So this hot-panted hottie (muscular hot-panted hottie; butch hot-panted hottie but hot-panted hottie none the less) has just pooned that other hotpant-ie, sending her flying off the course, flailing, tripping and falling flat on her face on the stiff concrete floor. The audience groans and flinches just a little and then cheers as the hottie breaks free of her final defender and roller skates herself into the lead, earning her team some points.
Yes, these groovy chicks don’t take no prisoners, not in the dog eat dog world of Roller Derby; by far the most violent sport I’ve ever witnessed chicks in hotpants and roller skates ever play.
“So I’m doing this thing on Saturday night with my friend,” Anna says to me “You’re free to come if you like, they’re called the Berlin Bombshells.”
Anna is my Berlin tour guide. The two of us met when traveling in Japan (see blog entry here here and here) and has been very nice to dedicate the next few days to showing me the sights of Berlin. Not just the touristy stuff, everyone sees the touristy stuff, but actually showing me the dingy, tattoo-clad underbelly of the city. “Berlin Bombshells” sounds like some sort of hip; hip-hip Berlin underground band.
“Oh, who are they, some sort of hip; hip-hip Berlin underground band?
“No, not really” Anna thinks for a second “Basically a bunch of girls beating each other up on roller-skates.”
There is a brief moment as my brain calculates the awesomeness.
The mix of people in Berlin, the mix of personalities, is hard to describe. I hate douchebag poser hipsters as much as the next man but the crazy mix of rockers, hipsters and otherwise uber-cool that inhabit Berlin, or at least those who live in Friedrichshain and Kreutzberg, seem to be people who genuinely inhabit their otherness, genuinely seem at home in their tattoos and crazy hair and garb, genuinely seem cool.
When I enter the arena the audience seem genuinely at home in the retro-abnormal of roller derby. It’s not always that a roller derby audience is almost as interesting as the roller derby itself. Girls on roller skates skating just for the craic, various hairdos in various colors and some amazing tattoos.
Here are the rules (as far as I can tell). Each team has 3 or 4 defenders and 1 attacker. The eight defenders from both teams skate around the ring slowly together as the two attackers attempt to breach the group. The idea of the game is to get your attacker through while doing whatever you can to stop the attacker from the other team.
It’s hilarious how much fun a bunch of girls beating the shite out of each other on roller skates can be but I thoroughly enjoyed the night, so much so that I even went and bought myself a Berlin Bombshells tee.