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The Midnight Club

By Shaer Duita Phish Reaz

In the mystical land of Tokyo, Japan, there once existed a group of people so notorious and irrationally fast in driving, even the police gave up hopes of ever catching any of them. Calling the Shuto Expressway, between Tokyo and Yokohama, as well as the Bayshore Wangan route, their home, these people were part of an elite group of street racers, calling themselves The Midnight Club.

Like any Japanese custom or tradition, the Midnight Club was bound by a strict code of honour. Breach any of these codes and you'd be kicked out and stripped of your rank and honour. Getting in was much harder than being kicked out. Since the Club only participated in top speed runs in the dead of the night, all members had to have a car capable of doing over 250 km/h. This would not guarantee entry into the club however, as the new shoshins (young ones) would have to attend as many meets as possible for them to be received into the higher ranks. Having a fantastic car also helped.

To say that these racers were legendary would be a massive understatement. Although one of the strict codes of conduct for the club members was not to put any of the other members or innocent drivers at risk, one can only imagine the thoughts running through someone's mind when a bodykitted, bespoilered Japanese supercar whistled past their minivan at 300km/h, blow off valves whooshing and exhaust rumbling. As one Club member famously said, “Drifting and Autocross is for the weak. We do only Maximum Velocity”.

Founded in 1985, things started off slow with the Midnight Club, as the cars and tuning parts available at the time weren't good enough to allow racers to outrun cops. It made things a lot more interesting though. With cars like the R32 Skyline GTR and today's gods of aftermarket parts like HKS, Top Secret and Veilside coming into play at the close of the 80's, Wangan racing was revolutionised. With access to cheaper fuel, cheaper cars and parts, teenagers found a new hobby that would go on to last decades and span over three continents.

Those scraggly teenagers went on to become the bosses of the Midnight Club in the mid 90's. During the day they had mundane jobs like accountancy or dentistry, but by night they wore their true colours, along with bandanas and leather jackets, battling for control of the highways with Bosozoku and Yakuza sanctioned racers. While others couldn't care less about pedestrian and traffic safety, the Midnight Club adhered to their strict codes and even vowed to disband completely if any member was fatally injured in a crash.

That day came in mid-1999, when Bosozoku bikers and Midnight Club racers took to the streets in an intense battle that ended fatally. 6 bikers ended up in the hospital along with two regular motorists; in the end, a motorist and a biker was dead. The Club was disbanded immediately, with the racers tucking away their exotics and tuner cars. Parts manufacturers and the mafia moved away to safer things as the police attention was too intense. Even Top Secret's “Smoky” Nagata hung up his keys (at least in Japan-he got deported from the UK for doing 200mph on a public road and was rumoured to have said just two words at his hearing-“No English”; he was also banned from entering Australia after his crazy antics with a Toyota Supra). Now, Nagata is known as Smoky only because he smokes just about 8-10 packs of cigarettes a day.

You maybe inclined to ask, if so much is known about the Midnight Club, why is it in Mythbox? It's because almost nothing was known about the club during its very lengthy existence, and even now, very little about the club's internal workings is known. They're still spoken of, in car magazines, movies, games (yes, Rockstar Games' Playstation hit Midnight Club is inspired by the actual club), anime and manga (Wangan Midnight, Shakotan Boogie) etc. They were legendary, they still are.

Last week we gave the readers the topic Five Weird Ways to Bunk Class and we have to admit the entries surprised us and no less than four entries vied for the spot below. In the end with went with sheer zany-ness and decided to print the current write-up. For next week we have Pink is the new Black. The entries have to be written within 500 words and sent in within noon Sunday to ds.risingstars@gmail.com.

Weird Ways to Bunk Class

By Rafid Haque

Yes you were dreaming of Sheila Ki Jawani and Munni Badnaam (for the 14,987,987,340th time) and wondering how Katrina Kaif and the Chaiya Chaiya girl could be so beautiful… and then, BOOM! BANG! DHAPASH!

Eyes open, the Chemistry teacher is looking(staring) at you, after publicly beating you for day dreaming, you are finally asked, “What is wrong with you?.”

Yes, being the genius answer by saying that, “Sir, I'm sorry”. HA!-that's your excuse. Can YOU believe that?!?!?.

The chemistry class would torture your innocent mind, a mind which has endured Kites, Jodha Akbar, Twilight, Khoj-The Search, Main tumhari bacche ki maa banne wali hu Serials. BUT how could it stand THE CHEMISTRY CLASS for 40 minutes?

This is the part where yours truly comes into play, offering four weird (but effective) ways to bunk class.

1. Super Girls to the rescue Help!

Call for help for no reason. Everyone feels a bit uneasy. Look out the window and say, “Don't shoot! Please don't shoot!” using their ultrasonic-jaw dropping-OMG'ing-stone-crushing-heart pounding-exhilarating-hearing ability The PowerPuff Girls come and rescue you. They come flying, crushing the roof and take you to the sky. Congratulations! You have bunked the world.

2. Run like the Narail Express (who is actually faster than Usain Bolt).

The chemistry teacher caught you leaving the room, his hand about to reach your expensive-cream-from-Almas-applied-cheek. Just tell him some friend of yours has a World Cup ticket and wishes to sell it. And you wish to buy. Believe me your teacher would now say, “I'm coming…can I please?”! Yes your teacher will literally get on his knees for the ticket.

We love cricket. We'll do anything for it.

3. Dress up like Justin Bieber or Jennifer Aniston. No one cares for you and so no one in class would notice you! Just leave quietly.

4. Give me freedom, give me fire, give me reason - you start and the entire class starts singing. Soon everyone is on their feet. They can't stop…they even sing Waka Waka. The teacher can no longer control the class. This is your chance. Get out.



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