The London Rollergirls are tough, gutsy and energetic and take roller skating to a new dimension with their high-energy brand of roller derby. We caught up with them for a chat. Oh, and they look REALLY cool.
Name: Number: Motto: Slice Andice 08 Glasgow Kisses -xx- Bruise Violet 27 If you don’t like bruises, get out of the way. Kitty DeCapitate 404 Kitty DeCapitate likes super fun happy times!!!! YEA!!!! Anna Monoxide 666 Skate or Die! Lady Frankenstein 999 Train hard, skate pretty. Alaina (Real name) n/a Rollercub, still deciding on her skate name.
Wow, you’re Rollergirls. What’s that?
Bruise Violet: Girls, short shirts, skates, sports, pushing and shoving.
Slice Andice: A whole lotta awesomeness.
Kitty DeCapitate: Girls on skates kickin’ ass!
Anna Monoxide: Athletic team players that skate on quads (not rollerblades).
Alaina: A group of girls who know how to skate and have a good time!
Lady Frankenstein: Yeah, strong, feisty ladies who play roller derby!
And what’s a roller derby?
Slice Andice: A full contact, women only team sport on quad skates.
Alaina: You have a bout between two teams of skaters.
Anna Monoxide: With 5 players each. A ‘Jammer’ (sprinter) from each team tries to get through (and lap) the main ‘pack’ of the remaining players as many times in 2 minutes as possible without getting knocked out of bounds. A point is scored for each opposing team member she passes.
Bruise Violet: It’s hugely popular in the US (major resurgence) with over 200 teams there and many starting internationally. It’s growing really fast.
Is roller derby a bit of a Stateside thing?
Bruise Violet: It’s a US sport from the 30’s originally.
Slice Andice: But the all-girl version that has just made a comeback is not quite the same as the original sport.
Alaina: The current revival began in the States in the last five years.
Lady Frankenstein: There are leagues in Australia, New Zealand, Germany & Scotland starting up now.
So, rollergirls get bruises. How?
Alaina: Lots of falls! Luckily part of roller derby training practice is devoted to learning how to fall properly and minimise potential for injury.
Slice Andice: Falling…and falling… and… ah… falling. What does most of the damage though, is the thing you hit at the end of it (wall, floor, someone else, their skate etc…).
Bruise Violet: Yes, falling…with grace and style of course.
Anna Monoxide: When you go through the pack, you can get ‘blocked’ or ‘block’ other players, which is like punching someone with your whole body.
Lady Frankenstein: Coz it’s a contact sport!
War? Well, your Rollergirl monikers would suggest something of a punk-fest combat sport?
Bruise Violet: It’s a full contact sport with a twist.
Slice Andice: And we take it seriously… mostly. I mean how often is it considered socially acceptable for the woman to be aggressive? It is a little like war I guess, I mean you have to strategise, and we have our version of ‘hand to hand combat’, but what sport isn’t? We all drink at the pub together afterwards.
Kitty DeCapitate: We have a bit of a DIY punk ethos, but we’re a very diverse bunch who just happen to like knocking each other over!
Alaina: We’re definitely a contact sport. We skate with full pads on elbows, knees and wrists, plus wear a helmet and gumshield.
Lady Frankenstein: The names are a way of having a ‘Derby Persona’. Like a super tough, punked up version of yourself.
What’s the danger factor in roller derby?
Bruise Violet: It is there with any sport.
Alaina: Moderate, I’d say. A strong skater should hopefully avoid serious injury, but accidents happen.
Kitty DeCapitate: Definitely, we are an exuberant lot and running into walls or causing mass pile-ups is just a part of the fun.
Anna Monoxide: I’ve gotten my face smacked into a brick wall where we practice and nearly knocked myself unconscious, so yeah, kinda dangerous. We wear protective gear though.
How often do the London Rollergirls compete?
Bruise Violet: We practice twice a week, minimum.
Slice Andice: Right now we’re just training, getting ready for our first exhibition bout, but there is a league that has recently started up in Birmingham, so I’m sure we’ll get to compete against them sometime soon.
Anna Monoxide: We practice twice a week and scrimmage (or bout) once a week during training. Right now we’re just training until we’re ready to start public bouting.
How many teams are involved in the London Rollergirls?
Slice Andice: We haven’t yet split into teams yet, we’re all concentrating on getting our skill levels up, and working as a big group is great as we have everything from beginner to advanced skaters, all helping each other out.
Bruise Violet: Generally there are 3-4 teams in a league.
Anna Monoxide: And two per bout.
Lady Frankenstein: Eventually we’ll play other UK leagues, and even other countries.
Is roller derby just for women, or do you sometimes have mixed gender spats?
Anna Monoxide: No, just ladies.
Slice Andice: It’s a women only sport, but men can also be involved, we have some male referees, and our coach is male. They can also get involved as scorekeepers, announcers, and general all-hands helpers as necessary.
Kitty DeCapitate: Men would get annihilated if they played with us. We have (and need more) refs, coaches and cheerleaders, and these positions can be taken up by men.
Is roller derby local or international?
Anna Monoxide: Both.
Alaina: It has a strong following in the US, and is just taking off in Europe.
Bruise Violet: International.
Kitty DeCapitate: It’s taking the world by storm…
Can you see roller derby being an organised sport and ending up in the 2024 Olympics?
Bruise Violet: No – it’s too grassroots.
Slice Andice: It would be great though, but doesn’t that mean men would have to be allowed to play?
Kitty DeCapitate: Hopefully! Thought we at the LRG are quite international, so I gotta say I will be competing for Australia!
Anna Monoxide: Possibly.
Lady Frankenstein: Hmm, we’ll see – world domination could be on the cards…
Tell us about your costumes! Where do you Rollergirls get the inspiration for them?
Kitty DeCapitate: They’re our everyday gear, but we do like a good old fashioned dress-up! I generally go for cartoon cutesy style just for contrast. No one expects the girl in pink, with stickers of rainbows on her helmet, to kick ass!
Slice Andice: Short skirts for ventilation and padding for protection. My budget is usually the most deciding factor.
Bruise Violet: Short skirt, tall socks, lots of pads, mouthguard, helmet…just things I have at home…
Anna Monoxide: There are a lot of common themes such as mechanics, pirates, and schoolgirls. Inspiration is from popular culture and everywhere else.
Alaina: Skating costumes are a great way to express individual style.
Lady Frankenstein: Anything with skulls, plus a pair of fishnet tights! I draw inspiration from music, movies, vintage stores, horror films, my friends.
Can you get brand sponsorship, like say boarders and surfers?
Slice Andice: League sponsorship is allowed (and encouraged!), but individual derby girl sponsorship is not.
Bruise Violet: Hell Yes! Beer and energy drinks for example.
Kitty DeCapitate: Absolutely, though we have decided against allowing individual skaters to be sponsored – it’s all about teamwork.
Your rollergirl monikers are very superheroine/comic book. What are your influences?
Bruise Violet: I got my name from a Babes in Toyland song – I love that song!
Slice Andice: My influences are strong women that can simultaneously kick ass and bake up a storm. Think Homemaker Suzie with a PVC cat-suit hidden under the bed.
Kitty DeCapitate: Film Noir lady detectives, cute things, Sailor Moon, Japanese fashion, and She-Ra Princess of Power!
Lady Frankenstein: Fiesty ladies & classy broads. My derby name is cribbed from a 1960’s Italian horror flick.
Anna Monoxide: Mine’s based on a toxic gas!
Mookychick has seen some great websites featuring brilliant 50s style comic book flyers for roller derby events. Are you into this? Who does the artwork?
Slice Andice: I am. If I could go back in time I’d probably go to the 50’s. Put a whole bunch of furniture and clothes in storage and then come back and collect them to wear/furnish my house now……If I could time travel, I should probably be thinking of going back and doing something more worthy though yeah?
Kitty DeCapitate: We have a few contacts who help us out with flyer artwork, but mostly we do it ourselves. We are a very talented bunch! And it’s open to any of the girls to have a go, if it’s their thing. It seems a good contrast of the kitsch 50’s style, with our post-modern grrrrr attitude!
Do men find the whole girls’ roller derby thing a turn-un?
Slice Andice: I’m sure they do, confident women are sexy no matter what the setting.
Bruise Violet: Yep, men love it, but so do women.
Kitty DeCapitate: I’m sure it has that kind of appeal, but hopefully it’s our sporting abilities that prevail! (we are equally scary as sexy)
Anna Monoxide: If they were sleazy.
Are you like a kind of sexy mud wrestlers, except on wheels and not muddy?
Slice Andice: Not at all. We’re just a whole bunch of awesomeness of wheels. I may need to hurt you for asking that question.
Anna Monoxide: It’s a legitimate sport, not a sideshow attraction!
Bruise Violet: With penalties and points – that part’s not arbitrary.
Kitty DeCapitate: And there are a few of us who will happily beat you up for suggesting it!! We are all about the sport, and there is definitely no show-ponying…
Lady Frankenstein: Some of us have wrestled off-court, but when the whistle blows we’re all about the sport. We get serious!
Put the following attributes in order of importance: – Speed, agility, aggression, sorority, skating style, costume style, fun?
Alaina: Fun, agility, speed, sorority, aggression, skating style, costume style.
Anna Monoxide: Aggression, speed, agility, skating style, sorority, fun, costume style.
Slice Andice: Fun, agility, speed, sorority, skating style, aggression, costume style.
Lady Frankenstein: Agility, speed, fun, sorority, aggression, costume & skating style.
Bruise Violet: Agility, skating, speed, style, aggression, fun, sorority, costume style.
Kitty DeCapitate: Fun, agility, speed, sorority, aggression, costume style, skating style.
If blokes got in on the act, what sort of men do you think it would attract?
Anna Monoxide: Hopefully legitimate athletes and not people just interested in the novelty aspect.
Slice Andice: Blokes on roller-skates going round in circles? Screams disco to me.
Bruise Violet: Ew… gross!
Lady Frankenstein: The first incarnation of Roller Derby in the UK was mostly men, they didn’t last long though. Maybe we could ask them to help referee us!
Would you want to compete against them?
Anna Monoxide: Depends on how seriously they took it.
Bruise Violet: No.
Slice Andice: Nope. Hypothetically though we’d kick their ass.
Do you have a mascot?
Bruise Violet: No.
Anna Monoxide: Not yet.
Do you have a logo?
Bruise Violet: It’s black, white, pink, punk rock with safety pin.
Lady Frankenstein: We used the Union Jack as the background.
Who is the archest rollergirl of them all?
Bruise Violet: Dinah Mite (Texas Rollergirls)
If one of our readers wanted to get into roller derby, how would they go about it? How would they find out where there’s a derby? Could they join a team?
Yeah of course! Check out www.londonrollergirls.com, we have heaps of info on our site both about us (we’re actively recruiting right now!) and roller derby itself. There’s a forum where you can ask us any questions you might have, as well.
Plus we can be emailed directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Surfing using keywords such as your location, and ‘roller derby’ should help you find your local league/teams. Some hold tryouts, but at the moment we don’t, we accept all girls who want to skate.
We will teach a Rollercub everything she needs to know to become a fully fledged Rollergirl! (or referee, or announcer, or whatever other role she works out is the one that’s made for her). So get your skates on!
Many Thanks, Rollergirls. Best of luck with your rockin’, rolling, free-wheeling lives!
You’re very welcome.