Almost everyone in the
world of derby was shocked, upset, delighted or disinterested on Monday (9th
June) when tickets for the London Brawling v Gotham All-Stars bout/game/wev
sold out in less than eleventy seconds. JIM SQUIDGE from Derby Dot Communists reports
on what quickly became a very heated, very tweeted, situation...
"Some people complained that the tickets sold out in two
or three minutes," Happily Eva Shafter of Five Girls One Sidcup tells us.
"I'm actually angrier that they were supposed to go on sale at midday on
the dot, yet – and my domestic staff had six different devices, both digital
and analogue, set up by my computer to time this – tickets actually went on
sale at 12:01.17. My maid need not have slapped me awake for another 77 seconds
to type in the card details (obviously none of the staff are allowed them) and
that's sleep I will never get back. LRG owe me, quite frankly."
Eva was arguably one of the lucky ones. She ended up with 24
tickets. "I actually needed 27," she says, angrily. "My daughter
Chichi and her friends love this roller dumbo thing, even setting up a team and
calling me their head coach, yet I never realised it was going to be so
stressful just buying tickets for them to watch other people play it! Luckily,
I have friends who know 'the right people' in London Rollergirls. Unlike other
UK noobie leagues – who rely on donations, hippies, vegans and unpaid
volunteers – LRG are entirely funded by the Bilderberg Group, corporate
sponsors and hidden stashes of gold, so the right word in the right earhole works
Eva is still upset about missing out on the additional three
tickets she wanted, however. "Other applicants should have been limited to
one or two tickets each," she moans. "I feel sorry for the nanny who
now has to tell Chichi's three least popular/attractive friends that they can't
attend," she adds, tearfully.
Others had happier results when the tickets went on sale on
Monday. "I actually took an hour or two off work to buy tickets," Crazyface
Wilkins of Chester Cakekickers tells us. "My passengers were furious – I
drive a bus in central Liverpool, but live in North Wales, and they didn't
really appreciate the diversion. Some of them had set up what looked like the
beginnings of a small feudal community in my front garden when I emerged after
my PC session, and a couple of the smaller passengers had been slain and eaten,
but I don't give a shit quite frankly as I got my tickets to the derby event of
the year. Yay me!"
Even many of those who actually booked tickets soon discovered
they had been wrongly sold them. "I spent £150 to go to a two day boot
camp," says 63 year old Fred Breadcake from Dewsbury, "and I thought
it was bargain. Then I got a phone call from a lovely young lady to ask what
'level' I thought I was at, and after some very confused debate and surprisingly
blue language, it turns out it wasn't a military foot fetishists weekend after
all. I've had my money refunded, but I'm banned from the premises. I find that
harsh based on a simple misunderstanding."
At least most who failed to get tickets did so from the comfort
of their own home or workplace. That wasn't the case for Twisty O'Turnip and a
couple of her teammates from the Redditch Ratbiters. "We've been camping
outside the venue since LRG first mentioned the event a few days ago,"
Twisty tells us, her eyes spinning like misaligned bearings. "Our tent and
sleeping bags have been stolen one at a time by a tribe of feral cats. We've
been pooed on and weed on by animals and drunks. The police have told us the
grass verge of a ring road is not an appropriate place to pitch a tent, and
we've had to bribe them in ways I won't even describe.... It's all worth it though,
to be first in the queue for tickets to the derby event of the year!"
At midday on Monday 9th June, Twisty and her friends arrive
at the ticket desk of the Leeds Futsal Arena they have been camping outside, only
to be told that all ticket sales are online only. "What?" says
Twisty. "Shit," says her partner StateSee. "Told you so,"
says their friend Pass-Ag-E, who then throws a misconnecting punch at either
Twisty or the ticket desk dude. By the time the trio reach the nearest internet
cafe, the tickets are all long gone. Countless other would-be purchasers meet with
the same fate, though perhaps less dramatically than the Ratbiters trio. Most
miss out by mere seconds, with tickets running out as they click to pay. A sad handful
assumed the online sale began at midday GMT rather than BST, and visit the ticketing
website a whole hour too late. Lady Goodslider of Pencilcity Devilwhores, meanwhile,
curses LRG's failure to specify whether they were using the Julian or Gregorian
calendar, and hopes sufficient tickets have been held back for June 9th of the
former, which is a week on Sunday.
A great many of those we spoke to cited the biggest issue as
being the ticket agency, Seetickets, universally acknowledged as being behind
every nefarious scheme in history, from the Gulf of Tonkin incident to the
axing of Good Morning Britain to that
bloke off that talent show winning or not winning, or whatever, that thing,
yeah, with the thing. "Why don't ticket agencies just sell tickets for
free," tweets legendary derby announcer Hector Cocoa, "after all
paper is free and the internet is free, so invisible internet paper must be the
freest thing of all?"
Amongst the most aggrieved of those who failed to get Gotham
tickets is Wicca Wicca Whack from the Doncaster Boudiccas: "I typed
everything in right, right... I put all my details in first... Like LRG said,
right... It had my card details, everything was in there, then instead of just
taking the payment, it asked for my appellation, ie whether I was Mr or Mrs or
whatever. So I typed Ms. Then a whole new page came up asking if I was choosing
'Ms' because I was widowed, confused or refusing to declare my marital status.
When I clicked the latter a pop-up window appeared asking whether I was first,
second, third or fourth wave feminist... then after that a screen asked me to
choose whether I'd rather see Germaine Greer wearing a Mayan druid's cloak or
Camille Paglia dancing the Macarena. I didn't bother answering, as right then a
friend texted to say tickets had already sold out anyway. I'm pretty sure it's
not LRG at fault, rather those who set up the software at Seetickets, but in
retrospect I really wish I'd just typed 'Mrs' – maybe then I'd have got some f***ing
With tickets selling out so fast, many were quick to suggest
the London league should have chosen a larger venue to begin with, with
alternatives put forward by disappointed derby fans including the London
Velodrome, Bolton Arena, Alton Towers and Brisbane Convention Centre. "To
be honest, capacity is the last thing we consider when choosing a venue for a
game or boot camp," admits a member of LRG, who wishes to remain
fictional, "mostly we just choose somewhere because we like the
colour." Our interviewee admits the league may include a venue's capacity
– alongside existing criteria such as its cafe's ice lolly selection, the
availability of Airblade hand dryers, and the font used on internal signage –
in any future decisions. "We also won't leave it up to one randomly
selected member of the league to choose the location in future. The person who
picked the venue this time had only recently transferred to LRG from overseas,
and wasn't au fait with the British postal system. She assumed the postcode
'LS' stood for 'London South'... so now we have to play in Lancashire,
or wherever the hell Leeds is. WTF?"
Although LRG are currently using their contacts within the
Illuminati and military industrial complex to try and get extra bleacher
seating installed, Hector Cocoa has a simpler suggestion: "I've seen
photos of the LRG Rec League. There's bloody millions of them. Why don't they
stand just behind the last bleacher and get people to perch on their shoulders?
The blockers, if they're any good – and to wear the pink of LRG they'd better
be – should be able to manage one spectator on each shoulder, and even the
jammers ought to be able to manage one person each. That's an extra 700-800 in
capacity right there."
Others suggest that Brawling and Gotham should just play
more games. "They could cram in another match straight after the first,
fit in a couple more before the boot camp starts at 10 on the Sunday, then
three or four on Sunday night," insists Wicca Wicca Whack. "If eight
times as many people want to watch the game as can fit in the venue, just play
eight games. Simples."
Inverness Invaders ref Sock Rocket admits such a multi-match
arrangement might not be practical, especially given the contest is being
played for WFTDA ranking points. "Seetickets have the addresses of those
of us who missed out on tickets, though," he says, "so how difficult
would it be for a couple of players, one from each team, to turn up at each of
our houses for a short derby demonstration. It wouldn't be the same as a full
team game, obviously, but I'd be quite happy to watch Stefanie Mainey and Suzy
Hotrod trading shoulder blocks in my kitchen for 20-25 minutes. I'd even make
them each a Pot Noodle afterwards." Sock acknowledges that demand for the
high profile triple threats would likely exceed supply, and says he "would
settle for" Sarah Oates and Violet Knockout instead, "but they'd have
to share a Pot Noodle."
For those who have given up on the prospect of seeing Brawling
v Gotham in the flesh, the issue of whether the game will be streamed online is
a pressing concern. "I hope they confirm it soon," says Hector Cocoa.
"I've only just finished all my e-mails, tweets and Facebook messages
complaining about the free stream of Skate Odyssey occasionally dropping out. I
really want to get a headstart with LRG-Gotham and have most of my angry posts
prepared well in advance of the weekend itself." We suggest to Hector that
perhaps LRG will charge for the service, to help provide bandwidth and
infrastructure for a more stable and high quality feed, and he laughs like a
potato. "Charge? For something on the internet? Everything on the
internet's supposed to be free, you crazed loon."
Others still haven't given up on getting into the venue
itself, however, and many will be resorting to desperate tactics, such as
disguising themselves as well known members of the UK derby community. One such
person is Exeter based derby fan Julie Biscuits, who we meet while she is
dressed in garish pattered leggings with a pillow stuck down the back. Julie
has drawn a handlebar moustache and monocle on her face in charcoal, and an
elaborate Victorian pipe hangs from her lower lip. "I could pass for
Sutton Impact like this, yeah?" she asks. Her friend Kate, meanwhile, has
elaborately structured her hair in the manner of a Mr Whippy ice cream, and is preparing
to dye it blonde "to go as either Raw Heidi or the Statue of Liberty's
The Redditch Ratbiters crew, meanwhile, are making use of
the local knowledge they gleaned whilst camped outside the Leeds venue. They
have rented out a basement flat in nearby Cottingley and begun tunnelling in
the direction of the Futsal Arena. "The first tunnel collapsed soon after
we began and we lost StateSee in the process," says Twisty O'Turnip sadly.
"Myself and Pass-Ag-E are still committed to getting in at all costs,
however, and we're sure we'll break through right underneath the bleachers just
in time for first whistle against Gotham. It's a shame the first tunnel
collapsed, really, as otherwise we might have made it there in time for Brawl
Saints v Leeds too."
You have to admire the dedication of Twisty and her friend,
as well as many others we spoke to, several of whose tales we didn't have room
for here. Until such time as the UK can offer more sizeable skate-friendly
venues, the ticketing situation for the country's very highest profile games,
such as the Gotham bout or 2012's England v USA match, will remain a real bone
of contention. "I'm still after three more tickets for Chichi's
friends," Happily Eva Shafter has asked us to point out by way of
conclusion, adding that she is "very good friends with Prince Charles and
can put in a word re the New Year's Honours."
continue to investigate the possibility of additional seating, and hope to have
an answer in a week or so. Inevitably, a number of existing tickets will be
offered online in the days running up to the game, as people's circumstances
change. We'll also be very surprised if the event isn't streamed online. Meanwhile,
other roller derby action scheduled for the weekend of 12th-13th July includes
the free outdoor tournament Eastbourne Extreme, a double header in
Barrow-in-Furness, an intraleague in Glasgow, and many more games across Europe