‘I’m trusting you Claire!’ Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim said looking me right in the eye as I held his hand and lead him through the back-stage door, ‘this isn’t like the old days!’ He pleaded with his crooked smile… It was Norman’s birthday and we had a surprise waiting for him on stage and I was the one elected to get him there.
I tied the blindfold tight and made sure he couldn’t peak as I lead him onto the stage, the club was full to capacity. It was historically the busiest night of the season, and the thousands were excited as we stopped the music and the whole club turned to look at Fatboy Slim – their favourite DJ. He squeezed my hand, and I removed the blindfold – he found himself confronted by a giant birthday cake, out of which burst an attractive blond showgirl dressed as a sailor. For a moment he was transfixed by the vision and thought to himself – she’s lovely! Then he caught himself realising that lovely sailor was in fact his wife, Zoe Ball, who had utterly surprised her husband – jumping out of the big cake on the Manumission stage in front of thousands of people all of which sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. Here he is, photographed below, still slightly unnerved – post cake with Manumission Girls, Olivia and Sharmila wearing Australian hats to represent ‘Trouble Down Under’ our Australian leg of the fantastic sea voyage of The Goodship Manumission.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the fantastic sea voyage of ‘THE GOODSHIP MANUMISSION’ which followed my Dad’s maiden sea voyage around the world – he left home at 17 and joined the merchant navy, his first port of call happened to be Ibiza, where he drank a sickly sweet liquor (Hierbas Ibicencas we presume) – which he drank so much of that it had a dire consequences on his sensitive stomach and his sailors collar which was used in lieu of toilet paper! Our sea voyage followed his exact course, each week’s party representing a different port of call. Searching for paradise to find some natural disaster in each place only to find on the final week of the summer when we got back to Ibiza that paradise was there all around us – all along. It was also a comment on the music press always searching for the new Ibiza.
Every Monday we would set sail from Ibiza Town, with our crew of Manumission Girls – all dressed in white 1950s bikinis’ and vintage sailor’s hats – on board a real sailing ship, with giant masts.
Together we would take the two-hour journey by sea to Salinas, where the theatre would begin as we were attacked by clown pirates from another boat – with a black mast that read Manumission Pirates, after winning the battle Mike did the guest list as me and The Manumission Girls gave out cava and a picnic – which was for everyone on the beach, young and old, a gift from Manumission, to get everybody in the right mood for the party as Jonathon Sa Trinxa played ‘Love Is In The Air’.