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We're going to Ibiza

The White Isle's Balearic heyday is being recreated this winter with an exhibition and a party


It’s hard to imagine now, but once upon a time Ibiza wasn’t simply a byword for big-name DJs, overpriced clubs and showing off. In the late ’80s, the sun-kissed Spanish territory had evolved from being a hippie-ish outpost of Franco’s dictatorship into a unique pleasure island – with no-holds-barred partying and eclectic DJing its greatest draw. Two events this winter will be aiming to capture the heady days of that Balearic spirit.

First, try reading the following in the style of those faux-erotic Waitrose adverts: a custom-made soundsystem, hours of slow and sexy disco tunes, an inviting chequered dancefloor, topped off by a ripe glitterball... felt good, didn’t it?

Originally conceived to be held on the White Isle, Despacio is the dream of 2manydjs and James Murphy – who returned to his soundguy roots to design the ornate speaker stacks which will surround the dancefloor.

Meaning ‘slowly’ in Spanish, Despacio will be an intimate evocation of Ibiza club life in its heyday. As with its debut outing in Manchester earlier this year, the focus will be on the fellowship a great dancefloor can create. Adding to the laidback vibe, the trio will be delving deep into their enviable stacks of slo-mo disco and letting records play out and breathe.

Though Despacio’s three-night run takes place in the distinctly un-Mediterranean setting of Hammersmith Town Hall, this will be the closest London gets to full-on Balearic bliss this winter. Tickets are selling fast, so book soon.

Meanwhile, a new exhibition at the ICA titled ‘Ibiza: Moments In Love’ hopes to convey the ’80s Balearic vibe for those who can only dream of having been there.

Beautiful and rarely seen original ephemera will be on display, including lavish posters for the three pivotal clubs, Ku, Amnesia and Pacha – many of which are on loan from Dave and Steph Dewaele from 2manydjs. Photos of that frontier generation of clubbers (taken by Derek Ridgers) depict the looks, while tiled flooring and terracotta pots add to the Mediterranean mood.

Accompanying the installations and slideshows, of course, will be appropriate musical selections compiled by excellent disco website Test Pressing.

As the ICA’s curator Matt Williams explains, ‘You get a sense of naivety from that period – a desire to enjoy, rather than make any financial gain from it all’. In that spirit, entrance to the exhibition is totally free.

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