Archive for June, 2015
Oi Se Arma Rock The Beach For Tenth Birthday

Sand castles crumbled, barbecues hissed, and even the chilled out hippies in the rocks and sand dunes leapt to their feet. Oi Se Arma were pounding the tiny stage attached to the Matinal Beach Club in Las Galletas and their hard core mix of punk and ska filled the evening air.

Back in the UK the rain was heading for Glastonbury, it would be mud and wet wellies for them but at the small beach between El Fraile and Las Galletas the rocky coast and surrounding areas were still full of families and the sea was gently lapping at the shore. I had been to the beach bar before to see Pornosurf last year, that was a good gig eventually after much waiting but with Oi Se Arma due on stage in La Laguna they were prompt for their 8 pm start.

It must be at least seven years since I last saw Oi Se Arma live, the Santa Cruz five piece have built a big following since then and play regular gigs on the mainland as well as in Tenerife. With their roots in the CD Tenerife peña Frente Blanquiazul their songs have become rallying anthems for many of us and that passion extends to their music and politics. The crowd was small and select but the reception was warm as they burst into action with power and venom. Songs like Clockwork Oi and Balas Perdidas soon woke up the late sun bathers.

It was interesting to see the reactions of passers by using the paths as a short cut, many stopped and stared in astonishment, some small children were having a bop out on the sand, definitely future rude boys and punks. I was with a few of the Armada Sur, it was nice of lead singer Rocco to give us a name check, well The General has followed them since their first chaotic gig. Vamos Tenerife got one of the best responses, always a big football favourite and full of pride for the island and history of Tenerife.

It was a shortish set of just under an hour with one eye on the later gig up north but a good reminder of the best aspects of live rock. The closing number, Working Class Kids, was a frenzy of power and thrashing guitars, and as prickly as the cactus plants that surrounded the hippie tents, hopefully we will see them in the south again soon. If you want to hear them you can find loads of their work on You Tube. As for the venue, they have regular live music on Fridays and Sundays, look them up on

Sky Park Tenerife To Bounce Back?


If you guessed the big metal arch in Torviscas was part of a giant McBurger drive in you would be wrong. The large abandoned area just behind San Eugenio was Sky Park, an ambitious bungee jumping theme park that had a short and patchy history over 10 years ago. There was I flying back to the UK a few weeks ago when I saw a large advert in a Canarian newspaper offering the forgotten leisure area for sale or rent – that untapped quite a few memories.

It was in my early days (2002) with The Western Sun as a cub reporter (I think cub was the word people yelled at me) when I joined a pre opening tour of the park. It was all very high tech and impressive although there is no way you would ever get me to dangle on a length of knicker elastic, even if it was over a vat of beer. Bureaucracy was even worse in those days and there were delays galore in getting the park doors open, then the police closed it just a few days later and so the game went on.

Finally up and running and sometimes using the alternative name of Water World, they hosted a joint live broadcast afternoon in August featuring Power FM with their recently aquired subsidiary Waves FM, and Oasis FM. This was the second part of the inter radio challenges, the first was a paintball face off at a site just south of Playa San Juan. It was a fun event around the many pools and on a range of bungee rides. The daddy of them all was the mega tall jump from a crane platform, it could be adjusted so you dipped gently into the pool or stopped just short.

One remarkable wheelchair bound ex soldier did the jump in his chair ending up just above the pool. I was snapping away at the amazing feat thinking what good pics it would make, unfortunately while it was going on I missed four young female Waves FM presenters flashing their ample charms as they whizzed back and forth on the bungee swing ride. The climax of the afternoon was a head first leap off challenge between Chris Elkington boss of Oasis FM and Gavin Watson his opposite number at Power Fm and Waves FM. What can I say, Chris hurled himself down but Gavin was not available and Charlie Thornley of Waves FM had to uphold the west coast honour with a dive that Ronaldo would have been proud of. Sadly the report of that afternoon is the only Sky Park article I have in my small archive.

There were other visits, FAILTE held their St Patricks Day party there and at one time the lounge bar on the complex was a mini night club that held music and comedy nights with shuttle buses from around the south. Those good times were all too few and the next enforced closure was final leaving the prime site to the elements, there was a newspaper report a few months ago of a small fire in a shed on the site, maybe people living rough?

I believe the area can only be used for leisure rather than building apartments and the advert stressed for sale or rent, quite a lot of the infrastructure is still standing. It’s return would make an interesting addition to the Tenerife leisure scene so if you have a big wad of cash contact (yes that spelling). I promise that given another chance I wont miss any sky high female flashing.



History Lessons At Oxford Town Hall

Had he popped out for a sandwich with Oxford marmalade or fancied a cheeky pint of locally brewed Morrells beer across the road? The rain coat of city engineer William White was still hanging on its peg and blueprints for city works were strewn across his desk at Oxford Museum, frozen in time a century after their creation.

Outside in St Aldates the rain pelted down and I had chosen this easier, dryer option for the final day of my home city visit. As a true Oxonian I thought I had a decent knowledge of Oxford but I was about to add some historical cement to the crumbling bricks of my memory. The original museum building is closed and awaiting an expensive upgrade so the large, sprawling city engineers office inside the town hall now houses the main exhibits. It was nice to see that the town got equal billing with the gown (University), I grew up in the shadow of the car factory and found the references to founder William Morris very interesting and also the features on the leisure and culture of Oxford. Adding a modern touch, an interactive video consul took me on a high speed tour out from the city centre in the basket of a delivery bike with comments from cartoon quarter boys, they are the famous figures that hammer the chimes on the carfax tower clock.

A brief poke around the ground floor of the town hall dispelled thoughts of a dull, uninviting public edifice, they now have a café, art gallery, and a souvenir shop. I wanted to see more and snapped up the chance to take a guided tour for just five pounds, the museum is free but they ask for a minimum donation of one pound. My guide Jane whisked me into the private corridors where the day to day admin offices are and unlocked the stairs down to the old crypt, now the plate room where many of the valuable dinner services and ceremonial gifts are stored. A sealed door marked the entrance to a small section of the labyrinth of tunnels that extend underneath Oxford, they provided handy exit routes from persecutors.

Back up in the main body of the building it was clear to see the love and respect that had been lavished on the current town hall, a young designer Henry Hare completed the building in 1897 with scant regard to financial restraints, the elaborate copper air vents were just one indulgence. Moving up through the city council chambers I could feel the weight of history and civic pride. Jane’s knowledge was deep and impressive with plenty of light touches to ensure it wasn’t all dry textbook stuff. The Assembly rooms were stunning with high vaulted ceilings, paintings and portraits rich in history and value, and intricate plaster work. They were preparing the main room for a wedding and the sound system was belting out some classic Stranglers tracks – did they know I was coming?

A balcony leads out from the assembly hall, I remember cheering Oxford Cheetahs all conquering mid 80’s riders when they were given a civic reception. My brain was starting to recall other visits to the town hall for beer festivals and the Unison union Christmas party – the majestic stairway from the hall to the street was a bit of a tester on those occasions. The town hall also stages concerts, exhibitions, and wrestling. My access all areas tour was taking me through corridors lined with artistic memories of Oxford and into the city council chamber, scene of many a heated debate. The old crown court, replaced some 30 years ago, was still a stern and foreboding place, I stood in the dock and as I noticed the cold tiled stairs leading directly down to the cells I hoped my library books were not overdue. The separate rooms for the judge and jury were quite a contrast, one large and relaxing, the other cramped and with minimum facilities.

The tour concluded well over an hour later down the main stairway via more impressive stained glass features. It was a fascinating insight into a building that goes way beyond the functional needs it was intended to cover. A wooden model pointed out the extra challenges that had to be overcome due to the slightly tilted setting of St Aldates and Blue Boar Street that border the town hall. Hopefully the full scope of the museum will soon be realized if it’s original annex home can be restored but the town hall looks set to serve the good people of Oxford for many more decades.

Sun Rain Flowers And Road Works In Oxford

Spin that roulette wheel of weather, Colin is back in Oxford. Well that’s how it seemed for my latest home visit, glorious June sunshine heralded my arrival and by late Sunday afternoon I was sprawled out in Bury Knowle Park with cod and chips from Posh Fish. I actually felt overdressed in my jeans and was looking forward to a few evening ales.

Organised devastation seems to sum up the huge building projects underway in my home city, the Westgate car park has been flattened ready for a new enlarged shopping centre and the bottle neck near Oxford rail station was even more jammed due to a grand redesign underway. More pubs had been wiped off the map or converted into cocktail bars or accommodation but I still dug out some interesting brews in favourite watering holes. My friend Christine took me up to the Varsity Club, a series of bars on several floors entered from the Covered Market, we were going to enjoy the roof garden but with Monday cloud making the temperature plunge we were both under dressed and retreated to the lounge below.

I always like the musicians and buskers in Cornmarket Street, they were even more bizarre this time. On Bonn Square I saw a man juggling balls and a woman behind him in a black negligee playing a violin – I couldn’t work out if they were separate acts or a bizarre mash up. I managed to do a little Tommy the Tourist time and visited the Oxford Prison and it’s redeveloped grounds full of posh restaurants, I had already done the tour of the few remaining cells before so gave the grisly history lesson a miss this time.

The sun managed one scorcher of a day so I visited the Botanic Garden off the High Street, a wonderful collection of plants, flowers, and greenhouses with exotic specimens. I was wowed by the wall plants and herbaceous border, the cannabis plants in the medicinal plant collection blew my mind, and I crumbled at the sight of the giant rhubarb. The vast layout must is a real labour of love with surprise highlights like the rock garden, and water garden. Inside the greenhouses I encountered tropical blooms, familiar looking palm trees, and the giant water lily collection.

It’s just 4.95 pounds to get in the Botanic Garden and a restful stroll also gives access to the River Thames and the big punting station. During the year they hold special family picnic days and courses in botany and nature. As a nipper it was always one of my favourite days out and added a splash of colour between some gray weather days during my weeks visit.

Granadilla Tenerife Sur On Verge Of Primera Dream

Guess which glorious island isn’t top of the Real Betis brochure list? The female footballers of Granadilla Tenerife Sur inflicted a 3-1 play off first leg defeat on the Sevilla visitors just a week after their men were humbled 2-0 at CD Tenerife.

A tougher challenge was expected in the final two games that separate GTS from a place in the Primera and Betis were quick out off the gate with a left break  created goal from top scorer Paula after just three minutes. I was worried that the local ladies might get swamped but they showed fantastic character to turn the tie around. There was a bumper crowd of 2,000 to 3,000, depending on what estimate you read, and where I was prowling the sidelines by the team benches there was a liberal sprinkling of non payers on the rocky hills above. Was that the smell of BBQs drifting across or was that a hint of rock and roll cigarettes?

Back at the game the inspirational orange booted Maria Jose Perez (cousin of Ayoze) was starting to make her prescence felt out on the left flank. Getting in a good position Maria sliced a shot over the bar. Home pressure was building and a teasing cross from Marilen found the head of Maria to level the scores just before the 10 minute mark. Silvia found herself free with just the Betis goalie to beat but the stopper raced out to snuff out the danger. Betis had their chances, a speedy raid brought out the best in home goalie Noelia who showed a safe pair of hands. Reichel was always a threat in the centre for GTS she worked hard to shake off her markers in the box and wasn’t far away from the target with her hooked shot.

Betis were on the back foot, Granadilla spotted their opening and charged at their rivals, Reichel was waiting in the goal mouth to add her header to the scoreline, 2-1 up and looking good after 30 minutes. It was vital to take advantage of a reticent Betis side and during another attack the visiting keeper could only parry a shot from Miriam leaving Maria to bury the loose ball in the net. The Sevilla team had their best spell at the start of the second half, now was the time for the Granadilla defence to show their worth, they didn’t disappoint.

Sub Ana caused lots of problems for the Betis defence, a delicate touch to the side of the goalie nearly brought a fourth goal. That was followed up with another good chance as Ana turned swiftly and fired a shot that Marilen couldn’t quite finish off.  There was still plenty of danger from Betis but the home defence, particularly Laura, were on top form. It was good to see the whole squad get involved, Tibi came off the bench for Maria Jose who departed to a huge ovation after a virtuoso performance.

A sloppy back pass nearly offered Betis a way back but Pizco covered well and took the ball away from harm and a great save from Noelia underlined the home win. It sets things up well for the away leg, coach Toni Ayala insists they will go for another win rather than sit back on thee two goal cushion. Come on ladies, one last push.

Safety At Last For CD Tenerife In Thrilling Home Finish

When we needed them most Diego Ifran and Suso came through in style with the goals that banished lingering thoughts of relegation for CD Tenerife. Real Betis as the last home game had looked ominous for weeks but even allowing for them having already wrapped up the Segunda title this 2-0 victory was well deserved and so sweet after a sour season.

The club did the right thing and slashed ticket prices to fill the ground, there were plenty of retro shirts on show as 19,193 packed in and made the atmosphere truly special. So many factors were in the mix, Betis managed by former CDT boss Pepe Mel had Las Galletas defender Bruno in their side after a move from the Heliodoro last summer. Just before the game we learned that Maxi was out injured but Omar Perdomo started again and showed what a prospect he is.

Diego Ifran’s fitness level has been a constant worry but he looked well up for the challenge, his early low shot had the keeper scrambling to the far post to make a save. Betis looked to have dropped down a gear with their prize in the bag, they still showed flashes of class but found the home defence on top form, especially Javi Moyano who didn’t put a foot wrong. The ref threatened to wreck our day, he turned down a strong penalty shout when a head down in the box from Diego was deflected by the arm of Piccini.

Vitolo and Suso were an inspiration for their team mates with their passion and hunger for the game and their efforts always fire up the crowd. Moyano pushed up to support another attack and his strike from the edge of the box nearly caught the goalie out. At half time it was looking good, a draw would have sufficed for safety but a win was what we desperately wanted. Cristo Martin could have opened the scoring ten minutes after the break, that was his final action as Juan Carlos replaced him. The new arrival had one of his better games and added a new zest to the attacking options.

A Diego strike was ruled a offside but he kept pressing and slipped a neat pass to Suso to hit the goal that made the stadium erupt. All the frustrations of recent months melted away as thee crowd noise levels hit a peak, suddenly we were greedy for more goals. Suso was on fire, he unlocked Betis again and fed the ball into Diego, it flicked off his boot and his head before it was cleared. The clincher after 80 minutes was worth the wait, Vitolo raced down the right and with a little help from Suso picked out Diego who slotted the ball past the keeper to ensure no return to Sunday noon kick offs.

It’s been quite a while since the Heliodoro witnessed Mexican waves and all sections up and cheering but that’s how it was for the final ten minutes of celebration. Calls for President Concepcion to go were a reminder that the hole we got out of was due in no small part to poor decision management last summer – and January. It was a win to savour, although my head wasn’t so enthusiastic next day, big decisions will have to be made in the next few months if we are to build on the few positives that came through this season. Raul Agne has agreed a new one year contract so we have continuity and the indications are that the young rising stars like Cristo Gonzalez will be given their chance to stake acclaim for a first team shirt in the pre season friendlies.