Hello everybody and welcome to my experimental blog which will revolve around Ibiza in “the good old days.” I feel a bit wary about mentioning this, as I am fully aware that when I arrived on Ibiza people were already complaining about how the island had gone downhill since their version of “the good old days.” Some of the old hands even said that the new fangled Friday evening English-language film night in the Teatro España in Santa Eulalia as an unwelcome intrusion of the 20th century into their lives. I suppose they were quite pleased when it ended, just a couple of weeks after my arrival!
You have to think that this was in the days before mobile phones or satellite television existed: indeed before most of the modern village of Santa Eulalia existed. This was in the days when the Carrer Sant Josep (2 up from the High Street, one up from “the restaurant street”) was still a dirt track with no street lights.
Speaking of phones, most people’s main point of contact with the outside world was through the telephone in their favourite bar: Sandy’s, Fred’s or Grumpy’s being the main ones for the British residents. The first two of these have, of course, long succumbed to the inexorable onward march of progress.
To tell you the honest truth, I had not expected to be the one to write this book. When I arrived on Ibiza, the whole island was absolutely packed with brilliant writers and other artists, and although I thought that somebody would have to write a book about the amazing people that called the island home, I didn’t in my wildest dreams imagine that it could possibly be me.
Even within the Morna Valley School there was Ra, who was able to make that excruciatingly dull subject History so entertaining that some parents asked permission to watch his lessons. The chairman of the PTA, Stewart Anderson was an excellent writer, who wrote brilliantly funny articles for the Ibiza Insight (one of the island’s two English publications at the time). One piece about a leaking pipe and the Spanish plumber who stuck a corkscrew in the leak had me in stitches at the time (does anybody have a copy?).
When my social horizons were broadened by taking part in the winter pantomime I came across Alan White, a published author, who wrote articles for the same Ibiza Insight; he painted an idealistically idyllic picture, with an easy artistry, of island life once the tourists had all left. His first major excursion into print, “A Long Day’s Dying” had (he insisted) been an exercise in auto-psychotherapy and had been made into a film. He was so clever and so prolific that he also wrote under several pseudonyms as well!
Also on the same bill was the amazing Mary Cooper. I quickly came to realise that her delightfully vague and dippy personality was a cover for a shrewd media operator who ran a newspaper and radio programme with every appearance of effortlessness.
There were, of course, many other writers who lived on the island either full- or part-time. I have lost count of the number of journalists and other wordsmiths I came across during my time on Ibiza – and I apologise to any who feel they deserve to be individually mentioned.
I think that the death of Mary made me realise that most of the people I had assumed would write “the book” were unlikely any more to do so. The grapevine tells me that Ra has also checked out of “The World’s largest voluntary lunatic asylum,” and I have heard nothing of Alan for a long time. Stewart is living in France, and has already written a book about his time in Ibiza, entitled “A Wild Thyme in Ibiza.” I love the title, and the book itself is well worth a read.
When I started writing, I was inspired by the new freedoms offered by the Internet. I thought that I would be able to publish online and avoid many of the problems that paper and board books inevitably meet with. However, I do need to have some idea as to what people would like to read about, and this is one of the reasons why I decided to write a blog.
I shall try to put up pieces about Ibiza in times past, about a crazy school whose pupils are now doing fantastically well in life, about some of the tribulations of teaching science without books or equipment, and maybe about other things that take my fancy – approximately weekly, but following Ibiza NOW scheduling traditions, things may slip from time to time.
I have a decade’s worth of ancient Ibiza Now magazines in my garage, a large box full of negatives that I now have the incentive to look through, and a lot of other Ibiza-related projects that I have never had time for. I also have quite large sections of my book finished, and will offer regular instalments for your entertainment.
I hope that you will enjoy my regular scrivenings. Please feel free to subscribe, and please feel free to offer feedback. Even if you have never been to Ibiza, please let me know what you think. I have only one chance to write a debut book about the island and its crazy inhabitants, and I want it to be the book about the old times that people will want to read. I am new to this blogging business, but I hope to offer you all space to comment. Please feel free to use it, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to contact me by e-mail.
It will give me great pleasure to read your comments, stories and additions. I will happily credit you (or not, as you wish) but I can not pay you. Many thanks to Phil Davies, by the way, who has already given me some excellent background information about some of my fellow residents on Ibiza. If I had known I would be writing a book, I would have made a better job of my research… Maybe!
In fond memory of Mary Cooper, I shall sign off for now with a