Get It On, Bang The Gong, Get It On…

…sang Marc Bolan. Little did I know, swinging my flares to T Rex in the 70’s, that one day I would be banging away, like J.Arthur Rank, inside a pitch black oil storage tank. The Espacio Cultural El Tanque was the venue, the converted tank is just up from the Auditorium, and just along from El Corte Ingles and the main bus depot.

Just in case the tank isn’t strange enough they have added an old American style coach as a walkway down from the street. Once past the reception, I took the dark path up and emerged in the barely lit interiorof the tank. As my eyes adjusted I could see the 18 gongs suspended in a circle around the tank, each was picked out in a spotlight and had a drum stick complete with fluffy cod ball head, just crying out to be swung at the gong. In the centre of the circle sat a white figure covered in letters that spelt out the names of seas, the huge steel girders still thrust up towards the top of the dome, where small lights twinkled like stars.

The work is called Jerusalem by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, I was the only person inside the tank (apart from my non living statue friend) and the whole atmosphere was eerie. I sneezed and it echoed mockingly around the metal cage, good job I hadn’t been on the curry the night before, I just had to try a gong. The drumstick was suitably sturdy and the resonant crash as it hit the metal was wonderful, I savoured the shimmering sound and waited for a rush of action but it just settled back into that dark silence. Each gong has a verse written on it from Cantar de Cantares by King Soloman, they all refer to love in various forms such as “Love Is As Strong As Death, Jealousy Is Cruel As The Grave”. You have until 21 February to experience Jerusalem, from Noon to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 2pm on Sunday, and it’s FREE.

Outside, the real world had its own bizarre offerings, it’s Carnaval time, and the previous night was the biggest celebration to date, the Cabalgata (launch procession) followed by lots of drinking and dancing. It was a subdued and quiet Santa Cruz that greeted my early arrival, but within minutes of the TITSA bus entering the city, I noticed a few hairy men in dresses lurching along on their high heels. Plaza de España was being hosed down and the lake was securely sealed off to deter anyone thinking that they had become amphibious. I headed to Parque Garcia Sanabria for my first art assignment, the Cielo/Sky Part Two exhibition.

Parents were strolling with fancy dressed children in hand, as tired clowns crashed out on the grass looking less than jolly as the hangovers kicked in. I grabbed a coffee at the park cafe and found the organiser of the exhibition that features 12 Californian artists, part of a twinning link. Shelby Graham curator of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery in Santa Cruz, California was joined by Miriam Durango, curator of the Circulo Belles Artes a short stroll away in Calle Castillo. There’s a full article on the California connection on

After whizzing off to El Tanque I crammed in some more art at TEA – Tenerife Espacio de las Artes in Avenida de San Sebastian, a real favourite of mine. The building is as much a work of art as the exhibitions, always a joy to visit, especially as the three main halls all have new displays, but more of that at a later date. Heading back into the centre of Santa Cruz, bodies were stirring and the hair of the dog was merging into the late afternoon preperations for some rousing street concerts. Some costumes were starting to look well lived in, but the Chicharreros can always dig deep to find more Carnaval energy. I already have a return visit booked for Monday nights CD Tenerife game v Mallorca, and will be diving into next Saturdays big party day and night, there’s never a dull moment in Tenerife.

December 7th, 2012 3:34 pm

i’m never on linked in so email me direct with your contact details, Hope you read this…..

Star royal Rip,,,, i’ll be 51 in January

ohhhhhhhhhh the not so good old days wern’t that bad ….. were they ??????

King Rat,,,,,,, SHANE RYAN