Sunday? (I don't want to blog about plolitics) night

Richard blogged yesterday about a chap who managed to set off a speed camera on a pair of rollerblades.

Go and watch the video, it's an amazing feat, even though some numpty from some road safety group has to put his little weaner in.

This post peaked my nostalgia because I used to be an avid rollerskater when I was about sixteen. Back in them days it was quad skates, not inlines. Would I be very sad to admit I still own my pair? Oh bollocks, get a load of these babies:


There was a time when I believed there was nothing I couldn't do on a pair of roller boots. I was more adept on my feet wearing them than I was wearing my shoes. Of course that was in the days before health and safety and before New Labour. Back then we could experiment with everything we wanted to and if it went wrong, we got up, nursed the bruises for a while and tried again.

These days you would be stopped from attempting most of the stuff we used to do so you wouldn't have the chance to get good at any of the amazing (modesty aside) stunts we performed.

The roller rink at Darwen Leisure center


was a huge rectangular room separated into two halves; one for the kiddies and one for the experienced skaters.

As a big room it was surrounded by four walls rather than the modern rinks with seating areas etc. It was more a big badminton court that was used for skating at the weekends rather than a purpose built arena.

If you wanted to sit down and not leave the room you had to sit with your back to a wall and your legs out.

When people sat like this we started skating up to them and jumping over their legs. Eventually it became a bit of a stunt we would do. Some people would sit together with their legs out and we would jump over them.

Eventually I managed to jump over fifteen peoples legs. I'm not sure how long that is now but I would imagine about a foot per person.

As more and more people sat down to get involved in the jump they would all challenge you and say I bet you can't do it. I don't know why they sat down if they believed the feat was impossible because if you did fuck up you would land on their legs with your roller boots on. That's gotta hurt.

We did manage to perfect it so if you came up short on the jump you would land arse down on their legs so injuries were kept to a minimum.

You had to do a full circuit of the rink to get up you speed before doing your jump, then do a sharp turn to the left on landing to avoid hitting the wall.

One trick I did that gained a lot of laughs was to intentionally screw up the landing, go arse over tit and then crash through the fire escape door into the street, pick myself up again and walk back in.

Those really were the days.

We also used to get every one together and play a game of British Bulldog, another classic that is now banned. BB is an excellent game to play on roller skates.

Another quite nifty trick we did was to skate in a figure of eight. When we got to the middle, one of us would crouch down and the other would jump over them. That got the teenage girls salivating. (Something that never happens now I'm 35 and my hair is going)

We had been roller skating for about two to three years when an ice arena opened down the road in Blackburn.

Me and my mate Burt (We'll call him Burt for the sake of anonymity. If he's reading this he knows who he is) went there from the very beginning and continued going as often as we could. We wanted to become as good ice skaters as we were roller skaters and to be honest, it wasn't that hard to pick up, it just needed a lot more practice.

Being nippers we didn't have a lot of money. Pocket money rates were a lot lower before the advent of New Labour and the concept of everybody pays for you.

During the summer school holidays you have a lot of time to go ice skating and not enough money to do it.

We had a saying. "The money will come from somewhere". And it always did.

One day we wanted to go skating, we had no money left and all our options were exhausted. We passed a window cleaner and Burt suggested we clean some windows for him for skating money. We had never cleaned a window before but were willing to give it a try so we asked the chap.

He was a bit taken aback at first but warmed to us as nice kids who just wanted to earn a bit of cash. He was adamant we couldn't help with the windows because his customers wouldn't like it. However, he was landscaping his garden and had some bricks to move. He offered to give us £6 to move the bricks.

Ten minutes later we were at his house and his Mrs (rather surprised) showed us where the bricks were. There weren't many but for a couple of young lads with no muscles whatsoever, it was hard bloody work.

Nevertheless, a few couple of hours later we were down the rink. Burt said, "It's right. No matter what happens, the money will be there".

And it was. And we never even contemplated nicking a penny of it.

So anyway, I digress.

We started learning ice skating as well as roller skating. That never quite paid the dividends that skating on a pair of quads did.

Remember the trick I told you about the figure of eight?

We decided to see if we could do that on the ice. At first we thought it would be better to go to the top of the rink where there were few people and practice doing it in a straight line, facing each other so we didn't have to worry about getting the timing right for the jump.

We faced off together a few times and did the jump flawlessly. One of us would do the crouch and the other would do the jump and we would take it in turns.

One time we had a little lack of communication and we both did the jump. After the horrendous crash, the sickening sound of severely twisted bones and the explosion of busted noses, a little kid skated up to us and said,

"What did you do that for?"

We didn't have an answer for him.

It wasn't long before we discovered alcohol. The ice arena, when it fist opened boasted the longest bar in Europe and we took to it very well.

That's the place where I met some of the people who I today refer to as best friends, but that's another story.

As for the amazing feat of roller skating on Richards blog, could I still do that now?

I reckon so :-)

You can't go back to your youth but you can keep the boots.

2 Comments:

Angry Exile said...

Bucko said...