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HEADLINE THINGY

This is the standfirst what says what is what and that and has names of people DONE BIGGLY plus all kinds of other stuff blah blah say three lines worth of 12-point type that’s what this is oh yes indeed. Hello hello hello and so on and so forth. Despite having lived in Brighton for three years whilst doing the world’s most pointless degree (English and Film Studies at Sussex), I didn’t actually ‘get into’ derby until I’d moved back to London. I’d heard of the Brighton Rockers, and was impressed by the high calibre of punning in the team-names (Chariot Sophia? Chaka Carnage? These are my kind of people), but hadn’t seen it in action. I got the bug, though. And the bug got more intense after I bumped into the London Roller Girls on a flight to Berlin and they told me it was several different kinds of awesome. So after months of going “ooh that looks interesting”, my bug developed into a full-blown derby addiction: I spent hours watching jams on YouTube, came up with hundreds of pun-tastic derby names for myself, and trundled round and round Dulwich Park in the rain trying to break in my new roller-skates (which is a terrible idea, for the record.) I had visions of my low centre of gravity and hefty backside coming in useful, speeding around the track like a sparkly bullet leaving the opposing team to cough on my dust. Kids wear roller-skates. How hard could it be? Imagine having a game of Twister with Ryan Gosling on Space Mountain. Roller derby is more fun than that. After three weeks, I’ve made so many new friends I’ve lost count. Although starting any new sport can be scary – especially when you see just how fast those big girls go, and feeling like you’ll never be that cool – it stops being intimidating and becomes ludicrously funny when there’s two of you trying to hold a conversation with gumshields in. The more seasoned members of the league – Daylight Throbbery, Angel DDelight and Gin Atomic, amongst others - were very sympathetic considering just exactly how crap we all must have been. Skidding off track at full speed and crashing onto the floor for what felt like the hundredth time, I felt a flash of panic – had I felt my thumb crack? Did it

look slightly off-centre compared to the other one? Would I ever play piano again? “That looks like it’s going blue,” remarked Daylight Throbbery, in the exact tone of voice my mum uses when saying “this cardigan would look nice on you.” Through some miracle, and despite my impressive show of whimpering and holding an ice-pack to my thumb (which has made a miraculous recovery), I got accepted into the training programme – which means that I will now spend five hours a week learning how to make someone fall on their face using only my right hip. I’m no sports-dodger by any means – I have two silver medals for fencing, which I let myself gloat about twice a year. But I’ve never, ever been part of a sport where I’ve leapt out of bed first thing in the morning just to do the exercises. I do those planks every single damn day. I accumulate hours in derby stance. I’ve only done it for a few weeks and already I feel more disciplined and more dedicated than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ve even started doing pilates, for god’s sake. Do yourself a favour – buy a crappy pair of rollerskates and some all-important pads and get thee to your local fresh meat trials. Or, failing that, go and see a bout – and bring a spare pair of knickers.


HELLO READER

GET INTO TURN TWO Ooh look, we’re back. Many thanks for all the nice words about issue one, and to all the contributors for both that issue and this. Turn Left wouldn’t exist without the input of awesome photographers, illustrators, columnists, and star names from not just the Brighton Rockers, but many other leagues who provide answers to our interview questions. Cheers! Also, we might give the hard copy of this mag away, but it costs £250 to get printed, and we rely on advertisers to help cover enough of that to make the mag viable. Not only has everyone from issue one re-advertised (thank you!) but we also have new advertisers, such as the Dig For Victory fashion emporium opposite. In fact, we’ve exactly covered the whole print bill this time out (issue one fell £75 short) yay! So please dispense extra love to the advertisers in any way you can. A side effect of fitting in extra ads plus more interviews than ever is that our Rockers chants now live at the bottom of each page. Just ’cause the writing’s smaller doesn’t mean you should sing them any quieter! Want more? You’ll find lengthy reports on brightonbrats.com a few days after each bout, plus full away previews and more. You can also find us (brightonBRATS) on Twitter and Facebook or at brightonbrats@yahoo.co.uk. Would you like to join BRATS? Congratulations, you just have! Finally... GO ROCKERS!



BENCH PRESS Rockers bench coach MASS JANEYCIDE and line-up manager MAUDE FONDEO take a timeout to talk about their roles.

BENCH PRESS Hi there. What background do the pair of you have in terms of the Rockers and skating in general? How and when did you gravitate into your current bench coach and line-up manager roles, and have you learned a lot since you started? Mass Janeycide: I was part of the original crew who set up the Rockers back in 2010. I did enjoy skating for a couple of years but have injured my back one too many times to risk any more contact. My first injury was just before our first open door game and I stepped in to bench coach in the absence of anyone else. I really enjoyed being a useful part of the team despite being off skates, so as it became apparent I wasn’t going to skate again, I discussed becoming a resident on the bench. Most teams don’t seem to have a permanent bench team - there are always so many injured skaters to fulfil the roles on a temporary basis and I guess everyone would much rather be skating than on the bench. However, I love my role and am glad I haven’t been put out to pasture just yet! I have learned a shedload since starting the role, and as with all aspects of life, there is always something more to learn and more ways to improve. I’m mainly focusing at the moment on a new aspect of my role, but if I told you what I’d have to kill you violently. Maude Fondeo: Be careful with Janeycide, she may kill you... I joined the Rockers a few years back and enjoyed a few months of epic training and some bouts as captain for the Bruisers team, but after my back gave out and the doctor advised “one more fall and you’re in for surgery” I thought it best to step back from skating. The Mighty Mighty Bash had just transferred as a full time skater so there was an opening for line-up manager, the most hated job! At the time I was also co-ordinating the home bouts, and during one of the meetings it was suggested I take over. I think my teacher attitude was the clincher in asking. I jumped

straight at the chance and have loved it. Secretly I don’t miss the mental training sessions and love that I am still part of the team; we’re like one big messed up family! I have definitely improved as a line-up manager; attending training and knowing the players is key, but really it is the relationship between Janeycide and I that ensures a smooth bench. The skaters appreciate a calm bench and my no nonsense attitude, which I have developed with thanks to Bash. For me I am working on being able to switch up the team more quickly, especially as we are getting bigger and better - soon there will be no stopping us! What are the responsibilities of a bench coach on a bout day? It seems to involve a lot of jumping and shouting. I like to think my main responsibility is having a gin and tonic (pre-bout ritual) and having the biggest eyelashes on the track. However, I think traditionally the role is more about tactical decisions, strategy and gameplay. The girls are totally awesome and don’t really need me at all, but having an extra pair of eyes and a few reminders is always a bonus. There are a lot of clipboards involved in roller derby but the line-up manager’s seems the holiest of all. What mysterious secrets does it contain? Controversially I have switched from a clipboard to a book. It is a top secret weapon that is not allowed to leave my hands. If I was to tell you what powers it possessed I would have to kill you, and that’s your second death threat from the bench team. You’ve clearly built up a rapport as a benching duo. Have either of you benched with someone else? Did/would it feel odd? I have worked with other people before Maude joined the bench, but now it’s a different vibe completely. We work really well

We’ve got Mass Janeycide (x2), We’ve got Mass Janeycide and we’ll win fair (Ticket To Ride)


BENCH PRESS together, and are good friends as well as colleagues. We try and do team bonding when we can, the last outing was to feature in a Boy George music video together! If I was to bench with anyone else, they would certainly have a lot to live up to. I love benching with that crazy lady. Who wouldn’t, have you seen her epic breasts? I have only line managed with Janeycide for Brighton, but I did share the bench with Smirkcules for a mixed gender bout a few months back. It was fun but nothing like being with the Rockers. Janeycide and I have similar approaches to things. The team thought we would hate each other before we met, but in fact we really hit off and we are now ‘real-life’ friends! We have got into some capers and enjoyed such weird and wonderful times together. I think it’s because we’re both teachers and all teachers are a bit weird. As such a young sport, the rules of modern derby are still evolving and can change quite dramatically year on year. Do you have to rethink everything tactically when rules change? Yes, any rule change causes a huge rethink, which is a shame when you have just mastered a particular tactic. However, improvements to the rules is always a good thing and the elimination of minor penalties has made it easier for non derby people to watch and understand the game. Rule changes have more of an impact on Janeycide as tactics can become illegal. For me, the biggest headache was the ‘no minors’, mainly because at first more skaters went to the box and this would change who would skate in the next jam. As you know a jam could be over in seconds, making it über stressful. It has improved the sport as a whole, and has meant that I’ve had to up my game, as have the skaters. If you could change one rule in the rule book, what would it be and why? I’d reduce the maximum number of skaters allowed [fourteen] so that maybe the Rockers could field a full team. I would change the rule book so it wasn’t so long. Just simple can do/can’t do rules. There have been times when one ref says one thing, but we have interpreted it differently. To what extent do Rockers tactics for any given bout come from the two of you and to what extent from the players (many of whom also coach)? How long in advance of a bout do you start planning/building for it in training? I do contribute on a strategic level, in terms of gameplay in a bout situation but generally not physical tactics. I would say that a lot of people contribute to these tactics; it could be that someone saw something cool in another

bout and then we try it, or someone has a brainwave. They rarely come from my head! Any tactics would be planned well in advance of a bout, and practised at training for a long time before trying them in a bout situation. I agree with Janeycide – tactics are from training, previous bouts and bootcamps. They happen organically when the skaters train together. Janeycide and I sit on the track during sessions and we join in team talks throughout. It is one team and we all have our chance to improve the tactics. Challenging refereeing decisions as the captain’s alternate seems a big part of a bench coach’s role. Any notable successes/failures? It depends on the bench coach. I believe that the referees do an amazing job and are almost always not going to go back on their decision, otherwise why would they make it in the first place? They can’t see everything all the time and it’s not a job I could even attempt so I have the utmost respect for them and rarely challenge a call. However, I might bring a particular problem to their attention if there is a persistent issue or in the case of the girls being in a dangerous situation. To what extent do you adjust tactics and line-ups for a particular opponent? Do you study the other team much prior to a bout? Any particular Leeds players you are wary of today, and do you have any new tricks up your sleeve to counter them? We have our own tactics and game play, but this obviously has to change for various opponents. We always want to work to our strength and play our game, but it is important to understand the other team’s way of playing too. We may watch other teams, but it’s all done casually and we like to talk about other teams even if we are not playing them. We’re not looking to “catch them out”. As for line ups, Bash and I (and the captain) put together the best line ups regardless of the opponent. We want the strongest team out there at any one point. They may change and adapt during the game and that is what I am there for. It’s a dangerous thing to play someone else’s game. We just aim to play our own game, as best we can. Obviously we might watch a game, but often that’s just an excuse for a road trip! Hear, hear. We love a road trip. Leeds are a great team and we are really looking forward to hosting them. As for tricks, we hope to dazzle them with mine and Janeycide’s infamous boutfits. They won’t know what’s hit them. Finally, would you care to predict today’s score? I’d rather not! We will definitely win the after party.

Hey ho, we’ve got Maude Fondeo... we’ve got Fondeo, her line-up’s gonna slay you (Snow)



BOUT PREVIEW

BUILDING ON LEEDS

Brighton meet the highly rated Leeds Roller Dolls A-team Rebel Roses for the first time on the track today. Looking ahead to the bout, we caught up with LRD veteran BRUISE ’EM BANSHEE to find out more about the West Yorkshire league... Firstly, for anyone at today’s bout who might not be aware of the Leeds Roller Dolls, can you tell us a bit about your league’s history and achievements to date? LRD started in October 2007, so we are nearing our sixth birthday! The league has grown to include two travel teams, the Rebel Roses and the Whip-Its, a recreational league (the Wrecking Brawls) and we are starting a junior derby league next month. We were part of the first European tournament, Roll Britannia in London, and have attended both WFTDA regulated European tournaments; Track Queens in Berlin 2012 and Skate Odyssey in Gent 2013. We have been invited to attend the Gold Coast Derby Grrls Beach Brawl 2014 International Invitational tournament which we are super excited about. We’ve managed to pack a lot of league and team development into the last six years, and retain our focus on supporting all women into roller derby, developing roller derby as a sport and promoting good sportswomanship. You’re currently well established in the UKRDA top ten rankings and full WFTDA members. In what ways are LRD looking to build from this and what ambitions do you hold for the future? LRD are fully supportive of our Rebel Roses’ ambitions to be the best we can be. We’re always striving to develop our skaters and our team is a strong focus in LRD. We want the Roses to go as far as possible. Who knows where we will be in five years – WFTDA Division One is the dream... Leeds haven’t bouted against Brighton before. Do you know much about the Rockers? Any particular players in the Brighton ranks that you’re wary of? We know and fear Bash and Bob’s sister! Are there any particular Leeds players or tactics that spectators at today’s bout should keep an eye out for? We have some awesome double threats

in LRD, so you might see few of us jamming and making an impact in the pack too. Let us know who was your favourite. We won’t be giving away any of our tactics pre-game though! With only a few places/points separating the two sides in the current rankings, and Brighton having home advantage, a lot of people are expecting today’s scoreline to be quite close. Would you like to make a prediction of the result? We like to enter every game focused on playing our game and working the game to our advantage. We won’t be predicting scores, but you can be certain we will be fighting for points to the last whistle whatever the scoreline. We understand that to raise funds for your trip down here LRD recently walked, cycled and swam a total of over 250 miles, the distance between Leeds and Brighton. How did that go and have you all recovered in time for the bout? It went really well and we made a video to thank our supporters; everyone was really generous to support us in our triathlon. Cyclists had sore bums, swimmers had wrinkly fingers and runners had muddy legs but we’re all recovered and ready to go. Finally, do you have any message for the LRD fans in the crowd here today? Thank you for coming down to support us. It is always amazing to have supporters in the crowd at away games and we all really appreciate it. Cheer for us and we’ll see you at the after party!

Bash (a-aaaah) plays for the Brighton team, Bash (a-aaaah) fast as a laser beam (Flash)


RACEY TALK

LONDON-BRIGHTON

Not everybody on the Rockers roster started out in derby with the Sussex league. Take RACEY SLAMHARD, who last year swapped London Rollergirls electric pink for the sky blue of Brighton.

Hi Racey. Can you tell us a bit about your background in roller derby and skating in general? Were you an avid roller skater as a child, or is it a more recent thing? I skated a lot when I was a kid, just out on the street and front driveway and stuff, and had practically every birthday party at our local roller rink throughout primary school. I wish I had the foresight to take it more seriously then, or at least horribly pushy parents that demanded I become a world class speed skater or something. Alas, no. I started derby in late 2010 with the London Rollergirls Rec League and then progressed from there. You transferred to the Brighton Rockers from the London Rollergirls [the top derby league outside of North America]. Is it a big step transferring leagues and was it difficult to leave LRG behind? Luckily, the Rockers are an awesome bunch, so transferring was so easy and not at all scary. I had met them all earlier in the year when I played against them with LRG and it was one of my favourite games to play because they were such a great team; I remember being blown away with how friendly and welcoming they were. It was a big decision to make, but it was one I felt I had to do to tie in with the rest of my life, and to be honest, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made for all sorts of reasons. What level were you skating at with LRG and how does the training/coaching set-up at Brighton differ? At the time I left the London Rollergirls I was playing with Batter C Power; that team had only just been set up then, so we were just starting to branch out and get games set up with other leagues. Training with the Rockers was a change from what I was used to, I think mainly because it is a smaller league. Practice sessions have less skaters, so you get more track time and time with the coaches which is a bonus.

Racey Slamhard (x2), Racey Slamhard on the track, Racey Slamhard got you back (Rhondda Valley)


RACEY TALK How long did it take to adjust and to settle in with your new teammates? Did you feel like an ‘outsider’ early on and who most helped you settle in at BRRD? Not long at all! They were a hugely welcoming bunch and I was so excited to get stuck in with a new load of skaters. Bash, Mistress and The Hairy Fairy all helped to make me feel totally at home in Brighton and at BRRD. A few months ago you renewed acquaintances with some former London teammates on the track as the Rockers took on LRG Brawl Saints in the UKRDA southern tournament. Was it odd to be playing against them? Was there any ‘banter’ between you and the LRG lot in the run up to the bout? Yeah, that was kinda strange! It took me a little while on the track to actually get my head around who I was playing for and what the actual hell was going on! To be honest, I was too nervous for much banter before the bout. I was trying to keep them in my mind as ‘the enemy’ and not be too friendly before the game, but it was really hard to see your old teamies in that way. It didn’t help that I was crashing at Beating Disorder’s flat over the weekend! Whilst many people transfer leagues when moving cities (for work, college, personal reasons, etc), some transfer for sporting reasons – Team England’s Rogue Runner’s switch from Leicester to LRG being a prominent recent case. Can you see more transfers of this type occurring as the sport continues to expand and become more established? Possibly, but as derby is still an amateur sport and probably will be for a while yet, skaters still have to consider their lives outside it as well (jobs, family etc) so I don’t know how many skaters will feel they are able to say “I’m going to pack up my life and move to X town to skate with X team.” I can certainly see why a skater like Rogue would, though; to skate with London Brawling opens up huge opportunities. To be honest though, I don’t feel it’s all that necessary. I’m sure most towns will have enough good skaters to choose from to build into great derby players, and it would be really satisfying to create your own kick arse team rather than move to an already established one. If you could transfer (magic carpet style) into the travel A-team of any roller derby

league in the world, who would you choose and why? Perth Roller Derby, Western Australia. Because that’s where I grew up and it would be awesome to play a bout in front of a truly home crowd of friends and family. Or [world champions] Gotham, obvs. You recently captained the B-team Brighton Bruisers away to Leicester’s Dolly Rockits. Is that your first experience of captaining a side? Did you enjoy it, and is it something you’re looking to do more of? Yeah, it was my first captaincy, and it was a bit daunting, but I think I did pretty well. I had Rae Ray Riot as my co-cap and I think we made a pretty damn good team, as well as an inspirational rap video (which is another story entirely). I’d totally be up for doing it again. Moving on to today’s bout, what do you know of the Leeds Roller Dolls? Are there any particular Leeds players or tactics that you’re wary of going into the match? I don’t like to study the teams or players I come up against too much before a game. I prefer to focus on my own game, knowing I can adapt to whatever they throw at me. It doesn’t take long to find a team’s weaknesses and strengths and to start exploiting them once the game kicks off. Have the Rockers got any new tactics/plans up their sleeves for the Leeds bout? Hmm. I think you’ll just have to wait and see… Do you have any words for the fans who’ve turned out to watch Brighton today? Any advice for anyone here who’s watching roller derby for the first time? Please cheer loudly! Yell, stomp your feet, heckle... For newbies, it’s a tricky game to understand first time around in terms of tactics and the intricacies so there is a lot of: “Why did she do that?” “What’s she doing?” “I DON’T UNDERSTAND.” “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!” Just enjoy the big hits and carnage and general excitement this time, and then come again and again and again so you pick up the smaller details as you go. Finally, what hopes and ambitions do you have going forward, both for the Brighton Rockers as a whole and your own personal derby career? We are a really strong team and really driven and have a lot of up-and-coming skaters as well as veterans. I think we stand a really good chance of reaching and staying as one of the top teams in the EU, so that’s something I’d like BRRD and myself to achieve.

Keeping you back, stopping you, Anti-Gravetty Gravetty Gravetty Gravetty (Gravity)



JAMMER LINE

Do you have any bout day rituals/superstitions? Any special songs that motivate you?

It’s always sunny on bout day! When I played hockey ‘Colonel Hathi’s March’ [the elephant song from The Jungle Book] would always get stuck in my head. Now I try and force a little Sublime in there, or something else that keeps me moving.

I often travel to bouts with my housemate Bird of Pain (sadly not playing today) which involves giddiness, Snickers and car dancing to something loud. Before a bout I take a couple of minutes to myself to focus. I try not to think too much about any plays or tactics. I know they’re in my head somewhere so I leave that for the track. Songwise, anything by the Prodigy and ‘Face Off’ by Deckscar.

Do you set a target for the number of points you hope to score?

As a team we do, but I don’t tend to as a jammer. I just try and score lots, hopefully enough to win!

No, but I like having goals so maybe it’s something I should try.

Any of today’s opposing blockers you are particularly wary of?

They did a triathalon to get here, so all of them!

No. I think singling out players to watch out for on track is a great way to create problems for yourself.

What boots do you bout in and how long have you had them?

I’ve just changed from the Riedell Dash that I started out with to Riedell Torch. I probably didn’t need to but the smell coming off them was fierce! I tend to stick to Heartless 86a and Atom Juke 88a wheels, unless it’s extra slippery/sticky. I say stick with what works and don’t blame your skates/wheels if it doesn’t.

I currently have Bonts. One of our fresh meat tactfully said to me the other day, “your skates look... er... well used.” Probably time for an upgrade soon!

Going to the penalty box?!

I probably spend more time on my toe-stops or in the air than I do on wheels. Also my ‘chronic bitchface’ - I tend to look pretty angry when I skate, but it’s just my concentration face!

Do you have a particular ‘signature move’ you’re known for?

What’s your greatest achievement in roller derby?

Playing for the Rockers, helping create such an awesome crew.

Jamming for my team at Track Queens and Skate Odyssey.

Where do you keep your MVP/best jammer/etc certificates?

They’re stuck to my bedroom door. Although there is a little gap there for another...

I take pictures of my certificates so that (after they inevitably get mashed at the bottom of a bag somewhere during the after party) I can remember what they looked like when they were pristine. One day I’ll start framing them or something.

Are there any other sports you’re good at?

I’ve gotten pretty lazy with age to be honest. I used to play Roller Hockey for Brighton and was in the athletics club. Now it’s more skating on the seafront and rounders in the park. Unless climbing trees counts? I’m not too bad at that :)

I used to be quite good at tennis, but it sent my competitive spirit into overdrive. You know you need to chill when you nearly smash your racquet in a gentle knock up. I just get really invested in things. I discovered that team sports are a lot more fun anyway.

Who should play you in a movie of your life?

M.I.A. but only in the vague hope I’d get to be her for a day!

Oh, I dunno, someone who can pull off a ginger wig?

What’s your favourite pudding?

I used to be a pastry chef so went off all puddings and cakes! They’re slowly creeping back into my life, helped by the fact my boyfriend is a pudding eating machine, so I’ll take whatever is left!

I can’t choose just one, that would be really disrespectful to all the other puddings out there.

Erm, apologies in advance for any inappropriate behaviour at the after party. Lets skate! PS I’ll have a cider, ta.

“No really, this is just how my face is...”

Do you have a message for your opposite number?

Sham! Bam! Winnin’ the jam! Block or no block, you won’t get her to stop (Wham Rap)

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ROAD TRIP

GOING FORTH

After today the Rockers are next in action on Saturday the 26th of October away to Edinburgh’s mighty Auld Reekie Roller Girls. ARRG’s DOUBLE D’STRUCTION previews the bout for us... Can you give us a summary of ARRG’s history and achievements to date? We’ve been together since April 2008 and celebrated our fifth birthday in true Party ARRG style with awesome cake and a massive knees-up. In those years we’ve grown from a group of women meeting up to talk about derby into a full WFTDA member league (the second outside of North America) with over 80 members. Our first public bout was in January 2009, and later that year we came fourth in Europe’s first ever roller derby tournament. Recently our A-team Twisted Thistles took fourth place in Track Queens Battle Royal in Berlin, travelled to Anarchy in the UK where they beat Berlin and narrowly lost to LRG’s Brawl Saints, then went off to the USA, playing against Gotham’s Wall Street Traitors and beating Lehigh Valley Roller Girls before heading to ECDX to beat Dominion and Ithaca. Our B-team Cannon Belles have been putting up big wins too, and we held our second home season this year. We’ve also done some epic fundraising, held a great boot camp called School of ARRG Knocks – a second is coming up this November – and Party ARRGed everywhere we have been! We’re currently second in the UKRDA rankings and after the Brighton bout, we’ll be looking at our plans for next year and beyond. Any particular Brighton players you’re wary of? Any ARRG skaters or tactics we should look out for? We saw Brighton play and fight hard against our neighbouring league GRD earlier on this year so we know there are some fantastic skaters to look out for. Someone told us that our skater Unprotected Bex looks like one of the Brighton skaters too! Everyone on the ARRG roster is awesome so we’ll let you pick your favourites. As for our tactics we work hard to be focused on track, we operate as a unit and work with a hive mind. See if you can spot this super focused tactic (pictured) when it happens. 12

What’s your bouting venue like? Pretty large with plenty of seating. It’s close to the centre of town and served by loads of buses. Look on Lothian Buses’ website for how to get there from wherever you are staying. We’ll have a great vendor village with fantastic cakes (seriously the eats on this stall are not to be missed), merch, crafts from Edinburgh’s craftiest ladies and gents, and we usually have stalls with skate stuff too. We definitely recommend bringing along some cash because you really won’t want to miss the cake. Unfortunately there is no bar because of the licensing law constraints but we do go to the pub after where the drinking will commence with gusto! What kind of an after party can we expect next month? Sorry, the exact details of the after party will be kept under wraps until nearer the time. Rest assured we love to Party ARRG. We recently had a very exciting dancefest with LRG after their bootcamp up here so maybe we’ll recreate that vibe. It would be best to bring your dancing shoes and be prepared for ‘taps oan’ or ‘taps aff’ as we say in Scotland. For any travelling Brighton fans making a weekend of it, any suggestions for other things to see and do? Edinburgh is an awesome place to visit. There is loads to do. Obviously there’s the usual touristy things like Edinburgh Castle, wandering down The Royal Mile, ghost tours, bus tours, lots of free museums and galleries, The Edinburgh Dungeon… the list goes on. Edinburgh is beautiful so walking around and taking it all in can be a great way to while away the hours. There’s loads of bars and restaurants and definitely try Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, a good malt whiskey and if you are brave a deep fried Mars bar. Oh, and get some Irn Bru to cure your hangover! Bout tickets available at www.arrg.co.uk. At present, Easyjet flights from Gatwick start at £75 return. Trains cost double. Hotels are plentiful, spendy in the centre (£100 for Holiday Inn style) but from £40 further out. Full preview at brightonbrats.com nearer the time.

Hairy Fairy, give us your answer do, why can’t opponents ever get past you? (Daisy Bell)



HALF TIME

SPECIES STUDY:

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Oh Rose Bleed (x2), they won’t match her for speed, she’s better than Stef Mainey... (Que Sera Sera)


HALF TIME

DERBYSKATERUS

Illustration by Paul Stapleton

www.pogscribbles.org

Come on Chariot Sophia, Come on Chariot Sophia, try to set the track on fi-re (Light My Fire)

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IDIOT IN A HAT

A ROAMIN’ HELMET

Roller derby road trips? Stupid headgear? MISTER ADAM lets the hat out of the bag. It was around eighteen months ago that I first encountered the Brighton Rockers in person, having quietly watched them from the back of the crowd at a few earlier home bouts. Like most first meetings, it took place at a road intersection in a Belgian university town. Their minibus is parked up on the kerb as a couple of them study a large city map on the wall. They ask me for directions to their hostel, but having spent precisely 23 minutes in Gent myself, all I can advise them is that the entire centre of the city is pedestrianised. “Yeah, we’ve just driven the minibus right through it,” someone admits. “We knew we’d done something wrong when we ended up in a narrow street with a tram heading directly towards us and everyone on the pavement shouting at us to back up.” Oops. I leave them to it and head off towards the bus information office, where I learn it’s a 45 minute journey to the leisure centre and there’s only one bus every two hours. Derby venues abroad can be tricky to get to, but that’s all part of the fun, the glorious senseless mission that is being a travelling sports fan. We don’t know how lucky we are with how public transport accessible most UK bouts are. Take the Rockers’ two home venues, Shoreham and Haywards Heath – both roughly five minutes walk from a well served train station, with at least one pub en route. With a few notable exceptions (one involving a farmyard 15 miles outside Leicester) most British derby venues are just as conveniently located. The same doesn’t appear to be the case beyond these borders. Dublin was the biggest mission of all, and the trouble started at Gatwick. Two lines at the Ryanair boarding gate. One has a smiley woman waving people through at the top of it, the other a scowly man charging everyone he can £50 for excess hand baggage on the flimsiest of technicalities. Guess which queue I end up in? My bag’s 22mm over the maximum permitted width, he tells me. Fifty quid please. Damn it. Hang on though, the thing making it stick out so much is my stupid roller derby fan hat. That’s an item of clothing and airlines don’t [yet] weigh or measure what you wear to fly. I fish the helmet out of the bag, slip it on, do up the chinstrap and smile. 16

“You can’t wear that on the plane,” the scowling man scowls. “Why not?” I reply. “It’s my lucky hat. I never fly without it.” I can imagine the thoughts going through his head. There are bound to be a few nervous flyers onboard. How will they react when they catch sight of what the bloke in Row 15 is wearing. Good God, what does he know? Not just that the plane is going to be involved in some sort of accident, one that necessitates the wearing of a leopard skin tin helmet, but that the only way to escape the ensuing crash site is on a pair of plastic toddler’s roller skates. There will be people clawing at flight attendants in the aisles, wrestling with the emergency exit handles, begging to be let off the doomed aircraft. Scowly man sees sense. “Put it back in the bag,” he says, “I measured wrong, the size is fine.” The people queuing behind have seen this and cottoned on to the ‘wear as much as you can to avoid the £50 fee’ tactic. I turn to see one woman pulling on a fourth cardigan. A businessman is trying to disguise his laptop as a scarf. I’ve broken Ryanair’s business model, but Ireland will have its revenge by presenting me with (once in town) a 50 minute tram ride, half hour cab journey and 20 minute walk from the nearest pub to the alcohol-free Dublin Rollergirls venue. Gadnammit. Gent isn’t too bad by comparison, and there are no nervous flyers on the 53 bus. Sure, a few elderly couples look at my helmet with an air of bewilderment, pointing me out to other passengers and muttering under their breath in Flemish. It’s fine though. I know this is the only bus for two hours either side, thus the one that everyone travelling to the bout using public transport will be on. I’ve already twigged that most of those on board fit the main derby fan demographic; teens to thirties, female and ‘alternative’ skewing. I ring the bell to stop the bus and stick my tongue out at the helmet-mocking oldsters as I get off, followed by all the other derby people. Who looks stupid now? The bus pulls away from the leisure centre, a chorus of giggles trailing it in the wind as it heads up the N458 to Ertvelde. Nobody else got off.

Can’t get by, can’t get by, no they can’t get by Enyo Face, she’s letting through nobody (Poker Face)



NEIGHBOURS

BOMBSHELL REVELATIONS

The Rockers are no longer the only publicly bouting league in Sussex. We catch up with Bombshells head coach TOXIC BLOCK SYNDROME for the latest news from Eastbourne. For anyone who might not be aware of the Bourne Bombshells, can you tell us a little about your league’s history and achievements to date? We started out as a short lived league called Eastbourne Roller Dolls in June 2011, before we became the Bombshells that December. We spent a long time finding our feet and getting our numbers up, but since October last year we’ve been bouting/scrimmaging every month. We had an international win in Belgium, have hosted and played in the UK’s only outdoor roller derby tournament, and recently played Kent Roller Girls’ Knight-Mares and Croydon Roller Derby’s Vice Squad in our first two UK open door bouts. You took part in your open air derby tournament at Eastbourne Extreme this year. How different is derby played outside? We were fortunate enough to have had a lot of chance to practice outdoors, as we still had the track from the previous year, so we were pretty prepared. I think everyone starts out a little more cautious than they might normally be, but once they get stuck in it’s pretty much the same. The main difference for me was I don’t usually get eyebrow tan lines or go through a set of new toe-stops in a day. The Bombshells held their first public home bout three weeks ago. How did that go (organisationally as well as result-wise)? You know, after Extreme everything just seems like a breeze organisation-wise. We have some problems with venue availability in the area though, and we were a little concerned about attendance since we’re so out of the way, but a lot of the Croydon A-team came down, a load of our friends and family made it, and there were a few familiar 18

faces from the derby community who made the journey down too, which was nice. The result wasn’t quite what we had hoped – we were really penalty heavy and they played so cleanly, and the score really reflected that. It was a well deserved win for them, and we’ll take away a very important lesson from it. Do you have much contact with the Brighton Rockers at all? We understand there’s a few exRockers skaters on your roster. Our practices are generally pretty open to guests, and we’ve had a few Rockers pop along here and there in the past. Their officials have also been great, and we’ve been lucky enough to have all of them down at some point for training sessions or scrimmages – their help has been really invaluable, especially for our refs. The Rockers also hosted us for our first ever scrimmage back in September last year; that’s where it kind of all started happening for us, and we realised why we were going to training every week. I was also lucky enough to recently get the opportunity to jam against the Brighton/LRR team at Sur5al Remix [a 15 team tournament in Windsor]. Bash was kind enough to come up and congratulate me on the efforts of my team, which was really appreciated. I guess we kind of grew out of the Rockers a bit. The founder of Eastbourne Roller Dolls did fresh meat with them, as did Smash’er Fierce (another founding member) who still skates with us. We had a few skaters who started with us, went to the Rockers for a bit and returned earlier this year, plus a few fullon transfers that came out of visiting our practices. It’s funny actually. I almost attended the Rockers’ first meeting to set up the league in 2010, but decided at the last minute not to because of the travel, so I wasn’t far off being a Rocker myself.

Emma the Condemner, plays for the Brighton derby team... (Great Escape theme)


NEIGHBOURS There are now two bouting derby leagues in Sussex. Presumably more will spring up as the sport expands. Will it make it harder or easier to attract skaters, fans etc when there are many more leagues to choose from? Sussex isn’t a massive area, and short of league splits, I’m not sure how easy it would be to start up another league in the area – we’re fairly short of large towns in Sussex. The Bombshells currently have skaters from Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton, Worthing, Herstmonceux, Hailsham, East Grinstead, Heathfield, so we’re covering quite a large area. I think more leagues would make it harder in terms of getting skaters, but it would be great in terms of fans if there were more roller derby aware people in the area. The Rockers are our closest neighbours, but after that, you’re looking at a two hour car journey to the next league. It would be great to have one closer. What other events and developments do you have planned for the future? We’ve got a couple of closed doors coming up in October, and our next home open door is against the Basingstoke Bullets on November 9th. I’m trying my hand at some bench coaching in the near future, we’re sending a few skaters to Rookie Sur5al, and we’re just starting our next fresh meat programme. We’re really looking to pull it together ready for next year. The coaching committee are working really hard, we’ve got some great rookies who should be making an appearance soon, and we’ll have some new jammers to add to the rotation. We’ve got a lot of great guest coaches coming up and we’ve just been sponsored by CrossFit Eastbourne. If all goes to plan, we should be on top form for 2014. How would say your level of derby compares to that of the Rockers? We have a lot of respect for the Rockers, and I would love to be able to say that our level was comparable, but we’ve got a lot of work to do before we’re there. We can learn an awful lot from them. They’re an inspiration. Finally, are you attending today’s Brighton v Leeds bout and would you care to predict the result? We usually all go up as a group to support the Rockers, but unfortunately we’re almost all missing it this time as we’re scrimmaging at Only Brawls and Horses (Big Bucks v Central City). Looking at previous results, Leeds held up better against Glasgow than the Rockers did, so I’d be inclined to think Leeds might take it. Then again, the Rockers will be on home ground with a lot of support behind them, and I’d like to see them start up their winning streak again.

LOWDOWN TRICKERY from our columnist AGENT COOPER

At 22 years old, 5 foot 1 and 110lbs, I’m one of the smallest – if not THE smallest – member of Vice Squad, the Croydon Roller Derby B-team. When I started out back in February, I wasn’t so much intimidated as terrified of the ‘Big Girls’ – President Garfield, Gin Atomic, Ramona Kapowers – all of whom are packing height, muscle and booty in abundance. I was pretty certain that I’d get squashed quicker than you could say “whoops, I trod in something.” While this was true for an awful lot of my rookie training, I nonetheless made a wonderful discovery. Despite the popular view of derby being for big ladies with hips like trucks, I have found that when you’re roughly the same height as a Shetland pony you can do a lot of damage. Here’s how: 1. “Get low!” is the most commonly heard phrase in any derby training session. If you’re a half-pint, you’re pretty much there already. Where bigger players might have a hard time getting to rib-height with their opponents, us miniatures can get low to the point that we can do the whole ‘dog with worms dragging its butt along the floor’ thing. 2. Falling over? Easy. You’ll get to the ground a good half a second faster than a big girl, meaning you also have a half-second advantage in getting back up! Falling small was something you were born to do. 3. Your opponents won’t see you coming. If you’ve been a prat and gone to the box, you can sneak out of there and be halfway around the track before anyone notices you’re swooping up on the inside. Nice! 4. Jamming is great! You can zip through tiny holes in walls, do adorable little apex jumps, and squeeze your way through the pack like a pea through a basketball hoop. 5. After parties are your specialty. Elbow your way to the bar like a pro, and hold a huge pint in your tiny fist as all around you fall to the ground in awe.

She’s giving you problems ’cause she’s Kapow, oh-woooah-oh she’s Kapow (Size Of A Cow)

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SECTIONHERE

HEADLINE THINGY

This is the standfirst what says what is what and that and has names of people DONE BIGGLY plus all kinds of other stuff blah blah say three lines worth of 12-point type that’s what this is oh yes indeed. Hello hello hello and so on and so forth. Despite having lived in Brighton for three years whilst doing the world’s most pointless degree (English and Film Studies at Sussex), I didn’t actually ‘get into’ derby until I’d moved back to London. I’d heard of the Brighton Rockers, and was impressed by the high calibre of punning in the team-names (Chariot Sophia? Chaka Carnage? These are my kind of people), but hadn’t seen it in action. I got the bug, though. And the bug got more intense after I bumped into the London Roller Girls on a flight to Berlin and they told me it was several different kinds of awesome. So after months of going “ooh that looks interesting”, my bug developed into a full-blown derby addiction: I spent hours watching jams on YouTube, came up with hundreds of pun-tastic derby names for myself, and trundled round and round Dulwich Park in the rain trying to break in my new roller-skates (which is a terrible idea, for the record.) I had visions of my low centre of gravity and hefty backside coming in useful, speeding around the track like a sparkly bullet leaving the opposing team to cough on my dust. Kids wear roller-skates. How hard could it be? Imagine having a game of Twister with Ryan Gosling on Space Mountain. Roller derby is more fun than that. After three weeks, I’ve made so many new friends I’ve lost count. Although starting any new sport can be scary – especially when you see just how fast those big girls go, and feeling like you’ll never be that cool – it stops being intimidating and becomes ludicrously funny when there’s two of you trying to hold a conversation with gumshields in. The more seasoned members of the league – Daylight Throbbery, Angel DDelight and Gin Atomic, amongst others - were very sympathetic considering just exactly how crap we all must have been. Skidding off track at full speed and crashing onto the floor for what felt like the hundredth time, I felt a flash of panic – had I felt my thumb crack? Did it 22

look slightly off-centre compared to the other one? Would I ever play piano again? “That looks like it’s going blue,” remarked Daylight Throbbery, in the exact tone of voice my mum uses when saying “this cardigan would look nice on you.” Through some miracle, and despite my impressive show of whimpering and holding an ice-pack to my thumb (which has made a miraculous recovery), I got accepted into the training programme – which means that I will now spend five hours a week learning how to make someone fall on their face using only my right hip. I’m no sports-dodger by any means – I have two silver medals for fencing, which I let myself gloat about twice a year. But I’ve never, ever been part of a sport where I’ve leapt out of bed first thing in the morning just to do the exercises. I do those planks every single damn day. I accumulate hours in derby stance. I’ve only done it for a few weeks and already I feel more disciplined and more dedicated than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ve even started doing pilates, for god’s sake. Do yourself a favour – buy a crappy pair of rollerskates and some all-important pads and get thee to your local fresh meat trials. Or, failing that, go and see a bout – and bring a spare pair of knickers.

text here blah blah blah etc etc etc


OLD SCHOOL

BORDERING ON MAD

Our columnist ANN C BITCH is back with more scarcely credible tales from her days with the Stink City Roller Psychos. The first ever modern derby league (apparently). Blame it on the Jägermeister. Leave the Jack Daniels, tequila and Scotch out of it, yeah, those are fine American drinks that us Stink City Roller Psychos could all neck until the cows came home. Which would be quite a while, by the way, since we usually drank at blocker Cattling Gun’s ranch and she’d often times forget she even had any cows shortly after she’d kicked them out of the shed so we could crack open the moonshine and get wild. Many’s the time we’d have to ride all round Stink City the next day on the back of a tractor, trying to lasso them and drag them off the railway line, Mayor’s front lawn and Mayor. Anyways, blame it on the Jäger and whatever crazy German berries and insects it’s made out of, as Thrush Gordon was half way through her third bottle of it when the idea came to her. “Lethgoplyabootnkunuda.” “What did you say?” asked Veblockeraptor, who was the only one of us not drinking since she was midway through giving birth (hell, those EMTs were being super fussy about what we used as ashtrays). Thrush spoke again, slower now so we could understand, or possibly slower because she was falling asleep: “Leth... go... ply... a... boot... n... kunuda.” Shucks, it was the best damn idea any of us had ever heard! If you read my previous column, y’all will know we’d already made history as the first modern revival roller derby league ever. [If that attorney from Texas Rollergirls is reading, thanks for the letter nimrod, we were all outta Charmin anyways.] Now we, the Stink City Roller Psychos of Stink City Middle Dakota, were about to make history once more with the first ever international match. Yeah Thrush, let’s go play a bout in Canada. As Veblockeraptor cradled her newborn son – who we christened (with Jim Beam) Chip off Veblock – the Psychos voted to delay the bout until the following weekend so she could be back on skates for it. We had a big problem though. A couple of our girls had just been let outta prison. Hell knows why they were sent there in the first place; how can it be carjacking if you’re not even inside the vehicle, and how in the sam heck could they have known it was a cop car before they landed on it? Like, entrapment much?

Anyways, they’d been released early wearing ankle tags, which meant firstly it was going to be awful difficult finding them the right size skates, and secondly they weren’t supposed to leave the state, let alone the country. We worked out that if we played the bout in Squishibisqit – the nearest Canadian town, just a couple of miles over the border in Manitoba – Jill O’Teen and Carjackie would be able to race back across the border for a few minutes at half time, hopefully before their tag alarms triggered, then get back to the venue for the second period. It was going to be tricky, but if we worked together as a team, it could be done. Cookie Kicker phoned ahead to a random number in Squishibisqit to tell them we were coming. The old dude on the other end of the line had never heard of roller derby, but was pretty sure the town didn’t have a league. We told him he had a week to get one together. On the day of the bout, before setting off we celebrated by burning an effigy of Brad Spleen, a local talk radio DJ who had dissed us on air. We danced around the bonfire, whooping and cheering as the flames licked the sky. Jill had organised it all and we congratulated her on what a realistic looking effigy it was. She looked mighty confused. “What’s an effigy?” It was time to make a move. There wasn’t room for all of us in the van, so a few girls followed behind hanging onto the sides of the tractor, with Veblockeraptor and our rookie jammer Pleasehelpthesegirlshavekidnappedme bringing up the rear on a mountain goat. We set course on Route 281 for Canada, ready to give birth to international roller derby and further cement our places in the history books. Turns out it didn’t quite all go according to plan. Tune in next time to find out what happened, or at least those parts of the story not still subject to federal gagging orders in both countries.

Chaka Carnage, let her knock you, let her block you, Chaka Carnage (I Feel For You)

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TEAM ZEBRA

HAMMER TIME

Almost half the people skating during any given roller derby jam aren’t players but refs. LASERHAMMER gives us the lowdown on life in the black and white stripes... How did you get into skating, derby and reffing (and was it in that order)? I did skate a bit around 15 years ago, although I don’t know if that helped because I never learned how to stop. I think I just rolled into things! I’d like to have a good story about how I started reffing, but really Cake Or Death made me do it. Possibly I met some of the Rockers at one of their notorious after parties. I don’t remember clearly. How long have you been reffing, how many derby bouts a year do you referee, and what’s the farther you’ve travelled to ref a bout? I think I started learning around October 2011. My first bout was in May 2012 with the awesome Portsmouth Roller Wenches. So far this year I have reffed nine bouts, not including mixed scrims. Refs do get about a bit and experiencing lots of different play styles really helps keep you sharp. The farthest I’ve been to date is either Leicester or Norwich, so not that far, but if anyone wants to send a refcopter to come and pick me up I’ll go anywhere there’s a bout. Derby is somewhat rare amongst sports in that the officials are attached to a particular league. Is it difficult to be objective when reffing a Brighton bout? No. Have you heard the expression ‘you play how you train’? It’s something I say to (or about) the players if they get tired of me relentlessly calling penalties in training sessions. The same principle applies 24

to refs. We train to see a penalty and call that penalty. Watching as a spectator can be more nerve-wracking than reffing sometimes. What do you consider the best bout you have refereed and why? Tough question. The last Brighton Bruisers [B-team] bout went really well. The crew worked together well, although I was only just about conscious in the heat! The last two bouts I reffed for London Rockin’ Rollers, against Paris then Copenhagen, were intense. Jam reffing the Copenhagen bout in the second half with all the lead changes, there was a lot of pressure to be really accurate. OPRing the Paris bout I could really feel the crowd. Literally. In the overtime jam they were right into the ref lane. Obviously refs don’t make mistakes at all ever, but hypothetically speaking, what would be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made during a bout? Nothing too serious while reffing. The big mistakes tend to happen at the after party! Is it difficult keeping up to 28 oestrogen-charged ninja athletes in check? How would you describe your refereeing style? I know some actual ninjas and they taught me important lessons in moving out of the way! There’s a lot of mutual respect between the players and refs. We’re all passionate about derby. Sometimes this leads to animated discussions. I don’t

Derby... McGee... She’ll take you on and beat you, eight days a week (Eight Days A Week)


TEAM ZEBRA mind talking with a player about something that happened in the bout which we disagree on, especially if that involves them buying me a pint. How do the responsibilities differ between the various reffing roles (Outside Pack Ref, Jammer Ref, etc) and do you have a favourite role? As an OPR you’re mainly going to be looking for penalties. The tricky part with that is being in the right position. In a fast moving bout you have to be right where the action is, which is often in two places at the same time. Inside pack refs do much the same thing; it’s easier to be in the right place, but you also have pack definition to worry about (especially as rear inside pack) and you are generally looking at a wider area. Jam refs are focused on their jammer, so it’s a different sort of focus, and you also have to think about points and passes. What you do as a jam ref gets noticed! I like to jam ref for the adrenalin and the challenge of it, but I prefer front inside pack. There are an awful lots of rules in derby and an awful lot going on out on the track during a bout. Is being a derby ref something that takes quite a while to learn? What’s the most useful advice you received when starting out? I think it took about six months to be ready for my first bout, around the same time that the players take to be bout-ready. The best advice I received was the First Rule Of Reffing: Don’t be a doop. Something like that anyway. The rules can change quite dramatically year on year (eg single whistle starts and no minor penalties for 2013). Does it take a while for both refs and players to adapt to each new set of changes? Are players given a little more leeway, at least in scrimmages and closed doors, when adjusting to new rules? It can take a while to adjust, especially when the impact assessment for a penalty is changed like with direction of gameplay this year. As refs we spend a lot of time making sure we are up-to-date and accurate. It seems to take most players a little while longer to adjust; they have to think about the strategic implications as well. We don’t really do leeway at all with the experienced players as they need to know exactly what to expect in a bout.

Have any of the changes made a ref’s life easier and have any made the job even harder? If you could add or change one rule in the WFTDA rulebook, what would it be and why? Every ruleset released seems to be getting more complete and clear, so things are getting easier. The No Minors change, I think, did help as it simplified things a bit. If I added or changed a rule I’m sure it would break something else – that’s why there’s a rules committee and why it takes a while to get changes sorted out. What are your ambitions going forward in derby? To reach ref level 999. I guess the same way as an athlete I want to be the best at what I do. I’m very serious about reffing. It’s also good fun, and I’d like to be better at enjoying it while being serious. I’d like to travel into Europe and blow some whistles; euroderby is really taking off and being part of that rocks.

Brigh-ton, Brigh-ton Rockers (We Will Rock You)

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STAT ATTACK



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