Shadows Across the Moon: Outlaws, Freaks, Shamans and the Making of Ibiza Clubland, by Helen Donlon

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The author with musician and Nico-collaborator Lutz Ulbrich (left) and Miguel Costa, Cultural Director of the San Antonio council. At our Nico 25th anniversary tribute concert and exhibition at Sa Punta des Moli, Ibiza.

Published recently in German (by Hannibal Verlag, who commissioned it) as Partyinsel Ibiza, my book about the strange and colourful history of Ibiza’s reputation as a paradise for travellers of inner space, new age nomads and hedonists of all stripes will be coming out in audio format in English (with its English title, Shadows Across the Moon) later this year, narrated by me.

The incomparable Carl Cox

Richie Hawtin wrote the book a mesmerising foreword.

And now Camion Blanc are preparing the translation for a French edition of Shadows Across the Moon, which will fulfil my lifelong dream of being published in French…

Here is a taster of what’s to come in the English audio:


Pirates is an anagram of parties. Nowhere is this connection more evident than in Ibiza. On an island where there have been pirates, outlaws and freewheeling individuals destroying or laying down procedures for living and partying for centuries, not much has ever really changed behind the scenes, even if party operators now live more or less within some kind of ‘civilized’ island society.

Ibiza parties are just different from parties elsewhere, as anyone who actually knows the island will attest. Centuries of outside influence, including Roman decadence and Moorish drum rituals, and later, religious Hindu and Buddhist iconography, have all played a part, when combined with the freebooting spirit of piracy, in creating the fundamental tenets for an Ibiza party or after-party. From trance parties in the forests, drummers bringing down the sunset on the beach, or freaks gathering outdoors with guitars and tape machines blasting jazz and rock ’n’ roll for two or three days on end, what happened on the island before the clubs is also the reason the clubs became necessary in the first place.

The first nightclubs on the island were created by hippies, and brought together rich and poor, international and local, gay and straight on dance floors infused with elements brought in by well-travelled freaks who’d done the ‘hippie trail’ and come back with their brains front-loaded with esoteric and colourful ideals, and psychedelic drugs. Cushions were spread around, and open-air dance terraces were created under the stars, under the sunrise. As they evolved, the clubs grew to become the world famous establishments they are today, but behind the scenes Ibiza clubland has featured shadowy mafia connections, crooked politicians, backstabbing, outmanoeuvring skulduggery, specious drug busts, assassinations, suicides and huge fines.

It has also included tales of quixotic originality and futuristic vision, widely talented impresarios and impulsive brilliance, idealistic utopian contexts and new definitions of how to integrate time, space and human bodies. But the most important aspect remains the ambience: Ibiza is the world’s capital of chill-out culture, and when this goes hand in hand with the island’s inimitable club nights, the whole experience of the party makes perfect, euphoric sense.

I wrote this book because, after spending many a season end-to-end on the island myself (where, among other things, I worked as a clubland correspondent and party promoter) for nearly a decade, I felt it was time to bring together a detailed original narrative to tell the whole story. I wanted to make Shadows Across the Moon a tale which would, for the very first time, combine the story of the island’s clubs and their often chequered rise to glory, first-hand interviews conducted with some of the biggest DJs and other key players, and a contextual backdrop of centuries of history, including the vital sparks created by the 20th century’s dropout and freak communities which foreshadowed Ibiza clubland as we know it today.

–Helen Donlon

Julien Temple is now about to start working on a film about the history of Ibiza’s party culture. Zeitgeisty news for us!

ENTER.WEEK 7 by Igor Ribnik-463
Closing night at Richie Hawtin’s ENTER.


Polanski at Ku


The author with JM Jarre, the biggest gear head I have ever known (and me with my twenty quid tape machine in hand).
Morillo and Tong, backstage with us at the IMS.
more still
Mimsy Farmer (one of my interviewees) on bed, from MORE (1969, Barbet Schroeder) – filmed on Ibiza.


The alley where Nico had her fatal bike accident, on the day I visited it (being the 25th anniversary of her untimely death) in the company of James Young, her close collaborator.


Cover of the recent German edition


And here’s the list of folks I interviewed (over a period of several years) who feature in the book:

Alfredo, DJ;
Allister Logue, stylist and party creator;
Aubrey Powell, filmmaker, photographer, designer and co-founder of Hipgnosis design group;
Baby Marcelo, performance artist;
Ben Turner, writer, manager, original editor of Pacha Magazine, label head, creative director and co-founder of the International Music Summit;
Bill Forsyth, filmmaker;
Carl Cox, DJ and party creator;
Cuba Gooding, Jr., actor;
Dan Tait, DJ, VDJ, producer and radio presenter;
Dubfire (Ali Shirazinia), DJ and producer;
George Clinton, producer and musician;
Jean-Charles Vandermynsbrugge, musician, vocalist, writer and producer;
Jean-Michel Jarre, musician and original pioneer of large-scale electronic music events;
Jenny Fabian, author;
Jimi Mistry, actor, director and DJ;
Johnny Golden, a.k.a. ‘The Manumission Dwarf’, clubland figurehead;
Kris Needs, journalist, author and DJ;
Lenny Ibizarre, producer, musician and co-founder of the DJ Awards;
Luciano, DJ, producer and party creator;
Marko Bussian, musician and producer;
Martin Davies, publisher, writer and historian;
Martin Glover, a.k.a. Youth, musician and producer;
Mike Pickering, DJ, label head and party creator;
Mimsy Farmer, actress;Miquel Costa, Cultural Director, Ajuntament de Sant Antoni;
Monica Gerlach, teacher, former Ibiza party girl;
Moniz, club owner, DJ and party creator;
Natalie Bussian, realtor;
Pete Gooding, DJ, producer, label head and artist manager;
Pete Tong, DJ, radio presenter, party creator, co-founder of the International Music Summit;
Rebeka Brown, singer;
Richie Hawtin, DJ, musician, label head, producer and party creator;
Rosalind Bee, contortionist;
Sven Väth, DJ, label head, producer and party creator;
Terry Gilliam, filmmaker, Python;
Tina Cutler, vibrational healer, Ibiza fashion stylist, former party girl, events management and concierge services;
Tony Pike, hotelier and party creator;


Tony Pike and Grace Jones
Ku, the early days
La Troya
Clifford Irving, one of many charming and legendary fakers whose stories appear in the narrative (along with Orson Welles, Elmer de Hory and others)
Alfredo (the original, hugely inspiring Balearic DJ)’s playlist, prepared on request
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Supermartxe first ever opening party on Ibiza. Our artists Sophisticated Funk opened the Cocoloco room. Those were my pearls. I still have them somewhere.

Tune of the day: Moody Blues – I Dreamed Last Night