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Sexual healing in Ostend

It has been on my mind for a long time. Especially during those last months in Toronto, while making lists of things to do when I'm back in Belgium. But when I arrived in my homeland, I was so busy visiting friends I kind of forgot about it. On the first of January the radio played 'sexual healing' and I remembered: THAT's my new year's resolution!

Three days later, my friend Katy and I hopped on a train to the beautiful Belgian coast for a day of freezing our faces off, warming up with pancakes and Marvin Gaye's sweet voice whispering in our ears. Finally! the Marvin Gaye tour, the reason I went to Ostend more than once before, only to get distracted by the ocean and Belgian waffles, I forgot why I was there in the first place. For Marvin! The soul legend who turns me into a dancing queen every time I hear his music. The man who makes me lose my voice whenever I enter a karaoke bar, because there is no way I can hit notes that high. But I try anyway. For Marvin.

What many people don't realise, it that this god of sensual songs used to live in Belgium. In Ostend, of all places. The perfect location to get away from drugs, women, night life and depression. Not that the grey coastal city is the most exciting place in the world, but Marvin had a small community of people who cared for him. They made him feel at home in our little Belgium.

Katy and I pick up two iPods at the info centre and instantly turn into tourists, following streets we've never explored before and taking pictures like mad. The tour guides us along apartments he used to live in, like the one with ocean view where he wrote 'sexual healing'. The sexiest song on earth is written in the least sexy place on earth. Belgium, you never cease to surprise me.

In the mean time, we watch videos of concerts in Ostend where Marvin only attracted half the amount of people he had hoped for. Other concerts in Belgium were cancelled because there weren't enough interested people. If only I lived in the eighties and had a voice that could yell for days, I would follow that man around all over town. Now all that's left of his time in Belgium is a marvellous guided tour, heart warming stories and music that makes even the most boring person dance and scream for sexual healing.

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