The rink owner told me I could bring in my own music for Roller DJ to play during my party, and you better believe I did just that. I slaved over this mix for weeks, trying to get it as close to three hours as possible. It started out as a list on paper, just a casual scribbling of possibilities that soon morphed into The Most Important List in the World and had me getting out of bed in the middle of the night to add to it. (So this is why, when Janna said she was going to request the Hokey Pokey, I almost chewed her face off. THERE WAS NO TIME FOR SHENANIGANS! I had it down to the second.)
When I gave Roller DJ the music, I said to him, “I only have one request. Before “Heart & Soul” by T’Pau comes on, can you give me a birthday shout out?” Roller DJ is pretty experienced with me by now, so he just sighed and said sure.
AND HE DID JUST THAT TOO. It was like 1988 all over again, except I was wearing a side pony with an over-sized bow in my hair.
(Why wasn’t I wearing a side pony with an over-sized bow in my hair?)
I really wanted to have some comfort songs from my childhood, back when roller skating was the popular thing to do and didn’t inspire the “Whoa, people still roller skate in 2011?” reaction that I normally get. So I threw on some New Order, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Naked Eyes, the Cure of course, Duran Duran, Mummy Calls, Siouxsie and the Banshees…at one point, the rink owner snagged me during my party (people kept doing this when I was clearly trying to be a dream on wheels!) and said laughingly, “Hey Erin, do you work at a discotheque?”
YES, HOW DID YOU KNOW.
I also wanted to have the other side of the 80’s spectrum: Some Phil Collins/Genesis such as “Tonight Tonight Tonight” and “Easy Lover,” which I was very vocal about missing while I was unwrapping presents. Billy Ocean and Madonna when she was still cool (“Borderline” FTW). Whitesnake and Foreigner to fulfill the monster ballad quota. Some 90s throwbacks in the form of Sophie B. Hawkins and Boyz II Men (Henry wouldn’t skate with me during “End of the Road” even though he knew it was dying wish).
“Return of the Mack” of course. There is no way I will ever not skate to “Return of the Mack.” Quintessential skate jam.
The day before my party, I jokingly tweeted that I even included “Jackie Blue” because I wanted to have something from Barb’s generation to make her happy. Coincidentally, that happened to be the song that was playing when she arrived at the rink. We were both like, “Whaaaaat is happening right now.” (I seriously do love the shit out of that song, though. It backfired though because I think it made Henry feel more at home on the rink. And giving him an enjoyable time is the opposite of my life’s mission.)
And then when Kaitlin arrived with my Robert Smith cake (which stopped me in my tracks, it was so perfect), “The Baby Screams” was playing.
Creepy but awesome.
Of course I wanted to appease everyone with the music selection, especially after Henry lectured me about alienating people. I had some current r&b and pop hits, some Fall Out Boy for Henry’s nieces, Britney Spears and Rihanna, but you know there was that part of me that was itching for my favorites, those songs that make my heart bleed. So I loaded up some Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa and Chiodos as well. I was dying to hear some post-hardcore at the roller rink.
Roller DJ kicked off my party by playing an Emarosa track.
“Not gonna lie, this is pretty cool,” Blake said when I skated past him and pointed up at the speakers.
Near the end of the night, when Jonny Craig’s voice permeated the Roller Drome with the words “Tailored sheets,” Chooch and I screamed in unison from opposite sides of the rink. His voice sounded even more beautiful to me, reverberating off that smooth wooden floor, making my knees all weak. It was the only time of the night I almost fell.
Roller skating to Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance was the best birthday present EVER.