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cultural

opened-eyes-1

HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 5

By | blog, cultural, dj'ing, empowerment, herstory, Ibiza, memory, Music, nostalgia, original, writing | No Comments

Friday October 9th

WAKE UP

opened-eyes-1

All you fear is fear itself,

Check out your own backyard before you check out someone else.

Janet Damita Jo Jackson’s ‘Unbreakable’ has been soundtracking my days recently. I love everything about it – from design and styling to the lyrics and feel that we are practically twins under the skin, being fierce black women, earth signs AND firehorse babies (just like Halle Berry and Mike Tyson both of whom I am also obsessed with). Her lyrics resonate and echo my exact feelings about love, loss, fighting against the establishment, loving yourself and dancing like no one is watching.

She’d be an A1 neighbour: someone I’d invite out on a Coffee Patron bender with and enjoy making fun and sense of this world. I know we’d laugh long and hard at life and its ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions. Bumping back down to earth musically inspired, I write a glowing review for DMC World online.

Janet Jackson – Unbreakable – (Rhythm Nation / BMG Records)

 

The themes of ‘Unbreakable’ have set me thinking about my little universe. I’d recently worked at the WAKE UP festival : it’s like Atzaro’s Healing Ibiza but and it all takes place at Gala Night in Benimussa outside San An. If you embrace the alternative lifestyle, then this is as profound an ‘experience’ as you can get, mingling with and enjoying the talents and skills of some of the best (and the kookiest) spiritualists of every persuasion and discipline. It’s a full-on festival of music, rhythmic dancing, meditation, talks, chakra balancing, drumming circles, laughter therapy, smudging, yoga of every kind, tarot, crystal healing, reiki, hypnotherapy, gonging, doing whatever it takes to realign, balance and focus – to wake up the spirit and put us back on the spiritual path, rejuvenated and refreshed. I gave a talk on ‘Keep Talking’ which aimed to encourage better communications. It was truly beautiful maaan. But now the results feel as shortlived as the after effects of a lungful of poppers.

Why? Well, I am being haunted by The Myth. You know the one that says the island bounces you back to where you came from if it doesn’t like you. I keep telling myself that it’s just a myth, an urban legend, that it’s not true. I know that that sort of legend can only make relatively sound and reasonable people tough it out for the all the wrong reasons. But pride can be such a dangerous thing. Love too. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been swayed by all of the above during my time here.  Then I chance upon this …

David Whyte

 

11 August · Edited ·

Honesty

HONESTY

is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.

The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.

Honesty is grounded in … admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.

‘HONESTY’ Excerpted From CONSOLATIONS:

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning

of Everyday Words

© 2015 David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

So what if it’s not the island that bounces you back. What if real life out-trumps the legend?

My sister Elicia’s Whatsapp shatters the post-deadline calm. My Mum, Blanche, has been rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Her condition has been stabilised without surgery but the surgeons are concerned and keeping her in for tests and observation for the next week or so. Elicia has a 5am flight, the rest of my family are unavailable so can I take over the vigil. ‘Of course, no problem’ I say. No matter that Google Maps confirms that I am currently 2,360km away and unable to do anything more constructive than Whatsapp, Skype and phonecall my family, my friends and the hospital non stop and bounce like a ping test between them all.

https://goo.gl/maps/1175BB47oXr

I call the ward at 04.00 UTC then write an update to the FAMILY Whatsapp group. Mum is stable and settling into the ward. Tests will be done over the next few days and they are keeping her in for observation until the results are clear. Any phone calls for her are to be directed to the following ward number. I ask the family if we can organise a visiting rota – that sort of thing.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH

I don’t sleep and am exhausted when day breaks. I have horrible flashbacks of me going to see my Dad, seven years before. In the flashback I am about to board my flight to Manchester at Charles De Gaulle having worked Friday night somewhere in deepest Southern France. I have flown back to Paris to fly back out at silly o’clock to see and comfort him, when my sister Audrey calls to tell me that I’m too late. My dad has just died. I hadn’t even boarded the flight. That sense of uselessness swung hard at me like a prize fighter then. And I can still feel the full force of the KO even now. Today my mum is seriously ill and somehow her situation has triggered a ‘red button’ scenario. Reality check. I have been happily living in Europe for thirteen years, have had the best time ever too but in all that time, the one thing I have consistently missed – and missed out on – is my family. Maybe it’s a good time to reconnect, to get to know my Mum and my family better? Is work and dj’ing and living a gloriously sun-drenched Ibiza life really so important to me that I would sacrifice my – and our – personal needs for it? Hold on. Who am I? And why am I still here when my family need me over there?

Without a suitable emotional (and sometimes moral) sat nav you can get terribly lost in the Land of Loss. But no more Ms Denial for me.

 

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Shit gets more real by the day. I’m as guilty as the next smartphone addict for not memorising names or numbers and for relying on my phone for everything. It’s a sign of the milennial times that even my BFFs can’t recall my phone number without checking their phone or my Facebook. I need an anchor. I am a responsibility-free adult, cut adrift on this island where I have no significant other, I don’t have kids and I don’t even have a cat or a goldfish. Finding someone close and reliable enough to mind my spare house and car keys was a mission. And as for that time when I found myself choking on a Schtroumpf with no-one close by to Heimlich it out of my gullet, that took the fun out of Haribo for a while, I can tell you.

 

 

In ‘choking alone-single serving-no next of kin’ terms, there is absolutely nothing to keep me here. This house (ok penthouse apartment) hasn’t stopped whirling for long enough for me to make a soft landing in Oz. Still, my ruby slippers will always have magic.

 

The people in A1 block aren’t A1 neighbours at all. Their Neighbourhood Watch has consisted of them watching me and spying on my landlady through the twitching Judas. They never say hello and prefer heatedly shouting and complaining when I’m a) parking b) (un)loading luggage or shopping into / out of the lift c) opening my front door d) closing my front door e) breathing f) not even there to be guilty of any of the above. They make no secret of saying (in Spanish) that they think English people are ‘tonto’ and show my Loco Landlady little or no respect. Loco Landlady has flashes of lucidity (good day / sober / not ill) but most days she can’t find the keys to her own house let alone to this apartment. When I moved in she handed me forty identical looking keys on a fob then tootled off with a shrug. As for the possibility of her next of kinship, she has a horrendous track record with cars and insurance and as such is as useless to me or my family in a crisis as a little toe is in a very pointy shoe.

 

My friends Sophie and Lee have become the closest thing I have to family here: yet even they don’t know the names of or have the contact details for my immediate family. In fact, the closest to kin is my 90’s ex, Simon Bushell who knows my family by name and close friends well enough to find them should anything happen to me here. My squad? The people who have that information on lock live in London, Manchester, Paris and New York. This pulls focus. I’m done with this free falling and falling away of things. Where will you go when the party’s over? Ask me tomorrow – when I wake up.

sleep-on-it-3

 

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4 PT. 2

By | article, blog, club nights, clubbing, cultural, DJs, empowerment, herstory, history, Ibiza, memory, Music, nightclubs, original, quote, social, Uncategorized, work, writing | No Comments

Saturday October 3rd

TO EXCEL, NOT COMPETE

 

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WORD OF THE DAY (Collins 2008)

PASADO

ADJECTIVE

Past, Bad, Overdone, Out of date

NOUN MASCULINE

Past, Atelier

Noun

A Workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer

 

The opening notes of Otis Redding’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ are playing in my head. Since I was small I have had music playing in my head 24/7 and it always carries a predictive message. At times it feels like I have a  prophetic Wurlitzer – all ‘Simon’ flashing lights and chrome – perched on my shoulders where my head should be.

First phone call of the day involves some ‘misunderstanding’ with work. The Voice is shouting at me because I have got the wrong end of the broomstick. I have NEVER been booked for the party that I have had blocked in my diary for three months since it was first discussed.  I say that I have turned down other offers to do this party. ‘That’s stupid. The Voice says ‘Why would you turn down two paying gigs to do this?’ I reply ‘ Call me loyal but I’m a first come, first served person and I always keep my word. ’ I go into detail about the original booking. The Voice stops shouting. Then there’s silence as the penny drops. Voice rushes off to make some calls and when Voice calls back the tone is upbeat, enthusiastic and apologetic. There’s no money in it though. Alfredo has taken the budget.

For the record, I have a minor cob on. It’s true that none of this matters in real life but that doesn’t stop me wanting to crawl into a hole or eat chocolate and ice cream until my jeans don’t fit. I dream of kicking back in LA. dressed casually for a date at The Ivy. I’m wearing huge Jackie O shades, sitting in the sunshine and dining with my literary agent.  In the dream we are celebrating signing the rights to this blog on to HBO studios for a pilot series. It’s going to be like Two Broke Girls but with one dj and based in Ibiza. A dream is a wish your heart makes.

 

 

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I snap out of the reverie by jousting with the two washing machines outside on the upstairs terrace. There’s CL’s machine that has never worked but is in the way of mine which normally works but is throwing a post electrical storm strop. I hiss ‘if you don’t work I’ll break you down for Robot Wars’. It moves. Then it works. I have no doubt that it fully understood. I reckon you will never find David Guetta on his hands and knees covered in suds and dirt and terrace guana, brandishing a spanner, a stanley knife and an iphone in full ‘Ask Jeeves’ mode. No I bet you never will but welcome to my single Ibiza life.

I have waited in all day to go to Space Closing with my friend who – at 2pm – is still on the missing list. He has bleached and rinsed it at Amnesia and Bora Bora and only hits his bed for a quick siesta at 3pm.  So much for the ‘let’s go early to Space Closing and side-step that difficult guest list’ plan. I’m well pissed. Then, out of the side of my eye, I catch a news bulletin about Roseburg, Oregon where people have died in the 45th campus shooting this year. I feel ashamed and petty for being childish and shallow so fill my (now) party-free time by doing something positive and planning my upcoming trip to London instead. It is booked and confirmed for the beginning of November and I have set up a radio interview and mix with Sophie Callis at Soho Radio, three radio interviews for a DMC World Magazine feature with Cocoa Cole, Horsemeat Disco and Josey Rebelle, one gig at Housewife and one lecture at the University of Westminster. No matter what else happens today I have some interesting work to do this winter.

When I go to meet my friends for the Heart Closing Party everyone – except me  – is late.  Waiting alone outside Downtown Cipriani’s AT THE AGREED MEET TIME, I see that it is already closed for the winter.  Whatsapp group alerted, we agree to meet at Prince but your woman on the ground checks and finds that this is also closed for holidays. More waiting. I walk half the length of the Avinguda d’Ocho Agosto in Rita Ora’s evening dress and gold strappy sandals only to stand out like Wilhelmina No Mates at ‘dressed-down-every-day’  I-Pizza until they arrive. Four pizzas, a few beers, some w(h)ines and loads of chat later and  we’ve frittered away our valuable free entry / no queueing time.

 

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In the approach to Heart, the empty doorway that sported a clutch of golden egg, queue-jump ticket holders when I first passed by at 10pm now looks like the Stock Exchange trading floor. My heart sinks like a stone. Everyone is waving something, trying to catch the eye of someone important who knows someone who works there who knows someone they might know who runs or owns it but that someone is doing their damnedest to avoid all eye contact. It takes a good half an hour to get to the front of this queue only to find that only one of us is on the list and that’s the late-comer who was responsible for sorting out the guest list for all of us. Awkward. She goes in to find someone to help us get to the front of the paying queue. No pressure for her then. And more waiting for us. Damian Lazarus arrives – I try ‘the friendly chat’ ruse but he is rolling with a sizeable entourage. His ‘plus-sized’ guest list forcefield is fully engaged. Happily, our friend succeeds. We smile as we are each charged 25 euros entry. It is a nicer club, with a stylish older crowd and great music. We stay, we pay, we play.  At least we get in. Many don’t.

It’s kicking inside as Damian Lazarus is in back-to-back flow with Acid Pauli.  Theirs is a strong sound full of dark techno shadows and the dancefloor is heaving and kinetic. Heart clubbing is a world away from the k-hole walking, shuffling zombies or cake throwing and stage diving (into the crowd in an inflatable raft) antics of Ibiza. It’s a great closing party.

 

Wednesday October 7th

Facebook inbox

Mehdi Dressy

Scroll down to see new messages.

 

Chat conversation start

You’re friends on Facebook

Boss at Mehdi Dressy

Lives in Balham, London, England

8 minutes ago

https://www.facebook.com/mehdi.elhabchi

Hi Paulette, hope you’re doing well today !

 

I take the liberty of sending you this email as I really want you to know this.

My name is Mehdi Dressy, DJ/Producer/Composer signed on Avant Garde & Space Invader Music (Joachim Garraud’s imprint label) & Warner U.S (for my producer part) to name a few, and I’m really glad you’ve accepted my friend request.

The reason why I’m sending you this email, is to thank you. Simply, and here’s the reason why.

I discovered a genre of music that moved me some years ago, which is house music, throughout many sources on internet, including during a special radioshow on Radio FG, which was yours. I was downloading a copy of your set every week on some forums and was blasting it in my student’s room back in time. With the time it became such an obsession for me, that I started by playing others music, then creating mine and come play it as well.

I am thankful to be able to live from my passion, to get recognition for my work from the simple listener to world class dj’s playing my music during festivals, and for that I want to thank you for your contribution to my musical education and self development.

With much respect,

Mehdi Dressy

life-is-amazing-4

 

My soul has been lifted.

 

Wednesday October 7th

SELF ESTEEM, NOT SELF PITY

WORD OF THE DAY

Alexithimia

Psychiatry.

Difficulty in experiencing, expressing and describing emotional responses.

Started the day with yoga but cried throughout the session. Asanas can sometimes release energy in unusual ways. I roll with it and roll the mat up.

I’d feel much better if I could swim in the sea but I recently weaned myself off Talamanca beaches when I missed a red flag, swam for an hour then read about the ruptured sewage pipe in Diario d’Ibiza that afternoon over brunch. I thought I was going to die from toxocariasis and felt like I should be chanting ‘unclean, unclean’ and ringing a bell for weeks after. They say it could take years to clean that part of the coastline…

Another amazing email arrived encouraging me to value my past much more than I currently do.

From : ANDY H

TO :  Paulette

Subject : How’s It Going DJ Paulette ?

Hey Paulette,

 

In my seemingly old age, I have been going through all my old musical tastes and stumbled across loads of tracks that reminded me of when you used to DJ at the Zap in Brighton.

You may remember me, I used to carry your records now and again from the car to the club and vice versa, however, I was rarely in a fit state to do so!!!! ( I think you even left me a nice birthday message on the answerphone at me and my mates flat, which I was well happy about!).

Anyways, can you remember the sets you used to play?!?! I remember them and still make me smile. Been catching up with them all over again! Here’s a few classics that I can remember (it was over 20 years ago after all!)

Bobby Brown – 2 can play that game – k-klass mix THE BEST SONG DROPPED 🙂

Nutropic – I see only you

Solitaire Gee – Slumberland

Ina Kamoze – Here comes the hotstepper

Skee-lo – I wish I was a little bit taller

I can remember you used to rock the Zap!!!

There was another track you used to play and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, may have been something like the penguin orchestra or something but it had the massive drum and bass break in the middle?!?! Any memory of it? I’d love to find this one….

Glad to see your DJing is going so well too….

Might try and catch one of your sets if I go to Ibiza again.

Best,

Andy

Sent from Gmail Mobile

Hi Andy,

Thank you so much for this mail!  It really touched me.

Send me a picture please?  I can vaguely remember someone sweeping me into the club like a star, but I can’t put a face to you 🙁  I should be thanking you for the star treatment actually.

Records – funnily enough I have been playing a few of those out again this summer as I have been doing pool parties for Ibiza Rocks and Hotel Es Vive – Skee Lo – I Wish

 

and Ini Kamoze’s Here Comes The Hotstepper have pride of place in my sets in the sunshine.

I still love them – they are timeless party jams.  I remember I always dropped Skee-Lo into the Size 9 I Am Ready breakdown about 6 minutes in.

Solitaire Gee – also amazing. I hammered that record everywhere. I must fish that one out again.

 

I wish I could find my Bobby Brown vinyl as that is a timeless classic.

 

 

 

WORD OF THE DAY (Dictionary.com)

PARVENU

Noun

A person who has recently or suddenly acquired wealth, but has not yet developed the conventionally appropriate manners.

I receive an email from I-Safe advising that the insurance claim against the Municipale is unresolved and ongoing following the flood at the storage unit. I’m not totally au fait with road names so when the freak storm hit last August it didn’t register that my storage unit was located on the flood ravaged Avenida de St Joan de Labritja. Nor did I connect that it was the self-same FITA / Eroski road connecting Talamanca to Jesus that I couldn’t drive down because it was closed due to water running like a fast moving two feet deep ravine. It’s only a bit of rain the residents said. The storage unit stayed closed and did not answer calls for two weeks. When eventually they allowed people entry we were told that the sewage pipe under the street had ruptured and that some of the units had been affected. One of the worst affected units was mine. Oh yes. That insurance claim.

 

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My unit was waterlogged. Around 2,500 units of vinyl had been ruined and all the sleeves water damaged. Everything in the unit was covered in mud and silt, disgusting and slimy to handle and heartbreaking to hold. The management of I-Safe were unsympathetic. ‘Can’t you just stack them in boxes’ said Kathy. She has no concept of what water, silt, glue and sand actually does to vinyl when it dries or with friction when stacked sleeveless, loose and dirty in a box. No concept of what it means to leave them in this state until the loss adjusters can be bothered to come and view the damage. And no concept of the emotional attachment to and the financial value of the original sleeves to a collector. To I-Safe they are just records that have got a bit wet that can be dried out with a heater. Yes really.

 

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In other better news, Barclaycard have credited my card with what is now a handsome sum after the ongoing non delivery and general jiggery pokery of my Visa card. It’s hard getting a simple letter delivered to my address because CL (my crazy landlady) has lost the key to the vandalised letter box, the entryphone doorbell doesn’t work and lots of businesses (especially banks) will not deliver to a PO Box. To sidestep this, Barclaycard are going to deliver my new card to my UK address on Friday October 9th. Yes. My mum will be at home to take the delivery.

… TO BE CONTINUED

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4

By | blog, cultural, herstory, memory, positivity, property, rental, social, Uncategorized, writing | No Comments

OCTOBER

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When I say I haven’t decided what I want to do yet this does not mean that I don’t know where I want to live or be in 2016. I said I was tired not stupid. Of course I want to live here, in Ibiza. What’s not to love about living in Jesus? . Like every savvy Ibiza resident knows, at certain times of the year, island rentals are a feeding frenzy so the A1 golden rule is to secure your accomodation in advance preferably long before the summer silly season kicks in (before the end of March). Get your luvverly accomodation for the next year confirmed, signed and sealed before the end of the preceding season and you’re laughing. The lucky few who bag a beautiful bargain (without paying a six month deposit upfront) in the Holy Grail transfer window between the middle and the end of October are viewed with emerald eyed envy. The struggle is real here. Most long lets get snapped up like a gushing, mutilated leg in a shark pool and generally before the ink is dry on the ‘Anuncio’ page in Diario D’Ibiza. Those who are on a tight(er) budget find a ton of roomies (generally up the West End) and split the cost handsomely. 256 different ways to do the washing up or to go Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Italian or all of the above. All of them present and correct.

Me? I have this on lock. I met my English eccentric ever-so-slightly alcoholic landlady for a tapas lunch at a deserted La Vineria, on the Carrer Cap Martinet at the end of June when we agreed the terms for my contract and keys to Castle Grayskull.

 

 

My landlady greeted me looking angelic in a white, gypsy dress, heavy boots and her blonde hair worn up in that tousled, elder stateswoman way. She was demolishing her second large glass of wine as I sat down. As she ordered her third, she said ‘let’s get this out of the way, then we can eat’. I had been dreading this chat so was surprised when she offered me a contract to keep the apartment for another year. Golden ticket? Tick it! She said that she really likes me and wanted to help. Tick that too. Could I accept different terms? Rental seasons being what they are and her being a lady of leisure with no regular source of income, I knew I was looking at a serious price hoik. Brace yourself…

She was nervous about giving me another contract. There is a loophole in Tenants’ Rights legislation here that keeps a tenant in place for up to five years if a contract is renewed long term to the same tenant beyond the first year. Since she is trying to sell the apartment, this loophole is a worry for her. In order to combat this, the rent was being raised to a constant winter fee of  1200pcm, rising 200€ to 1400pcm  from May to October. Vertically steep for one person. In fact it was 400 euros pm more expensive than the rent I had been paying on my flat in Paris when I left in 2013. That’s Paris. A metropole. With a strong transport infrastructure, museums, shops and everything.  If I overstayed the contract end date she threatened me with murdering me in my bed. Normal. I laughed like I was the only person in the audience at a bad Comedy Store gig.

I have a good – and relatively long memory. Logic and reason tell me not to fuck with mad alcoholics. I remembered the house call last year. She had popped round to see ‘how I was settling in’ but really came to calm down in her own apartment after having made an unwarranted house call to ‘that Jonathan’. He wasn’t home but she threatened his girlfriend with a kitchen knife with a four inch blade just to make sure (she took this out of her pocket demonstrate). I’d only been in the flat two weeks. She told me that Jonathan was the previous tenant who had left her apartment in tatters with denuncios flowing like ticker tape (the neighbours say he was running Girls from his private parties. I had wondered what the chains in the wardrobe were for). Anyway, he had left owing three months’ rent which she was determined to recoup. That she would go to such lengths just to get the rent arrears did not sit well with me. We Capricorns can take life and living just a bit too seriously I suppose.

The apartment is not Ibiza Town prime real estate but it is in a respectable, developing location. Turn a blind eye to its basic, ok cheap furnishings and you know it is worth a bit. It has plenty of space for my dj equipment slash studio, has a guest bedroom for family or friends, is bright, airy and modern and rent-wise was not breaking the bank for a three bed in Talamanca. Even though the heating falls short when Ibiza drops the ‘pissed-wet-through to the clothes in your wardrobe and sheets on your bed’ humid fog and the boiler needs resetting every time the wind blows (which is a lot in Talamanca), it is big, airy, bright, modern, warm and dry and has a lift, a roof terrace with a 360° view and garage space. I could get comfortable here.

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Like christmas toy batteries, bills were no longer to be included. The disappointment was Christmas present same.There was to be no sub-letting. Not that this was something I had ever done, but it would  have been nice to have the option. This is the key income source that all of my friends exploit to pay their rent through the fallow winter months. Odds stacked up, condition by condition, what was once a decent deal was starting to stack higher against. Still, I loved the apartment; looked after it like a boss and was a model tenant. I assured her that the next year would be equally trouble free. I always pay my rent on time – how could it not be?

Freak of the week. CL massaged my feet to clinch the deal. WTF? Boundaries???! This foot massage is over-familiar territory even for family. Understand that it’s not easy to run when someone has your feet clamped in a vice-like grip before you’ve touched your tiramisu. Best to relax. Let it happen. The ‘Welcome to your new home again’ speech that followed this random activity was thus music to my ears. CL promised me that once her family visits and daughter’s university choice were out of the way we would visit her Gestor to sign the contract. The date was set for the end of September. Reassured, I chose to ignore her sniffing her hands when she’d finished.

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Call me crazy for trusting CL and her fancy foot massage. I fully accept and assume responsibility for the incoming fuck up. So confident was I that we had made a solid verbal agreement that I took my eye off the ball. I forgot that something about this island – maybe the Es Vedra ley lines, maybe the population of gypsies, tramps, brigands, pirates and thieves – makes a mockery of written agreemements. And, schoolgirl error #2, I forgot that spoken arrangements count for nothing, especially where money is concerned. Everyone prefers to be paid in the tax and question-free black so there are no guarantees here. Nothing is ever as sorted as you expect. Not even your drugs. What I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to make a legitimate tenant disappear overnight. Without a contract you have no rights, your landlord (or landlush) can ask you to leave or throw you out as and when they want and with no notice served.

One week into October and I am all out of excuses. No phone calls or IMs are being made or answered and we haven’t signed any official papers.

 

img_3483… to be continued

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – Day 2

By | 80s, affirmations, art, article, blog, club nights, clubbing, cultural, dj'ing, DJs, empowerment, feminism, herstory, history, Ibiza, image, Manchester, memory, Music, original, poetry, positivity, psychological, quote, social, Uncategorized, writing | No Comments

11057221_518288024996422_8856540957208814254_nTO MAKE CHANGES NOT EXCUSES

I have lived and breathed music since before I was born. My musical heritage started with my mum, Blanche, who was a jazz and cabaret singer. In the 60s she co-owned ‘The Ebony Club’, the first integrated dance club in Manchester. Legend has it that, when she was pregnant with me and my twin, her waters broke as she was singing onstage with her band at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Consequently music and sirens run through my veins like A Rhesus Positive.

It wasn’t long before I’d graduated from ‘Up Jumps A Rabbit’ to David Bowie, The Beatles, The Jacksons, TSOP, Roxy Music and a wild mixture of funk, soul, new wave, electro and disco. The first 7 » single bought solely for me was ‘Pop Musik’ by M

M – Pop Muzik

I can still remember every lyric now I played it that much. Next I pooled my spends with my twin sister Paula to buy The Crusaders’ ‘Street Life’

The Crusaders – Street Life

and The Police ‘Message In A Bottle’ (import on green vinyl)

The Police – Message In A Bottle

I financed and fed my music addiction with an after-school and weekends paper round that bought me 12s by  Human League, Gary Numan, John Foxx, Spandau and Duran Duran.

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Most djs I know start like this. We are the Indiana Jones’s of our chosen fields. But there is much more to dj’ing and being a success that depends on exterior forces. No matter how much you know, the how much you do, the how many people you pull in and the who you know and who they know who can help and push you will take you much further. It takes a team. No man is an island, especially on this island. For three years I have been knocking on doors but getting slow-where. To succeed on this island – and to live here all year round – you have to hustle hard and I am missing those essential genes and chromosomes. True, I can hustle better than some, but not as well as most. So when the work offers come in and the receipts are totalled, they don’t place my earnings anywhere near Calvin Harris or the Swedish House Mafia in the Forbes Rich List. Not this year anyway.

All things considered I am an above average ( sic award winning) dj who, so far, has lived a pretty amazing life. I have happily enjoyed the fruits (and the odd Bounty) of 20 odd years of this character building, life shaping career loosely termed as dj’ing. On any given day it’s the music that drives me, that blows my core reactor sky high. It’s a weird quirk – and I’m not sure who else feels this, but my temperature goes through the roof when I’m in the mix. It doesn’t matter whether I’m playing nu to deep house across Europe or disco, funk and techno in Ibiza – my biological reaction is the same. Or maybe that’s just a Samantha-strength hot flash.

What started out as a cash-in-hand hobby gave me a much needed release and relief from my ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ marriage and intense graduate studies. Since then it has provided the backdrop and antidote to three relatively high pressure (not JLaw or Beyoncé level …) music industry day jobs. Trowel on a few impressive bouts of burn out, some long-term overseas living in two countries and two extra languages and it’s grown into an internationally recognised career that has been my sole source of income since 1999. Like Peter Pan’s shadow, it has become who I am without my having even noticed. Now it’s time to pick it apart, restitch and reinforce the seams so that it fits me better.

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Wherever my heart and soul crash into any genre – there you’ll find my sound and my record collection. I like to pour this over ice into a long and strong-sipping set. Like when push came to a great freezer bag heaving shove for the nine hour luxuries of my Ibiza summer. Two fried hard drives and a flooded storage unit did nothing to deter me from creating nine hour, 75 to 130 bpm odysseys out of a cobbled together collection of Cds from the dry boxes in my I-Safe storage unit.

I always put a lot of love, heart, soul and effort into my sets. So you’ll understand my Paddington hard stare when people congratulate me on my set by saying either (as an innocent compliment) that it was a great set for a girl, or worse, that I am wasted.

Paddington – Hard Stare

‘But I haven’t drunk a drop’ I say. They don’t mean mullered though. Not even spannered. Not spangled either. They mean wasted as in unappreciated, as in I should be playing somewhere better than this. Somewhere bigger. Somewhere fuller. Somewhere cooler. Feel that burn. I’m always polite back. I believe in myself and good manners and argue (most times without swearing) that they have it all wrong. I fan them with the flames of my absolute devotion, searing love and passion for music and dj’ing. Facts, figures, statistics, wherefores, howevers, whatevers, why nots and whys are all my friends. Yet this side of season end, all that has suddenly stopped making sense. I have a fluttery feeling that’s nothing to do with a post Pulpo Gallego Gaviscon shot and everything to do with my pesky gut instincts?

I love my life and my job and I’m truly grateful for all the joy and the lazy (by 9-5’ers accounts) lifestyle that it brings. Yet something about its rhythm has started to frustrate me. It also bothers me that disappointment has tinged the edges of a happily busy season. Doing OK is not an option when you live alone anywhere and especially not on this expensive island. My heart says ‘feel the love, keep on keeping on and remember the good you’ve done here’. My head says ‘no regrets, you’ve enjoyed your time here, now take what you’ve learned and build on this elsewhere. Make sure that the people you keep around you, the way you do your job and the choices you’ve made throughout the years are continually helping not hindering your progress. Make sure that all of this has been worthwhile.’ My heart can’t wedge a word in edge-wise. My head always has a lot to bloody say.

Meanwhile, my instinct is shouting ‘man up’. This is a small island. You can only take so many pictures of sunsets and delicious seafood platters and of the same people in the same places at the same parties in the same clubs before you start to see the groundhogs. Logic says it’s not disloyal to want to do something more with your life and do this somewhere else.

It looks like this is a good time to let the Ibiza me go. So this is when the fun begins. No present like time.

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Sterling void & Paris Brightledge – It’s Alright

Sterling Void sang ‘and the music plays forever’ and like every seasoned raver that knows the rest of those lyrics, I know ‘it’s gonna be alright’. But I love it here. I love living and working in Ibiza. I know that the highs I have experienced are not the sort of rush I will ever match pushing papers at a desk job. 20 years plus spent appearing on stages and in superclubs, playing to hundreds of thousands of people, rushing through the streets of Paris with a police escort and playing to thousands of people in some sublime outdoor venues and being ushered into a club with people screaming your name and security flanking you every night leaves you breathless. It is a proper head trip. So is hearing your jingle and name played daily or weekly on the radio. Receiving awards, being paid to do what you love and not feeling like it’s work at all – these are blessings indeed that are worth more than a ton of Class A’s bought at cost price on Silk Road. Does cashing up before you hang up a barista’s pinny in Costa Coffee come a close second ? Of course not. The memories I have of the last 20 years are nothing short of amazing, and the shared nostalgia runs deep, but no matter what level of player you are, sooner or later you have to make a choice. Something has to give in the bizarre love triangle between you, your life and the music. Or does it?

No matter what the vagaries of the economy and political climate have thrown me, I have evolved, persisted and persevered when others like me (who were far more successful than me) have thrown in the towel. But the recurrent nightmare persists. A legion of flesh-eating, retrained zombies beat a grisly path to a 6 star (hi speed wifi mandatory) DJ Rest Home to prey on the weak. They break every window and door down but the stone-deaf dj’s inside are oblivious to the groaning and battering and sound of breaking glass. I wake up in a cold sweat and reassure myself with some comforting affirmations.

  1. I rise to more challenges than a Great British Bake Off finalist.
  2. I bounce back from more knock-outs than Stuart Hall.
  3. I rebuild myself, my life and everything surrounding me from ground zero in four cities and three countries
  4. I am harder, better, faster.
  5. I always replicate excellence.
  6. I am a Princess. Or a Kardashian. Child swapped at birth.

It’s time for some tough love. I can feel the sand shifting. The tide of emotions, that ebb and flow of ending and beginning, is rising like the kraken inside me.

 

Below the thunders of the upper deep;

Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides; above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumber’d and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages, and will lie

Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

‘The Kraken’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Tracy said ‘9 months and go out laughing’… how to do ? I mean how to do ?

my colonel-mustard

TO BE MOTIVATED NOT MANIPULATED

I am pregnant with an idea. In the next nine months I will plan my own murder. It’s going to be like a giant game of Cluedo (bags-eye the glorious sunflower yellow, of course).We’re playing on a giant board with music and a rave in each corner plus a few good friends and some pictures of sunsets and poetry and planning. Most of all with planning. Much as I’d rather it was DJ Paulette in the main room with a USB stick, my loaded laptop is far mightier than a 64MB pen drive. The goal is to go out laughing… and to do this with crowd support (or crowd funding).

50/50 or ask a friend? I’ve never been fifty and I’ve never retired before, so forgive me for not wanting to call this and not knowing how to be or do either. Apparently I don’t look it, (ie forty eight, whatever that means). I subconsciously don’t ACT it, I certainly don’t feel it and I definitely don’t want the music to stop, which is four quarters of the problem. I don’t know any dj who has so-called retired who has not been exhumed weighing at least ten kilos heavier and with way less hair on top of their heads. Or more if you’re Paul Oakenfold. Admittedly Oakey never went away but either he has Wayne Rooney’s hairdresser’s number or I am Michelle Obama. Every DJ resurrection involves waving one’s legend like Excalibur (or an enormous Nag Champa jostick if you’re Balearic) in one hand and spinning a bag of oldskool house and rave classics with the other. I am never going to give up my music, yet I struggle with this. I’ll just have to wing it.

Aloe Blacc – I Need Dollar

I’m not saying that it will never be attractive to me but the concept of playing a set of big old tunes and back to back house classics does give me the willies. Who wants to play all the old hits ? All night ? Back to Back ? Without a break ? To a public with a school reunion mentality but dressed in modern rave attire instead of novelty school skirts, shorts and ties. I dread that awkward moment when my set can be timed by the placement of Voodoo Ray, Gat Decor, Dream Lover, Good Life, Strings Of Life, Big Love, Higher States of Consciousness, Jaguar and Promised Land. Where to next, once the punters start to remark on their Pavlovian regularity (and believe me they will)? I’d rather have my head slammed repeatedly in a Metrolink door than have to play all the hits just for dollar. I’m sure that science has proved (somewhere) that a roomful of monkeys could cobble together a respectable classics set using the new Pioneer CDJ2000s. Somebody just shoot me now. And don’t get me started on people making a career out of re-editing other people’s music. Should you find me hypocriting somewhere by headlining the next big ‘back to 1994’ wrinkly rave, feel free to show me this paragraph. But hold the door for me when you see me carrying my Bitcoin billions into the bank.

How can I change tack without going too far off course and keep buzzing about music and clubs? How can I make the sort of change that stretches and inspires me ? One that is legal, decent, conscious, honest, unselfish and generous? Which option or opportunity might provide the stepping stone to the next chapter?  And is it possible to see my bit part written into Manchester’s musical herstory? Am I doing the right thing even? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions but I feel ready to go boldly and raucously into the nights, dark and dazzling,  that this pilgrimage is about to bring.

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About those options and opportunities. I have decided to keep a diary. This diary. Maybe it’s not the career booster method that immediately sprung to your mind but don’t knock it. It’s a start. Psychologists recommend writing your feelings out and I have a lot of those.

Inspired by the picture I have in my mind and the cyclone of words flying like butterflies around my head, I sit at my computer poised to write. I am mostly waiting for an Emmaus sized catharsis and revelation. I look like I am trying to squeeze this out like it’s a silent fart in a lift. Then I stop dead like a Basset Hound on the scent of something it can’t quite define or recognise. The screen is still white and I am suffering from divine blindness. A question and answer session ensues. With myself. Out loud (of course). I regularly consult and argue with my inner expert. Should I post it this a blog ? Yes maybe – then my links will make immediate sense to the swipe generation. Do I post it as a vlog ? Erm – can’t be arsed making crap hand held / selfie stick clips on my iphone – they look so home made and unprofessional. Plus there’s always something embarrassing on the bathroom floor and out of frame toilet shots aren’t the way I’d like to go viral. Who in their right mind takes a selfie after doing a number 2 and before flushing the chain? Not me. Home photo sessions and videos are indeed really shite. Add some scruffy randomness on the bed or sofa or kitchen work top that you wish you’d moved before you pressed record and send … No. Something has to be left to the imagination – at the outset at least. But if that fails, then there’s always Youtube, Instagram and live streaming.

Try as I might to drag it behind me, this body is heavier than I thought. If I’m going to murder myself (on paper) I need a good plan and a lot of help (not just psychiatric). I am thinking ‘Sex and The City’ with a bit of ‘Shallow Grave’ but all wrapped up in ‘I’ll Be There For You’. It’s got to be a cross platform affair. It’s a sad state of play but most dj’s, a&r’s and managers I’ve spoken to don’t happen to list reading as one of their preferred past-times. Unless it’s a flyer. Or a contract. I need to make this so called DJ Life resonate with any and every unannounced eavesdropper outside of this room, this house and this industry. Hmmm … * scratches head *. My premise is solid. No matter how amazing the life, we are all mortal. We are not forever young. Not even Madonna and Calvin Harris. OK maybe Madonna.

The words start to flow, then I delete it all. I write some more. Then doubt and insecurity bound up, panting like two daft Collies who keep returning with a stick for me to throw. Now I am freaking out about what people might think. I tell myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect and that there’s room for fine tuning. And I’m thinking – ‘BUt what if I’m not big enough’? Better to be honest and brave, to do and say the right (write) thing and write the book I have in my head than to be an ostrich who never sees or changes anything and doesn’t ever do anything different.

Breathe. You know it’s gonna be alright. Everything will turn out just fine.

Focus. Think positively. I open Youtube for inspiration and watch best animal clips before making a bee-line for the freezer. I find and eat a Magnum that has been maturing for so long that it could easily have ripped a hole in the other side of the Titanic. I sit back at my desk enjoying the ice-cream brain freeze, then demolish the rest of my half-eaten, in-case-of-emergencies bag of Haribo that’s been sitting on my desk since last night. I stare alternately at my fingers and the screen, glaze over, then do practically fuck all* after this, due to the sugar rush and food coma. *Note to self – I can do this doing fuck all thing quite well.

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Don’t think. Just do it.

… To Be Continued …

LOVE LETTER TO IBIZA

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQvs9tmzWtE

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They say if you can survive the winter then you are meant to be here. It’s not so much that it’s an expedition worthy of polar or arctic preparations but Ibiza is financially a summer seasonal island ergo winters here are, economically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually testing. Everything here that you once considered important – the post office, the bank, the supermarket, the shops, the church, the doctor, the dentist, the hairdresser, the vet, all close at 2pm (though some re-open for post siesta business from 5.30pm till 9 or 10) on any ordinary day. These services are also reduced to a jangly boned skeleton (if they are open at all) from October until May. If you’re not splitting your location year 50/50 with another european city – London, Paris, Manchester (we occasionally like to feel the home turf beneath our feet and benefit from the city dweller’s social and cultural benefits so lacking here), you have to think hard about how you can live, work and in extreme cases, survive (without an up-to-date cinema multiplex showing films that aren’t overdubbed) on Ibiza when the summer is over.

 

However, it’s Easter week end, the almond and fig trees are in bloom, cats and dogs hunt and feast on nature’s ‘all you can eat’ buffet. Geckos, voles, cicadas – and whatever else fails to avoid the claws whetted to surgical sharpness on palm tree barks outside the house – make cats fat, happy and prone to sleeping their campo safari off in the afternoon sunshine. Chocolate eggs have been imported in from the UK, but I take it as a sign that they melt in the sunshine and heat before they even get a chance to melt in my mouth. That’s Ibiza – for worse at times, yet more often than not for the better, nothing happens as you would expect it to.

 

I wasn’t sure I would get to this point but here I am, a year and a bit on, bracing myself for my second summer season here on this island of dreams and dreamers. Now I am committed to living here, I know that somewhere, somehow, someway – I will find my proper place. But I must be patient. You can’t rush the fog here. No matter who you are, what you were or how you did before you got here, you have to forget everything, tear up your rule book and reset your life to zero. This is a good thing. You now have a blank sheet on which you can create the life you want. If you are inspired by meeting new and like minded people, if you can build good relationships and know how to recreate a life from scratch, if you can bring your unique self to the table and find out what it is that you can do for the island, if you know how to work well with the tools you have when the tools you need don’t exist or can’t be bought here, if you can do all this without letting your past or your ego get in the way, then a good and prosperous island life is probably closer to you than you think.

 

There are many, like myself, who immediately fall in love with this magical, spiritual, beautiful island. Then there are those who, after visiting once and holidaying badly, detest this place with a vengeance and without further discussion. If you arrive thinking that Ibiza is just about the superstar djs, the VIP lifestyle, the five crazy kerching kerching business months a year (not for everybody mind), million dollar dj fees and a million parties that you can’t even afford to fully attend, then that’s the superficial level of experience you will have. The island has a strange way of holding the mirror up to your expectations. And yes, you will have bags of fun but the island will probably bounce you back to where you came from like shot out of the Dalt Villa cannon. It has a strange way of doing that too. If you don’t like or respect the island for what it truly is, then it will return the compliment in kind. But life and persuasion being what it is, if and when those same people return (because eventually they do return to try again), and look beyond the glamour and the superficial, they begin to love the island from a real islander’s perspective. That’s when you know there is no turning back.

 

It’s worth it for the mornings. At 6am when there is no-one about you’re at one with the dogs, cats, iridescent plumed cockerels, glossy, sinewy horses and the stunning peacocks who are all waking, tuning up and tuning in. You’ll greet a few farmers starting their day in the red-earthed fields and the postman filling his van with campo bound post but mostly you get to enjoy being alone with your thoughts, your breath and the silence. It’s a profound and special silence that jumpstarts the connection between your own and the island’s soul. Suddenly, you are tuned in and listening to the crunchy, satisfying sound of your footsteps on large gravel and fine sandy roads. Suddenly you are enjoying the firework explosion of pure, white almond blossom so delicate it could almost be embroidered on a piece of fine, handmade lace. Silence. Then a cock crowing. Silence. Then a chime bristling on the breeze. Silence. A rising, symphony of birdsong. Silence. Then there’s me and my long, deep breaths, breathing it all in, breathing it all out, breathing it all in again.

 

You will remember the smell of Ibiza long after you leave. There’s nothing more alluring than the rich perfume of cedars, wild flowers and citrus trees in fruit and flower – lemons, grapefruits and orange blossom scent the air with a smell as heady and seductive as jasmine. You will remember the natural sounds of Ibiza – nature’s music – the lapping of the sea, the rushing of the wind, cicadas singing, chickens and birds all vying for your attention. The trees and campo lanes shiver and shift as geckos and tiny animals skitter through the dry leaves. Then there are the butterflies, owls and eagles who occupy the airspace and thrill you with their appearance. You will delight in Nature’s free blockbusters shown on its uninterrupted 360° screen : the staggering rock formations at Punta Galera, the fathomless caves at Cala Comte and the sunrises and sunsets of so many dazzling hues and colours seen from so many equally beautiful beaches. The moon and stars, eclipses, sunrises and sunsets thrill us daily with their high intensity drama. You will be tempted to roll in fields full of poppies, margeritas, wild asparagus, clover, dill, fennel, wild garlic, rocket, rosemary, thyme, lavender, almonds, tamarinds and olives, as blankets of wild vibrant purples, pinks, yellows and orange campo flowers billow and ripple on a breeze and invite you to come closer. Then there’s a graffitti’d wall that says in capital letters ‘Leer Mas’ (read more) it is punctuated graphically with an enormous sun. Walking on a bit further I see another wall with a message in script that says ‘brillo magico que alumbra mi camino’ (magic light that lights my road / way). Moments like these are so precious and they happen every day.

 

Ibiza is an island of contradictions. Peak summer is intense – blending that heady, holiday brochure combination of ridiculous heat, azure sea, dip-dyed blue skies, white sands, blazing sunshine and dramatic vistas with an influx of holiday makers and musical tourists so greedy for what the island has to offer that they teem and swarm over it all like a colony of rampant ants. Many residents choose to leave the island in August to avoid them (and make some decent money by renting their houses out). This is the season of forest fire warnings and an island on guard for careless smokers and barbecuing revellers. This is the beginning of weeks of painful driving, traffic jams, unnecessary accidents and constant Guardia Civil and Guardia Nacional check points. This is the season of dirty cars, speeding scooters and ice free super markets and petrol stations. August is the most challenging month on this island for the island residents and as an outside observer with a resident’s heart, I can fully understand why.

 

The autumn / winter is beautiful with a twist of bizarre : on the plus side you can get from anywhere to anywhere on the island in less than 20 minutes by car. The temperature can change wildly from 20 degrees in the day time, (shirt sleeves, no jacket, al fresco dining) to a brisk 5 degrees at night, (Puffa jacket essential, scarf and boots optional). Add an osmotic, nocturnal damp (which rises from the sea to permeate practically every living cell of your body) that makes your hair frizz and your bed and clothes feel cold and wringing wet and you get the picture. Even for a Mancunian used to 365 days of rain a year, the all pervading humidity, the occasional flowering, mouldy wall and the musty wardrobe experience has been an unexpected revelation. Half the shops and boutiques are closed. The clubs and bars are winding down to a fall / Winter schedule. The tourists have left – and I’m still here.

 

Why ?

 

I adore Ibiza for its unique rhythm and unique characters. I appreciate it for its old skool social, internet-free network and community spirit. I love Ibiza for its proliferation of music and media professionals with whom you can connect directly and discuss career / productions / problem solving / mooting collaborations in a smaller yet more vibrant environment. I love Ibiza for its curious tree-living, cave living people; for the drummers on Benirras, for the Robert De Niro look alike in Talamanca. The runners, joggers, fast walkers, personal trainers, gym enthusiasts and worker-outers on Marina Botafoch all have their charm. Then there’s the curious man riding a ribbon, flyer and sticker festooned bicycle, the early morning fishermen, the stretching and flexing yogis on the beach, the eco agroturismo farmers in San Augustine and Santa Eularia, the healers, the masseuses, the meditators, the teachers, the bar owners, the dog walkers and trainers, the beautiful spirits in the beautiful people and the guardian angels with invisible gossamer wings. These are the people who give the island its true colour. These are the lives around which the island itself revolves, lives and breathes. And I love this place.

 

This is an island run by families and locals for families and locals and I love Ibiza for holding on to that island mentality. I love Ibiza for its family restaurants like Ciao Pescao, Laurelito, Sa Soca, Sa Caleta, Fish Shack and Bon Lloc. I love Ibiza for its fresh fish and farmers’ market life style. I love Ibiza for Its small delicatessens like Casa Alfonso, Can Pascual, Can Espanyol and its big supermarkets like Viper Centro, Mercadona and Eroski. I love Ibiza for its chic shops and shabby markets. Clothes do not make the man or woman here and I love Ibiza for making that city-slick obligation seem so superficial and trivial. If I want to climb a tree I can climb a tree. If I want to swim in the sea, well, I can do that too. I love Ibiza for walking in the hills and mountains of San Josep and San Vicent, for walking around the old town and enjoying the view of the port from the imposing Dalt Villa or for looking out to sea from the ruins at Sa Caleta. I love Ibiza for the Formentera ferry. I love Ibiza for summer sea swimming and winter open fire warming. I love Ibiza for moving forward and building new roads, motorways and hotels like the Ushuaia Tower, Hard Rock Hotel, Destino. I love Ibiza for its knowing no fear, for trying new things, for occasionally making mistakes and for correcting them and trying again until it gets it right.

 

Most of all I love Ibiza for the smell of the cedars and the forests of tree barks glistening with amber resin. I love Ibiza because it’s an island that most of the time feels like a village community, that sometimes has a crazy city buzz and all of the time feels like home sweet home.

ROOTS

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ROOTS

Grounding or zero?

Around this time last year I had three gardening face – offs 1) Jimson Weed 2) the wall climbing ivy 2) a giant vibrant violet thistle: all glorious weeds in real life that were each taking over a different aspect of the garden and morphing from beautiful, unusual delights into virulent, rampant and destructive blights. What had once, in its springtime, been a mass of delicate flowers, with a little rain and a lot of sunshine had become giant, unwieldy and unwanted. They had to go.

Not one of these extractions was an easy task. The root systems were so intricate and ingrained, and my strength no match for the subterranean anchorage they had established, that it required days not minutes and the use of hardcore tools and implements; one brand new pitchfork shattered into pieces whilst the root remained unscathed and I had only just started the job. But I succeeded. And, whilst not one plant went without a fight, I learned by doing and looking and listening and living, that some roots can be easily shaken loose, others need more serious intervention and in some situations it’s wiser to leave well alone in order to maintain the security of everything else around it.

It seems to me that growing up, leaving home and moving house / jobs / countries tugs on one’s own deeply ingrained psychological root systems.

It’s too easy to accept that we are defined by our roots then live our lives like trees rooted to the spot, clinging to a past for an identity that becomes by its very nature, outmoded and outgrown. The sins and graces of our forefathers and mothers cradle us softly then bind us fast, uniting one family member to another unconditionally through love, nature, nurture, justice, mercy, honour, hope and duty. Yet, as safe and comforting as this can feel, the inevitability of change awaits. If we are to truly grow, we must either break away – sometimes with a gentle tug or on a light gust of wind, sometimes in a violent tornado, or if we are lucky, all that is needed is a little occasional pruning, a regular cutting back or a cutting away so that we ourselves can be gradually potted on. Moving forward and moving on by unearthing and tending one root at a time is kinder to our Selves and all around us, less radical and undisputably the more humane option.

No matter what our backgrounds are, we are not our parents or families and our parents and families are not us. That does not mean that we have to erase all evidence of that and there from whence we came. No – those roots are as important and essential to the chrysalis Us as breathing. Make no mistake, there is nothing better than returning to home and hearth, friends and flames, gorging on those two handed hugs and catching up with everyone who gives us a boost is as good a healer as any guarana laced energy drink or weekend spa stay.

As loyalty and empathy begin to motivate our choices we must also remember that we are not our employers either, nor are they us. If trees can be uprooted, moved and then planted in more advantageous surroundings, then so can we. Provided that we handle ourselves and the situation with the utmost care, we can become strong, confident and thus capable enough to develop and nurture our own root system. Better that than clinging to a future that is pre-determined and that leaves us strangely wanting, unstable, wavering and deeply co-dependent.

Feel free to add your thoughts to this discussion.