An Extraordinary Day for San Antonio

San Antonio has always been a complicated town but even by its own standards yesterday (Wed 28 Mar 2018) was an extraordinary day.

This was the day the left wing coalition council were voting to reduce the opening hours for the town’s famous West End with more than 200 of those affected converging on the small meeting room to try and watch the events unfold.

Extra police and guardia civil were called in to control the crowd (more officers than you will see in the West End during the whole summer) after only 50 people managed to access the council chambers, the rest were bundled back outside into the morning sunshine for ‘security reasons’.

Inside the chamber the atmosphere was electric with a sinister undertone. The pantomime villain here was Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdés of the left wing ‘Reinicia Party’, the town’s self appointed messiah. Starting his speech to justify the decision to close all establishments in the West End at 3am you could see the sweat glistening on his tattooed neck.

After a nervy start and plenty of heckling he soon found his confidence even through loud shouts of “liar” and “dictator” from the animated audience, mostly bar owners and operators exasperated and disgusted that the town, world famous for it’s nightlife and liberal attitude, had come to this.

Mayor Pep Tur (PSOE party) was reduced to a bit part only hissing “Silence!” at regular intervals as the audience listened to Sr Valdes’ long monologue and became more unsettled as the vote came closer. Marcos Serra on behalf of the centre right PP party spoke emotionally and clearly with counter arguments gathering sporadic rounds of applause from the baying crowd alas it wasn’t going to change the outcome as the deal had already been done behind closed doors, even though some were still hoping for a last minute rebellion on the council benches.

When the vote came, the coalition council winning 12-8, it was quick and cutting and there was an eerie shocked silence in the room before everyone started filing out with heads bowed. The show of strength by the San An nightlife community in reality was too little, too late to make a difference. Where were they all in the previous meetings when the plans were being hatched?

The socialist coalition council who seem to detest the tourism that San Antonio attracts won this battle but still so many questions remained unanswered.

Is there an actual plan to change the touristic model? How many people are actually affected by the noise? Why did the Calle del Mar road get removed from the protected zone at the last minute? What about all those who have done nothing wrong and have spent thousands on their business? Why not get rid of the few bad eggs rather than throw out the omelette?

Smokescreens and mirrors, this was not only incredible theatre but high stakes politics mixed in with some old scores to settle. As always there are winners and losers but with no actual tangible replacement plan in place let’s hope that San Antonio isn’t the biggest loser in a competitive market.

San Antonio Council Confirm New West End Opening Hours

On Wednesday morning San Antonio’s coalition Council will finally vote to reduce the opening hours of the town’s famous West End and declare the area a ‘zone for special acoustic protection’ (ZPAE).

Curiously it’s been decided to take the road of ‘Calle Del Mar’ out of the zone which has caused much head scratching as this is where most residents in the area actually live although this specific decision is provisional and is subject to further acoustic measurements throughout the summer.

Here are the proposed changes in full, subject to a majority vote in the council session on Wednesday 28 March 2018.

1. All restaurants, bars, coffee shops, music bars and nightclubs will have to close by 3am at the latest.

2. All establishments with musical activity will have to have double doors, hermetically sealed windows, forced ventilation systems for air renewal and sound limiters connected to the Council in real time. Business owners will have 6 months from the declaration of the ZPAE to ensure compliance with the new measures.

3. The granting of licenses that may aggravate the situation will be suspended and the implementation of new businesses involving musical activity will not be allowed.

4. All terraces on the public road must be closed by midnight and all furniture removed by 12:30am. From midnight to 8am any commercial activity on the public highway will be prohibited.

5. It will be prohibited to sell food or other products to the public road through a window after midnight without prejudice to the continuity of the activity inside the premises during their normal hours.

San Antonio council believe that the implementation of these new measures will result in a 50% reduction in excessive noise levels that affect the local population.

NOTE: The ZPAE area is as follows:
Calle Colom: between number 1 and 11.
Calle Santa Agnès: between number 1 and 18.
Calle Bartomeu Vicent Ramon: between numbers 1 and 8.
Vara de Rey: between numbers 1 and 26.
Calle Sant Antoni: between number 1 and 20.
Calle Sant Mateu: between number 3 and 20.
Calle General Delgado: between number 1 and 19

Source: Diario de Ibiza
Pic: Periodico de Ibiza

Gabriel Cruz: The Tragic Story Gripping Spain

When little 8 year old Gabriel Cruz went missing on 27 February in Spains’s southern province of Almería the news channels picked up on the story quickly with the disappearance soon becoming a media obsession.

A smiling photograph of young Gabriel was shown all over the country along with the revelation that his nickname was ‘el pescadito’ or ‘little fish’. He was last seen by his grandmother and fathers girlfriend as he left on a short walk.

Hundreds joined an extensive search of the area and his father Angel Cruz and his girlfriend Ana Júlia Quezada appeared on TV in matching T-shirts begging for his return. Gabriel’s mother Patricia Ramirez, although going through obvious hell, managed to appeal calmly to any potential kidnappers just to leave him somewhere safe.

On a further search an item of Gabriel’s clothing was discovered by Ana Júlia but it was a long way from where he went missing. The case seemed to be going nowhere however the Police were secretly on to something.

They had noticed that Ana Julia, Gabriel’s father’s girlfriend had been acting strangely throughout the whole process giving differing stories and claiming that she had lost her mobile phone which could have been an essential piece of evidence.

They decided to put her under 24 hour surveillance where they watched her go to another family property several times. It was at this property 12 days after Gabriel’s disappearance that they witnessed her moving a large object into the boot of her car. After pulling her over and inspecting the vehicle the full tragedy of this sad story was exposed.

The discovery of little Gabriel’s body in the boot of the car ended the search but started a wave of revulsion that has captivated Spanish hearts and minds ever since. Spanish society is family driven so the murder of a child is the most heinous of acts especially by someone who should be caring for them.

Every generation has a defining news horror story involving a child and soon the Dominican Republic born Ana-Julia Quezada has become the wicked witch of nightmares especially as it’s also emerged that her young daughter died many years before after mysteriously falling from a window.

Quezada soon admitted to killing the young boy but heaped further derision on herself by claiming she acted in ‘self defence’ against a child described by everyone he met as ‘kind and gentle’.

As the Spanish nation joined together in mourning it was left to Gabriel’s Mother to show unbelievable humility insisting that the ‘wicked witch’ of the story was now gone so rather than writing negative hatred on social media against the perpetrator it was a time to remember Little Gabriel for all the good things about his short life.

At her most difficult time, something that no mother should ever have to go through, Patricia Ramirez has been a shining light of honesty, humility and integrity and she has captured the hearts of a nation in the process.

Ibiza Service Levels: Good Enough?

Having travelled extensively around Asia over the last 5 years I’ve been amazed at how good the service levels are in the private hospitality sector of that part of the world. Nothing seems to be too much trouble, professional people taking pride in their job and delivering quality service. Then once I return to Ibiza it’s the not the same, some staff even scowling and begrudgingly serving you.

Now before you write that comment below, not all places in Ibiza are like this but to be a truly world class destination too many still are in my opinion. Many businesses on the island are a well oiled machine and like anywhere in the world successful businesses have a team of fully trained, dedicated, motivated staff who are the most important part of the magic formula. As any owner will tell you, their business is only as good as the people who work there.

A Spanish friend who runs a very successful restaurant told me his story recently. Out of his 40 employees he has 20 hard working, dedicated ones who return every year. Another 10 are OK but their focus is not specifically on work but that’s understandable and as for the other 10; they couldn’t care less just taking the wage as a means to to getting out and about on the island.

The irony is that I constantly get asked about work in Ibiza: Are there any jobs? How difficult is it to get work? When I reply that there’s always a shortage of dedicated staff I get an incredulous response especially when I tell them about the average wage.

It seems that many dream of living and working on the White Isle yet don’t want to take the leap of faith required to move here full time. Then again many who say they want to work on the island don’t actually want to work, they want a summer of fun but also earn a little pocket money to get them by in between guest lists. This is no good for serious employers who need dedicated staff.

So an idea for our Island government (in between murdering goats, changing pedestrian crossings to non-gender symbols and constantly bickering with the opposition), why not set up an elite training school or college for those wanting a genuine career on the island in the service industry. Not one forced upon the unemployed but somewhere that breeds success. This could be a good way of attracting quality staff which could be used as a breeding ground for future generations. It’s a win/win/win. More staff to choose from, service levels go up and client satisfaction goes through the roof.

It’s very dangerous to view our biggest and only commodity as walking wallets who are only there to put money in pockets. Tourists are more wise nowadays and if any product doesn’t consistently improve then others will always grasp the initiative.

Cream to Leave Amnesia: End of an Era

It hasn’t been officially confirmed yet but news has leaked out that Cream is set to leave Thursdays at Amnesia after a massive 22 years at the Ibiza super club.

The Cream in Ibiza story started in 1994, the year that saw 2 giants – Cream on Thursdays and Manumission on Mondays – start their residencies at Privilege, the worlds biggest nightclub which had just reopened and rebranded after being previously known as ‘Ku’.

After just 1 summer at Privilege, Cream switched across the road to Amnesia in 1995 where it stayed for 23 fun filled and action packed summers. As other promoters came and went, Cream became stronger even when their spiritual home in Liverpool closed down. It was a phenomenon in Ibiza and world clubbing terms as they always stayed ahead of the game (even featuring heavily in the ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’ movie in 2000).

Cream Ibiza were the first to focus on DJ’s rather than brand names, until then it was all about the night rather than the name. In many ways it was Cream who invented the superstar Ibiza DJ as they focused on the headshot and personality rather than the whole nights package.

Behind the scenes it was the late great Mo Chaudry who was largely responsible for getting Cream Ibiza into its lofty position in the clubbing world using his dry Scouse wit and relentless personality. He stamped himself all over the brand and made it into a world class success before handing over to Nick Ferguson who brought youth, enthusiasm and guile to the night and took it to whole different level.

Paul van Dyk, FatBoy Slim, Paul Oakenfold, Calvin Harris, Above and Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, Tall Paul, Seb Fontaine, Tiesto, Deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Laidback Luke, Ferry Corsten, Sasha, Jason Bye, Sander Van Doorn, Eddie Halliwell and many many other Ibiza legends owe a debt of gratitude to Cream as they were able to showcase their talents to huge crowds on the Amnesia terrace on a weekly basis, many then went on to host their own nights on the White Isle.

Cream’s August Radio 1 parties will go down in history as a ‘I was there moment’ as the brand went from strength to strength however all good things come to an end and Ibiza’s shift to daytime pursuits plus serious competition from other clubs with deep pockets saw summer 2017 turn into a bit of a struggle.

When you look at Ibiza’s recent clubbing history Cream was there right at the beginning and even though it’s rumoured to be heading to Hï on Sundays it’s the end of an era in many ways.

Cream was the last of the big 90’s mega-nights that started it all, along with the previously mentioned Manumission at Privilege, We Love Sunday’s at Space, Judgement at Eden, Miss Moneypenny’s at El Divino, Clockwork Orange at Es Paradis and Ministry of Sound at Pacha, these were the club nights that created the Ibiza brand around the globe and made it into the clubbing capital of the world that it is today.

Note: on 09 March it was announced that Cream would be at Hï Ibiza on Sunday nights