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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

I've been thinking of writing my life story and wondered if anyone could tell me what I was doing in Ibiza about a decade ago.

I can remember some of it, of course.

Like when Gary won a photographic competition ON THE RADIO.

It was - how could the listeners ever forget this - a picture of a pig looking out through a hole in a door. A rickety, falling-apart sort of old door it was, all patched up with what looked like driftwood. The sort of door only a pig could love, really.

Part of the pleasure of looking at the picture was that you didn't notice the snug, smug animal immediately. First, your eyes had to travel downwards wondering why this tumbledown timber was entitled "Home".

But then you realised: Gary had captured the pig in higgledy-piggledom, snuffling away at the bottom of the photograph. It was all snout and beady eyes.

Nowadays I suppose you'd win a European prize for a photographic record of a pig being shot or even a shot of a bonfire of the piggeries.

Or perhaps one of the looks of distaste on the faces of the tourists as they arrive at the airport to be greeted by the sickly stench of disinfectant.

It would be awful if foot and mouth disease got to Ibiza because our football-and-mouth holidaymakers took it over on their flash Nikes. But I have no doubt it will and there will be no Matanzas next year. In fact, the Irish government has already said we are the lepers of Europe.

On the other trotter, apparently you will still be able to eat the sobrasada sausages made from a diseased pig on those glorious Sunday mornings in the Winter when entire neighbourhoods of Ibicenco families gather to make enough of them to last all year. They are stuffed with minced pork and local salt and glowing with paprika.

And that's only the sausage.

I've tried bringing them home, but they don't taste the same.

It's like those weirdly shaped bottles of local hooch you get for next to nothing at the airport when you are trying to spend your funny money before heading home.

Somehow the glamour has gone when you open them to liven the rain drenched barbecue back home.

Going on holiday is always more exciting than coming back, of course. But the absinthe doesn't make the heart grow fonder.

I wonder if Gary's pig got eaten back then. I'd like to think it became butifarra, the more elegant sausage with cinnamon and fennel as well as black pepper in the mix. Funny, I never thought about that before. I might have eaten the most famous pig on the radio.

But I don't suppose I would have been able to remember that either.


Sinclair Newton