Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Rink Rat

One of my blog friends once told me that she likes my website but it's strange how I really don't talk about myself much. I was a little confused about that. I thought I couldn't be any more meta on here. But time to part the veil of history and reveal something about my past. I was a Rink Rat.A Roller Rink Rat.

Recently, a flood of memories has returned due to a recent post from TranceJen. She recalled the days of her youth spent at the local Roller Rink.

So I wrote her back describing my days :

Hey Jen,

Read your all skate post...I actually worked at a roller rink from 1981-1983.This was back in the day of four wheels on a skate not rollerblades. I was the DJ . I was "Mike the Music Man" I had a whole spiel I had to say to the crowd I still can recite it:

"Good afternoon and welcome to the Hamburg Roller Rink. Before we get started there are a few rules to go over.

Rule 1.Please keep all food and drink in the snack bar area
Rule 2. No combs or brushes may be sticking out of your back pockets.
Rule 3. No backward skating but we'll have a backward skate later in the session Rule 4. Please play attention to all the floor guards directions
and Rule 5. No fast skating, pushing, shoiving or tripping. Your floor guards today are Eddie and Flex and I'm Mike the Music Man. If you'd like to request a song please leave them at the skate rental desk."

"This next skate will be an all skate - all skate slowly and carefully please."

AC/DC - "You Shook Me All Night Long" was great to start off an all skate with..for Couple skates the best songs to play were Reo Speedwagon- "Keep on Loving You" and Journey's "Open Arms" . Anything by Journey, Loverboy, Ac/Dc,Bob Segar,J. Geils Band or whatever was popping up on MTV was popular(This was also the early years of MTV and whatever was hot on that was played by us)

"Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang was big for the "boogie skates" along with "Super Freak" and "Give it to me Baby" by Rick James. When the Thriller Album came out You could play anything off it and people went nuts.Michael Jackson was still black.

I did a 1-4 afternoon shift for younger kids then a 7-11 shift for high school kids every Saturday and Sunday. I learned to master Pac- Man, Ms. Pac Man, Centipede, Defender, Tank Command, and Dig Dug there in their game room.

I ended each shift with Van Halen's version of "Happy Trails" from the Diver Down album.

Those were amazing days and almost 25 years later I still stay in touch with old Rink Rats.

The roller rink itself met an unfortunate end. I would go back and work there some summers in the mid eighties.

In 1986- the new owner asked to see me and the other DJ. He led us into the soundbooth and asked for us to show him the "Devil Music" he was a born again christian and banned rock. We quit on the spot. NOBODY would go to the rink then. They played organ music and weird Jesus rock.

The crowds went from 800 kids a weekend to like 20. The place was out of business in 3 months. Nice going Ned Flanders. The building was sold and bulldozed to build a KMart.

Then the KMart went under a few years later and that was bulldozed. *sigh* It's an empty parking lot now.

So that's my rink rat past. Whenever I go back to Buffalo to visit family we usually drive by the place where the rink stood. After being together for so long Mrs. Pratt always beats me to the story now.

Mrs. Pratt:"Yes, yes I know. That's where the rink was and the kmart was there and now it's gone.blah blah blah."

Oh well ...I can Backward Skate and She can't.

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