Every other weekend my parents used to take my brothers and I to the next town over to the Magnum Leisure Centre. There was a swimming pool with ludicrously dangerous flumes and slides, a tropical pool, soft play, bouncy castles, a theatre, a cinema, indoor bowls, tennis, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, indoor football, and (best of all) an ice rink.
It really is utterly disgusting that the local council have allowed the place to become almost entirely dilapidated.
There are some things I associate with others. In this instance it’s the Magnum juke box and ice skating. Some tunes will forever be painted in my mind as ‘Ice Rink Music’.
Looking back over my childhood, skating was one of the few times* I was exposed to contemporary popular culture. In the car Dad listened to BBC Radio Scotland or the numerous albums he had on tapes dating back to the mid-60’s when he had begun his collection. He didn’t, however, seem to care much for the musical goings on of the previous decade. The most recent album of his that had crept into the car was Auberge by Chris Rea. Mum, on the other hard, was slightly more up to date, with a couple of Annie Lennox albums and an Alison Moyet tape gracing the car stereo. My favourite tape in the car was probably Billy Joel’s “Storm Front”. “We didn’t start the fire” had everything; upbeat, fast lyrics, famous people, historical events, and it had the word fire in it, and fire is exciting, especially to a 7 year old.
*I have a vague recollection of being taken to a Radio One Road Show down Ayr beach…
Exposure to the chart music of the day was an almost alien experience. Other people chose to spend their 50p on 3 minutes of 2 Unlimited or Deee-Lite. Not exactly my cup of tea, but the locals seemed right into it. At the end of the day, it wasn’t too dissimilar to the dance music forced upon us at birthday parties I attended throughout primary school, so some folk must like it. I didn’t really see (or hear!) the appeal. I held a little more interest in selections that displayed a little more human musicality; Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, REM, and anything else that featured a guitar or two.
In all honesty, I’m not sure how much of a bearing most of this music has had on the direction and flavour of my adult tastes. All I know is that the bassline to “Ice Ice Baby” swims around my head when I’m pottering about on my skates, and when I do hear something of that pop era “Ice Rink Music” springs immediately to mind.
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