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I have great memories of Silver Blades in the 70s.
I was born raised in Rugeley and in 1974 started at Hagley Park Comprehensive. Not long after start of term a notice went up for an ice skating trip to Silver Blades. It was only 50p. which included the coach there and back and entry which seems pretty cheap even at 1974 prices. The coach left the school gates at 6:00 PM which got us to Silver Blades around 7. I can remember getting off the coach and walking up the ramp just as the queues were starting - because we'd pre-booked we were allowed to go straight to the front.
When we got in the skating had normally just started. Sometimes if we were a bit early there used to be some figure skaters (I assume they were part of a club based at the rink) just finishing off their session.
When you got in you went down the left side of the rink to the skate hire. On the way you passed a counter that sold ice cream and drinks - I was always impressed with how many ice-cream flavours they sold.
I remember the boots being very hard on your feet - I had blisters after my first visit and after that used to wear 2 pairs of socks plus football socks. Once the boots were on it was straight onto the ice. The first time I went I spent the whole night falling over and clinging to the sides but I soon improved and after about a dozen visits I was able to go on the speed session without being chucked off! The DJ was on the far side of the rink and if you asked him he would play requests - I used to ask for 'motorbikin' by Chris Spedding and he usually obliged.
We had to leave at 10:30. Before we left we would always go upstairs to the cafe for chips & gravy. The cafe was up a double flight of stairs and at the half-way landing there was a massive picture of John Curry on the wall.
I'm not joking when I say that these were the best nights of my young life! When you grow up in a place like Rugeley going to Birmingham is really exciting. My parents never drove and at 11 this was the first time I'd been to 'The Big City'. The great thing was we were totally unsupervised the whole night. 2 of our teachers came on the trip but after we arrived we never saw them agin until leaving time. I later found that as soon as we arrived they went straight to the bar and stayed there all night - I can't imagine a bunch of 11 - 14 year olds being left unsupervised all night happening now!
I probably went about 30-40 times between 1974 & 1977. I moved to the North-west and haven't been to Birmingham for over 15 years - is the rink still there? I seem to remember it being called 'Ice Magic' for several years.
I remember Alex's in late 66. I was rocker and later67/68 they all started hanging out at a church in Deritend called St Basils which went under the name double zero club. i got engaged there they started to take blood to the hospitals on their bikes
I think a good amount of us went to the Silver Blades, but for some reason I biggest memory from there was My Ding A Ling getting played over and over as the Beeb had banded it, for those it was a song by Chuck Berry