Saturday, 7 November 2009

Granny Takes A Trip 1980

This CD, issued by Allan Henry's imprint Topplers (perhaps best known for releases by former Swell Maps Jowe Head and Phones Sportsman), on their "cheap and nasty offshoot label" Topplers Lite, comes in a card cover upon which is reproduced the lovely colourful artwork from an old Hong Kong-manufactured "C-60 Compact Cassette" - an Eltex Space Tape (there's a fantastic web site, a gallery devoted to such recordable cassettes - it shows the inlays if you click on the pictures of the tapes to enlarge them :
The disc itself is unusual as it's black rather than the typical silver, its label side cleverly designed to resemble a five-track vinyl record, with raised, feelable grooves.
In 2004, the cassette in question was unearthed in a Kilmarnock charity shop, and an edited version released by Topplers Lite in 2008; my copy is the '09 reissue (no catalogue number visible), the full recording with new music added. Sometimes this music is gentle and unobtrusive beneath the dialogue, other times it's a little more bubbly, makes its presence felt slightly more. Said dialogue is a day-to-day diary documenting an unknown Scottish woman's holiday in Europe : she visits France, Belgium and The Netherlands, a bit of a whistle-stop tour, seemingly. In her delightful accent, we hear details of her travels, learn of the various hotels, one "the full length of the street" with 290 bedrooms; of the weather; of what she had for breakfast and dinner - each meal almost invariably concluding with a cup of tea; of her inability to work the lift as she couldn't read the French-language instructions; of her impressions of the French (a lack of friendliness); about her having been told not to drink the water in foreign countries; of the dirtiness of Belgium; of the coronation of the new Dutch Queen (Beatrix); of a visit to an 81-year-old Mae West, who turned out to just be a woman who dressed up as her; of the Dutch flower market; and of the exploitative prices of certain things - "£23 for a headsquare ! It was ridiculous !". We also get guide book descriptions of the places Granny visits, including their populations, and we hear her chatting and joking with a couple of fellow holidaymakers. Prize quote for me has to be, in a French hotel, "I had twenty-eight potatoes on my plate !"

This release doesn't appear to be available any more.

Topplers :

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