There has been a lot going on lately - not only the horrific Norway attacks, the death of Amy Winehouse, the guy who allegedly cracked the Zodiac killer code, oh yeah and that whole collapse of British society as we know it. Not to mention the fact I have resigned from my job and moved into a beautiful apartment in Brooklyn - things which would be mutually exclusive had I not been rescued by the loving embrace of the Austra-Swedish Empire and therefore will be starting a new job for a Swedish company. So, in light of all that, last night with two friends I decided to escape the oppression of both the heat and the headlines and go to the Gotham Girls Roller Derby, something which up until now has existed in my imagination as either some kind of Studio 54 glitterfest on wheels with a bad disco soundtrack, or a Mad Max-style mass cagefight in a burnt-out carpark in The Bronx. I am happy to report it was neither of these things, although there was a decent helping of sequins, very short shorts, and mock screams of delight when girls would lose control and smash into the audience (ironically, the VIP seats are the most likely to get you a faceful of sweaty skater). In fact, the whole thing has a 50s street kind of vibe: girls in red lipstick, cute headscarfs and sailor tattoos being cheered on by boys in skater shoes, slick haircuts ...and sailor tattoos.
All I can say is, any sport where the cheerleaders (sorry, "jeerleaders") are exclusively brunette, wear head to toe black, hold up signs featuring handcuffs and resist pretty much any physical movement at all is my kind of sport. Despite rather unfathomable rules and a surprising lack of blood, the entire thing was riveting. Each skater (and referee) has a Derby name - my absolute favorite was Angela Slamsbury, followed by Anne Frankenstein and Dainty Inferno, although my friend Kat had a soft spot for Shark Week and the veteran Beyonslay. Craisy Dukes wore (of course) little denim shorts, which Kat and I were rather disappointed were not ripped off with a triumphant flourish at the end of the bout and flung into some unsuspecting rookie's face. Although how she managed to skate in denim shorts at all was beyond us.
This led of course to us choosing our own Derby names. I think I'd probably go with Major Problem or Swede Revenge.
This is definitely not the end of my Roller Derby experience - I plan to scam.. I mean.... legitimately acquire a press pass ("I think you probably just have to ask," says Kat) to get some more up close photos of the action. I even bought a Brooklyn Bombshells tshirt, despite the fact that Brooklyn wasn't up last night. "I live in Brooklyn, plus I like their logo best," I explained to Kat, who agreed it was as good a reason as any.