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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ibiza 2015 - My Very Belated Review Of My 12th Visit

I’m writing this review of my 12th trip to Ibiza two weeks after getting back.  Is it really two weeks already?

There were 12 of us going to the villa, all couples, except for me and JP.  Yes JP was sharing a room with me.  He must have been crazy to agree that.  And various others on the island that we met up with.  I knew about half of the gang prior to going.

OK I’m now writing it four weeks after getting back.  I should forget about writing but it seems traditional to write about my trips abroad, particularly to Ibiza.

I guess I’m going to have to write in more general tones than details – though not all details of an Ibiza trip should or could ever be shared publicly.  I am certainly not putting the messy journey there in writing.

I had every intention of getting messy then sobering up before the end, unlike previous Ibiza trips where it was full-on messiness from dawn to dusk every day, with many a night’s sleep missed.  This time I surprised myself by sleeping every night, and eating every single day.  Gosh I am so grown up.

Or old.

I actually came back relaxed – though I had also lost 2kg.  I didn’t need to spend several days recovering, though the extra days off afterwards were handy.

So what did I actually do there?


I should add, it is now 2.5 months since I got back.  Well…I’ve been busy moving house and stuff.

It being a villa holiday for 12 of us, plus the extras, there had to be some compromise on nights out, etc – I was never going to get a 10-hour session of minimal techno anywhere, but we did both Zoo Project and Circo Loco at DC10.

I wasn’t fussed either way before going to Zoo Project.  It isn’t something I’d ever been especially interested in, nor was there any DJ on the line-up that I wanted to see and I was very comfortable at the villa.  But I went, and forked out the €60 door charge for not being organised enough to buy a ticket in advance.

It was an excellent decision for it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and evening, albeit in the baking hot sun.  Drinks were affordably priced, and there were 4 arenas of music that I found – I spent most of my time at the Treehouse section (definitely not the shit-hole bar full of tossers in Reading of the same name) which played a generative mix of minimal/tech-house.  And ended up with a slightly sunburnt face.

I highly recommend it.  I was gutted two weeks later when I found out Villalobos did a secret set there on another weekend.  Aaaaarrrrrgh!

I wanted to do Cocoon but upon seeing the line-up – and in particular that Solomun was playing with Sven, I just wasn’t interested.  Plus before I went to DC10, I realised that I was struggling for remaining funds – there was enough for a big day at DC10, but I couldn’t afford Cocoon.  It is 5 years since I have been to Cocoon in Ibiza.  And to think I used to live to go that particular night.  What am I doing?!

DC10 was predictably excellent, and very slightly messy.  We got there when it was almost empty which I love doing, to see how the club builds up and almost to feel like I am curating it – especially when first on the dancefloor.  I tried out my new short denim shorts and may have got a little attention, though not as much as my aforementioned hero in a dress.

Musically nobody massively stood out though Shonky played a really good set.  Cassy too I enjoyed, though her shoddy early mixing put the others in our group off where we went into the main room – I much, much preferred to be in the terrace so I was caught between wanting to dance in the terrace by myself or being with my friends.

I flitted between the two rooms – I didn’t think the soundsystem was that good in the main room but perhaps because we were stood at the back – some of the group were literally climbing the walls.  Sadly I had sobered up, relatively, and me and JP left before the end.

On the way back, we decided instead to endanger our lives, albeit unwittingly.  In a slightly fragile state in the back of a taxi, this car overtakes our taxi in the country roads – the taxi driver must have flashed his lights or something, as when we went round the roundabout, we saw the car stopped in the middle of the road further ahead and these angry steroid-fuelled beefcakes come running towards us – one appeared to be reaching into his pockets for something… a gun?

The taxi driver quickly reversed away, and waited.  And then went along the same road – the car was coming the other way and the taxi had to swerve to avoid them opening the door as they drove along.

Not what you need on the way back from DC10.  I needfully got messy upon arrival at the villa – not as fucked up as I desired, although I did find myself putting sun-cream on around 4/5am when it was still pitch black.

The villa itself was really nice and well-located in Sant Josep.  We had a bar 2 minutes’ walk from us, and apparently a brothel very close too.  You could probably walk into Playa D’en Bossa but with daily maximum temperatures between 37’C and 39’C, this was not something I ever contemplated.


6 bedrooms, a pool, air conditioning – yes air conditioning, do you read Easynet?  I had air conditioning in Ibiza.  It was more modern than Casa Cox with better facilities and location (Casa Cox being the infamous villa I have stayed in a few times), but didn’t have the romanticism or beauty of it.

One thing I did refuse to go to was Avicii.  Everyone but me went to the toe-curdling horror show and I went back to the villa to catch the last of the sun and drink some very strong vodkas, despite having drunk many “strong” vodkas during the day in Playa D’en Bossa at €14.00 a pop.  Yeah fuck off Bora Bora.  I was quite content and drunk by time some of the crowd got back – some of whom got back before Avicii even started.

For me, it would have been an evisceration of my soul and not something I could forgive myself for.  I’d rather have gone to a gym.  I don’t recall any good words being said by anyone who went, certainly not for the music anyway.  Though apparently I did miss a Ushuaia balcony sex show, and the light show was apparently impressive.

Much of the rest of the holiday was spent drinking in the sun, or in the air conditioning when the heat was too much for me.  We attempted a BBQ and cooked some food, likewise ate out a couple of times, including a couple of nice steaks.

Overall impressions of the island were generally positive.

I thought that the service was much improved.  I remember say 10 years ago, you would often get a rather grumpy service from the Spanish on the island in particular, though nowadays the service really is quite excellent, very helpful, friendly and smiling – maybe that is partly due to my ability to actually speak a bit of Spanish now (I even asked for the key to the bathroom once), which is something I’d always promised myself every year I was on the island.

But I do think that the island in general was more welcoming – and it isn’t exactly as if it was ever unwelcoming.

I think it is less crazy nowadays.  The craziness seems to have been contained which has long been a policy of the island government – yet it is good to see that dancing in the sunshine is possible.

The music I found a little predictable.  Good but I always knew what I was getting.  Lots of house, lots of tech-house.  It felt good but I didn’t feel that there was much variety or invention.  I do worry Ibiza has got itself into a little hole musically – everyone trying to do the same, acceptable, kind of thing.

Maybe it was just the parties I went to.  I cannot exactly judge a whole island’s music taste on just a couple of nights out.

It was still very expensive but it didn’t feel as expensive.  That isn’t because I am richer, I most certainly am not.  But we did go to venues that offered more value – the only place where I really felt ripped off was Bora Bora, and the bars nearby.

The women were beautiful – especially the Spanish.  None of them were impressed enough with my Spanish despite being able to say los elefantes son azules.  I did get one sexual offer though…


I did feel that I missed out on adventuring to new places – new restaurants, new parts of the resort.  It is shameful that after 12 visits, I still haven’t been to Dalt Villa.  But in a large group you have to pick your adventures carefully – persuading one person to try something different is difficult enough and group holidays are all about give and take.  There is plenty of time to explore when I move to Ibiza.

Yes.  I still fully intend on moving to Ibiza.

Out of my 12 Ibiza holidays, I would suggest that it ranks around the middle – 6th or 7th best – although not a patch on the Casa Cox craziness – it was a truly excellent holiday and easily the highlight of my year so far.

Maybe next year I'll take some decent photographs.  Yes, there will be a next year.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

James Went To Church

Yes I went into a church.  I cannot decide if I am not agnostic or atheist, however I can clarify that going to a church is total anathema to me, it goes against my beliefs.  I agreed to go for a family member who is seriously ill, as I thought it was the right thing to do.

Said family member is seeking and receiving comfort through the church.  And I am pleased about this.  I am not someone who thinks religion is the source of all evil and war, as some atheists will tell you.  I am more of a pragmatist and understand that religion and faith can be a source of healing, warmth, comfort, belief – whatever.  It does help some people.  It probably helps many people.


You can have your church, as long as I can have my nightclub.

I hoped that we would just be there for 20 minutes, watch the thing we were there for and then go to the pub.  I feared we would be there for the whole service, possibly an hour.  I expected it to be intensely boring and possibly patronising.

It beat all expectations.

2.5 hours we were in there.  Most of which was a service, followed by a renewal of wedding vows (this bit was ok, I don’t mind weddings).  It was easily the most boring thing I have done all year.  Christ, it was dull.  Recently I’ve been getting bored at work.  This week I am just thankful for small mercies.

It was annoying when you had to get up and down.  Then people sang dull hymns.  Not to mention the praying.  I, of course, joined in with none of it.  Except the standing up and sitting down bit, as the benches were uncomfortable so it often suited to rest my bum from the hard wooden bench.  Why do they not provide leather sofas?

It even went all happy clappy at the end.

But I found a way to amuse myself.  Thank God for mobile phones and the internet.

I spent most of the time on Facebook, Twitter and reading the news.  I read a lot of news.  And a lot of commentary of the news.  And opinion of the news.  And then tweets about the opinions of the news.

My mother wasn’t impressed.  I really should have brought my Surface.  At least I resisted putting my earphones in.

Then we went to the pub.  See, in Hull, on a bank holiday Sunday, most pubs are standing room only by 4pm, with loud music blaring out.  We found a quieter pub with a pair of ladies’ shoes discarded outside.  My abiding memory is of a very overweight woman grabbing a man’s backside.  At 630pm.

Thankfully there was a family after-party at a house with the world’s longest garden, or Hull’s longest garden anyway.  Please don’t ever tell me public sector workers are hard done by!

I actually got talking to the vicar, and he was nice nice with a good sense of humour.  He told us all to be careful as he had excellent powers of converstion (meant as a joke), my dad told him that he'd have no chance with me.  The vicar insisted that he could, to which I told him I was a muslim.

Cue dropped jaw and a short silence.

Booze and food was supplied at the party, and I went to look at the food.  There was a large tray of mushy peas, and a very large bowl of gravy.

All for me.  The gravy, that is.

Later on, pies turned up, a lot of pies turned up and then more pies turned up and there was still some gravy left so I had pie and gravy.  One cannot argue with that.  Was it worth my earlier sacrifice?  I had two pies just in case.  Ahhhh.  Hull.