I was making my way home from an after-party near KM5 one Monday afternoon. Driving through the rainy Ibiza countryside, all I could think of was crawling into the unwashed sandy sheets of my rigid, single bed in my messy workers’ flat, which hadn’t stopped reeking since our fridge decided to give up and die.
So, when my phone began to ring I was ambivalent about whether or not to even answer.
Paulette: Hello there, hope you didn’t get into any trouble after I left last night.
Me: Me? Trouble? I don’t know what you’re talking about!
I went onto explain the debauched events that’d followed her departure from the previous night. Paulette (DJ Paulette), an extraordinarily talented DJ, had become a close confidante of mine in the previous weeks.
Paulette: Well, I hope you’re not feeling too rough – I have a plus one to the DJ Awards tonight, and I was wondering if you’d like to come.
“Duh” seemed like the reflex response, but I accepted the invitation gracefully.
I was so excited to have been invited. It quickly became clear that I was going to need to sort my head out and in record time. I jumped in the shower and closed my eyes for an hour. It just about made me feel ready to face the public.
I didn’t know what to expect from the awards and had been sent no dress code. So, I grabbed my cleanest shirt. A large white shirt.
I ran my flatmate’s straighteners down the buttonholes of the shirt, a trick I’ve learnt to give the illusion of being ironed when there’s no iron present. I finished the look with navy paisley trousers and the only shoes that’d lasted to that point in the season.
I ran to get the bus. The event was being held at Pacha and I was meeting Paulette at 10pm.
The DJ Awards is basically a big networking event for Ibiza’s finest writers, photographers, promoters, producers and, most importantly, DJs to meet and celebrate their shared brilliance.
Paulette and I arrived to collect our passes and there was a significant crowd swarming outside Pacha. It wasn’t exactly the Grammys, but I was still bursting with excitement.
As we made our way through to the reception after passing through the press/photo area, I clocked free canapés. That and the sound of a flowing open bar was music to my ears that even the most enchanting house beats couldn’t drown out.
I’d been to Pacha maybe 20 times, but I’d never seen it like this. It was full of industry people mingling, eating and drinking, when usually it would be full of sweaty people raving and gurning.
Paulette and I established ourselves in the crowd with our second free drink. We decided we were within reasonable distance of the main area with the highest concentration of people holding trays of food to our left and superstar DJ MK to our right.
“I clocked free canapés. That and the sound of a flowing open bar was music to my ears that even the most enchanting house beats couldn’t drown out.”
The food had started as cold canapés: goat’s cheese on an oat biscuit with a sweet jam, the delicately salty taste of beef carpaccio on toast, not to mention a slight overuse of anchovies.
As the room began to fill, the food jumped up a notch. Warm potato croquettes, skewers and tarts began to make their way through the crowd on big silver trays. As I chased a woman 15 feet across the room in hot pursuit of a pig in a blanket, it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember the last proper meal I’d eaten.
As with any televised awards show there was a lot of build-up and a lot of standing around which led up to the start of the show. Paulette and I mingled and schmoozed among other writers and DJs at the event. She’d obviously been to a lot more of these events than me. I froze up a little but tried to act like I belonged.
Once all the biggest names in dance music were in the building, the show kicked off. The event was aptly given the theme of love following what’d seemed to me like a summer full of love.
The hosts were media director Des Paul and radio DJ Lucy Horobin. I stood there applauding each DJ in turn. It became apparent that the outfit of black t-shirt and black jeans had been agreed on between the DJs – I guess I didn’t get the memo.
Obviously, as in any awards ceremony there were a few pre-recorded acceptance speeches. The hottest duo on the scene, Disclosure, who won Best Electronic Live Act sent a video of appreciation, as did Hardwell for his electro house victory. The reigning king of trance Armin van Buuren held onto his crown for another year but sadly wasn’t present for the awards.
The cracks in my façade were beginning to show. My legs were growing heavier and the free glasses of wine were starting to put up a bit more of a fight on their way down. I wiggled my feet around inside my shoes to try and keep them awake. I was exhausted but still buzzing off the excitement.
The biggest and most exciting surprise was that Carl Cox had made a very special effort to be there. Carl Cox has been on the scene for longer than I’ve been alive. Cox is very much an ambassador of acid house and techno, so for him to attend and collect his awards in person really made an impact. He walked away with both Best Techno and Best International DJ awards.
Also in attendance was Deep House award winner and personal favourite Jamie Jones and the Tech House award winner Luciano. Both of them had been playing incredible nights at Cocoon and Paradise over the summer, attracting thousands of workers and holiday makers, myself included.
Next thing I knew Paulette and I were in the DJ booth dancing and watching disco/house DJ The Magician enchant the now fast filling after-party with his hypnotic remix of Clean Bandit’s Rather Be.
As much as it pained me, I was forced to turn down a free glass of champagne in the DJ booth because I thought the bubbles might push me over the edge. I was beginning to feel dizzy. My dancing was becoming more like fidgeting and my yawns were getting harder to mask.
Even though it’d been an amazing night I had to admit defeat and send myself home.
And of course it wouldn’t have been a complete night without a nap on the disco bus on the way home.
Head to the DJ Awards website to look at videos and photos from the event.
Photo courtesy of Sebastien Camelot via Flickr