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Manumission Girls Galore

This Monday (September 19) is your last chance to view them in the flesh.

The group of young women Manumission employ each year to promote their high profile parties are sex symbols almost as literal as actual copulation.

poster for this Monday's Manumission closing party

poster for this Monday's Manumission closing party

Infamously the ‘Mish have indulged in that method of very public relations too, but in recent times have been less blatant. Their girls are artfully draped in very small pieces of clothing, displayed on posters, paraded about town and placed on podiums in their host club and others.

'Mish chicks at Monza @ Penelope - September 15, 2005

Monza @ Penelope - September 15, 2005

While undoubtedly pretty, they represent a more subtle form of sexuality than the big-titted bimbos on the strip club billboards. Artificial augmentation or reduction is not their usual approach – Manumission girls have small bums and big bums, huge natural boobs or sometimes very little at all.

@ Manumission opening - July 4, 2005

the stage show at Manumission opening @ Privilege - July 4

Many different ethnicities and nationalities have been represented over the decade Manumission have thrown parties on the White Isle. Their advertising and promotional material features several different languages and is design led. After the last reprobate is swept out of the building at the conclusion of the final show, it’s about art darling. Music and visual stimulation is what turns them on.

Ibiza Rocks @ Privilege - September 9, 2005

Ibiza Rocks @ Privilege - September 9, 2005

That’s what we found out when we interviewed the talented young band liaison, Gabby Sanderson (below), who somehow also finds time to rehearse and perform stage shows with Fischerspooner.

Gabby SandersonHow’s it going this year with two parties per week?

Gabby: It’s definitely been a different summer for me, compared to all the last five years, quite tiring. We’ve had like 30 bands over the whole summer so each one of them it’s quite intense when they come over. I’ve got the job of babysitter, as well as doing the show girl stuff.

What does being band liaison involve?

Everything. From picking them up at the airport and taking them to the villa, showing them round the villa, scheduling the sound check, taking them out for dinner, taking them round town if they want it, showing them the show with Fischerspooner, then making sure they get on stage when they should do, which isn’t always that easy. Propping them up sometimes when they need it.

How was the Leeds festival?

Amazing. It was so amazing. Everyone and anyone was playing – the Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters and the Killers wanna do next year for Ibiza Rocks. I saw 27 groups in three days. It was wicked. Juliette and the Licks were my highlight. I’ve got both of her albums and I thought she was good but seeing her live she’s such a performer, and her voice is just so strong.

Dawn & Gabby @ Ibiza Rocks closing - September 9, 2005How important is sleep to you?

Sleep when you’re dead, right?

What about the other girls? Do they party hard as well?

You’ve either got the ones that don’t drink, don’t do any drugs, they’re completely straight down the line, and then you’ve got the party girls. A lot of the girls swear by the guarana tablets and cellfood, these drops that Mike and Claire are on, they’re from Brazil. You drop them in a drink and it gives you all this oxygen going straight through your body.

How many Manumission girls are there?

About 16.

Which bands have you had to liaise with?

Clockwise, from top left: Kaiser Chiefs, Mylo, Faithless, Baby shambles, Hard Fi, Maximo Park (2005)

We opened with Baby shambles, they were our first and fingers cross we’ve got ‘em again for the closing. They were another one I caught up with at Leeds and they’re desperate to come back, they loved it. They did a really good show. Hard Fi - they were good, Mylo, Faithless, Maximo Park, Kaiser Chiefs, there’s bloody loads.

Ever had any bizarre requests?

Faithless wanted 80 towels, then they kicked off when I provided about 20. I had to send all the Manumission staff round Ibiza at 2 o’clock in the morning looking for more towels. The Bravery requested condoms. But at the last minute they pulled out.

Did any of the bands ask to be taken to brothels or anything like that?

Ha ha. We are the brothel. No actually they’ve all been pretty cool. I think they find it a little bit kind of a culture shock ‘cos they’re used to doing a gig in England or wherever and they’ll be finished by 11. You tell them they’re on at four and you kind of see their eyes, sort of like ‘What the hell?’ They’re always impressed with the Manumission girls. Even Pete Doherty asked to meet up with them, nothing obviously happened because he’s with Kate. They’ve all been quite well behaved.

'Mish girls on parade in Ibiza Town - August 26, 2005

on parade in Ibiza Town - August 26, 2005

What’s it like to be on the posters?

I haven’t done that for a couple of years. I always get here too late ‘cos I’m still at Uni in Manchester. Last time I did it I was Alice in Wonderland. It was great.

How did you get into rock music?

It was actually since Har Mar Superstar was our resident in 2003. He flew four of us to Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. That was the first time I’d ever experienced a festival. That just completely converted me. It was just the live music thing which is why I feel so passionate about it. I get so frustrated when people shun the whole rock thing, because it’s about appreciating the talent and respect for performers. And I do presenting back home for Channel M[anchester] I used to do a lot of the bands, so a lot of them I already know when they come over which is pretty cool.

Have the bands been receptive to the Ibiza experience?

The Futureheads were just a prime example. They were expecting Ibiza Uncovered so they purposely booked their flight home straight after the gig. Then they came and they saw it all and they were absolutely gutted that they had to leave. And that has been the general thing, that like it’s totally not what they expected and they see the other side to it. It’s all been positive. I’ve not known one band yet that hasn’t liked it over here.

Would you agree that you’re a sex symbol in Ibiza?

I totally don’t see it like that at all. Maybe some of the other girls like Giulia, I don’t know. I’ve always been heavily involved in the dancing side and the performing side and that’s more how I see it and that’s more my passion. Out of the 16 girls they got six that do a lot of the main choreography for Fischerspooner. I’m one of them and I’ve always been a part of the show. The girls love it tho, they’re always teasing the boys.

Who does all the styling for the Manumission girls?

Hair and makeup, it’s Allister. Fischerspooner have actually been quite involved this year as well. They brought some of the costumes over from New York and Lois, Claire’s sister is like the overall kind of styling and Steven does the dressing and the little touches.

What would be the best way to get a date with a Manumission girl?

Feed ‘em some drugs. Play the guitar.

How would you describe your relationship status?

Young, free and single, and ready to mingle.

Ibiza Rocks @ Privilege - August 5, 2005

Ibiza Rocks @ Privilege - August 5, 2005

And the other girls?

Some of them single, and some of them have been in relationships forever.

Why do you think Manumission has been so successful for so long?

Because it always changes. For me Ibiza's very samey, but I don’t go out that much any more apart from taking bands out. Other people might disagree. I like my rock music and that’s why I’m really into Manumission, but they keep changing. This year was a really big risk and I appreciate ‘em for that. It sounds really sad but we really are one big happy family. Even with the traumas and divas back stage and stuff. I think the fact we’re all up for it reflects in the party.

Manumission @ Privilege - August 8, 2005

Manumission @ Privilege - August 8, 2005

What will you do in the winter?

In the winter I still want to be involved in helping Manumission like with the whole band thing for next year. The festival is going to take a lot of planning, and we’re thinking about doing an Ibiza Rocks reunion in London at some point. And then my presenting with Channel M. And then possibly there’s talk of me on going on tour with Fischerspooner in America but it might not happen. There’s one space to help with merch[andise]. I’m in the running but watch this space.

Anything else you’d like to add?

My big passion is just to get people to come and see the bands even if it’s something you might not necessarily think you’d like. It’s worth seeing some live music and live performances and a lot of people that do have changed their opinions.

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