Roller Derby Mania

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“I love the 80’s…if not the clothes.”

This dates back to 1986, which is a little odd, as the sport was pretty much in one of its down-turns at the time – the excesses of RollerGames were still a couple of years away at that point. This isn’t probably the best place for a novice to start, as there’s no explanation at all about the sport, since it assumes you know what’s going on, how bouts are staged, scored and what the rules are . There’s a little about the history (including a cute song from the 1940’s), but it’s mostly action featuring the Los Angeles T-Birds.

It’s important to realise that this was also the era of mixed leagues – the men and women skated alternate periods – but the cover picture about sums up the significance of the sexes, with the women definitely to the fore. In contrast to the modern version, the staged elements seem more obvious, with some acrobatic stunts very clearly pre-planned – the best hits will still leave you wincing. However, the camerawork often leaves a lot to be desired, though this may be an inevitable result of the sport’s nature.

The managers of the teams are also much more prominent, in a way that also recalls pro wrestling. The likes of Georgia Hase – Miss Georgia Hase, to you – E.G. ‘Pretty Boy’ Miller, Ana Anaya and T-Birds’ manager John Hall are the focus much more than currently seems the style. But if anything sticks in your mind, it’ll be the clothes and hairstyles, which mark this as a child of the 1980’s, in indelible, luridly day-glo marker. While your feelings for this slab o’ nostalgia might thus be heavily coloured by your feeling regarding fluffy hair and sideburns, it’s entertaining enough.

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