Is The ‘New Ibiza’ Unfolding in Front of Us?

Lots has been written over the last few years about the ‘New Ibiza’. The Ibiza that knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing. A place that has ‘VIP’ ingrained into its diminishing soul.

Then came Covid. When it comes to game-changers the Chinese flu (to paraphrase a president) has done more in 4 months than any politician has in 4 decades. It’s created a new Ibiza for this summer but one that might be a blueprint for the future.

Whether by accident or design (will leave that to the conspiracy theorists) Ibiza is now what many have longed to see – very few groups of youngsters, an international crowd of mainly families and mature groups idling the day away on the beach or by the pool then booking ‘expensive’ restaurants by night. Busy days followed by quiet nights, like a European Caribbean where the streets become empty by 1am.

The large groups of youths are few and far between, the nocturnal screaming and shouting is minimal, the super-clubs are closed and the bright lights of San Antonio’s West End have been switched off in a political manoeuvre that wouldn’t be out of place in a hammy Shakespearian play.

Is this the new Ibiza unfolding before our eyes? A not-so-secret agenda pushed through on the back of a global pandemic. Some businesses will not survive this crisis therefore changing the landscape forever.

The Ibiza lovers are here as they always are, nothing stands in their way when it comes to visiting but the mass tourism that we have become accustomed to isn’t and many residents are already on their knees unable to feed their families while the Spanish government is creaking under the debt of helping out these people.

If this is the new Ibiza then it will be a challenge to bring through the next generation of tourists. Those that will spend the next 30 years of their lives returning while spreading the word of an island paradise where hedonism, culture, natural beauty and a liberal attitude exist side by side. As any football team knows – you are only as good as your youth policy.

This Ibiza of 2020 is only catering to a market segment of an already saturated market, it’s resembling Menorca at the moment getting by on its natural beauty and amazing local food but it’s missing those unique selling points that differentiates it from the rest of the world and as any good salesperson will tell you, it’s the USP’s that make the difference with any product. Never underestimate the importance of choice and Ibiza has always had in in bucketloads….until this summer of course.

We should continue to count our lucky stars that Ibiza 2020 is actually happening. This summer’s version is lacking an edge that only a fully functioning White Isle can offer but still gives many a chance to recoup some losses and keep the momentum going for 2021.

Let’s enjoy this summer for what it is but also not lose sight of what made Ibiza so special in the first place. It’s inevitable that the island will change but that change should be organic and not driven by petty politics and point scoring. To use a couple of cliches…..be careful of what you wish for, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Short Memory – The Only True Enemy

It’s been a long few weeks on the White Isle. A stop/start kind of atmosphere where the locals continue to live in a peaceful paradise awaiting a surge of tourism that hasn’t yet materialised.

The international set is starting to arrive but the British have largely stayed away so far due to murky press sensationalism and a quarantine regime that has put fear into those who love to travel. Tour operators are beginning to re-start so we should start to see more people on the streets. It’s a thorny subject but the modern Ibiza needs mass tourism if it’s 150,000 inhabitants are to survive through a long winter.

Around the island, social distancing is being respected. Ibiza Town is busy (isn’t it always) the beaches are starting to fill, restaurants have waiting lists and Formentera is back to its glorious best – something we could have only dreamed about several weeks ago. It’s mainly the areas that rely on British tourism – San Antonio, San Antonio Bay and Playa den Bossa – that remain quiet as we approach mid July.

Now we have the new face mask protocol which is being spun by some as a major negative with local press reports even claiming that it’s causing holiday cancellations. Most excuses seem to convenient during this pandemic.

Masks are slightly uncomfortable but it is only a mask, it’s not restricting our freedom of movement. Personally I think it’s a fairly pointless exercise especially in the open air but if it’s the law and is backed up by science then we have a duty to pull together and do our bit. It will be for history to judge whether it was an over reaction but for now, I for one, will do what I’m told is good for the island and try to keep it as clean and healthy as possible.

A couple of months ago most of us in Spain were confined to our homes, unable to leave except for food and essentials. In deepest darkest April if you had said to me that Ibiza will be more or less fully open (except for the clubs) by early July but you will have to wear a face mask in public then I would have accepted it in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately in the social media world everything has become a problem, no cause is too small for the keyboard warriors to become abusive and no ground can ever be ceded. The small detail is debated to the nth degree yet the big picture is often missed. The big picture here is that Ibiza is finally open and is finding its feet in the new normal. The airport arrivals board continues to grow and the streets are becoming more vibrant.

As we hurtle towards August we can expect the island to get a lot busier but still with a chilled vibe rather than the usual madness (although there’s always a chance of that too – this is Ibiza after all). Some will like it and others might not but for now we should be thankful that flights are arriving again and we have the chance to salvage something from the summer.

There’s so much to be thankful for, Ibiza is probably more beautiful than ever and is slowly getting its confidence back and learning to function under the new guidelines. Too much negativity is being thrown in certain directions by those who seem to revel in delivering bad news.

It’s time to seize the moment and make the most of an opportunity we didn’t think we’d even get. Our only true enemy right now isn’t a piece of cloth to cover our nose and mouth it’s a short memory and realistic expectations.

Post Lockdown Paradise but Time to Get Back to Work

Coming out of the Ibiza lockdown has been like emerging from a long dark tunnel into glorious bright sunshine, we’ve come a very long way in a few short weeks.

Since we’ve been ‘released from house arrest’ the Island has never been so beautiful in the warm summer air without tourists. It’s given us all a new appreciation of where we live. Free of traffic, free of pollution, free of white legs and red shoulders but also free of income and prosperity.

Unfortunately in the busy, modern world you can’t have your cake and eat it and as beautiful as this Ibiza is, it needs tourism like humans need oxygen, the island simply can’t function without it. What type of tourism is a separate debate for another day but for now we need to get the Ibiza economy back up and running. It’s time to get back to work.

Those looking for a cheap peak season holiday might not like our prices but this backs up the Ibiza brand and an unwillingness to compromise. You won’t see Monaco or Switzerland dump their prices either and Ibiza is stronger because it knows it’s own value and understands that massively discounting is counterproductive attracting the wrong market and devaluing the product. Better to have 6 good weeks than 12 bad ones.

As in any situation there are winners and losers to emerge from the lockdown ashes and yet again the West End of San Antonio has been unfairly targeted by politicians hundreds of miles away on a different island.

Whatever your opinion on this hot potato of an area, to deny the many local families, who rely on it, the chance of a livelihood during the worst economic crisis in modern times is unfair at best and downright criminal at worst. It can’t be right that one street can open but the next one can’t as long as everyone follows the letter of the law. It’s the tourists who should decide whether a business is successful, not petty rivalries between opposing politicians.

The fact that San Antonio Town Hall is powerless to oppose the restrictions imposed on the West End speaks volumes of the nature of Balearic politics. The Balearic Government is yet another needless layer of overpaid bureaucrats looking to justify their existence on a daily basis. In my opinion decisions that affect the local population should be administered by the democratically elected local town hall along with the island council, not a group of 3rd party arbiters who have limited knowledge about the genuine situation on the ground.

The West End’s short term future may be in the balance but the big winner of the post lockdown weeks has been Formentera which has been inundated with day tourists. Many locals who wouldn’t usually have the time or inclination to visit have been taking the trip and enthusing about the paradise island and it’s beauty.

They say that the cream always rises to the top and, after many feared for Formentera, the smallest habitable Balearic island has in fact seen plenty of visitors with long queues for ferries and busy beaches.

Of course it hasn’t been the same as with ‘genuine’ tourists but Formentera’s reputation for nature and beauty has soared and this is something that money simply can’t buy. As the world gets busier you can always rely on the F-word to deliver in a calm and classy way.

As international flights start to arrive, the local population get back to work and the island slowly recovers, summer 2020 promises to be like no other. Ibiza will be different this year and it could be THE year to discover its genuine charms whilst basking in it’s beautiful glow and unique atmosphere. There’s only one way to find out……

98 Days Later – End of Lockdown

Friday 13th March. Life as we know it was about to change as Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez took many (including me) by surprise and announced that a state of alarm (SOA) would begin in 2 days because of the global pandemic. He then added to the confusion by bringing it forward a day. Confusion would be the theme from here on in.

Sunday 14 March. The Ibiza streets were still busy with families going about their usual business, many in blissful ignorance.

Monday 15 March. The local Police, Civil Protection Agency and the Guardia Civil got to work clearing the streets and reality started to hit home, this wasn’t a drill.

So started 14 long weeks of lockdown which finished at midnight last night. 98 days where social media was the forum of choice as hearsay, rumours and conjecture became the common currency. Facebook groups started to cover information, conspiracy and advice. ‘Ibiza Winter Residents’ became eerily quiet so we knew it must be serious.

Parents became the new teachers overseeing the homeschooling of their children and dogs were allowed out for exercise and had more freedom than most. Ibiza’s population stepped up and the hashtags #QuedateEnCasa and #StayAtHome began to circulate.

Local authorities fined the law breakers using drones and roadblocks became commonplace. Daily press conferences gave updates as we crunched the numbers and became a an extra in our own horror movie.

Queues for supermarkets became longer but the clamour for toilet rolls died down. The Balearics stayed near the bottom of the contagions league table but Can Misses converted an operating theatre into an intensive care ward just in case.

Fernando Simon of Spain’s Ministry of Health became a familiar face on local TV and Lesley Donald revealed that she had a secret crush on him, who’d have thought this strange looking man would become a sex symbol.

Eventually kids were allowed out but a convoluted exercise timetable meant that seniors couldn’t mix with kids and adults either had to have an early walk or a sunset stroll. Many did what they thought they could but in fact they couldn’t even though others were. Confused? You bet we were!

Life slowly returned to some form of normality, dogs lost their unique privileges and the rumour mill now went into overdrive while banks and landlords still charged there monthly fees even though most on the white isle wasn’t working or had no prospect of employment this year.

The numbers dropped but Ibiza continued to be cut off from the world, great for containment but not so good when trying to kickstart the local economy.

Hope started to filter through as the dominoes began to fall and restrictions were lifted. Ibiza became a dystopian paradise where beaches and roads were empty, car parking was plentiful but no tourism meant no jobs or income for many. The line between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have-nots’ had never been clearer.

Now after nearly 100 days it’s time to get back to a new normality where we try to claw back what we’ve lost but do it as only Ibiza knows how, with style and a naughty smile.

Many lockdown lessons have been learned and even through the darkest days solidarity shined through. Let’s hope that Ibiza emerges softer, more aware of itself, more welcoming but also not prepared to sell its soul for the tourist dollar.

Thanks to everyone who read and shared my updates during the crisis. Special thanks to the amazingly energetic Lesley Donald who will continue to post on all forums until there are no numbers to talk of , the wily ‘Lady’ Tricia Templeton whose common sense and wit kept us going and Julian Cobby for his acerbic daily take on the unfolding events before us.

It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions where hope and positivity always shined through. Please let us never have to do it again but if we do please let me be in Ibiza with a cupboard full of wine, a sunset view and an internet connection.

Ibiza Clubs won’t open….so what are you waiting for?

The nature of clubbing is close contact, being together with a crowd so, under the circumstances, it was always going to be one of the last things to go back to normal.

It was a badly kept secret that the Ibiza super clubs probably weren’t going to open this summer but the news still hit hard, the clubbing scene is part of the fabric of the island, it’s woven into it’s soul. It’s disappointing but life on the White Isle will go on and, although some might tell you differently, there is definitely more to Ibiza than the super clubs.

More important right now is the connectivity so tourists can actually get here. The announcement last Saturday that Spain will open its borders next week, a week earlier than expected caught many (including myself) by surprise but reflects the Spanish government’s need to kick start the ecomony with tourism being top of it’s priority list.

The fact that, along with most of the Schengen area, the UK is included on the list of countries welcome to enter Spain from 22 June tells it’s own story especially as the UK is several weeks behind the rest of Europe and still hasn’t got the virus under complete control but it’s a straightforward risk/reward situation for the Spanish Government, ban tourism for longer and the country will suffer more hardship, open up in time for the peak summer season and hope that it’s citizens can scrape enough money together to get through a long winter while avoiding another spike.

They might give us an edge but the Ibiza brand is so much more than clubs and this new scenario might give smaller businesses who’ve previously been suffocated a better chance of success. There will be a big gap in the market but the island has plenty of entrepreneurs who specialise in coming up with new ideas to keep the paying public occupied and happy. The Ibiza 2020 experience will be different but it will still be inescapably Ibiza.

Sunrises, delicious food, beautiful sandy beaches, glorious sunshine, amazing vistas, cool bars, crystal clear waters, chilled beach clubs, magical sunsets, friendly locals (who will appreciate tourists like never before), an island steeped in culture and heritage where the beautiful people love to hang out, an island that will still keep serving up magic like it has for many decades and did long before ‘Ushuaia’ became more than a city in southern Argentina.

This summer will be different but there will be a summer and after the dark days of virtual house arrest only a few weeks ago it feels amazing just to be able to say that. Ignore the negative people, this really is THE year to discover one of the most beautiful places on earth so book a ticket, open your mind and prepare to fall in love all over again.

Ibiza is the guilty pleasure that you can’t ignore, this year it might be a little more demure but rest assured it still has that naughty glint in it’s eye.

Ibiza: Open for Business…

There are many conspiracy theories going around at the moment but the biggest one is right on our doorstep. There’s a popular misconception that Ibiza won’t have a summer season when we are already having one. Beaches are busy, bars are bustling, the atmosphere is good and all this without tourists.

The majority of the Schengen area will start to open up from 15 June with Spain following on 01 July so unless there’s a dramatic spike in virus numbers there’s going to be a summer whether the doom mongers like it or not. Fellow European countries with low infection rates are more or less back to normal and are now booking flights with confidence. Life goes on in mainland Europe.

The big anomaly is the British factor. While Europe went into an early lockdown the British borders remained open. Now that contagions are going down and Europe is opening up the UK has brought in a 14 day quarantine period for international arrivals which has sent their travel industry into even further chaos.

It’s a side swipe that doesn’t make any sense. The time for a quarantine was at the start of the crisis when travellers were bringing the virus with them, what’s the point in bringing it in now when most of Europe has a lower infection rate than the UK?

An unworkable and resource heavy quarantine means that many will just ignore it anyway, when Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary was asked on TV yesterday whether Ryanair would cancel flights, he said: “No, because the flights are full outbound of the UK. British people are ignoring this quarantine, they know it’s rubbish.”

When sworn enemies BA, Easyjet and Ryanair come together you know the world has gone slightly mad but these giants of the aviation industry have teamed up to take on the UK governments quarantine implementation in court. They know that this could be make or break for their summer flight program.

Another factor to consider is whether people will want to travel with all this going on. A YouGov poll yesterday suggested that only 15% of British want to travel abroad this year whereas it was just over 10% when you throw in the quarantine factor. Travel, post Covid, will be a completely different experience with longer queues, face masks and reduced capacity.

Last Friday I spoke to Hugh Elliott the British Ambassador to Spain and asked him if he thought there would be British tourists in Spain in July. His Excellency told me that he’s confident it will happen and that the respective governments are in constant dialogue with the possibility of a reciprocal airbridge agreement. The million dollar question though is at what level. My opinion is that is we get close to 50% of last year then it would be a minor miracle but it gives us something to aim for.

Yesterday Jet2 and their holiday offshoot, the 2nd biggest British tour operator on the island announced that they were starting flights again on 15 July. This wasn’t unexpected with all the confusion and mixed messages in the UK and is a more realistic start date. Easyjet will start flying to Ibiza mid July whilst Ryanair continue to offer cheap seats from early July. The UK airlines are trying their best but you can’t blame some of them for pushing back 2 further weeks to the start of the school holiday season when their load factors will be higher.

Meanwhile back on the White Isle life carries on in the ‘new normal’. Face masks have become a way of life but the café and bar terraces continue to be busy, the streets and beaches are bustling but there is still a big thing missing. Tourists.

Ibiza is open now for the local population and will be open to international tourists from 01 July. We are ready and waiting, this is fact not fiction. It will be a different experience from previous years but the Islands beauty and atmosphere can never be taken away.

Whether people will want the hassle of getting here is the big unknown in the equation but don’t get confused by the daily overload of ‘information’, Summer 2020 is happening.

Ibiza Covid Update – 28 May

Covid19 figures for Ibiza & Formentera on 27/05/20 were as follows (via local press)

· 173 cases in total
· 20 Active Cases
· 13 in hospitals being monitored
· 4 in hospitals in intensive care
· 3 under surveillance at home
· 141 cured
· 12 fatalities
· 1 health workers at home being controlled by UVAC
· 4 health workers under ‘active surveillance’

2 members of Peña Deportiva football club in Santa Eulalia have tested positive plus 1 new case in Formentera also.

These figures are updated daily by Balearic Health Office

Yesterday was the start of 10 days National Mourning in Spain in memory of those who lost their battle against the virus. Flags will fly half mast on all government and town hall buildings. There will also be an organised remembrance service attended by King Felipe.

Ibiza is now in phase 2 of the de-escalation process but Balearic authorities have requested that it moves to phase 3 on Monday 01 June, 1 week ahead of schedule. This request is based on good epidemiological and healthcare data on the evolution of the pandemic on the islands. In addition same day movements between islands has also been requested during phase 3.

From yesterday all residents in Ibiza can now go outside as many times as they like, without any restrictions on how far they can go or for how long. The only restriction that remains in place is for seniors which continues to be from 10am to 12pm and from 7pm to 8pm but regional authorities can move this by up to 2 hours to avoid the hottest time of the day.

Ibiza tourism chiefs are hoping to bring 500 German tourists to the island in June in a pilot test similar to the one in Mallorca. Hotel Federation spokesman, Manuel Sendino, said that there are several hotels that have offered to open their doors and the idea is being studied but it will only happen if deemed safe.

Francina Armengol, the President of the Balearic government says that the Balearics expects to welcome between 2000 and 3000 international tourists during the second half of June. “This flow of tourists will be channelled by German tour operators. The idea is to make safe air and sea corridors on the four islands” she explained.

Ibiza and Formentera hoteliers have voiced their hopes that the summer season can be saved if tour operators and airlines show “a firm will” to bring tourists to the island as of July when air connections with Europe are restored. Sirenis Hotels spokesman Pedro Matutes said “there is demand to come, not the same as last year, obviously, but tour operators want to go back to work and are evaluating the situation. They are not going to deploy their full air capacity, but they are going to start”.

The Spanish Government will lift quarantine requirements for foreign tourists from 01 July, the decision was made at an Inter-ministerial meeting held this Monday by videoconference.

On Tuesday, Fernando Simón from the Health Ministry said that the situation in Spain is rapidly improving. 10 of Spain’s 17 regions have not reported a single coronavirus-related death in the past week. 5 others had only reported 1 or 2 fatalities. Catalunya and La Rioja reported the highest number of deaths, with 8 and 9 respectively over the last 7 days.

Specialists from the Guardia Civil have continued with disinfection work in various areas of the Can Misses hospital in Ibiza.

The Traffic Office in Ibiza Town has reopened its doors this week but only for pre-booked appointments.

Sant Josep Council will also organise municipal Summer Schools this year will be free for all participants. Extra sanitary measures will be in force and places limited and reserved for children registered in the municipality. Parents who want to enrol their children must prove that both parents working.

Beware of fake news – government websites and credible press/social media pages are the best places to gather important information.

The situation is constantly evolving however please follow the guidelines.

Best Regards

With special thanks to Lesley Donald, Tricia Templeton and Julian Cobby

VERY IMPORTANT: INFORMATION TAKEN FROM CREDIBLE PRESS AND GOVERNMENT SOURCES HOWEVER THE SITUATION IS FLUID. THIS UPDATE IS WRITTEN FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY ERRORS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH

Sanchez Signals Spanish Summer

On the 70th day of the Spanish lockdown, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez surprised his own country and the world when he dropped these immortal words “foreign tourists can now plan their vacations in our country”.

Over the last 10 weeks Señor Sanchez has favoured the Saturday afternoon/evening press conference often announcing the unexpected that highlighted the perpetually changing situation but the way he spoke yesterday marks a new era of this crisis, actively encouraging holidays and pledging that the safety of tourists to the country is the priority.

His speech was greeted with a surge of jubilation and optimism that the summer will become a reality, we all know it will be a long road back to relative normality but we have to take what we are given.

The Ibiza that will open up for tourists in June will be a different animal. Reduced capacities will be countered with increased outdoor space, enclosed nightclubs will continue to search to find a formula that works and beach clubs will have to operate with strict limitations. Only when a vaccine is found will we be able to return to the way it was before but this is still a huge stride forward.

Ibiza 2020 will be calmer, more thoughtful, more aware of those around us but also full of sun, fun and good times. Ibiza’s incredible nature will shine through with many doing things that they never thought they would with an appreciation of the simple things. The old saying that the best things in life are free has never applied to a certain Ibiza demographic however that is set to change this summer.

Of course we have to keep in mind how quickly things can change, not let our guard down and stick to the basic hygiene rules. It’s inevitable that there will be more virus cases but the most important thing is that it stays under control.

The health crisis has eased and focus now moves to the economy, minimising the risks of both of these is now the dual priority for a country and its residents that overly relies on the tourist dollar not only to get by but to survive.

After 10 long weeks, 70 days, where Spain has endured some of the strictest lockdown conditions in the world, yesterday was a good news day. Nice one Pedro.

Ibiza Covid19 Update – 20 May

Covid19 figures for Ibiza & Formentera on 19/05/20 were as follows (via local press)

· 168 cases in total
· 22 Active Cases
· 14 in hospitals being monitored
· 4 in hospitals in intensive care
· 4 under surveillance at home
· 134 Discharged from hospital
· 12 fatalities
· 2 health workers at home being controlled by UVAC
· 8 health workers under ‘active surveillance’

These figures are updated daily by Balearic Health Office

After originally proposing a further 1 month extension to the State of Alarm the Spanish Coalition Government backtracked after it became clear that it would be difficult to get the support required from other political parties. After reaching an agreement with Ciudadanos a 2 week extension to 07 June will be formally ratified in the coming days.

The Spanish Health Ministry announced on Monday evening that the use of face masks in Spain will be obligatory in closed spaces and on public streets where 2 metre distances cannot be respected. The exact wording of the emergency law will be published later today.

Formentera has now gone into phase 2 with Ibiza hoping to follow on Monday 25 May- Phase 2 allows the use of beaches and the municipal town halls are working on specific guidelines but the 2 metre distance must be followed with groups of up to a maximum of 15 people. There also needs to be a maximum capacity for each beach with a dedicated entrance and exit.

Controls carried out by the Guardia Civil at the port of Ibiza have prevented 34 people from travelling to Formentera since the State of Alarm started with the majority of cases coming the last few days. It is not allowed to travel between the islands unless you can justify through work or residency.

So far during during the State of Alarm the Balearic Government has issued more than 21,500 denuncias that may end with fines. The government continues to stress the importance of maintaining an interpersonal distance of 2 metres, to avoid crowds and continue with hygiene measures such as washing hands regularly with soap and water.

President of the Balearic Government said that the tourist season on the islands will begin to recover in July and August with the process starting in mid-June with the arrival of national flights plus a pilot scheme to bring the 1st tourists from Germany to Mallorca. This comes after Spanish Transportation Minister, José Luis Ábalos, said on Monday that if the coronavirus deescalation process goes well the tourism sector will be reactivated at the end of June but ‘Spain must be an attractive country from a healthcare perspective’ and that tourists will need confidence to travel here. Spain has now lifted restrictions on flight and ferry connections with Italy but this doesn’t apply to cruise ships which are banned indefinitely for the time being.

Ryanair plans to resume international connections to Ibiza from 01 July with flights from 11 countries – Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Poland and United Kingdom. The countries with most connections are Italy with 14 airports and UK with 9 airports.

SEPE – the Public State Employment Service in the Balearics has apologised for the extended wait that some workers have experienced for payments to those on the ERTE scheme, they attributed the delay to the ‘enormous saturation’ since the start of the state of alarm and asked for patience but assured that all payments be received shortly.

San Antonio council will allow bar and cafe terraces to be expanded to up to twice the existing levels subject to authorisation but passageways and access for emergency vehicles must be maintained at all times. All terraces have strict hygiene guidelines.

Beware of fake news – government websites and credible press/social media pages are the best places to gather important information.

The situation is constantly evolving however please follow the guidelines.

Best Regards

With special thanks to Lesley Donald, Tricia Templeton and Julian Cobby

VERY IMPORTANT: INFORMATION TAKEN FROM CREDIBLE PRESS AND GOVERNMENT SOURCES HOWEVER THE SITUATION IS FLUID. THIS UPDATE IS WRITTEN FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY ERRORS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH

‘White Lines’….My Verdict

The much hyped White Lines from Netflix landed on our screens on Friday 15 May and it’s fair to say that the response has been ‘mixed’.

Ibiza has rarely fared well on the big or small screen, the warts and all documentary ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ in the late 90s opened the flood gates that has seen many try (and nearly all fail) to capture the magic of the White Isle.

Leaving all the art house stuff aside, the only 2 movies I can remember ticking any boxes with clarity were Harry Enfield’s comic ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’ and ‘It’s all gone Pete Tong’ with Paul Kaye playing a DJ going deaf. The rest who’ve tried to cash in have usually come up short because even though they started with good intentions they got dragged in to focus on the cliches rather than characters.

The bad news is that White Lines falls through the the same trap door but the good news is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, quite the opposite. Set in an Ibiza you certainly won’t recognise it centres on the mysterious death of a Manchester promotor 20 years previously and his unhinged sister’s search for the truth

If you’re a White Island aficionado then it will evoke many emotions. If you’re looking for a gritty Ibiza drama/travelogue then you will be bitterly disappointed as it was mostly shot in Mallorca and it’s about as relevant to Ibiza as a wet January weekend in Skegness however if you can come to terms with the fact that Ibiza is purely a tool in a farcical plot then it’s really rather enjoyable tosh to watch.

The sets are sumptuous and the landscape beautiful but it ain’t Ibiza so anyone with a good knowledge of the Island might feel short changed and the Manchester accents are woeful at times but this adds to the proceedings rather than detract from them.

The comic Calafat dynasty at the centre are like a fictional lightweight Corleone clan with a flirty matriarch who doesn’t think twice about masturbating a priest to get her own way while Andreu the head of the family mourns his dead dog with all the emotion of a man suffering from latter stage dementia. The conniving son Oriol (who’s so bad he’s spellbinding) is more shallow than a puddle of rainwater and Kika the good time, rebel sister with no money but a good heart used to be the girlfriend of the irritating murdered Manc with a dodgy Moss Side accent.

Boxer, the family’s security guard/enforcer is there as a bit of eye-candy for the girls with his Fawlty Towers Spanish accent and cheeky chappy Spanglish. Throw in some rich hippies, a comic little and large Rumanian drug dealing duo, a cocaine sniffing dog, a not-so-holy priest, a hint of incest and, as you can see, it’s so ludicrous it’s entertaining. This is Footballers Wives territory.

More cliches than a political party conference, more wood than a carpenters workshop and more cheese than a thousand burger stands but hey, this is fictional TV playing to the masses, nobody said it had to be a true representation and creator Alex Piña, who made his name with the critically acclaimed ‘Money Heist’ doesn’t hold back and obviously/hopefully had a grin on his face as he was writing.

The stellar cast draws you in, Daniel Mays is very good as the perennial loser who’s sex-party organising wife (Angela Griffin) has run off with an oily, rich European while Laura Haddock channels her inner Linda Hamilton/Terminator 2 and goes batshit crazy over the death of her unlikeable, full of himself, brother 20 years previously in a performance with more ham than a pig farm on steroids.

In an ever changing world where we have become obsessed with bad news this is nothing more than harmless escapism, blatantly plagiarising the Ibiza name to give it an extra edge and I, for one, haven’t got a problem with it, it’s definitely better than watching the News.

As Ibiza residents we can sometimes take the White Isle a little too seriously but if you leave that at the door then this can give you a few hours of enjoyment bordering on the ridiculous and that’s more than welcome during these troubled times.

White Lines will last in the memory about as long as as one of the aforementioned cheeseburgers but that’s half the fun. Viva Ibiza and all those who are desperate to ride on her coat tails.

Dedicated to Manchester DJ Dave Booth who has sadly left us. “He made us do it”.