Electric Scooters

Rarely do I feel the need to be a grumpy old git but something has been bothering me for quite a while. Electric scooters. They are a wonderful form of personal transportation, perfect for Ibiza’s resort towns where getting from one end to the other can be a very long walk or an even longer car journey due to summer traffic.

They are relatively cheap, easy to drive, very effective and they also seem to be above the law. Every day as I drive from San Antonio to Cala de Bou there are electric scooters hurtling towards me, the wrong way down a one-way road. These scooters can go in excess of 30 km/h so it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that this is a tragic accident waiting to happen. These scenes are taking place all over the island every day.

In the scooter drivers’ defence they are taking the easiest and most direct route on badly designed roadways but it’s also the most dangerous. They are a law unto themselves but what exactly is the law? Laws are clear when it comes to cars and motorbikes but electric scooters exist in a grey area. I’m sure there are laws (helmet, hi-vis vest, insurance?) but I doubt whether the predominantly young drivers know them or indeed care especially when nobody is enforcing them.

Ibiza’s resorts, already busy with cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians now have another form of transport vying for road and pavement space and without clear enforceable guidelines things are going to get very ugly very quickly.

The sales of electric scooters will increase, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg so the Island government must take swift action and set out clear rules and start enforcing them, anything less would be a serious failure to protect lives. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

English translation of letter to Periodico de Ibiza, published on 18/8/22 – link here

Safe Spaces Rule the Roost in Ibiza

It’s been a busy week for live performances on the White Isle. Not only did I witness the Robbie Williams ‘techno rebrand’ but I also spent 2 days at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel watching 3 young British hip hop artists, namely Aitch, Arrdee and Central Cee.

You may think that this is a strange place for a middle aged man to be and you’d be correct but when you have teenage kids the lines can become blurred. It wasn’t my kind of music (I’m not their target audience anyway) but a couple of thousand youngsters would heartily disagree with me, especially my own offspring who loved every minute if it.

The Ibiza Rocks Hotel has grasped the nettle and remodelled itself into a sleek pool party venue where a predominantly young crowd can party to their hearts content in swimwear while sipping cold drinks in the sunshine. The headline acts of DJ’s and Live PA’s are well organised, there’s plentiful staff and security watching over proceedings and the best thing is (for me anyway) that it’s all done and dusted by 10pm.

The amphitheatre with pool, terrace and VIP balcony is locked off from the outside world and standing in the streets outside you wouldn’t know that inside is a controlled venue designed to give maximum fun with the fewest possible problems. Of course there’s drama – we’re talking young, hormonal people drinking alcohol in the hot sun – but it’s a secure environment so any minor incidents can be efficiently diffused and dealt with by the conscientious staff who act quickly should there be any particularly disruptive individuals. Woodstock ‘99 this ain’t!

This isn’t reinventing the wheel, nightclubs have operated a similar policy for decades but daytime partying in the sun is now firmly established and throws up its own challenges with an exuberant young crowd but the venue is safe so you feel you can really let yourself go, which is what a holiday is all about.

Daytime partying continues to go from strength to strength in Ibiza and one of the main reasons is that the customers are in a safe space away from the parasites and hawkers. O Beach is another good example of a venue that you feel able to relax in, girls especially love it there as it ticks all the boxes (food, drink, surroundings, Instagram) and they know that security is on hand should any issues arise.

Ushuaia, Destino, Nikki Beach and others follow the same model – controlled spaces designed for maximum fun and, of course, maximum profit. This isn’t charity, it’s a 2-way street and the beach clubs know that if they create the right vibe that is safe then the customers will relax, enjoy…..and most importantly spend. It’s a lucrative business if you can get it right, the recently announced closure of Bora Bora, Ibiza’s original beach club in Playa den Bossa will in all likelihood reopen as a high end beach club and who can blame them.

Outside of these venues only serves to underline why safe spaces are so desirable. Peak season parasites lurk around trying to sell cheap plastic crap, laughing gas and other needless items while pirate taxis hustle for an expensive fare to go a short distance.

Ibiza Rocks and the ever growing list of daytime venues have positioned themselves for certain segments of the market. Fun in the sun with live acts, entertainment and big bottles posted on instagram is here to stay and the secret is in the environment that each separate venue creates and regardless of whether it students on a budget or billionaires buying big bottles, safety and security is top of that list.

Review: Robbie Williams at 528 Ibiza

It was the worst kept secret on the Island as Robbie Williams broke his Ibiza virginity to wow the crowd by joining Lufthaus at 528 Ibiza, the venue on the outskirts of San Antonio that has undergone a major facelift.

Despite the usual Ibiza no-show rumours the self styled ‘entertainer’ from Stoke on Trent bounced on to the stage in what looked like an expensive pair of silk pyjamas. The atmosphere was electric as he set the tone early by saying it wasn’t a night for Ángels, his most iconic hit, it would prove to be an interesting night and a clear departure from his comfort zone.

Williams has just released a new single with Lufthaus and that was clearly what he was here for – to promote his new house music direction. Whether it is a midlife crisis or boredom from singing ballads to a middle aged crowd stuck in the 90s he embraced his new challenge with both hands.

This was an island party, mainly local residents and their friends on the guest list keen to see the Robster perform for the very first time on the White Isle in a beautiful, reinvented venue. If you were there for the hits then you were only treated to a few lines from ‘Feel’, Robbie you big tease!.

Williams didn’t travel to Ibiza to bash out his back catalogue and he looked like he was having a whale of a time behind the DJ box before sporadically coming to the front of the stage to engage the crowd with some dad dancing that most middle aged men will identify with. His stage presence was there for all to see as he threw himself (literally) into the hour long set with vocals, dancing and twiddling a few knobs on the DJ rig.

The purists might grimace and some unfair comparisons were made on the night with other artists attempting to reinvent themselves as a house DJ but regardless of snobby asides Williams has an undoubted musical pedigree that gives him gravitas to undertake this new challenge and be given some respect.

His old band mate Howard Donald has been on the DJ circuit for years, Craig David is still wowing crowds at Ibiza Rocks with his all action TS5 show and even celebrity chef Gok Wan was on the island a few weeks ago playing tunes for Clockwork Orange (but the less said about Paris Hilton the better).

The majority of the crowd last night loved the occasion and left happy – it was a win/win/win for a guest list heavy crowd, the 528 venue who announced themselves to the world and an established recording artist craving to do something different. Some might be disappointed that the lighters didn’t come out for an Angels encore but they can always book a ticket on his next greatest hits tour in a cold city rather than this intimate evening in the balmy Ibiza countryside, this was a million miles away from Knebworth.

My only small gripe was that a genuine house remix of one of his big hits would have truly brought the house down while protecting his integrity but alas it wasn’t to be. This was a truly original ‘I was there’ Ibiza night and these occasions don’t come round often these days. Bravo Señor Williams.