Phantasmagoria 2034 Act Three

Posted on August 17, 2014

Images: NicJ.

Have you ever tried to explain to somebody who is not that into dance music why they should go to a particular Ibiza party? It ain’t easy. The differences can seem pretty subtle. That can certainly not be said of Phantasmagoria. There is definitely nothing remotely like it on the island and there hasn’t been since the nights of Manumission. And we’ve really been missing that. Mike and Claire have created an intimate night that blends music, cinema, theatre, burlesque, explicit sex, circus, dance, acrobatics, glamour and a man dressed as a hotdog. It’s also, I’m told by Claire, even more fun if you join in.

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image03

So that’s why I decided to break a work rule I’ve tried to stick to for many years. That is, a journalist should tell the story, not be the story. As far as possible, I’ve merged into the background and described events as objectively as I could. But, for Phantasmagoria, I planned to join in and dress up. It was Mike and Claire’s suggestion that people should come as their favourite movie character. I don’t have a white tux, so I couldn’t manage Bogie from Casablanca, but I do have a light suit and a bow tie. “Our Man in Havana,” I thought. Actually, the end result is more the Nutty Professor meets an ageing Clark Kent, but at least I’d made the effort. And, boy was it worth it. I had one of my best nights ever in Ibiza.

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image05

Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria

Buy tickets for Phantasmagoria at Booom Ibiza from Essential Ibiza and enjoy great discounts and queue jump entry.

Wanting the full Phantasmagoria experience, I arrive unfashionably early and head for the outside bar. The intention is to catch at least part of the movie being shown to an audience supplied with headphones. This week it’s “The Fisher King”, as a tribute to Robin Williams. Before I have chance to sit down I see Claire holding court and looking stunning and almost regal in a long black formal dress. She tells me it is vintage Dior and comes from Andy Carroll who, at that moment, is DJing inside to a fast-filling dancefloor. The source is a bit of a surprise as Andy’s not generally famous for his sartorial elegance, but apparently he’s something of an expert at tracking down vintage and antique items.

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image04
Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image06

Claire is surrounded by some of the striking-looking performers she and Mike have gathered together for the party, people whose lives are all about dressing up. It’s rather flattering to be told, therefore, by one immaculately coiffured transvestite that it was more radical for a man to wear a suit than a dress to a nightclub. I feel as if I’m fitting in by being different. One of the nice things about Phantasmagoria is that the artistes, when not on stage or getting changed, are generally on the dancefloor or mingling by one of the bars. At other parties they’re more often in their own exclusive VIP area cut off from regular clubbers. Tonight, for instance, at one point, I find myself dancing with a tattooed half-naked guy wearing a mask and holding a whip, a transvestite and that guy dressed as a hotdog. (I can’t help feeling he drew the short straw for cinema-related costumes.)

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image01

Now, as the movie ends outside, it’s showtime inside. First up is one of the Manumission originals, the acoustic guitar maestro Paco Fernandez. Tonight he’s got his band who play a stunning set which manages to encompass house, rap and jazz before finishing with his original speciality flamenco accompanied by a dancer using two walking sticks to beat out the rhythm. Paco’s dressed all in white which fits the monochrome ambience of the party. Throughout the night tightly-focused white spotlights cut the gloom while old movie clips are projected on to the walls. The performers’ costumes are mostly black or white, with the odd bit of khaki. You feel as if you are in some subterranean cabaret in a Berlin back street before the Second World War, if they’d had DJs back then. Although the electronic soundscapes being created by DJ Matthew Herbert suit the mood of edgy decadence perfectly.

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image02

Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria

Buy tickets for Phantasmagoria at Booom Ibiza from Essential Ibiza and enjoy great discounts and queue jump entry.

Phantasmagoria is a real challenge for a DJ. Instead of being masters of all they survey from the booth, they have to fit their music around a series of a dozen or so shows, mixing in and around tunes that definitely aren’t house. It is very different being at an Ibiza party which isn’t all about the superstar DJ. (But, actually it might be, but you’d have to come along to Booom over the next two Fridays to find out why.) There’s a developing story behind the shows. It’s set 20 years in the future when culture has been banned, but there is an underground resistance led, of course, by Mike and Claire. It would be a shame to reveal the plot, but you don’t need to try and follow it to have fun. The night is more about surprise.Mike and Claire have pulled together an amazing troupe of dancers, acrobats and performers. They are all incredibly skilled and with bodies to gladden the eye of any beholder, no matter what their sexual disposition. And, yes, there is an actual sex show featuring two ladies. Sex is something Manumission never shied away from. Mike’s argument is that it is a spice which can be added in little pieces to a show. The result of those little spicy additions is a night which is often erotically charged to vindaloo level, with the sex show as a bowl of extra-spicy chili pickle on the side. But that certainly doesn’t make it dirty. It just leaves you with a sore bottom the day after. (I’m joking.)

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image07

Phantasmagoria also features regular live performances and tonight it’s the turn of French trio dOP. Instead of being on the main stage they appear on a small raised area almost on the dancefloor. It makes for a really intimate performance. The burly singer with a voice as smooth as a bar of Galaxy, Jaw, alternately leaps around and sits with his legs dangling into the dancers. Between and during songs he smokes, swigs from a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and passes it around the crowd. He’s clearly having as much fun as anybody to the extent that, at the end of the set, he gets everybody on the dancefloor to pose so he can take a souvenir picture on his phone. After this, Craig Richards was in the DJ booth, the sound was getting deeper and the night was getting to me. It’s never easy taking notes in a nightclub, but from this point they’d become almost completely unintelligible. All I can now make out is something about Claire in a giant wedding dress and the entire cast appearing between her legs. It must have made sense at the time. I do know it is light when I get home and a day of rain is a relief. It means I could recover from my most memorable blur of the summer…

Mike and Claire Manumission's Phantasmoria with essentialIbiza  photograph by Nic Click Ibiza 2014    image08

Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria

Buy tickets for Phantasmagoria at Booom Ibiza from Essential Ibiza and enjoy great discounts and queue jump entry.