Too busy working to write

(A shameless play on the title of Kozmic Bruise’s recent post.)

At the end of June I started a new job. I need to learn a new framework, which is taking a share of my waking hours. Writing about events long after they have happened is such a chore, but I don’t feel that I can really just skip over them. Here then is a summary of things that I would have blogged about if I’d found the time.

Sur5al (Barrow in Furness)

June 21. Skateful Dead made the journey up to Barrow in Furness to take part in a men’s Sur5al tournament. I tagged along with my camera.

Sur5al is a variant of roller derby in which teams play each other in a series of two minute jams. The teams score points based on who gets lead (jammer) and who wins the jam. Most points wins. The points scored are secondary, used in the event of a tie in “Sur5al” points. There were eleven teams, some of which included Team England players. Skateful Dead didn’t expect to win, but they would make it fun and learn from it.

Men sprawled on the floorThe day was well organised. I took lots of photos and posted 464 of them to Flickr. On the down side Ballistic Whistle was a dick – giving the referee a double thumbs down gesture all the way round to the penalty box when he got called. Very disappointing to see such behaviour from a top player.

Generally, game play seemed to go completely out of the window. I have never felt that men play in the same spirit as women. Sur5al just seemed to turn it into a mindless mess of people getting hit and ending up sprawled across the floor. The came away from the event feeling rather disheartened. Skateful Dead did reasonably well, though looking back I can’t see just how well. I did note though that two of our team had no penalties – cleanest team in the tournament, of which I am very proud.

(Also, note of thanks to Knuckleduster Nat for looking after our merchandise. Thank you!)


SonicJune 29. I headed over to Hull to capture the first such tournament to be organised by Hull’s Angels. (162 photos on Flickr.)

There were four teams taking part, The Banditas, The Crucibelles, Hull’s Angels and LRD Whip-Its. Each team played every other team in 30 minute games. The Bandita’s won.

As is always the case when the Angels are involved it was well organised and loads of fun.

Co-ed Scrim Cancelled

The Skateful Dead co-ed mixed scrim scheduled for 19 July was cancelled.

Sur5al (Oldham)

On August 2 the Skateful Dead came second in the tournament, beaten only by the Barrow Infernos. Really good job!

That pretty much sums things up. The Skateful Dead host their next co-ed scrim on 30 August at Whitcliffe Mount. I should be on track for that game – nervous and excited. Tickets are available through the event page on Facebook. I hope to see some familiar faces on track with me :-)

Two Day Weekend

Banditas vs LRD – Whip Its

GremLynn and Fury LaneOn Saturday I was at North Bridge Leisure Centre as the Bandita’s photographer. They played Leeds Roller Dolls Whip Its in a very close game. Whip Its were first to score, but from then the lead changed with just about every other jam. Faye Tality got knocked down – not seen that before! It was hard work for both teams. Whip Its were only playing with 11 skaters (14 is the usual count) so they had extra work to do. There were a few hard hits, but it was a pretty clean game.

I started this roller derby malarkey about 14 months ago. I’ve only bouted once due to injury and so I’ve ended up photographing the sport. I felt, on Saturday, that I was very much part of the community. There were people there that I knew. Obviously I know the Banditas, but there were friends over from Hull too. The bloke from Taut let me have a go with his rather nice 85mm lens. Jupe was skating for LRD, so Andy was there to support her. I recognised one of the LRD A team players. A handful of my Dead bros were there too.

TrippingAlso spectating, for his second time, was a neighbour. I recognise him from the commute, we say hello. Last time he brought his daughter to a bout (as they were back then) we had a chat, though they left at half time as she had found it too loud. This time they’d brought some ear protectors for her :-) We spoke again; he said that he felt that roller derby provided good role models for his daughter (I estimate that she’s six). That made me feel rather pleased/proud.

The second half was a tough as the first. I saw Ninja Nina pass the star – it must have been hard work! It looked like Leeds would win but in the end the Banditas clinched it 138 to 129.


After the rain of Saturday, Sunday was sunny and warm (yeah, it rained later, what do expect?!). I got to Whitcliffe a little after 2pm and couldn’t persuade Phil to take part in an off skate warm up, so I did it myself :-)

It was hot in the hall. After the usual stretching we kicked off with an exercise that I came up with a bit ago (yeah me!) before starting the session proper. It wasn’t long before we were all rather sweaty! I felt that the stuff we were doing shouldn’t have been such hard work, but it was.

We did a load of agility stuff, toe stop dancing, which I’ve been nervous about in the past. There was plenty of opportunity to play the jammer role too, which I do enjoy. Then we broke Bilb – a fall caused him to twist his knee. The other one. Not good :-/

I finished my litre of water and was pleased that I’d brought extra with me. Towards the end of the session I stopped twice to catch my breath – obviously need to push the aerobic exercise during the week!

I closed off the weekend playing Battlefield with Elliot :-)


Hull's Angels Roller Derby in AberdeenThis weekend I had the privilege to travel up to Scotland With Hull’s Angels Roller Dames as one of their photographers. They had two games lined up, Granite City Roller Girls in Aberdeen on Saturday then Dundee’s Silvery Tayzers on Sunday.

Both games were close!

Granite City

We travelled up to Aberdeen on the Friday, a nine hour journey by coach. It was sunny and the banter on the great. Some of the team played “guess who”, others read, slept or watched videos on their tablet. We got there at around 10pm, so just time for a very quick drink before everyone retired for the day.

Aberdeen is a beautiful city, made more so by the wonderful weather. I was up and out early with my camera. The beach was just a 20 minute walk away, though I wondered on along the docks to try and get some photos of the ships. I was out for about two and half hours arriving back just in time to have breakfast with the others. We had the morning to explore the city before piling back into the coach to drive to the sports hall. This, it turned out, overlooks the sea and was just a little further on than I’d walked that morning.

Jammer on JammerThe game started around 3pm. Claud Apart took lead in the first jam and scored 25 points. Nice one!

(My impression of games that I’ve photographed for the Angels is that they always win. The last one that I saw was a massive win by over 500 points. So perhaps this game would be more of the same?)

HARD continued to lead through the first half, though it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be an easy game. By half time Granite City had 82 against HARD 85.

HARD CakeThe second half was more of the same. HARD where, I think, always ahead, but never by a comfortable margin. Right up to the final whistle the game could have gone either way.

The final score was 166 Granite City to 177 Hull’s Angels – a hard fought game, one that was nerve racking to watch.

The after party was great, the Granite City team made a beautiful cake!

Silvery Tayzers

After another night in Aberdeen we set off for Dundee at 10.30am, just a good hour down the road. The game was at DISC, which whilst a little dated seems like a really good indoor sports venue. We had plenty of time to buy merchandise and raffle tickets before first whistle at 2pm.

Again HARD took the lead from the start, but the Silvery Tayzers were never far behind. Hull lead all the way through the first half but occasional penalties gave Dundee power jams allowing them to catch up. The half time score was Hull 92 to Dundee 85!

After the break the Angels came out fighting and (from memory) took lead in the first two jams. But then the Tayzers knuckled down caught and passed them, eeking out a lead that the Angels seemed unable to close. The penalties were racking up on both sides, Iron Giant fouled out, shortly followed by [#89] the Tayzer’s captain.

Both teams were having to fight for every point. With just 11 seconds on the clock it was Tayzers 173 to Angels 163. The Angels called a time out to enable one more jam. Claud was put on to jam for HARD and give it her all, got lead and got a scoring pass. Then another. The jam ended with the score board showing 177 to 173, but the Tayzers had scored points and the jam ref indicated 4 points. It was a draw at 177 points each!!

But there are no draws in roller derby though. The scores were double checked and found to be accurate and so the head referee called for another 2 minute jam.

The tension in the room was unbearable! D-Mac took to the track to jam against Crazily Insanne for the Tayzers. D-Mac got through first and powered round for a scoring pass. Insanne also got a few scoring passes before the HARD blockers shut her down. D-Mac went through again, and again and again, again, again again! Then the whistle blew. HARD had won! The final score was HARD 207 to Dundee 189. What a way for a game to end! There were tears all round, myself included.

The lessons to take away from this? 1, team work and 2, never give up!

HARD – I love you! Thank you for a wonderful weekend :-)