You gotta roll with it

It's time to dig out those legwarmers and get down to it, because, as Josie Hill discovers, the '80s rollerdisco is making a comeback

To claim I am a novice at roller skating would be a bit of a lie; I remember having those extendable skates which you strapped on to your trainers and that could 'grow' as your feet got bigger. I also remember how if you did not tighten the screws properly they would split in two when you were skating.

Then later on, in my early 20s, and during the mid 1990s when skates were out and blades were in, I took up the latter as a hobby and used to hang out in London's Hyde Park attempting 180s and watching the pros do tricks with their ghettoblasters on pure hip hop mode.

So for a one time blader and all time disco fan I was surprised to hear that roller disco was coming to Preston.

Roller discos became popular in the late 70s and peaked in the early 80s - riding on the back of the disco music phenomenon which took hold of dancefloors across the Western world with hits like Boogie Nights and Disco Inferno.

The last and possibly the longest running permanent roller disco was the Roxy in New York, which closed it's doors in April last year.

Meanwhile in this country roller discos are seeing something of a revival.

In the North West, the Preston based Superfunk Rollerdisco has been putting on events since last September, expanding from a weekly night in Manchester, to Nottingham, Liverpool, and most recently Preston.

I couldn't resist dusting off my skates - especially when it was made clear that 80s clothing was encouraged... and alcohol was being served.

On the night roller fans were out in force and they dressed to impress in wigs, lycra and the obligatory leg warmers.

It all got off to a good start as the DJ pumped out disco hits, the beer started flowing and I remembered how much fun skating is... then a birthday balloon put a spanner in the works.

About an hour into the show and just as most of us who had not skated since our tender years got used to the idea of having wheels attached to our feet, the fire alarm sounded and everybody was forced to skate into the adjacent car park, sit down, take off our boots and await further instructions.

Those who had 'had a few' found this situation hilarious and carried on skating despite the insistence that they stop from a small orange-clad team of 'skate-supervisors' and slightly disoriented looking medics - or fell over and sprawled across the tarmac in their array of fluorescent disco garb.

A pair of 'tennis players' in McEnroe guises entertained the crowds with a mock game of tennis and everybody checked out everyone else's outfits (and legs) before we were all called back in again to resume skating.

Then after just five minutes the alarm went off again. After a third false alarm the culprit was discovered - a helium balloon, which was promptly speared by a security guard to the cheers of the crowd below.

It was a night of mixed fortunes and interuptions, which was a pity because when things were good, they were great.

Had the alarms gone off while I was watching a Shakespearean play I might have been more annoyed, but it was pure unintended slapstick comedy in the end.

As for health and safety, the organisers did pretty well in keeping the several hundred half-drunk wheel-clad skaters safe.

Event organiser Ian Williams said: "All in all Preston went well - it was a very good test for us to keep the show going with all the problems we had."

* Superfunk Rollerdisco will be returning to Preston at some point in the near future. For more pictures of the night and more details of future events visit: