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  • davidwills 10:12 pm on November 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: David WIlls,   

    Sir Paul, brushed by David Wills 

    Sir Paul McCartney by David Wills

    I pencilled and brushed McCartney with water colour last year and thought the result worth posting now, since I’ve already upped the graphic by Rebecca and Mike’s for his latest album, NEW, with with its puter-magic gas tubes for all to see.

  • davidwills 4:52 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arnie Lazarus, David WIlls, Doug McKechnie, Golden Gate Bridge, , Street Lightning Gang   

    History of the Big Boing: recording the sound of the Golden Gate Bridge.
    Firstly, this happened over 35 years ago, all the participants have differing memories of the event and future posts will correct the story as it is added to.

    There’s quite a story here. I first saw the Golden Gate Bridge in 69 and thought it to be a big harp. Little did I know that when the Bridge was built so did others, that a poem, accessible on line, was written about it.

    In 1975 Dianne Rappaport, formerly Bill Graham’s ‘quiet music’ manager and I published ‘Music Works’, a manual for musicians, I drew the cover and all the ads, with a theme of Venusians landing and taking over the music biz. The cover showed a Venusian playing the Golden Gate Bridge as a harp and I said to Dianne how cool it would be to actually do it. Dianne asked her new husband, Walter Rappapport, who is a sound engineer, how that could be done. He said “The Frap!” – Arnie Lazarus’s amazing pick up, able to record everything from a pin drop, to a piano, to a cable hit by hammer on the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Then Dianne called Michael Phillips, a former bank manager and writer for the Whole Earth Catalog, who arranged for us all to go out and hit the bridge. We were the people seen in the photographs, me, Brandon Jaide, Molly, Arnie and, not seen here, Walter Rappaport, the bass saxophone player, and Michael Phillips.

    Walter, who was the recording engineer on the first trip (we went out a second time too – more on that later) says all we were able to record well was, not the cables, but the big main suspension cable and the lampposts, though I recall it differently. It was after dark, we crept out after hours when the bridge was closed, but were seen by passing truckers who reported us as a mass suicide and a cop came out to shepherd us off the Bridge. (Walter does not recall the cop sequence.)

    So after that, Michael found out we could hire a cop and go out and perform our art adventure legally for $15 an hour. The second time we went out Walter could not be there, so the person called Doug Makechnie brought his tape recorder and recorded the bonks and boings of us all hitting the cables to find the best tone. ( I think this is the time when the photographs were taken). Arnie and I had brought a selection of various rubber, metal and wooden hammers.

    We found one cable that was especially taught and had a clear, deeply somnolent sound, like something a volcano under water would make. Boiiinnnggg, with a reverberation that did not stop.

    Unfortunately Doug talked incessantly over all the sounds, except when I told him to shut up and I hit one mammoth bonk with a wooden mallet. It lasts about 3-minutes. Arnie had a copy of Doug’s original recording and later gave me a copy of it. But Doug kept the original, and wouldn’t give me a copy. Doug proceeded to go out again to the Bridge and, I think, make further recordings, anyway he co-opted the idea and used the sounds without telling us, went on to publicize the recording as his idea throughout the eighties and nineties and later claimed to not recall our gang’s involvement at all.

    In 1987, Faye Schoolcraft, the eminent sculptor now working in Los Angeles, sampled the sound of the bridge I had had made, and recorded a beautiful piece of music based on Begin The Beguin. We tried to play it at a press party when Doug  showed off ‘his’ noise, but he wouldn’t let us use his audio equipment.

    Arnie Lazarus, the inventor of the Frap recorder, was furious about Doug Makechnie’s appropriation of our artwork and will have nothing to do with him to this day, but eventually I contacted Doug Makechnie and he grudgingly acknowledged my inspiration and published a small reproduction of the original cover of Music Works in his blurb, but as I said, he says he doesn’t recall the whole amazing adventure as it happenend. Us artist folk never forgive other’s appropriating our ideas…

    As I say, it’s quite possible that the other people involved in this escapade will recall it differently. I do hope they post their corrections. This all happened over 35 years ago – so we can be all excused having varying memories of the event.

    One thing I didn’t mention was that this whole adventure was a secret production of the Street Lightning Gang (SLG), of which Molly is the President. The SLG survives in various forms, as a tattoo of the sunrise lightning bolt symbol of the SLG on daughter Alessandra’s neck, and in sales of the SLG World Free Transport System of stencils which when applied to any building convert it to a Teleport and ‘Get you where you want to go in your own time’. This slogan was used by the Greatful Dead in one of their songs.

  • davidwills 2:36 pm on October 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , David WIlls, Druid Heights, Mark Bode, , Mural, San Francisco Murals   

    Allan Watts library hidden in Druid Heights in Muir Woods State park: The Mural at 210 Clayton 

    210 claytond

    My daughter, Alessandra (she painted the butterfly), and I painted this mural in 2010 on Clayton at Hayes in San Fransisco.

    It shows the valley in the Muir Woods State park called Frank Valley and is where the 1950’s, and beyond, the un-deliberate community of Druid Heights, with Allan Watts Library, is hidden.

    Druid Heights was in the news when Michael Toinoven and a cabal of interested folk, including old friends and nabes of Roger Sommers the builder, cajoled the local rags, including the SF Chronicle to feature a ‘Where Is the Druid Heights Mystery?’ reporting an effort in The US Congress to declare Druid Heights a National Treasure.

    The mural is 39-feet tall and similarly wide – it extends unseen down a narrow side alley.

    It features a male Snowy Egret in breeding season, in full and improbable flap – wings up like that usualy indicate take-off and should feature a strenuous forward tilt of the body with legs dangling. Looks graphic like this though. Down the side alley is a stretched out version (with more probable wings) to allow for the effects of perspective. I used a Sharp copier, and by moving the original photograph got the stretched-out version as artist’s reference for the painting.

    The scene is looking down Frank Valley near Mount Tam in Marin County, with Muir Woods off picture at right. Hidden amongst the trees of the scene is the site of a ‘un-deliberate community’, a 50’s era and beyond community of what was called ‘Druid Heights’ from about 1952 to 1973 when one of the founders, Allan Watts died. This is where I lived in 1973-4.

    I was a room-mate there with Margo St.James, she of the famed SF Hooker’s Balls (that I named) and was an amateur event director from 1973 to 79. I designed many of the posters.

    Molly Bode, former Belarus Dancer, now manager and wife of the eminent artist, Mark Bode, also worked for St.James as Secretary to Her Majesty.

    Druid Heights was the compound of homes, shacks and shanties cleverly concealed from the building inspectors, built by an owner, Roger Sommers and his sometine partner, Ed Stiles (who would be nameless by preference) a high-class joiner and inventor, Together they had built a number of interesting buildings, including Allan Watts’ library, housed in a water butt, and the Goat House, built in 1967. The Goat House was the inspiration for the Tiny Homes movement. (Although not recognized as such by Lloyd Kahn leader of that movement and author of many small and tiny homes books.)

    The Goat House was the original ‘Tiny Home’ – the original, the Ur Tiny Home of the Tiny Home Movement. Designed by Sommers, who had studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, the Goat House was less tham 150 square feet. It had a pot bellied stove and running water piped up from the stream below. It was intended to inspire folk to build their own, The results can be seen in the Hippie Shack built on the side of a Bolinas cliff in ‘Home Work’ by Lloyd Kahn, Shelter. The Goat House was in the garden of the eminent lesbian poet, Elsa Gidlow, who was the producer on KPFA of Allan Watts’ radio talkathons on the subject of a loosely interpreted Budhism. The Goat House was where I first lived at Druid Heights, later I moved up to the Big House and other structures. Boy, those were the days…

    For copies of the books ‘Tiny Homes on The Move’, 2013, ‘Tiny Homes’, 2012, ‘Builders’, 2010, or ‘Home Work’, 2008 all by Lloyd Kahn, Shelter; email: ShelterPublications,com and get more than 2000 pictures in color on 360 pages of glossy wit for about thirty bucks a book.

  • davidwills 9:10 pm on September 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apollo, art history, David, David WIlls, Michaelangelo, Narcissus   

    David’s big head
    I just was a doin’ my exercizes, little bit a day – one more push up every so often, ’til I get to 24-a-day. I’m now down to 167lbs (perfect by the chart for my height of 5ft 10ins) in 3-months – from 185lbs in June. So, there I was admiring m’self, the Narcissus Apollo of Petaluma, and when I looked in mirror – I saw David. The Michaelangelo one, big head an’ all.
    In the art books, they say ol’ Michaelangelo made David’s sculpture with a too-big-a-head because people would be looking up at him. Stuff-a-nonsence – most people look at him across the Florentian traffic from a distance, so the effect of perspective as viewed from below would only be seen by a few compared with the crowds further away – so why compensate for those few close-up folk? AND ANYWAY IF YOU’RE BELOW LOOKING UP AT HIM FROM BELOW YOU EXPECT HIS HEAD TO BE SMALLER, THAT’S HOW PERSPECTIVE WORKS, WE’VE ALL SEEN IT IN ACTION FROM WHEN WE WAS KIDS.
    So… I say that Michaelangelo used a Jewish model, like me, and his head was bigger than the traditional proportion of eight or nine heads to the body, or whatever it is, and gave him a big bonce, and that’s why “every body calls ‘im big ‘ead” (to quote Stanley Holloway). Revise the art-history text books!

    • Phil Franks 9:52 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You’d have to have extremely good eyesight to see the sculpture “across the Milanese traffic from a distance” because it’s in Florence, quite a distance away from Milan. 😉


    • davidwills 2:29 pm on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Phil, I stand tall with a big head corrected, I have changed the screed to read that the viewpoint is in scenic Florence, not on some Milanese byway.

      • Phil Franks 8:40 pm on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        But you were right David about “perspective as viewed from below”, as that wiki entry says:

        The proportions of the David are atypical of Michelangelo’s work; the figure has an unusually large head and hands (particularly apparent in the right hand). These enlargements may be due to the fact that the statue was originally intended to be placed on the cathedral roofline, where the important parts of the sculpture would necessarily be accentuated in order to be visible from below.

        • Phil Franks 8:44 pm on September 28, 2013 Permalink


          On 12 November 2010, a fiberglass replica of the David was installed on the roofline of Florence Cathedral, for one day only. Photographs of the installation reveal the statue the way the Operai who commissioned the work originally expected it to be seen.

        • davidwills 2:30 am on September 29, 2013 Permalink

          Wow, you really know your David!

  • davidwills 3:22 pm on October 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alex darcy, anne townsend, berti, candida, cary richardson, charles shaar murray, chris allen, , David WIlls, deyan sudjic, eddie allen, , henry harcus, john dreyer, oz 28, , oz obscenity trial, peter popham, richard neville, rob january, robb douglas, school kids issue, school kids oz, stephen williams, steve lavers, t.i. bradford, trudi, , viv kylastron   

    Oz 28 – School Kids Issue 

    Here’s my copy of School Kids Oz #28, currently held in custardy (sic) in some lock-up somewhere. I worked on this issue. Page order is from left to right, top to bottom. Click on a spread to view the pages larger as a slideshow. Want to supersize a spread?: Click ‘View Full Size’ (bottom right) when in slideshow mode and then click on the image again to further magnify. The only limitation is your imagination – Vwwrreee!

    • Stephen Schwartz 10:01 pm on September 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Worked for Merl Saunders, really family,
      Looking for poster 1, and the one from
      1985. Anyway you can help. I was friends
      With Pablo, all at the grove! Omg stories!!!

  • davidwills 12:55 am on April 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Loog Olham, , , , Cookethorpe, David WIlls, Journey Into Space, , uncategorized, Wooton Underwood School   

    I’ve just finished the biography, part 1, of the Rolling Stone’s second manager, Andrew Loog Oldham and remembered for the first time in fifty years that, amazingly we briefly, but concurrently. both went to the same school, I say amazing because of the over the top horror of the place. But also because it shows how two experiences of the same place could be so different.

    What a story. In the two terms I was there I experienced a nineteen-fifties’ version of Dickens’ Dotheby’s Hall up close. Cold meals in the cellar. A thrashing in the ornate common room for one unfortunate who was spreadeagled on the table and flogged for a night-time tryst with the cook’s daughter. A set of strange teachers who’d been laid off at other, more respectable seats of teaching, including Mr. Cowie who was rumored to be too interested in the younger lads, and Mr. Solomon the inventor of a recyclable heat retention system of flasks to hold soup on train journeys.

    The building is now renovated to its Grade 1 category sumptuousness, where a Mr. Gladstone (Queen Victoria’s prime-minister’s great-grandson) now lives, but then it was a peeling damp near ruin. An architectural triumph of 18th-century classical pomp, designed anonymously by the woman who taught Sir Christopher Wren to build. It had fallen on poor times when we were there. Grass in the gutters, trash in the carriage inspection wells, the rose garden with its arch of baleen whale jaw-bones, overgrown.

    I was there, with my nine-year-old brother Peter, when I was twelve, leaving the frigid place in December when I hit thirteen. Haw-frost in the top of the sixty -foot elms as we lined up for church at 8-am dressed in short pants and chilblains. Andrew left the school in “the spring” when he was eleven. Unlike me, Andrew recalls it as a glamorous place instilling in him his version of the private-school background that he used with such panache to flog the ‘Stones. But ‘Cokethorpe’ (always mispronounced as ‘Coke-thorpe’) was more correctly called ‘Wooton Underwood School’ (Andrew got the name of the village it was closest to wrong) and was the cheapest boarding school available outside the reform school Borstal. Borstal and Cokethorpe had a similar breed of pupil too. The ‘Cokethorpe’ name was not correct either, that name was appropriated by the crook who ran the show from another school of that name (properly pronounced ‘Cook-thorpe’), still extant, a well regarded, and real old-school school.

    No, this was the real deal school-from-hell story, stuck out in a marsh 5-miles it seems from the nearest village, with a secret experimental rocket base not far away. Ghosts in the night. The frequency of low-class garbage-disposal business men’s children in the class rooms was apparent. It is quite possible that relatives of Ted Moulton (the mentor-cum-fuck-up of famed fellow graphic designer, Colin Fulcher/Barney Bubbles’ ) also went to the school. I think the thug Charley Cray’s younger relatives were there too. So it was a bit short on glamour I suppose if you knew better, but to the lads of the thug class it was filled with it was a sort of flashy secondary-modern of private schools if you looked at it with your eyes shut and dressed warm.

    Shortly after we both left, the school’s creditors tried to catch up with the ‘owner’, who was a scam-artist from the East End. Heck it could of been Ted Moulton hisself for all I know. In something out of a funny/weird British movie like ‘If’, the pupils were put in buses and chased all over the country by their headmaster’s creditors. Front pages of the News of the World, Express, and Mail.

    When Barney and I started up in ‘business’ together in late 1962 he told me that the Stones’ manager had gone to the same school as I did, that I should contact him, but I didn’t see the point, unlike Barney, I had not the slightest wish to get involved in that crass biz. I thought he’d ruined the Stones with those stupid geeky suits and their velvet collars they donned for a few moments of rock history. I didn’t know it at the time, but it were him what got rid of their cool but dorky-looking stride pianist, Ian Stuart. But that’s what Barney really was interested in. Way to go.

    Andrew’s book I found to be really well done, good show Andrew. Though it could be better edited. Some hella writing there when he goes off. Andrew is now, or was, living in the center of the cocaine business in Bogota, Columbia.

    A the time I hated the school where I thought I’d learned little, but reading Andrew’s book gives me the idea that I really may have learned some worthwhile street-wise ways there. I recall Barney saying he could see how we’d both been to the same school, “You’re the same sort of show off .” he said.

    Anyway, back in 1953 Andrew and I got together in the common room with the fifteen-foot ceilings and the same cornices as in Buckingham Palace (it was built as the the Duke of Buckingham’s country estate), sitting around the antique stove, with its orange mica windows that I poked out in flakes, to discuss the benefits of having me draw space-ships for him to sell, and split the profit. At that time we all listened to Journey Into Space with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop which set the scene, Some weeks one of the kids in my dorm was chosen to listen to the spooky show – hidden under the floorboards in the crawlspace. Also the Eagle comic’s exploded views of technology by Frank Bellamy(?) were an inspiration.

    I left the school before Andrew and I never got to realize the full potential of Space-Ship Arts Ltd. – though I did sell one drawing of a bulbous transport inter-planet transporter (plus a free nude) for half-a-crown (known as half-a-dollar or ‘arfer nicker) and a Mars bar. One and sixpence, about 65% of the cash, went to Andrew and I got the Mars bar, petty fair deal considering his later career. The half-a-crown (50-cents or so) was worth more than face value in that cut-off from civilization economy, where a loaf of bread was legal tender.

    • every record tells a story 10:25 pm on April 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Great story!

    • julian swinglehurst 7:59 am on September 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I went to the same school, I remember we were always starving, and would stop the bread van to get bread.I also remember we would terrorize Mr Solomon, by doing things like tying an inner tune to the tap, and gradually let it fill with water, gradually getting bigger and bigger, as mr Solomon tried to teach us science., and we tried to pretend we were listening, as the tube got bigger and bigger.

      And there was Miss Douglas who lived on the top floor of the building by the stables, I had to take her her evening meal once when she was ill. A terrifying experience,

      When I tell people about it, they think I am making it up. It was called the fly by night school, from there we went to the old Rothchilds house on the other side of Aylesbury, and then to Stow on the Wold, where the Ministry of education descended on us, and closed the show down.

      Don’t remember the names of any of the boys that were there, except on that was called Blunt, we looked up to him as he was always escaping, coming back as a hero, of course.

      • Michael Cosby 3:15 pm on January 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Goodness me! I was there too, staring off at Ducklington, then Wooton Underwood, then Aston Clinton, finally Stow on the Wold. The South Pavillion at Wooton house is now owned an occupied by the odious Tony Blair.

  • davidwills 7:57 am on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: David WIlls, , , ,   

    Schoolkids OZ 

    Jim Anderson found the art, by a French man If I recall right, but may have been found by the kids in one of his mags. I suggested using it on both front and back, designed it, positioned the strategically placed student, under orders from advisers, including Felix Dennis – to obscure the genitals.

  • davidwills 7:17 am on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Coprophilia, , David WIlls, dot to dot, , , , scat, ,   

    Schoolkids OZ – Dot To Dot Do It 

    Clue: Shiitake mushroom

  • davidwills 7:11 am on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cartoon, David WIlls, , , , robert crumb, rupert bear, ,   

    Schoolkids OZ – Rubert Bares All! 

    Please read the numbers in the bottom left hand corner, the rugged logic of this epic is only apparent when one reads down the columns – not across.

    Here’s the Robert Crumb Rupert Bear strip collaged and hand colour-separated into Schoolkids OZ, done by schoolkid Viv Kylastron. This being one of the issues I helped design, I completed the overlay when Viv left it unfinished. Surprisingly this issue became the subject of a high-profile obscenity case with this cartoon attracting special note.

    At first, because the names in the credits did not list the occupations of the accused, everybody listed was prosecuted. When we were all herded into John Mortimer QC’s paneled office there were maybe 8 people in the room all charged with whatever the cops had cooked up. Council worked some legal words and all except the editors, Richard Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis, were able to leave.

    I heard Felix talking to Richard at a ’95 Oz reunion in London saying that he’d heard from so-snd-so that the whole court case was pre-arranged by the government to first have the fusty old judge declare them guilty, to give ’em a taste of jail, eh what, then let them go on appeal.

    • Lucy 10:41 pm on December 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Where did you get the name Viv Kylastron from? His name is Viv (Vivian) Berger.

    • Paul Gravett 2:21 pm on February 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hello David, I am co-curating a big exhibition on British comics, incl undergrounds, for the British Library. It would be great to be in touch and hear more about the Oz schoolkids issue and trial. Is Viv Berger still around? The BL has audio tapes of the trial we will play extracts from incl. Viv’s cross examination. Paul

  • davidwills 4:12 pm on September 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Counterculture, David WIlls, Ed Barker, Edward Barker, exhibiton, Gallery, Hackney, , , Mick Farren, Open Gate Books, , Space, The Deviants. Watch Out Kids,   

    Mick Farren’s ‘Watch Out Kids’ inspires World Teleport in early hacking scandal 

    My indefatigable London correspondents R&M inform me that there’s a compact-size Mick Farren exhibition currently on show in riot-recovering Hackney. On the walls is every page of Mick Farren and Ed Barker’s 1972 book ‘Watch Out Kids’ for which I did the cover art, and in the corners a couple monitors with period and contemporary interviews featuring Mick.

    Mildly irrelevant aside
    Funny this should come up now, I’m painting a thirty-two foot high mural of the view down the valley I was living in in ’74 when Mick Farren visited and memorably said on looking down the burnt sienna and Umber scene of buccolic perfection, “It needs some Vegas neon.”

    I think of this as I paint, thinking to subvert the sylvan Vedic vistas before me with a crass blaze of Nickelodeon brash. The valley is one over from the Zen Buddhist monastery, and has its own connections with zen through the library of Allen Watts, which is one of two rain-barrel houses designed by Roger Sommers. Set in a one time ‘deliberate community’ of about six main buildings with various outhouses and built to fool the building inspectors who never discovered the full extent of the habitats grouped in the euk’ knoll on what is now state park. When I was there in ’74 it was a mature 1950’s hippie scene, called ‘Druid Heights’, with Watts, the beat generations’ favorite buddhist Church of England priest wandering around in a robe with a bottle; Roger Sommers, a jazz playing visionary builder, who has in retrospect has become the founder of the Tiny Homes Movement – he studied under Frank Lloyd Wright; Margo St. James the Whore organizer with whom I went on to found the Hookers Ball; The King of Carpenters, a stylish craftsman and his potter wife; and the poet Elsa Gidlow in whose goat house I stayed. In one of two wood shops, lived the landlords son, Tagore, a chippie who went on to be an engineer at Enron, and his girlfriend with whom I got very well, Julie, the classical flautist whom I married. Julie went on to the South Bronx in ’82 and was influential in early Rap.

    When I read Mick’s book back then I told him that I had thought of a sequel and would write it. It was from that forgotten story that the Street Lightnin’ Gang (The Graffiti Artists Union, with President for Life, Molly Rodriguez Bode) evolved, leading to the glorious discoveries of World Teleport, that so changed the diesel emissions standards of the world, and leading to cleaner skies everywhere.

    My cover art for Mick and Ed's book

    Walls: Some of the book. Video: Yippie invasion of the David Frost show 1970, with Mick in full flight heckle.

    Exhibition signing-in book

    • Deepinder Cheema 8:55 am on February 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I recall reading about the trouble this book caused. It was regarding the IT sheet between IT 15 and 16, it was issue no 15.25 if I recall correct. This was printed whole in the book, but IT wrote with a reference to an identified Policeman using heavy booted tactics. This reference had to be redacted from every copy the publishers could lay their hands on.

    • davidwills 3:10 am on February 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I have that effect on books – the so-called ‘history’ of the Oklahoma City bombing by my ol’ compadre, whom we’ll call ‘Bill Evans,’ a young man in both brain and body from Idaho who, laking good sense used his good credit, his dad’s money , to fund the Haight Ashbury Newspaper of the early 1980’s. He ended up in Bosnia in 2005 or so, in jail for threats with a fake gun. As far as I know he’s still there. Anyway, his book got burnt, the entire printing, except the one copy I own. A general had sued for defamation.

      There was all these zines I worked on, Oz and Ink and Curious and Friendz, they all got busted.

      In 1970 I had been warned by the Lord Chamberlain’s office in the peson of a pyjamad officer of censorship early one morning in Kensington Mews. He told me to “… stop working on these depraved sheets of filth.” That attack by the crown on my person denied me a livelihood. So that’s what got me to San Francisco in 1973. That and Pamela Poland, the vamp from Mill Valley.

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