Where are you going on holiday this summer? Oh, that does sound nice. Yes, I've heard Estonia is lovely at that time of year. Fantastic news! Me, you ask? Well, no, the funny thing is….well, I'm not actually going anywhere. I know, I know, as a deeply embedded part of the dance music journalism fraternity I should by rights should be hopping between islands with reckless abandon. I should be barbecuing king prawns with Seth in the morning, jet-skiing with the Martinez Brothers after lunch, and clinking glasses with Jackmaster all night long, the pair of us pink-eyed and steaming, trying to outdo the other's Francis Urquhart impression. But I'm not. And I won't be.
I won't be cooing at sunsets. I won't be whooping with delight at DC10. I won't be giggling away with the entourage when Eats Everything pretends to fuck an inflatable crocodile. There will be no Snapchats of me trying to eat a Whopper at Ibiza airport despite the fact my jaw was last seen in the toilets at Amnesia. You won't get a postcard from Pikes. And you know what? I don't care.
I don't need to go to Ibiza. I don't need to feel sand under my toes or sweat on my lips. Why—you're probably, hopefully asking—don't you need to board the next easyJet in preparation for a naughty summer of endless debauchery and selfies from behind the booth at Sankeys? The answer is simple: there is literally no need to go to Ibiza now that I've listened to Clubbed Up!: Music From The TV Series Club Reps.
The day Clubbed Up sashayed into my dismal little life, I did something rash: I tore up my passport, safe in the knowledge that I'd no longer need it because there were no more worlds to conquer. Obviously I immediately regretted my decision remembering that I'd provisionally agreed to visit Amsterdam for a friend's stag do next year, so rung the Passport office and sorted out a replacement within minutes.
Before anyone says anything—yes I know that Club Reps wasn't actually set in Ibiza and has practically nothing to do with the island. I know that it was shot in Faliraki but I've never been to Faliraki so to make Club Reps relatable I've had to transpose it somewhere I have been, namely Ibiza. So it's for that reason that the discovery of Clubbed Up! : Music From The TV Series Club Reps freed me from having the visit the place this year even though I probably should as there surely can't be anything more vital in club culture than watching Disclosure DJ at an enormous venue while hemorrhaging cash and chatting about the implications of Brexiting to a group of systems analysts from Anerley in the smoking area.
Knowing that I wasn't going to have to try and sleep on a stiff camp bed, woken by the sounds of lads bragging to themselves about their own sexual prowess, at any point this summer, I tried to replicate the Ibizan experience in my own home. I poured a tenner down the train every time I turned a tap on. I flayed my entire body with one of those little flamethrowers that chefs use to crisp up creme brulees. And then I nestled my head inside a speaker and put Clubbed Up on.
Clubbed Up—which you can purchase for a very reasonable £2.75 on Discogs—contains "40 anthems for the 2002 Club 18-30 experience" which is the exact kind of bold proclamation that endears me to cultural objects. In the age of fake news, clarity is more important than ever, you see, and Clubbed Up's ethos couldn't be clearer if it came in an Evian bottle and cost eight euros. Water, if you didn't know, costs a lot of money in Ibiza's famous nightclubs. All it wants to do is make you feel like you've just drunk seventeen Twisted Testicles outside a Welsh bar on the San Antonio strip, and boy does it succeed.
Music doesn't exist in a vacuum. It is continuously reworked and reshaped and reformed by time, place, and people. It is nothing without context. Dance music, in particular, expemplifies the sheer importance of this. Listening to a record on earbuds at your desk is a world away from hearing it rattle through the speakers in a club on a Saturday night, which is probably why most dance related artist albums are about as enjoyable as shaving with sandpaper. You need the lights, the heat, the throb of a massed swarm of bodies mingling and moving incessantly. Or at least that's what I used to think. Then I heard Clubbed Up.
"Fuck context" I screamed to no one in particular. "Context is dead," I claimed. "Who says you have to be in a nightclub to enjoy timeless classics like "Clear Blue Water (Ferry Corsten Radio Edit) " by Oceanlab or "Sexbomb (Peppermint Disco Radio Mix) " by Tom Jones and Mousse T," I continued, beating my chest furiously, practically covering the mirror with spittle.
For days I holed myself up at home, doing nothing but eating big bags of ready salted crisps, drinking cans of San Miguel, and listening to Clubbed Up . Every song took on massive personal significance. I wept tears of joy to "The Music's No Good Without You (Warren Clarke Club Mix) " by Cher. I screamed every time the Junkfod Junkies remix of "Bring It On Down" by Headz Up hovered into view. I once found myself convinced I'd found God inside Sono's Keep "Control (Hydrogen Rockers Vocal) ".
I didn't need to go to Ibiza any more. I had brought Ibiza to me. You can do the same for just £2.75.