I first went to Ibiza in 1988 for my 18th birthday. It was the summer after Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling had been to Amnesia, taken ecstasy and danced to the Balearic Beats of the legendary DJ Alfredo, the rest, as they say, is musical history. I wasn’t hanging with the cool crowd that summer, in fact I have no idea of my whereabouts on the island. I blame too much cheap Malibu, and the overexcitement of being abroad without my parents.
I definitely went to see the fake Four Tops perform at the casino and I think I went to Ku, but I can’t be sure. I remember having a flirtation with a boy who I later saw stumbling down the road with a toilet seat around his neck. My taste in men hasn’t improved much but thankfully my taste in holidays has.
And so it was I sat at Gatwick airport, smelling divine having deliberately emptied a Tom Ford tester all over myself. Short Cuts was going on holiday, back to Ibiza to spend the week in a villa celebrating a 50th birthday. I did have my reservations. There was a mix of personalities, eighteen in all. We have been friends a long time, but we don’t live in each other’s pockets like we used to. How would it be, all of us together again under one fabulous, sun-drenched roof?
My tips for going on a villa holiday in Ibiza with 18 friends who are almost 50 and haven’t really grown up much.
Shop locally – always worth visiting a couple of supermarkets and sussing out the best one. In our case, the best one was the one which sold an outstanding Cava for €1.85. This became the benchmark for pricing.
“How much was that?”
“Gosh, that’s more expensive than a bottle of cava.”
Unsurprisingly, not many things were cheaper than a bottle of Cava. My bog standard shower gel was more expensive as were Toblerones and cauliflowers. It was suggested that we fill up the jacuzzi bath in the master bedroom with Cava, just for the hell of it, but our middle-aged sensibility kicked in when someone pointed out the hefty deposit we stood to loose.
Poolside – Fill the pool with inflatables. Much merriment is to be had watching your friends mastering the art of riding a blow-up yellow seahorse. Morbidly hanging a pink flamingo from a dead tree and watching it slowly strangle itself in the wind, not quite reaching a point of decapitation is also recommended. By the end of the week, our pool resembled a tragic homage to Sea World. An orca and a crocodile had joined the menagerie, and a second sea horse had been purchased to replace the first one, which unsurprisingly had developed a slow puncture.
Audio books are the way forward. Lying in the sun reading a book is, to me, one of life’s greatest pleasures. Now I’m getting lazier and going slightly blind, listening to a book means I don’t have to turn the pages or get prescription sunglasses.
Eating – Go away with people who like to cook and people who don’t want to cook but are happy to clear up. Also, a couple of petrol heads who are looking for any excuse to get behind the wheel of a hire car are very useful for trips to the supermarket and the general running of errands.
Eat as a group. There is something heartwarming about eating outdoors at a long table pretending you are the Waltons.
Music – The awesome Ibiza Global Radio provided chilled tunes for the day but Spotify took over in the evenings. In honour of the birthday boy, we had an evening of tasteless hits from his teenage years in the 70’s. Tracks by Racey, Brotherhood of Man, Sweet and The Bay City Rollers. I am pretty certain we are the only people – past, present and future – to have danced to Tiger Feet, twice, in Ibiza.
Go Clubbing – You’re on the White Isle, it has to be done. Like the old days, make a big thing of getting ready. We adorned ourselves with gold tattoos whilst drinking Cava – did I mention it was €1.85 a bottle. Our outfits were meticulously picked. Was I a ‘Nana looking like Rhianna’ or was I rocking it in my short skirt and sensible heels? I did feel that I was slightly channelling the look of a LadyBoy as we left the villa.
I go out in my hometown of Brighton with the same crowd, girls and gay boys and the last time I spoke to a straight, single man was in 2012. I go out in Ibiza with girls and gay boys and the only people I talk to are straight, single men. Nothing beats a selection box of tanned men wanting to dance with you and buy you beers at 10 euros a pop to make you feel like a woman again. I danced till dawn in my new M&S memory foam wedges and pleather mini skirt and when we hobbled into our taxi home the sun was coming up happy days.
Hire speed boats – Surprise yourselves as to how easily the life of the rich and famous comes to you whilst casually racing across the Mediterranean at high speed. Diving off the back of a boat and goosing each other whilst snorkelling is all part of the Champagne lifestyle I’m led to believe. Stopping to watch the sunset away from the crowds with some of your oldest and best friends, can get a tad emotional – but that could be the cava. Finish the evening off by begging the bus driver to take you to a Drive-In for a dirty burger.
Follow these tips and I can pretty much guarantee, that like us, you will have a holiday to remember. A harmonious and fun filled time was had by all. However, we did leave one of the party behind in Ibiza. Not because he was having a midlife and decided at the age of 49 to say ‘fuck it’ I’m moving to Ibiza, but because he fell off a bar stool and fractured his femur. How fitting to go away with 18 friends, average age 46 to celebrate a 50th birthday and one of them comes home needing a hip replacement. Enough said. Same again next year?
This article also appeared in The Huffington Post