Sometimes, when you’re presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the right thing to do is grab it with both hands. Even if, when you wake up the next morning and can think of a million reasons why you shouldn’t have grabbed it with both hands – and the two empty bottles in the recycling bin remind you how you acted hastily in grabbing it with both hands: grabbing it with both hands was still the right thing to do. I can testify.
Wine courage and non-refundable flights aren’t necessarily a bad combination. Because that’s how two thirty-something parents ended up at the closing party of one of Ibiza’s most iconic clubs last weekend making boxes of varying size, partying like it was 1999. No regrets here.
Some context now: I’ve been going back and forth to the Balearics since I was six. Ibiza was my first and, since then, I’ve had trips with friends, family and work and, all bar the time I was pregnant, Space has been a fixture. So, when we heard its doors were shutting for good, and the mother of all fiestas was to be thrown in its honour, myself and Big B found ourselves romanticising about what it would be like to go. 75cl later, Ryanair felt the force of our credit cards and grandparents were on standby.
In some respects Space is my Hacienda. I never went to Manchester’s finest – it was before my day, but I can understand why people look back misty-eyed. Remembering my first time on the terrace: no roof then, arms in the air to Erik Morillo playing Club Tropicana and Shiny Disco Balls – I feel the same, so it made sense to be there for the final curtain. Only, half a billion others thought so too. Consequently, tickets were like gold dust and, when online batches sold out in minutes, we had no choice but to make the trip on a prayer, hoping we’d be able to buy them when we arrived.
But the hysteria bubbling in Ibiza Town in the days leading up did nothing to quell our concerns. “Get there really early or really late,” locals and workers strategised. “You can still pay on the door”. So, channelling my inner Monica Gellar, I dragged B to the venue for 6pm – a keen couple of hours after it opened – and, crossing our legs for 45 minutes (another ill judged bottle of rosé over lunch), we waited, not so much in line – it was more of a scrum – and fell through the turnstiles to Joy Division’s Blue Monday. Like a kind of visceral oxymoron, the place was alive and bouncing. Stilt-walkers, confetti cannons and dancing lights all added to the carnival atmosphere and any concerns we’d been harbouring melted away. We knew then that we’d signed up to something special: this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment that couldn’t be replicated, history was being shaped and we were part of it. I could probably count on one hand the times I’ve been in a club since having Little B, but amongst the sea of receding hairlines and dodgy-hipped moves, I knew I wasn’t the only one to have come back for a final hurrah.
Musically, the mixed crowd was well catered for. Classic house tracks spanning the club’s 27 years, made for an eclectic mix. Choosing which acts to catch and when was tough because every DJ who’d ever taken to the decks was on the roster, and six acts played out in six rooms at any given time. When en route to the bar we heard Jon Rundell ending his set with Orbital’s Chime followed by The Beloved’s Sweet Harmony, what choice did we have but to stay thirsty and catch some lasers as dry ice filled the main room? But, with a nod to the glory days, the Flight Area stage outside on the carpark was where the magic happened for me. Eternal hedonists Brandon Block and Alex P, who pioneered the sunset terrace in the 90s, gave subjects exactly what they wanted along with a customary power glitch. And, with the occasional plane roaring overhead, Darius Syrossian got us damp of eye with Mambo Brother’s Momento as the sun set, before Steve Lawler paved the way for the Granddaddy of Techno Carl Cox, who brought the outside area to a close.
We didn’t have it in us to stick around for his later two sets. So as the lights lowered and a sing-along en masse to John Lennon’s Imagine signalled the closure of the carpark (lyrics beamed onto the stage), we thought about calling it a night. The weight of seven thousand people pushing to get inside only solidified the decision. Heading back to our hotel with Frankie Knuckles ringing in our ears we were done. Part of me wanted to stay, indeed my 22 year old self would have remained dancing for the subsequent eight hours. Even the next day, tucking into our fry ups at a nearby caff, we fleetingly wondered if there was any chance of sneaking back in. The final record had yet to be played – and we knew this because friends at home were streaming it live into their offices. But watching the last stragglers, pie-eyed and broken, making their pilgrimage home, we checked ourselves. That we’d experienced any part of it ought to be enough.
We’d booked the trip on a whim, got carried away one night after too much Muscadet then panicked we’d made an expensive, silly mistake. But I can honestly say it was worth every 8€ we spent on bottled water; every 15€’s worth of vodka and Fanta Lemon I put down my neck. The three piece suite was worth sacrificing. We saw the opportunity to be there when Space closed forever – and we took it. I’m glad we did. Because ‘things’ don’t make you happy, experiences do. Before we met, B explored the world; he was never happier than when travelling. And, while I share this sense of adventure, I like my creature comforts too much to go backpacking, so I promised we’d continue the escapades in bite-sized chunks. And this was as good as any.
Admittedly, now Little B completes the triangle, there’s a limit to what we can do, but prior to her arrival we had camped under the stars in a Thai jungle, rafted under waterfalls in Argentina, danced to Samba drums on the streets of Brazil during the carnival and waded through a town, belly deep in tomatoes in Spain. We might be not be taking her clubbing in Ibiza, but I want her to have a healthy understanding of the world and what it’s like. Luckily, through having family in Hong Kong and America she’s started to see for herself and hopefully she’ll develop her own curiosities. I’m not saying that every holiday has to be a safari – we can be just as content with a week by the pool in Lanzarote and a shandy at Lineker’s (maybe not Linekers, but you catch my drift). There are so many different cultures, sights and flavours to be discovered, why wouldn’t you want to experience as much as you can? I stop short of calling it ‘memory making’ because it’s about being present, enjoying life, doing what’s important to you – doing what makes you happy. Life is short. Sometimes seizing opportunities, being (moderately) reckless and whacking out the credit card is necessary. If it means beans on toast for a month to facilitate, so be it. I certainly wouldn’t be the one to dissuade you otherwise.