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The Secret DJ details how their first ever night in Ibiza was almost their last

"I started screaming for him to stay where he was"

  • Words: The Secret DJ | Illustration: James Clapham
  • 16 August 2017

Ibiza is a strange and magical place. For years I had no idea it was beautiful. Or that it is 90 per cent uninhabited. I would arrive about six hours before I had to leave. Billboards, fairground rides and English vomit is enough to put anyone off. And that was just Playa d’En Bossa. How could anywhere be that hot at night? It made no sense. Why anyone would want to be there during the day was a mystery to me. I’m from somewhere cold and dark. Heat is my enemy. It was not my kind of place at all. But eventually – and inevitably – Tour Manager and I missed a flight back off the island. The next one wasn’t for 24 hours. It was 1998.

It was way cheaper to rent a car than two hotel rooms. It was still dark and early as we drove away from the airport car hire. Fuck it. Let’s have a look around. Weird place. No tarmac anywhere. Every road like a rollercoaster on the moon. No signs. No lights. Pitch black. The drugs we’d taken earlier that night were taking effect. We were very lost. We’d been told Ibiza was small, but it was clearly large enough to fox us. The surface seemed to flatten out; we’d not seen any buildings for hours. Or maybe it was five minutes ago. It’s hard to tell in that state. T-Man loved cars, so he decided this was an excellent spot to do doughnuts. He proceeded to perform car stunts while laughing maniacally, looking at me instead of out the windows, and frankly putting The Fear in me.

After a while we were stationary in a haze of our own making. A dust cloud of some proportion can be whipped up over time if you are especially daft in a very dry place. The haze started to glow. It felt like a scene from Close Encounters. T-Man started panicking about police. It wasn’t individual points of light. More a gradual build. I got out of the car to investigate.

I coughed and hacked through the dust storm and immediately got lost. I couldn’t see anything. I tried retracing my steps, but I’d lost the car too. It felt like being inside a cloudy liquid, or a boiling hot snowstorm. I walked forward. Then backward. To the left and right. Nothing. It was eerily silent, too. The ground was rough and rocky. I felt like and idiot when I started calling out.

It can only have been minutes, but it felt like hours. Then streaks of clarity started to appear across the murk and across my brain. The glow was the sun; the streaks pale blue dawn sky. About 200 metres away I saw the outline of the car start to emerge. The idiot was mere feet away from the edge of a cliff! We’d been screeching around out of our minds on an apron of land in the pitch black that was surrounded on all sides by a sheer drop onto rocks and salty doom.

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