13. Urban Hype – Trip To Trumpton

My glow-in-the-dark alarm clock was usually set for 6.45am on Saturday mornings, earlier than on a weekday. Sleep matters not to a seven year old, especially where television is concerned*. I would sneak downstairs without waking up my parents and hover round the telly in the kitchen for several hours, sometimes managing a continuous run up until The Chart Show at lunchtime. I had my favourites (Once Upon A Time…Life, Babar The Elephant, The Herb Garden) and my not-so-favourites (David the sodding Gnome) that I watched anyway. I rarely made any distinction between older repeats and new programmes – they were all new to me.

Such was my first exposure to Camberwick Green, Chigley and of course Trumpton. I found all three inferior to The Herbs, and generally tutted at the frequent schedule swaps in favour of the former. I doubt I was the only child my age with such a devotion to early morning animation, but surprisingly few of my peers recall anything about Trumpton except its use in Urban Hype’s Big Hit Single. Luckily the sample contains enough material to give a general gist of the plot and major characters (though tragically omitting mention of Miss Lovelace’s mischevious dogs).

A broadcast slot of 7am on Saturday will of course appeal to two groups: early risers such as my seven year old self, and frazzled clubbers who haven’t been to bed yet. So it doesn’t take much logic to deduce where Urban Hype and their toytown-techno compatriots got their inspiration from. Indeed, last weekend at a similar ungodly hour in the morning, there I was enthusiastically dancing to a mash-up of Snow’s ‘Informer’ and the Thomas The Tank Engine theme tune. Looking at the television schedules for that morning I’m sure that someone out there is remixing the theme tune to The Hoobs as we speak.

If you treat ‘Trip To Trumpton’ merely as chin-stroking irony then the joke gets tiring pretty quickly. But of course ‘Trumpton’ was never designed for listeners with attention spans longer than 5 seconds, let alone critical dissection: a woozy meander down the crowd noise/piano hands amnesia path is pulled up short by Brian Cant’s “Suddenly!” and back we are into bouncy dayglo cartoon land. By the inclusion of this track, Rave ’92 gives an honest glimpse of cheerful rave nostalgia – comparatively, Smart-E’s ‘Sesame’s Treet’ has aged far worse, possibly by over-using the original plodding melody.

Which brings us halfway through this compilation and ready to fast forward through 15 seconds of blank cassette tape. Now for a cleverly apt finishing sentence linking this entry to today’s political events! How about: “There,” says the Mayor, “that’s the end of side 1.”

Watch the video to ‘Trip To Trumpton’ on Youtube

*Christmas Day 1988 saw me downstairs and happily perched in front of Timmy Mallett at a record time of 5.05am. Magic the cockatiel was wearing a piece of tinsel on his quiff.