“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…