Milo Wakelin / Screen
Milo Wakelin has his Ibiza virginity taken away. Lovingly and willingly.
In the Ibiza Rocks Hotel, over an Xbox, at an MTV pool party, on a nude beach...
Having cursed the world with the Comic Sans typeface and that bloody talking paperclip, Microsoft have finally started to use their power for good rather than evil. Windows 7 doesn't suck, Bill Gates is giving his fortune away to charity, and - in what could be their most humane move to date - they agreed to take me to Ibiza to experience Kinect, a new add-on for Xbox 360.
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There's a catch, of course - but as it involves playing videogames, and I am a colossal nerd in desperate need of a suntan - I was more than willing to bite down on that particular bullet. Having never been to Ibiza, I was excited by the prospect of lounging in the sun, the glamour of the MTV pool party, and the sunburnt frenzy of the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. If you are an Ibiza virgin, it’s a sun-kissed Mediterranean island with a rich history dating back to the first millennia BC. Amidst its rocky, pine-covered promontories lies the historic Ibiza Town, built around a walled city whose mighty ramparts were constructed to repel the Assyrians, the Romans, the North Africans, and, more recently, the legions of English chavs who descent on the place every summer like a hot rash. Fortunately, our luxurious holiday villa (it was really, really nice) was placed far away from the maddening throng, set into a secluded hillside where the only people making a noise... were us (it seems the city walls were also built to defend from freeloading journos).
Despite the idyllic setting, I soon discovered that our villa had more than a little in common with the Big Brother house: as well as having unlimited alcohol and showers in full view of open windows, our every move was being watched. But rather than being spied on by the lidless eye of Davina Macall, we were under the (only slightly less human) gaze of two Kinect-equipped Xboxes. Suffice it to say that Kinect is a kind of webcam which uses infrared beams and dark magic to track your movements without the need for a controller, and it'll probably do for dance games what Simon Cowell once did to Joe McElderry. As I strolled between the pool and the lounge, the devices responded to my presence, emitting cooing electronic noises as if to beckon me hither. This is a better response than I get from walking by actual humans, so I decided to give it a try. An hour or so later, I had a stitch, both feet were hurting, and I had either cracked a rib or pulled a strange new muscle under my right arm that definitely wasn't there last time I looked. I decided to drown my shame in the pool, and get ready for the MTV party.
Since the advent of YouTube, nobody actually watches MTV anymore, but being at pool party felt just like what I'd imagine watching MTV would be like, if such a thing were ever to happen. You could spot the presenters a mile off, because they were the most attractive people there (and they all had microphones, which meant they probably had nicer voices too). Ash Stymest was particularly striking, partly due to his disconcertingly boyish good looks, which reminded me of those police reconstructions of what 8 year old abductees will look like when they are teenagers, and also because his stripey vest made him look like Where's Wally's cuter younger brother, but mainly because he was the only person on the island who had paler skin than me. A close second was the lovely, moon-faced Laura Whitmore, who had poured herself into a little black and white number, and looked every bit like a bombshell primed to go off in a big explosion of shapely Irish tits. Also present were Ricky Haywood Williams and sidekick Melvin O'Doom, who I took to be one of Victor Von Doom's distant relatives (via Luton, rather than Latveria). As befits an MTV event, they had a dance game set up in one of the rooms. It was called Dance Central, and you are supposed to follow the movements of a group of on-screen dancers. Kinect can tell if you are doing the movements correctly, and will score you accordingly. This time, they had a troupe of professional dancers flaunting their stuff. I didn't see their score, but they didn't look at all sweaty, and none of them limped afterwards, so I took it that they probably performed better than I did. Growing embittered, I remembered the old Emo Philips joke: "A computer beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing...". But then I found I wasn't alone - more than one girl revealed to me that due to a combination on intoxication and poor co-ordination, they had fallen, quite literally, arse over tits, and had the bruise to prove it. And now I have the photos to prove it, too.
After a good night's sleep, the next day we headed out to Es Cavallet, one of Ibiza's nude beaches. I couldn't think of a polite way of applying sunblock to my genitals without it looking like a grossly indecent act of self-interference, so I decided to keep my shorts on. Others around us were less demure, and their leathery, sun-mottled appendages swung loosely, like dried kippers in a shop window. I had already eaten breakfast, and sand gets absolutely everywhere, so I was happy to stick to my beach towel while people cavorted in the dunes behind us. The evening's big event was a gig at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. Nicknamed 'ground zero' by the locals, it's essentially a big concrete pit filled with lights, beer, sunburns, tattoos and music. Tinie Tempah was performing, and he was a perfect gentleman, but the nearest the place had to cocktails was a Red Bull-style energy drink mixed with what tasted like lighter fluid, so we made a swift exit. The precise details of the rest of the night escape me, though I gather that not all the rhythmic movement in the villa was related to Dance Central. I'll be writing up my full impressions of Kinect for GT, but my first experience of its all-seeing eye was not as sinister as I had first feared.
George Orwell's 1984 described a world in which the citizenry were exhorted to perform physical exercise under the watchful gaze of their television. Orwell saw that as a bad thing, but what he failed to realise - but Lady Gaga, in his wisdom, has always understood - is that people will do almost anything if it's in time with a catchy beat. And, in a way, that's what Ibiza is all about.
(Milo, pictured right, with the lovely Jen from Heat magazine. Awww.)