As most of my close friends know, I’m a little bit partial to a small island off the southern coast of Spain called Ibiza, some may even say obsessed.
From my very first visit back in 1990 to every subsequent yearly summer sojourn my obsession with the island and everything to do with that early heady balearic period only intensifies.
I have always had a habit of collecting any and every old piece of memorabilia (Ibiza tat) I can lay my hands on; old posters pulled from the walls of Amnesia, a wealth of pictures from Facebook groups such as Ku – Ibiza Best Years, postcards by Luis Amor of his detailed artistic interpretation of the indigenous Ibizencos, maps, flags you name it and of course books, lots and lots of books.
Last year I came across one such book by author Damien Enright – Dope In The Age Of Innocence.
Its a tale of a young man and his family arriving on the island in the early sixties when it was a haven for the hedonistic hippie cultural rejects of society. It’s a captivating read and paints a picture of what the island was like before the gratuitous explosion of consumerism and the frankly obscene displays of wealth from the influx of Russian oligarch money and property developers such as the Candy brothers that the island sadly now suffers from.
Here is a brief synopsis:
Ibiza, 1960: on the beautiful Mediterranean island, the high-rise resorts are still decades away. By chance, Damien Enright, twenty-one-years old and Irish, arrives there with his wife and two children and finds a handful of down-at-heel foreign Bohemians leading wild, hedonistic lives. He and his wife get involved; their marriage quickly breaks down and he spends two heartbroken years in London before returning to Ibiza with a new partner and another child. They take LSD and inspired by dreams of a brave new world, cross to the remote island of Formentera to lead alternative lives.This is a decade before Howard Marks becameMr. Nice: the embryonic drug culture in the west motivated not by profit but by idealism. Sometimes, that early search for freedom ventured not just beyond the mind but beyond the law. To sustain their families on Formentera, Enright and two desperado pals head to London in a beat-up car and do some risky travellers cheque scams. Then, restless and unsure of his love for his partner, he makes a hair-raising trek to Turkey in the depths of winter to find hashish for the group. Things go badly awry and he find himself a fugitive, at the mercy of unreliable friends. Part road story, drug story, love story,Dope in the Age of Innocenceis fundamentally a parable about drug enlightenment, the loss and rediscovery of love and the tempering of innocence.
It’s an absolutely cracking read and held me until the very end, a definite must for those of the Balearic way inclined.
Much to my delight I very recently received news that Mr Phil Mison, Balearic mainstay and resident DJ at The Cafe Del Mar in the early nineties has organised a talk and a Q&A with the author, on all things Ibiza and book related. The illustrious Mr Enright himself will be holding court on an evening of most excellent music to be held on the 20th of February at The Three Kings in Clerkenwell:
To guarantee entrance on the night email Phil himself on; firstname.lastname@example.org
The night is also blessed with the musical accompaniment of Colorama and Shawn Lee, a must and not one to be missed for the Balearic faithful.