Roller Derby, DIY punk and animal welfare in London – Christina Dixon, Londoner #92


I quite like the idea of sort of having a
persona that I use while I’m playing roller derby. Everyone has a story behind their skate
name, I used to live in Austria and I speak German and so the idea is just that I’m a
brat, like a terrible brat. The worst brat. A bratwurst is also a German sausage, it’s
really stupid actually and I’m like embarrassed now because I’ve been skating for 5 and a
half years, and I kind of want to get rid of it, but now I just go by Brat. I went to
a private school on an academic scholarship, I was really embarrassed, to have, you know, to have gone
to private school. Yeah there’s like a lot of anarchist politics within the punk scene
and stuff and it’s just kind of hilarious if you’re involved with that but also went
to a school where like Princess Charlotte used to live. I work as a campaigner for Animal
Welfare Organisations. Tomorrow I’m at parliament doing a photo call with MP’s and I’m getting
dressed up in a wet suit. On Sunday I was training to become a marine mammal medic so
I can be added to this kind of hotline, so if there’s a whale that gets stranded, I get
called and I can go and help the experts re-float the whale and hope it lives happily ever after.
I got involved with roller derby because people from the punk scene started skating and it
was a bit of a kind of renegade weirdo sport, like punks with tattoos kind of skating around
and just figuring it out as they went along. I had a bit of a rocky start because I broke
my leg after three months of skating and then had to take a year off skates. I’m just inherently
terribly clumsy, so maybe it’s the wrong sport for me but you know it is what it is. I’ve
had you know a couple of broken ribs, I tore my ankle ligament a couple of years a go,
had a concussion. I don’t think it’s any more aggressive than other sports, you know Rugby,
but I think people like to think of it as aggressive, especially because it’s women
and I find that a little bit annoying sometimes. But I think it’s a really feminist sport.
This is a group of women that are running their own sport, without people kind of meddling
from the outside. In roller derby, whatever your body shape, there’s a place for you,
it can make people gain a confidence in themselves which they maybe wouldn’t have had externally
in wider society because they’ve been kind of put down and told they have to look a certain
way and fit into a certain box. I always felt like I had really big thighs for example and
now my big thighs are a massive asset on the track because actually I can hold someone
back with my big thighs and that’s really cool. As soon as you’re surrounded by positive
people I feel like you know the whole approach to life is exciting and more interesting.
I just want to play that bit forever, like..

Daniel Yohans

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