After a year back in Dublin working and dreaming of getting back to Greece, I finally saved up enough money to get my flight back and some spending money. The word had spread around our neighborhood about the crazy times a few of us had the year before so a few others guys and girls decided to join us. We arrived back on the Island of Ios in June 1995. This time, we flew directly to London and got a connecting flight from Heathrow Airport to Athens Greece. It was still a bit of a journey, but nothing like the year before and of course we had saved some cash going through London.
On this second trip to Greece, I went with a complete lunatic from my neighborhood, Liam Scully. His nick name was "The Liamo." He was infamous around our area. He was nuts, a bit older than most of my friends and one of his arms was paralyzed from a drunken motor bike accident, but he could still roll a joint with one hand. I always had a great laugh with him and there was no better man for a session. I gotta respect him. He didn't give two shits what anyone thought about him. He'd argue with his own shadow. If you got on well with him, he was cool, but if you didn't, things got real awkward. He drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney. I remember meeting other guys who used to act all macho saying that they hadn't stopped drinking since they got to Greece. He used to say, "I haven't stopped drinking since the world cup," he'd pause for a second and then specify "1990" and he meant it. He'd start the day off with about 3-4 one liter bottles of Merry Down cider, a bottle of wine or two and then move on to a bottle of cheap Greek vodka, sometimes two. The Liamo could drink. He was also a pool shark and used to swindle people regularly. The more he drank, the better he got.
I used to have to break up arguments all the time with "The Liamo" and whomever he didn't get on with, which was quite a lot of people.
I think I learnt a lot about people skills from my many encounters with people who had got in arguments with Liamo. One thing that really stuck with me was, never talk politics or religion when travelling. Something my friend never stopped talking about, I saw so many arguments start over that.
The word around Ios was that all the locals were all trying to rip you off, which I gotta admit was pretty true, but not everyone was out to rob you. So you had to be super careful doing any dealings with the locals and anyone else for that matter.
I had heard about a really cool 5 bed house on the Island for rent. It was half way between the town and beach. It was perfect. It was a palace compared to most of the rooms that the locals were renting. Everyone kept saying the guy who owns it was dodgy and to stay away from him. I took a look at the house and thought we gotta have it. It was perfect for a group of Irish guys and some crazy English girls we had met on the party scene. So a friend of ours got us in contact with Yannis "the owner." I heard he was a bit of a drinker so I brought him a bottle of Metaxa, Greek Brandy. It turned out that he could speak perfect English and was super cool and had studied architecture in England and had spent some time in Ireland and really liked the Irish. He just had so many bad experiences in the past with others renting his house, that he was very hesitant to rent to anyone. I ended up spending half the day with him drinking the Metaxa and getting to know him. In the end, we got the lease on the house, which turned out amazing. One thing I learnt from that was always go into a business meeting with an open mind and look for the best in people, don't be so quick to judge anyone.
I ended up getting a promoter job with "The Liamo" for a club called "Disco 69." We used to get three thousand Greek Dramacka (no Euro's back then) a night and as much drink as we wanted. We'd work from approx 9pm till about 2am and then go to a rave called the Sound Factory and meet up with all the other workers there who had also just finished work. This place was bananas. It closed around 7am and then we'd regularly have parties back at our house. People used to dance on the roof, dance on the balcony, dance all over the house, it was mental! I l loved it. Some people used to stay up all night and then head straight to the beach from our house. We'd often find people asleep on our roof in the middle of the day, who had fallen asleep drunk with no sun block on and would wake up hungover with major sunburn. Our house was pretty well known around the Island.
Work at Disco 69 was perfect. It paid our rent, food and a small bit left over for whatever else we wanted. Our job was to stand at the door and hustle people into the club. Entrance was 500 drackma which entitled you to one free drink. We used to shut the curtains and have the DJ turn the music up full blast, some cheesy top 40 stuff. We'd tell guys that there was a few sexy drunk women inside. The owners used to employ a few crazy girls we knew to look sexy, get drunk and flirt with customers so by the time the first people had come in and drank half their super strong cheap cocktails we'd hustle a few more folks in. The place used to get packed out and we'd take turns leaving the door and having drinks in other clubs that were next to us.
Despite the perks, I left Disco 69 because I didn't like the owners. The owners of the club didn't like Israeli's coming in as they didn't drink anymore than one drink and they used to dance as if they were in a mosh pit, which would frighten most of the women and make them leave. So they told Liamo not to let any Israeli's in, which he gladly enforced. The word spread around the Island like wild fire, some folks laughed about it and some thought it was disgraceful. It got really awkward when Israelis would come up to the door and Liamo would refuse them. Mind you, after that, the place used to stay busy all night.
I left Disco 69 not long after that and got a job in a bar called "The West Club." It was a free for all. The owner was super cool but didn't have enough money to pay the staff in the beginning so he'd pay us with drink. There was about 6 girls and 6 guys working there. I met some really fun folks from all over the world working there. I had plans to leave there and go travelling to Turkey and Israel but I was broke and got word that I had failed my Diploma in Legal Studies and had to repeat it. I really didn't want to go home to repeat it, but I wanted to keep my mum happy as she really wanted me to get the Diploma. So I packed up at the end of the season and went back to Ireland.
Something that I learned on that trip was that I was a natural promoter and that I had "people skills" too. I also learned that where there is a will, there's a way and the path to that goal is part of the fun.