Thinking of working in Ibiza this season? Dedication’s what you need.
I haven't slept for three days straight, and things are beginning to get strange. I keep hearing faint, disconcerting whispers from far-off places. Shadows dance across my peripheral vision, but when I turn to look at them there's nothing there. A cursory glance at my clothes reveals the minutest of fibres magnified to the size of shoestrings. Worst of all is the toilet with its pulsating floor like a carpet of writhing maggots.
Dawn is breaking in Ibiza...
It all began with handshakes and pleasantries in a neon West End bar. I was feigning enthusiasm through a merciless hangover, taking a seat with five others in an empty, air-conditioned room. Our new boss wove between us, delivering a hyperactive presentation on the ins and outs of the role: hours, targets, pay, the usual first-day stuff. "And," he ends with a handclap, "whoever gets the most people in the club each week – wearing your initialed wristbands – wins a gram of anything they like."
The decision to spend the summer working in Ibiza wasn't a particularly considered one. A few weeks after drunkenly proposing the idea to a couple of mates back home, there we were, checking into a beachside hotel for a fortnight. My aims for these 14 days were simple: get a job, find somewhere to live and be thrifty with what little money I had.
Two weeks passed in a haze of sunburned days and twisted nights, and I found myself jobless, homeless and skint. I find myself seriously considering selling drugs – going as far as placing an order with a notorious San Antonio dealer – but the thought of getting caught, spending Christmas in a 6x9ft cell, the submissive wife to hairy man named Pablo, acts as an overwhelming deterrent. I even contemplate the H-word: home.
Eventually I answer an advert in the Ship Inn looking for PRs for a new night at one of the big clubs. Not only do I get the job – which, it transpires, pays in grams as well as much-needed Euros – but a workmate points me in the direction of a vacant, one-bedroom basement flat. It's dark, damp and smelly, overrun with cockroaches, has no natural light and offers little change out of €800 a month. I take it.
The Dungeon, as my apartment soon becomes known, turns out to be a thoroughfare for all kinds of brilliant freaks and weirdos, randoms from clubs and strangers off the street, cross-dressing bodybuilders and celebrity dwarves. And, a little too often, the Guardia Civil.
Days are spent combing the beaches of San Antonio, armed with flyers, free CDs and wristbands, hotfooting it from the Guardia while illegally coaxing holidaymakers to a fledgling night at an Ibiza Town club.
It's the scruffy little centre of my world. The venue for unforgettable pre-parties, after-parties and parties-that-weren't-supposed-to-be-parties. A place where friends from home stay while on holiday, kindly chipping in with the rent, and leave with swine flu and psychological scars of screaming bad acid trips. Where words like "stolen boat", "watching DVDs" and "lizard people" trigger vivid memories and fits of uncontrollable laughter. All the fun of a holiday, augmented and stretched out over four debauched months. Home to an orgy of excess. A place that, despite its dilapidated appearance, inspires the unique feeling of waking up every morning knowing there's nowhere else in the world you'd rather be.
Ibiza Worker Dos And Don'ts
Do get some kind of home insurance and make sure your accommodation is secure. Apartments are robbed all the time in Ibiza, your stuff can be expensive to replace, and filling in forms in Spanish at the police station is a very tedious way of spending your time.
Do show the police respect – they are not known for their patience and restraint when it comes to foreign workers. If you see them coming get out of the way.
Do ask everyone and anyone for guestlist places and even club cards. In Ibiza, if you don't ask, you don't get – especially if you have something to offer in exchange.
Don't panic if you can't get a job in the first month. Many of the thousands who come out to work will chuck it by mid June.
Do have something to go home to. Anything. A job, uni, somewhere to live, a significant other, a cat … Ibiza blues after a two-week holiday are nothing compared to the spirit-crushing desperation of returning from a summer there.
Do some planning. Unless you're a returning worker or well-connected it's tricky getting a job before you actually get on the island. But you can at least find out when and where "auditions" are. And you can sort out somewhere decent to live before you get there.
Don't go over there without a Euro to your name. Take some savings, if you can. Enough to cover a month's rent and deposit is good – enough to cover your rent for the whole summer is perfect.
Don't pace yourself. A summer in Ibiza feels almost as fleeting a fortnight's holiday. Say yes to everything. With everyone. No matter what time of day or night.