I fell in love with clubbing long before I was old enough to set foot in one. Well, legally anyway.
At fifteen, I papered my bedroom walls, door and even the ceiling with flyers for raves and club nights, signing up to the Flying Squad mailing list to have all the latest party invites posted to me. I would eagerly await their arrival, marveling at the trippy graphic designs and poring over the intriguing details of all the upcoming raves in fields, manor houses and other off-limit locations.
Okay, so I wasn't allowed to actually go to any, but it didn't stop me listening to the pirate radio stations on my old stacking stereo system, making my own mixtapes and plotting my escape to run off and join the circus of parties.
I started hand-drawing my own designs for flyers as I lay on my bed listening to tinny happy hardcore, before progressing to painting a giant mural of a psychedelic face on my bedroom wall - lashing paint over the chintzy Laura Ashley wallpaper underneath, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering parents.
It was around this time that I first became aware of a magical little island in the Mediterranean Sea that was set to become an important feature in my early adult life and beyond: Ibiza.
Ibiza (pronounced eye-beef-ahh in my downmarket teen dialect) popped up regularly in the various dance music magazines that I had started buying, such as DJ and Mixmag, and I became focused on the idea of jetting off, sans parents, for a party-packed package holiday with my fellow female schoolmates to this mystical floating clubber's paradise.
One evening, I recorded a TV show called The Rough Guide To Ibiza, hosted by the glamorous Magenta Devine and that was it, I was officially obsessed. I'd sit there in my school uniform, gazing transfixed at the screen as beautiful exotic dancers clad in feather headdresses, towering heels and jewel-encrusted bras paraded through the streets of Ibiza Town, promoting the night's festivities ahead of their later stints in the club, where they'd be gyrating to pumping house music on the stage at Pacha. I'd rewind the VHS and replay that TV show ad infinitum, or until my Dad came in and commandeered the remote so he could switch over to the footy.
To my absolute amazement, in 1993, not only did my parents agree to allow me to go on a two-week jaunt to Ibiza on a Club 18-30's holiday, but so did the parents of my fellow 17-year-old besties....all eleven of them.
Our naive Olds were obviously under the illusion that since we were all intelligent, well-behaved and well-performing grammar school pupils we'd be more than capable of taking care of ourselves. Well, we may have breezed through our Eleven-Plus exams, but we hadn't all got full marks in that most important of life lessons....common sense. Some of us may have even bunked that particular class.
Imagine a room full of hyped-up puppies bounding around, tails wagging furiously, multiply that ten-thousand-fold, and you still won't come close to conjuring up the excitement we all felt as the cheap early-morning red-eye flight filled up with fellow teens and twenty-somethings. As we soared skywards, everyone on the plane was chain-smoking and guzzling alcopops (pilot and crew probably included) despite the early hour. Why? Well, because we could, of course. Duh!
There were no smoking bans in those days, even on tube trains or aeroplanes, so we flipped open our little armrest ashtrays and puffed away. It was an airborne party from take-off.
Rip-off baggage charges had yet to be dreamt up by the money-grabbing airline fatcats, so our suitcases were jam-packed with every item from our wardrobes (I remember opening the doors and just scooping the whole contents out and into the case), along with a ton of make-up, beauty products and about ten pairs of shoes.
My beloved 'ghetto blaster' - a giant black plastic monstrosity - and a selection of my favourite cassettes were also vital items of luggage, the stand-out tunes of the summer being Mother's 'All Funked Up', Nightcrawlers 'Push The Feeling On,' Aftershock's 'Slave To The Vibe' and 'Give It Up' by The Goodmen: