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Old 18 Sep 2017, 05:23 PM   #1
adrienne223
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Join Date: Sep 2017
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Fastmail.fm? How do I log in without a password cuz i lost mine.?

The streets of Los Angeles are alive with power but destruction, even death, could be just round the corner, writes Olaf Kraemer. Midnight, and the air outside Carl Junior's snack bar is vibrating. It's almost as if there's an air raid on the way. The doors of the neon-lit, junk-food oasis, part of the bleak concrete ribbon that lines California's Highway 91, have been bolted; at night, the owner changes over to drive through only, as a precaution. The polyester- uniformed Mexican staff peer apprehensively at the late arrivals through bullet-proof glass.

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In front of the restaurant are gathered roughly 50 streamlined, souped-up cars, their chrome engines roaring from beneath raised hoods. Around them loiter their owners: homeboys, young men with an air of James Dean indifference dressed in bleached, rockabilly Levis. Among them, a few solitary women. Bolstered by the safety of their own numbers, some of the drivers openly swig beer. The strong, sweet aroma of marijuana mingles with the exhaust fumes. One of the girls raises the bonnet of her 66 Mustang, immediately drawing a cluster of expert admirers. The boys gather in close to appraise her injection motor, without casting a single glance at her.

Two 4,000 lb 1,800 kg rockets speeding between rows of spectators along a residential street at up to 100 miles per hour 160 km/h - that's just plain dangerous and irresponsible." This strange, high-horsepower gathering in a bleak LA parking lot is typical of the new wave of custom-car culture that's sweeping the West Coast. It's a fusion between traditional road-movie romanticism and working-class youth's never-ending quest for street credibility. And just as the original Californian avant-garde autoculture of the mid-60s swept the world via the likes of Thomas Pynchon's Lot 49, iconic artist Ed Ruscha's Burning Gas-Station and Kenneth Anger's Kustom Kar Kommando, so this new phenomenon is sending ripples far beyond the City of Angels via MTV, in the video clip imagery of countless present-day bands - from Ministry to Dr Dre.

All this hot-rod hype is encouraging a second generation of American teenagers and twentysomethings to turn to custom cars - not just as a cool hobby, but for the lifestyle they represent. That in turn has kick-started a lucrative business for dealers of spare parts and accessories. This latest car anarchy on California's streets harks back to the period just after World War II when worn-out and war-weary men stripped Ford As or Deuce Roadsters down to their frames and seats, and put them to the test in the dried out lakes of southern California. By the 50s, these rockets, primarily driven by teenagers, had become a plague on the streets. Movies like Hot Rod Rumble and Rebel Without a Cause cashed in on the gear head car culture of the era.

Again and again, illegal street races claim fatalities - usually of innocent spectators or passers-by. These races reach speeds of more than 200 km/h, mostly over a 400 metre stretch of such roads as Roscoe Boulevard, Katella Avenue or Sylmar Street. Should an unsuspecting resident pull out of their driveway at the wrong moment, or someone turn right at a traffic light, there is no time to avoid a collision. Death is a near certainty for those involved. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time anywhere, calmly explains Rick, a 21-year-old, goatee-bearded beatnik, for whom driving is synonymous with modern life itself. He never takes any safety precautions before a race, because a friend's ear was ripped off when he couldnt undo his safety belt in time to get out of the way.

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Right in front of the patrolman's eyes, Rick and the rest of the hot- rodders defiantly stream out of the parking lot. It's time for the first race of the night, before the police backup arrives. As they disappear into the night, the youngsters mockingly direct obscene gestures at the lone cop. Warily, he follows the group at a discreet distance. He has no idea that he's being taken for a ride by the hot-rodders. His rear lights have barely disappeared into the night when a 65 Chevy Nova and a 69 Pontiac Firebird thunder on to the street and roll up to their starting mark on a nearby access road to the freeway, which provides an ideal escape route.

Amid a haze of burning rubber and smouldering tarmac, someone gives a signal and - sparks flying - the supercharged machines roar off down the unlit street. In an instant, all is quiet again on Avalon and Third. Once the haze finally lifts, a solitary boy is left standing in the street. The two cars have done a perfect vanishing act. In roughly 10 seconds the Chevy Nova had triumphed in the invisible race, winning the $25 bet agreed to after both drivers had negotiated a handicap based on the engine capacity of their cars. For the driver of the Chevy, Bill, who earns his money as a relief driver, that $25 is the equivalent of four hours work.

Occasionally ducking down to take a drag of his joint, Bill cruises the streets, constantly on the lookout for another race freak. At red traffic lights, he peers into car windows and rolls the Chevy impatiently backwards and forwards until someone takes up his challenge. Perhaps one of the race-addicted Asians, who prefer the latest Japanese or European models, and do not mix with the hot- rodders. A hot-rodder will only go for an American make such as Ford, Chevy, Mercury or Lincoln. According to the kids, buying a complete car is definitely out. The fine art of hot-rodding starts with finding a suitable, good-value chassis in an old shed, and then hand-building a customised car for everyday use.

Rusty or stripped down to their primer paint, the brown and grey cars look like they've been underwater for a decade - but they're as fast as hornets on speed. Illegal street races have been a problem for the past 40 years in California, says Captain William Pruitt, of the Los Angeles Police Department. But back then there were about a dozen cars. Now there are several thousand all over the city. At times we spend all night playing cat and mouse with these kids. That's why the City of Los Angeles has decided to allow a two-metre tall Vietnam veteran known as Big Willy to take over a former navy helipad on Terminal Island and turn it into a legal racetrack every weekend. The interest is enormous.

Big Willy still dresses in his army uniform day and night. He was wounded twice in Vietnam, and once left for stinking dead. He welded together his own matt-black, Mad-Max automobile from three different cars. In 67, immediately after the Watts race riots, he organised the first street races there for black youngsters. Since then, the car culture has become as integral a part of the south-central rap and hip-hop scene as it is for working-class white kids in other parts of the city. By his own estimation, Big Willy's Brotherhood of Street Racers already has a million members worldwide.

On Saturday afternoons, however, his legal racetrack offers the kids a training session at most, before they go out on to the streets for the start of the real - illegal - races. Meanwhile, on Avalon and Third, its nearly 2 am and a dozen more races have already been staged but the cop has finally received his backup. An accident nearly happened when one of the low-lying cars skidded over a pothole during one of the chases and lost all contact with the ground. The policemen have arrested a few of those involved, who now sit, handcuffed, on the pavement. A few of the cops stand around a '54 Mercury and admire its detailed finish. "Cops are motor heads themselves," says Bill, shaking his head." Their patrol cars have souped-up engines, too.

They're just another car gang on the streets. I have a good time driving against them." The beer cans and joint butts have disappeared - no-one's in the mood to spend a night at the police station, and by about 4 am the crowd has withdrawn to a side street. But their engines rumble on, defiantly. Bill is disappointed. Apparently, a stranger from Arizona is searching for worthy race opponents on the streets of Los Angeles for a few days.

He has already been sighted in the San Fernando Valley. The Phantom, as he has become known, is said to have to a trailer with a rebuilt GTO on it - in the boot of which is a briefcase filled with $20,000. That's the man's stake for one of the hot-rodder's driving reputation. Like a lot of kids, Bill has been waiting for such a lucrative meeting with fate. Here, under the yellow sodium lights of the deserted streets, among the web of parking lots, gas stations and snack bars, the street races have become a part of the American dream.

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A dream of daring, wealth and freedom for the pilots of powerful rockets; a dream which most kids can only admire from afar. Yet what happens more frequently than a $20,000 phantom driver showing up from Arizona is that - like Bill's opponent tonight - the loser simply drives past the finishing line and never shows his face again.

Last edited by adrienne223 : 13 Dec 2017 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 18 Sep 2017, 06:41 PM   #2
Berenburger
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Read https://www.fastmail.com/help/account/icantlogin.html otherwise contact the support team via https://www.fastmail.com/support/
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Old 18 Sep 2017, 07:19 PM   #3
BritTim
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: mostly in Thailand
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Did you ever save the password in your browser, perhaps on an old phone or computer? If so, you can probably get it back from the browser saved password file. If not, the answer above is your best bet. Support will want to know enough to be sure it really is your account before helping you. I hope you have some recollection of the items they will ask.
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