20 March 2010

i've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key

Meet Chucky, Derby Debutante #667. 

Sure, she looks innocent enough, but would you believe that she got kicked out of Catholic school for streaking during mass and starting fires in church?  She went through some rough times (she became a member of a knife throwing carnival act who were slaughtered by a rival knife throwing carnival act on roller skates), but she persevered and is as quick with her blades on wheels as I am with my wit.

Meet Killson, Thames Fatale #46 & 2. 

Little is known about her, except that her derby number is taken from a song by Tool, whose lyrics have been widely interpreted to the point that they may have lost all meaning.  I believe that the reason she identifies with them so strongly is because they talk about self evolution, and she is constantly changing, but still remaining true to herself in the process.

What do these two gals have in common, you ask?  Well, besides being close, personal friends of yours truly, they are both members of derby leagues in their respective cities.  Chucky has recently graduated from Fresh Meat to Derby Deb and Killson has been a Fatale for a couple of years now, and from a glance at their schedules for the upcoming season, it looks like they’re finally going to have a chance to skate against each other. Also, to me, they represent what derby is really about.  Most new roller derby leagues are all-female and self-organized and were formed in this sort of indie, punk, do it yourself kind of way.  Now, I ask you, as someone who is a supporter of the indie punk do it yourself world, how can I not get behind that?

When Chucky and Killson told me they were joining Derby (yes, I’m capitalizing it now, in order to give it the respect it deserves) leagues and they needed Derby alter egos, the prospect of creating the perfect Derby name for them made me all a-twitter.  I thought I had come up with some real winners (Gore Juss, Miss Print, Zoe Diack), and then I discovered that all of those had already been taken.  Apparently there exists an international registry of Derby names, and once it's on that list, you can't have it, which sucks, but there are some awesome ones out there - Elle Boes, Suffer Jet, Anya Face, Splat Benetar...the list goes on.  If I ever join a derby league (or become a burlesque dancer), I’ve got my name all picked out, and so far, it’s not on the list….and I’m not telling you because I don’t want to lose it.

The theatre geek in me also loves the aesthetic of Derby.  Every team has their own unique style, but they all seem to have the same basic elements in common - costumes that are influenced by rockabilly and/or burlesque, and tattoos, and every person who straps on a pair of skates instantly becomes this other person while on the track.

One of the things that strikes me odd about Derby is how polarizing it is.  Some people see it as what it is - a group of girls sharing a common experience and kicking some butt while having fun. It's about small victories. It's not about just being No. 1 or the best. It’s that feeling like you're in the right place with the right people. Others choose to see it in strictly sexual terms, either assuming everyone on the team is a lesbian, or a slut, which I don't get.  I guess it's threatening to the rest of the world to see a girl be feminine on her own terms.  Sure, they play with sexuality a bit by wearing make up, fishnets and short shorts, but make no mistake - these girls will stomp your crotch the first chance they get.

I just hope I get the chance to see them do it.



  1. Awesome job Elana!!!!
    Wishing you were out on the track with us!
    Or even in the stands!
    You make it down this way, and the ticket is on the house, of course!
    Tough Love, KILLson

  2. Awesome Blog post!
    Thanks for the mention!
    anya face!

  3. I like Roller Derby girls. Very empowered. I fall into that group of people who see it as a bunch of girls having fun and kicking ass. I used to hang out with some of the members of the E-Ville team back in Edmonton. I haven't had the opportunity to meet any of the girls from Victoria's Eves of Destruction yet.
    Cool post!

  4. THANK YOU for the support - you are so awesome my friend. xo times a million.


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