Adam Bird

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Friday, 24 September 2010

Ibiza Rocked!

Sunset beach

It all seems so far away now, but before the eastern delights of Hong Kong and the greatest day ever, twelve blokes headed towards the Balearic Island of Ibiza, some not knowing quite what to expect, but all looking forward to some sun, beers and for me, finally sampling some of the legendary nightlife that the White Isle is famous for.

Being my stag weekend of course, I wasn't going to have things entirely my own way. Perfectly demonstrated before I'd even left for the airport! Gareth, being my best man, gave me prior warning that I would be expected to wear something of his choosing to the airport. Unfortunately I nearly never made it! In an attempt to get some well needed sleep before our early departure I drank a small crate of lager as a tonic to get me off, but it nearly worked too well as I slept through my alarm and was woken suddenly by a barrage of voices shouting through my letterbox at some silly time in the am. To the people in the street who were also woken, I can only apologise.

I had all sorts of worse case scenarios as to what Gareth could have in store for me, going to the airport, fairly sober dressed in God only knows what wasn't something that I was particularly looking forward to, however, reality wasn't quite so bad. A bright yellow, fluffy Tweety Pie outfit was thrown at me – a full body suit with a zip up at the front and a huge over sized Tweety Pie head that sat over my own like a hood.

Despite Gareth's initial well planned wardrobe choice, it soon started to fall apart in other areas upon arrival at Stanstead. Dad's half-brother Bill was one of the party of twelve, and the two siblings don't share the same surname. Bill was mistakenly booked on the flight out, and subsequent return as William Bird, not William Battersby, which caused a slight delay and a rather large financial penalty. However two good things came out of the whole episode. Bill gained a new moniker, “Billy Bird”, whilst we got our first “Shoveism” from James, Gareth was labelled “Master of Disaster”, not one of his best over the four days away, but funny at the time.

Still, passing through Stanstead dressed as Tweety Pie, I had quite a few eyes on me, mostly of the curious kind, some rolled eyes and a couple of star struck girls, who invited me to have there photograph taken with them, even before we had passed through the customs hall. Little did I know it at the time, this wouldn't be the last time I'd be having my photograph taken with totally strange females!

We arrived at Elvissa airport fairly sober in comparison to some of our trips to foreign shores, but our sobriety didn't seem to matter, even if we were left waiting for what seemed like two hours as Gareth attempted to fix disaster number two. A mix up somewhere along the line, meant that we were without a transfer and as we sat outside enjoying the early morning sun watching Gareth run around, face getting redder and redder as he tried to vain to find out what was happening.

Despite those two initial setbacks, it must be said that everything else Gareth organised went impeccably, and although we laughed and joked at his expense, it was all in jest and we are all grateful for all his efforts! Well, I certainly am!

Anyhow, we managed to finally make safe passage to the Ibiza Rocks hotel, a place which is steadily developing iconic status. Not only is it a hotel, but it's one of Ibiza's premier concert venues, which in 2010 alone has seen the Prodigy, Dizzee Rascal and the Specials all performing within the hotel grounds. Whilst we stayed in between gig dates, there wasn't any stopping in music throughout the whole time we were there, starting at 9.30 in the morning, a DJ played all the way through to midnight, normally playing music building up to that nights big Island party

It would have been craziness walking around all of that first day dressed as Tweety Pie, which was more suited to Siberia conditions that the heat of the med, so I was given permission to change into something more suitable for the day time on the promise that I would change back in time for the evening. Fine by me, I had all intentions of fulfilling my promise, but it then started getting messy. Big time.

After a dip in the Ibiza Rocks pool, we set off in search of food, beer and to get our bearings. We soon found the Sunset Strip, home to the legendary Café del Mar, Mambo and our favourite place in the whole of Ibiza, the Savannah Beach club. After a relaxing afternoon drinking as much beer in the shortest time possible, complimented by cocktails, long drinks and shots, and punctuated by quick dips in the sea where I suffered a grave and dangerous injury. Stepping out off the rocky sea front into the water, I trod on either a sharp piece of rock, or piece of glass and cut my foot rather badly. Out poured a potent mix of blood and alcohol and it was touch and go whether stitches were required. Dad came to my rescue, not for the first time that day, guiding me to the pharmacist and ensuring that I had all the medical supplies I needed to ensure that amputation wasn't a formality.

With the knowledge that I wasn't quite on death's door, but still leaking a little, we found the main strip of San Antonio, or the West End as it is better known. During the day, the bars were fairly quiet, so we made the most of the space available to us and more importantly the buy one get one free offers on all drinks and free extras, namely jugs of Red Bull and Vodka, Sambuca and goodness knows what else.

Within these four walls a legend was born. William Battersby, now forever known as Billy Bird, not a massive beer drinker, but a lover of Gin and Tonic, his chosen tipple within this bar that was giving drinks away like I've never seen before or since. Rather than give two glasses as part of the buy one get one free offer, Bill was given his drink in a pint glass, so whilst we were drinking pints of beer, Bill was drinking pints of Gin and Tonic, along with all the shots that came with it.

As mentioned above, Dad came to my rescue again. In what I believe to be an attempt to replicate my escapades nine years earlier in Malia, the boys plied me with a constant stream of sambuca's hoping perhaps that I would end up butt naked again in some embarrassing place whilst being stripped of my dignity. But Dad, seeing that I was steadily getting worse and worse started taking over the shots lined up and becoming, what I coined, the worlds best wing man! Thanks Dad!

What started off as a relaxing journey of exploration, ended up as an afternoon of alcoholic carnage. I had boarded the mythical beer bus and been returned back to the hotel, the beer fairies had washed and bandaged my foot and tucked me nicely up in bed where I later woke with a “well the hell am I”, “what time is it” and a “I'd best be getting dressed to go back out again”. Still being totally hammered, I'd showered and thrown on the first items from my bag and totally forgotten poor Tweety Pie, which had been discarded somewhere within the confines of our apartment room. Instead, I put on a complete mismatch of clothes, including the horrible flowery shirt that I had been given years ago as a joke by Will and vowed never to wear again. I'd only brought it along for the ride hoping that I would be able to give it away to someone equally as unfortunate as I!

Within a few alcohol sped up minutes I was back in the West End along with all the others who had all been there for varying amounts of time. Including Ken, an unfamiliar face to most as he had slept back at the apartment and missed all the afternoons escapades. Jokes aimed at his way, along the lines of “who the hell are you”, didn't go down particularly well, but all made in the jest that they were intended.

After catching up on various peoples individual stories, Stuart who just about managed to return, looked like death after his early evening date with a toilet bowl, Mark and Gareth explaining how they spent an hour trying to raise me from my slumber, whilst Dad and Bill looked like they had been out on an afternoon spa day, totally unaffected by the several pints of Gin and Tonic plus wing man duties.

The best bit of news however, was Will's information that he had made contact with his DJ mate, Matthew Hardwick, who had secured four advanced tickets into Es Paradis where Pixie Lott was due to perform later that night. We knew that she was performing before we flew out, but didn't think that we would be able to get tickets and was planning on heading over to Eden instead. Some things are left to the hands of fate, and my goodness, fate played us a blinding hand that night.

Although Dad and Bill, plus a few others were sporting “we love Pixie Lott” stickers, only a few of us headed over to Es Paradis, but other than myself and Will, nobody was desperate to get into the club and were put off by the snaking queues outside. So Will, Foordy, James and myself found ourselves inside a virtually empty Es Paradis just gone midnight, courtesy of Matt Hardwicks guest list tickets.

After a few drinks and a walk around, the club started to get steadily busier. Will had disappeared for a while and almost at once reappeared with a little body art. A tribute to myself in the form of “Adam B” written in blue glitter across his forehead and a love heart upon his cheek. Thank's mate, but slightly worrying all the same!

As we had got in so early, things were only gradually warming up, but at some undetermined time later the night exploded into something that dreams are made of. The main dance floor was in the middle of the club in an large circular amphitheatre with people either on the main floor or one of the several steps surrounding those tightly packed upon the bottom level. As soon as Will and I started to venture into the confines of this bowl the music went up a notch or two and started pumping out sounds that seemed tailored just for the two of us.

It is an amazing visual experience standing upon the steps of the Es Paradis dance floor, especially with the club in total darkness and illuminated only by the blinking of a strobe light, which in time with the music, and people lost along with the beats going on with there hands in the air at varying levels flickering in time with the noise around them is quite something.

The big draw of the evening was Pixie Lott, which meant that the club was heaving, but never once did we feel too squashed or were pushed around by people making there way around the club.

We had found our spot on the dance floor and with the music churning out tune after tune there was no way we were going to move. James and Foordy had positioned themselves upon the top step of the dance floor bowl, so they were enjoying the sights as Will and I enjoyed the sounds of everything going on around us. This was Ibiza, this is what I had been waiting for since goodness knows when.

An MC had started, the dance floor was being worked up and I was lost in this parallel universe of light and sound. “The ROOF, the ROOF, the roof is on FIRE”, and my God, it was, shapes were being pulled and everyone, intoxicated or not were to a tee, beaming like Cheshire cats, sweat dripping off them as Will and I looked at each other signing “T” to symbolise TUNE as the DJ pumped out song after song until he got to a phase within his set of mixing Indie tracks with dance music. Mr Brightside, Wonderwall, just two that I can remember, vocals mixed in with the pulsating sounds of which made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Pixie Lott came out and made an appearance, or at least I thought she did! I later discovered the first singer was a women named Dakota Ray, but when the PA announced “Ladies and Gentleman, Miss Pixie Lott”, I stood a little confused for ten minutes wondering just what the hell was going on and wondering if I had my drink spiked and my mind screwed up. Pixie Lott was OK, sang a couple of songs and all the girls went wild, but if anything it gave us half hour to catch our breath, take a drink and get back to the real music which took as through to six thirty in the morning

Walking back to the hotel that morning, via the West End, which was frequented by rather aggressive Senegalese ladies of the night. Squeezing my balls is not a way to my wallet love! Will and I verbally relived the previous six and a half hours and mutually agreed that it was the best night we'd ever had. Ever!

But with all good things, you tend to pay a price. Mine was the next day. I managed to secure two hours sleep before being woken by Stuart, Reaso and Foordy, whose room I had collapsed in after going out without my room key. We headed out to the beach to chill out, finding a nice spot on the main beach in San Antonio, fairly near Linekers on the water front. I was, to put it mildy, non-functional, shaking, sweating, delirious, being drunk twice in one day, with four hours sleep, two KFC's and pulling shapes for six hours had done me in. Plus I had two more days to go. I needed to go back to sleep. I took the long lonely walk back to the Ibiza Rocks and tried to sleep through the shaking, paranoia and shallow breathing, but it seemed to work as I started to feel hung over around 4pm, which is a good sign that hair of the dog is required and drunken activity can begin again in earnest.

But then, things started going drastically wrong again! Namely evening time and Gareth's second wardrobe choice. After a rendezvous at the hotel pool bar and a few tentative drinks, a girl introduced herself to us, a Scot by the name of Vicky, who was rather worse for wear, but in typical loud Scottish style managed to make us all crack up laughing and bad news for me, arranged a date in my room for an hour later where I would be her toy to practice on.

Gareth had very kindly arranged for me, that evening to wear a wonderful outfit, the bird theme taken to the max, where I would literally be dressed as a bird. The female variety. Vicky kept her date and arrived at our room armed with all sorts of goodies. Foundation, eye liner, mascara, fake eyelashes, perfume, lipstick and a thousand other things which were applied to my face as I was sitting on a chair dressed in a bright day-glow pink tutu, with matching bra, fluffy knee high leg warmers and an assortment of pink bangles and necklaces.

If walking through Stanstead and sitting on a plane dressed as Tweety Pie was embarrassing, this was a hundred times worse. Walking through the hotel, back down to the pool bar with groups of males whistling and girls laughing and pointing and cameras coming out here there and everywhere. It was a highly uncomfortable experience, especially since my rather protruding stomach was on display and my body blanket visibly at it's horticulturally worse.

Before we had even made our way back to the sunset strip where we had a table at Mambo booked I spent twenty minutes at the gates of the Ibiza Rocks being papped, which Gareth moaned at because I was getting all the attention and he wasn't. Dad was equally as uncomfortable as I was as I reminded him too realistically of my sister and he was getting rather freaked out!

One place that I wanted to go to more than any other was Amnesia, the club, probably the most famous of the Ibizian superclubs was where Kevin and Perry Go Large was filmed and the clips I had seen on You Tube looked like Es Paradis gone wild. It was where we were due to spend Thursday night after we had left Mambo, but again, things didn't quite go to plan!

We had stood patiently in the queue for a fleet of taxi's to transport us on our way to Amnesia, but we were running a little late and the touts for the dodgy taxis were quite persuasive. We ended up being cramped into a car and sped at a thousand miles an hour towards our destination. Advice on the internet states not to get a dodgy cab as they are uninsured and all the rest of it, nothing untoward happened, but you can see how easily things could the way that they drive!

Arriving at Amnesia, I felt as though I'd arrived at the gates of heaven. The troll on the door, a bouncer with more muscle than brain cells looked at me and asked me “what the F” was I wearing, but all the others seemed to be OK. You could hear the music from outside, but as soon as we set our feet over the threshold it became clear that we were running a lot later than we had planned.

We had barely made our way into the main room, Will and I were like excited school boys, or girls in my case and wanted to run off and party, but it made sense to set up a holding location to make sure that anyone lost could meet up with the others as the sheer number of people in the club was so staggering. We edged our way out of the main room into the terrace, which was just as bad, but found a tiny space at the back where we could join in. I turned around thinking that I would see Will and the boys behind me dancing but I couldn't see them anywhere. Instead Bill was next to me with his hands up, grinning away and dancing like a hyperactive on acid! Behind him was Dad, looking around with a staggered face looking around, again smiling, not knowing just where to look!

We wasn't in the best position, it seemed everyone around us was going somewhere so we were constantly being moved about. I wasn't exactly in the best dressed outfit to be shunting into from behind in into the back of someone with such little clothes on, but luckily Bill came to the unlikeliest of rescues! He'd found space on a large podium and was up dancing upon it with Ken, the other golden oldie. I was being beckoned up with them and so found myself pulling shapes with Bill and Ken upon a platform on the middle of the Terrace room in Amnesia wearing a pink tutu. Surreal? Not even close!

For many of the guys, the club scene isn't really there bag, so I can only appreciate the fact that they all came along that night. I'm just gutted it we hadn't gotten there a little earlier and found ourselves a little niche somewhere that would have been comfortable, but as it was, the combination of sky high prices and extreme overcrowding meant that most wanted to leave. The older guys, amazingly were happy to stay, but all for one, one for all and all that meant we didn't have the night that I'd have ideally wanted. It was still an amazing experience, the music was amazing, the lights, the show that surrounds the dance floor with the go-go dancers and everything else was just incredible. I even got to get partially frozen by the ice cannon, which made my night, even if it never got Reaso by total surprise which would have made my day!

After another hairy dodgy cab back into San Antonio we made our way back to the West End where we had a night long bar crawl in several of the bars dotted up the main strip. More photograph's with the twat in the pink tutu and watching the boys attempt to pole dance made up for the Amnesia anti-climax, but wherever you go with your mates, and alcohol being the main ingredient you'll have fun and a great time had by all.

The final full day on the White Isle, we spent enjoying what we did the most. Drinking. Starting one end of the sunset strip and finishing off at the other we sat enjoying the heat of the sun, cooling off in the sea and drinking a variety of cocktails which ranged from the sublime to the damn right nasty! Ask Gareth about the nasty one! Whatever it was, whatever it contained had split in the heat of the sun and the fact Gareth was marrying it. However, we were enforcing the you started it, so you finish it, mercilessly policed by Dad who made sure that each and every last curdled drop had been finished! How he never reacquainted himself with it later, I'll never know!

That night, our last night in Ibiza, another night with a new outfit from Gareth's Spring and Summer range, again a continuation on the Bird theme, this time Baby Bird. I was to spend the evening, dressed in nothing but an adult nappy and an oversized dummy around my neck. Fine. Well, no, not really, but seeing as it was too small and I couldn't get it to fit I managed to escape the worst of my punishments, so it's not quite so bad now. But seriously, I put the nappy on. The Velcro keeping the nappy together was on thin ground. One fart and the whole thing would have fallen on the floor, leaving myself and my crown jewels open for the abuse that they rightly deserve.

So, Gareth was unable to fulfill his final fantasy, but in punishment I still had to wear the dummy, which went quite nicely with my electronic t-shirt that flashed along in time with the music, and a watermelon, which was bloody heavy. Especially carrying it two miles from the hotel to Savannah, where we had a prime time table booked to enjoy the Wonderland pre party set by Groove Armada.

Whilst at Savannah, prior to our meal, we sat on the beach watching the sunset, which is a true Ibiza experience. It was ultimately a rather emotional experience, at least for me, who had a slightly gay moment with a few tears, I like to equate the pressure of the wedding, the alcohol, the fulfilment of a dream as mitigating factors, but sitting there, on that rock, the same rock which cut my foot nearly clean off, only three days earlier looking out as the sun went down on our final day surrounded by those closest to me, along with thousands of other spectators is something that will live long in the memory. That precise moment the sun went behind the island on the horizon and everyone broke into cheers and applauded, and as Mark said, the hairs rose on the neck and gave you goose pimples, you've got to experience it to believe it, and wow, what an experience!

As Groove Armada kicked off, the bar packed and the wine on our table flowing, we kicked off with a few dares, I had to tie my shoelaces together and go to the bar to get a drink. Two sambuca's please, one for me and one for the best man who sent me up here on this errand! It could have been worse, I could have gotten Bills dare and had to visit the toilet and asked the bloke next to me if he wanted a hand! It was a great end to a great night, and we left the Sunset Strip on a real high ahead of another clubbing adventure that would take us through to the final morning.

I was desperate to go to Supermarché at Privilege, but got out voted and we ended up at Wonderland at Eden instead. Club legends in the DJ booth, more Groove Armada, Aeroplane, Tim Green and Pete Tong to name a few.

Eden had a much different vibe than that of Es Paradis, more “clubby”, but equally as good. Will and I spent another six house on the dance floor, with the odd Vodka and lemonade thrown in to quench our thirsts. The dancers from the ceilings were something to see to be believed, dangling from just a piece of cloth high above the dance floor performing acrobatics that momentarily stopped you from dancing just in case you needed to catch them in case they fell.

Ibiza was everything that I wanted it to be, the nightlife is unlike any in the world. The West End isn't much fun for a group of thirty something's and over, ten years ago it would have been right up our street, but we all fell in love with the Sunset strip, even those whose clubbing isn't up there street sat an enjoyed the evenings as much as me, the days spent sitting in bars in the sun drinking taking the mick out of each other, the retelling of old stories and general laughs galore which could have been done anywhere in the world were made special by the location and warmth of the Balearic sun.

Dad said to me that he hadn't laughed so much in all of his life. That to me meant a lot, for Dad to have gone to Ibiza and had the time of his life, doesn't endorse Ibiza, but it endorses my friends and family who went with us that week. We could have done that anywhere, but the fact that we did it in Ibiza, a place that I have always wanted to go to makes it all the more special.

Three weeks on and I'm still missing Elvissa, I read somewhere that most people who go, fall in love with the place, and go back. I will go back. One day, a different trip, maybe with friends, maybe with family, revisit the places that have left lasting impressions, to watch the sunset one last time, but this time properly dressed and with my man boobs well and truly hidden!
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