Certain places give a funny feeling when you return to them decades on. Perhaps it’s something that’s more inside yourself than in the building with its recognisable, old glimpses and smells, even if these are veiled in years of change. I found myself back at the Red Hill Skate Arena for the first time since I last roller skated there when I was 13 in the 1980s. (And in another layer of family history, my Mum and Dad had a ‘skate date’ there back in 1967!)
Before it became a skate arena in the 60s, it was ‘Pop’s Picture Theatre’ from the 1920s, so it seems fitting it’s back to being cinemas once again. So pleased the modest, old building survived a fire and dereliction to live another day. As you may recall from, Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar, when I went to locate the places I was writing about, it was sad to find most had disappeared beneath ash, bulldozers and high-rises – the milk bar, Astoria Café, Regent Theatre and Trocadero to name a few.
Life goes on, change happens, good and bad. And in the same way that the old skate arena has changed, now being middle-aged I’m a long way from that teenage girl in the 80s, but sometimes it’s perhaps good to remember the 13-year-old who loved skating and the history that is within us all and the places we live.