Rules for life from Tony Pike: 8 reasons why the Ibiza icon was also a self-help hero
I’m not sure whether to feel touched or a bit worried about the number of people who have messaged me to express condolences about the passing of notorious party man Tony Pike this week.
The infamous host and hotelier died in Ibiza yesterday, aged 84, and while it is of course sad that he has gone, I think it’s also a time to celebrate a life truly lived and enjoyed to the absolute max.
The Guardian called Tony a “ringmaster for 30 years of celebrity debauchery”. And whether you are on board with his hedonistic lifestyle choices or not, we can all learn a lot from the full and fabulous life of playboy Tony Pike.
I didn’t actually know Tony that well, having met him just a handful of times (usually at the bar, and definitely the only time I have been happy about being chatted up by a pensioner) but he sure had an impact on me.
Like many of my friends of a certain age I have spent lots of happy and life-affirming moments at Pikes, the hotel near San Antonio in Ibiza that Tony built in the late 1970s; dancing under the sun/stars/sun again, getting lost in Freddie’s (now a disco, once the favourite room of Queen front man Freddie Mercury), listening - eyes watering - to the behind-the-scenes stories of rock and roll debauchery, trying to compete with them by drinking dry the mini bar of every room at an Ibiza Rocks after-party, as well as directing fashion shoots in the OTT tropical gardens, and most recently celebrating my 40th birthday there with a wild and wonderful weekend and a gang of sequin-covered friends.
Wild and wonderful are probably also two good words to describe Tony Pike, who will be remembered mostly for his wayward, party-loving lifestyle and general joie de vivre. But, having read his biography (Mr Pikes, The Story Behind The Ibiza Legend), heard his stories, spent many summers in Ibiza and at Pikes, and watching the wave of tributes pour in for him from people of all generations, I think that this larger-than-life, always smiling character could actually have also been a self-help guru in disguise...
RULES FOR LIFE INSPIRED BY TONY PIKE
don’T DIM YOUR LIGHT:
Postive energy is infectious. And so are negative vibes. You always have a choice as to how you show up in life, as well as a responsibility not to dim your light just to prevent upsetting or intimidating people not ready to see their own. Live large, shine bright, inspire others to do the same. Tony showed up to everything in life as if it was a party. And the result? It usually was.
Life is short. We know this. So why do so many of us spend our time coasting, or grinding in jobs we hate? Tony was a man of action, trying out lots of different countries, cities, careers, wives (!) If you don’t like something, change it. No-one else will do this for you.
LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN:
Can you imagine Tony Pike working 9-5 in a job he couldn’t stand? Nope. Because he didn’t. He designed a life doing what he loved. Working hard sometimes (according to his biography he basically built Pikes with his bare hands) but also knowing how to enjoy the fruits of his labour. And he shared that joy with everyone he could. Tony understood that we are built for connection. So find your tribe, love them hard. Pray that one of them has access to a villa in Ibiza.
4. DREAM BIG:
Don’t be afraid to make grand plans; young Tony decided he wanted to sail around the world way before he had any money (or skill!) to do it….
5. …BUT NEVER BE TIED TO PLANS:
Pikes started as a dilapidated hacienda on a hill in the middle of nowhere, a place for Tony to live simply in the sun and entertain friends. It was still only half built when the manager of a young band called Wham wandered in and enquired about shooting a music video. Then Club Tropicana happened and the rest is history.
6. STAY INTERESTED, AND INTERESTING:
Getting older doesn’t mean we should stop learning or doing or trying. We might not want to be propping up the bar as an octogenarian, but surrounding ourselves with new and exciting and dynamic people (in Tony’s case DJs, producers, musicians, singers, and definitely models) is the best way to stay ‘alive’ in the fullest sense. A dapper wardrobe helps, too.
7. ALWAYS BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Being authentic and dancing to our own tune can be tough in a society designed to help us fit in, but the rewards are immense. Tony Pike was a man who liked to live life on his own terms. In this month’s Shelf Help Book of the Month author Brene Brown talks about how we hustle for worthiness, rather than claiming it. She says: “If the goal is authenticity and they don’t like me, I’m okay. If the goal is being liked and they don’t like me, I’m in trouble.”
8. ENJOY THE RIDE
If we’re lucky, many of us will be celebrating our 80th birthdays in the sunshine. But what’s the point in getting there if we haven’t squeezed everything we can out of life on the way? You don’t need to be a party animal like Tony to live life to the full. But you can be inspired by him to decide on your version of your best self and a great life, and get busy saying no to anything that isn’t that.