Archive for January, 2012

Life & lines of Brandon Block

January 20th, 2012

Brandon Block, the joker in the pack, the Ibiza ‘nutter’, the party animal who single-handedly created the Caner Of The Year category, was literally lying on his death bed. 

And despite the chronic situation that he found himself in, with drips attached to his ravaged body as he battled jaundice and tuberculosis, he was still trying his hardest to shovel as much cocaine as possible up that famous hooter of his! 

The result of a spiralling drug habit which, at its peak, saw him take an ounce of coke a day for almost a year (that’s a mind-boggling 28 grams a day) was his bewildered doctor telling him that he would die within two weeks if he didn’t stop pronto. 

But that wasn’t going to deter our Brandon. No chance! 

He pleaded with friends to bring coke to the hospital and they duly, if reluctantly, obliged. If he was on his way out, then he was going out on a high, at least that was the twisted and warped way he looked at it. However, by then he had to take so much of the stuff for it to actually register that it almost defeated the object.

Clubland had snorted him up one nostril and blown him out of the other. A haunting shadow of the livewire DJ who leapt on to the house music scene in the late ’80s, Brandon somehow managed to drag himself out of the mire and lived to tell the tale. 

With his astronomical coke habit – and the complex network of dealers who fuelled it – now fortunately in the past, he is able to look back (through somewhat hazy spectacles) on a 25-year-career which spans the highest highs and lowest lows.

His own success and turmoil has weaved in and out of the so-called acid house generation and seen Blocko, like no other DJ, crossover into mainstream celebrity too. Six million Google images of him – compared to 1,500,000 of global superstar Carl Cox – tells its own story. While his pioneering residency with Alex P on the Space terrace in Ibiza in the early ’90s took club life in Ibiza and throughout the world to a whole new dimension. 

Meanwhile, away from the edgy world of underground dance music, he famously stormed the Brits stage, scrapping with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, ending up splashed across the front of the tabloids the next day, with Richard and Judy appealing for his whereabouts later that night! He talked about coke addiction on national television and later celebrity detoxed in Thailand, among a whole host of other reality TV show appearances. He’s presented (for MTV/Channel 4/Kiss 100) and produced (a No 3 UK hit as Blockster). 

These days his bookings diary is still full and his love of DJing remains, but you’ll also find him down the gym three times a week, or playing badminton with pals. Sure he still likes a drink, but insists he hasn’t touched the white stuff since 1996. 

In this amazing account we look back at the career of this cheeky- chappie-made-good, a DJ who was there from the very start of the modern-day club movement, who had grafted as a pub and mobile DJ during the mid-’80s, a few years later finding himself in a prime position when, like many others, he discovered the drug ecstasy and house music quickly followed a love of disco, soul, jazz funk and hip-hop. 

This rollercoaster of a ride charts how that underground dance music scene became a national and global phenomenon and how Brandon was intrinsically linked to it all, headlining an era that changed the lives of millions, but also becoming a symbol for its excess. 

We witness the meteoric rise of a cocky Jewish schoolboy from Wembley who became an Ibiza legend along the way. And how he and his suburban peers led a recklessly hedonistic lifestyle that was the envy of their generation. We see how the odd cheeky half here and there led to more cocaine than you can shake a rolled-up bank note at. 

“The combination of the music and the drugs and getting people together for a party became my way of life.” Brandon Block

“I will always defend him, but looking after a class of nine-year-olds is easier than looking after Brandon.” Jenny Rampling

“I’ve never wanted to go to the coolest party… I just wanted to be at the best party.” Brandon Block

“To this day, I have never come across someone who was taking so much cocaine and could still stand up.” Dr William Shanahan

“Thank God the drugs nearly killed him, because it actually stopped him from dying and means he’s still in our lives today.” Lisa Loud

Soon to be released in digital format but you can buy your SIGNED and PRINTED copy now from www.brandonblock.com

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Ibiza Slow Breaks campaign with no winter flights ?

January 19th, 2012

This article originally appeard in The Ibiza Sun on 18/01/12

Following on from last weeks article about the cancellation of direct winter flights to the UK, Italy and Germany one obvious question springs to mind – namely what happens to the Ibiza Slow Breaks campaign ?

“Ibiza Slow Breaks” is a four year €3.3million agreement signed between Central Government and the Consell aimed at bringing tourists to Ibiza during the winter. As we know, Ibiza during the 6 months of winter is absolutely ideal for walking, camping and cycling holidays, yoga retreats, bootcamps, diving and warm weather training. The Spanish Olympic cycling team, for example, have been here for that very reason.

The Consell’s contribution this year is €300,000 with the remainder of the €1million budget coming from Turespaña and Government. The one obvious problem though is that there are no direct flights this winter so Carmen Ferrer and the Consell were forced to announce a few weeks ago, “Obviously the winter does not facilitate the implementation of the program because there are not enough flights… we are trying to focus the product in May and September months”.

This is an audacious attempt at political spin. They HAVE TO focus on May and September – they have no choice due to the fact that THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for there being no winter flights.

It means that basically €1million will be spent this year promoting an alternative to the usual clubbing, beaches etc. holidays for a month when the season has already started and in September when the season hasn”t finished. As a reminder, the budget for direct winter flights for this year was €420,000 (the Stansted portion of this being 200-250,000€) which the Consell said they couldn”t afford or justify.

It is also strange that the PR company that has been contracted to do the social networking side of Ibiza Slow Breaks is allegedly a Barcelona based company, not even a firm based in Ibiza. Details of who this company are have not been released to our knowledge.
Ibiza Conectividad Pressure Group

We Want Winter Flights Facebook page here

Reinstate Winter Flights petition here

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Ibiza Rocks & Mallorca Rocks 2012 agendas

January 18th, 2012

Regular visitors to the blog will be aware that we have a lot of love for Ibiza Rocks – it’s the festival that keeps on giving. This year is no exception, with headliners Ed Sheeran and Two Door Cinema Club set to hit Ibiza in 2012 and brand new extra events every week. The sister event, Mallorca Rocks, will also be getting in on the action. Here’s what’s on the agenda for both sites:

  • DAILY pool parties – the best way to cool off.
  • DOUBLE the number of key events, with a second weekly gig taking place featuring international DJs.
  • OPENING the festival is Ed Sheeran, who had a great 2011 that saw him become a household name, and followed it up with multiple nominations for the 2012 BRIT Awards. He’ll be following up on the chart success of his debut album, ‘+’, with a killer set in the Balearics – 5th June in Mallorca and 6th June in Ibiza.
  • WEEKLY silent raves – experience a rave with a difference as everyone puts on headphones and listens to the same music.
  • VIEW the gigs from your balcony at the Ibiza/Mallorca Rocks Hotel if you choose a Stage View Studio room. This means you get a bit of privacy, a great view and more space to dance!
  • FACILITIES at the Hotel include a gym, free Wi-Fi access (perfect for uploading photos to show your mates back home), two pools and an Xbox Social Room to chill out in.
  • NEW ‘Hostal’ accommodation option – if you’re on a budget then keep the costs down at the ‘Hostal’, which is like a hostel but with the benefit of being just 500m away from the normal Hotel, with full access to the gigs and events of the festival.
  • DISCOUNTS on tickets for the island’s best clubs from your Rocks Hosts, meaning your money goes that bit further.
  • CLOSING the party will be Two Door Cinema Club, indie darlings of 2011. Catch them in Mallorca on 18th September and Ibiza on the 19th.

It’s also worth considering what to do when you’re not at the gigs or lazing by the pool. The Balearics really are a great place to explore, so why not make the most of the warm weather and try some of these activities?

  • Take a natural mud bath on the small island of Es Palmador, near Ibiza – it’ll leave you with some great photos! Find the mud at the top of s’Alga beach.
  • Shop in the Ibiza Town boutiques and vintage stores, or go to the open hippy market, which operates long into the night and sells great souvenirs. In Majorca you’ll find loads of recognisable brand names in Palma City, and plenty of cool beachside stalls in Magaluf.
  • Go for a dip in the sea – both Ibiza and Majorca have loads of stunning Blue Flag beaches to explore. Majorca’s choices include Cala Estància in Palma, which has calm waters for swimming, and the incredibly long stretches of sand at Cala Portals Nous and Platja de Palma. Ibiza’s top beaches include Cala Bassa and Santa Eulària. For big waves and sports activities, head to Cala Nova or Cala Llenya.
  • If you want an adrenaline rush then why not try one of the Majorca water parks? Western Water Park and Aqualand are both in Magaluf and have a mixture of rides, slides and pools.

Thanks to Polly at Easyjet Holidays

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Direct winter flights for Ibiza fiasco

January 11th, 2012

(This article originally appeared in the print edition of The Ibiza Sun 11/01/12.)

On October 21st the local press confirmed the rumour that the Ryanair winter flights to Stansted, Milan Bergamo and Dusseldorf Weeze were being stopped. As surprising as the actual decision to cease flights was the late timing of the announcement, given the ramifications for those who live in Ibiza or visit the island on business or pleasure during the winter months.

It smacked of the type of brinkmanship Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary is known for so the knee-jerk reaction of many was to lay the blame firmly at his door. After all, everyone loves a good moan at Ryanair, don’t they? And having no winter flights has certainly given us all plenty to moan about: Long waits at Barcelona, Madrid or Palma airports on a round trip, which now usually involves at least four flights with all the additional cost and inconvenience that entails. Just before Christmas, an Ibiza Sun reader wrote in to say it took nearly as long and cost almost as much as getting to New York.

Yet before we all stick pins into our Michael O’Leary effigies there are a few facts that need clarifying. As soon as the announcement was made a ‘We Want Winter Flights‘ petition was launched, from which a pressure group called Ibiza Conectividad has been formed. The Ibiza Sun has very kindly allowed our group to share these findings with you, so have a look inside at our special feature and prepare to be surprised, shocked and downright infuriated as you discover not only the implications of the withdrawal but that the blame can be laid much, much closer to home…

A press conference and public meeting is being held at the Diario de Ibiza building near the National Police station on January 20th if anyone feels like expressing their views after reading this article.

(the Facebook group “We Want Winter Flights” is here.)

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Google Street view added for Ibiza

January 2nd, 2012

We’d remembered that the google street view car was driving around Ibiza late this summer so it’s been fascinating to now see where you live in google maps.

We knew it had been seen around Santa Eulalia and wondered if it had caught the actual date and time on the electronic board on the paseo – well it did :

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