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Auction of Del Palmer’s Estate

Items from the estate of Del Palmer

As you know, Del Palmer left us on January 5th this year and according to his wishes his family have arranged an auction to help some of Del’s personal items (including musical instruments and equipment, artworks and books) to find good homes. Among the items are several of Del’s guitars, some of which would have been heard on Kate’s recordings. Other custom-made guitars by Del’s friends, luthiers Chris Larkin and AJ “Egly” Lucas, are included, included the “Egly” upright bass that Del played on his final live performances in 2018/2019.

A painting of a weeping lady by his friend Syra Larkin, and some watercolour and oil paintings by Del himself also feature – also spot Del’s paintbox with the engraving “Every Brush Stroke Was Torn From My Body”. The lots include cameras, music and film books, vintage war postcards and other personal items Del picked up over his lifetime. A signed postcard of escapologist Harry Houdini seems to have been a keepsake or gift from the time he played that role himself on the cover of The Dreaming album.

Framed and glazed watercolour of a waterfall, signed Del, 2000

The items can be viewed in person at the Thimbleby & Shorland auction premises in Reading, England tomorrow Friday June 28th from 9am-5pm local time. The auction itself is taking online bids currently which end on Sunday 30th June at 17:00 BST. There are 142 lots from Del’s estate numbered from Lot 80 – you can view the items here [Note: there are 470 lots listed in this antiques and collectables auction so it’s important to do a search for “Del Palmer” on the site to see his estate’s 142 lots]. Detailed photos of each item are available. We wish Del was with us to tell us all about his treasures! It is poignant to see all these things being sold but we hope those who bid successfully on them will cherish them in the same way that we all cherish the man who owned them.

Del with his guitars – photo Syra Larkin on Facebook

Donald Sutherland 1935-2024

Donald Sutherland with Kate, Cloudbusting video, 1985

We were very sad to hear the news that the great Canadian actor, Donald Sutherland, has died at the age of 88 after a long illness. He was the star of well over 100 films including Don’t Look Now, Kelly’s Heroes, M.A.S.H and The Hunger Games, but Kate Bush fans will of course always remember Donald for his appearance in the Cloudbusting video in 1985, playing the role of Wilhelm Reich. We send our condolences to his family and friends. A brilliant actor.

Donald Sutherland, Cloudbusting video, 1985

Donald spoke about making the video with Dazed in 2015: “Barry Richardson, who was the hairdresser on Nic Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, asked me if I’d do a music video with Kate Bush. I told him no and we went on to other conversations. A couple of days later there was a knock on my door. I lived in the Savoy Hotel (in London). On the river. Suite 312. I loved it there. So cosseted. So private. Only the floor butler rang the door. I opened it. There was no one there. I heard a voice saying hello and I looked down. Standing down there was a very small Kate Bush. Barry had told her where I lived. What can you do? She wanted to explain what her video was about. I let her in. She sat down, said some stuff.

Donald Sutherland with Kate, Cloudbusting video, 1985

All I heard was ‘Wilhelm Reich’. I’d taken an underground copy of his The Mass Psychology of Fascism with me when I went to film (Bernardo) Bertolucci’s Novecento in Parma. Reich’s work informed the psychological foundations of Attila Mellanchini, the character Bernardo had cast me to play. Everything about Reich echoed through me. He was there then and now he was here. Sitting across from me in the person of the very eloquent Kate Bush. Synchronicity. Perfect. She talked some more. I said OK and we made ‘Cloudbusting’. She’s wonderful, Kate Bush. Wonderful. I love that I did it. (What do I remember) about doing it? I remember being in the car and the hill and them taking me, taking Reich, away and looking back through the back window of the car and seeing her, seeing Reich’s son Peter, standing there.

Donald Sutherland with Kate, Cloudbusting video, 1985
Donald Sutherland with Kate, Cloudbusting video, 1985

In 1985 interviews (and ever since) Kate expressed her delight and good fortune at having secured Donald to play the part in her film: “When we were thinking about someone to play the part of the father, we just sort of instantly came up with Donald Sutherland, and everyone laughed, because it’s like, you know, he’s one of the greatest actors in the world, really, and we jokingly thought “yeah, yeah wouldn’t it be great.” So we did actually approach his agent, who immediately said no, he couldn’t because he’s just too busy. But a friend of ours knew a friend of his, who asked him, and he gave us three days of his time in between shooting two other films. And I still can’t believe he did it.

It was a wonderful thing for him to do, give us that time. Made it a very, very special thing for me…I still can’t get over the fact that he did it! It was great! It means a lot to people that someone who is supposedly so famous and inaccessible makes the effort to make themselves accessible for such a little project. I was extremely moved by the fact that he did it; it meant a tremendous amount to me. And to work with him – Jesus, I thought I would never have the luck. I was his co-star! Ridiculous!…He puts out such an energy of sensitivity to the situation that I just had to re-act to him. He was – As far as I was concerned, whenever we were shooting, he *was* my dad. He’s wonderful.”

Cloudbusting video, 1985

Astro photograph of Glastonbury pyramid stage dedicated to Kate!

Detail from Starstruck by Josh Dury

The Pyramid Stage is home to the world famous Glastonbury Festival, which over the years has seen performances from the likes of David Bowie, to Dolly Parton and Sir Elton John. A newly released photograph of the site has garnered attention from Glastonbury, the BBC and other media outlets. From the press release: “From one stellar legend to another, this image captures the King of the Stars; Orion taking centre-stage. This year, Award-Winning Landscape Astrophotographer, Josh Dury set about capturing a photograph in celebration of year’s Glastonbury Festival.” See the full dazzling image, entitled Starstruck, below:

Starstruck by Josh Dury

He says this photograph brings together the ‘pyramid’ that is music, photography and astronomy. Josh would like to dedicate this image to his greatest music influence, Kate Bush. He would like to thank her for the inspiration and emotional connection that her music has played in the creation of his astro-images. The concept for this self-portrait image was conjured from listening to Kate’s song, Reaching Out from her album, The Sensual World; to visualise the narrative of ‘reaching out’ through the stars, in the hope that one day, she will take centre stage. See more of Josh’s work at his website: www.joshduryphoto-media.com

Josh Dury

Ian Bairnson Wuthering Heights guitar up for auction!

UPDATE June 11th: The guitar has sold for £21,000, and was reported on by the BBC here. Sadly in 2023 we lost the great Ian Bairnson, the Scottish guitarist who played on many tracks on Kate’s first two albums and also backing vocals on Oh To Be In Love and beer bottles on Room For The Life. Later he recorded bass voices on the song Delius and went on to play guitar on Leave it Open from The Dreaming album. But, he is probably best known to fans for his iconic guitar solo on Wuthering Heights which closes out Kate’s hit single. Kate remembered Ian on her official site last year: “…he had a lovely, warm smile and he played the inspired solo on Wuthering Heights with a broken arm. He was still wearing the cast! He was in a lot of pain but soldiered on and like all great artists, he truly suffered for his art. Making my first album was pretty daunting and I was working with people I’d never met before. Ian was kind and supportive and that meant such a lot. Thank you, Ian.”

Ian Bairnson

The instrument responsible for that unforgettable solo, his 1974 Gibson Les Paul Custom 20th Anniversary electric guitar, manufactured in the USA, is now up for auction as part of a sale of Ian’s guitars he used during his amazing career. Ian also played this guitar on his band Pilot’s big 1970s hits Magic and January. The website Guitar Auctions will conduct the auction on 11th June 2024 with starting estimates valuing it at between £5,000-£10,000 (view Lot 269 on the Guitar Auctions site here)

From the catalogue description:

This guitar was purchased by Ian in 1974 from Take Five, Shaftesbury Avenue, London and was his main guitar from the beginning. The guitar features on work with Pilot, the Alan Parsons Project and Kate Bush, including her first four studio albums, most significantly used the solo of her debut chart topping single ‘Wuthering Heights’.

An excerpt from Ian’s website states “Guitar players broadly fall into two main groups – those who consider themselves as “Strat” players and those who are “Les Paul” type players. I have always loved Les Pauls. Ever since I was about fourteen years old I wanted to play one. I prefer the sheer power and kick of a Gibson Les Paul. I bought mine as soon as I could afford one. It came from a shop called Take Five in Shaftesbury Avenue in London and cost me 315 pounds in 1974. It is a Custom model but over the years I have changed bits and pieces and now it looks more like a Standard. I suppose it is true to say that I built a career using only a Les Paul and a Marshall fifty watt amplifier. I never plugged anything between the guitar and the amp. If we wanted effects on the sound, we used the studio effects. They are far better quality and besides … I couldn’t afford that kind of equipment. This guitar has been with me through everything from the early recordings – Pilot, Parsons Project, Kate Bush etc right up to “Time Machine” and Pilot’s “Blue Yonder” CD.”

“Ian Bairnson was a session guitarist before joining up with former Bay City Rollers’ David Paton and Billy Lyall to form the band Pilot in 1973, where he contributed the harmony guitar parts to their hit single ‘Magic’. During his time with Pilot, he first collaborated with the record producer Alan Parsons on their debit self-titled album and it was this relationship that helped incorporate most of the band’s members into the Alan Parsons Project. One distinctive guitar solo of note was on the track ‘I Wouldn’t Want to be Like You’ that featured in the 1977 film ‘I Robot’ From 1978, Bairnson started sessions with Kate Bush, recording guitars on her first four albums, ‘The Kick Inside’, ‘Lionheart’, ‘Never for Ever’ and ‘The Dreaming’. The most notable track was Kate Bush’s debut single ‘Wuthering Heights’, where he can be heard with this same guitar playing the solo towards the end of the song. Wuthering Heights stayed at the top of the UK charts for four weeks.” (view Lot 269 on the Guitar Auctions site here) We’ll leave the last word on this to Dr. Jones…

‘Under The Ivy’ biography reissued next month

If you haven’t yet read Graeme Thomson‘s excellent biography of Kate, Under The Ivy – The Life and Music of Kate Bush, next month it’s out on June 27th in a paperback Omnibus Remastered edition featuring a new cover by acclaimed designer Luke Bird (British Book Awards ‘Designer of the
Year’ shortlist 2023, 2021) and a foreword by the Irish writer Sinéad Gleeson
(Constellations, This Woman’s Work). I’ve always found this to be far and away the best written biography of Kate Bush out there, along with the superior likes of Tom Doyle’s 50 Visions of Kate Bush and of course, the essays in John Carder Bush’s superb Inside the Rainbow. The book has been revised and updated for 2024 which of course means coverage of Kate’s biggest hit single to date, Running Up That Hill, in 2022. Graeme Thomson has written acclaimed studies of, amongst others, Elvis Costello, George Harrison, John Martyn and Philip Lynott. He writes regularly for many publications. Also, keep an eye on our site and social media for news of a giveaway competition to win a copy next month, courtesy of the lovely people at Omnibus! Pre-order: Amazon (UK) | Waterstones | Bookshop.org (local UK shops)

From the press release: “The critically acclaimed definitive biography of Kate Bush, revised and updated for 2024, with a new foreword by Sinéad Gleeson. Detailing everything from Bush’s upbringing to her early exposition of talent, to her subsequent evolution into a stunningly creative and endlessly fascinating visual and musical artist, Under The Ivy is the story of one woman’s life in music. Written with great detail, accuracy and admiration for her work, this is in equal parts an in-depth biography and an immersive analysis of Kate Bush’s art.

Focusing on her unique working methods, her studio techniques, her timeless albums and inescapable influence, Under The Ivy is an eminently readable and insightful exploration of one of the world’s most unique and gifted artists.

The text has been updated to include coverage of Bush’s return to the top of the charts in 2022 following the extraordinary resurgence of ‘Running Up That Hill.’ An eye-opening journey of discovery for anyone unfamiliar with the breadth of Bush’s work, Under The Ivy also rewards the long-term fan with new insights and fresh analysis.”

“Under The Ivy is respectful, but it gets us pretty close to the temple. This is the perfect book for aficionados or even the merely curious” Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout)

“Graeme is a fantastic biographer, warm and wise. He brings Kate’s interior and exterior lives to life, in vivid colours” Jude Rogers, author of The Sound of Being Human

“Written in prose that from time to time seems linked umbilically to the very same ‘otherworld’ from which Kate Bush’s art manifests” Jim Kerr (Simple Minds)

Thank You For Sending Your Photos! Eat The Music vinyl fan collage is here!

Kate Bush fans with their Eat The Music RSD 2024 vinyl discs!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LARGE HI-RES VERSION! (15mb) Many thanks for sending in all the great photos of your Eat The Music 10″ vinyl picture discs from Record Store Day 2024 – you got Kate’s single into the UK charts! We will find a way to get this to Kate, I’m sure she’ll be tickled by it!

Note: Our friend Monty Moncrieff MBE(!) has been keeping an eye on the Ebay side of things, and, contrary to a lot of fan concerns, found that there were only 155 sales in a week (about 1.5% of the total 10,000 of these discs available). He says “With ones I’ve missed, those still listed for sale and sales elsewhere that’s perhaps generously around 5% of the 10,000 being sold on so far. Hopefully the vast majority ended up with genuine fans. There are a lot on eBay but it IS still well in the minority.” Great news, thanks Monty!

Eat The Music hits UK #2 position in singles sales charts!

Who needs streaming?! While it didn’t make it on to the main official UK chart (where streaming now dominates), Kate’s brisk sales all across the UK of her limited edition Record Store Day single Eat The Music, on 10″ pic disc vinyl has secured a brand new entry at the No.2 position of two of the other UK singles charts – the Official Singles Sales Chart AND the Official Physical Singles Chart (beating out new entries from Paul Weller, Daft Punk and Queen). Congratulations to Kate! We will be celebrating this weekend with a montage of photos of YOU with your Eat The Music discs – thank you for sending them in, we are sure Kate will love to see it!

Army Dreamers Goes Viral on TikTok and Instagram!

Not to take away from all the love for Eat The Music this last week, but if we thought there might have been a possibility that yet another song from Kate’s canon could go viral and capture the global imagination, our money would have been on Cloudbusting, Hounds of Love or perhaps This Woman’s Work. However, for the last couple of months we’ve been tracking with interest the fascinating surge in popularity on TikTok and Instagram of Army Dreamers from the Never For Ever album, which Kate released in 1980. As we know, the song is about the effects of war as told by a mother who grieves for her young adult son, killed on military manoeuvres.

To show what this viral interest looks like, the video below demonstrates a very quick phone screen scroll through the 15,700+ videos on TikTok that now feature Army Dreamers!

It previously happened a few years ago on TikTok with Babooshka and Wuthering Heights, the so-called TikTok “witchtok” craze introducing Kate to a whole new younger audience. It is hard to pinpoint exactly how a viral craze like Army Dreamers begins, but on TikTok, users tend to get inspired by a clip or a piece of music, and remix it, interpret it, make animations of it or even perform the song, as the lyrics and sentiment of the song take hold and go viral. Billboard reports this week that “…as a result, weekly official on-demand U.S. streams of the song have risen from under 80,000 for the tracking week ending Mar. 14 to nearly 1.1 million the week ending Apr. 18, according to Luminate – a cumulative gain of 1291%..Forbes have reported: “For those who don’t want to do the math, that’s a growth of 1,291% in just one month, according to Billboard. 1,000-plus-% gains are unusual for any older track, and it takes something very special for any title to explode in popularity in that fashion…

UK 7 ” single sleeve cover of Army Dreamers (1980)

It strikes me that young TikTok users would of course latch on to the beautiful sentiments in the song as they grapple with at least two major world conflicts happening on the news. Kate is not unknown in the wider world anymore and here she is spelling out the futility of war. Evergreen Kate. A word of caution though – this is not the same meteoric rise that happened with Running Up That Hill in 2022 on the back of the song being used in Stranger Things. While Army Dreamers is currently Kate’s second biggest song on Spotify by a wide margin (360,000+ daily plays) it would take something truly extraordinary for Army Dreamers to become another global chart smash hit for Kate…but we’ll take it if it happens!

Stats screenshot courtesy of katebush_thecollection on Instagram
Kate and guitarist Brian Bath on the shoot of the Army Dreamers video

Kate donates two signed Boxes of Lost At Sea artworks to cancer charity auction!

As regular site visitors will know, our own Dave Cross (HomeGround) is a patron of the wonderful Cabaret vs Cancer charity in the UK, raising vital money to help people, especially children, in dealing with the effects of cancer. Kate has supported the charity each time they have held this special auction and now, 4th time round, she has donated two gorgeous, separate auction items – her Boxes of Lost at Sea. Auction bidding on each of the two boxes ends 7.30pm BST, Sunday April 28th – you can view and place a bid here at the auction site here!

Both of these amazing Boxes of Lost at Sea artworks have been signed on the back by Kate this week. These special presentations consists of two boxes, each containing one side of the Hounds of Love album on a separate vinyl record.

Kate says on her official site “The idea was to create a hybrid of an album and a piece of artwork you could hang on the wall. They’re based on something I designed for an auction for the charity War Child. For many years I’d wanted to try and adapt that idea to include an LP…or two. The Boxes of Lost at Sea now continue to tell the story.” Designed to be displayed on a wall, each box contains a tiny red blinking LED light – brass plaques on each auction item reinforce this expanded theme from the Hounds of Love album: Someone In The Big Sky Hoping To Find Someone Lost At Sea (Hounds of Love side) and Someone Lost At Sea Hoping To Be Found By Someone In The Big Sky (The Ninth Wave side). You can view and place a bid here at the auction site here!

Record Store Day disc update: wide availability in stores!

We have today confirmed that there will be 10,000 copies of Kate’s Eat The Music 10″ vinyl picture disc single available worldwide on this Saturday April 20th as part of Record Store Day – in other words, plenty available and remaining copies should be on sale through indie stores online from next Monday too. This is great news for those Kate Bush fans worried that all the copies would be snapped up and sold instantly by unscrupulous sellers on sites like Ebay or Discogs – only a small fraction of copies will.

To put this in perspective, previous limited RSD releases by Kate had allocations which ran from only 1,000-4,000 copies worldwide. So, while there is definitely a demand for these discs, and indie record stores have been very enthusiastic about them, enough have been pressed up to help every fan get one.

Therefore our advice is:

  • Don’t be tempted to pay inflated prices by opportunistic sellers on auction sites on Saturday!
  • Do visit and support your local independent record store on the day!
  • We will do our part by helping to share where copies are available to purchase on online indie record stores from 8pm Monday 22nd April (UK/Ireland time).
  • Many thanks to the folks at The state51 Conspiracy for updating me today, a great help to Kate’s fans!
Indie record stores have been previewing the disc on social media

Read more about Kate’s upcoming 10″ picture disc release of Eat The Music and her role as UK Record Store Day Ambassador here. Find your local participating record store here.

Kate signs turntable and Eat The Music test pressing for War Child!

Now, who wouldn’t want this gracing their living room? War Child are once again delighted to be the official charity partner for Record Store Day UK. Alongside 13 exclusive vinyl releases, they are excited to also have an exclusive War Child x Rega Planar 3 turntable signed by Kate as well as a signed test pressing of her upcoming Record Store Day 2024 release Eat The Music. YOU CAN ENTER THE PRIZE DRAW HEREnote that the terms & conditions state “Open to UK entrants only (18+)

Kate has worked with War Child many times in the past, most recently donating to War Child for each sale of her Boxes of Lost At Sea artworks. Read more about Kate’s upcoming 10″ picture disc release of Eat The Music and her role as Record Store Day Ambassador here.

By entering the prize draw, you are helping War Child UK. “At War Child we are driven by a single goal – ensuring a safe future for every child affected by war. We work in the hardest to reach places to support those who are hardest hit, to protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children, when they need us most.” YOU CAN ENTER THE WAR CHILD PRIZE DRAW HERE

New Kate Bush cover feature in latest Mojo Magazine

The June 2024 edition of Mojo Magazine (out in shops in the UK/Ireland next week or order the magazine online here) features Kate on the cover plus an 11-page article by writer Tom Doyle on Kate’s early years. “A deep dive into her early creative evolution. The demos, the pub gigs, the life-changing hit, the fight for control in the studio, on stage and in the camera’s eye. Plus: the tour that changed everything.” The cover shot, taken at Old Street Studios in London in 1979 by photographer Brian Aris, looks especially great on the black & white subscriber edition cover.

Tom is no stranger to writing about Kate, having recently published the very well-received ‘Running Up That Hill – 50 Visions of Kate Bush‘ book, and I’m told the piece even features a rare reminiscence about attending a KT Bush Band gig in Lewisham – always fascinating.

Mojo June 2024 issue
Alternate subscriber edition cover

This issue is available for purchase online here. Read more about the issue contents at the Mojo site here.

Exclusive new podcast interview with Anthony van Laast!

In this new episode of the Kate Bush Fan Podcast, Seán introduces Paul and Darrell’s exclusive Bush Telegraph interview with the iconic dancer and choreographer, Anthony van Laast. Anthony was the choreographer for the Tour of Life in 1979, after having featured opposite Kate in the ‘Hammer Horror’ video and European TV appearances. His incredible work with Kate on tour, and subsequent work on the BBC ‘Kate Show’ are discussed in this interview, including his work on the making of ‘The Wedding List’ film. Anthony has been the leading choreographer on many movies and stage works, including ‘Mamma Mia’ and the Royal Variety performances. What was it like to work with Kate, as well as other icons, including Meryl Streep, Cher and Barry Humphries, to name a few.

Note: This being the first Kate Bush Fan Podcast since Del Palmer’s passing, Seán spends some time at the start of the episode talking about Del and what he meant to all of us – of course, Seán intends to make a special podcast episode all about Del at a later date.

Anthony and Kate rehearse for the Lionheart Tour, 1979

You can subscribe to the Kate Bush Fan Podcast on iTunes or Spotify or on any podcast app you happen to use, such as Podcast Addict or Tunein or listen below on Soundcloud.


Happy 80th Birthday to John Carder Bush!

Wishing our inspiring and brilliant friend, the poet, writer and photographer (and of course Kate’s eldest brother) John Carder Bush, an exquisitely wonderful day today as he celebrates his 80th birthday! John, you never cease to astound us with your brilliance, endless creativity, wit and warmth. Your writing is a constant gift. As his little sister Kate once wrote, “Growing up with a writer and poet in the family is a wonderful thing…whenever I read John’s work I can hear his voice, like that of a great actor, and the strum of his acoustic guitar as he speaks.”

You can celebrate John today by listening to our extensive two-part Kate Bush Fan Podcast episode (links: Part One / Part Two), where Seán met up with John at his home in London and discussed John’s early life, how he developed his writing, his days playing in folk bands in London (with a young Kate taking notes), forming the Salatticum Poets with his great friends Tony Buzan and Jeremy Cartland, the story behind “Nicholas Wade” of the Kate Bush Club fame, his involvement in Kate’s career, the 1979 tour, his famous video set and album/single cover photographs, the poetry books, novels and photo books he has published, his collaborations with Vivienne Chandler, his involvement in the Japanese martial art of Kyudo, the re-grouping of the Salatticum Poets in the 21st century, his return to the Jig of Life narration for Before the Dawn – and a lot more! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN! – Seán, Krys, Peter and Dave xxx

Steve Harley 1951-2024

Kate performs with Steve Harley (and Peter Gabriel) in aid of Bill Duffield 1979

Steve Harley, the frontman of the rock group Cockney Rebel, has died aged 73. The English singer and songwriter, best known for his 1975 song Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), had been receiving treatment for cancer. He died at his Suffolk home on Sunday morning.

Two other members of Cockney Rebel, Stuart Elliott (drums) and Duncan Mackay (keyboards) would play on Kate’s albums. Near the end of her run of shows for the Lionheart Tour in 1979, Kate played a special concert May 12th at the Hammersmith Odeon in aid of Bill Duffield, her lighting engineer who tragically died after the first performance in Poole. Steve Harley was her special guest on the night along with Peter Gabriel, performing on versions of Them Heavy People, The ‘Woman’ With the Child in Her Eyes, Best Years of Our Lives, Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) and Let it Be. Always a staunch supporter of Kate’s work, Steve would report on his BBC Radio 2 shows when he’d hear any Kate news worth reporting, and was interviewed on several radio and television programmes for his impressions on Kate’s return to the live stage in 2014.

“Whoever you know him as, his heart exuded only core elements. Passion, kindness, generosity. And much more, in abundance,” his wife, Dorothy, and daughters Kerr and Greta wrote in a statement.

“The birdsong from his woodland that he loved so much was singing for him. His home has been filled with the sounds and laughter of his four grandchildren.”

Sending our condolences to Steve’s family and loved ones.

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