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Formentera Beach

Ibiza – The Beaches

Ibiza’s sandy beaches are crowded and far between. The best ones are on the nearby island of Formentera, an expensive day-trip if you take the car and don’t have a Balearic resident’s permit. But we go for it, with the well-used argument, “When are we going to be here next?”

And the trip is worthwhile if you can bear the sight of pale, naked north European males lolling around a lot – though less evidently than the last time I was here (25 years ago) when I seem to remember them popping up regularly from behind the sand-dunes like guilty meerkats.

On Formentera we spend most of our time on Arenals beach (which I note with satisfaction is an anagram of Arsenal and seems to be sporting almost as many male tattoos as the Emirates stadium on a hot September Saturday). We have a great sandwich from the beachside café and get to swim in a real turquoise sea. (Who says the Med is irreparably polluted? I think we should congratulate ourselves occasionally on having kept so much of it as delicious as this is.)

I throw myself indecorously in and out of the water only to have my fun tempered by my wife who, as I emerge on one occasion, pats my (slightly distended) belly and says, “Either you wear a T-shirt or we’re going to a health farm”. So that’s it then? Another trip!

I have to say that I don’t understand the DJ phenomenon, which is so big in Ibiza. Someone I have never heard of (in this case a man called David Guetta) is managing to persuade queues of gorgeous young girls (and Ibiza, believe me, has plenty of them) to listen to him every Thursday at the club called Pacha – and he doesn’t even sing or play an instrument. In my day you had groupies who followed so-called singers from Scunthorpe to Southend. But nobody craved my company when I played scratched Brenda Lee vinyls on granny’s old HMV record player.

In a later, more global era, I did myself briefly follow the truly great Leonard Cohen from the HP Centre in San Jose (which I had briefly imagined to be sponsored by the world-beating manufacturer of brown sauce) back to London and on to Istanbul. I have to confess I was also chasing Leonard’s British backing group – “the divine Webb Sisters”, as the maestro himself described them, who still send shivers down my coccyx every time they whisper, “If It Be Your Will”.

My wife once almost got to join a bunch of awfully nice elderly ladies (who had followed Leonard halfway round the globe) for ‘drinks’ in his hotel after his show.

Anyway back to David Guetta who is “world-renowned” for his “Fxxx Me I’m Famous” occasions. A collection of extraordinarily long-legged women were handing out FMIF clutch bags at a restaurant (called Sushipoint) in the Botafoch marina in Ibiza town where we found ourselves one evening. (Yes, that really is its name – and if you’re one of David Guetta’s network I imagine you refer to it as the better fxxx marina.)

I’m not a great fan of sushi – don’t like fermented rice; don’t like wasabi/horseradish (or whatever the accompanying green stuff is called) – and I don’t like the fact that adding them to raw fish is an excuse to double the price. So an overpriced sushi restaurant owned by Argentinians on a Spanish island appealing to yachty types who think Japanese culture is cool (despite it being based on a thousand years of misogyny) presses a lot of wrong buttons for me. Sushi-What’s-the-Point would have been my name for the place.

However, my literary instincts come rushing to the fore when first I see FMIF in bright lights. “Just like ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’” I think to myself, the famous phrase that showed how commas still matter. Whereas ‘Fxxx Me, I’m Famous’ is, I realise, a cry of surprise; ‘Fxxx Me I’m Famous’ (without a comma) is a request bordering on a command. But I don’t suppose many of the young girls on Louboutin stilts outside Pacha see their options in quite that way.

(Incidentally, I was eventually persuaded at gunpoint to hand over my gorgeously glittery black-and-white FMIF clutch bag to my daughter!)