HOW TO KILL A DJ CHAPTER 6 – HALLOWEEN 2015

HOW TO KILL A DJ CHAPTER 6

HALLOWEEN

SATURDAY OCTOBER 31ST

 

WORD OF THE DAY

IGNIS FATUUS

  1. Something deluding or misleading.
  2. Also called a friar’s lantern, will-o-the-wisp. A flitting phosphorescent light seen at night, chiefly over marshy ground, and believed to be due to spontaneous combustion of decomposed organic matter.

 

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Golpe

Hit

MASCULINE NOUN

  1. (impact) a. hit b. blow 2. (indentation) a dent 3 (strike) a shot 4 (clash) conflict.

Low blows and conflicts aside, I can still burn it up.

Vamp-Flyer

Today is the day of the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes Hotel VAMP Halloween party. Much like Atzaro Opening, Space and Amante Closings it is one of the most attended and anticipated parties of the year and a keystone in the winter residents’ social diary. It is also line-up catnip to every island dj worth their schmooze skills. I secured my place on the line up in June when I signed for my contract as a resident at Pikes Hotel, so am as excited as a dog locked in a butcher’s shop to play. This year’s line up is island star heavy so to see my name on the flyer feels like an Ibiza resident rubber stamp.

In another way it’s a chance to exorcise a ghost that has been hanging around from the last time I played there. Rewind to the last IBIZA ROCKS HOUSE PARTY when I played alongside Junior Sanchez in the main room. The party was rammed and Junior finished his set with a 14 minute re-edit of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Love Light In Flight’ flourish.

Everything was going smoothly until a random, toxic exchange burst my boogie bubble.

I hadn’t been playing for long when a kooky, androgynous chica breezed then blundered into the booth, retinas blazing, to tell me a joke. Her boyfriend had been playing regularly at the daytime pool parties over the summer and since she is cute, impish and normally quite sweet (and is also a good friend to the Pikes management), I left her to make herself comfortable in the booth behind me whilst I dug in. Ignoring my DJ at work, ‘headphones on, head down’ stance, she lifted my cans…

Me: (brusquely) “is something wrong? do you need me for something?”

Her: (in heavily broken spanglish) “No.” she said… “I have a joke to tell to you” She was full of it, just like a naughty kid at the back of the schoolbus.

‘OK, right’ I say but think ‘Are you kidding me?’ Breaches of dj booth etiquette irritate me at the best of times and are never welcomed when it’s for no good reason, no matter who does it.

Her: sooooooo …

Me: “alright, shoot, I say” … whilst putting my headphones back on to block her out and cue in the next track. She tugs my headphones off again to shout in my ear over the sound from the monitor …

Her: “Why don’t n*ggers like the sound of chainsaws? …” she asked laughing.

I’m sorry. This is vintage bullshit. Who the hell is she, really?

I stared at her in disbelief as my tune played on but only I felt the solar plexus punch and the rage inside. She couldn’t have been serious, someone had to have taken advantage of her piss-poor understanding of english and dared her to tell me this just to get a reaction. But is she that eager to please she’d risk getting a public bitchslap? Maybe it was a ghetto n*gga joke reclaiming the word and told out of context and badly by a wannabe white homie. For whatever reason this has stomped all over my happy buzz like a chainsmoker with a fag end. I turned to block her and her shit sense of humour out of my space but she stayed, oblivious, waiting for me to respond.

She pulled at my sleeve again, (pupils now occupying the whole iris).

“It’s a joke. I ask then you’ve got to answer me” she said exasperated “you know what is a joke, right?’

In case I hadn’t heard it fully the first time, she shouted louder over the music

“… why don’t n*ggers like the sound of chainsaws?” she hopped from foot to foot like Rumpelstiltskin then unable to contain herself any longer snorted triumphantly “because it sounds, run run run n*gger run, run run run n*gger run”

WTF?

My mind ran riot. What would Idris Elba do? What would Craig David do? What would De La Soul do? What would Bobbi and Steve do? What would Carl Cox do? What would Seth Troxler do? What would Smokin Jo or Skin do? What would Carl Craig do? What would Kenny Larkin, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, MK, Honey Dijon, 4Hero, Roni Size, Goldie, Norman Jay MBE, Trevor Nelson, Josey Rebelle or what would any DJ of colour do if told an off-colour, off-key, blatantly racist and downright unfunny joke in the dj booth, whilst they are working? Would they do something? Or nothing? The room was heaving. In front of the decks people were enjoying the party. What would THEY think if they knew what I’d just been told whilst I made like Rylan Clarke and just kept smiling?

My first instinct was to give her a Dick Emery wallop, blind-siding her with my handbag – but it wasn’t a good time and why make more of this than needs be? Instead I firmly and impolitely nudged her behind me, saying ‘you know what, that’s a really shit joke, do you mind leaving the booth now? I’m trying to work here”. Her mission (or dare) was accomplished and she skipped out of the booth unscathed and triumphant.

I checked the date on my watch. We hadn’t time-travelled, hurtling with a screech back to the 1950s in a clapped out DeLorean. This is still Ibiza Rocks Hotel at Pikes – possibly the coolest hang out for ex-pats and people of colour on the island and one of the more overtly diverse employers on the island. Still, #thisjusthappened.

The music played on. We play into extra time, so Sunny brought his vinyl collection out of the boudoir and I played some crackly, scratched 70s disco hits to the stragglers. Sunny lip synched like a boss from his perch on the speaker stack. And when the last punters left, I joined the select group in a vacant room just off the Plaza Mayor to have one for the road with the direction and the remaining djs.

Of course stupidumb was there. Spirits were high so I decided not to mention The Joke to the crew who she was fooling around with. I felt like I had betrayed myself and my race. My contract wasn’t quite over and I still had work to do so I kept my mouth shut. I had sold out a guiding principle for the dollar somehow. People might say I was over-reacting – no kittens or fairies had died – even if that’s how it felt. The struggle was and is real. DJ’ing and club culture / life still has the capacity to hit me like a bullet to the temple when I least expect it.

I mentioned it to a few friends the next day over a Pikes Sunday roast. A couple were outraged and said I should have stopped the music, let the spurs clink and tumbleweed roll on the dance floor before handing her the microphone then turning the volume up to 11 just so that everyone could hear her tell the fabulous n*gger joke. Others said I should have stopped the music and dj diva stropped off. No one suggested fronting her with it and to be honest no one really cared that much. They say ‘To err is human and to forgive is divine’ so call me Jesus and let’s move on. Forgetting is a bit hard though. Ask any elephant worth his poached ivory tusks.

As for stupidumb – she and her boyfriend were given a Pikes residency for the Winter 2015 and Summer 2016. As for me – I was courteous but found it hard to be friendly with her after that night. IMHO Friends like her should always feel the door hit them where the dog should have bit them. When is a racist joke not a joke eh? I suppose you could ask Cary Sharp, the husband of Teresa Sharp, Lahoma, Oklahoma’s Mayor.

Oklahoma’s Mayor apologises for husband’s KKK meeting joke

Back to today and my happy, positive place – it’s Halloween and I am closing the Chez Fez room at the party of the year and that is a great result. Hashtag #blessings. Hashtag #GRATITUDE. Hashtag #LIFEISSWEET.

After googling costume ideas around age and halloween my search revealed this picture of Donatella Versace.

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It scared me more than the childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fashion and the media have everything to do with the reasons why our society profits from our own (men, women and childrens’) self doubt, making us strive always for a unreachable, ridiculous concept of beauty and being just to SPEND MORE MONEY and BUY MORE THINGS that we don’t even need. That she has fallen prey to the monster that she in some way has helped create makes me feel very sad. I will never understand why people go under the knife for vanity’s sake just to end up with faces like candles melting in the sun. And how anyone can do that to their ear lobes to hold their drooping features in place is beyond me. No. Girl power, positivity, strength, natural beauty inside and out and fierceness are all that get my vote. The X-Men’s Storm shall be my muse.

halle berry storm

And if it’s good enough for Beyoncé (this year) then it’s good enough for me.

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My costume consisted of LED striplights, a black rubber catsuit and a homemade X-Men belt. I spent the best part of the day faffing and fine tuning, mani-pedi-ing, rubber shining my catsuit and tinting my wig. The result? More Halle Berry than Marvel Original. And Madonna would have approved of my choice to go cape-less.

It’s daft but even at Halloween caring about how I look becomes a feminist issue. It piques that you can’t just dj when you are female in this industry. How you look very much determines how (and whether) you work, play or rest (much like an actor). This concept never applies to men. Male dj’s can be XXL, rough, a stress-free over fifty, balding, unkempt and badly dressed and still get the high paying gigs. Men can walk into a club wearing crap jeans and a dirty, travel worn t shirt and no one says a word.Yet everyone will say something about how the women looked even if they’re technically the best person on the line up. It’s an inextricable part of the deal that women (in practically any discipline you care to mention) spend a disproportionate amount of their professional lives worrying about their look and presentation. We often find ourselves jumping through sartorial hoops that men don’t even have to consider.

I eased myself into my rubber catsuit with the help of lots of baby powder and my long arms. Then opened the zips slightly at the neck and crotch to let the heat out, ventilate and enable unimpeded movement. The appliance of wardrobe science. Rekordbox playlists exported to a spanking new USB stick? Check! I was ready to whip up a storm – and a few tornadoes – looking like this:

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Given that I have put on a few pounds since I last wore it, I’m amazed that I can move in it at all, let alone drive. I have no idea how Heidi Klum survived the night in her Jessica Rabbit head to toe latex reinvention. Now that’s what I call serious Halloween skills and total dedication to the party at hand.

heidi-klum

Rules of Halloween.

  1. Always ask your friends for full costume updates and snapchats before you leave. Or resign yourself to walking round in circles looking for friends that you are standing next to but don’t recognise. Especially at Pikes. Here the costumes are spectactular: everyone has made a real effort and everyone Is asking ‘have you seen? I can’t find?’

It was steaming like a Moroccan souk in Chez Fez. The aircon was struggling to keep up with the heat of a slightly damp crowd and the collective, core reactor intensity body temperature. The rain and blocked toilets didn’t help either as people instinctively crammed into Chez Fez, the first attractive and available dry space that was closest to Plaza Mayor. As Jaime Fiorito and Alfredo were finishing off in Chez Fez, I watched the blood drain from Alfredo’s face as he fainted briefly behind the decks. I grabbed one arm, Jaime grabbed the other, I grabbed a chair and some water and he sat and got his head together. Alfredo came around pretty quickly: but overcome with the heat he headed straight home. It had been a long evening already and 4.30 is a good enough time to call it a night for anyone. I, however, was just getting started.

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My idea of the LEDS without a power pack was maybe not so smart. It only worked when I was standing near enough to plug myself in to a power point which is ok when I am dj”ing of course but not when I am just walking around. Nobody really GOT that bit when it wasn’t lit up. And who wants magnesium burning brightness on a dark, disco dancefloor. Oof. That’s a wardrobe malfunction right there. I open my set wearing them but once I see the cockroach effect they create on the dance floor, my lovely LEDs are hidden in my handbag for the rest of the party. Go Storm! And well done me.

There are characters in abundance. Leena IS Edward Scissorhands – wig, stripey suit, scissors and hedge clippers included. I would recognise Leena in the dark though – one Leena Sharma, there’s only one Leena Sharma. We all loved Mark Broadbent and Big L’s fully tattooed Latino gangsters and I totally didn’t clock that the clown standing next to me was Sarah Broadbent. Exemplary work all round.

I dimmed the white lights, leaving only the sexy, womb-like reds then opened with Rhythim is Rhythim ‘Strings Of Life’

I dug my spurs in their sides with Martijn Ten Velden’s galloping remix of Guitarra G

By the time it hit the guitar solo there were cheers and smiles and whatever the party favours were were suddenly and simultaneously kicking in, in time to the music. Mark and Sarah Broadbent both passed by again to see what the commotion in Chez Fez was. Then there was a guy who had had one too many and kept sliding down the wall and leaning on the light switches throwing inopportune spotlights on the vampires and zombies around the room.. It’s an undesired flash effect, that didn’t go down too well and the blessing and the curse of partying in what was once an old finca. I had to keep reaching over to switch them off. Dickhead. In the end I showed him where the light switch was so he could switch it off himself. I knew he was going to be a tiresome repeat offender.

I shoehorned as much dark, lovely tech house and techno from the likes of Alan Fitzpatrick, Copy Paste Soul, Hot Since 82 as I could into Mika’s 45 minute warning. When the big lights came on (for the last time) people were braying for one more tune. I played the room with Hot Since 82 and gave it up a little more with Michel Cleis & Klement Bonelli’s ‘Marvinello’.

In true dj fashion, I tried to squeeze in another but Steve and Piero had started to clean up around my bravers and the closed, covered bar at the back of the room was a glaring symbol of festive finality. Final check of the CDJs to make sure that I have ejected and put both USBs in my handbag then home, right? Wrong.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 1ST

Even though I have no stamina for the Halloween Afterhours at Boutique Hostal Salinas, I finish my morning in a low key affair in Room 18. Music was supplied by someone’s ipod and there were no big public displays of sex, orgies, drugs or rock and roll. Or at least not that I could see. Jerome Ferriere took a ton of pictures of me with Dawn Hindle (MD of Ibiza Rocks) and Jillian Canney (organiser of the VAMP party) He says, in passing, that I am not a looker at all (thanks) but gets excited about taking lots of pictures of my arse. He is not the first to do this. He won’t be the last. I know I have a great arse. Even my mum says so and we all know that our mums know best.

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It wound down quickly, so I staggered off into the car park in the hazy heat and daylight. Over an hour long wait with the ghoulish casualties at the front of an ever growing queue meant eventually sharing a people carrier home. I celebrated my homecoming by switching off everything electronic in my flat apart from my phone and dreaming the day away in a darkened, quiet bedroom.

One of my favourite ways to relax is to create in the kitchen. I’m not a fancy cook – I don’t do sixteen courses, silver service meals or Master Chef standard gourmet finishes but I do make delicious meals, lush salads and a mean dessert or two. I can cook up a storm in anyone’s kitchen and enough people can prove it. So today’s post-Halloween / pre-Thanksgiving mission is a Pumpkin and Chickpea curry that my friend Charlie recently posted on her Facebook page.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7732/pumpkin-curry-with-chickpeas

I ready, steady, cooked, armed with a soggy recipe page and accompanied by the tech house mix I’d posted on my Mixcloud page to promote the Housewife party that I was booked to play in London in two weeks’ time.

With a few ‘season to taste’ alterations, the BBC GoodFood recipe was a licked plate success. Happy and with a full belly, I swanned into the office with all the intention of writing another Booker Prize winning chapter. The pull of the pillows was stronger and I slipped under the duvet for a cheeky nap which turned into a flatline until 4am. I only woke up to switch all the lights and computers off and then go to bed for a proper sleep.

At the end of an exhausting and emotionally draining week there’s a super happy ending and I’m glad about that. So cheerio to Sunday 1st of November 2015, your weekend has restored my trust and faith in people and made me excited for more of the island’s winter parties. Hurrah and hello November 1st: the Ibiza saints, souls and sinners have lived to party another day.

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4

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.

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… to be continued

HOW TO KILL A DJ – PART 3

TO BE USEFUL NOT USED

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26TH

Shake it off yeah, just like Taylor Swift. So shower. Then join me on Saturday evening in the Treehouse at the Zoo Project at Gala Night, Benimussa. From the decor to costumes to the dancers to the artisans, the healers and the djs, this is one of my favourite outdoor party locations and despite predictable (insufferable) San An snobbery, I always enjoy the vibe here. It’s like a one day festival, an Skittles-eque rainbow of fruit flavours and a youthful and also very London/Berlin/Tokyo feast for the senses. It makes my weekly bracelet / no bracelet run-in with the door inquisition worthwhile. Being looked after like a sister by Ady, (aka Adrian Brown – possibly the most attractive and stylish man on the island bar none) also means that a Zoo trip is simply made of win. (Happy birthday big man!)

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I’m holding my ground in an unofficially designated two inches of personal space, behind the Treehouse DJ Booth. Maribou State are creating one of those ‘had to be there’ sets that is defying categorisation. I am wedged next to Chandler who has his Pulse Radio head (and ears) on but has made zero effort to comply with the general Zoo Project dress code and no matter how hard I squint doesn’t look animalistic enough underneath a simple felt bowler hat. Enraptured and inspired by the music, my L’Oreal black felt eyeliner becomes a weapon of crass construction. Wielding it like a crazed surrealist painter, I decorate Chandler’s face with an off-kilter cat nose and Dali-esque whiskers. He is game to be big game but only because it’s an eyeliner pen and not a full make up kit and I’ve promised that it will wipe off with a bit of spit and a hanky. It doesn’t. Why would I have bought it if it did. Tick for L’Oreal. Shit for Chandler. I wouldn’t normally push my limited make up artist skills on anybody but since I am wearing head to toe leopard print and a lizard topped head band (thankyou Milou) Chandler gets it. Fairplay to him, the nose and whiskers are a strong look for any ex-Marine.

The Zoo Project is like that and a whole lot of fun. Enjoying the extravagant costumes and body art, marvelling at Kyle’s hyper-diamantéd denim jacket and assorted ties and jackets, loving Milou’s cheeky, wild creations and rocking to the best in cutting-edge music here is a weekly pilgrimage. Even the weekend when Spencer Parker finishes his set with ‘Boys, Boys, Boys’ just being there keeps me happy, it keep, keep, keep, keeps me happy.

Over the chug and boom, chk, Chandler and I are shout-talking about our seasons so far and Ibiza in general. Chandler starts :

« You know … you are so awesome » he says this totally unprompted and unbribed by anyone including me.

« thank you » I say « I’m shocked and deeply touched… How much do I owe you ? »  (I suspect he may be high or tripping or loved up or something, so am covering my arse in a totally sincere but gently humouring ‘off it’ people voice.

« No really ? … » he continues, sensing my disbelief « I mean it. You are one of the reasons why I like to stay living in Ibiza. Regardless of the bullshit, it’s genuine people like you that keep me here.’

‘Me ? A genuine Ibiza person ? Are you sure ?’ I say

‘Yeah’ … he continues … ‘You fit in. Everybody says so’

Paradox. Paronoia. Paradiddle diddle. The cat and the fiddle. Just when I am starting to feel like the only outsider living a tits-up dream, his island ‘everybody’ thinks otherwise and have given me the double thumbs-up by some secret, illuminati vote. There’s nowt as strange as Ibiza residents. For a moment my ego is fiercely buffed, my rose-tinted spectacles polished to a gleaming sheen. The end of the night closes with Maribou State playing Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ – it gives me goosebumps so merits tweeting and instagramming.

Feeling good but can I get a witness – or a signal up in here? That would be a no. Gala Night is in the middle of some bizarre Bermuda triangulation between your phone, your wishes and your message transmitted on the three-legged donkey of spanish service providers. When the last piece of confetti has fallen and the booth is cleared, I meet Sophie in the car park and we drive in convoy (and down the back roads to avoid the police check points around Gala Night) to Underground. We are way too early and it is way too empty so we stay for two then head to Ibiza Rocks at Pikes Hotel. I’m dj’ing plus it’s close-by so it would be rude for us all not to.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 27TH

On Sunday morning I mostly give my yoga mat the roll out it deserves. I start the day with a nice long hatha session then head to Eroski to shop for barbecue things – tiger prawns, sausages, chicken breasts – all to be marinated before leaving. Sunday is all about celebrating Sophie’s birthday in Calamity Bassa. When I arrive, Brett, John and Mr Doris have already taken charge of all things sizzling on the griddle whilst the rest of us bring our dishes to the table. I chair hop putting the world to rights with Trish, Helen, Miss W, Debra, Sophie, John, Tina and Clare. We eat like rationing is over, and once Colin Peters’ finally arrives with his Traktor set up he blows us away with his legendary balearic blissfulness.

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Like a unicorn in an emerald glade, the subject of my work here reared its head once again, shimmied its mane then bolted for the clearing just underneath the red sun. Tonight I wasn’t the sole focus of the table chatter, there were at least five or six other stories in play at that time so when I locked on and locked in to the conversation that clanged, the words rose and flew like a murder of crows in my head but were quickly gone. I listened and graciously accepted the advice from all, logging and tagging every precious word, computing every possibility with Alan Turing-like precision. The best way to crack the code ?

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Colin leaves to play elsewhere and the entertainment becomes a comical laptop / iphone free for all.

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We are sharing all the love there is, musical, alcoholic, friendship and whatever else is on hand – all for the friendly buzz and not the high. The richest, stickiest cacao fig brownies gave everyone an addictive, spiritual hit. They were the perfect augur for an astrologically magical night where a full moon turned into some woah-trippy sky shit, morphing into an eclipse, then a blood moon and all shared sitting on the roof, reflecting and appreciating with some fellow sky-watching fiends.

When the boys pack up their laptops, I step in with the mix that I had just recorded for Michelle Manetti’s ‘Lipstick Disco’ site.

We dance into the dawn watching clouds take the shape of Mickey Mouse and soaking up a sunrise like a watercolour palette. We’ve been eating, drinking and talking all day. I am one over the eight, happy and exhausted and go to sleep, on the sofa in the landing unable to co-ordinate walking to the empty spare room which is right next door.

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Three hours later I am awoken by Sophie’s dogs, Lucky and Lucy, who are going crazy, jumping all over me, licking me and then sitting on my head. If only I had a boyfriend who was ever this delighted to see me, I think. Then I realise I can’t move out of their way because my neck has been savagely guillotined by the sofa arm rest. It’s time to find Helen, power up Sugar and head home … I have five hours to sleep before I play another 9 hour shift. God give me strength. Or a bullet. Or maybe just a rich husband.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH

WORD OF THE DAY

WAYWORN

\WEY-wawrn, -wohrn\

adjective

DEFINITIONS 1. worn or wearied by travel.

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After a long weekend of irregular eating I have just woken up with my forehead pasted to my keyboard. My brain apparently left the building and my body has been on pause after guzzling a home made breakfast burrito of spicy bacon beans and scrambled eggs with herbs. Anti-Hangry Measures must always be taken. I’ve been gifted with an AZERTY tattoo on my forehead and I am so tired and emotional that I have whatsapped Sophie for missing items that I later find are on the passenger seat of my car where I left them. I also keep crying at Best Vines of cats and babies. I can’t keep my eyes open to watch anything longer than a Snapchat or a looped GIF without experiencing a sense of deep hypnose. I can’t physically attend or even handle one more closing party (but Tuesday is Cocoon in Benimussa). The only closing party I can be bothered to attend is that of my bedroom curtains, and the horizontal lap of honour that will come when I clamp my eyelids tight shut. Bu-bye Ibiza. I have one more day to go and I am dragging my feet like Frankenstein. Besides, isn’t that … rain???? This funky mood is the culmination of weeks spent out on the work, rest and play tiles.

Yes, today is Monday and as Robert Frost once wrote, I have miles (or in my case another 36 hours) to go before I (can get some decent) sleep … So hi-ho, hi-ho it’s off to the Taller Pitiusos to get Sugar (my Volkswagen Golf) fixed (driver side wing mirror was clipped in the car park, b*st*rds never leave a note here!). Then I brave the downpour and drive like all four horsemen of the apocalypse (marvelling at five rainbows on the way), to play to the staff and the handful of weather-beating party people around Pikes Hotel Bar and Pool. It’s my last contracted day here: it seems fitting that ‘the end of the world as we know’ it weather matches this mood.

I feel disconnected like a satellite. Happy sad. It has been a great experience but when I get to the booth area and set up behind the decks there is no fanfare. Everyone is moody, talking about going home, being cold and moaning about the rain. The staff are on a downer because they – and everything – keeps getting wet, the Pikes Hotel pool area is a sodden ghost town and everyone who has braved the bar or restaurant is wearing jackets and jeans. No one is singing in the rain. A few are dancing at least, even if Winter is here before the summer has ended.

I play a great block party set travelling from Drake and Frank Ocean to Jocelyn Brown, Sharon Redd and First Choice and more without breaking sweat. Just as I am winding down to leave I am asked to play beyond closing hours because a rather lovely client (one obviously packing some clout) called Elliot has kept the bar open. Once I’ve finished I am introduced to the famous client, then pass the time by standing, distributing my weight from foot to foot (he is bloody tall) whilst propping up the bar in the Plaza Mayor and talking and drinking beer with Elliot aka Example until the early hours. I tell him I am blown away  by his latest single ‘Whisky Story’ and how much I loved the quirky video (which I can’t post – thanks Vevo!). He is totally nice in the face of my fangirldom.

In return he tells me that has listened to my set from start to finish and we talk about music – Call 911, Pete Rock, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Shaggy, Wyclef – he is full of stories. Then the conversation is thrown wider, we discuss proving oneself, doing things for the community and charity, about growing up in the hood, growing up in Manchester, about education, psychology, films and politics. It is a good day. I don’t remember the drive home but am home for 3ish and I sleep like the dead until 10.30am. When I check my phone Elliot has friended me on Twitter.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH

Start the day with yoga again. It’s the only thing that is giving me the energy and focus to see me through to the end of the season. I am running on one bar but I get my head together and calmly organise my cds and usb sticks then head to Hotel Es Vive which normally looks like this…

Hotel Es Vive by La Skimal

Jamie and the team are on super form despite the incoming deluge of rain that lands early evening right on cue with Apple meteo. I am set up out of wetness’s way  – annoyingly out of good mixing earshot of the monitor – in the doorway of the Experience Bar, looking out towards a busy restaurant area and a deserted pool. It’s like Silent Disco in reverse, everyone else can hear what I’m doing except me. It’s my last day here as well. The season has ended and emotions are mixed – I am happy, play well despite the guerilla dj booth conditions, eat a little bit and chat with my bosses Jason and Nick at the end. I’ve loved playing here. The staff are just lovely, good humoured under the sky confetti and the clients are upbeat and enjoying the sounds. Here I can play what I like without compromise, they are my first work family and they’re all about to leave the island.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH

I am mad with myself. It has rained so hard all night that I slept like a hobo on a subway train. It is still raining when I wake up so I am not prepared to do anything other than yoga.

I feel caged and pace in that ‘want to go out’ way. I missed Tuesday’s Cocoon after-party because my boogie buddies were not hard partying enough to love partying in torrential rain. I don’t seem to be able to do anything constructive today except write 800 words : 799 words of which I have a sneaking suspicion are shit. I am doubleplussulking. Just keep writing. At least I have achieved somehow by collecting my package from Correos.It’s a column dress that has the distinction of being worn by Rita Ora : my best friend Jo has posted it to me because she forgot to give it to me when she visited me in Ibiza.

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It’s a no underwear required, a bit-too-big, white to acid yellow column that (when ironed) looks stunning on me as she said it would. I consider wearing it to the Amante closing party then remember that last year some twattish, textile terrorist stuck chewing gum on the front of my shocking orange bodycon wrap dress. This cannot be repeated. I decide to a) steam it then press it like the anal beeyatch that I am and b) wear it (accessorised with a thin gold metal belt and gold, strappy sandals – not my gardening boots as shown here) to the closing of Cirque Du Soleil’s new club, Heart where I can guarantee there won’t be any question of wardrobe envy. And yes I know the P on my wall is not straight – OCD readers who try to straighten the wall hanging in my picture are fifty shades of kerazeee indeed.

Back in my office and I am being brain washed by the blank screen again. I haven’t written a word of reviews for DMC World Magazine Online nor started selecting the music for my radio show. On the bright side I have watched a couple of trailers for The Danish Girl, Spectre – the new James Bond and The Revenant (Oscar or taxi for Di Caprio again ?) all Oscar possibles and blockbusters guaranteed IMHO. I’m not sure what the hell else I have done with this day but it has gone with the wind, rain and clouds. What else is there to do in Ibiza, especially when it’s raining ?

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As the season closes for the hotels, bars and clubs my daily routine is imploding. My wish to get involved in pure, wild animal craziness is on the wane.

I am on the guest list for Tini and the Gang at Lipps and Underground but I am dragging my feet like a puppy in a new leash. The season has ended, the contracts are up. We are nearing the time when everyone packs up and leaves, goes home, goes on holiday, goes back to thier families before they start planning their return and the next season. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. I can’t. My brain is battered, scrambled by this season. All I want to do is to eat, sleep, rave, hibernate, repeat.

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So that’s exactly what I do. Minus the rave.

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HOW TO KILL A DJ DAY 1

Some of this is fact, all of this is fiction. But if the truth doesn’t mind, then none of this even matters. All you need to know is that I am verbally incontinent and can no longer hold my peace.

Jhelisa – Hold My Peace

SEPTEMBER

The constitution has been written.

constitution

TO LIVE BY CHOICE NOT BY CHANCE

Space Ibiza, Friday September 25th, 2015 – Glitterbox closing

Funky Green Dogs – Fired Up

Join me upstairs in the Sunset Terrace at Space, Ibiza as Todd Terry plays his ‘one last tune’ for the Glitterbox Closing Fiesta – it’s Funky Green Dogs ‘Fired Up’ and we are doing our damnedest to ramp up the sexy. This is me – a dazzling human discoball in my traffic-stopping sequinned jacket, electric blue Chanel glasses, bright white glitter t-shirt and black asymmetric tassled suede skirt. I’m fierce. I’m fabulous. And working that ‘Nearly Big Five No’ salt and pepper ‘fro like the diva that I am. I’m dancing next to Tracy, the straight talking, Yoda conscience of our gang who is wearing a beige Armani wrapover dress with a hemline that leaves much to the imagination and a neckline that leaves nothing at all. Next in my eyeline is the fabulous Foxy (our débutante draglamourpuss) who is flirting and narrowing her eyes at the straight boys in her incendiary, feline way whilst Anna Cini, grande dame of the VIP is effortlessly commanding everyone’s attention with her imposing personality, outsized jewellery and dramatic decolletage. We all sizzle for shizzle. We are the sex in this city: for tonight at least.

« … Can I say one thing …’ Tracey’s voice cuts through the music like a hot knife through butter – I stop dancing and offer her my best ear. She lowers her voice and continues ‘if I have one message for you it’s this…9 months and go out laughing.» Her comment pierced the wall of sound like William Tell’s arrow through that apple. Dazed, I felt her words hit me with the boom of the confetti and CO2 cannons. I floated with the force above the strobe-lit heads, and landed to the ‘ooh aah’ sound of an easily impressed crowd. Cue unprecedented activity in the remaining active neural pathways. Our dance-off resumed seconds later and like nothing had been said but her words had walked in and shook shit up. Just like that.

Tracy is an in-demand consultant in the Banking world. She is paid to see where change is imminent and essential and find solutions when others can’t.   She is a specialist in her field and she does not candy coat anything. Ever. Especially not to her friends. To her I shouldn’t accept or settle for climbing the Ibiza ladder by playing nine hour sets in some cool hotels, bars, restaurants and occasionally in prestigious clubs. To her I am not being listened to properly (annoying when that is what dj’ing is all about) and should seriously reassess my position here. She says that I can and should be doing better than this and that this is maybe not the right place for me. Wow. I thought I was doing so well. It sucks hard that there are some truths that only your best friends will tell you.

Other people’s perspective is such a beautiful thing. Now I am close to tears yet laughing like I’ve od’d on nitrous oxide. Or maybe that’s just the effect of a bump of coke, three shots of tequila, a hierbas con hielo and the ecstasy all kicking in at once? Whatever it is, it’s given me an ‘Inception’ kick to the ground floor of reality’s future.

‘Get your bearings again, centre yourself … don’t run and don’t cry … I repeat this like a mantra until I disappear into the anonymity of the dancefloor. After trudging a personal furrow to Tee’s Freeze beats, I open my eyes and look around. Everything is still the same. Nothing has changed. Everything is as it always was and will be. There we were, four party-starters, showing out and showing off in the VIP of Space, Ibiza. But here I stand on the snake that takes you back to the beginning of the game to start all over again. I feel free.I feel excited. I feel afraid. I feel cheated. I feel sick. I feel lost. I feel inspired. I feel all of the above all at the same time and I also feel strangely relieved.

In the overfull but volume-lite El Salon / smoking area, Horsemeat Disco and DJ Pippi were smashing the classics. James Hillard finished with a disco re-edit of Norman Connors’ ‘Take It to The Limit’ and Pippi amped it up with a jacking vocal / soulful house set including Masters At Work’s ‘Backfired’ (both of which felt more relevant to me than ever before). Up until this point, my dj life, much like this Glitterbox party has passed in an ecstatic haze. I have bounced like a kid between the backstage area, the dj booth and the dancefloor like the party would never end. Still, I am a happy, clappy clubber, congratulating Pippi on his choices, dancing and distracting and being mega sociable talking to BHS / Lo Cura’s Dave Phillips and some new found shot-guzzling friends about my jacket and my glittery silver shoes – in a whirlwind of profound superficiality.

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Then way ahead of the usual curfew, someone from the Direction – or a technician (not sure which) – came to turn the sound down again, and did so so drastically that the crowd who were in full rave, instinctively start the penguin migration to repopulate the main room for the headline dj. Every club on the island does this, especially if there are not enough people to fill all the rooms that are open. It is a method that we djs all adhere to without complaint but one that I don’t always agree with. Like now.

In life as in art as in clubbing. Flow is a beautiful thing. When a room is rocking and full why limit people’s dance floor choices ? If people are having a good time in the second room then leave the second room open. Why does the party ever have to stop ? Why should it  even? When I started dj’ing that was how fresh, new talent used to rise to the top. It was all about that moment when push comes to shove and someone noticeably and unexpectedly cuts it way better on performance, musical content and crowd appreciation than the other djs on the bill. Let the games begin and let the people decide. But things have changed drastically in those 23 years. It was so much simpler back in the day when and where I started…

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I officially (ie name on a flyer) began dj’ing 23 years ago in the Pussy Parlour at the Flesh Night at the Hacienda in Manchester. It was promoted by flyers and posters. There was no internet, no email and the only social network was our friends, our home phones, a few working phone boxes and the doorbell / door knocker. We arranged to meet in pubs or at bus stops. And when we got to the Hacienda it was a rave from the changing of clothes in the car park, to the party in the queue and onwards from the cloakroom and the café on into that mecca of hedonism. The Hacienda had two rooms, and at the Flesh Night only four djs (mostly residents) covered those rooms and played all night. The second room finished half an hour before the main room and you could set your watch by it.

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Displaced like an ant from a work top, I find myself walking around in circles unable to settle.This ‘smiley mouse in a wheel’ routine is actually part of my drug and club enjoyment.

I find the others, we repeat and rave our way to the end of the night, falling out of the club laughing and blinking. Sunglasses on and we admire the sunrise taking shape over Ushuaia from the dingy, tarmac outside the entrance door of Space. We discuss the idea of going on to an after hours at Underground or going on to their sumptuous villa in Santa Eularia (where, incidentally, they respectably keep going until just after midday). Remembering that I have to work in five hours bursts my boogie bubble, so I leave them with hugs and double european kisses and walk alone to my car. I bump into friends Guy and Dean and we have one of our fucked up but funny, thought association conversations about the Glitterbox dj line up for the night (I never knew you could get so much lexical mileage out of Greg Wilson, Dimitri from Paris and Todd Terry ?) and then we talk about everything and nothing at all. It passes the time until we get to the Playa D’En Bossa roundabout where we part company. By the time I get to my car, (which might as well be in Africa I have parked it so far away) the brisk walk has brought on an unexpected but welcomed rush. I sit and gather my thoughts.

From 5pm till midnight I have been a wedding dj, playing the whole seven hours of the pre to blessing to dinner and dancing event on one drink, 2 mini shots of gazpacho and with no toilet break. My failure to find any leftover food in the kitchen and an insulin slump meant tear arsing it to Playa D’En Bossa. My life was saved by guzzling the quickest Vitello Tonnato in town and a chat with my friend, the chef Tim at Clandestino. My friends were ready to leave and the restaurant was waiting to close as I arrived but everyone waited until I had eaten so we could car pool to Space and fly together in a chemically assisted, high altitude (and attitude) balloon. That’s what friends are for, right ?

Should I drive or should I call a taxi ? Is it real or Memorex ? I know this shouldn’t even be a consideration – The Guardia here are severe with black people at the best of times and the 500€ and immediate confiscation of licence penalties is a total stinger for everyone at any time. But there are no taxis on the road and the taxi number is ringing out. It is clearly off the hook. It’s 7am, there’s no such thing here as an Uber and Ibiza is suddenly a ghost town. There is literally no one on the road except me. No pedestrians, no cars and no guardia nacional or civil to be seen (which is bizarre for a stretch of road that notoriously lights up the Road Cool WhatsApp group like July 4th every night). There’s nada. Niente. Nothing stirring, not even this smiley mouse behind the wheel.

I have glitter confetti instead of diamonds stuck to the soles of my shoes and my head is a whirlpool of nostalgia and memories. For no good reason and for all of the above, I start to sob gently with my head resting on the steering wheel. Let it go.

Tears dried, I take a deep breath and centre myself. Eye balls are focussed, the optic nerve is happily at rest. I’ve never been one for gurning nor eyes Warner Brothers whirling in their sockets so thank goodness for small mercies there. And there is still nothing on the road. That I instinctively sat in the driver’s seat facing direction of the traffic and looking straight ahead out of the crystal clear windscreen is a box well ticked (you would be surprised how many fail THAT test and still drive!). Yes! I can feel my feet and co-ordinate the pedals perfectly. Yes! I can put the key in the ignition without needing instructions, prayer or a co-pilot. The Guardia are sleeping with their wives and lovers and home is just a kiss away. All road risk has been carefully assessed. Mirror. Signal. Manouevre. And away we go (even Ibicencs don’t use their mirror when they are sober so I know I am doing well.) I am home in 15 minutes. I thank Sugar out loud and kiss her on the dash as I take the key out of the ignition. Even though I am not proud of the motoring risks I have taken, my trusty VW always gets me home in one beautiful, smiling piece. I shower, promising myself that I will never do that again and snatch four hours sleep as the day – and the island – wakes up.

KEEP TALKING

This is the basis of the talk I gave at the Wake Up Festival in Ibiza on Tuesday June 16th.

KEEP TALKING

We’ve got so much information in our hands and at our disposal and yet we are removed from each other. Dis-connected. The luminescent mobile phone and iPad / tablet glow illuminates the faces of couples kissing in the street to those of people eating in restaurants and partying in clubs. It colours our chill time with the family, our concerts, football matches and hospital visits. Even our relationships start and end with a text, whatsapp IM, Skype or email. Anyone who has ever dumped someone or been dumped by someone by text or email (like me) will confirm that it was not the best way or day of their life. Further statistics reveal that we spend 11 of our lifetime years in front of the TV, yet no statistics show how much of that time is spent talking over it? As for Gogglebox? This is not communication.

The mathematical genius Stephen Hawking has a computer synthesized voice box and for many who can’t communicate in the expected way, systems are in place – sign language – to replace and match the power of speech. It is clearly good to talk.

Still, we spend 23 days per year on our phones, 20 weeks of our life on hold to customer services (60 hours per year listening to the muzak – Zero 7 Simple Things with Barclays, and the in flight boarding selection with Vueling are my personal favourites). We spend four years of our lives on the phone at work (not including freelance workers / home based work calls) and even when communication is prohibited or impeded (work, governmental black outs / societal blocks) people tweet, post statuses, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitvid, Vimeo and Vine like crazy just to get some sort of message across.

Look around you. We, humans, are superheroes. Why? Because speech is a super power. It is one of the key development stages next to movement. We only have to observe a parents’ joy in hearing a baby’s first words to know how important this is. Speech, as such, has an important function in defining who we are and our perception of the world. It expresses our needs and desires. It is easy to make our voices heard and presence felt, even in an unfamiliar space, when we only have to open our mouths and let the feelings flood out. Having this right to do so is a gift and a blessing that many fight daily to gain or to preserve.

How many of you remember your school reports? What did they say? If you are anything like me it went something like this:

PAULETTE IS AN EXCELLENT STUDENT AND AN ASSET TO THE CLASS BUT SHE TALKS TOO MUCH AND CAN BE DISRUPTIVE TO OTHERS.

In my experience such a blatant appropriation and prohibition of my power of speech had far reaching effects. I internalised all the ‘talks too much’ criticism given at school and at home and suffered constant throat problems through school on into my work life. As soon as I got stressed or felt an injustice that could not be articulated I lost my voice. I saw specialists but none could get to or heal the physical root of the problem. Instinctively I kept a ton of diaries just to provide an outlet for all the words that had built and stacked up inside me like a bubbling volcano of frustration and anger. It manifested itself in other ways too, for a time I was given a bad rep for having a short fuse at work. This was counter productive, caused countless flash points and took a lot of internal work and soul-searching to remove the energetic blocks and correct.

In my opinion this control further manifests itself today in society’s preference for a soundbite over a long chat and the perversion of socio-political ideologies like ‘freedom of speech’ ‘democracy’. It’s ‘speak how we tell you to speak’ and ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ all rolled into one. At its best it’s about containing a rowdy class, at its worst it’s about control and enticing us to live in self-enforced, isolated bubbles and we should be aware and more than a little wary of this. Like Elvis ‘all I want is a little more conversation’ and a lot more balance. The fine tuning of our listening ears and the teaching of the value of silence is also welcomed.

I recommend that you learn to USE YOUR VOICE – ask for help, express your opinions but remember to do this with HONESTY, AUTHENTICITY (be yourself), INTEGRITY (do what you say – you’ve got to walk the walk AND talk the talk) AND most importantly do it with LOVE. As an example, recently Izzy Cornthwaite – an eight year old Star Wars fan – took Disney to task over advertising that their Darth Vader costume was for boys. She wrote in arguing that the costume is for girls too. Disney have now changed the classification of ALL their toys to become gender non specific. Respect to Izzy! All Disney costumes and toys are now ‘for kids’.

This is a lesson to all – use your voice, don’t hold back. Don’t be shy. Change really can start with one person. As adults, communication is the key to all our relationships – work, professional, personal, social. If you are conversing or involved with someone who won’t let you speak or won’t listen to you – if you realise that you can’t fully have your say with them, you must reclaim your power and your happiness for yourself. Be pro-active, be genuine, be honest. No matter how important that connection might be, make sure that you put your message across first and foremost because you love yourself and everything around you, no matter if that means that you must eventually let go of the thing that is preventing you from doing this.

Be curious, be serious and ask endless questions, even if this means only finding answers to a few. I encourage you to have opinions and to make all of that felt without falling into the trap of the 7 deadly sins against healthy communication.

  • GOSSIPING – encouraged by newspapers, social networks, garden fence standers – this behaviour says more about the person doing the gossiping than the subject itself.
  • JUDGING – unless you’re officially employed to wear a whitish-grey horsehair wig, always consider ‘what makes me so right?’ before judging anyone.
  • NEGATIVITY – limit your contact with the kind of people who reduce nice days or a nice party to gloomy, stressful, ‘hard work’ situations whilst littering their sentences with the drastic ‘always’ ‘never’ ‘doesn’t’ ‘couldn’t’
  • COMPLAINING –– apparently 5 months of our lives are spent doing this. Why not claw those 5 months back from the jaws of disaster and do something more constructive with that time.
  • EXCUSES – if it’s always someone else’s fault, it’s time to start taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • EMBROIDERY / EXAGGERATION – aside from the light poetic license required by story-telling try to avoid over-egging your speech with fabricated, exaggerated details that don’t exist, didn’t happen and are only there for dramatic effect.
  • LYING – passing one’s personal opinions off as facts is a definite no-no.

The good news is that these sins are easily counteracted by THINK-ing before we speak.

  • Is it THOUGHTFUL – would I like to hear it said about me?
  • Is it HELPFUL – reach out, assist & empower people
  • Is it INSPIRING – how do I make people feel when they are near me and when they hear me?
  • Is it NECESSARY – avoid gossip, exaggeration, lies, trivia.
  • Is it KIND – remember we are all the same, living parrallel lives, standing our corners, fighting our own battles. Be as gentle and empathetic as possible. This does not mean being generally obsequious or ‘sucking up’ – everyone can see through a creep but someone giving a genuine compliment is gold. So say it sincerely or not at all and like Bambi’s mother said ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t (especially if its wise not to) say anything at all’

We are taught to speak more than to listen yet conversation must be a two-way street (although some would prefer it otherwise). In order to make and get the best out of conversation, I advocate conscious listening on both sides.

What do I mean by conscious listening? I mean giving the person the time, the eye contact, the interest, the space and the attention required and giving ourselves the breathing / understanding space to receive and appreciate everything they are saying. For sure this can be difficult in noisy offices, public spaces, outdoor, sports, club or festival situations (we all know existential conversations and dance floors don’t mix and full belt arguments in shopping centres are like taking a wrecking ball to a stud wall) so if you need to talk, when you need that talk, simply pick your time and place carefully. Steer clear of the kind of fortune telling that anticipates someone’s response before they have had time to think it and please call a serious ‘time out’ on over-talking. Shouting louder to drown out an opinion you don’t want to hear or to prove your point over all others makes you more wrong than right. And try not to mute someone’s involvement in the conversation and render them deaf to yours by finishing their sentences with your ideas – when you’ve had your say let them have theirs.

If we can change the way we talk, we can change the way we think and I am optimistic that it is this simple shift in perspective that can change things, one word at a time. Positive words give positive results. And a listening ear hears the valuable information that is all so often missed by the overbearing ego of others.

When our thoughts are silent, our body talks, so we need to manage that language carefully too. Try not to give mixed messages: leave insincere smiles, half way greetings, darting-eyed air kisses, the rude ‘I have no time to chit chat’ chat, the ‘I’m too busy to speak’ phone call and the ‘I’m leaving in a second’ all night club stay, out of your interactions with others. All of these negatively affect the quality of our communication, diminish trust and lower morale at the speed of light.

Make best efforts to keep your subject matter in check. All too often our conversation focuses on what’s wrong in the world. I suggest that we change our viewpoint and try more to acknowledge what’s right in the world, what’s right around us, what’s right with us and with everyone we meet. If it’s a grim day look for rainbows. Let your first thought of every day be thank you, express gratitude, try to compliment yourself in the mirror. Treat yourself with the same amount of verbal respect as you treat your best friend. Silence your inner critic. Tell people what they mean to you, speak to people in the street not just people you have on speed dial – keep your options and connections open. Encourage openness, encourage people to communicate, call your mother, father, sister, brother. Write to your MP if you feel so moved. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Stephen Hawking (theoretical physicist, cosmologist, CBE) is quoted as saying: “Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

Engage brain before you speak ...

Engage brain before you speak …

LOVE LETTER TO IBIZA

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.