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THE ELECTRONIC LIVEIBIZA

Weekly Edition 043: Saturday 22th December 2001

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Commentary
by Gary Hardy

 
Merry Christmas 2001
 

Christmas on Ibiza for me has always been a quiet affair and itís definitely not a commercial event. In fact the only Christmas tree I can vividly remember here on the island was during the middle 1980s.

I went along with three of my dear Ibicenco friends to celebrate midnight mass at the Cathedral in Ibiza and on the way walking up to the Dalt Vila we called at a bar in the old part of the town for a quickie before going to attend the service.

Spain at the time was ready to do away with the 100 peseta bank note and bring in the coin to replace it. In this bar there was a huge Christmas tree and the only decoration hanging on the tree was hundreds of 100 peseta bank notes.

Thereís no nervous shopping day count down here to Christmas Day. Even on Christmas Eve night you can casually wander into your local butchers (as I normally do) to buy a turkey, leg of lamb or whatever takes your fancy without having to queue for an eternity or end up getting trampled to death in a stampede.

Kirk W Huffman our Anthropological View columnist left the island with his wife on Wednesday and they have headed for the scrumpy county of Somerset in the UK to spend their Yule-tide with Kirkís mother, his sister and two brothers to enjoy a families affair together.

Louise Wright our Local News journalist left the island today with her parents and they set off on a driving holiday travelling somewhere around the mainland.

Emily Kaufman our History of Ibiza contributor departs from the island with her family on Monday and they are going to spend what will surly be a wonderful culture week together in the Spanís magnificent capital city of Madrid.

Sinclair Newton our Sober Life columnist is at his home in the Greater Manchester area of the UK where he will still carry on to contribute and write his weekly column.

Josť P Ribas our Island Ecology correspondent and myself will remain here on the island throughout the festive season and probably we will never have a further cause to leave this haven ever again throughout our lives.

Therefore, Josť, Sinclair and myself will do what we can to entertain our readers until the other three member of our editorial staff return, hopefully, fully refreshed sometime early in the New Year.

Ultimate: I imagine Her Majesty the Queen has received the best Christmas present that anybody could possibly be given. This week Britainís greatest living figurative painter, Lucian Freud, played Father Christmas and gave her a portrait painting as a present. 

I remember reading a newspaper article at the beginning of 1999 when for six years previously the delicate negotiations between the Queenís most trusted confidant and controversial artist failed to reach a compromise. But finally, they came to fruition. Lucian Freud, renowned for both his penetrating portraits and his prickly temperament, had provisionally consented to paint Her Majesty.

There was, however, one proviso. The 76-year-old artist at the time, whose often unflattering portraits have led to him being hailed as the worldís greatest living realism painter, insisted that the Queen must travel to his west London studio in Notting Hill for her sittings.

The artist, who prefers to paint in artificial light between 2am and 4am, apparently requested that the Queen endure no less than 72 sittings.


Lucian Freud's portrait of the Queen

 
Gary Hardy
garyhardy@liveibiza.com
 

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