Street Machine magazine has its 25th Anniversary issue on the stands. It has a six page history article. Finally I have an official historical account of the 30 year period of which I am writing about in my dissertation.
There has been absolutely no history of ‘contemporary’ modified-car culture in Australia until now. I have wondered in the past if I was going to have to construct a ‘sacrificial history’ just so I could write a ‘genealogical account’. Actually through my blog you can trace how long I have been working on this chapter, over a bloody year!!! Yeah, going through 30 years of magazines and constructing an account of the relation between magazines and the scene via enthusiast discourse is huge amount of work.
The timing of this issue is almost unbelievable. I really can’t quite get a grip on what this means for my dissertation. I don’t have to stuff around explaining why I need to construct an official historical account from over three decades of snippets and brief comments culled from magazines. Not only that but combined with a massive injection of my intuition. Everything has just been made so much easier!
When I first heard about this issue I predicted there would be no mention of the ASMF, the Street Machine Nationals or the role of Street Machining clubs in general, and secondly no mention of Paradise’s attempt to catalyse a progressive program in Street Machining by focusing on automotive performance technologies beyond the V8. A properly engaged account of the history should not overlook either.
The ‘alternative technologies’ point is largely irrelevant now because those technologies (turbos, fuel injection, sports car handling, etc) have been absorbed into the cultural formation of Street Machining, but largely in an assimilative colonising fashion. That is, the technologies have lost their transformative potential as ‘other’ technologies. The absence in this official history of the ASMF and Street Machine Nationals remains is pure ideology; arguably the ideology is built into the institutional structure and relation of the magazine to the scene.
By and large the ASMF and organisational structure of these early clubs (organised around the Fordist leisure time labour of enthusiasts and correlative sociality) has been replaced by the online forums (organised around the post-Fordist primarily informational labour of enthusiasts and correlative sociality). This doesn’t change the fact that Street Machining or Street Machine magazine would not be where it was today (or where it got to in the late 1980s) without the ASMF. Doesn’t anyone wonder why there was a downturn in Street Machine magazine sales at exactly the same period in the early to mid-1990s when the ASMF began the slow process of properly dissolving after the fatal blow of the Summernats in 1987?