Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger - Volume 171  December2014



   Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 171 - December 2014



Following our successful TV appearance in October, Kimber's Men were invited back to appear again on Sunday Brunch before Christmas.  It is very regrettable we were unable to comply due to band members being unavailable.  Those of you who missed the first show should still be able to see the original programme at............


There are better things to watch than Kimber's Men?  Take a look at The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.  Shucks; I taught him all I new.  Best looked at full screen.


My old pal Jan P Christensen from New York sent me a piece about some Norwegian fishermen hunting herring.  Again best watched full screen



At home the furore surrounding Ched Evans (the Sheffield United footballer originally sentenced to five years in jail for rape, but now released after three - in case you've just returned from Timbuktu) continues unabated with over One hundred and Seventy thousand signatures from those fair minded liberals living amongst us who, not satisfied with the judges sentence, now want to impose their own kangaroo court sentence to prevent him continuing in his profession.  I covered this topic pretty extensively in the September issue of a Rambling Old Codger so I don't really need to over elaborate again.  Rape is not to be condoned whatever form it may take.  And those who commit rape deserve to be punished.  But Ched Evans, who to this day claims the sex act was consensual (well he would wouldn't he?) has been punished.  He languished in jail for three years for having accompanied a woman, who of her own accord went with him, without any form of complaint to a hotel bedroom.  Did she expect to have sex or did she expect to have a game of dominoes?  She claims she was too drunk to resist him; but not too drunk to remember what she did.  One thing she certainly didn't do was to plead with hotel receptionist to save her from a fate she didn't want.  There is a piece in the bible (I'm sure Lee Smith will correct me here) where good old JC stopped the stoning of a woman by suggesting those free of sin should cast the first stone.  But we have over one hundred and seventy thousand people in this country not satisfied with justice handed down by the court of law, all lilywhite liberals, all hurling their own form of justice at a man who according to the Criminal Cases Review Commission might actually be innocent.  The whole matter is under review.  Meanwhile Sheffield United football club, under intense strain and scrutiny from the media, having watched him train with them for the last 4 or 5 weeks have suddenly decided that actually he's not as good as he used to be so they've ditched him too.  On a personal note I hope Halifax Town sign him.  They desperately need someone who knows where the opposition goal is.  Wherever he goes in Britain he will face extreme abuse from fans of both teams every time he runs out onto the pitch.  If he's got any sense he will quietly move on to America, Australia or even Slovenia where in the latter case he will probably be treated like a prince.  But he might find moving anywhere quietly difficult now the liberals have got hold of him.  By the way. Liberal in the dictionary is defined as.... Broadminded, unprejudiced, one who advocates greater freedom.  Do I smell an oxymoron here?



I'm sure by now that most of you know that Maggie Boyle, folk singer, born 24 December 1956, died on 6th November at home with her family, she was just 57 years old. 


Nigel Schofield, who knew her far better than I, had this to say about her.


She had a melodic, ethereal voice, and her love of harmonising and her skill as a flautist led to a preference for collaboration.


Maggie was born in Battersea, south London, and grew up in the capital’s Irish community: her father was a fiddle player, her mother a dancer. As a child, Maggie was surrounded by music, and, recognising his Maggie’s singing talents, her father asked the Co Monaghan singer Oliver Mulligan to tutor her. Through the Fulham, west London, branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, an organisation that promotes Irish music and dance, Maggie won All‑Britain singing competitions, and as a teenager performed with her brothers Kevin and Paul as The Boyle Family. It was through the overlapping folk club and Irish music scenes in London that she met Steve, a professional folk singer, and they married in 1984.


That year, Mike Taylor of the music group Incantation recommended Maggie for Christopher Bruce’s Sergeant Early’s Dream with Ballet Rambert. Incantation needed an Irish singer for this new ballet about Irish migration to the US, as it was Rambert’s policy to use live musicians. For several years, Maggie, with Steve Tilston on guitar, toured the UK, Egypt, Jordan, Poland and Greece with the production. In the US, Maggie sang with the Irish folk band the Chieftains at some performances of the ballet. For the Gothenburg Ballet, she arranged and performed the music for In the Eye of the Storm (1990).


Displaying a rediscovered love of performance, Maggie made a couple of albums with Steve in the 1990s. The duo also joined Renbourn’s short-lived band Ship of Fools, which released one eponymous album in 1988, and toured the US. She also sang on When the Circus Comes to Town, the 1995 album released by Jansch, who wrote of the “spellbinding, intoxicating quality” of Maggie’s voice.



Maggie Boyle













Maggie made three solo albums. The first, Reaching Out (1987), was named after a song by Steve, and included Robin Williamson’s October Song.  Jansch was one of her accompanists. Eleven years passed before Maggie’s second solo album, Gweebarra (1998); the title track, Gweebarra Shore, was written by her brother Kevin after the death of their father, who came from Derryloughan, Co Donegal, beside the Gweebarra river. Her final solo album, Won’t You Come Away, was released in 2012, Maggie again singing and playing a mixture of traditional and new songs. The former included Donal Óg and a stunning interpretation of the ballad The Green Linnet, both learned from Mulligan in her childhood.


In 1994, again on Taylor’s recommendation, Maggie provided the vocal soundtrack for the film Patriot Games, starring Harrison Ford and based on Tom Clancy’s novel. The music was by James Horner, who also called on Maggie’s voice in Legends of the Fall (1994).


After several years living in Bristol, Maggie and Steve moved to West Yorkshire, and remained on friendly terms after their marriage ended in 1997. At her local folk club, the Bacca Pipes in Keighley, Maggie met Helen Hockenhull and Lynda Hardcastle, and the three formed a harmony group, Grace Notes, in 1992. The trio enjoyed success in concerts and festivals throughout the country, and were particular favourites at the annual Whitby folk week. They made five albums, starting with Down Falls the Day (1993) and ending with 20 (2012), to celebrate Grace Notes’ 20th anniversary.


In 2012, Maggie pursued her Kitchen Songs project for a web-based production, visiting and filming singer-songwriters, mainly within the folk scene, and usually recording in their kitchens. She was assisted by David Crickmore of BBC Radio Leeds, who broadcast two programmes about the interviews. Artists including Ralph McTell, Jez Lowe, Pete Coe, Steve and their son, Joe Tilston, sang and gave interviews.


With another of the kitchen singers, Mick Ryan, Maggie performed live and on CD in two of his folk ballad operas, The Pauper’s Path, about the workhouse, and a first world war show, A Day’s Work.


Maggie’s other collaborations included The Expatriate Game where, with Duck Baker and Ben Paley, she explored traditional Irish and American music, and the seasonal Magical Christmas Tree show with Pete Morton and Chris Parkinson. Her most recent concert collaboration was with the guitarist Paul Downes, for whom she played the flute, whistle and bodhrán on the album The Boatman’s Cure.


Maggie is survived by her partner, Bill Dinsdale, Joe, a daughter Molly (stage name Molly Jones), a granddaughter, Betty-Sue, Kevin and another brother, Christopher.



Sad to also report the death of a friend of the folk scene in Kent, whom I knew really only in passing.  He came to a number of Kimber's Men concerts in recent years.  Killed by a continental driver who, having just got off the ferry from Europe, drove up the A20 on the wrong side of the road.  I knew him only as 'Kerry' and despite a wee bit of research have not actually discovered his surname.  I've enclosed a copy of the letter I received reporting his death just a few days ago in the letter section as I didn't really know him well enough to write an obituary.


Thanks for all the complimentary letters regarding the appearance of Kimber's Men on Sunday Brunch.   You will find them all printed beneath the fixture list.


Finally next month (January) you can hear the band on your computer, or even your phone of course, appearing on BBC Radio Leeds at 8pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time - English hours!) on Sunday January 11th.  That'll be anywhere between 3pm and Noon in America; all depending where you live.




Fixture List for Kimber's Men and Joe Stead



Dec 6th (KM) The Workshop, Back Victoria Street, Halifax. HX1 5SU

Dec 11th (KM) The Red Deer, Sheffield, South Yorkshire.




Jan 11th (KM) BBC RADIO LEEDS. Durbervilles - 8pm.

Jan 17th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.

Feb 7th (KM) Coronation Hall, County Square, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 7LZ

Feb 20th (KM) St Barnabas School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2EY

Feb 21st (KM) Camden Road Education Arts & Theatre Enterprise Workshop.

Feb 21st (KM) Catsfield Village Hall, East Sussex TN33 9DP

Feb 27th (KM) Provisional date for village hall in Wiltshire

Feb 28th (KM) Provisional date for village hall in Wiltshire

Mar 13th (KM) The David Hall, South Petherton.

Mar 14th (KM) Spring Arts Centre, East Street, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1BS

Mar 21st (KM) Heron Theatre, Stanley Street, Beetham, Cumbria LA7 7AS

Apr 25th (KM) Recording Studio

Apr 26th (KM) Recording Studio

May 11th (KM) Beverley Folk Club, Rose and Crown, Beverley, East Yorkshire

May 15th (KM) Shepley Festival

May 16th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Northumberland.

May 17th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Northumberland.

May 23rd (KM) Met Studio, Gatehouse Theatre, Eastgate Street, Stafford.

May 28th (KM) Ostend Festival

May 29th (KM) Ostend Festival

May 30th (KM) Ostend Festival

May 31st (KM) Ostend Festival

Jun 12th (KM) Mylor - Venue to be confirmed

Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea

Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea.

Jul 25th (KM) Shammick Acoustic’ Pack o’ Cards, Combe Martin. EX34 0ET

Jul 26th (KM) Village Pump Festival, Westbury, Wiltshire - Provisional

Aug 1st (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 2nd (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 3rd (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 4th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 5th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 6th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 7th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 8th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 9th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 10th(KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 11th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 12th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 13th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 14th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 15th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 16th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Sep 1st (Joe) Rochdale Masonic Buildings. Richard Street, Rochdale 2pm - Robeson.

Nov 20th (KM) Market Theatre, Market St, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2AQ

Nov 21st (KM) Rhosygilwen, Rhoshill, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire. SA43 2TW

Dec 6th (KM) The Bothy Folk Club, Park Golf Club, Park Rd West, Southport





Good Afternoon All

It is my very sad task to inform you that Kerry was killed yesterday in a road traffic collision (RTC) on the A20 in Kent opposite Folkestone Race Course. It appears that his car was hit by a foreign registered truck being driven on the wrong side of the road. It would appear that the driver of the truck has been arrested and may face charges of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. Just as that may be, if it happens, it won't bring Kerry back!

I must apologise if you get two, or more copies of this e-mail but I would rather that should happen than that anyone in the "Folk World" who would wish to be informed should be left out. Some of you will have heard already from Chris Roche and Graeme Knights who e-mailed or phoned with the outline details but I wanted to add a little more detail of what happened, to dispel rumours, and that I have done above. I also wish to give you a brief résumé of Kerry's, and Mandy's, advancement in the folk world to remind you just what we have lost. I say Kerry and Mandy because, as Chris Roche pointed out, they are always spoken of as a couple both in life and singing.

Both of them first sang in public at the 2002 Christmas party of the "White Hart Folk Club" in Hythe, Kerry said he only sang to support Mandy as she was nervous of singing on her own! We instantly recognised their singing potential and asked them to join our club shanty crew, " The White Hart Shanty Crew" (WHSC), which was run by the late Alan Sugden and me. They only got to sing in public once, at Crabble Mill, with the full crew in February 2003 (two photos attached) before Alan died suddenly in May of that year so their next public outing was in June singing "The Farewell Shanty" at Alan's funeral!! They both said that whenever they sang it again after that they always thought of Alan.

In 2004 we decided to bring "The White Hart Shanty Crew" to a close and I joined "The Shanty Crew" (TSC) but at one of my earliest Cutty Sark sessions with TSC we were light on the ground so Kerry & Mandy and my wife, Dannie, came up to do some sets as the White Hart Shanty Crew again to support us. In 2005 we all went up to the "Lancaster Maritime Festival" and decided to end WHSC with a "swan song" in the singarounds there. It was at this time that Kerry & Mandy (K&M) met Paul and Linda Sirman and they became firm friends.

On the 5th November 2006 Kerry and Mandy, came to join TSC again on "The Cutty Sark" for her decommissioning before the re-fit. We alternated sets until we sang the visitors off the ship. The very last song was sung by Kerry, "The Grey Goose Shanty" with a little bit of help from his friends. I have attached a photo of Kerry & Mandy during one of their earlier sets in the "'tween decks".

Paul mentored them a great deal after they met at Lancaster and they did a short set in the Library of the Royal Kings' Arms Hotel. From that point they have not looked back setting up their own folk club at St Mary in the Marsh and running a couple of festivals there, from 2007 they were regular performers at the Glasson Dock Festival which succeeded Lancaster until it closed down. Since then they have established themselves at other festivals and sang with Paul and on their own at the first two "Ellesmere Port Maritime Festivals" They formed "Quidnunc" with Stuart Pendrill relatively recently and have gained a lot of success with the folk rock style of "Quidnunc" who have recently added a bass player and a drummer. Earlier this year they were invited to sing in Germany.

Kerry has been a merchant seaman, a fisherman and was for some years the mechanic on the Littlestone Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB). He and Mandy did not therefore hesitate to join Paul, Tom Kelly, Maureen Jones, Gillian Wren, Brian Withstandley and me for a Shanties and Sea Song Concert at the Dungeness Lifeboat Station in 2011 which we have repeated three times since, the latest being on 5th June this year. Kerry & Mandy also organised the music for the Dungeness Lifeboat Open Day for the last few years. On these occasions Kerry wore his RNLI sweater with pride as he did on The Cutty Sark as you can see in the photograph.




He would be the first to admit that he had problems pitching when he first started singing but he always had a good voice and he quickly gained accuracy with experience. He and Mandy always sounded good together both in maritime and non maritime singing. I will always remember Kerry for his singing of "Skipper Jan Rebec", "Hanging Johnny", "Grey Goose Shanty" and The Rochester Recruit". There are a lot of examples of them singing on their own, with Stuart as "Quidnunc" and with the rest of us at Dungeness on You Tube, do take the time to have a look.

I do hope to hear Mandy sing again when she is ready but she and the "folk family" have lost a fine singer and a bloody good bloke!! I am sure that you will all join me in sending our deepest sympathy to Mandy, Mick and Brenda (his parents), his children and grandchildren.

Best regards

David Pleasants





Congratulations on your Seeger song, am looking forward to seeing it. Perhaps you could include it in your blog. I have co-edited the book THE PETE SEEGER READER (Oxford UP), which was published last January. I think you will like it. Also, you should know that Sing Out! is phasing out, and rarely publishes an issue these days. You can check their website, but I know that Mark Moss is trying to get out of the magazine business. I just donated much of my folk music collection, including a complete run of Sing Out!, every issue from #1 to the current one, to the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK, which is a terrific museum. I hope if you make it to the US you will get to Tulsa. My most recent book, ROOTS OF THE REVIVAL: AMERICAN AND BRITISH FOLK MUSIC IN THE 1950s (Univ. of Illinois Press) is now out, which much on the transatlantic musical collections.


Ron Cohen



Dear Joe, I think you should stand as a Member of Parliament, £500 spent on promoting your music.  Joe Stead folksinger since 1963, wants to promote Maritime Music.

Dick Miles




Is it Ok if I say I loved your masculine moments on Sunday Brunch as did my husband. The thing about men is their wonderful lack of subtlety!
Dawn Skye

PS Are you doing any Tall Ship Shanty Voyages?



Hello Joe

I DO enjoy your monthly rambles and, after all these years, I'm so glad we are still on the same wavelength. I miss seeing you and the boys at festivals but I am much happier being an ex Awd Chyver and back doing solo work and getting plenty of work.  Keep up the good work in all respects, good to hear about the Pete Seeger song too. See you soon I hope. If we're spared !

Zeke Deighton



Hi Joe,

I thought you might be amused by the advice my Father-in-law gave me when he was in his eighties (lived to 95, died in 2005). He was a Hugill btw.

His advice for the elderly man was :

1. Never pass a urinal.

2. Never trust a fart.

3. Never EVER waste an erection.

He also maintained that a good song should be like good sex, introduce it properly and play it lively. Try and make it last 3 minutes; 3 min 20 seconds max.

Where ever he lived, he was a Geordie.


Rob Townshend



Dear Joe,

Thanks for your ramblings, you sometimes make me feel young again, or at least, not the only grumpy old gimmer in Yorkshire. I would vote for you were I in your constituency, but, heyho, I live in Bradford. For your protest/election song, I suggest that you check out the work of Jim Jarret of Mytholmroyd who has written a Yorkshire anthem that says it all ( to be found in "The View From Wibsey Slack).

Cheers, a sometime shantyman without a berth,

Nick Leach.




You could advance the policy that each and every matter would be dealt with on the basis of its own merits and on reasonable and rational discussion - I say this because, although I don't always agree with the contents of some of your Rumblings, you do try to not be swayed by political affiliations.

Lee Smith




Hi Joe

I've just had a lovely 5 minutes reading your Ramblings.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday in Nerja in September.

Love to you and Nora.

Anne Young xxxxxxxxx




Lovely spot on C4, you are a wit, should be on the stage…..

Look forward to Jun 12 next year matey, love to Nora

Steve Hutt




Hi Joe

Thank you for your latest Ramblings.

I caught your excellent Sunday Brunch session, I hope it does you and the group a power of good. I see you are at The Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival next June.

I hope it was something I said when I was down there.

Best Wishes

Quentin Hood






Dear Joe,

"Sunday Brunch came and went. Much fun was had by all" Indeed Harry and I really enjoyed it all and we had a real hoot when you told the presenter he could speak in a minute! (or words to that effect).

The programme does exactly what it intends to do. I think the presenters did a good job asking you relevant questions of which the answers gave anyone, not knowing about sea shanties, a good insight into the subject. A wide variety of people are invited onto the show from all walks of life to share knowledge, experiences etc and things that might be interesting to many.

The last song got a bit mucked up with the presenters joining in but the overall outcome was sharing the knowledge and having some fun as this programme is intended so I found the contribution by Tony Day in last month's Ramblings rather pompous and insulting and he sounds like a bit of a know all.

If you get invited back on the show you should do it.


Rhonda Tauman




Dear Joe,

I've enjoyed your Ramblings for years now. Here's a little story you might like:

It started at Dick's Sporting Goods.

When I was ready to pay for my purchases of gun powder and bullets, the cashier said, "Strip down, facing me."

Making a mental note to complain to the NRA about the gun control wackos running amok, I did just as she had instructed.

When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided, I found out that she was referring to how I should place my credit card in the card-reader.

I have been asked to shop elsewhere in the future.

They need to make their instructions to us seniors a little more clear.

(I still don't think I looked that bad.)

Richard Gillmann  (Seattle)








Hopefully you cannot read these notes written by parents in the Memphis school area without laughing.
Spellings have been left intact… so we can read them as written.

1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take PE today. Please execute him.
2. Please exkuce lisa for being absent she was sick and i had her shot.
3. Dear school: please ecsc's john being absent on jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.
4. Please excuse gloria from jim today. She is administrating.
5. Please excuse roland from p.e. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.
6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.
7. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.
8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.
10. Please excuse ray friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
11. Please excuse Lesli from being absent yesterday.........She had the shits.
12. Please excuse tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leak.
13. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.
14. Please excuse jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.
15. I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because i don't know what size she wear.
16. Please excuse jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it monday. We thought it was sunday.
17. Sally won't be in school a week from friday. We have to attend her funeral.
18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the marines.
19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.
20. Please excuse mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.
21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.
22. Please excuse brenda. She has been sick and under the doctor.
23. Maryann was absent december 11-16, because she had a fever, sorethroat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever an sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.



Medical Errors


1. A man comes into the ER and yells. . .....
'My wife's going to have her baby in the cab.'
I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's dress and began to take off her underwear.
Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs - - - and I was in the wrong one.

Submitted by Dr. Mark MacDonald,
San Francisco


2. At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall.
'Big breaths,'. . . I instructed.

'Yes, they used to be,'. . .. Replied the patient.
Submitted by Dr. Richard Byrnes,
Seattle , WA


3.One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct.
Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a 'massive internal fart.'

Submitted by Dr. Susan Steinberg


4. While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient, I asked, 'How long have you been bedridden?'
After a look of complete confusion she answered . . . ' Why, not for about twenty years - when my husband was alive.'

Submitted by Dr. Steven Swanson-
Corvallis , OR


5. A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room when a young woman with purple hair styled into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing, entered..... It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for immediate surgery.

When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green and above it there was a tattoo that read . .. .' Keep off the grass.'

Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's' dressing, which said 'Sorry . . . Had to mow the lawn.'

Submitted by RN no name,


6.  A woman and a baby were in the doctor's examining room, waiting for the doctor to come in for the baby's first exam. The doctor arrived, and examined the baby, checked his weight, and being a little concerned, asked if the baby was breast-fed or bottle-fed.

'Breast-fed,' she replied...

'Well, strip down to your waist,' the doctor ordered.
She did. He pinched her nipples, pressed, kneaded, and rubbed both breasts for a while in a very professional and detailed examination.

Motioning to her to get dressed, the doctor said, 'No wonder this baby is underweight. You don't have any milk.'

'I know,' she said, 'I'm his Grandma, but I'm glad I came.'



Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?

A: A stick.



Keep smiling, keep singing.










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