El West 1: Go West por Martin Makepeace

 

El municipio de Sant Antoni de Portmany tiene 129 km², una población superior a los 20.000 habitantes y se extiende desde las playas de Cala Gracio y Cala Salada hasta la preciosa campiña de San Mateu y Santa Inés; un área que solo ocupa el 0,0001% y tiene 150 metros de largo y apenas 3 calles de ancho, pero que predomina en la percepción y opinión que tiene del pueblo todo el mundo. Son solo 2 palabras y 7 letras que dividen la opinión, generan un intenso debate y representan de dónde viene San Antonio e indican hacia dónde va.

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El paso adelante del famoso “WEST END” de San Antonio

Nos guste o no, el West End está aquí para quedarse, de modo que ¿por qué esta pequeña área emborrona la opinión de tanta gente sobre el pueblo en general? Si hablas de San Antonio, mucha gente hará gestos de desaprobación (especialmente los que nunca han estado allí), y el principal foco de sus prejuicios es el West End, una fuerza polarizadora en un pueblo al que todo el mundo le encanta odiar.

El West End de 2015 tiene su propio ecosistema y microeconomía, y es un indicador de si el pueblo ‘va bien’. Antes había restaurantes buenos, pero ahora hay principalmente bares y establecimientos de comida rápida, un subidón de azúcar para los yonquis de la adrenalina y las bebidas energéticas que pasan noches enteras de fiesta por relativamente poco dinero; si tu presupuesto es ajustado, este es el lugar para ti, de ahí que San Antonio sea el primer destino de vacaciones en el extranjero para muchos jóvenes. ‘Entrada gratuita’, rezan los carteles de los bares y pubs, que además anuncian ofertas de bebida barata, como ‘3 cervezas y 3 chupitos por 10 €’. El problema es que si adaptas tu negocio para captar este tipo de mercado, es difícil que puedas reinventarte más tarde. Este mercado centrado en el precio hace que en los momentos duros algunos bares reduzcan el precio o den la bebida gratis. Algunos lo llamarán efecto reclamo; otros, suicidio comercial.

Prepara un cóctel con vendedores ambulantes, mujeres de dudosa reputación, el típico mangante y ‘bodegas’ 24 horas que venden alcohol aún más barato; todo ello conforma una mezcla muy interesante con la que nunca te aburrirás. Normalmente es bastante seguro y un lugar excelente para ir a observar. Mantente alerta y disfruta, pero si eres poco aventurero y no te va mucho salirte de lo habitual puede ser un sitio peligroso también, pero se podría decir lo mismo de cualquier lugar del mundo occidental si estás demasiado borracho para hablar y ni siquiera recuerdas tu nombre. 

He pasado muchas noches en el West End cuando era joven, así que jugó un papel muy importante en mi educación ibicenca; por eso, siempre lo defiendo y me enfado cuando los periodistas estivales cargan las tintas contra él. Sin embargo, también debemos reconocer que la mayoría de lugares en Ibiza han avanzado y mejorado, mientras que el West parece estar anclado, pues cada año abren más bares que ofrecen bebidas más baratas para cada vez menos gente, debido a la creciente competencia de Ushuaia, Ocean Beach, Hard Rock, Sankeys y Space, por mencionar algunos. 

Para callar a los críticos, normalmente basta con un simple ‘pues no vayas’; no obstante, es una parte integral del turismo de San Antonio, pero ¿cuánto tiempo puede sobrevivir con su formato actual? Pep Cires, el nuevo alcalde, ha prometido cambiar el ‘modelo de turismo’ de San Antonio, y la verdad es que no hay que adivinar en qué estaba pensando cuando dijo eso. Reinvención es una palabra muy gastada, pero procede en este caso. ¿Cómo es posible que la misma gente que bebe champán en el Ocean Beach y presume de fotos en Facebook luego pasee por el West End buscando las ofertas más baratas? Una vez más, todo se reduce al ambientecreado.

Algunos propietarios y encargados tratan de cambiar las cosas, pero otros parecen estar atrapados en un túnel del tiempo con muy poca inversión y el ansia de llenar sus bares solo para fastidiar a su competencia, sin importar el coste. El West End no es distinto de ningún otro mercado, y la selección natural garantiza que los mejores bares siempre estén llenos y aquellos que no ofrezcan nada distinto se marchiten y mueran hasta que los vuelva a abrir otro ilusionado arrendatario con un alquiler muy caro. 

La mayoría de las ciudades tienen su propia versión(el Bigg Market de Newcastle o el Temple Bar de Dublín), pero estos sitios están bien vigilados y los clientes disfrutan mucho. Sería estupendo que pudiéramos crear este tipo de entorno en San Antonio, pero la escasa presencia policial le da otro ambiente al lugar. En 2015 se ha contratado una empresa de seguridad privada para aumentar la visibilidad, algo que solo puede ser positivo, pero parece una solución a corto plazo muy cara para un problema a largo plazo. 

Nos guste o no, el West End es San Antonio y San Antonio es el West End, así que todos debemos tomar partido por el bien de nuestro municipio. En mi opinión, el ingrediente clave es priorizar la calidad sobre la cantidad, y contar con una gran variedad de productos para atraer a un público más amplio. Todo producto debe evolucionar, aprender de sus errores y mejorar en su ámbito. San Antonio cuenta con la mejor oferta de actividades nocturnas en la isla, pero también necesita quererse un poco más y enorgullecerse de lo que ofrece. Como ya hemos visto con el auge de las discotecas de playa y la cultura VIP, el dinero ya no es el factor determinante; en la isla blanca, todo gira en torno a la oferta. 

Por supuesto, para mí es muy fácil decirlo y este blog plantea más preguntas que respuestas, pero si nunca nos ponemos en marcha nunca llegaremos. Ya no basta con un lavado de cara rápido. Como ya se ha demostrado con otros locales y resorts: invierte, construye y vendrán.

SAN AN WORKER SPEAK: 25 Essential Phrases

 
17 July has been ‘officially’declared ‘St Workers Day‘ in San Antonio and to celebrate here is the essential guide to speaking like an Ibiza ‘native’ (straggly beard and pulled up white socks obligatory) ……….

1, Nah, I’m a worker, innit? (then wave arm full of wristbands at PR).

2. My housemate is going out with the brother of the next door neighbor of the uncle of the vet who treats Jamie Jones’s cat, so I can get guest-list for DC10 anytime, no worries: Ibiza’s all about who you know (wink).

3. Can you get me guest list for DC10, I’ve been let down.

4. Have you got wifi?

5. This wifi doesn’t work.

6. Workers discount?

7. Habla English?

8. Done 10 airport runs for mates since Friday, happy days!

9. Police searched my car at the airport and kept it ‘cos it’s not taxed.

10. Anyone got a lighter? 

11. My housemates are sick; we only met last week but we are best friends already.

12. My housemate’s run off with all me cash.

13. What day is it anyway? 

14. WTF’s an NIE?

15. Comin’ down Ket Cove?

16. Sick, man! (repeat ad finitum).

17. My iPhone was stolen last night 

18. I can’t work on (insert day) because I’m going to (insert club) – repeat daily 

19. I’m just nipping over to Peru for a few days; if I’m not back by Tuesday tell everyone I’ve been kidnapped

20. I’m not actually working yet

21. I’m really a DJ / producer / promoter / brain surgeon (delete as applicable)

22.. I need a day off

23. F**k this, I’m going home

24. Flight home booked!

25. Anyone seen my passport?

😂😂😂

17 July: SH*T Party from 5pm at Benimussa Park

Entrance: 20 euros – all proceeds go to local charities

  

SH*T ! The Not So Secret Workers Party

Tomorrow is the 13th annual SH*T PARTY – the infamous fiesta that was started by the workers for the workers and has caused many a sacking over the years as it became more and more unmissable. Here’s a brief timeline plus we talk to the founder and a prominent British worker. 

2002 – Popular San Antonio worker John ‘Loco’ Moore decides to throw a one-off party in front of the WIPS supermarket near to the fountains, he aptly names it the ‘non-party’ due to the strange location. Well attended

2003 – Loco decides to expand the idea to a party in Gorms Garage (now Temptation) charging an entrance fee of 2 euros. When trying to think of a name he decides to call it after the word most frequently used by workers to describe their job, hours, boss, treatment (and most other things) so the Sh*t Party is born. It’s billed as a workers blow out , sells out and goes on until midday the next day (ahhh the good old days).

2004 – Workers want a bigger and better party so Julian Cobby from Simple (now Soul City) suggests to Loco to use ‘Fantasyland’ (now home of Zoo Project). Bartolo Escandell agrees to let Loco use his venue. Police OK the event and 800 people turn up and party from midday to 6pm.
2005 – With confidence now high a bigger and better event is organized running from 5pm-12am. More than 1000 people attend.

2007 – Fancy dress is introduced to to make the event more colorful and give it a true festival flavour.

2009 – The Party is now firmly established with over 2000 people attending, mainly in fancy dress. That year alone almost 40000 euros is raised for charity.

2015 – Party confirmed for 17 July – over 1000 expected to party from 6pm-12am

Party Founder John Loco tells me: “The aim of the Sh*t Party is to give the San Antonio workers, who are mainly British, a bank holiday type day off so they can dress up have fun. All money raised goes to Ibiza based charities which has enhanced our standing within the local community. I am proud to say that through the party we have not just had some amazing times but raised over 200 000 euros for Caritas – the homeless society plus we’ve also been able to help local people with life changing and life threatening illnesses”
San An Worker Beccy Oxley added: “I came to Ibiza in 2005 on a one way ticket and never looked back! That year was my first Loco Sh*t Party and I have been every year since. It is such a great day which brings all of San An workers together like no other party does, be they old or new. Everybody gets dressed up and lets loose. For some its a day to let off steam half way through the season, for others its their leaving party. For me its a great way to catch up with friends I hardly see due to work!!”

“The fancy dress outfits are fantastic, the effort people go to and the ideas they have are incredible – I’m a cat – I always have been so now its tradition”

“San Antonio is a place very close to my heart, like so many others I call it home…..year after year I see workers come and go. Many say ‘this year isnt the same’ but everything changes so you just have to adapt. P One thing I always see is people coming here and making friends for life – that will never change and the Sh*t Party is such an important date in the workers calendar”

 SH*T PARTY 2015: 17 July 2015 from 5pm at Fantasyland, Benimussa Park
Entrance: 20 euros on the door or pre-paid wristband, all proceeds go to local charity.

EVERYBODY WELCOME

THERE’S TOO MANY TO MENTION BUT THANKS TO EVERYBODY WHO GIVE UP THEIR TIME AND EFFORT TO PUT ON THIS AMAZING EVENT – MM

New British Association for San Antonio and The Bay

  A group of prominent San Antonio & Cala de Bou residents and business people have launched a new association to try and give the local British and Irish community a voice over the coming years.

I am honoured to be the inaugural President serving alongside Nathan Seal as Secretary, Julian Cobby as Treasurer with Duane Lineker and Peter Duncan completing the executive committee. 

With a significant shift in political power on the island we all believe that now is the time to get organized and be part of the solution for the future of our town and to create a channel of communication from street level to the offices of power.

We have purposely included residents and businesses to try and cover as many demographics as possible and although we have called it the British and Irish Association we will also be reaching out to other English speaking residents if they want to become involved and if we can help in any way possible. We also hope that this is a blue print for other local communities on the island to form their own associations over the coming years. 

Forming an association is the easy part but more importantly you must have the passion to stand up for what you believe in. A collective speaks for its members and can have more of a voice than a single person when confronting situations that need addressing. 

The association will be having its first fundraising event this Friday at the workers party at Fantasyland (home of the Zoo Project) and over the coming weeks and months we welcome all those who want to be involved in this exciting new era to get in touch so together we can grow organically and go forward with a clear objective and a firm voice.

Press Release

After many years without a clear voice the British and Irish community of San Antonio and Cala de Bou has come together to form an association to represent the interests of the residents and businesses of this area. 

“Asociación de Residentes y Empresarios Británicos en San Antonio y su Bahía (AREBRI)”

The association has been put together by local British and Irish people with a passion for San Antonio & Cala de Bou who want a voice and who want to help in any way possible especially by bringing certain things to the attention of the Town Halls and Consell that directly affect the way we live and work on the island. 

The British and Irish community, through this association, is committed to San Antonio and Cala de Bou and wishes to make a significant contribution to it’s future. 

AREBRI 14 July 2015

Local Press about the Association

Nou Diari  

Diario de Ibiza

Periodico de Ibiza

The San An Worker Food Chain

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Evolution is an amazing thing. They came to the White Isle in the 60’s, mostly by mistake – some stayed and some left and it’s been happening every year ever since.  Here is a light-hearted look at the San Antonio Worker over the ages and their place in modern day Ibiza.


HIPPIES – 40 years plus on the island. Came to Ibiza to discover themselves and never left. Still wear lots of denim and speak like Keith Richards, smoke spliffs and/or ducados (local cigs).
Most likely to say: Brigitte Bardot; now there was a woman!
Least likely to say: That new road is a great addition to the islands transport infrastructure

DINOSAURS – 30 years plus on the island. Love to talk about the late 70 and 80’s with a nostalgic tear in their eye, name-dropping the Gibb brothers, Ku and Club Tropicana into every conversation, lamenting the “good old days”. Tony Pike is their hero.
Most likely to say: Forcing the clubs to cover their terraces was the beginning of the end
Least likely to say: Ibiza is so much better now than it used to be

VETERANS – 20 years plus. Usually ex-reps and bar managers. The 90s is their favourite topic and they discuss the Rave/BritPop era as if it was their own. Not quite as bitter as the Dinosaurs but on the verge of becoming one (although they would never admit it).
Most likely to say: Manumission, Carry On at Space and then Bora Bora…the party never used to end…
Least likely to say: The lack of air-con never bothered us back then…..

KNOW IT ALLS – 10 years plus. They encompass the noughties and still perceive themselves to be down with the kids. Too old to be part of the in-crowd, too young to be a veteran, they know everything that you did or didn’t want to know about the island and will lecture you at any given moment.
Most likely to say: What time’s John Digweed playing?
Least likely to say: Atlantis? I’m not sure I know how to get there by road

SERIOUS ONES – 5 years plus. They’ve seen it all and know it all but haven’t yet found their way out of San Antonio. They look at the Know it All’s with envy, the Veterans with disdain and sneer at the Dinosaurs.
Most likely to say: Let’s meet out of town for tapas at Tapas.
Least likely to say: Let’s meet out of town for tapas in San Carlos

WANNABES – 2 years plus.  Busy trying to make a name for themselves and desperate to be taken seriously by the Serious Ones. Usually found behind a bar or on the door of a club telling all the Returning Workers what it was like ‘back in the day’. They can’t even bring themselves to talk to 1st Year Workers.
Most likely to say: Marco Carola is God
Least likely to say: David Guetta is God.

RETURNING WORKER – 1 year plus. King of the world because they made every mistake in the book and not only lived to tell the tale but came back for more. They take advantage of 1st Year Workers and drop C-list names into conversation even though they don’t know or have never met them. Steer clear.
Most likely to say: I can take you to the airport for €20.
Least likely to say: No I haven’t got a taxi licence, my car isn’t insured and I’m still buzzing from Sankey’s last night

1st YEAR WORKER – 1 month plus. Achingly trendy with no apparent desire to work but usually has a first class degree in blagging. Likes to act like a Returning Worker but doesn’t have the knowledge so looks stupid especially in front of the Wannabes.
Most likely to say: …then we watched the sunrise down at Mambo.
Least likely to say: A packet of disposable razors please shopkeeper.

1st YEAR WORKER – 1 week plus. A clueless individual who arrives with a dream that turns into a nightmare within 10 days. Will be ripped off by a Returning Worker then have wallet/iPhone/passport stolen whilst dropping first ever pill.  Will call mummy in tears begging her to book a return flight asap.
Most likely to say: I’m living the dream.
Least likely to say: I’m having a nightmare.

1st YEAR WORKER – wannabe dealer. Lowest rung on the worker food chain. Talks big, promises lots but always lets everyone down. Mentions Peru with a knowing smirk, usually has scabby skin and a pocket full of 5 euro notes. Do not approach this person under any circumstances.
Most likely to say: mandy…charlie…pills…ket?
Least likely to say:…all of which I regularly take too much of

San Antonio Workers – A Short History

  

 This coming Friday 17 July is the annual ‘SH1T Party’ that takes place at Fantasyland, home of the Zoo Project and will see well over 1000 summer transients party through the day and night. This infamous island party was started by the San Antonio workers so what exactly is a “worker”…….

The term ‘worker’ usually implies that you have a job and do some work however as you may already be aware normal rules don’t apply in Ibiza and definitely not in San Antonio. Back in the 90s there were only a handful of workers mainly in the West End PRing outside bars and selling the odd substance to get by. There were no season passes to clubs but there was the numbered ‘Space tag’ – allowing free entry into the worlds best club – the holy grail for all workers! Holiday reps ruled the roost as they controlled tourists and tourists meant bar crawls and bar crawls meant money. Bar owners fussed over Holiday Reps who in turn sneered at workers. 

Ibiza in those days was (and still is) a mythical place: No internet, no mobile phones and no social media meant that the myth was based purely on word of mouth and first hand experience but by the end of 90s came the Internet revolution where tourists didn’t need holiday companies any more and the independent travelers came to the fore with Ibiza being one of the first destinations to see an influx of low cost carriers and cheap hotel beds costing a few hundred pesetas per night. 

The Internet explosion soon sent the message far & wide and the message was that Ibiza was a party paradise that you could enjoy for 3 months, would cost you very little in real terms and you could get by on doing a few odd jobs such as selling tickets or dragging people into bars. You also had the added bonus of having the chance to blag yourself into the top clubs and private parties and rub shoulders with a few A-list stars (and a few Z-listers as well). You certainly couldn’t do that at Maestros in Bradford or the MGM in Nottingham. What was not to like for a good looking 20 something with 3 months off in the summer? 

Fast forward and by the mid noughties there were 3000 (that’s THREE THOUSAND by the way) young people in San Antonio not doing much work but having a life-defining summer experience before settling down back home with a serious job. 

The term ‘worker’ was coined because these youngsters always intended to work even if the intent dwindled after a few days or weeks and it still makes me smile when someone introduces themselves as a ‘worker’ followed by ‘do you have any work’ – Don’t be too judgmental you just need to remember that it’s a collective term rather than an adjective. 

Numbers have dwindled a little over the last few years but there are still at least 1500 of them in San Antonio alone, you can usually identify them by their wristbands, tans (or lack of one) wearing of the latest fashions and taking themselves a bit too seriously. Asking for workers discount is obligatory as is the desire not to work too much but party to the max. They pack themselves into overpriced accommodation and live in tough conditions because every morning they wake up to the sunshine and the knowledge that there’s another amazing Ibiza party that day and/or night just waiting to be posted on Facebook. 

In worker terms the San Antonio worker is top of the worker food chain especially those who actually get a decent job whether it be dancing, PRing or selling tickets for one of the bars. If you don’t believe me then go to Benidorm or Magaluf and look at the workers over there. Wow! 

As much as the Ibiza snobs love to hate them for me the San An worker is a vital cog in the machine. They are their own micro economy with plenty of local business’s relying on them. They keep getting put down by exploitive employers yet the good ones bounce back and the weak ones return home to the comfort of their mums cooking. Lots of workers return to the island and knuckle down to a ‘proper’ summer job and those who don’t spread the Ibiza gospel far and wide via social media. As experiences go its right up their with the best time of your life, just ask Jamie Jones and Lily Allen.

More Reality TV in Ibiza?

MTV Spain has just announced that it has commissioned the reality TV show “Ibiza Shore” – a Spanish version of the US’s “Jersey Shore” and UK’s “Geordie Shore” where a group of pumped up prima donnas with filthy mouths are put in situations that cause as much friction as possible and sexual shenanigans are actively encouraged with the inevitable fallout all being filmed for public consumption although I’m reliably informed that it’s a ‘roller coaster ride of a show with down to earth individuals who have hearts of gold but are a bit mental’. Whatever your viewpoint this is what makes popular viewing these days to a youth demographic bought up in the digital age. 

ITV’s illusion show Tricked was here in May and August will see “Made in Chelsea” on the island with their own special brand of TV where posh people look down their noses, get drunk, fornicate and then deal with the complications, all on camera for the viewing public. 

Last summer saw a a whole slew of reality TV programmes based on the white isle. “Ibiza Weekender” took over an entire hotel and flew in some ‘clients and reps’ and had hidden cameras catching all the ‘action’ that was, surprise surprise, usually centered around drink and sex.
TOWIE did a special one off ‘The Only Way is Ibiza’ last September and although the program is billed as reality TV it’s actually tightly choreographed with a bunch of friends (and enemies) vying for screen time. Nowadays TOWIE is more of a lifestyle brand and did at least showcase some amazing Ibiza venues such as the Hotel Hacienda, Cotton Club, Es Paradis, Plastik, Harbour Club, Cala Bassa Beach Club and Dalt Vila. I worked behind the scenes on TOWIE and the cast and crew worked very hard in difficult conditions due to unseasonably bad weather which was a massive shame. Word on the street is that they won’t come back to Ibiza as they ‘weren’t made to feel welcome’ unlike Marbella (or is it Marbs) where they are welcomed with open arms. 

Last September I was also involved with ‘Blue Go Mad in Ibiza’ that had the famous boy band ‘running’ a San Antonio bar for a couple of weeks however the producers threw in some red herrings with comedy actors cast as Ibiza natives to spice things up. I thought it was a refreshing concept as it didn’t centre around the usual and the finale saw the boys arrested by fake cops and taken to a secret venue for the big reveal with their families present. It was a great cast and crew and we all had great fun however the Spanish just didn’t get it and it was denounced in the local press for showing San Antonio in a bad light – lost in translation yet again!!!

The Ibiza reality TV affair all started at the end of the 90s when the Island was still mainly undiscovered until a certain reality show changed it all, a seminal event that can now be traced back to where it all started. ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ still sends shivers down the spine as what started out as a behind the scenes show became a world wide smash once the producers stumbled upon a magical formula: Drink and Sex.  

Those 2 words again! And that’s the problem. As soon as any reality TV series is mentioned we know exactly what it’s going to be about. Here on the island we live in hope that somebody someday will catch the true nature and spirit of the island including all its good and bad points. After all Saints need sinners and vice versa otherwise all you get is bland and Ibiza is anything but bland. 

So why do so many reality TV shows come to the island? Most importantly they want to spread a little magic dust on their franchised product and where better to do that than the white isle. Speaking to friends in TV production they also tell me how they love to film in Ibiza as everyone is so laid back and the public are happy to get involved whereas in other places they aren’t so keen. The recurring theme yet again of a Liberal Ibiza never saying NO.

Reality TV is here to stay and in many ways it keeps Ibiza relevant and in the public eye and is there any such thing as bad publicity? Well ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ proved otherwise so I don’t think we should slam the door shut but maybe we should be a little more selective with our open door policy.