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My Best 5: Ibiza – Blog Posts

In the summer of 2013 (from June to August) I wrote a series of Blog Posts for My Best 5: Ibiza on a range of subjects. They decided not to continue with the site, but there’s an archive here of all the posts.

http://mybest5ibz.tumblr.com/archive

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Erwin Broner exhibition @ MACE

Photo of paintings and archive materialThe Erwin Broner exhibition continues at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACE) in Dalt Vila until March 15. Broner was a German architect who lived in Ibiza in the 1960s and designed several houses and apartments on the island, mainly for friends. In 1960 he built a house in Sa Penya for himself and his wife Gisela to live in. After his death, the house was left to the city of Ibiza along with its furnishings, paintings, books, objects, letters, photographs and personal documents. All of the documentation associated with his architectural career was given to the Ibiza and Formentera branch of the Balearic Islands’ Architect Association. Casa Broner was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 2011 with the original furnishings designed by Broner himself on display. In the current   exhibition, some of the artefacts from the archives are on display in both the Museum of Contemporary Art and in Casa Broner, including photos of Broner and his wife Gisela, many of which were taken in the house in Sa Penya.

Broner2Also on display are plans and drawings of many of the 30 houses that Broner designed in Ibiza, as well as several of his paintings and drawings. We learn that Broner was not only an architect, but also a painter, a musician and that he worked in the film industry as a set designer and on animation films, spending time in the USA, Paris, London and Barcelona as well as periods on and off the island of Ibiza, where he finally settled in 1959.

If you’re interested in 60s architecture and design it’s worth going to see the exhibition at MACE, combining it with a visit to Casa Broner too if you haven’t already been there. Not only is it a fine example of 60s minimal architecture and design, but the location on the cliff edge of Sa Penya facing the sea is stunning. There’s always an assistant present on site, who is happy to show you around and tell you more about Broner and the house, and make sure that you go onto the roof terrace to take in the views. The exhibition brings to life the man who designed and lived in the house along with his wife, and gives fascinating insights into his life and career and a sense of what they experienced in Ibiza in the 60s.

The exhibition is on until March 15. Open Tuesday-Friday 10 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday-Sunday 10 am to 2 pm. Always closed on Mondays. Both museums are free.

More info at: http://www.eivissa.es/mace

Link to original article in The Ibizan: http://issuu.com/nickgibbs/docs/ibiza_sun_772_eissue/5?e=11370878/11596978

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Carnival in Ibiza Town

The text below was published in The Ibizan, on February 19 2015. It is repeated here and supplemented with photos from the event.

Sunday February 15 saw the annual carnival parade livening up the streets in Ibiza Town. Carnival is traditionally the fiesta that takes place before the fasting or giving up of something for Lent begins. It’s one of my favourite events of the year, as the normally quiet winter streets of the town are transformed into a riot of colour, music and dancing in the streets as the town’s population comes out in force to watch and have fun. Over 2,000 people took part in the parade this year, with costumes ranging from bees, to soldiers, paperboys, princesses, flapper girls, bullfighters, bankers, pirate taxi drivers, chess pieces, mermaids, super heroes and lots more. After the parade, the party continued into the afternoon in the Vara de Rey, with the prize giving ceremony, live music from Bluesmafia i es Saligardos and huge pans of Arroz de Matanzas were cooked for lunch. All accompanied by beautiful February weather: the clouds evaporated, the wind dropped and the sun shone down on the partygoers.

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10 minutes with Jake Bugg

This interview appeared in The Ibizan, on July 24th

Jake Bugg ScreenshotJake Bugg played at Ibiza Rocks last week and I was lucky enough to get a quick interview with him in the lush surroundings of the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes hotel before the gig. A talented singer-songwriter, Jake started touring at the tender age of 17 years old and he’s become Ibiza Rocks’ youngest veteran performer. He was 18 when he supported Ben Howard in 2012 and returned the following year to headline at the opening party, having reached number one in the charts with his self-titled debut album ‘Jake Bugg’ in the meantime. This year he’s back again after releasing his second album ‘Shangri La’ in November and embarking on another rigorous touring and festival schedule, including headlining the ‘Other’ stage at Glastonbury on Saturday night, holding his own whilst Metallica headlined over on the ‘Pyramid’ stage. He’s now 20, and openly gave some insights into what it’s like to be on the road, his disappointment in the musical output of his contemporaries, who he’s listening to at the moment and who he wanted to see at Glastonbury. His passion for music is clear and he’s incredibly level-headed about the ups and downs of the industry he works in. He also talked about the dreaded but inevitable Pikes hangover, something many of us (me included) have experienced! So sit back, read and enjoy what he has to say.

Claire B: This is your third time at Ibiza Rocks. How does it feel to be back?

Jake: It feels nice. It’s routine now, but it’s nice to be back, and have sunshine, but it’s a bit too hot today though. I’m looking forward to it tonight, it should be good.

Claire B: How was last night’s gig at Mallorca Rocks?

Jake: It was good. It’s always a bit of a party isn’t it, you have just got to treat it like that rather than a gig and enjoy yourselves and play the songs that people want to listen to and have a dance to.

Claire B: Do you ever get chance to see any of the island when you come here?

Jake: Not really, no, to be honest. Every time it’s always been in and out and I’ve always got a bad hangover when I leave here, every time.

Claire B: And is that good or not?

Jake: No, well it’s good the night before but the next day you feel like death, it’s horrible.

Claire B: So what have you got planned for tonight then after the gig?

Jake: Well we’re going to have a little party here again, but we haven’t got to leave so early tomorrow. We’ve got a bit of time to lie in, so that will help I think.

Claire B: I was going to ask you, where’s your next gig?

Jake: My next gig is in Lisbon tomorrow, so I can’t get too, like, the last time I’ve been really hungover I haven’t had a show, so I’ve got to watch myself this time as I’ve got a show tomorrow.

Claire B: Are you going to get to see any of Lisbon? That’s a lovely city.

Jake: Yeah, I’ve only been there once before, I’ve seen a little bit but I didn’t get to see much. There’s some great graffiti there that I recall on walls, based on politics, stuff like that, clever little ideas and funny things – I haven’t seen a lot, I hope I get more chance to look around.

Claire B: You reached adulthood on the road didn’t you and you’ve grown up whilst you were touring? Do you think that accelerated the process or do you think you’ve missed out on anything?

Jake: No, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. What I feel I’ve missed out on is probably the best thing. I missed out on going, because I went out on the road when I was 17, I missed out on going out to those clubs with all the people who live for the weekend back home in Nottingham which was probably a good thing because you just see pictures on their Facebooks every weekend of carnage, so I’m glad I missed that. I’ve been surrounded by people that have experienced a lot more, and being in the industry as well, my band and crew, they’re a good bunch, so I feel like I’ve been lucky. I think doing this, the people who you surround yourself with is very important. Sometimes I take my best mates on the road with me and that’s always a good laugh, and it’s amazing, they’re not ever like, they just take to it, they’re never like in awe of it – I think they were a bit in awe of it when Wayne Rooney came to one of the gigs and I didn’t tell them, but that was about it to be honest.

Claire B: Which team do you support?

Jake: I support Notts County.

Claire B: Do you go and see them?

Jake: I’m going training for them next month actually so that should be pretty cool. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been getting back into my football.

Claire B: So if you hadn’t have become a musician you might have gone down the football route?

Jake: Well that’s what I was doing before, but I don’t think I would have made it as a professional, you know, it takes a lot of dedication doesn’t it? But, you know, I just picked up the guitar and, yeah, and then I just fell in love with it. It became my first love. But I was obsessed with football.

Claire B: What do you miss most when you’re away from home?

Jake: Errm, I miss my mates to be honest. It’s funny because you reminisce about those good laughs that you had in certain places where you come from, or in your room when you’re messing around having a few drinks, you know, and you think, they were great. You know, I’d love to go back, but you also have to think well what would happen if everything changed and I did have to go back and you had nothing, would you enjoy it then? Probably not, so, you know, you take those good times and you move on and just keep them embedded in your memory I suppose.

Claire B: Can you see yourself going back to live in Nottingham?

Jake: No I don’t think so, no. Just because, I love Nottingham, but …

Claire B: Have you got any thoughts at the moment about where you would like to live?

Jake: I’d like to live abroad somewhere, America or France or somewhere, but with the tax laws at the moment it’s probably not a wise decision, so the realistic thing to do would be to move to London I suppose. I love Nottingham, but you know, there’s a lot more of the world that I still want to see and I want to experience living in first. I might end up there when I’m really old, so we’ll see.

Claire B: Out of all the things that have happened to you so far, what are you most proud of?

Jake: Errm, [thinks for a few seconds] the fact that I’ve got this far to be honest, I didn’t think it would happen. I’m just proud that I’m getting to live my dream, getting to tour the world, write songs, record them and meet all the people that have influenced me to do it as well, well all the ones that are still alive. That’s pretty amazing, you know, I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

Claire B: And what else do you want to achieve musically?

Jake: Well, I think that the only thing to do is to try and maintain what I’ve achieved so far now. But I think if you look at anyone, and when I say this I’m not comparing myself to these people in any way, it’s just an example, people like Neil Young or like Johnny Cash or any of those guys’ careers on a chart or on a graph it doesn’t always go up, it goes up and it goes down and sometimes it plateaus a little bit, and so I think you’ve got to be prepared for that, it’s not always going to be great. You might make an album that is absolutely amazing and another one that’s not so great, but you know, that’s the journey that I’m really looking forward to, that’s the exciting bit, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. So, yeah, I’m just excited for what lies ahead.

Claire B: You’re working on the third album at the moment aren’t you?

Jake: I’m not like working on it or anything like that, but the thing is when you finish a project you go and work on the next thing don’t you. And it’s just, I love to write songs, it’s what I do, and when I’m doing it I’m not conscious of the third record, I’m just doing what I do and that’s writing the song. And I don’t have anything solid yet, it’s just ideas that I’m messing around with. I’m not under any pressure at all and I don’t know who I want to work with, so I just let the songs come and see what kind album it wants to be, you know. The songs will reveal themselves I’m sure, they’ll write themselves. So, yeah, I’m always working on something, that’s what I love to do.

Claire B: Do you write when you’re on the road?

Jake: Err yeah, I mean for the last album, that was the only opportunity I got to write, and yeah it’s really nice to, you know, have a bit of time off to write and collect your thoughts of course, but also being on the road is when the pressures of touring or when it gets really stressful, whatever, you know, music is my outlet, and that’s when I go into my own world and shut myself away from the world and pick up my guitar and go into the writing thing, so yeah, I mean, I love it.

Claire B: When you’re at festivals do you try and catch some of the other acts if you can?

Jake: No, not really to be honest. All the contemporary music around today, I’m not a fan. It’s not because I’m purposefully getting cynical about it, it’s just that it’s kind of frustrating in a way that I just want to find something, I just want to find a record that’s been released in the last few years that I can press play and not skip a track. I’m sure people would argue that there are albums like that, but none that are for me. But I think for the festivals if you’re a young kid or into the music, the festivals have amazing lineups, if you want to see all those contemporary artists, then they’re all there and it’s great for them. But just personally for me, there’s nothing that I want to see. I would have liked to have seen Metallica at Glastonbury but I was on at the same time.

Claire B: So who are you listening to at the moment then?

Jake: Quite a bit of soul, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, and I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Roy Orbison as well, he’s an amazing singer, amazing singer. Some people find it a bit cheesy, but it’s not. I think Elvis said he was the best singer ever or something like that – Neil Young loves him, and you know, he’s just great, great songs, so yeah, I love Roy Orbison.

Claire B: So what’s next for you then?

Jake: Errm, what’s next? I suppose more touring till the end of the year, festivals in the summer and I don’t know. Wherever I end up at the end of the year, probably. I might just go travelling around and like work on some stuff and see what happens, go in the studio and just chill out. Because I think sometimes when you’re doing this, as much as I love touring and travelling the world you get into a routine and you think, you know, it’s not like you get ungrateful or anything like that, it’s just that when you do have that time off and you go to, like you know, when I was doing the second album I went to Sun Studios and Memphis and down to Mississippi and stuff like that, like the crossroads where I have a lot of musical influences coming from those places and it just really reminds you why you got in to music in the first place and it takes you back and it’s a great feeling to get that back. So I’ll probably just go and enjoy myself.

Claire B: Brilliant. Well thank you and have a great gig tonight, I’m sure it will be good.

Jake: Yeah, thank you, I’m looking forward to it.

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Jake playing live, later that evening

Joan Miró exhibition in Ibiza

CB_Miro_IMG_2910An exhibition of work by the internationally renowned Catalan artist Joan Miró (1893-1983) is currently on show in Ibiza, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACE) in Dalt Vila. Miró was born in Barcelona in 1893, and is considered to be one of the greatest Surrealist artists, where the subconscious takes central stage.

Miró went to art school in Barcelona, but was never accomplished at drawing, and as a result became more interested in pure colour and structure rather than representation. Feeling stifled in Barcelona, he moved to Paris in 1919, where he quickly got to know many of the leading figures of the avant-garde movements of the time, including Picasso, but in particular the Surrealists, who hugely influenced his work. Exhibition curator Enrique Juncosa says of his work at this time, “Miró’s images move away from their earlier painstakingly detailed realism to a new signic language that tends towards abstraction and indicates an internalisation of the visible”. He spent much of the 1920s moving between Paris, the family’s rural summer home in Mont-roig in Catalonia for the summer, with periods in Barcelona when he ran out of money. In 1929 he married Pilar Juncosa who came from a cultured Mallorcan family and in 1931 their only child Dolors was born. It was during the 1930s that Miró’s fame began to spread. He found an American agent Pierre Matisse (son of the artist), and had 20 exhibitions of his work in the USA and Europe. However in 1936 with the start of the Spanish Civil War he left Spain, returning to Paris and then Normandy, but left France with the onset of the Nazi occupation for Mallorca in 1940 (his mother was also from Mallorca). In 1942 he returned to Barcelona and used this as his base, frequently spending summers in Mont-roig, and travelling to New York, Paris and other European cities to exhibit his work.

In 1954 Miró and his family moved permanently to Palma de Mallorca. A few years later he started working in a new studio commissioned from his friend the Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, and from 1959 acquired additional buildings nearby. The new studio in Mallorca gave Miró the physical space to display and re-evaluate much of his recent work, destroying some of it, and initially concentrate more on ceramics, etching and lithography. This self-evaluation combined with the new, purpose-designed and spacious studio, must have had a positive effect on his new work. Subsequently, the many paintings Miró produced during the 60s reveal renewed strength and expressivity, probably as a result of his knowledge of American Abstract Expressionism (through his regular visits to New York) and of Eastern Art and calligraphy (he also visited Japan several times in the 70s). And he began to work on larger pieces and sculptures.

It is this period that the exhibition in Ibiza focuses on. Entitled ‘The Light of the Night’ (La Luz de la Noche), the exhibition includes 25 paintings, 14 bronze sculptures and a tapestry all created towards the end of his life between 1962 and 1979. As a mature artist, Miró was confident in his own abilities and still very prolific. The paintings are full of characters, mainly of women, heads, human figures and birds, in spaces in which the colour black predominates, with all its nocturnal connotations. Many of them demonstrate his continued desire to paint on unconventional materials, such as plastic, zinc, sheets of fabric used for agricultural purposes (such as collecting almonds), sheets of cardboard, bits of wood and found objects, and even on paintings that he had found in street markets.

Miró started to produce more sculptures from the late 50s, once he had the space in Palma to work in. Many of them explore the evocative power of objects. He collected traditional handicraft and found objects, including whistles from Mallorca in the shape of white figurines, toys, gourds, stones, interestingly shaped tree trunks, animal horns, wicker baskets and rudders. Some of the sculptures in the exhibition are juxtapositions of such assorted objects, which when cast in bronze, become unified into wholes, becoming surreal totems or figures.

It is not only a coup for the island, but also entirely appropriate that Miró finally has his first exhibition in Ibiza. He is known to have visited Ibiza on at least 3 occasions, between 1946 and 1970, and was deeply proud of his Catalan roots, believing in freedom and democracy. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see some of Miró’s late work in Ibiza, much of which has not been exhibited in public before.

There is a comprehensive website to accompany the exhibition, which goes to Menorca and Mallorca afterwards, so if you can’t see it in person you can at least get a taste of it online:

http://joanmirolallumdelanit.caib.es

An extensive catalogue has also been produced which is on sale in the museum, and features all the works on show as well as essays about Miró, giving insights into his life, inspiration and work (written in English as well as Catalan, Spanish and German).

The exhibition is free of charge and is open every day (except Mondays) until August 15. For location and opening hours see:

http://www.eivissa.es/mace

Link to original article in The Ibizan: http://issuu.com/nickgibbs/docs/ibiza_sun_-_734_eissue/5?e=11370878/7875591

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Sa Caleta to Cala Jondal and back

Friday March 28th saw another lovely walk with Walking Ibiza, starting from Sa Caleta, walking around the coast up to Punta Jondal, down to Cala Jondal where we stopped for a picnic lunch on the beach, before heading back inland through the wild thyme bushes back to Sa Caleta. It was good timing, as the day before the Consell of Ibiza announced plans in the local papers to start work on transforming the old military installation built during the civil war at Sa Caleta after the summer. With a budget of 600,000€ work will transform some of the buildings into an interpretation centre for the nearby archaeological site, where the Phoenician’s settled in Ibiza in the 7th century. Currently the buildings scattered around the site are abandoned, half derelict and covered in graffiti. There are about three former gun emplacements all connected by underground, unlit tunnels, which at the moment you can walk through. It’s an interesting and slighty surreal place to walk around and some of the graffiti is great – it’s well worth a look around before the site is transformed and cleaned up. The currently excavated archaeological site of Sa Caleta is locked up behind a high metal fence, with just a couple of display boards giving you information. It was Ibiza’s first modern settlement, before the site was abandoned for Ibiza Town.  The site itself is in a beautiful location next to the sea, but you can’t walk into the site or get a feel for what you are looking at, so any improvement and access to this important site will make a lot of difference. Completion of refurbishing the buildings has been estimated at 12 months, so the centre should be open sometime in 2015. We carried on following the coast, along the stunning red cliffs above the beach at Sa Caleta or Es Bol Nou as it’s known, before climbing up Punta Jondal, with great views in both direction. Looking ahead we could see the top of Es Vedra rising behind the cliffs to the side of Cala Llentrisca in the distance beyond Cala Jondal, and looking back we could see the salt flats of Salinas, the beach at Es Codalar, the airport, Cap des Falco, Playa D’en Bossa and all the way across to Ibiza Town. After a steep climb down to Cala Jondal we relaxed on the pebbly beach and ate our lunch to the sound of the waves breaking against the large pebbles. Returning via an inland route, we stopped at the Sa Caleta restaurant on the way back to sample their infamous coffee, made with brandy, cinnamon, lemon and orange peel, prepared flaming in a earthenware bowl in front of us. Delicious, and a nice treat after all that exercise. IMG_2125

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Walking Ibiza – Playa D’en Bossa to Dalt Vila

Toby and his dog Cosmo

Toby and his dog Cosmo

Toby Clarke organises regular guided walks around the island under the guise of ‘Walking Ibiza’ and on Friday and Saturday (March 7 and 8) the walks were from Playa D’en Bossa to Dalt Vila and back. I joined Toby and his group of walkers on the Friday, starting at 10.00 at the far end of Playa D’en Bossa. There were 9 of us in the group, plus Toby and his dog Cosmo who usually accompanies him on the walks.

Toby was born in Ibiza but moved back to the UK when he was a child. Wanting to escape the rat race and return to his roots, he moved back to the island with his wife. He knows the island like the back of his hand (he’s walked around the entire coast twice). His regular walks (of varying length and difficulty) follow a tried and tested route and along the way he will entertain you with stories and interesting facts about the area, the landscape and plant life. The walks are taken at a leisurely pace so that you can also enjoy the beautiful scenery that Ibiza has to offer.

We started our 12km walk towards the old town of Ibiza on a sunny, warm, Friday morning. Most of us chose to walk barefoot along the 3km of beach (the longest on the island) at the edge of the sea. As we walked, Toby told us how he started walking seriously when he got his dog Cosmo, and realised how much he enjoyed it as a way of seeing the island. Numerous walks later, Walking Ibiza was born. We didn’t stop until we got to the end of the beach where we paused for a drink and for Toby to tell us about the posidonia seagrass that is washed up on the beach.

From there we carried on following the coast, walked along the beach at Figueretas, along the promenade, over the rocks around the Los Molinos hotel and up the dirt path at the bottom of Los Molinos below the old windmills. You can pretty much walk from Playa D’en Bossa to Ibiza Town and Dalt Vila all along the coast. At the end of the path we turned inland and headed up the road that circles the city walls and takes you to the back of Dalt Vila. Here we stopped for a short break whilst Toby told us about some of the history of Dalt Vila (the high town) and that he wasn’t allowed to give us a guided tour inside the city walls as he isn’t a registered guide and could be fined.

We entered Dalt Vila, walking through an illuminated passage through the thick stone walls, which show you the extent to which the city was fortified to keep out invaders. From there we took a break by the edge of the wall below the old castle, and looked back at where we had walked from at the end of Playa D’en Bossa. Carrying on along the walls, we stopped at several of the bastions to take in the view, looked at the statue of Isidor Macabich and paused in Plaça D’España. Then we walked through the narrow cobbled streets in the town looking at some of the buildings on the way, passing the old hospital and the shrine to Sant Chiriac on the way up to the cathedral. From there it was back down through the walls to where we had entered Dalt Vila. I left the group there to carry on their journey back along the coast to Playa D’en Bossa and enjoy their lunch at the end. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating walk with an amiable and knowledgeable guide and a lovely bunch of people to chat to along the way.

The walks are a great way to see the island, keep fit and meet like-minded people. Well-behaved dogs can be taken along too. Lunch is usually organised afterwards in a local restaurant for anyone that wants it, or walkers are advised to take a picnic if that fits the location and schedule of the walk better. The walks are by donation (suggested 10€ per person) or what you feel the walk is worth to you. For full details of future walks see http://walkingibiza.com or Walking Ibiza on Facebook.

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Walking up Playa D’en Bossa

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Dalt Vila, our destination in the distance

Toby and Cosmo leading the group along the beach

Toby and Cosmo leading the group along the beach

Toby tells us about the Posidonia seagrass

Toby tells us about the Posidonia seagrass

The group poses for a photo in front of Dalt Vila

The group poses for a photo in front of Dalt Vila

Striding through Figueretas

Striding through Figueretas

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Toby telling the group about Dalt Vila and its history

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Taking a break at the top of Dalt Vila

Onwards along the walls of Dalt Vila

Onwards along the walls of Dalt Vila

Cosmo shows off on the wall

Cosmo shows off on the wall

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