Flight of the Rollergirl

I dreamt the other night that the devil came to me and sank his claws in to my arm. I began to pray, but nothing happened. So I told him to F*** OFF, and he disappeared.

As told to Vassily Grossman by an old Russian peasant woman, 1941.

I’m not fatalistic. I believe that you take your life in your hands and can make of it what you will. However when you lose a file on your computer you do tend to feel things conspiring against you. I should file things better. Not attach them to other files and hope that I’ll remember where I put them. I had lost the piece I was working on and came across the above quote, which I have been meaning to work in to a narrative as I find it quite beautiful. Fate however took hold and attached to the bottom of it was tonight's episode. So I guess tonight is the night when I should share it.

I don’t know why but I have Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee going round my mind. I think it’s the thought of a myriad of Rollergirls from all over the UK descending on airports to fly out to Canada. Brightly coloured hummingbirds flitting about airports (Ok I know bumble bees and hummingbirds are totally different, but in flight characteristics I believe they are quite similar), setting off metal detectors, causing immigration officials to have nervous breakdowns. Tatoos, studs, piercings, can give people the wrong impression. Put the fear of god in those that don’t get out much. However if, at most bouts, you totted up all the Phds, MAs, MScs, degrees and other qualifications these rollergilrs have you would find that this bunch of people are not your normal cross section of society. Highly qualified, with the love of life on eight wheels.

Rollergirls are also easy to spot when they are out of their native habitat, i.e the track. When going to bouts to cover teams I’ve not met before, in some strange city, when I get in the vacinity of the venue, I usually follow the same routine. Spying someone through the crowd who is wheeling a trolley bag (usually covered in stickers) with a helmet (usually also covered in stickers) strapped to the top, maybe tattooed with brightly coloured hair (although not obligatory), I move in like some stalker. I’m assuming they have a better idea of where they are going than I do, so common sense says follow them. Better sense is to strike up a conversation, as there is a common thread and one shouldn’t come across as some sort of nutter. Better still, if taxis are required costs can be shared.

I am expecting that on reaching Heathrow I will be confronted with a similar scene and perhaps will bump in to some friendly faces.

It will be interesting in Canada. Seeing people from across the world you’ve met before descending on one place, for one reason. Meeting those who you’ve only ever spoken to on email before in person for the first time. Meeting new people. I’m expecting it to feel like one big family, a community bonded together for one common purpose.

I suppose this is why I’ve felt quite attached to the scene. The friendliness and bond between teams. The sense of inclusion. Everyone is welcome as long as you are willing to put something back in. As for me, I’ll sweep up and make tea.

Anyway, back to the hummingbirds, bumble bees, whatever. Or Rollergirls as they are better known, descending on some airport, near you, in the near future. The aviation authority won’t know what hit them.


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