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Get yer skates on!

In case you didn’t know, Manchester has a Roller Disco. Apparently it’s where all the cool kids are going these days…

Published on March 5th 2007.

Get yer skates on!

Like a scene from Fame, on the ‘cheese factor’ scale this is most definitely a rich and smelly stilton. Billie Rox Roller Disco is reminiscent of a youth club disco. Giddy teenagers, sweating, scantily clad and smashed. Not that people were underaged; I’m pretty sure most were between 18-25; but seemingly as soon as your foot goes into a roller skate, the child within is unleashed!

On entering the disco, you immediately feel out of place wearing footwear with no wheels on the bottom. This would explain the massive queue for skates. However once fully kitted out, the novelty of skating round and round monotonously to Peter Andre’s ‘Mysterious Girl’ wears off quite quickly. Plus it gets so jam packed that the skating really isn’t all that energetic. To be honest I’ve seen grannies in the Arndale on zimmer frames moving faster. But alas, for the frustrated, more advanced skaters (who up until this point have been stuck in rush hour skating traffic) the floor is cleared whilst they get to whiz round to more up-tempo tunes. NB. When ‘I like to move it, move it’ is playing, there’s no room for slow coaches.

On seeing a jovial young girl go from head over heels to wheels over head, as she hurtled to the floor, it occurred to me that this place is quite possibly a law suit waiting to happen. Alcohol fuelled roller discos don’t make for steady legs. But with safety a priority, DJ Phat Pat made regular announcements of ‘If someone falls over, help em up!’ As you can imagine this didn’t prevent someone getting stretchered out with a dislocated knee. Nevertheless, Billie Rox tries to keep the A&E queue to a minimum by using acrylic glassware and decantering all glass bottles. We wouldn’t want anyone to have a nasty accident now would we.

For those not daring enough to skate, you can spectate by the bar and have a laugh at everyone else. The advantage of student haunts like this one is that they have some brilliant drinks offers on such as £1 a pint, 80p vodka/mixer and 2-4-1 deals. However, should you need to venture to the toilet, be warned, it is like surfing through a sea of spandex. Hardcore skaters do not let a small staircase get in the way of them skating to the loos. I personally recommend that you let go of your inhibitions and roll the night away. If you can’t beat em, join em!

And if you decide to try it out my advice would be to get there early. This place gets packed and once they’ve run out of skates it’s a long wait for people to return them.

Billie Rox Roller Disco on Portland Street takes place every Tuesday and Thursday with entry of £2 for those that get there early. There is a selection of roller blades available for hire at £5 per pair and over 150 pairs of roller skates to choose from for hire at £3, or you can bring your own. Don’t cringe at the leg warmers and sweatbands dress code. It’s a roller disco for goodness sake!

Lynda Moyo

106-108 Portland Street
M1 6DF
0161 2282036

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