saw Tenerife blossom into their full attacking mode. Richi set up Nino after 58 minutes and this time he was lethal, taking his goal tally to 25. Just 5 minutes later Marc Bertran (pic) killed the game with a well taken strike from outside the area, cue the party on the terraces.

Kome, having a quiet game, was subbed, and waved his seasonal farewell to the 18,302 crowd, he is off on international duty for Cameroon, he will be missed. Marc Bertrans day ended painfully as he was taken off injured, to add to the earlier loss of fellow defender Manolo, hopefully both will be back next week.

This win leaves Xerez top with 75 points, CDT second on 72, Zaragoza on 71, Hercules on 68 and Rayo Vallecano on 65. With the top 3 going straight up, that 4 point gap over 4th place, gives CDT breathing space. Onward to Sevilla away next week.

Aunt Sally, a family reunion

In the great scheme of things I have never been a prolific sportsman, despite my love of all sport, but i did enjoy one peculiar local sport in Oxford, and yesterday I took a stagger down memory lane to re-ignite my love of Aunt Sally. Every wednesday night in Oxfordshire, people gather at local pubs to play this strange game that involves 6 sticks being thrown at a small wooden doll perched on a swivel.

When I played there were 21 sections in Oxford but sadly there are now just 12, I never played at a very high level but always enjoyed the fun and beer of a good night out. My beery travels yesterday took me to The Folly Bridge Inn, next door to the former White House ground of Oxford City. Luckily the kind landlord and a few good friends helped me to have a quick chuck. I got 3 dolls with my first throw, blimey i wasn’t that good when I played on a regular basis.

The local paper The Oxford Mail does a round up every wednesday of the previous weeks action and prints a list of Sixers (anyone who hits all 6 dolls in one leg) and blobbers those who miss everything all night over the 3 legs, and yes I have been named and shamed in the blobbers section. It felt so good to throw those sticks again, it all came flooding back, when I started I was a danger to low flying aircraft but aspired to a half decent level. Ooh memories, maybe I can export Aunt Sally to Tenerife – well it’s just a thought.

Bugger off, I’m on holiday….

….is what I was thinking as the bearded acordian player burst into the Lamb and Flag pub in downtown Oxford. He was closely followed by 5 young ladies who started dancing, well more like pumelling the bare floor boards as their leader pulled and teased his organ. The bible is wrong, there are 8 deadly sins, the 8th being Morris Dancing, and this display was dangerously close.

I just wanted a quiet pint or 10 around Oxford, after taking my parents to sunday lunch at The Mitre, I was sat at the bar in a melancoly moment, enjoying my beer and reflecting on CD Tenerife’s shock 3-1 defeat at Hercules, I didn’t want entertaining. As the music finished the players waited for applause, but the silence was deafening, not that it put them off, they moved into the other bar and started annoying a few people in there.

Apart from that, it was a pleasant welcome back to Oxford, even the pounding rain and dodgy Oxon (above) at the station, failed to dampen my enthusiasm. Many pubs have changed here lately so I set out with a zeal to revisit many of my old haunts. The Head of the River (pic below) was always a busy and popular pub but the whole upstairs is now a hotel, never mind, at least the eastern european bar maids were very pleasing on the eye.

There were a few other minor highlights on my crawl, but it all got a bit hazy towards the end of the evening, and tonight I’m meeting some old drinking mates – it’s a living hell, but i will do my best to look like i’m enjoying myself.

Secret squirrels and frisky falcons

On my first day back in England, the sun had got his hat on, but since then it has added a duffle coat, balaclava, scarf and brolly-typical spring weather for blighty. Time to get down with nature, and a trip out to Formby Point to the National Trust reserve near the beach, famous for its hoards of red squirrels, sadly a notice advised that there was little chance of seeing any as they have been decimated by squirrel pox – so that’s what happened to Tufty. On to the beach and a few brave souls were flying kites in the face of a freezing wind off the sea, time for a strategic retreat.

Onward to Southport, here after known as the last resort, we resisited the lure of the lawnmower museum, I kid you not, and strolled through town in the rain, trying to find something of interest. The information centre made much of them having the longest iron pier in the UK, I should imagine that suicide is the most popular past time in Southport.

Thursday was a leisurely day in Manchester, trying to keep warm. Last time I was over the vote on a congestion charge for the city centre was due, the council argued that a NO vote would mean no money to improve the local transport system. NO was the loud and resounding response, and yesterday, despite the threats, a quarter billion pound government investment for the Metro and Park and Ride was announced. The Metro is a great system, we travelled in to Manchester centre from Bolton, they even have upright cycle lockers at the car park so cyclists can link easily to the centre.

It was good to catch up on Manchester’s Peregrine Falcons, last year we saw a pair on the high ledge of a nearby hotel, through a telescope viewing point provided by the RSPB in Exchange Square. The birds are back again this year and have hatched another 4 chicks, thanks to the RSPB it is possible to see pics of them on the nest and also hunting for food. The falcons eat local pigeons, and the male can be seen on its favourite resting place, on top of the letter E in the name of the Arndale Centre.

So much for our trek to Formby, might as well let the wild life come to us. Talking of treks, me and Pam are off to see the new Star Trek film tonight, years since I have been to a cinema, hope they still do Kio Ora and Poppets, if not I’m sure a decent real ale afterwards at the local pub will be suitable compensation.

Roman through history in Chester

The good people of Tenerife had a whip round and sent me back to England for a 10 day break to give them some respite, so here I am in Bolton with the lovely Pam, for a whirlwind tour of England.

Where to start, well Chester sounded as good as anywhere, and just an hours drive away. My knowledge only runs to vague ideas about a racecourse and Chester City, recently relegated back to the Conference, and managed by Mark Wright, former Liverpool and England defender and ex Oxford United manager.The boy from Berinsfield, just outside Oxford, also scored the winning goal at the England v Egypt World Cup finals game I attended in Sardinia in 1990.

First impresion weaving through the tight cobbled streets, was the staggering amount of pubs, I notice the important things, The remains of the city walls from the Romans visit 2,000 year ago led past the cathedral (see pic below) and surrounding gardens where people were sprawled out on the lawns in the sunshine, personally I felt the keen wind chilling me and was glad of my jumper and coat. In the centre of town, the Eastgate clock, built 1897, Â sits atop an arch over the main shopping street, a photo opportunity to good to miss. There was an interesting antigue shop on the arch, among the more traditional paintings of local scenes, there were some with Daleks and Cybermen added in, and there was me thinking that Dr Who was fiction.

If we were going to be tourists, we thought we might as well go the whole way, so we signed upfor a 90 minute walking tour (a fiver each) from the information centre. There were just 5 of us and our guide, Gerry, sounded just like Ken and Kenneth, the gentlemans tailors from The Fast Show. As for the tour, ooh suits us, it took us out to the edge of the city centre, past the oldest racecourse in the UK, the only one where they race anti clockwise. Apparently the footie ground is nearby and the dividing line between England and Wales cuts through it. Down to the River Dee and the area known as The Groves, ducks and herons perched on the weir and pleasure boats mingled with swans as we trudged by. History oozes out of every brick and we visited the old castle and Agricola Tower, before ending at the impressive St Johns Church, built in 689.

One day down, and I didn’t need the thermals, the forecast is not encouraging but bring it on, I feel some more wanderings coming on, hmmm wonder if Pam would fancy a trip to the National Football Museum in Preston?

Roll up for the greatest show in Tenerife

The big top may have just set up on the Santa Cruz sea front, but the roar of the crowd has never been louder than at CD Tenerife. This noon kick off saw the blanquiazul tame the visitors from Murcia 3-1 with Alfaro the ringmaster.

The previous days results did Tenerife no favours, so it was vital to keep up the pressure to preserve second place. Juanlu was first to excite the home crowd, as his speculative cross hit the woodwork. Murcia looked a decent side but prone to going down too easily, De Lucas was writhing around in the box looking for a penalty as CDT broke and Bertran crossed to Alfaro, who supplied a perfect header to make it 1-0 after 24 minutes.

The second half had barely started when Bertran provided another good run from full back, to supply Juanlu, and he dropped a perfect cross for Alfaro to head the second goal, his 17th of the season. Murcia were reeling and Tenerife followed up with Nino turning provider for Juanlu to make it 3-0 to send the crowd delirious.

A little sloppyness set in and Aquino took advantage to pull a quick goal back, but Tenerife were cruising and in no mood to let the game slip away. Nino had a couple of decent chances, for once his touch deserted him and he had to play understudy to Alfaro.

That cuts the remaining fixtures down to 6, with CDT still comfortable in the 2nd of the 3 promotion slots. The Canal Plus live coverage and noon kick off played a part in keeping the crowd down (put at 18,300 on several news sites after the game but on Monday given as 16,747) those vital missing few thousand (capacity 23,000) would come in very handy to boost the bank account for next season in the Primera, fingers crossed.

High notes and bum notes

Drink, drugs, groupies and old age, rock and roll has survived it all but the credit crunch is proving a tougher opponent, especially here in Tenerife. There will be music this summer, there is always music here, but you might have to dig a bit deeper to find something to please you.

Next Saturday,May 16, Old Uncle Rod Stewart kicks things off at Golf Costa Adeje, you can still get tickets from the usual outlets, and many shops around the island. Then on Thursday May 28, a new rock supergroup pitches up in Tenerife.

Big Noize have recently formed, fronted by singer Joe Lynn Turner, formerly of Deep Purple and Rainbow. Joe is joined by Phil Soussan on bass (ex Ozzy Osbourne) Carlos Cavazo on guitar (Quiet Riot) Simon Wright on drums (Dio and AC/DC), and another drummer (you can never have too many) Vinny Apice. They are starting out covering songs that they all know so well, like Shot In The Dark and Smoke On The Water. They have a single out called Battlefields, which you can hear on . The concert is taking place at the Pabellon Municipal Deportes in Santa Cruz (turn left just before CD Tenerife’s ground) at 9pm. Tickets can be bought from for 15 euros.

Also on that website you can buy tickets for The Pretenders at the Santa Cruz Auditorium on Thursday 6 July (scroll down a few posts on here) for 30 and 35 euros. Bad news though on the 2 big summer music events, Eolica, at the Granadilla wind farm, and Aguaviva, in Los Cristianos and Las Americas. There has been no news at all of either large and well established event, both due within the next 6 weeks. A few days ago El Dia newspaper ran a big story saying that both were struggling to find the finance needed to run this year. Seems far too late now to rescue either.

There is also a deadly hush over the usual big hispanic or latino concert for the Heliodoro Stadium, home of CD Tenerife. In past years Shakira and Mana have packed them in just after the end of the football season, prior to the pitch being relaid. Best you make the most of what music is around, and in the meantime, I will keep my ears open.

Jostled by the Blubber Bots

Ok, I can here you whispering, he’s finally lost it, send for the men with the white coats. Just hold on, I’m actually talking about cutting edge art, I finally got round to seeing the Jed Berk art exhibition at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Santa Cruz. The Blubber Bots are 22 interactive helium filled balloons fitted with sensors that make them react to light and sound.

 Finding the arts centre is an achievement, it’s half way along Calle Castillo, the main shopping drag, that connects Plaza de España to Plaza Weyler and above a shop. At the top of the stairs I found a black curtain blocking my way and poked it nervously, a young lady appeared and led me through to a small theatre type hall, fairly dark and with white blobs lurking in corners. She explained that they were resting, pulling her mobile out, she hit the music tone and they began to stir moving towards the sound, she then adjusted the lights and they became quite agitated, a few took an interest in me and ganged up. I kept thinking of Rover, the big white ball in The Prisoner, and was waiting to be enveloped and captured. Luckily they were fairly friendly and just bounced near me, moving when I did.

American artist Jed Berk created these Bots after graduating from the Rhode Island school of design, I’m not sure what he had been drinking, but I’d like a pint of it please. Sadly the Bots will bounce off elsewhere after this Saturday, but I will pop back to see what new wonders replace them.

I spent the rest of the day touring Santa Cruz, convinced I could see the Bots following at a discreet distance, peering out from shop doorways. A trip along Las Ramblas seemed a good idea, and isn’t it typical, I soon found a Brit laid out stone cold under a tree. Don’t worry, it was an old friend, the sculpture El Guerrero de Goslar (above) by British artist Henry Moore. It was replaced yesterday on its plinth, where it has resided since the 1973 Art in the Streets exhibition. We all need a holiday, and the famous work has been on display at TEA (Tenerife Esapacio de las Artes) since it opened in November last year, sadly in one day, it had already gained some unwanted graffiti.

Moving on I found an even stranger site (above) hanging from the trees and balancing on some metal stands. Having overcome a strange compulsion to clutch and cough, I looked over the exhibit. It’s been a while since I walked right around Las Ramblas, but I can’t recall seeing these “items” before. The sign on the stand said Xavier Corero 1973, but they look clean and free of bird pooh, so I assume they too have been recently returned to the wild.