by susskins

grace2.jpgThere are as many styles of coasters as there are styles of music. Let's discuss that a bit, shall we? SHALL WE?

I've mentioned before that I had originally thought coasters would be smooth gliding waltzes, and then discovered that they were more like Motorhead. That's fair, given my experiences then. I have since discovered that there ARE waltzes.

In Blackpool, England, there's a seaside amusement park called Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Blackpool is an old working-class resort community, a gathering place for the lower classes. The amusement park reflects that. BPB is over a hundred years old, and is blatant and loud. (Much like Blackpool.) Being limited in space, the park has grown into itself. Rides are on levels, wound into and around each other.

In this jumble of noisy machinery is a very old coaster called Roller Coaster. A simple name for a simple ride. Roller Coaster has no restraints.
grace3.jpg Think about all the rides you've ridden, be they ferris wheels or coasters or scramblers. They all have some form of restraint, don't they? Lap bars, straps, seat belts, shoulder harnesses. Even Carousels have straps for the kiddies nowadays. Have you ever ridden a coaster without at least a lap bar?

So imagine my mild intimidation at boarding an old wooden coaster with nothing more than a grab bar on the seat back in front of me. Plush bench seats, four to a car. Old wood, painted white. And absolutely nothing preventing me from standing up or bouncing out.

I needn't have worried. The ride was a true Waltz. The hills were gentle, the drops were easy, the tracking was buttery. Truthfully, it was a bit boring. And yet fun. An old coaster, a relic from that tightly-cinched era of button shoes and covered bodies. A long glide out to a turnaround, and then another glide back, with gently undulating hills.

It's a unique ride, built in 1933, utilizing some structure from an even older coaster called The Velvet Coaster. grace4.jpg I pointed out earlier that Roller Coaster has no restraints. That's a bit misleading. It HAD no restraints. It now has seat belts, though they're mainly for insurance purposes. The only thing they will do is point out deliberate rider misconduct.

It's about as likely to toss a rider as a backyard swing. You know, the one you jumped out of when you were six?

Keith lives in some really cold state where he sings "Rollercoaster of Love" (original version) at karoake bars on Friday nights.


Just the idea of a rollercoaster without restraints is kinda crazy, regardless. Nice one Keith!


No restraints! Jeebus.

The control freak inside me is rocking back and forth, demanding her meds.

The other one is looking up airplane ticket prices.


No restraints = michele running away from ride.


no restraints! Hell yeah! Get me on a plane! I always felt kinda ripped off on coasters, because of the restraints.


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