I wrote this on my blog a while ago. I didn’t want to lose it, so I’m transferring it here to the Tumblr! -BDV 2014
I have helped LOTS of girls (and a few guys) come up with their derby names over the years. It’s one of my favorite things. Sometimes it takes months for and individual’s name to find them, but it’s always out there and even if it takes a couple changes it will find it’s skater. Keep in mind that these guidelines are just general thoughts on names, getting them accepted by Two Evils Master Roller Girl Roster is a whole ‘nother thing.
Here I have compiled some tips on what I think makes a good derby name.
Simple is good. A name is a name first, this will be the only name some people will ever know a skater by. A name doesn’t have to be cryptic or a reference to something specific, but it does need to be something that people can remember and easily use regularly. One of my favorite local names is Mazel Tov Cocktail. Take a violent image: a Molotov Cocktail, a bottle filled with accelerant and a wick and combine it with a greeting of her faith “Mazel Tov!” Simple, a clever twist, and it’s such a natural play on words it becomes hard to ever say “Molotov” again.
I don’t think that all derby names need to have a violent connotation, but it’s pretty common and acceptible. I DO think that the best derby names have punk anti-establishment connotation to them. Battle Ready Betty, Conway Hitty, Miss Murder, Pinky Slamadero, are great violent names, but equally clever are attitude names like Punk Blocker, Robbin Drugstores, Riot Currls, Hex Kitten, Goblynn, and Rock Nasty.
This is where, in my opinion, most names will go wrong. A derby name is one’s NAME. That means that it needs to be pronouncable and it needs to be usable. Creating a name that requires apostrophies, hypens, multiple capital letters, or accent marks are not clear. Announcers will have problems with these names because they generally don’t flow well. Randomly chosen from Two Evil’swebsite here are examples of names that don’t work in my opinion: $Ir Twi$ted, AmERICAn Slam-Her, TaRayZa Bita-Hell, Sa$$ n Hyde, D’Cup Runith Ov’r.
Of course, every rule has an exception. Urrk’n jerk’n was an amazing jammer and I thought her name was inspired.
This is what separates a good name from a GREAT name. Originality is what takes the name to another level. There are so many people trying to register “Sookie Smackhouse” that Two Evils sent out an official statement saying to not even ask about registering it. However, I’m constantly surprised at how often original names come up Low on the duplication check. I can’t give examples of an original idea, because ideally, they are unique, but I can give examples of my favorites: Rambo Sambo, Sugar Magmaulya, Eye Candy Stroy, Taz Maniac, Grafik Illuskater, Femininja, Devilique (real name: Angelique.)
Not essential, but I find that the names I remember are the ones that make me smile. Robbin Drugstores, Juwana Hurt, Iona Beertruck, Busty Trombone, Wife Sentence, Yo Mama Ben Lauden, and Tanker A are good examples.
6. Don’t Force It!
Another common problem I see when choosing a derby name is that people want to force a name to sound like a derby name. The most common way is to just tag either “Ya” or “Her” on the end of a name. Dotty Demolish is taken, so the easy fix is to compromise and just change it to Dotty Demolish’Her to force it so that Two Evils will accept it. This works, but, to me, it’s not very clever. A name should be unique for the individual, not abruptly tagged with a suffix to force it to fit. This isn’t always the case obviously: Ima Smackya, Augue Von ButchHer, Sunshine Slamher all work brilliantly. I was recently reminded that BRRG photographer made it work with his name: Photo Finisher! It’s the less clever desperation uses Betty BattlescarYA, Chastity Isnotformebuteveryonehastomakethierowndecision, Betsy BeatsHER, I. Hava BlockHER.
A skaters name should be relevant to their real life, their interests, and their personality. It should be a very personal thing that feels absolutely right. I consider a name right if, after a couple months, no one remembers their real name.
These are just generalizations about derby names. To me, it all comes down to originality and making the name unique to the individual. If it FITS, then it’s right.
This guide will be a work in progress that I will update occasionally and try to expand on. I would love to hear your thoughts on derby names either in the comments or on facebook and twitter. I would like this to eventually become a handy guide for folks looking for their first derby name.