Detroit and Chicago might have supplied the music, but the loved-up acid house spirit which became a feature of the British scene was the result of an unlikely holiday romance. After visiting Ibiza in August 1987 with a group of friends that included Nicky Holloway and Danny Rampling, a young Paul Oakenfold wrote a report for Boy’s Own which bemoaned the Brits-abroad mentality of visitors to resort town San Antonio. But he also marvelled that on the other side of the island from these “beer-swilling lobsters”, chic Euro clubbers from the Spanish mainland and Italy were dancing through the night to a mix of Euro- pop, Italo disco and acid house served up at clubs such as Pacha and Amnesia, where DJ Alfredo presided over an open-air dancefloor. Combined with an influx of ecstasy, it’s not hard to see why Ibizan nightlife seemed so idyllic to Oakenfold and his fellow travellers. Not only did they bring back tales of chemically-enhanced sunsets and foam parties, but a whole new musical outlook, as reflected on 1988’ s Balearic Beats Vol 1 compilation featuring Oakenfold’s own reworking of Latin disco number Jibaro alongside Essex industrialists Nitzer Ebb and sometime Mrs Bill Wyman, Mandy Smith. Balearic never ended up catching the popular imagination the way acid did. But as Andrew Weatherall later pointed out, trying to recreate the Ibizan vibe under grey skies was a very British triumph in itself. “It was a wonky approximation of Ibiza,” he recalled. “They’d done it a bit wrong and that somehow made it more beautiful.”
Licensed to chill: clubbers enjoy the Ibiza sunset.