Ebony and Ivory and the most ridiculous school assembly ever

April 11, 2011

The year is 1985. Some of you aren’t even born, but I’m at a secondary school in South London.

A few miles away, the second Brixton riots have begun.

Lots of the kids at my school live in Brixton, and we all have to get the same bus to Clapham Junction after school. One night some of the kids start rioting on the bus. The driver closes the door and we’re all trapped on there. The police are called, arrests are made.

The next day, one of the kids brings an axe to school. It’s clear things are getting out of control.

Now this is the kind of school where Ken Livingstone once flew in by helicopter to give a talk to the sixth form, and the Daily Fail sent in a reporter disguised as a teacher to do an expose.

Sensing that passions are running high, the teachers decide to host a school assembly.

We listen to a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah, there’s lots of talk of respect, some of us start to nod off.

Then it happens. Just when we think we’re nearing the end, someone presses ‘play’ on a tape recorder and the familiar intro of one of the cheesiest pop songs of all time blares out.

Toes curl around the assembly hall. Most of the kids in that room are used to listening to lover’s rock, to ska and reggae. It is possibly the most cringe-inducing moment any of us will ever endure in our lifetimes.

Because they forced us to listen to this.

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  • Rachel Nixon April 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Utterly Hilarious! Strangely, I was growing up in Clapham Junction around the same time, went to school over the river though….small world.

  • karen April 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Oh no, they made you listen to that?? Oh dear! I remember the Brixton riots. I was at boarding school in Scotland. We were usually allowed to watch the news, in the evenings after tea, but the headmaster banned us from watching it, while it was all happening. Seems so long ago.

  • Liz April 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    At least Abba was vaguely cool. Back then Macca was definitely not cool.

  • Toybuzz April 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Would you believe I used to sing that song in primary school at assembly!

    Along with all the usual hymns, we used to have to sing this, I get by with a little help from my friends and…..Fernando?