Whether you’re a meaty fresh or a haggard veteran, it’s important to have the right equipment. Introducing our new derby gear columnist (and former wife of Lord Rimmingdale) ELVISELA PLATINE, who will settle for nothing but the very best…
Hello sweeties, so you’re looking for some roller derby equipments? Skates, wheels, protective gear; the whole kapoodle. If you’re anything like me (and I appreciate even just 10% like me is an achievement for most) you’ll be looking for the best gear you can get. Budget schmudget. Those vile poor people might be forced to shop at places like Waitrose and Harrods, but when you’re riding the Elvisela bus – and it’s been well ridden, just ask Debrett’s – you’ll be shopping at places so exclusive they don’t have names. Or even addresses. So whip out that Gold Card, here are my recommendations for you…
SKATE BOOTS: F D L’ATRINE SNOWKITTEN PREMIUM (£8,997 a pair)
These are actually supposed to retail for nine grand, but tell Fernando that Elvisela sent you and you can nab them for the bargain price above. Comfort is key here, and we girls know that footwear is something you simply never skimp on. Anyone who’s felt the delightful touch of sealskin slippers or mountain gorilla galoshes knows that different hides are suitable for different purposes. When it comes to a skate boot, soft yet sturdy, there’s no material better than the skin of a young snowcat. Sadly, these beautiful animals are critically endangered, so these boots won’t be around forever. With that in mind, I’ve snapped up twenty pairs for myself, as well as three pairs in each size for any future children I may have, and I advise you all to do the same. Please note: These need to be heat moulded by placing your feet in the boots, then into a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, left to simmer on the hob for three to four hours. This can be a little painful, so I’ve made a point of employing (well, I say ’employing’ – I don’t pay her, obviously) a maid with feet the exact same size and shape as my own. I suggest you do the same.
PLATES: SURER-GRIP BERYLLIUM REVENGER (from £3,400 a pair)
Another ‘get it while you can’ product here, since the manufacturers are being sued by a mass market skate brand with a similar name. Cheap skate plates tend to be made from magnesium or aluminium (and ultra-cheap ones, presumably aimed at the homeless, from steel or nylon). People who favour the magnesium ones point out that they are 15-20% lighter than aluminium. Well duh, girls – wake up to beryllium, it’s 3% lighter still! Or so says the Surer-Grip website, which adds that the difficulties of harvesting the substance do make it a little spendier than most other metals. Also it’s a deadly poison, but hey, it’s your opponents who are going to be eating your skates – not you, right?
WHEELS: SUPAFAST SPEEDROLLS 146A (£200 each, set of eight for £2,000)
Everyone knows that the higher the number in front of the A (which stands for Awesomeness) on a skate wheel, the better that wheel is. I’d long been searching for the highest number I could find, but hadn’t managed to locate anything with a durex – to use the technical term – above 107. That’s when Hassan, the husband of one of my maids, stepped in. He told me he’d managed to get hold of some 146s and I quickly snapped them up. The unusual thing about these wheels is each one comes in a different colour and the widths and heights of the various wheels also vary, with some looking more like inline or skateboard wheels. Hassan says this is quite normal for wheels of this high a quality and has pointed out that each one features a hand drawn “146A” above whatever text and images have been sanded off on the outside edges. I’m a sucker for anything with hand drawn marking and no identifiable brand name – that’s the hallmark of real quality – and although the differing wheel sizes has made these tricky to skate on, I’m still only a few weeks into Fresh Meat and everything is still taking a bit of getting used to.
PADS: DIAMOND DOGS (from £17,449 knee / £13,799 elbow / £9,388 wrist)
Protection is obviously one area where no-one should go for “the cheap option” and these products prove the old adage “safety is sexy”. The Dogs knee and elbow pads are filled with finest Lithuanian goose down, and have been described as “like falling onto a litter of puppies made from blancmange” by someone who has never used them. As the brand name suggests, all the DD items come with tiny shards of diamond embedded into the hard outer shells. Not only does this make the shells harder still – since diamond is famously the hardest substance on Earth (other than my ex-husband’s heart, that is) – but they also twinkle delightfully when the light catches them. Some venues will complain about what the diamond shards do to the floor when you fall, but frankly it serves them right for not making their floors out of diamonds too.
HELMET: EMANUEL PIPETTE ROSE CHANDELIER XTH (£55,000)
You don’t need to have won Ladies Day at Royal Ascot – as I have several times incidentally, although the results announced haven’t always reflected that – to know that eye-catching headwear is one of the hallmarks of a lady of refinement. This applies just as much to safety headgear, which is why I always keep one of my walk-in wardrobes full of Emanuel Pipette’s delightful helmets; as much objects d’art as items of millinery. Some, such as the Poisson Rouge (which features a large crystal bowl full of goldfish as its centrepiece) or the Johnny Cash, with Bunsen burners on a spinning dial creating a literal ‘ring of fire’, are perhaps a little too showy and/or unsafe for the derby track. The XTH, on the other hand, is a classic vintage glass helmet topped off with a four foot high Baroque chandelier, and is perfect for both training and public games. Pay the extra £15k for the rose glass version – it’s well worth it.
MOUTHGUARD: YOU MUST BE ****ING KIDDING ME?
The idea of sticking something into and out of my mouth simply doesn’t appeal (as my ex-husband kindly mentioned in the divorce papers) so I went for a far classier and more permanent option than those ugly, unhygienic plastic thingies. My delightful friend Dr Jezemiah Conker-Warble is one of London’s finest practitioners of the dental arts. Using the latest high tech cosmetic dentistry techniques – together with a small amount of concrete – he was able to form my upper jaw into a permanent ‘virtual’ mouthguard! This is just as protective as the real thing, and the addition of a pure platinum coating with diamante trim sets off my face beautifully at a total cost of less than £40,000. Of course, the maids now need to chew all my food before spitting it into my mouth, but it’s a small price to pay to look this good.
CREAM: CHANSONS CERVAUX ZERO FORM No1 (£190 for a small jar)
I was only supposed to pick my favourite six items here, but since the mouthguard was a treatment rather than a product, I think I’m allowed to add the Zero Form Cream. Us derby girls know that sweat rash, pad rash and several other rashes I’m not going to mention in case there are children reading, are a constant problem for those of us who play derby. There are several creams out there on the market – from the basic E45 cream that gypsies use, to higher end Crème De La Merde etc products – but I can’t speak highly enough of this Zero Form cream, even though I’ve yet to see any real effect from it. For those that don’t know, ‘zero form’ means that the cream has literally no form. It’s neither liquid nor solid nor gas nor whatever. You simply open up the seemingly empty jar, scoop out a little and apply liberally to any problem areas. One difficulty with the nature of zero form products, of course, is that it’s impossible to tell when the jar has run out. To be on the safe side, I usually buy a new one for each training session (and for each jam when I graduate to playing games). And that brings to an end my derby gear recommendations for this month. Stay tuned to UKDerby.com, as next month I’ll be suggesting some ultra high-end products for those of you for whom money’s no object. Ciao, darlings x
Have you tried any of Elvisela’s recommendations? Got any of your own? We’re itching (pass that cream, lol) to hear from you…