EDITION: June - August 2011

THE SNAKEMAN

Texto: Cat Weisweiller










Despite being renowned for attracting a plethora of interesting characters, it seems that Ibiza will never cease to amaze us. IbiCASA catches up with another formidable member of Ibiza’s resident roster: The Snakeman.


The Snakeman, born and bred in the South of France, earned his name during the 90s roaming the port of Ibiza with a python, of all things, wrapped around his neck – this heralded repeated cries of “Look! It’s the snake man!”. He observed with great interest that his snakes never failed to evoke a response, whether that be one of fear or fascination. He also took huge delight in his snakes’ ability, over time, to win even the most fearful spectators over…

 

The Snakeman – “Snake” to his friends and loved ones – developed his passion for pythons aged 17, whilst staying with a serpent owning pal in Paris. Admittedly, these reptiles may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but, in Snake’s case, this fateful encounter was to shape the rest of his life. Soon after, he bought himself 2 pythons and moved to St. Tropez. After 3 successful show seasons there, the 3 of them moved across to Ibiza and quickly became a brand unto themselves – often found performing on stage at Ibiza’s super clubs, touring the world and more recently inspiring the comic: “The Snakeman – environmental superhero” that Snake has lovingly authored over time. However, with the snakes now being 18 years old (of a potential 35) and almost 4 metres long, Snake has had to resign himself to the fact that they have become a little too heavy to stroll around town with.



Far more than just a snake fanatic, business savvy Snake can also be found DJing, DVD and music producing or in his pasta bar: “Gusto Gusto” and shop: “La Casita Ibicenca” in Ibiza town. Snake is thankfully not juggling his frantic work life alone; he met his now wife 11 years ago. Not only was she tolerant of his snake penchant, but she already owned 2 pythons of her own! Making them a proud snake family of 4: Chupito, Libel, Zen & Shiva. Rest assured, all 4 Burmese pythons are venomless and live in total harmony with Snake, his wife and their 3 year old human son. However, no longer practical as street roaming companions, Snake has just started to put his snakes’ people taming skills to a new use: Snake Massage Therapy.

 

For the benefit of this article (aka morbid curiosity), it would have been rude not to observe one of Snake’s “couple massages”: The couple I was to observe (and I) had what I would consider a healthy level of “pre snake contact” anxiety. After a preparatory glass of cava, or two – we all moved somewhat reluctantly into Snake’s therapy room. Thankfully, we were soon to discover that, contrary to popular belief, snakes are not at all slimy. Plus, far from rushing out of their boxed slumber to devour one of us, they moved slowly, almost lethargically, into action. As Snake gently and expertly coaxed 2 of them onto the couple’s bodies, his clients initially winced noticeably – as one might expect of any self-preserving human being. However, astonishingly, the snakes’ calm energies and their owner’s steely confidence soon shifted the atmosphere of the room and cancelled out all pre-programmed fear. In fact, by the end of 30 minutes, it was hard to see where the snakes ended and human flesh began – all four participants seemingly embroiled in an entirely mutual therapeutic love-in.



Even I, as observer, could not help but develop a sudden respect for these beautifully designed creatures that moved with such grace and agility – and, as I happily noted, were entirely disinterested in either crawling into orifices or strangling their prey. It is hard to say whether it was more the deep massaging concertina motion of the snakes’ weighty spines, or the experience of successfully confronting and overcoming a fear that made our couple look so completely “blissed out” by the end of their session. Not to mention the fact that the serpent has always stood as an ancient mythological symbol representing the “kundalini” – loosely translated as being sexual energy. What is not in doubt is that just 30 minutes in the presence of our serpent friends had had a positive effect on all concerned.

 
Though Snake Massage Therapy may seem far-out now, this journey into the unknown reminded me that the likes of Acupuncture, Reiki and Homeopathy – now viewed as mainstream – were once viewed in exactly the same way. It seems that as we open our minds to more and more ancient traditional healing methods, we allow an ever evolving and exciting world of new alternative therapies to enter the scene. Snake Massage Therapy is surely just the next example of much more to come? …