Grange Hill – soundsystem session

“Only Glenroy’s records get played on Glenroy’s soundsystem!”

Young ‘uns and those outside the UK may not know that Grange Hill was an eighties kids’ TV series set in a London secondary school.

It was hugely popular and responsible for lots of school children outside of London adopting comedy mockney accents.

I’d completely forgotten this 1984 episode featuring a reggae soundsystem, but here it is thanks to youtube and Ras Stan on the Blood & Fire Board. Glenroy flings down some raw rub a dub and lovers rock as a backdrop to the end of term shenanigins.

I’m amazed it hasn’t been sampled to death already, frankly.

Easy to forget how massive soundsystem was back then – this 1981 NME cover story featured all the big names – Jah Shaka, Fatman and Coxsone Outernational, alongside a directory of over 100 sounds from across London. Alas, no mention of Glenroy, though!

Reggae’s influence didn’t just appear in Grange Hill with Sir Glenroy Hi-Fi either – this reminded me of another episode in which a rasta pupil at the school did an exhibition about his faith which lead to a brief exchange with the Headmistress about Haile Selassie: “to us, he is Jah!”.

For a lot of suburban white kids these episodes of Grange Hill, and perhaps a 5th generation VHS tape of Babylon would have been splinters of light coming through doorways which lead to other worlds…


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