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If you haven’t seen this, you don’t know what you’ve missed: The Small Faces on ‘Colour Me Pop’ 1968

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Never trust management. Never trust your PR firm. Never trust admen. Never trust anyone who says they can manage you, promote you, your band, your career, or anything else they’ll swear they can do for you out the love they have for your talents. The history of pop music is littered with fuck-ups by gangster management and public relations parasites who are only interested in making money out of somebody else’s efforts.

Take The Small Faces. Their first manager Don Arden helped them on their way but also claimed a massive percentage of the band’s earnings—some say as high as 80%.

After a series of hit records (including number ones) and sell-out gigs, the band—Steve Marriott (vocals, guitar), Ronnie Lane (vocals, bass), Kenney Jones (drums), Ian McLagan (keyboards)—were still living off a pitiful weekly handout from Arden (the father of Sharon Osbourne, FYI). The band’s parents were so concerned that their kids were being ripped off that they paid Arden a visit to ask what the fuck was going on? It put the wind up in Arden. He blamed the kids. Told the parents the band had spent all their money on pills and drugs. The implication being “Your kids are bloody junkies and I’m the one who’s paying for it!”

While The Small Faces admittedly dabbled with speed and pills—their single “Here Comes The Nice” extols Marriott’s unabashed love for amphetamine, and “Itchycoo Park” was inspired by Lane’s enjoyment of LSD—they were certainly never smackheads. Arden, like Donald Trump, was well aware that the first rule of defense is attack.

Arden would justify his action by claiming he was only trying to get back the $20,000+ he had spent on buying up as many copies of their debut single as it took to ensure it was a hit. Apparently Arden thought he deserved the money for all of his initial outlay and then some.

The band was keeping Arden sweet and he was not going to let them go. When rival producer/manager Robert Stigwood tried to lever the band away from him, a bunch of heavies turned up at Stigwood’s office and threatened to hang him out of the window if he didn’t fuck off.

However, the parents proved to be a bigger threat than rival managers. After the parental intervention, The Small Faces split with Arden and signed-up with former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. In many respects it was a better deal—they had more freedom and more studio time which allowed them to produce their greatest album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake (1968). But the financial returns—well they were only slightly better.

And as for the PR side…
 
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When The Small Faces’ released Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake in May 1968 it was oddly promoted with a parody of the Lord’s Prayer:

Small Faces
Which were in the studios
Hallowed by thy name
Thy music come
Thy songs be sung
On this album as they came from your heads
We give you this day our daily bread
Give us thy album in a round cover as we give thee 37/9d.,
Lead us into the record stores.
And deliver us Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
For nice is the music
The sleeve and the story
For ever and ever, Immediate.

At time when the majority of the UK identified as Christian and the churches were packed every Sunday, and the views of Archbishops were considered more important than those of politicians—as they dealt with the life hereafter, not just the here and now—the ad was understandably considered blasphemous.

Across the breakfast rooms of England, cups and saucers were rattled in disgust. The press ran BANNER HEADLINES OF SHOCK! AND HORROR! and angry missives sent from Tunbridge Wells, Slough and Lower Perineum filled the letters pages. It certainly was a rum way to pitch a psychedelic concept album. Steve Marriott was equally surprised by the ad:

We didn’t know a thing about the ad, until we saw it in the music papers. And frankly we got the horrors at first. We realised that it could be taken as a serious knock against religion. But on thinking it over, we don’t feel it is particularly good or bad. It’s just another form of advertising. We’re not all that concerned about it. We’re more concerned in writing our music and producing our records.

It was not as damaging as say John Lennon’s claim that the Beatles were bigger than Christ (though let’s be clear: that outburst actually helped sell more Beatles albums in the US, as protesters bought copies just to burn ‘em). Or as damagingly litigious as The Move’s management putting out an advertizing postcard of then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary Marcia Williams for the single “Flowers in the Rain”—which led to them being sued and band’s songwriter Roy Wood losing all of his royalties in perpetuity for the hit. But the Lord’s Prayer advert did The Small Faces no real favors. If anything, it was another stumbling block to them ever making it in the States. The album made number one in the UK but only edged the top 200 in the US.

More about The Small Faces, plus their appearance on ‘Colour Me Pop,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Young Ones, Ab Fab, Einstein and more, recreated with LEGO


The Young Ones
 
I’m not huge fan of LEGO, but every once in awhile I do come across some LEGO minifigures that make me smile. These The Young Ones minifigures by Etsy shop Glinda the Geek do the job quite nicely. They’re kind of adorable, right?

Not only is there The Young Ones, but there’s also Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, Jane and Blanche from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Charles Dickens.

There are more LEGO minifigures at Glinda the Geek‘s shop, I just picked the ones I liked best.


The Young Ones
 

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
You could get some work done today, or you could visit the online Museum of Endangered Sounds
02.04.2016
10:43 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Museum of Endangered Sounds


 
Brendan Chilcutt is, like many Dangerous Minds readers surely are, a collector of cultural ephemera. But his trove is not of real world objects, but once-common sounds that we no longer regularly hear. This is a relatively recent phenomenon on Planet Earth—the changes in the technological components of everyday life that became very rapid in the second half of the 20th Century have been accelerating even faster since the 1980s, to the point where now a gizmo that’s only a few years old can seem like a relic of a bygone time.

According to the about page for Chilcutt’s online Museum of Endangered Sounds:

I launched the site in January of 2012 as a way to preserve the sounds made famous by my favorite old technologies and electronics equipment. For instance, the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR. As you probably know, it’s a wonderfully complex sound, subtle yet unfiltered. But, as streaming playback becomes more common in the US, and as people in developing nations like Canada and the UK get brought up to DVD players, it’s likely that the world will have seen and heard the last of older machines like the HR-7100. And as new products come to market, we stand to lose much more than VCRs.

Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I’m gone?

It’s questions like that last one that have never once kept me up at night, but to each…
 

 
While some of Chilcutt’s dozens of collected sounds date back to the turn of the 20th Century (the rotary phone dial) or the Great Depression (the teletype), most of the tech here comes from after the mid ‘70s—Space Invaders and Pac Man; the wheel-grind of a cassette player; AOL IM alerts; Brian Eno’s Windows95 startup sound; that satisfying THUNK of inserting video game console cartridges; the whirr of a rewinding VHS; the sound of a floppy drive reading a disc; and OF COURSE the dial-up modem connection sound sequence is present.

The interface allows for more than one sound to be played at once, and I definitely recommend creating some musical compositions by mixing and matching a few or several at once (a welcome dialog advises the user “if you like industrial music, try turning on all the thumbnails at once!”) It seems like there could be so much more to this collection, and devices are becoming obsolete at an ever-accelerating rate. But this also seems to be a bigger project for Mr. Chilcutt than just a web toy—he states that his ten-year plan is “to complete the data collection phase by the year 2015, and spend the next seven years developing the proper markup language to reinterpret the sounds as a binary composition.” So he may have more sounds collected than he’s posted so far.

The lag may also be due to the fact that, as he bluntly puts it, “I have eight gerbils.”
 

 
Hat tip to Mr. Lawrence Daniel Caswell for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
There’s a place in Germany where you can ride Falkor and see the props from ‘The Neverending Story’
02.01.2016
10:24 am

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
The NeverEnding Story


 
I didn’t know the majority of The Neverending Story was shot in Germany (except for a few scenes which were shot in Vancouver, Canada and in Almerín, Spain). Apparently it was the most expensive German film ever made until then.

The reason I’m bringing up where the film was shot is because there’s a tourist attraction in Munich, Germany that has all of the props and models from The Neverending Story. It’s called Bavaria Films—similar to Universal Studios’s themeparks—where folks can ride Falkor or the snail and see all the stuff used in film. I’ve found a few photos to give you an idea of what the attraction is like. Kind of cool, right?

If you find yourself in Munich, Germany, you may want to check this out.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘The Rusty James Show’: The idiot bastard son of Woody Allen and Firesign Theatre, starring Elvis?

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Fifty years ago—in the perfect pop culture year of 1966—Woody Allen did his first film project for American International Pictures, home to Roger Corman, monsters, bikers, acid heads and futuristic Death Races looking way forward to the year 2000. I say film project as he didn’t make his first film, he sort of stole it! Legally.

Basically Allen took the Japanese action film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and re-dubbed the dialogue, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe being fought over by rival James Bond-type spy characters. The film became What’s Up Tiger Lily? and was quite well received. The idea had been done before of course, on a smaller scale by Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward for his Fractured Flickers TV series in 1963, and surely others had toyed with the concept, but not in a feature length film. The opportunities for juvenile, MAD Magazine humor were endless and very funny.

What’s Up Tiger Lily? created a model that has been followed by some of the funniest people in history. Here is the trailer in which Allen explains to an unsuspecting public what it is that he has done. (The entire film can also be found on YouTube.)
 

 

 
The next one of these dubbed comedies that comes to mind was in fact done by two of the funniest people to ever grace this planet, Phillip Proctor and the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre fame. In 1979 Proctor and Bergman took clips from 1940s Republic Serials and overdubbed and rewrote an extremely stoned cliffhanger entitled J-Men Forever, starring themselves in newly filmed black and white bits that were inserted into the insane mess of rearranged reality. To top this off they used modern loud rock n roll music for the soundtrack.

To quote the blurb under the YouTube clip:

J-Men Forever became the signature for Night Flight’s stoned comedy audience in the 1980’s. This ultimate late night chronic high comedy was the most demanded rerun for the entire 8 years Night Flight was on the USA Network.

After the jump, experience the inspired insanity of ‘The Rusty James Show’...

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Never mind the bollocks, here’s some unseen photos of the Sex Pistols in 1978
01.29.2016
09:01 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Poly Styrene


Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, John Lydon and Poly Styrene
 
Sadly this isn’t a photo essay with the images—you’ll have to watch the video to see the photographs of the Sex Pistols by French photographer Pierre Benain. Benain shot these back in the Spring of 1978 for a French magazine. A few of these you might have seen before, like the one image of Sid Vicious holding a knife to Nancy Spungen’s neck, but most should be new to you.

For some odd reason in the interview, Benain makes no mention of X-Ray Spex’s frontwoman Poly Styrene being there. She was, as you can see from another photo from that day, which you can see above.

 
h/t Declan O’Gallagher

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘They are all about 12 years old’: The first time The Sex Pistols were ever mentioned in the press

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Some of the stories about the early days of The Sex Pistols are as well known as that tale of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the nativity and the visiting of the three wise bears. (Kings, surely?-Ed.)

For example, we all know by now how John Lydon was spotted wearing a Pink Floyd tee-shirt with “I hate” scrawled across it, how he auditioned in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop SEX by singing along to Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen,” or how Steve Jones propelled the group into national infamy on teatime television by calling local news channel host Bill Grundy a rude word:

Jones: You dirty sod. You dirty old man!

Grundy: Well keep going, chief, keep going. Go on, you’ve got another five seconds. Say something outrageous.

Jones: You dirty bastard!

Grundy: Go on, again.

Jones: You dirty fucker! [Laughter from the group]

Grundy: What a clever boy!

Jones: What a fucking rotter.

Etcetera, etcetera….

Ah yes, some of these stories are so well known they’ve become part of the furniture of modern pop culture. So pull up a chair and have a seat. When that infamous interview happened in December of 1976, the PIstols’ manager Malcolm McLaren feared the band had blown their one chance at fame. How wrong could he have been? The next day (of course) the front page of nearly every tabloid newspaper in England featured the Pistols with headlines raving on about “the filth and the fury.”

From that forth, the Sex Pistols were never ever out of the news again.

Yet, here’s the thing—the very first words ever written about the Pistols in the MSM actually appeared in the New Musical Express a year before the Grundy show incident in the December 27, 1975 issue of the New Musical Express, in a review about a student ball.
 
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Peter Gabriel scrubs up nice: The NME when its writers were good.
 
The Pistols were just seven weeks old and had played only three gigs when they appeared at the “All Night Christmas Ball” at Queen Elizabeth College, Kensington, London, on November 27 1975. The Pistols were on a bill topped by the likes of Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Mike Absolom and Slack Alice. It was in a review of this all nighter by NME staffer Kate Phillips that the Sex Pistols were to be given their very first media name check.

“Oh, yes,” says the Social Sec, “and then there are the Sex Pistols. You missed them.”

“Were they any good?” I asked brightly.

“They played for expenses,” he countered.

The Sex Pistols were huddled against a far wall of the dance floor. They were all about 12 years old. Or maybe about 19, but you could be fooled. They’re managed by Malcolm, who runs ‘Sex’ in the King’s Road, and they’re going to be The Next Big Thing. Or maybe The Next Big Thing After That. Meanwhile, we drank a lot.

It’s been long assumed that the first mention of The Sex Pistols came from a review by Neil Spencer of the band’s Marquee gig in February 1976. Now we know different.
 
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Journalist and author Paul Gorman who first unearthed this little barroom fact also notes:

Phillips was accompanied to the Queen Elizabeth College event by her partner and NME assistant editor, the late Tony Tyler (who was also with Spencer at the February 76 gig at The Marquee).

In the “On The Town” section on page 27, it was tucked beneath the lead review by Chris Salewicz of a Birmingham gig by the briefly popular hard-rock outfit Mr Big (headlined: “A yob in a support band is something to be.”).

Phillips started her column-and-a-bit thus:

“I was there for six hours and I can hardly remember a thing. It must have been a great party. Looking back it was meeting the Sex Pistols that started my downfall…”

She also wrote:

“I was soon in no condition to meet the rugger student who reeled over to our little island of determined hipness.

‘Why is your hair so short?’ he burbled. ‘I mean are you in a gwoop or something?’

I warmed to the man. He had taken me for a Sex Pistol!

A jig band came on. The students broke into the Gay Gordons.

‘What a monstrosity,’ muttered a Sex Pistol gloomily.”

Criticised that day on the bus by my then-girlfriend for my absorption in the music paper, I packed the issue away but kept hold of it, understanding even then that halfway down page 27 of that week’s NME, Phillips and Tyler had stumbled across the future.

So, there you have it. These then are the very first words, the very first first drops from which a deluge of salacious copy would follow.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘WELL I AM NOW!’: The mystery of this 28-year-old AT&T commercial is finally solved


 
If you are of “a certain age” you’re going to remember this AT&T commercial which played incessantly on television in the late ‘80s.

It featured a stock broker or some other sort of entitled business-class asshole who was trying to call Phoenix, but mistakenly dialed Fiji instead.
 

 
A native answers his call:

“NockaMockaBeeSai”

or was it “Wanna-mocka-pee-si?”

or was it “Bolenockapeaceye?”

Anyway, the businessman ends up getting infuriated when he has to hold for a minute to get credited. He says “AT&T operators gave me instant credit.” The operator informs the man that he is “not dealing with AT&T,” to which he snaps back “WELL I AM NOW!”
 

“WELL I AM NOW!”
 
When we were kids we used to make fun of this dork incessantly, always imitating “WELL I AM NOW!” in the whiniest, most privileged voice imaginable at any opportune moment.

We’d also imitate the native Fijian’s phone greeting, sometimes answering our own phones in his voice, but no one could ever really agree on what he was saying…

“Bolamakapeesai?”

“OckaNockaBeeSai?”

“Onga laka pisai?”

This was one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Twentieth Century. Of course back then we didn’t have the Internet and Google—but as we now live in the magical futureworld where all questions are easily and instantly answered, we now know exactly what was being said. Here it is:

“Bula Vinaka, Beachside”

“Bula Vinaka,” is a Fijian expression for “hello, thanks.”

You should always go straight to the Internet with any lingering questions from your pre-Internet childhood.
 

 
“WELL I AM NOW!”

The only mystery that yet remains is how this doof managed to mistakenly dial Fiji instead of Phoenix without dialing the country code.
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The Bowie, Elvis, Warhol ‘Black Star’ connection: Popism eats itself

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Like everyone else on this planet, I feel the loss of David Bowie like a black hole in my heart and this sets me searching and thinking and finding weirdness a go-go (and everything tastes nice). After watching the new video for “Lazarus,” I was left chilled to the bone as though it was recorded as he was dying, and as if he were speaking directly to me. The whole thing with UK newspapers saying there are “clues” all over Blackstar and all that “Paul is Dead” sorta stuff. Except David Bowie is dead. I mean he is dead, right? Then I was alerted to the unreleased song “Black Star” recorded by Bowie’s birth mate (everyone knows they share a birthday of course) Elvis!
 
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This track was recorded for a 1960 film that was originally to be called Black Star but that wound up being retitled Flaming Star instead.

The original recording sat in the vaults until the 1990s when it became available to the public. Besides sharing a birthday with the King of Rock and Roll, Bowie was very interested in and influenced by Elvis, too, so there would be no reason to think that he wouldn’t have been aware of this song, with its aptly chilling lyrics that could be applied to Bowie’s end of life situation…

Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

When I ride I feel that black star
That black star over my shoulder
So I ride in front of that black star
Never lookin’ around, never lookin’ around

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

One fine day I’ll see that black star
That black star over my shoulder
And when I see that old black star
I’ll know my time, my time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

 
Here’s Elvis’ “Black Star”:
 

 
And Bowie’s “Blackstar”...
 

 
...with its own chilling and obscure lyrics:

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes

On the day of execution, on the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile, ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, at the centre of it all
Your eyes, your eyes

Ah-ah-ah
Ah-ah-ah

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster)

I can’t answer why (I’m a blackstar)
Just go with me (I’m not a filmstar)
I’m-a take you home (I’m a blackstar)
Take your passport and shoes (I’m not a popstar)
And your sedatives, boo (I’m a blackstar)
You’re a flash in the pan (I’m not a marvel star)
I’m the great I am (I’m a blackstar)

I’m a blackstar, way up, oh honey, I’ve got game
I see right so white, so open-heart it’s pain
I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a star star, I’m a blackstar)

I can’t answer why (I’m not a gangster)
But I can tell you how (I’m not a flam star)
We were born upside-down (I’m a star star)
Born the wrong way ‘round (I’m not a white star)
(I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar
I’m not a pornstar, I’m not a wandering star
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

In the villa of Ormen stands a solitary candle
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes
On the day of execution, only women kneel and smile
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

And as all things in pop culture eventually lead back to Andy Warhol, the kicker for me is that as I was looking into this I realized that all the infamous Warhol Elvis silkscreen art that you have seen your whole life is from (of course) a still photo from Flaming Star. And I don’t have to remind you that Bowie played Warhol in the 1996 film Basquiat do I? More will be revealed, I’m sure. It’s like that Kennedy and Lincoln coincidence thing, isn’t it?
 
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Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
The awesome party mobile from the 1977 film ‘SuperVan’ is up for auction
01.11.2016
09:35 am

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
auction
George Barris
SuperVan


 
Built back in 1966 by custom automotive mad scientist, George Barris (and originally dubbed “The Love Machine”), the four-wheeled star of the 1977 film SuperVan has been fully restored and is currently up for auction for an undisclosed price. Which generally means that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
 
A view from the front of George Barris'
A view from the front of George Barris’ “Supervan”
 
Dean Martin's tricked out Cadillac Eldorado by George Barris
Dean Martin’s tricked out Cadillac Eldorado by George Barris
 
Elvis Presley and his Cadillac limousine by George Barris
Elvis Presley and his Cadillac limousine by George Barris
 
Barris’ has created some of the most recognizable cars in television and movie history like the “Batmobile”, the chatty “KITT” from the 1980s TV series, Knight Rider, the “Munster Koach,” and the “DRAG-U-LA” casket car from The Munsters as well as tricking out cars for celebrities like Dean Martin who requested a Cadillac Eldorado be modified into a station wagon for some reason. Barris even turned a Cadillac into a limousine for Elvis Presley. But let’s get back to the aforementioned shagadelic “Supervan/Love Machine,” shall we?
 
George Barris and his
George Barris and his “Supervan”
 
The interior of George Barris'
The interior of the “Supervan”
 
A view from the side of George Barris'
 
George Barris' signature inside the
George Barris’ signature inside the “Supervan”
 
With its crushed red velvet interior, rotating bed and disco ball hanging from its ceiling, the van certainly lived up to its original namesake. Modified from a 1966 Dodge Tradesman A-100, Barris even installed solar panels on the eight-cylinder van, which powered a television, radio and even a record player that were used during the downtime on the set of SuperVan. Ah, the 70s really were the best.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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