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FEATURES
  DUTCH MICHAELS' GIG OF THE WEEK
THE PRETTY THINGS
The Borderline Club, London
Saturday 29th December 2012


the pretty things

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If ya couldn't afford to see The Rolling Stones, drop down to the Borderline Club December 29th and you might find a couple in the audience and definitely an ex-member on stage. This is a promising night of old school rock n' blues with top musicianship and a Christmas Party to boot! The expected will be fulfilling, the unexpected will be superb.

The Pretty Things are an English rock and roll band from London, who originally formed in 1963. They took their name from Bo Diddley's 1955 song 'Pretty Thing'. Their most commercially successful period was the mid 1960s, although they continue to perform to this day. David Bowie covered two of their songs on his album 'Pin Ups'.

Article continues below...

   


Early stages

The Pretty Things were preceded by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which consisted of Dick Taylor, fellow Sidcup Art College student Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger. When Brian Jones was recruiting for his own band, all three joined Brian and Ian Stewart and were dubbed 'Rollin' Stones' by Jones. Taylor would briefly play bass guitar in the nascent Rolling Stones who employed a variety of drummers during 1962.

Taylor (born Richard Clifford Taylor, 28 January 1943, Dartford, Kent) quit the Stones several months later when he was accepted at the London Central School of Art, where he met Phil (Hi ya Babe) May (born Phillip Arthur Dennis Kattner, 9 November 1944, Dartford, Kent) and they formed The Pretty Things.

Taylor was once again playing guitar, with May singing and playing harmonica. They recruited Brian Pendleton (born 13 April 1944, Heath Town, Wolverhampton – died 16 May 2001, Maidstone, Kent) on rhythm guitar; John Stax (born John Edward Lee Fullagar, 6 April 1944, Crayford, Kent) on bass; and Pete Kitley, replaced by Viv Andrews (on drums) and then by Viv Prince (born Vivian Martin Prince, 9 August 1941, Loughborough, Leicestershire) on drums.

A fellow student at the Art College May and Taylor studied at, Bryan Morrison, was recruited as their manager. Morrison was to manage them for the rest of the 1960s, building his own Bryan Morrison Agency. This agency represented Pink Floyd amongst many other bands.

the pretty things

Early career

The Pretty Things first three singles — 'Rosalyn' #41, 'Don't Bring Me Down' #10, and the self-penned 'Honey I Need' at #13 — appeared in the UK Singles Chart in 1964 and 1965. They never had a hit in the United States, but had considerable success in their native United Kingdom and in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands in the middle of the decade. Their appearance was designed to provoke, with May claiming to have the longest hair in the UK.

The band later blamed their lack of success in the US on the fact they toured the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand, where they were banned after Prince set fire to a bag of crayfish on an internal flight.

Their early material consisted of hard-edged blues-rock influenced by Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. The first of what would be many personnel changes over the years also began, with Prince the first to go in November 1965. He was replaced by Skip Alan (born Alan Ernest Skipper, 11 June 1948, Westminster, London).

In early 1966 the band made a short film Pretty Things On Film; it featured live footage and a music video prototype for 'Can't Stand The Pain', which also featured their manager, Morrison. Rarely screened at the time, the film can be found as a bonus multimedia item on the Snapper CD re-issue of Get The Picture. 1966 saw the R&B scene fall into decline and The Pretty Things began moving away, flirting with soul music.

In mid-1966 saw them make the UK Singles Chart for the final time with a cover of The Kinks song, 'A House In The Country'. In December 1966 came the single 'Progress', where the band were joined by a brass section.

Pendleton left in December 1966, and Stax followed in January 1967. Jon Povey (born 20 August 1942, London) and Wally Waller (born Alan Edward Waller, 9 April 1944, Barnehurst, Kent), both former Fenmen from Bern Elliott and the Fenmen, joined and made the band a five-piece once again.

the pretty things

Their final album for Fontana Records was a contractual obligation produced by Steve Rowland and the subject of controversy sinceEmotions was laden with brass and string arrangements arranged by Reg Tilsley. EMI producer Norman Smith expressed interest in working with them and at the end of September 1967, The Pretty Things signed to EMI's Columbia label. In November 1967 they released 'Defecting Grey', a psychedelic effort that failed to sell. This was followed three months later by a double A-side single 'Talking About The Good Times'/'Walking Through My Dreams'.

That single marked the beginning of sessions for the SF Sorrow album. Released in December 1968, it was the first rock opera, preceding the release of The Who's Tommy in May 1969. It was recorded between December 1967 and September 1968 at the Abbey Road Studios, while Pink Floyd were working on 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' (also produced by Norman Smith) and The Beatles worked on the White Album. In March 1968, drummer Skip Alan left the group. Twink replaced him to help the band to complete the album.

In March 1969, the British music magazine, NME reported that Motown Records vice-president Barney Ales had visited London to sign the Pretty Things as the U.S. label's first British act.

S.F. Sorrow was commercially unsuccessful, with no immediate release in the US. However, the album was subsequently picked up by Motown and issued with a different cover on its Rare Earth Records label. The work received only modest support from EMI, and its depressing narrative probably did not help sales.

1969 saw the band feeling disillusioned by the failure of SF Sorrow and that June, Taylor left the band. The Pretty Things borrowed guitarist Victor Unitt from The Edgar Broughton Band to replace Taylor. Shortly after he joined, Twink left. Alan returned to the drumstool in time for the band's return to Abbey Road to start work on Parachute, which kept the psychedelic sound. During this period they also recorded an album for a young French millionaire Philippe DeBarge, which was intended only to be circulated among his social circle.

The acetate has since been bootlegged. In 2010 it was finally picked up by Mike Stax, owner of 1960s music magazine Ugly Things. He unearthed one of the two acetates and had it mixed and mastered and then as a piece de resistance, had the classic Pretty Things line-up, which Dick Taylor had just left at the time of the recording of the tracks with DeBarge, record a song entitled 'Monsieur Rock' (Ballad Of Philippe) a bonus track for this release on Ugly Things UTCD-2207.

Shortly after the release of Parachute, Unitt left and was replaced by Pete Tolson. Despite much stage work and acclaim, their records were still failing to sell at all well.

During the late 1960s, the band made some extra money by recording for music library company DeWolfe. Some of these songs ended up in low-budget films including What's Good For the Goose (1969), Haunted House of Horror (1969), The Monster Club (1981) and a couple of softcore porn films. Not intended for official release, these songs were later compiled on a number of records and released under the alias Electric Banana: Electric Banana (1967), More Electric Banana (1968), Even More Electric Banana (1969), Hot Licks (1970), and Return of the Electric Banana (1978). The initial releases featured one side of vocal and one side of instrumental tracks. Subsequent releases of these albums generally keep the true identity of the band secret.



1970s

By late 1970, the group had gone their separate ways due to commercial failures, and Alan was in a group called Sunshine. May, Povey, Alan, Tolson and Stuart Brooks signed with Warner Bros. Records, and released Freeway Madness at the end of 1972.

1974's Silk Torpedo saw them being managed by Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant. Silk Torpedo was the first album release on Zeppelin's own label Swan Song.[3] Also around this time, Brooks left and was replaced by Jack Green and a second keyboardist Gordon Edwards was added. In 1976, after the release of Savage Eye, May quit the band before a major London gig, and the band split up.

1980s

Reforming for 1980s Cross Talk did not improve their sales figures, and the Pretty Things split up again in 1981. Reforming in 1984, May and Taylor used various session musicians to release Out Of The Island (1988). Mark St. John joined on drums, but by the end of the decade their profile had almost disappeared. May and Taylor reformed the band for a successful European blues tour in late 1990 with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack and Luther Allison. This outfit included drummer Hans Waterman (formerly of Dutch rock groupSolution), bassist Roelf ter Velt and guitarist/keyboardist Barkley McKay (Waco Brothers and Pine Valley Cosmonauts) with Jon Langford ex-Mekons. This line-up regularly toured the European mainland until late 1994.

1990s

May and Taylor, together with former Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, recorded two albums in Chicago as Pretty Things/Yardbird Blues Band. They were The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 and Wine, Women, Whiskey, both produced by George Paulus.

The early 1990s were taken up with a battle against EMI. This was over unpaid royalties stemming back to a deal EMI set up with Motown subsidiary Rare Earth in 1968. The band never received any royalties from Rare Earth nor had received any monies from EMI for many years. The band won the legal case, the result being that in 1993 EMI gave them back all their master tapes, copyrights and an undisclosed sum of money as settlement. On friendly terms again, the 1967 line up decided to return with the addition of Pete Tolson (born Peter Tolson, 10 September 1951, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England). After much rehearsal, Tolson grew disillusioned and quit with Frank Holland taking Tolson's place.

Their label, Snapper Music, issued remastered CDs with many bonus tracks, plus a DVD of a live netcast re-recording of S.F. Sorrow at Abbey Road Studios, with David Gilmour and Arthur Brown as guest players. They played a tour of the U.S. for the first time in decades.

2000s to present

Original rhythm guitarist Brian Pendleton died of lung cancer on 16 May 2001 in Maidstone. The following year their ex-keyboard player Gordon Edwards (born Gordon John Edwards, 26 December 1946, Southport, Lancashire) died of a drug overdose.

In 1999 they released the studio album Rage Before Beauty and in the early 2000s, they released several compilation albums, a live album and DVD. In 2003, Alan Lakey's biography of the band, Growing Old Disgracefully, was published by Firefly. The book dealt with the long and involved history of the band, and paid special attention to the legal proceedings issued against EMI in the 1990s. An extensively re-written version is planned to be published in 2012.

Skip Alan suffered heart problems in 2001 restricting his commitment to the band, with St. John deputising on the drums as required. In mid 2007, The Pretty Things released their eleventh studio album Balboa Island on St. John's Côte Basque record label. The album contained a number of Pretty Things originals. Family illnesses meant Waller and Povey were unable to commit to the band, and Jack Greenwood replaced Allan on drums in 2008, a year which also saw the death of their former producer, Norman Smith and ex-manager, Bryan Morrison. In December 2008, a re-release was made, on Ugly Things Records, of their 1969 album, Phillipe DeBarge and the Pretty Things.

In June 2009, May, Taylor, Waller, Povey and Alan reunited to receive the "Heroes" award at the annual Mojo Awards ceremony. The Pretty Things continued to gig into 2010, with the line-up revolving around the May and Taylor axis with additional hired help. Waller, Povey, Alan and Tolson reunited in the middle of 2010 to re-record Parachute, to commemorate its 40th anniversary. Using the byline 'The XPTs', the album was released by Esoteric Recordings on 30 April 2012.

In April 2012, a re-imagining of S.F. Sorrow, entitled Sorrow's Children and featuring covers by contemporary bands of each track, was due for release on Fruits De Mer Records. The album included an interview with May and Taylor, and had a live version of 'Loneliest Person'. The latter was recorded at their gig at London's 100 Club in December 2010, at which they played the whole of their first album.

In 2012 the band returned to New Zealand for the first time since being banned in 1965.

Discography

Studio albums
The Pretty Things (1965) - UK #6
Get the Picture (1965)
Emotions (1967)
S.F. Sorrow (1968)
Parachute (1970) - UK #43
Freeway Madness (1972)
Silk Torpedo (1974) - US #104
Savage Eye (1976) - US #163
Cross Talk (1980)
Rage...Before Beauty (1999)
Balboa Island (2007)[1]
Philippe DeBarge (2009) - (recorded in 1969)

Live albums
Live At Heartbreak Hotel (1984)
Out of the Island (1988)
Rockin' the Garage (1992)
Resurrection (1998) (S.F. Sorrow performed live at Abbey Road Studios, featuring Arthur Brown and David Gilmour)

Pseudonymous and collaborative albums
Electric Banana was a pseudonymous 1967 album of the band. The band recorded this album and two subsequent ones for the De Wolfe Music Library. De Wolfe provided stock music for film soundtracks. The Electric Banana music wound up on various horror and soft-porn films of the late 1960s, such as What's Good for the Goose (1969). When the album was released, the stage name The Electric Banana was used to hide the band's identity.

As Electric Banana (music for films)
Electric Banana (1967)
More Electric Banana (1968)
Even More Electric Banana (1969)
The Electric Banana: Live at the Grand (1969)
Hot Licks (1970)
The Return Of The Electric Banana (1978)
As Pretty Things & The Yardbird Blues Band (May and Taylor with Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds)
The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 (1991)
Wine Women Whiskey (1994)

Compilation albums
Greatest Hits 1964-1967 (1975)
Real Pretty (1976) 2 LPs (reissue of S.F. Sorrow and Parachute)
The Vintage Years (1976)
The Singles A's & B's (1977)
1967 - 1971 (1982)
Let Me Hear The Choir Sing (1983)
Closed Restaurant Blues (1985)
Cries From The Midnight Circus - The Best Of 1968-1971 (1986)
Unrepentant - The Anthology (1995)
The EP Collection (1997)
Midnight To Six (2000)
Latest Writs, Greatest Hits (2000)
The Rhythm & Blues Years (2001)
The Psychedelic Years 1966-1970 (2001)
Still Unrepentant (2004)
Come See Me: The Very Best of The Pretty Things (2004)



Happy Holidays and all the best for 2013! Dutch xx


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"A Conspiracy Of Stars is another successful combination of those typical UFO elements with fresh, contemporary ideas..."

battle beast BATTLE BEAST RELEASE NEW TRACK 'TOUCH IN THE NIGHT' - LISTEN HERE
"'Touch In The Night' is probably the farthest away from typical Battle Beast sound we've ever gone..."

sebastien SEBASTIEN RELEASE NEW LIVE VIDEO FROM MASTERS OF ROCK FESTIVAL
The track is a version of Black Sabbath's 'Headless Cross', recorded earlier this year...

napalm death NAPALM DEATH DEBUT FIRST SONG FROM 'APEX PREDATOR - EASY MEAT' ALBUM
A first online teaser from the new album is now available. Napalm Death are currently on tour in Europe...

audrey horne AUDREY HORNE ARE NOW ON TOUR
'Pure Heavy' comes to Europe with an extensive run of dates..."

peckham cowboys THE PECKHAM COWBOYS UNWRAP VIDEO FOR 'BROMLEY GIRLS'
The song is a tale of "a young aristocratic lady of high breeding, led astray by a terrible man. Only the names have been changed, because we forgot them..."

abgott ABGOTT PLAY ONLY UK SHOW OF 2014 IN DECEMBER
The Black Metal heroes will play the Boston Music Rooms on December 5th...

fear factory FEAR FACTORY CANCEL EUROPEAN TOUR
Fear Factory will be concentrating on finishing their new studio album and will return in the Summer of 2015...

download KISS AND MUSE ANNOUNCED AS DOWNLOAD 2015 HEADLINERS
British rock trio Muse will headline the Saturday night of next year's event, which runs between June 12th and 14th...

magnum MAGNUM RELEASE NEW SINGLE 'ON CHRISTMAS DAY' ON DECEMBER 1ST
The poignant song is based on a true life incident in the WW1 trenches...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA DANCE ACROSS NORTH AMERICA IN HILARIOUS NEW VIDEO FOR GENESIS COVER 'I CAN'T DANCE'
"The experience ranged from no one even paid too much attention to us to people looking a little scared..."

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE GERMAN DATES FOR 2016 WORLD TOUR
The German dates are just the first of many live appearances, with plenty more to be announced. "And for 2016, we will have more surprises and an even bigger production..."

ensiferum ENSIFERUM ANNOUNCE ALBUM TITLE AND RELEASE DATE FOR 2015
"Kippo kicked our asses to make us do the very best, and you can hear that in this album. It's a killer album with killer sound. I'm very proud to a part of this masterpiece..."

hellfest BREAKING NEWS: HELLFEST ANNOUNCE MOTORHEAD, SCORPIONS, ALESTORM, SLASH, ZZ TOP, VENOM AND MANY, MANY MORE FOR 2015
Hellfest have announced a stellar line-up for the 2015 edition of the festival which will take place at on June 19th to 21st 2015...

download BREAKING NEWS: JUDAS PRIEST, SLIPKNOT AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR DOWNLOAD 2015
Slipknot will play the main stage at Donington on Friday June 12th, following Judas Priest...

chris appleton CHRIS APPLETON ANNOUNCES ACOUSTIC ALBUM & TOUR
In the downtime between Absolva projects, Chris Appleton applies his skills to solo album 'Restless'...

out and loud NAPALM RECORDS ANNOUNCE LABEL NIGHT AT OUT & LOUD FESTIVAL 2015
The German festival gets off to a quality start with the warm up night on July 3rd featuring a fine cross-section of the label repertoire...

jeff loomis ARCH ENEMY WELCOME JEFF LOOMIS AS NEW GUITARIST
The ex-Nevermore guitarist will debut for Arch Enemy on the European tour starting November 26th as Nick Cordle's replacement...

wildfire WILDFIRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2014 CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE
The two day showcase promises to give Glasgow a Rock and Metal party to remember...

periphery PERIPHERY ANNOUNCE DUAL ALBUMS FOR 2015
There will also be plenty of touring in next year, including a stint on the road with Devin Townsend Project...

anathema ANATHEMA ANNOUNCE 'RESONANCE' SHOW AT SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE IN APRIL 2015
This special show will be a celebration of the entire history of Anathema music...

cradle of filth CRADLE OF FILTH SIGN WORLDWIDE DEAL WITH NUCLEAR BLAST
"For the full frontal assault we have planned for the awesome new album, Nuclear Blast are the perfect war stallion to carry us screaming into the heart of the next chapter of COF's dark, enigmatic history..."

yardbirds THE YARDBIRDS RETURN TO LONDON WITH SPECIAL GUESTS SOME VELVET MORNING
The Yardbirds will play Bush Hall on November 21st, fifty years after the release of the seminal 'Five Live Yardbirds'...

marilyn manson NEW MARILYN MANSON ALBUM 'THE PALE EMPEROR' COMING JANUARY 19th
The album is available for pre-orders now...

udo UDO, ONE OF GERMAN CLASSIC ROCK'S GREATEST, ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM
'Decadent' is mastered and due for release in January 2015...

fozzy FOZZY LAUNCH VIDEO CLIP FOR 'DO YOU WANNA START A WAR'
"Fog, slow motion camera shots, and chicks in military uniforms. Touchdown!..."

phil rudd 'PROCURE TO KILL' CHARGE AGAINST AC/DC DRUMMER PHIL RUDD DROPPED BUT OTHER CHARGES REMAIN
Rudd is on bail and is scheduled to reappear in court on November 27th and still faces one charge of threatening to kill...

blind guardian BLIND GUARDIAN TO RELEASE 'BEYOND THE RED MIRROR' IN FEBRUARY 2015
"A story between science fiction and fantasy. While there used to be several passages between the worlds, there is only one gate left now: The Red Mirror. It has to be found at any cost..."

arch enemy ARCH ENEMY LAUNCH LIVE VIDEO FOR 'AS THE PAGES BURN'
Arch Enemy are about to start a major European tour with Kreator, including seven UK dates in December...

paradise lost PARADISE LOST BEGIN RECORDING NEW ALBUM
"We have written a very dark yet melodic album but this time many songs definitely have a Death Metal edge..."

rainbow RAINBOW RELEASE 'THE POLYDOR YEARS' - 8 CLASSIC ALBUMS IN 1 AMAZING VINYL BOX SET
All the classics are here - relive the very best of the era in the box set released on November 24th...

nothing more NOTHING MORE TO SUPPORT THE PRETTY RECKLESS
The passion and relentless sonic experimentation of the live show comes to the UK this November...

phil rudd AC/DC DRUMMER PHIL RUDD ON NEW ZEALAND MURDER PLOT AND DRUGS CHARGE
Michael Browning, AC/DC's former manager told Daily Mail Australia it was a "bit of a shock, but there you go"....

hrh 9 HRH 9 ON TRACK FOR A XMAS SELL OUT
Due to huge demand the last batch of rooms are on sale for November 2015's spectacular event...

engel ENGEL RELEASE ALBUM TEASER FOR 'RAVEN KINGS'
The eagerly awaited release from the Swedish Death Metallers is nearly upon us...

blackberry smoke BLACKBERRY SMOKE UNVEIL NEW ALBUM 'HOLDING ALL THE ROSES' PRODUCED BY BRENDAN O'BRIEN
The album will land in February 2015. "The plan for this record is to go out and play as much as we can, and just take it to the people..."

broken chords BROKEN CHORDS TO HEADLINE SECOND STAGE AT HARD ROCK HELL
The band have been grabbing attention thanks to the Bernie Tormé tour, and look to build on that with their appearance at HRH...

linkin park LINKIN PARK ANNOUNCE 2015 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR WITH RISE AGAINST AND OF MICE AND MEN
'The Hunting Party' goes on the road for nineteen dates in January and February...

skarlett gus tour THE SKYS HEAD UP ANOTHER BATCH OF PROGTASTIC BANDS FOR HRH PROG 3
Another five quaity bands will join headliner Rick Wakeman in next year's prog extravaganza...

ramblin man fair BREAKING NEWS: SCORPIONS, GREGG ALLMAN, CAMEL AND MARILLION ANNOUNCED FOR RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR 2015
The Rock Collective and TeamRock are proud to announce a brand new UK festival...

skarlett gus tour MACHINE HEAD REVEAL SECOND TRAILER FOR THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM, 'BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS'
The album will be released on November 10, 2014 on a variety of formats. "It's been a heck of a ride, but man, this album is a milestone for us..."

skarlett gus tour SKARLETT RIOT CONFIRMED FOR GUS G UK TOUR
Skarlett Riot will open for the four UK dates of the 2015 headlining European tour...

wayne static WAYNE STATIC DIES AT 48
The founder of industrial Metal band Static-X died on November 1st...

emigrate VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE, 'EAT YOU ALIVE', UNVEILED BY RAMMSTEIN GUITARIST RICHARD KRUSPE'S EMIGRATE
The second Emigrate album 'Silent So Long' is set for release via Spinefarm Records on November 24th...

slash GUITAR LEGEND SLASH AND THE UK'S BEST LIVE BAND BIFFY CLYRO SET TO ROCK GLASGOW AHEAD OF THE 2014 MTV EMA
The rock show will kick off the MTV EMA weekend at The O2 Academy on 7 November...

devil you know DEVIL YOU KNOW PULL OUT OF UK AND EUROPEAN MACHINE HEAD TOUR
"The business side of this industry is very ugly at times and this is one of those unforeseen instances where the band has to suffer..."

cavelera conspiracy CAVALERA CONSPIRACY RELEASE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO FOR TRACK 'BABYLONIAN PANDEMONIUM'
The video's imagery conveys the raw emotions of Brazil's impoverished people percolating just beneath the surface of the country's natural beauty...

rock goddess ROCK GODDESS CONFIRMED FOR HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR 2015
Rock Goddess join Masterplan, Blitzkrieg, Iron Angel and many others at HOA...

monument MONUMENT RELEASE NEW LYRIC VIDEO
The video for 'Renegades' features artwork by the band's exclusive illustrator Stan W Decker...

dog house WEST LONDON'S NEW ROCK BAR OPENS
The Dog House has opened in Acton, the first new rock bar for many years in the W post code area...

western sand WESTERN SAND ANNOUNCE NEW EP RELEASE, 'CUT YOU DOWN TO SIZE'
The band's second EP is released on Monday 17th November through Believe Digital...

lawnmower deth LAWNMOWER DETH ANNOUNCE CHRISTMAS SHOW
Join Lawnmower Deth at The Underworld on 13th December with Evil Scarecrow, Savage Messiah and Bull Riff Stampede...

giants of rock BLACK STAR RIDERS ADDED TO GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL
The first opportunity to see the band live in the UK in 2015 will be at Giants Of Rock, in a line-up which includes Slade, Magnum and many more...

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