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Abergele Next Time
by Gid McClean
“Don’t worry, I can speak Spanish”, said Clive, unconvincingly, as the Magaluf constabulary pulled alongside us, and gestured at us to get into the car. He may have done GCSE Spanish, but this was not the time for asking the way to the town hall, and the unimpressed Spanish busie sneered at Clive’s attempt to diffuse the situation, twatting him round the head for added measure. The busie pointed to the car, and I slid into the back-seat of the fearing the worst as we were driven off to the station.
This wasn’t what I had in mind when we’d booked our first lads’ holiday a few months previously. Fancying myself as a clubber I’d wanted to go to Ibiza, especially after reading in Mixmag about the clubs out there. The other five (Clive, Keith, Rod, Alan and Don) weren’t arsed about clubs, although I had clocked Clive, with his shirt undone in the Buzz, dancing to that “house” version of the cricket theme tune whilst attempting to shake Davy T’s hand or whoever the DJ was. The deciding factor for Magaluf though was the testament of some older lads who’d been the year before. Lurid tales of nights in BCMs, Banana’s, the Underground and Lineker’s Bar convinced us that Majorca was the place for us. By the time the holiday loomed large, I couldn’t contain my teenage excitement. New clobber had been purchased (Soviet, Ciao, Millibar, Verte Valle and Marco Polo being the order of the day), and I’d even managed to convince myself that the sessions I’d been putting in on my step-dad’s Bullworker, to boost my skinny frame, had paid dividends.
And so it came to be, that me and Clive found ourselves walking the streets of Magaluf at 6 in the morning, naive as fuck, “the Burger King sells ale, fuckin hell”. The other four had wisely opted to get some kip, after a delayed and tiring journey made all the worse by some comedians from Barnsley who thought making quacking noises on the coach from the airport was a sure fire way to impress the girls on there. This was 1995; a few years before the era of Sky One’s Nobheads Uncovered and such like programmes, so when a cockney in a bloodied polo shirt approached asking us to help him our radar didn’t instantly signal danger. Instead we started speaking to him, and that’s when I saw the police car approach us. As it turned out, they let us go after making us sweat for an hour, although I never did find out what happened to the fella who caused our arrest. So Danny, if you’re reading this I hope you got deported you scruffy ming.
After this trauma, the first night couldn’t come soon enough for me; the days were just a diversion as far as I was concerned. There were only so many times you could read about Andrei Kanchelskis’ on-off move to Everton, or singularly fail to impress any girls with our attempts to show off in the pool.
BCM, was, and probably still is, the main club in Magalluf and we’d been tipped off that this was the place to go by the older lads who’d been the year before. They’d painted it as a hedonistic dance palace, chocker with girls who we’re “well up for it” according to one of them. Having made the concession of not going to Ibiza, I envisaged that we’d been living it up in BCM most nights, especially as it had some big(ish) name DJs on (Alex P and Brandon Block among others). However, the other lads had different ideas for the first night and, unbeknown to me and Clive, had signed us up for a visit to Pirates, “Europe’s Number One Pirate Show” in the face of some stiff competition no doubt.
The sketch was pretty straightforward; fill the place with lads and girls, give them loads of free sangria and cheap food, and they won’t notice/care how shit the entertainment is. Organised fun was, and always will be, my idea of hell and I still cringe at being forced to have my photo taken, wearing a supplied eye-patch and bandana, with a pirate. Unsurprisingly I passed on the opportunity to purchase said photo, although this was as much due to the horrendous clobber I had donned that evening, incredibly baggy Ciao off-white kecks and a striped French Connection granddad shirt, as to the bandana on my head.
I couldn’t get out of Pirates fast enough, with the “entertainment” predictably below par and frankly most un-pirate. I don’t recall ever reading about Long John Silver asking girls to go and get a pair of boxer shorts off a lad in the audience. What made it even worse was that Don and Clive had got chatting to some horrors from Widnes and had arranged to meet them the next night. The fatty of the group had already chanced her arm with all of us, labelling me as miserable after I refused to dance with her. I remember her asking Clive, “What’s up with your mate, why doesn’t he like me?” I could’ve spent the remaining days of my holiday giving her the many reasons for my dislike, a dislike that only intensified when she spilt sangria all over my trousers.
Much to my disgust the Widnes girls actually turned up to meet us the following night, and despite their best efforts to glam up they still looked rough as fuck. After trawling round a succession of fun pubs, we finally made our way to BCM-Dance Planet. This is where the holiday starts I thought as I entered the throbbing main room. And what a disappointment it was. Far from being some Balearic palace filled with the beautiful people it was a massive aircraft hanger filled with pissed Brits. Where the fuck was the swimming pool and the palm trees? Worse still was the sound track, a procession of bog standard chart dance; Strikes’s “U Sure Do”, Bobby Brown “Two Can Play That Game” and The Orginal “I Luv You Baby.”
I thought it would get better when that nights star DJ came on, Graham Gold. But if anything it got worse. I can’t recall any of the records he played, but I do recall him getting on the mic at the start of his set and shouting “Oi, oi Magaluf”. This in turn resulted in the crowd, no doubt assuming this was what proper clubbers did, doing that incredibly annoying “ooo, ooo” chant that you always used to hear whenever Radio One did an “Essential Mix Live” from the Que Club. It was shit, and made no better by my complete lack of success in talking to any girls, never mind pulling any. Indeed none of us set the world alight in the pulling stakes on the holiday, although Rod did claim he’d snogged Donna Air, possibly in her post Byker Grove pre-Crush era, but I doubted it given his propensity for tall tales.*
After the crushing realisation that Magaluf was nothing like Ibiza, despite their close proximity, I spent the rest of the holiday in a succession of shit discothčques and fun pubs, venturing back to BCMs on a few occasions to see if it had got any better, it hadn’t. The end couldn’t come soon enough for me, and I vowed never to return to Magaluf and that my next holiday away with the lads would be in Ibiza. As it turned out my next lads’ holiday, with a completely different set of lads, was to Lloret de Mar, a holiday so shit that it made Magaluf 95 look like Rampling, Holloway and Oakenfold’s seminal Ibiza jaunt in 87. Eventually I did make it to Ibiza, and I’m off there again in a few days. If I get a free night I might take the ferry over to Majorca and check out BCM, according to their website they’ve got a Pirates after-show party. “Oi, Oi”.
*He once claimed there were two hard brothers in Neston who used to carry a snake round in a bag to threaten anyone who got out of line. A tale that is quite blatantly made-up on a number of levels.
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