IT WAS lovely to hear that the famous Silver Blades Ice Rink in Birmingham is to re-open again after a seven-year absence.
I recently hit 40 and the news brought back vivid memories of the early teenage years I spent at that wonderful Pershore Street venue.
I grew up in Cannock, Staffordshire, and the big city of Birmingham seemed a long way away to us semi-suburban kids back then.
But every Sunday night a gang of us would gather at a bus stop in Chadmsoor and catch a specially laid on double-decker to Silver Blades.
When we got on, it was virtually empty. But by the time we’d arrived in Brum it was packed with noisy, excited, kids who had also been picked up along the way.
I seem to remember we paid as little as £1 for a return ticket, which even in the recession-hit times of the 1980s made the trip affordable.
The night itself was fun from beginning to end. Even waiting in the long queues for hire skates whetted your appetite for the laughs you were about to have on the rink.
Despite all my visits I was never anything more than average on my blades, but you would see some outstanding young skaters.
They usually had their own super-shiny blades and they’d dart in and out of us wobblers, throwing shapes and making jumps that were truly impressive.
Back then Silver Blades was packed with children, teens and young adults, with only a few older folk about.
We would all bomb round the rink as cheesy tunes blasted from the deafeningly loud sound system, that would never pass health and safety tests today!
Yet despite so many young people being brought together from across the region, I never once saw any fighting or trouble.
There were no border rivalries or gangs as everyone was just there to skate, have a giggle with friends – and sometimes enjoy an innocent bit of flirting with the opposite sex.
I stopped going to Silver Blades when I was old enough to discover pubs. But I still look back at those nights as some of the most magical and memorable of my childhood.
I hope the kids of today have similar experiences at the new venue. Who knows, they may even spot a 40 year-old skater wobbling along on the ice...
MICHAEL SMITH, LICHFIELD
Article originally featured on www.sundaymercury.net
Last Updated: 20th October 2010 9:34am