Roller Derby with The Norfolk Brawds

I was recently asked if I'd like to attend Roller Derby but unfortunately I already had plans, and I have to say I don't have good memories of roller skates *looks at scars on knees from over twenty years ago* but knowing that Missy Vintage readers might be interested, I sent along Susie of Wake up Little Susie in my place to report back so here's a post on Susie's day at Roller Derby with the Norfolk Brawds.

When some friends signed up for local Roller Derby Team The Norfolk Brawds around a year ago, I wasn’t tempted to join in, not being especially sporty & not being very good on skates but I was VERY intrigued with the idea, which seems very American & not what you’d expect to find in Norfolk (in fact I always use the American pronunciation of ‘Durby’ rather than ‘Darby’ in my mind!) 

 Roller Derby did start in America in the 1920s, with a resurgence in the 1970s when you could see films like ‘Kansas City Roller’ starring Raquel Welch & ‘Unholy Rollers’ with Claudia Jennings, both from 1972 (as Simon was quick to point out), not to mention the fad of Roller Disco! I also remember it featuring in an episode of CSI (where obviously it didn’t end well) but there my knowledge ended... 

Until last Saturday! Me & Simon were pleased to get a short notice opportunity to attend the Heartland Series 2014 bout featuring the Norfolk Brawds, on behalf of Missy Vintage. On arriving at the UEA, (once I’d got over the unfamiliar sporty atmosphere) we made a bee line for the various concessions, particularly the Golden Unicorn Skate Emporium which was the first time I’d seen her fantastic stock in the flesh. 
Next I headed for Pin Pin Finds where I admired giant moth jewellery & got a useful crash course from Tazzy before heading to the bleachers knowing all about jammers & blockers & various referee hand gestures. 
Before it  kicked off, a nice touch was a minute’s noise for Louisey Rider, a Nottingham Roller Girl who had tragically died,  illustrating the comradeship amongst the Derby girls that I was already sensing. 
My crash course, together with a running commentary from Gemma Retro Chick Seager, stood me in good stead as we got into the first bout of Bedfordshire Roller Girls v. The Big Bucks High Rollers and I felt I was really getting the hang of what was going on, helped by the fact that the 2 Teams weren’t well matched so it was easy to see who was doing well. Whilst Simon was slightly disappointed by the lack of out & out violence and use of weapons (again, too many ‘70s movies?), I did enjoy myself & was looking forward to supporting the local Team in the second half.
Following a brief, pleasant interlude involving a picnic in the sun with some lovely friends, we all hit the bleachers again for the second bout of the afternoon featuring The Norfolk Brawds v. The Milton Keynes Concrete Cows. As the Teams seemed better matched, there was more of the slamming about that Simon had hoped for plus we both thought that the Brawds’ outfits of little dresses looked much more traditional & American! 
Sadly our guys didn’t win this time, but I became much more confident in spotting & applauding the lead jammer! Our only criticism would be that it was a very long day, we’d arrived at midday & didn’t leave until 5.30 (& bleachers are only comfy for so long!) by which time we were shattered & for that reason I probably enjoyed the first bout more. I’m still not tempted to sign up, BUT we were both very glad of the experience and would definitely go along again – Go Brawds!   

Visit the Norfolk Broads website

Susie is the face behind Wake Up Little Susie which travels the vintage fairs and events of Norfolk selling clothing, accessories and home ware from the 1950s to the 1970s with a specialism (and passion) for vintage nightwear which you can also purchase online through Susie's Etsy shop

Wake Up Little Susie is holding a pop up evening soiree in Norwich on Fri 25th July for more details click here



  1. I skate with the Brawds (not at this level, quite yet) but I think roller derby is one of those sports you can really enjoy even if you're not sporty at all.

    The people I was sitting with at this bout were also commenting on the lack of weapons and full on violence. Are we missing a trick? Would nunchucks get more people interested?

    Blocking Jay x

  2. I rather like the outfits, bit blokey but there we are. :)


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