Demolition derbies are a post-industrial age ritual of resurrection and redemption. A quirky American pastime and subculture. A grown-up version of bumper cars, where contestants hit each other repeatedly and the last car still running is the winner. For so many racers it’s an artistic expression, an addiction, a catharsis, a form of psychological warfare. For others it’s a way to connect with families and communities. Both participants and spectators revel in the destruction- there’s something so American, maybe it’s our relationship with the automotive industry, about spending time and money building something only to destroy it and then build it again.
The setting of the derby is naturally cinematic. Beautiful plumes of smoke set against the colourful backdrop of a country fair. Rusty cars, rusty fairground rides and a rusty sense of nostalgia. Festive lights twinkling in the hazy hot summer evening. Families eating buckets of fast food, young couples kissing on top of a ferris wheel, fans screaming as one car smashes into another.
The world outside the derby is your typical rural middle American town. Long dusty roads (great for going on long fast rides) with nothing for miles except cornfields- every now and then you’ll see a dairy farm or a church. Local shops, local people- a place where everyone knows everything about everyone else.
It’s not the easiest world to exist in when you’re Carly Jean…