J-Lo to Star at Amnesia Private Party

Playtika, a Chinese start up company dedicated to the development of mobile games and platforms such as social networks is having a BIG party on the White Isle this Friday.

This is no ordinary private party though as it’s 2500 employees will be entertained by Jennifer Lopez at the world famous Amnesia Ibiza nightclub with rumours that Madonna will be amongst the guests. Unconfirmed reports are also circling that Enrique Iglesias may also take the stage at some point in the evenings festivities.

It’s seems that no expense is being spared as the lucky employees will be arriving on private aeroplanes and staying in 15 local hotels according to sources close to the event.

As the club prepares for the party all people working on the venue have been forbidden to carry mobile phones or any device that can record or take photographs, in addition lawyers have traveled to the island to have all employees sign a confidentiality agreement whereby they agree not to disclose any details of the event.

Playtika is a multinational of Israeli origin but was acquired by a Chinese consortium in 2016 for $4.4 Billion. In 2017 it became one of the main sponsors of Sevilla Football Club.

Source:Diario de Ibiza

Local Election Fever Hits Ibiza

It’s that time of the decade again. Every 4 years the municipal elections are held in Ibiza which determines who controls the local town halls and the island council.

This vote is arguably more important that the national elections that took place last month as the local and island decisions are what affects us all on a daily basis and gives a clear indication in which direction Ibiza and its municipalities are travelling in.

The 2015 elections saw the Island council plus 3 (Ibiza, San Jose & San Antonio) of the 5 municipalities become coalition councils with the socialist PSOE party having the majority of seats but having to play lip service with their more hard left coalition colleagues. Only San Joan and Santa Eulalia remained under the control of the conservative Popular Party.

The 2019 election looks like it could split the vote even more with several new parties entering the fray, the PP party will be particularly vulnerable from the right wing Vox and the centre right Cuidadanos who may eat into their core support.

The Island council vote will be interesting after the national elections saw the left wing Podemos party experiencing a surge in Ibiza but the incumbent president Vicent Torres of PSOE has proven quite popular over the last 4 years despite his differing views from his coalition partners.

San Antonio is spicing up nicely with 2 young and enthusiastic guys heading the big parties. Simon Plannells looks a natural fit for PSOE who have teamed up with Reinicia to form a pact going into the election. There’s no room for the polarising deputy mayor Pablo Valdés in his team nor security councillor Aida Alcaraz but the strong list includes several who served on the last council.

San Antonio’s Popular Party is headed by the hard working Marcos Serra who proved to a thorn in the left wing council’s side over the last 4 years as a very effective opposition spokesman landing many blows. He has overhauled his team injecting youth and mixing it with experience to try and appeal to those who may have been disillusioned in the last.

The centre right PI Party who had 3 councillors in San Antonio over the last 4 years have the experienced Joan Torres at the head of their list. PI were the coalition power brokers last time round and could be again however their falling out with PSOE over the swapped allegiance of their number 2 and the subsequent break up of the San Antonio coalition could affect their vote especially with other parties lying in wait.

The real wild cards of the San Antonio vote will be Ciudadanos (C’s) and Vox. These are brand new parties to the island and could benefit from any right wing protest vote. The centre right C’s are well on their way to becoming the 2nd party in Spain so can expect good support come 26 May.

The polarising right wing Vox Party has recently come to foreground of Spanish politics with positive results in the Andalucía autonomous elections as well as the April general election and may well be the surprise package. If they can garner enough local support then they could assume the power broker role this time around.

With less than 2 weeks to go until the elections the pressure is now on for all the parties to hammer home their message and grab those swing voters. Expect plenty of twists and turns and lots of handshakes. Watch this space.

Champions League Thrill Ride Delivers BIG TIME

Wow. What a ride the last 2 nights have been! I’m exhausted after 2 incredible Champions League semi finals which both delivered a helter skeleton of emotions for fans all around the world.

Liverpool’s comeback against a Barcelona team including the greatest player that’s ever lived (in my opinion) plus 2 South American ex-players sold for over £200 million will be etched on the memory for years to come, just like that 2005 night in Istanbul.

This was better than that glorious Turkish adventure in many ways but with one major difference because you can never under estimate the power of Anfield. Have you ever seen opposition players of that quality freeze like 4 year olds performing at their first school concert? We are talking about, golden boot winners, Euro winners, World Cup winners who have played at the very highest level yet when the Kop started their famous roar you could literally see and feel the energy sapping from them, their faces a mask of fear knowing they were on the receiving end of the biggest turnaround in semi final history in the biggest club competition in the world.

Little did we know when the final whistle sounded at Anfield and those wild celebrations began that Tottenham would equal Liverpool’s achievement in an arguably more stunning way but this time not on home turf but by overturning a 3 goal deficit in the cauldron of the Amsterdam Arena against a young and fearless Ajax side that has made The world fall in love with Dutch football all over again.

Not since Cruyff in the 70’s (so good they named the aforementioned stadium after him) and the Ajax dream team of the 90’s that included so much talent has the world been spellbound by a group of youngsters playing total football and after a fantastic 2nd goal in front of their adoring home crowd it was time for them to take their foot off the gas and sit back a little…..but football is a fickle mistress as Amsterdam’s exasperation became North London’s ecstasy.

The young and fearless suddenly became the scared and inexperienced as Tottenham launched a comeback that in many ways was more thrilling than the previous nights exploits. Spurs battered their younger opponents in the 2nd half and when a long, hopeful ball was punted upfield in the last few seconds of the game, Lucas Moura managed to be that split second quicker and wrap his favourite left foot around the ball to send Spurs to their first ever Champions League final.

The small margins in sport had played their crucial part yet again so on 01 June the fans of 2 English Premier League clubs will descend on the amazing city of Madrid in a footballing fiesta that will be watched by hundreds and hundreds of millions around the world.

Back in November when I was talking to some mates about the 2019 Final being in Madrid I checked the flights on a whim and saw that they were 40 euros return for the weekend so decided to book them for myself and my football mad youngest son (who’s a Man City fan!) so we could be a part of the story whoever qualified. He was obviously praying that Citeh would get there but I was just hoping for any English team so we could enjoy the weekend with a few fellow countrymen and women in the Madrid sunshine.

Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t but my cheap flights and budget hotel that cost a grand total of 140 euros per person now seem like a great investment to be a part of footballing history. Getting match tickets to the big games is always a challenge (this isn’t my first rodeo) and my contacts have always said that it was 50/50 depending on who got to the final so let’s see what comes up over the coming weeks but whatever happens we will be at the stadium on final day soaking up the atmosphere that sporting occasions like this can deliver.

As a proud Englishman living in the host country I’m just hoping for a final that showcases the very best of the Premier League and as a Derby County fan I can remain strictly neutral although I’ve always held a great affection for one of the sides but I can honestly say……good luck to both teams and may the best team win.

No More Privileges for Privilege

Before the internet and social media started spreading fake news & giving away all the secrets, Ibiza was a mythical destination. It had it’s negative tabloid headlines in the 80’s but there also existed an underground movement that personified late 20th century Bohemia.

The glitterati and fashionistas flocked to the island and indulged in all their hedonistic pleasures, not the social media wannabes from today’s era who are judged by their instagram followers and blue ticks, but genuine power people, the movers and shakers, those who knew that on the white isle they could do as they pleased without being judged. It was a secret society, a playground for the rich and famous to let loose, the wild stories could never be substantiated but those on the inside always claimed that the truth was stranger than fiction.

Right in the middle of all this decadent excess was Ku Club. An outdoor extravaganza centred around a large swimming pool in the hills of San Rafael. It was here that many infamous parties went down with the great and the good, the beautiful people and, of course, the hangers on and fixers who could arrange ‘things’.

You can’t mention Ku in the 80s without Freddie Mercury but you also need to throw in Grace Jones, Spandau Ballet and any other 80s european stars you care to mention who invariably sampled the club at one time of another. By the end of that decade it had been crowned the ‘biggest club in the world’ and it even had the certificate from the Guinness World of records to prove it but there was a problem.

The early 90s saw the first gulf war that decimated travel while the club had become tired and the roof had given the vast space an airport hangar type feel, totally different to partying in the hills under the stars in the balmy summer heat.

After a couple of bad years the unthinkable happened and in 1993 Ku never even opened but it was about to make a comeback of Lazarus proportions thanks to 2 brothers from Manchester who were in the right place at the right time and had the vision and creativity to make their mark on the varied history of Ibiza clubbing.

In 1994 the club re-opened with a new moniker and ‘Privilege’ was born and Monday nights were about to go stratospheric. Manumission not only put Ibiza back on the world clubbing map but also brought it to the mainstream, focussing on production with the same hedonistic values that made the place what it had been in the previous 2 decades.

When you trace the Ku/Privilege timeline 1994 is where it’s modern history starts and Manumission were right at the forefront of this. Cream also started their long tenency, Renaissance put on some amazing live shows with such luminaries as Adamski, Boy George, M People and Kylie Minougue. The glitterati had now been replaced by mainstream UK clubbing but with volume brought money and by the end of the 90s Privilege was booming but their was a storm brewing.

Egos always play a big part in the clubbing world and the bigger the club the bigger the ego and when you are filling the worlds biggest club on a weekly basis then there are bound to be ego clashes. A big falling out between Manumission and Privilege saw the unthinkable happen as Ibiza’s biggest night was unceremoniously evicted from their home halfway through the summer of 2007, moving across the road to Amnesia but the damage had been done and Manumission never truly recovered.

What type of club evicts the biggest night on the Island? The type of club who then goes and gets the then biggest DJ in world to plug the Monday gap. Tiesto started playing to packed houses in 2008, a residency that would go on for 6 summers proving that Privilege were still at the top of the tree. Recently Carl Cox had a sold out summer residency there along with many other artists. When it comes to Ibiza on a massive scale then it doesn’t get any better.

So why the big back story about Privilege? Well this pillar of Ibiza’s hedonistic history has now been closed indefinitely by the local council due to illegal modifications inside the club that have hindered fire escape routes and increased capacity beyond its original licence.

The aforementioned egos have once again come to the fore and instead of playing ball and immediately fixing the problem the Privilege owners decided to appeal the decision at the regional court in Palma which duly upheld the decision to suspend its licence.

The very next day after the court ruling, a representative of the club presented a letter to the Council requesting that the suspension be lifted saying that it had already remedied some of the deficiencies detected on the day of the inspection. However, the municipal technicians found that some of the problems hadn’t been solved and that threats to public safety persisted.

Chances are that it will all get resolved before the summer but for now Privilege is closed until further notice which isn’t ideal for all those promoters who are planning for the summer not to mention the hundreds of employees.

The crazy thing in all this is that you get the impression that this was easily avoidable with a bit of diplomacy and understanding rather than brinksmanship from both sides yet here we are on the cusp of May with no resolution in sight. The negative press has already happened and the biggest club in the world remains closed….. for now.

The Guiris are Here!

It’s time to finally face up to the fact that the summer is upon us once again. How do I know? Well these strange people have started to appear.

While I zip up my fleece, they walk past in vests, shorts and flip flops. I should be used to it after nearly 30 years on the White Isle but it still comes as a shock to the system when they magically appear. It’s 20 degrees and I’m still feeling the spring chill while they let it all hang out, basking in Ibiza’s beautiful weather.

The term ‘guiri’ is viewed by some as a slur but I rather like it, for me it’s a badge of honour. ‘Guiri’ (pronounced girry) is what the local Spanish call northern European tourists of a pasty/white skin nature who stand out in a crowd. I’ve been called it a thousand times and have never taken offence although I know some of my friends don’t like it.

When I’m called ‘guiri’ I usually respond by calling the perpetrator a ‘Payes’ or ‘Payesa’ which is like calling someone from Ibiza a ‘country bumpkin’. They usually give a ‘touché’ look and we move on quickly. There’s names for everyone after all, not just pale foreigners wanting to spend their hard earned money in your town.

Now that the summer flights have started it’s the official end of winter and the ‘guiris’ are arriving in their thousands, I have to admit that I sometimes have to stop myself from scowling when I see them, I’ve become that person but it’s more of a reflection on me than them. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just I’m not ready for the winter to end. I’m never ready for the winter to end.

As I see them walking around our empty April streets I also feel thankful that they are here. I live from tourism, I was able to buy the house I live in because of tourism, our island only has tourism and I try never to forget this. The scowl is about me not them, it’s about living in paradise for 6 months where I can park my car, drive without the fear of playing bumper cars, get a table at my favourite restaurant, talk to my friends without my phone going 24/7 and relax in the winter sunshine.

It’s now transition time where we get back into the swing of things. My first villa clients are round their Ibiza pools and it’s all systems go (well kind of). August is still a long way off even though it’s looming like a dark cloud in the distance.

This is life on the island and although I’m never fully prepared I love this time of year when we finally get our arse into gear and get ready for summer. I also love all the guiris for choosing to come to Ibiza time & time again, spending their hard earned money so we can work 6 months a year and then have another 6 months relatively stress-free in paradise.

So if you do see me or others scowl from time to time then please treat us with the contempt we deserve, it’s just a phase we are going through.

Cathy Guetta’s Bikini Beach Bites the Dust

Ibiza is a tough place to do business and all that glitters isn’t gold as Cathy Guetta has found out this week to her cost.

Bikini Beach, the beach club situated in Talamanca and co-owned by the businesswoman and ex-wife of superstar DJ David Guetta, declared bankruptcy on 11 March in proceedings at a Palma courthouse.

Details were published this week confirming the bankruptcy and advising creditors that an administrator has been appointed and for all outstanding bills to be submitted with a month.

The Bikini Beach Restaurant, known as ‘Bikini by Cathy Guetta’, opened its doors in May 2018 and was one of the two beach restaurants that Ms Guetta opened last summer in Talamanca, both in partnership with businessman Radouane Mahrouk. The second, ‘Turquoise’, opened its doors in July.

Guetta also has an interest in ‘Bagatelle Beach Ibiza’, located on the beach of Cala Molí in San Jose which opened in 2017.

Source: Diario de Ibiza

Brexit Sidetracking the Real Issue for Expats in Spain

In our local pub the talk has been nothing but Brexit for weeks. It’s an emotional subject with both sides having their say in a passionate way.

It’s taken over all forms of political conversation, uniting some people but mainly dividing groups who, like us, get into heated arguments over a few beers where temperatures rise quickly before things calm down a little and friendships remain.

That’s the Brexit effect but our local pub is in Ibiza and we don’t live in the UK, we live in Spain as expats.

Us expats are a funny bunch. We love the UK but don’t live there. We move to Spain for what we consider a better way of life, which basically means 300 days of sunshine per year. It’s not always easy integrating yourselves with the locals, some do it better than others, some try hard to learn the local language whereas others don’t even bother. The expat can be a strange creature

I clearly remember in the 90s when Sky TV finally arrived in Spain. A seminal moment and what many thought was the final piece of the jigsaw, watching English football in your own Spanish home with the sun shining outside. Then came Sky digital which meant Coronation Street and Eastenders could also became part of your lives in Spain, if you were that way inclined.

Nowadays it’s gone even further and with the boom of the internet you can practically work anywhere in the world and still retain all your passion for your birthplace, as has been proven with Brexit.

But it’s sidetracked the real issue of our day to day lives in Spain, it’s been a diversion but it’s time to focus on what’s really important and that’s the Spanish local municipal elections on Sunday 26 May.

Over 18 million British tourists visit Spain every year. Banco Santander is a massive player in UK banking. Spanish companies such as AENA own Luton Airport and Telefonica own O2.

Brexit or no Brexit, the UK and Spain’s future was never in doubt, there’s too much to lose on both sides for the two countries not to find an agreeable way forward. Of course there will be changes in the event of Brexit but they won’t be earth shattering.

On the Spanish Costas there’s been a big shift in how tourism is viewed mainly through political point scoring and short term reactions rather than long term planning. Here in Ibiza it’s been a policy of prohibit and cull rather than invest and manage. There’s massive things happening locally right now that need to be voted on.

Brexit, it’s been fun, but now as an expat it’s time to focus on the real issue of who you are going to vote for in the Spanish local elections on Sunday 26 May. Who is going to be leading your local town hall come June and who is going to be making the decisions that will affect your life on a daily basis over the next 4 years.