Glory’s first opened in the 1960’s as a horse and greyhound-racing stadium (home of the actual Ibiza Jockey Club!), but by the mid 1970’s it had established itself as one of the first nightclubs on the island. Before Ku (later Privilege), before Amnesia, before anything else, there was Glory’s – the place to be seen, frequented by likes of David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, James Hunt, Grace Jones and other superstars of the day. The early Ibiza heads still talk reverently of legendary early morning sessions at Glory’s, right up to its demise in the early-90’s. [discotees.co.uk]
I never went to Glory’s. I completely missed Ku. I couldn’t afford much more than a bocadillo and a beer in a local bar on my first few visits to Ibiza. By the time I got to Amnesia I was officially and quite literally late to the party. I think since then I’ve become fascinated by the Ibiza that can never be seen again. I don’t fetishise it like many of my peers; I happen to think ‘right now’ (pandemic notwithstanding) is better than anything that happened in some imagined golden era. I’ve still got enough imagination to put myself in the shoes of someone younger. I still dream of the future.
And so did they all. Every generation of dancer and chancer was doing it thinking they were the first. The one and only. The originals. They never are. They don’t own the night, it’s a rental. When we hang up our septums, the next lot jump in the fray. Utterly convinced they have discovered the Grail. The similarities are more vivid than the differences. An imagined past that was more ‘free’, more ‘spontaneous’, more ‘underground’ is a myth. It’s just you that was those things. Younger. Less jaded. Unburdened by ennui.
I confess to loving a dig around though. I don’t like the past to be just an abstraction for scoring cool points. I like to go there and see it. Fondle it a bit. Check out the remains. Get messy pushing through overgrown shrubberies (which are no joke in Ibiza, nearly everything here itches, impales or bites), climb into something closed-off, get inside what is left of the booth. Until very recently the corpse of Glory’s was still there. Now surrounded by an industrial estate, you could still see the hippodromo track and the amphitheatre – even the interior club was intact. OK, well, it still had a ceiling. When you go there in person it starts being a living place with memories of real people. You talk to friends like Nano Vergel, who was a kid then, a trainee DJ, and he’ll talk of it as a genuine veteran would. As something flawed as well as spectacular. A place of gossip and intrigue as well as pleasure and excess. My favourite of the now lost Ibiza clubs was actually Extasis on the road into San An. Looked like a set from the original Star Wars film. Owned by a mad French audiophile. Had a cage full of amp racks that would make a pro sweat. Just standing in it made the hairs stand up on your arms.
The thing that survives is the living Balearic culture. That hasn’t conveniently stopped and formed a handy statue. On a Sunday near San Rafael the chariots still race. The complete absence of tourists is blindingly obvious. The prices stunningly cheap. The horse smell is strong and bets are still on and nothing is more legit and vibey. The parties still happen. The people haven’t gone anywhere. What I’m saying is that the past is not just a totem, a thing to be boxed-off as ‘over’ and as such given a fake status as a golden age …it was just folks being folks just like they are right now. Very little has changed if you know where to look. It’s not with the fake plastic Brits doing a wee ‘Balearic’ theme park with not a European in sight (unless serving you, naturally) it’s in the bars with nasty strip lights with farmers doing shots for breakfast because it is impossible to work in that sun sober. It’s in the hands of the dry stone wallers fixing the semi Arabian terracing. It’s in the crazy Klu Klux Klan outfits of devout Catholic ‘Los penitentes’ every Easter. It’s in the festival of ‘Los Tres Magos’ or jumping over the fire chased by a bloke dressed as the devil in San Joan. It’s turning up to any event and being the only Guiri there, and never really learning how they all know when to turn up for things simultaneously like knowing when to clap after a jazz solo. It’s understanding many of the things we hold dear are meaningless here, like ‘time’. It’s the way things are somehow more productive over a more relaxed period. It’s the deep tolerance and respect for others that has roots in being almost perpetually invaded. It’s everywhere. It’s right here, right now.
Thesecretdj.net now features Disco Tees’ new collection celebrating some of the lost landmarks of Ibiza’s club culture
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