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zondag 31 augustus 2014

Sheena Scott

I love Sheena Scott. I first discovered her via her 1971 single 'My Sugar Daddy', which I rescued from a sea of mud on a rainy day at a car boot sale, attracted by her suggestive pose on the cover and her bold signature where she has signed the sleeve.

'My Sugar Daddy' proved to be a cheeky slice of burlesque fun, enhanced by Marilyn Monroe-esque squeels of delight (from her not me, I'm not quite that excited!). Since then I looked out for other Sheena records and have so far found the original Belgian single of My Sugar Daddy (where it goes under the Dutch title Kijk In Mijn Ogen, which translates as Look In My Eyes) and no less than three albums.
Sheena was born in Scotland in the 1940s and worked as a children's nurse but gave it up in 1968 to become a singer when she relocated to Belgium. By 1973 she was in house hostess at the Flemish Inn Tavern, Ostend where holidaymakers could enjoy a meal, a beer and a few of Sheena's saucy singalong songs. Only they're not all saucy, some are charming ballads and some are just downright odd. These include I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Cocoanuts where Sheena's in full Shani Wallis-in-Oliver 'Cock-er-ney' mode and the slightly bonkers Hey-Ya-Ho which features the all time classic lines: 'We do the doo-be-doo, we do the kanagaroo' and 'Get your knees in the air, Mother Brown doesn't care'. (I have a mental image of people on the dance floor at The Flemish Inn all falling flat on their tushes with both knees in the air!). Many of the the songs seem to have been specially written for the album. Please Come Back features a nice haunting organ intro and part of Shamrock reminds me of one of those pieces of Chappell Library music used in the last episode of the cult 1960s show The Prisoner (September Ballad).

Most of her records were recorded for the Antwerp-based Baltik label. I love their art department's mad use of graphics and typography. The Belgian version of My Sugar Daddy boasts a beautiful kitsch sleeve with Sheena's disembodied head used as a graphic 'bouncing ball' device. Nice.

My copy of Sheena's second album is signed and dedicated to 'Pearl and Maurice' (although Sheena has mistakenly written 'Paul and Maurice' and the owner, presumably a disgruntled Pearl, has corrected it in blue marker pen to stop people from thinking that she and her husband were a gay couple). The album was clearly purchased at one of Sheena's music nights at The Flemish Innn because inside is a programme of the show. This too has been signed and reveals that Sheena's band at the time were called The Roof Toppers. The evening's entertainment included dancing, singing, special guests and audience participation. Photos show the crowd were encoraged to do a conga-style dance during some of the uptempo numbers (the 'Kangaroo' or the 'Doo-be-doo' perhaps?). There was also a chance to become a 'Knight of The Flemish Inn' where you had to drink a gallon pot of beer and wear a special medal presented by Sheena. After all that beer you should have been given one of her kidneys!

Also you can purchase the wonderfully-named 'Glory Pots' (basically large drinking glasses) to keep as a souvenir of your visit and, best of all, there's an invitation to become a member of the Sheena Scott Fan Club for the meagre sum of 45 pence. Intrigingly the programme also reveals that the Inn boasts an 'exhibition of paper mache heads by Rik Versonnen'. The mind boggles as to what these looked liked!

How I wish I could have witnessed one of those mad nights in The Flemish Inn back in the 70s. If anyone went along to one (or became a member of the SS fan club) I would love to hear about it. But at least we have the records to remind us. So here for your enjoyment is the entire second album (which duplicates a lot of the songs from her debut album, but is altogether better), plus the Belgian single Kijk In Mijn Ogen, and one track each from the other two albums, Casatchok (from 1970) and Yodelay (from 1976).

Optreden Raphaél Moreaux in de Horse inn te Oostende samen met Sheena Scott

Twee oude trams (Eddy Geuvels)

Oostende, Marie Joséplein: Eén van de drie motorpakwagens type 'Goddarville', neemt een motorwagen type S op sleep naar de werkplaats aan de Nieuwpoortsesteenweg.
Zeedijk Mariakerke-Oostende:In de eerste helft van de jaren '70. Motorwagen (S-Oostende) en bijwagen (N-Oostende) doet de navette Oostende-Westende v.v.

Het Leopoldpark (cf Eddy Geuvels)

Het Leopoldpark in Oostende werd tussen 1861 en 1870 aangelegd, gedeeltelijk over de oude stadswallen van Oostende. Het park werd ontworpen door tuinarchitect Louis Fuchs (1818-1904) naar het model van een Engels park, met bruggetjes, wandelwegen en bloemperken. De fraaie muziekkiosk werd in 1885 ingehuldigd. Sinds 1963 vindt ook het wereldberoemde bloemenuurwerk er haar vaste stek. In 2006 werd het Leopoldpark beschermd als monument.

Tearoom Iris (artikel Egide Vanhooren)

Tot september 2004 was tearoom Iris de place to be op Petit Paris. Je kon er terecht voor lekkere ijscoupes en heerlijke wafels en pannenkoeken. Met dank aan ex collega Frederic Bakeroot voor de toestemming gebruik van deze foto's. Het waren zijn ouders die de zaak runden. Als ik het goed voor heb is er nu een café gevestigd.