Sunday, 25 February 2018


Musicwise 1967 stands out in my mind as the year the Beatles' iconic album “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released. There was a rush among the students at university, myself included, to get a tape copy of the album to coax us more or less gently through study time leading up to the exams... Luckily by that time I was the proud owner of a sturdy Grundig tape recorder.

During the Summer of 1967, -the so called Summer of 'Love'- when the US was rocked by race riots, also the end was in sight for most of the British offshore stations. I took a job to help pay for my studies, working for two months at the Sportland Lunapark on the seafront in Blankenberge. At the time many British holiday makers flocked to the popular Belgian seaside resort and were regulars at the games hall. Among them one of the sons of Spike Milligan. I also made the acquaintance of quite a few Southwalians like Nigel Jones from Barry Island and Michael Hibbs (photo) who lived at Treherbert in the Rhondda. For any Flemish readers of this blog I can further add that also the famous revue artist Charles Janssens (1906-1986) religiously played a few games at Sportland after finishing his performance at Blankenberge's well known Wit Paard.

At the games arcade I had opted for the late shift which meant I was working from 5 in the afternoon until about 3 at night. As a result I had most of the day to go to the beach and tune in to the 'pirates'. Cycling home at night I used to carry two small transistor radios in my pocket, listening to Caroline in one ear and to Big L in the other.

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