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Leave Me Alone: The angry glory of Boston punk rock heroes La Peste
03.07.2017
12:55 pm
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A vintage shot of Boston punk band, La Peste.

In the late 70s, Boston rockers La Peste took their name from French author and philosopher Albert Camus’ 1947 novel of the same name (called The Plague in English) and subsequently helped Boston’s punk scene take a giant leap forward with their special brand of caustic rawk. I mean it’s not like Boston didn’t have its fair share of notable hardcore punk bands like Gang Green and Jerry’s Kids. But La Peste was more like some of their L.A. or London-based punk rock counterparts, occasionally wavering into melodies along the lines of Bauhaus then slugging right back to the impetus of aggressive, flesh-eating punk that rings clear in their local hit single “Better off Dead.” La Peste was a big smash in 1978 and the trio was quickly front-page news after being named the winner in the Battle of the Bands competition held at the Inman Square Men’s Bar in the rock mecca of Cambridge, Massachusetts. La Peste would also make it to the finals of Boston-based rock and roll institution the Rock & Roll Rumble back when it was still curated by radio station WBCN, and where yours truly got her humble start. In order to help you understand the impact of La Peste, I’m going to use some well-chosen words from musician, author and Boston music historian, Johnny Angel, who here extolls the virtues of the band who by all accounts really should have made it big:

Like a freaking machine, they were, sinister and icy—sinuous and taut. Like Wire (the band) smashed hard into Sabbath. They came and went like a tornado, surfing that first punk wave like champions. Buzzsaw gits, jackhammer line-less bass, and precisely sloppy drumming. La Peste was just plain perfect.

As is often the case with great things, La Peste sailed off into that dirty water sometime in 1980 when dreamy vocalist Peter Dayton decided to form his own band following what he called his “Syd Barrett moment” in late 1979. The rest of the band now joined by vocalist Ian Stevens kept going for a while until fading into the murk a few years later. Sadly, La Peste drummer Roger Tripp—who some say played with the ferocity of Keith Moon—would be the victim of a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve in 1993 which lead Dayton and bassist Mark Karl to leave the band’s volcanic legacy in the past.

In 2011 it another Boston legend, filmmaker and videographer Jan Crocker put out a DVD containing footage of La Peste performing eighteen songs live in 1979 on a bill that they shared at the Rat with the legendary Nervous Eaters. I’ve included several of the band’s singles below as well as a clip from Crocker’s DVD for you to chew on. And by that I mean play it as loud as fuck. Though they only truly released one single (containing “Better off Dead” and its B-side “Black”), La Peste left behind a small but stellar catalog of music that was re-released by both Matador (in 1996 and in 2006 as Better of La Peste) and by California label Bacchus Archives.
 

La Peste.
 

La Peste performing “Better off Dead” 1980.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.07.2017
12:55 pm
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‘Pass The Dust, I Think I’m Bowie!’: True tales of Black Randy, first wave Los Angeles punk icon
07.08.2016
05:30 pm
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kufguytj
 
The many roads that led to the happening that was to be referred to as “punk” are varied and often way more interesting than punk itself. It’s still a wonder to me to see the various ways so many very opposed situations all wound up in one place, at one time. In other words, to skew a quote from the the old TV show Naked City “There are eight million stories in punk city. This is one of them.”

My personal introduction to Black Randy was when I arrived (by bus!) in Los Angeles from New York with some friends and bandmates to visit our new found buddies who had come to New York six months before. We let them stay in our sorta squat (in actuality it was the storage space of the drummer of The Lovin’ Spoonful, who our friend babysat for!) and they said to come to LA. These new pals consisted of Brian Tristan (later to be known as Kid Congo Powers), Trixie Plunger, Mary Rat, Rod (from LA band The Mau Maus) and Hellin Killer. Lifelong friends, all. In LA we bounced between the three places most people in our circle did: The Screamers house (aka The Wilton Hilton, where Brian/Kid literally lived in a closet); The Canterbury on Cherokee, off Hollywood Boulevard, an entire apartment complex stuffed to the gills with punk rock kids in every room and across from infamous punk club The Masque; and Joan Jett’s house, then a looney bin party pad.
 
tyfjtcm
 
When entering the Canterbury I was warned by Screamers drummer KK Barrett about a guy named Black Randy who was crazy and to “definitely not shake his hand”! The next morning we went out and in the lobby of the Canterbury, on the huge maybe seven ft by eight ft art deco-ish mirror was a thick covering of human feces. THIS was a typical Black Randy gesture to humanity. I was then told that when he went to get assistance from the government due to his mental problems (SSI aka “crazy money”) he had his pockets stuffed with his poop and went in with his hands in his pockets and gratefully shook the worker’s hands when greeted…of course causing a mini riot at the welfare office and speeding up his paperwork just to get him the hell out of there! This is why you do not shake Black Randy’s hand. He was also known to poop in party hostesses’ purses and worse. His phony phone calls are legendary and can be heard here!

I then found out Black Randy had a band. This I had to see!
 
sdjhfsgnvsdru
 
I saw Black Randy and The Metrosquad at the Masque. At his very first show there the first words out of his mouth were “I’m glad to see there aren’t any punks here tonight… because I HATE PUNK.” Being from New York it reminded me of James Chance and the Contortions. It had a similarly fast and funky element, but unlike Chance’s bands, the subject matter was scathing and funny with lots of gay, street and political references. Songs about Idi Amin, porno, fighting the police, narcs, sex and death. His backup singers—the Blackettes (think the the James Brown Revue on glue) were the scream of the then new crop of punque chicks including Exene Cervenka, Alice Bag, Lorna Doom, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin and others.
 
jythfg
 
To quote Furious.com:

Black Randy and his Metrosquad were a supergroup of the Hollywood punk era: the lineup included members of the Randoms, Eyes and the Dils as well as one of the other founding partners of Dangerhouse, David Browne. Musically, they were nothing like the hard-fast-loud sound of punk- if anything they were a ‘60’s Soul/James Brown style funk/soul band that played rather fast. They also had echoes of early Blondie and the Who, with their tough and tight rock and roll. They were a funny band, a joke band in the sense that humor was key to understanding what they were about. The band’s’ music, with its circus-like Woolworth Doors organ vibe, played the collective straight man to Black Randy’s drunken, buffoonish, drawling, sneering voice. His voice is one of the few truly filthy voices I’ve ever heard in music—every word he says is dripping in self-hatred and general loathing, a venomous nicotine and beer-stained voice that’s just laughing. His voice is sleazy enough that you don’t just think that he just slept in a porn arcade (as the lyrics to his anthem “I Slept in an Arcade” discuss), you think he INHABITED it. The band was perfectly in sync with Black Randy, playing covers of “Shaft” and “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” while he took aim at the songs, exaggerating the swaggering manhood of one and the simple-minded racial pride of the other to grotesque proportions.

Black Randy as a lyricist was a satirist who made everything he took aim at disgusting and outrageous, but still rooted in the real world. This is important, as many artists will take satire into fantasy (such as Eminem), making the situations so outlandish they become unreal. Almost all of Black Randy’s lyrics are internal narratives of a person’s feelings at a certain moment.

 
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The other main member of The Metrosquad was David Brown who started the first and best Los Angeles punk label, Dangerhouse Records, who put out classic 45s by The Germs, Avengers, Dils, Eyes, X, Weirdos, Deadbeats and more. The only LP released on Dangerhouse was the incredibly titled Pass The Dust, I Think I’m Bowie by Black Randy and The Metrosquad. The reason to celebrate is that the LP has just been reissued by another classic early punk/post punk/hardcore label, Frontier Records (Suicidal Tendencies, Redd Kross, Christian Death, T.S.O.L., Circle Jerks, Long Ryders, Three O’Clock, Damned, Adolescents, etc.), helmed by founder Lisa Fancher and still going strong. It’s been a long time since this LP has been available on vinyl. Get it while you can here.
 
jhbr97iyu
 
As an afterthought, I have a really interesting tidbit of info that no one knows: Black Randy had a long history, like so many of the older first wave punk rock innovators. He was a video tech in the earliest days of that field. He was friends with the guys who became LA synth cult icons The Screamers (Tomata Du Plenty and Tommy Gear) long before that when they were doing insane drag performances. I don’t mean Judy Garland impersonations, I mean more like terrorist performance art. In 1974 they had put a show together called Savage Voodoo Nuns which was booked into a new club in the worst neighborhood of lower Manhattan (The Bowery) called CBGB, by Ramones friend (and later their t-shirt designer and lighting director) the late Arturo Vega. Read a review of that show here. They also wanted bands on the bill so Arturo wrangled his friends The Ramones (their second show) and another new band on the scene called Blondie to play.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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07.08.2016
05:30 pm
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Art show features dollhouse rendition of an archetypal ‘punk house’
03.21.2016
09:29 am
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“America’s greatest living ‘Art Garbage Movement’ painter,” Derek Erdman, has been the subject of a few posts here at Dangerous Minds. We’ve profiled his unique “outsider” paintings, as well as his hilariously bizarre phone pranks. Now Erdman’s back on our pages with a brand new piece he produced for the Soaring and Boring and Fawning and Yawning art show at Make.Shift Gallery in Bellingham, WA. This one is close to my heart because it represents a space I am very familiar with. Erdman has produced a dollhouse representation of an archetypal “punk house.”

Having spent a over a decade touring in bands, playing and crashing in dilapidated spaces like the one represented in Erdman’s creation, I can vouch for the authenticity—right down to the flyers, graffiti, empty food boxes, and fucked up kitchen linoleum. I wonder, though—does it come with dollhouse-sized scabies?

Erdman’s inspired “artist statement” on the piece:

Abandoned Punk House in Brunswick Ohio, 1988

Found materials, latex, acrylic, photocopies, fabric

Abandoned Punk House in Brunswick Ohio, 1988 is modeled after an actual house that I visited as a teenager. Brunswick was an interesting town at the time, small and mostly white trash, with a progressive record store that made it an oasis for punks, metal heads, and skateboarders. Ohio was usually behind on cultural trends, and in 1988 there were a lot of teenagers into ramp skating and the hardcore/metal crossover music scene that already happened elsewhere a few years earlier. As an agricultural region in the time before alternative rock, being a punk or skater meant being a misfit under the constant threat of beatings by the typical roving pack of jocks. Luckily, it also meant an instant camaraderie with anybody who looked remotely similar in an outcast fashion, or with the same taste in music.

The house was in a rural area, fifteen minutes by car from the town center and a quarter mile away from the nearest neighbor. In the early 1980s it was the stately family home of an executive of Ohio Bell, the region’s largest telephone company. The oldest son of the family was a seminal punker who was allowed to remain in the house to finish high school while the rest relocated two hundred miles south to Dayton. The unsupervised son started hosting parties and punk shows in the house, and eventually people started living there for various periods of time. It was a fantasy situation of a no rules free for all, where many local teenagers got their first taste of drinking, drugs, sex, and violence. Legend has it that it hosted shows by local bands 0DFX, Starvation Army, & the Pink Holes and was a tour stop for national groups like MDC, the Accused, Corrosion of Conformity, Life Sentence, and many others.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know the house in that era. By the time I first visited, it was free of inhabitants and way past its prime, the punker landlord far away at a private college out of state. I’m not sure if there was an understanding that allowed the house to continue for the sake of “the scene,” or if somebody had the unfortunate belief that it was locked up in fine condition waiting for an eventual sale. There was no need for a key because the lock on the front door was broken, as were several windows. For a time there wasn’t even a back door, though it was sometimes fixed with the intention of making it a rent free place to live (unfortunately without electricity, heat or running water). The house always quickly went back to its default state of residential apathy: broken bottles, indoor fires, shitty graffiti, and wasted teenagers downing cough syrup at the crossroad of getting their shit together & seeing the rest of the world or staying wasted and seeing the rest of Ohio.

Some of the detail of Abandoned Punk House in Brunswick Ohio, 1988 is exactly as it was at the original house. The graffiti of Crass lyrics on the outside, probably written during a short lived political phase. The mostly missing wood shingles and shutters, the kitchen without a sink or any appliances, only some empty food boxes. Sometimes the rooms were full of garbage, sometimes they’d be completely emptied, which is how I remembered it in late summer 1988, when my girlfriend Ericka lived there with two other people for a short period of time. They slept in sleeping bags in the only vaguely decent bedroom on the second floor, staying up late smoking Camel lights while listening to a tape of the Cure’s Standing on a Beach with a battery powered clock radio. It was in that room during a bonfire keg party in early October that I lost my virginity while “Charlotte Sometimes” warbled away, months before Ericka began her five year trek of following the Grateful Dead while I switched high schools and fell out of touch with everybody I’d known until then. I hope everybody has a place like this for some period of their adolescence, because as dumb as we were, those days fucking ruled.

The Soaring and Boring and Fawning and Yawning art show at Make.Shift Gallery in Bellingham WA runs April 1st to 30th.
 

All photos provided courtesy of Derek Erdman
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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03.21.2016
09:29 am
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Punk Under Reagan: Texas in the 80s
01.13.2016
12:45 pm
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A scenester named Kevin Johnson (in the white glasses) dancing in the crowd at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
A scenester named Kevin Johnson (in the white glasses) dancing in the crowd at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
 
Houston-based photographer Ben DeSoto has been snapping photos in and around his nativeTexas for four decades. Back in the early 80s, DeSoto ended up interning as a photographer for the Houston Post. One of his favorite assignments was getting to take photos at a new club called The Island in Houston. Or, according to his editor, the place where they play that “new fangled” punk rock music. A place that already become a home away from home for the young DeSoto. The photos he took went on to become part of a documentary series called, Punk Under Reagan.
 
Female hardcore fans up in front of the stage at a Circle Jerks show in Houston, early 1980s
Female hardcore fans in front of the stage at a Circle Jerks show in Houston, early 1980s
 
Fans waiting for the Alien Sex Fiend show at Axiom, late 80s
Fans waiting for the Alien Sex Fiend show at The Axiom in Houston, Texas, late 80s
 
The Axiom in Houston, Texas back in the day
The Axiom in Houston
 
DeSoto has said that the experience of taking photos for the Post made him feel “uncomfortable in a comfortable way,” and I’m sure a large number of you reading this remember exactly what that felt like. Luckily for us, DeSoto soldiered on and came away with candid images that allow the viewer to step inside long-gone clubs like The Island, The Axiomand Raul’s in Austin, along with other spots whose walls attempted to contain performances by national acts like Fugazi, Black Flag and Nirvana, and the collective beer-soaked enthusiasm of Houston’s hooligan youth.
 
A punk band on the stage of Raul's in Austin, Texas, 1980
“The Next” onstage at Raul’s in Austin, 1980
 
Punks getting down at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
Punks getting down at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
 
Devo fans hanging out in Houston, 1980s
DEVO fans hanging out in Houston
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.13.2016
12:45 pm
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Punk doggies, punk kitties, and their friends the punk rat and the skinhead cat
12.22.2015
09:17 am
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We live in an age where the majority of world knowledge is accessible via a few keystrokes. It’s truly an amazing time wherein the Internet grants us nearly limitless access to the full wisdom of recorded human history and thought.

But more often than not, we just want to look at cute animal pix.

Tumblr page Animals in Punk Vests, home to only the punkest furbabies, is our supplier today. The collected philosophies of the great thinkers of the modern world will have to wait. We have animals in punk vests.

Punx is doggies.

Punx is kitties.

And don’t overlook their friends the punk rat and the skinhead cat…
 

 

 

 
More Animals in Punk Vests after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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12.22.2015
09:17 am
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Beautiful oil paintings of luminous punks and ethereal dirtbags
04.20.2015
09:48 am
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STUDDED JACKET, 2014
 
Brooklyn-based artist Kelsey Henderson paints stunning portraits in oil, recently turning to punks and more explicitly counterculture fashion plates for her subjects. The louche bodies that illuminate her canvases sometimes pose coyly for observers, but some paintings feel more like amateur photography—perhaps impromptu snapshots from a punk show. Henderson sometimes even stages the images on mock-smut magazine covers, adding a cheeky layer of niche consumerism to the viewing. From her artist’s statement:

At first seemingly influenced by fashion photography and photorealism, Kelsey Henderson’s work is a brutally honest study in perception and attraction. Her painting style is comprised of seemingly invisible layers which connect to her subjects like skin. Lying at the heart of her work, the emphasis on the skin enables the artist to continue exploring the idea of the Platonic Crush, an attraction to beauty devoid of sex, ignoring gender and embracing physical and emotional flaws. Using a desaturated palette, these excruciatingly pale portraits become almost translucent; the artist’s perception on and through the subjects’ skin. Bruises, scars, veins and tendons shine through, not as imperfections, but emblems of beauty.

In art of the less “fine” variety, Henderson also designs and sells patches and pins of S and M and fetish imagery.
 

BLOODY NOSE, 2014
 

christian smoke, 2013
 

TEENAGER IN ACTION, 2014
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Amber Frost
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04.20.2015
09:48 am
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The Wrecks: Raging early 80’s proto-riot-grrl hardcore band’s demo, gloriously resurrected for you
03.25.2015
10:10 am
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The Wrecks were a raging early ‘80s, all-female, hardcore band from the “Skeeno Hardcore” scene of Reno, Nevada. Considered by Seven Seconds to be a “sister band,” they were a bit of an anomaly at the time—four teenage girls playing ultra noisy, brutal hardcore. Certainly, they were mining similar musical and thematic territory that Bikini Kill would become famous for ten years later. Their “claim to fame” was a single song, “Punk is an Attitude”, which was included on the widely-distributed Not So Quiet on the Western Front compilation LP, released by Maximumrockandroll magazine in 1982. Their drummer, Lynn, went on to play with hardcore gods, The Dicks. Watch some incredible footage of her Dicks tenure here.
 

 
Lynn of Reno’s The Wrecks. Touch and Go #19

The excellent blog One Chord is Enough has a detailed post compiling several vintage reviews and interviews with The Wrecks:

“This band hails from Reno, Nevada and is composed of four teenage girls that do mostly all hardcore material. The nine songs on this tape are definitely not of the slam’n'thrash variety but are more akin to art damage, sorta like Flipper. Anyway everything here is original and well, kinda weird. Broken-up rhythms and strange singing abound but this stuff really does grab ya after repeated listenings. Also the lyrics are top notch and these girls definitely have something to say! They deal with subjects such as high school, Cuban refugees, and the all important question about drug use. What ya got here is a fairly rewarding tape from a rebellious crew of teenage girls ready to shake up the system.” Frankie DeAngelis (Ripper #7, May 1982)

 

 

“The Wrecks were one of the first all-female hardcore punk bands. They rocked Reno from 1980 to 1982. Two of the members went on to form the still-active Imperial Teen: Lynn Truell and Jone Stebbins. Lynn was just named one of the 100 best alternative-rock drummers by Spin magazine, which neglected her time in The Wrecks but included her drumming in The Dicks and Sister Double Happiness.” Mark Robison

 
Hear the Wrecks after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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03.25.2015
10:10 am
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Scully is a punk: ‘X Files’ Gillian Anderson, teenage delinquent
03.05.2015
12:21 pm
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X Files’ Special Agent Dana Scully has a punk rock past she’s not afraid to fess up to.

Actress Gillian Anderson still considers herself a “punk” at heart, confirming in a Parade Magazine interview, “even though I can dress up like a soccer mom, the punk rocker will forever be under my skin.”

In an NPR profile, Anderson expounds on being a punk-as-fuck teenage malefactor:

When we moved to Michigan ... my folks still had a flat in London that we would go to in the summertime. And through one of those trips I had started to become interested in the punk scene and started to dress differently than a lot of the kids in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were dressing. And I got my nose pierced and I started to shave my head and dye my hair and wear a lot of black. And so I looked like somebody that might be arrested. ... I was a bit of a class clown, usually the one that people would get to do the things that they were afraid to get in trouble for. So the mixture of those two things contributed, no doubt, to that vote.

And, in fact, on graduation night, I was arrested. ... I had a boyfriend at the time who was a couple centuries older than I was and I’d convinced him that we should go and glue the locks of the school so that people couldn’t get in in the morning. And lo and behold, they had a security guard because it was graduation night and they were concerned that idiots like me might try and do something like that.


Check out this 1985 photo of young, punk rock troublemaker, Gillian Anderson and take your crush to the next level
 

And this image purportedly from her high school yearbook (prior to lock-glueing arrest)
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Apparently, Agent Scully said ‘Oh My God’ *a lot* in ‘The X-Files’
‘Listen Mulder, what you can’t question is the SCIENCE!’: Dana Scully REALLY likes science

Posted by Christopher Bickel
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03.05.2015
12:21 pm
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Punk rock hippie shit: ‘Please help need LSD now!’
08.09.2010
03:28 am
Topics:
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image
Photo source: redteam
 
I took some home movie footage shot in San Francisco in 1968 and added some music to it. The result: punk rock hippie shit!
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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08.09.2010
03:28 am
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