Summer Holiday

If we took a holiday, reckons Madonna, it would be, it would be so nice. It’d be way better if we could lose the hanger-on. Can you be deported from Whitby?

Illustration: Fat Roland

“We’re all going on a summer holiday” sings Cliff Richard on ‘Summer Holiday’, despite the song charting in February 1963, a month as summery as a polar bear humping a sled. For most people, holidaying means package jaunts to Malaga, lounging by child-infested hotel pools, sun-cracked skin flaking into watered-down Pina Coladas. Horrible. Thankfully, Cliff has much better taste.

According to the lyrics of ‘Summer Holiday’, his idea of a vacation involves unwinding on the back seat of a double decker bus guzzling ice cream and shoving candy floss down his trousers. Probably. Never listened to the song.

I do like the idea of a traditional English seaside holiday, though. Eating overcooked fish and chips paint-stripped with vinegar, building sandcastles on sewage-streaked beaches, hearing kids scream at TB-ridden donkeys, admiring beach-balled bellies wedged into inflatable rings, chortling at seagulls using bottles of sunblock as lube, clambering to a viewing platform of a tourist tower and going, “Oh, is that it?”. I can smell the bank holiday traffic jams now. Lovely.

Electronic music is brilliant at holidays. ‘Theme From S-Express’, the signature song by Mark Moore’s acid house popsters S’Express, opens with a vocal sample saying “Enjoy this trip, enjoy this trip… and it is a trip, and it is a trip”. The trip they are raving about is a National Express coach journey to Whitby beach.

Moore famously loves boozy singalongs up duel carriageways, with the musty air conditioning and one-hour toilet breaks at York services. As their follow-up hit ‘Superfly Guy’ chants, “He is mad, he is smooth, he’s the man that makes you move as long as it’s on the designated A-Z route”. Like a coach hastily speeding past Hull, it doesn’t stop there.

Urban Hype’s frantic toytown techno hit ‘A Trip To Trumpton’ raises some important holiday points too. Is Trumpton better than Center Parcs? Are there chalets? Is there a water slide? Does it have a little shop where I can buy tea towels with different trees on? If I survive a week in Trumpton, do I get a half-price windmill timeshare in Camberwick Green? There’s a lot of talk of trips on the rave scene, and it gladdens my heart that the kids are so respectful of journey planning.

Brian Eno isn’t interested in buses or coaches. Brian makes music for airports. This gives plane passengers something really big and high to listen to. Ever seen stewards pointing down aisles and at emergency exits? They’re throwing shapes to the ambient classics, man.

Eno’s airside ambience helps drown out noisy skies full of screeching seagulls, wayward drones and clouds waffling about how great it is to be 
a cloud. It’s lovely that Brian did something for the planes. They look so 
lonely up there.

Of course, if I was a proper electronic music nut, I’d be writing this column from a Sangría-soaked bar in Ibiza, some washed-up ex-Hacienda DJ hanging off my arm.

I’d be in a hammock slung between sagging palm trees while a well-trained starfish battered out all this nonsense on a typewriter. No, Stanley, you can’t appeal to Electronic Sound readers for clams, keep writing, dammit.

Maybe I should take the advice of Underworld’s ‘A Hundred Days Off’ album. Take a break. Paddle on a beach. Make a knotted handkerchief hat. Have my blisters nibbled by jellyfish. Stick seashells up my nose. Push a pensioner off a pier. All the good old-fashioned traditional English holiday things.

Goodness knows I’ve earned it, right, readers? I might even send you a postcard.

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