Ibiza in the beatnik & hippie eras

After World War II, Ibiza was one of several spots strewn across the Mediterranean that attracted two distinct expatriate types from northern Europe and North America. There were writers and artists ostensibly escaping from the crass materialism of New York and London, many of whose views were so incoherent that what they were really objecting to became by default the innate human capacity for rational thought; and the rich who felt hostility towards even the mildest attempts at wealth redistribution, and who liked the tax breaks offered to them by Spain’s fascist junta then headed by General Franco – even if the areas in which they settled tended to be those in which anti-fascist sentiments prevailed. Both groups were also swapping the cold of northern winters for year-round sunshine. In summer months their ranks were swelled initially by beatniks, then by hippies and ultimately by post-acid house ravers.

The Ibiza scene of the sixties included fixtures such as the musical duo Nina and Frederik, a Danish couple who combined beatnik and hippie leanings with aristocratic pretensions, since they were also known as Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt. In their publicity photographs of the late-fifties and early-sixties, Nina and Frederik are a perfect representation of the international beatnik jet set. On an eponymous Columbia records EP containing the songs I Would Amor Her, Oh Sinner Man, I Listen to the Ocean and Sippin’ Cider, they are depicted holding hands in matching orange V-neck jumpers, black slacks and black open neck shirts. The front cover shows the couple smiling face on to the camera, with Nina a little shorter than the bearded and wavy-haired Frederik. Nina is wearing red lipstick and her hair is pulled back. The flip-side of the record’s picture sleeve shows them in the same pose but taken from behind, and it becomes clear that Nina naturally has the same light brown shade of hair as Frederik, but she has dyed it blond and tied it into a pony tail. Nina and Frederik’s music, light folk sometimes tinged with calypso rhythms, is to my mind a lot less enthralling than their image.

Nina and Frederik were very much a musical phenomenon of the early-sixties with the songs I Listen To The Ocean, Little Donkey (their big hit), Longtime Boy and Sucu Sucu making the UK singles charts in 1960 and 1961; in the same years they made the UK albums charts with two different but identically titled eponymous albums on the Pye and Columbia labels respectively – the duo also saw action on the EP charts with their eponymous first four tracker, a follow up imaginatively titled Nina and Frederik No. 2, then Christmas At Home With Nina And Frederik, and their sole 1962 UK chart entry White Christmas. After his singing career hit the skids, the Baron took to using his yacht for dope smuggling, something Howard Marks documents in passing in his autobiography Mr Nice. For some years prior to this the Balearic Islands had already been acting as a magnet to hippie drug dealers. Incidentally, it has been reported that the 1994 murder of Frederik Van Pallandt was a hit organised by an Australian crime syndicate who’d reneged on an agreement to pay the Baron $10 million for smuggling their drugs on his yacht.

Ibiza also harboured top flight forgers, and it was here that the infamous Clifford Irving produced a biography of his neighbour Elmyr de Hory, who had very successfully faked paintings by assorted artists. Using de Hory as his inspiration, Irving went on to take the New York publishing industry for a ride with a fake Howard Hughes “autobiography”. When the scam was exposed and Irving became a hot news item in 1972, the coverage Baroness Nina received on the back of a short affair she’d had with him as he perpetrated his hoax revived her career as an entertainer. As a result, Van Pallandt enjoyed minor Hollywood fame, including appearances in four Robert Altman movies: The Long Goodbye (1973), A Wedding (1978), Quintet (1979) and O.C. and Stiggs (1985).

In an article entitled In Search Of The Beautiful Ghosts about the old days in Ibiza, which was published online via the Nth Postion website, Damien Enright reminisces about those who could be found in the cafes and bars of the old town. Among the things recalled are the moonlight gatherings instigated by Elmyr de Hory on the sea front beneath his house Figueretes. Of even greater importance was a watering hole called The Domino, the first foreign owned bar on Ibiza and the chief spiritual home of expatriate beatniks and hippies in Spain. During spring high tides, the sea came up through the floor of The Domino, but it was nonetheless somewhere the rich would socialise with beatnik dropouts.

Among the beatnik regulars in Ibiza were the Dutch counterculture activists Bart Hugues and Simon Vinkenoog; writers including the poet George Andrews (who co-edited The Book Of Grass with Vinkenoog), and Irma Kurtz (then a beat poet, more recently Cosmopolitan’s agony aunt); and lots of lesser known artists including Jan Cremer, my mother’s boyfriend Bruno de Galzain and photographer Lester Waldman. Aside from Nina and Frederik, the beautiful people who Enright recalls from the island’s jet set heyday include Terence Stamp, Nico, Terry Thomas, Charlotte Rampling and various rock stars including members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Among the hippie crowd, Jenny Fabian who authored the roman-a-clef Groupie and worked the door at London’s UFO club, was one of the island’s more famous boosters.

In terms of other international beatnik connections, the London based but itinerant guitarist Davy Graham ranks among the more prominent. Another musical couple who spent a lot of time in Ibiza were Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings. Henry, I’m told was intellectually brilliant, but like Davy Graham became a notorious junkie. With his partner Hennings, Wolff  recorded the influential Tibetan Bells (Island Records 1972) and a series of follow-up albums.  They are early examples of ambient trance grooves which introduced a broad mass of western listeners to instruments such as Tibetan bells, gongs, and singing bowls. Wolff  may also be the Henry Wolf (only one ‘f”) who appears in Barbet Schroeder’s first feature film More (1969), a narrative of junkie dropouts who high-tail it to Ibiza; but rather than Tibetan Bells, this movie features a Pink Floyd soundtrack.

The sounds may have changed, but when house music and super-sized clubs like Manumission arrived in Ibiza it was nothing new. The roots of the current Ibiza party scene stretch all the way back to the early-sixties.That said, it looks to me like the scene in Ibiza was better in 1962 – when my mother, Julia Callan-Thompson, first visited the island – than it is now. Early web reports suggest that this year (2009) Manumission will even disappoint fans of super-sized clubs (it won’t be running). So it goes…

And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!

About mistertrippy

Stewart Home was born in south London in 1962. His mother Julia Callan-Thompson was a showgirl and club hostess. He has never held down a regular job for more than a few months at a time. On those rare occasions when he's been forced to work, Home has taken employment as a factory labourer, agricultural labourer, shop assistant, office clerk and art class model. Deciding he didn't like working in factories as a teenager, Home pursued cultural and political interests, writing many books and participating in even more gallery exhibitions.
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34 thoughts on “Ibiza in the beatnik & hippie eras

  1. mark aerial waller says:

    Hi Stewart, this is a nice coincidence, me and giles are currently working on an event project for the summer around the fall into drug dependency and shift away from hippy idealism, based around ‘more!’

  2. mistertrippy says:

    I’d be interested to know if you can pin down whether the Henry Wolf in “More” is the Henry Wolff of “Tibetan Bells”…. Most people who were around that scene and came across him at the time think it is, but I’ve yet to have firm confirmation. The rumour about Wolff is that he was last seen down on his luck picking trash out of garbage cans in New York City, but I’ve no idea if this is true…. A curious character I’ve found little about is a photographer called Lester Waldman… and there are loads of dropping acid stories going back to the early-sixties, seems the Dutch counterculture scene introduced LSD to Ibiza as early as 1960 or 1961! Strange then that Simon Vinkenoog should now be Dichter des Vaderlands, or “Poet Laureate” for the Netherlands… Jan Cremer hated him, loads of funny stuff in his books about Simon The Soggy Noodle and especially in Ibiza… see the end of my review of “Wholly Communion”:

    http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/film/whitehead.htm

    “Vinkenoog is called Simon The Soggy Noodle throughout the second volume of Cremer’s autobiography and although he isn’t identified by his legal name until page 353, anyone who knows anything about the Dutch counterculture will have identified The Soggy Noodle as Vinkenoog long before that: In the section of the book that takes place on the Spanish island of Ibiza circa 1961, Cremer writes that: “The Soogy Noodle had appointed himself the Cub Scout leader of a pack of pimple-faced punks who met secretly at night to smoke pot. They thought they were the cat’s ass – the real elite… somehow Simon heard I knew where to get the forbidden grass. I was glad to be of service. Provided he could pay of course…. ‘First smoke these sticks here,’ I said. ‘Always be sure there are lots of people around. Shut your eyes tight, squeeze hard, that makes them red. That’s part of the whole scene. And there are a couple of things you might try saying to the people, like “love love love love”. That way they’ll know you’re turned on…” (Jan Cremer 2 by Jan Cremer, Granada Publishing, London 1970, pages 253-4).”

  3. helen says:

    2008 was the last Manumission. It’s not happening this year. Interesting about Tibetan Bells…Oldfield composed one of the Tubular Bells albums here too.

    I think Nina Van Pallandt still runs a gallery in Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s old town. Quite a few of the 50s/60s crowd are still here, those that made it through.

  4. mistertrippy says:

    Thanks for the clarification on Manumission, I’ll add it isn’t running in brackets.

  5. helen says:

    Yes, I’d always heard that Hugues introduced a lot of people to LSD in Ibiza very early on. He was into thge sugar cube scene and had a lot of followers here. And he kickstarted the trepanation craze.

  6. ben slater says:

    Nina van Pallandt supposedly can be seen in the footage of de Hory and Irving at a party in Ibiza used by Orson Welles in his classic 1974 film-essay/conjuring trick F for Fake. Although Welles had visited Ibiza, this material was all shot on 16mm by François Reichenbach, for a TV documentary about de Hory, which Welles’ was allowed to merrily appropriate.

    Van Pallandt was rumoured to have had an affair with Irving, and a character based on her (played by Julie Delpy) pops up in the move about him starring Richard Gere, Hoax. Weirdly, the real Van Pallandt starred with Gere in American Gigolo in 1980, playing his pimp.

    And of course Christa Päffgen aka Nico was supposedly ‘discovered’ (and given her new name) while doing a spot of teenage modelling on Ibiza in the mid ’50s. She returned there in the late ’80s to tragically die in slightly peculiar circumstances.

  7. moggy says:

    Interesting stuff, Stewart. I never knew all that about Nina and Frederick being aristocrats, despite seeing enough of their bloomin’ records around in my record buying hey-day.

    Henry Wolf (one ‘F’) could possibly be the actor, who was in Rutland Weekend Television and was also the gangster boss in Steptoe & Son, and played many a bit-part in the 60s and 70s, perhaps… (?)

  8. mistertrippy says:

    Moggy, I’m finding it hard to pin down the “More” Henry Wolf, clearly there is plenty of room for confusion – there are three actors with this name currently listed at IMDB – the one in “More” is credited an appearance in the ‘Imposter’ episode of TV series “Paper Moon” in 1974 and nothing else. And the “Tibetan Bells” Henry Wolff is currently credited solely as provided the music for “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982). My understanding is that “Paper Moon” was an ABC series, which makes it more likely the “More” is American than the Brit bit player you suggest… and thus possibly actually “Henry Wolff”, but then who knows…

    Ben, I love the first two thirds of “F For Fake” and hate the last third, a real disaster! I’ve seen and enjoyed the “Hoax” film although it isn’t nearly as good as “F For Fake” despite the disastrous end to that…. Most sources treat the relationship between Nina and Cliff as established fact, see for example the book “Hoax: The Inside Story of the Howard Hughes – Clifford Irving Affair” by Stephen Fay, Lewis Chester and Magnus Linklater (1972).

  9. helen says:

    I don’t think they are the same Henry Wolf. Mimsy Farmer who starred and wrote the dialogue would know – she is online at mimsyfarmer.com. Waldman did MORE’s stills photography so she could probably tell you about him too. I heard he got in trouble in Ibiza and got kicked out, and that he was hanging out with Michael Buselle for a while in Barca.

  10. O says:

    correction nancy is hennings fairly sure tibetan bells henry was in more major early 70s story is how henry lost a million dollar poker hand in ibiza culminating in a number of transatlantic phone calls to the sebastopol ca house where nancy and henry were guesting between henry and cliff irving concerning whether the guy owed the mil would send a hit man after him don’t remember if henry and chris gray ever intersected both nancy and usha were friends of steiner later 70s henry was a grad student at berkeley think he had in mind a dissertation combining tibetan buddhism and rimbaud that period ended with a blowup after he read a letter i’d written to nancy . . .

  11. mistertrippy says:

    Thanks Helen. I’ll check out the Mimsy Farmer site. I’ve just heard curious rumours about Waldman, but don’t want to blog them up, as I’ve no idea about their truth. He did a photo book on Barcelona with Michael Busselle in 1966, in the Famous Cities of the World series, seems to be available online used from about five bucks.

    O, thanks for the correction on Nancy’s name, I obviously can’t read my own hand writing when I’m going through old notes. I don’t think I ever talked to Chris Gray about Henry Wolff… although I spoke to him about plenty of other people he and my mother both knew, mostly they just came up spontaneously, but the odd one I just threw at him – I remember Benny Gray being one of the latter, but Chris had lots to say about him once I brought up his name. But the fact Henry Wolff neither came up in conversation with Chris and I didn’t bring him up doesn’t really prove anything. I don’t think Benny Gray would have come up without me specifically asking about him.

    You both seem to know a lot about this scene so I wonder if you can put a surname to an American guy called Sal who moved in my mother’s circles. I’ve heard about Sal from a few people but no one remembers his surname. One of them told me: “Sal was always meticulously neat and tidy (a fanatic who would spend very many minutes with a tweezer on his moustache and an hour or more shaving.) Sal always struck me as being a straight, down-the-line, nice guy. He was madly in love with Euphrasia Thompson…”

  12. Ricky Rocket says:

    So, soft colonialism into another colonialist power’s territory…interesting.

    Are there raves in Gibraltar? I heard the monkeys are great at hard trance…

  13. mistertrippy says:

    Oh not just there… I have a book called “Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development 1536-1966” by Michael Hechter. Read it years ago but well worth a look, most of it seems to be up on Google books for free…. And my mum was very keen on the monkeys in Gibraltar…

  14. Ricky Rocket says:

    Is the only way to read at Google books to do it online? I know there is couple of pgms that you can use to download those books, but Google has a device to detect you and ban you from that site…

  15. O says:

    nada on sal 70s repertoire is limited to chris gray and henry wolff as more of a burroughsian junkie character than in tibetan bell guise only had something to do with henry because nancy hennings was married to him ceremomy performed by karmapa in nepal it was said they sure did manage to avoid internet visibility before your ibiza post about only mention is by his friend richard tillinghast henry being a poet and translator of a french novel (mauriac?) can’t confirm as fact …

  16. Ricky Rocket says:

    karmapa… had that lama a lot of karma?

  17. mistertrippy says:

    O, I also heard Henry Wolff wrote a book called something like “The Princess and The Woodcutter”, I never pinned down a definite title – but maybe the book was a translation…. And a web search brings up: “Femmes Fatales” (Calderbookks. S) by Claude Mauriac (ISBN: 0714502324 / 0-7145-0232-4) as a Henry Wolff translation.

    When I checked just now there was still a Wikipedia page on Nancy Hennings, but the one on Henry Wolff had been deleted for failing ‘notability’ – Wikipedia often makes me laugh over things like this, it can be utterly ridiculous! Let’s hope my blog gets Henry reinstated! Anyway, here are the two entries:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Hennings

    Nancy Hennings is a musician who teamed up with Henry Wolff to do the CD ‘Tibetan Bells’ in 1971, one of the pioneering CDs of New age music. In 1982,with the assistance of Wolff and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, she produced the mysterious sounding Yamantaka. She also contributed to the other Tibetan Bells albums Tibetan Bells II, [[Tibetan Bells III], and The Bells of Sha’ng Shu’ng.

    The Tibetan Bells albums should not be confused with ethnic Tibetan music. They are New Age-style Western compositions that use the Tibetan instruments as their instruments. Authentic Tibetan music has a quite different sound, being that it also uses other instruments besides the metallophones. However, the beauty of the Tibetan Bells albums is exquisite, and the sounds other-worldly. If it wasn’t stated outright that only acoustic instruments were used, your ears would trick you into thinking some of it was synthesized (electronic elements do appear on The Bells of Sha’ng Shu’ng, making it a far less successful record). In 1971, when the first album appeared, this was even more true than it is 35 years later.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Wolff

    Henry Wolff From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search. This page has been deleted. The deletion log for the page is provided below for reference. * 00:01, 22 October 2008 Rjd0060 (talk | contribs) deleted “Henry Wolff” ? (Deleted because expired WP:PROD; Reason given: Fails notability since June 2007..)

    Rick – yeah with Google books the only way I know to read them is online.

  18. Ricky Rocket says:

    There is something called “DELETIONPEDIA”, where allegedly all wikis erased from Wikipedia can be found…with some luck.

  19. O says:

    internetwise hennings-wolff = tibetan bells other story starts when steiner met hennings in a greek jail in 1967 all of which gets mixed up with usha before she received that name and became involved with paritosh in poona who knows maybe gina met nancy in ibiza don’t remember got the impression usha is alive in the u.k or instead how about the 29 part henry flynt video series directed by ben piekut who has an essay in sound commitments on flynt its at youtube and vimeo . . .

  20. Ricky Rocket says:

    Steiner, Rudolph?! Mmmmhhh…this is starting to draw my attention…

  21. mistertrippy says:

    O, point taken, and as far as I know you are right to think Usha/Gina is living in the UK. And yes the Flynt videos are good, I haven’t viewed them all yet and had forgotten about them for now, so thanks for the reminder. You’ve probably seen the interview I did with Flynt back in 1989, now on this site at:

    http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/interviews/flynt.htm

    I went to one of his concerts in 1989 a few days before or after I did the interview, and even then he was just playing back tapes. None of his music was really in circulation then. Now of course people like John Berndt have not only done a great job putting out CDs, but in John’s case also organising Flynt’s entire website.

  22. helen says:

    It’s possible someone I know knew this Sal figure, but what period are we talking and where…was he a musician?

  23. mistertrippy says:

    Helen, Sal’s period would be sixties and seventies, between Ibiza and London mainly as I understand it, although he was American. He may have been a musician (I’m not sure) and was certainly connected to musicians, possibly the band Fairport Convention in some way.

  24. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargin it, maaan….

    (Not my most useful comment ever, but hey, even writing machines run a little off-kilter when they need oiling.)

  25. helen says:

    Re: Waldman, Penguin Books issued quite a few paperbacks in the mid 60s with cover photography by Lester Waldman (surely the same?) who also contributed at about the same time as Trocchi to Evergreen Review. I think he was in Alan Aldridge’s circle in London for a time, if it’s the same guy.

    The Sal identity remains a mystery. The vague description you give fits too many potential “Sal”s…

  26. mistertrippy says:

    Helen, I’m pretty sure that is the same Waldman… I’ll go look through my notes and see if I have any further leads on Sal….

  27. O says:

    or how about jean morrison eggleston dropped the name talking to stanley booth and since crossed paths with him in new orleans circa 62 instead of coming up blank big surprise to see the morrison project exists http://www.filmbaby.com/films/510/find_legacy_film?products_id=510

  28. helen says:

    Well, on my travels today I found out that Waldman also did the album portrait photography for Tibetan Bells. In Formentera. You probably already know this though.

    Apparently two of the tracks on Tibetan Bells were recorded on Formentera in the same studio as “The Pink Floyd”- as they’re credited in MORE – used to record Ibiza Bar etc for the soundtrack.

    Waldman’s contribution to Evergreen Review was a few nudes he took on Formentera.

  29. mistertrippy says:

    O – someone else suggested I check out Jean Morrison recently… but I can’t say I know much about him… But are you up on Terry Taylor, the first person to mention LSD in a British novel? If not, please do check out:

    http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/sex/baronscourt.htm

    Helen, great tips on Waldman. Thanks!

  30. d says:

    Home, have you yet produced ONE SINGLE PERSON who ever met your so-called “mother” Julia Callan-Thompson. And why did drug-dealer money-man Charlie Radcliffe pass to you the address book he stole for his masters from Michel Prigent?

  31. O says:

    first look at terry taylor there’s a longer youtube clip on the morrison project site but instead of that here’s a lurid print account http://www.gogetterdigital.com/NYPost%20Review.htm mentions tulane where encountered him not closely tennessee state means memphis where he must have known eggleston and stanley booth william eggleston in the real world documentary directed by michael almereyda is available free online at snag films site contains a great alcoholic scene with leigh haizlip who died 2003 same year as morrison . . .

  32. Quite interesting article. It fully resonates with my book “Global Nomads” about countercultural expatriates in Ibiza and India. Currently in hardback, it should be available in a more affordable paperback by mid 2009 (Routledge Press).

    Before the beatniks there were the surrealists on the island since 1930s. A minor contemporary remark: Manumission moved to the old quarry in San Antoni in 2008, and became “Ibiza Rocks”.

    I regularly blog at Global Raver Blogspot: social commentary on global dance scenes. http://globalraver.blogspot.com/

    Thank you. Kind Regards,
    Anthony D’Andrea

  33. mistertrippy says:

    I haven’t read your book, but I’ve seen your essay in “Rave Culture and Religion” edited by Graham St. John. As a result I’m not sure if you deal with the Ibiza to India links that I’m aware of back in the sixties. Certainly the people my mother hung out with in Ibiza (and my mother herself) also spent extended periods of time in both India and specifically Goa. So what you describe as happening more recently is already very familiar to me from my mother’s 1960s history. I haven’t put much about my mother’s time in India online – just something about her stop-over in Kabul working as a Go Go dancer in a hotel bar on the way to India. Damien Enright who I mention in this blog, not only has the piece I’ve linked to about Ibiza, but also one on the same site about going to Afghanistan.