In Stories from the Hill

Ear phones (or pods if you are an Apple fan like me)  are all the rage. Whether you are walking along a street, queuing for a bus or travelling by train or on the tube, you will see many  going about their business listening to streamed or downloaded music on their smartphones. Everyone has their unique playlist(s). “A thousand songs in your pocket” was one of  Steve Jobs’ marketing boasts. We all seem to need a soundtrack for our personal lives and the daily grind.

Of course it used to be iPods and, back in the day, the Sony Walkman. Do you remember Cliff Richard’s video where he  roller-skates to his latest hit single “Wired for Sound (1981)”? It wasn’t always like this. Remember vinyl LPs, EPs and singles (45s)? The former are apparently making something of a resurgence and bucking the trend. And its not just us “golden oldies” who are purchasing them. My 28 year old son Simon has started to build a collection. In my previous blog, Mark Foley, who was on the Hill in the 1960s, spoke eloquently of the weekly, unsupervised Sunday afternoon hike around the Kingham hinterland. Quite often he, or one of  his peers would whisk out a “tranny” (can I still use this term without getting myself in trouble?) and listen to Alan “Fluff” Freeman’s “Pick of the Pops.” It was the nation’s  – weekly Top 20 show (or Hit Parade). I remember the programme well, and managed to listen to all bar the last (No One) song before attending the Sunday evening church service at Brown St Baptist Church, Salisbury.

Today’s video features one of those Hillians from the 1970s who have made it in the music world – both as a band member and a record producer. A few years after leaving Kingham Hill School, Martin “Youth” Glover [Sheffield House 1973-77] found himself playing bass guitar in a number of bands, the most famous of which was the post punk, gothic rock, new wave 80s band, “Killing Joke.” Youth’s “Butterfly Records” label was established, took off and he has produced tracks and albums for “Take That”, “Wet Wet Wet,” Tom Jones, “The Orb”, “System 7”, Maria McKee and Heather Nova. No, I didn’t know all of those names either.  I was, however, impressed when I found out that Youth collaborated with former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney on “The Fireman“a number of years ago. Quite some Curriculum Vitae. 

Back in October I caught up with Martin at his home cum studio that backs on to Wandsworth Common. It wasn’t long before Youth was waxing lyrical to camera about his experiences of Music and Art at Kingham Hill School and those House jazz cellars. Do you remember them? I do. When I was on duty, I used to hang out with the Sheffield boys after  prep  and before prayers and lights out. At Chill on the Hill I met up with Mark Harris (1978-82), who features in the clip of the Jazz Cellar on my short 8mm film. Mark not only remembered me filming him dancing, but amazingly, he also recalled the actual record he was dancing to: ‘Mirror in the bathroom’ by The Beat. Now that is  impressive. The two music tracks that always transport me back in my mind to my short time on the Hill when I hear them are “Denis” by Blondie and, ironically, Pink Floyd’s “We Don’t Need No Education.”

In the video below, Martin Glover speaks about how he took up the guitar and piano at Kingham Hill School and makes some very astute  observations about the value of Art and Music Education then and now. There is also an extract about Martin’s Band “Cloud Four” that he set up at school taken from a School Magazine. I’ll sign off with a quote from  Youth’s video where he says about boarding school pupils having lots of time on their hands and how the pupils ought to be creative and make the most of it:

“You don’t just want to be dealing with academics … so do something creative that helps your imagination grow, like Music .. Art .. It is good to facilitate that and have space for that wherever and whenever the kid wants to do it….. So that’s something to think about for the future and I’d be very up to help set that up. That’s what made it so special for us and why we had so much success in the music world.”    

I hope you enjoy the video and that it brings back some happy memories for you. Do share them below or on Facebook and be sure to meet up with us on June 1st for the second “Chill on the Hill.” By the way, unless I am very much mistaken, Martin is the Sheffield House schoolboy standing behind Gwen Harvey the House Mistress.


Martin “Youth” Glover’s Video


Sheffield House Magazine notes from the Housemaster


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