Richard Dawson (raucous experimental UK folk racket w/ intense picaresque realness vox)

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'Nothing Important', both the song and the album.

This is some of the best music I've heard in ages, I think. Four songs and with them - with TWO of them - he's become one of my favourite British artists. A certain chap agrees:

Marcello Carlin @marcellocarlin · Oct 16
By the way, “Nothing Important” by @richarddawson12 is the most striking and stunning piece of music I've heard this year. Album out Nov 3.

^the title-track - there's another one called The Vile Stuff that's pretty much just as good - there's an 11-minute video version on Youtube and the full 16-minute version elsewhere.

Apparently an incredible live perfomer as well:

No, but seriously: my friend played me 'Poor Old Horse' when I went home for christmas last year, but he did the thing he always does and made the preamble so amazing that nothing can ever live up to it. So I spent the year thinking Dawson was good but not as amazing as he was made out to be... until I saw him live. When I was super pissed off with my tent probably having been blown away by horrible winds and worried about everything... and Dawson really *was* as good as the preamble. Pulling up this intense voice, hitting himself to make it come out, screaming and yelping... he is genuinely so so good.

― emil.y, Monday, November 17, 2014 1:03 AM (19 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Fully expect ILM to get behind this guy

imago, Monday, 17 November 2014 20:33 (four years ago) Permalink

ah you started this while I was in rolling time travel, also everyone likes a guy who posts his posts to multiple threads

Richard Dawson is p much one of my favourite working musical entities in the world and has been for the last 18-24 months maybe. he is also a v nice person ime. really glad he is getting more and more opportunities to do his thing in front of more people.

if you happen to see a review of his new album as published by a weekly UK music paper of note, please don't bother reading it as it's been edited to make its writer sound lukewarm on the album, and intimidated by its scary weirdness. FUCK EDITORS

― proper maoist (DJ Mencap), Monday, November 17, 2014 8:36 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

proper maoist (DJ Mencap), Monday, 17 November 2014 20:39 (four years ago) Permalink

Really hope this takes off completely. Not sure how. If tedious worthy dreck like Young Fathers is winning the Mercury, what chance does Dawson have, eh?

Anyway, this isn't about him taking off, this is about how his music is fucking astonishing & his personality one of the most performatively engaging I've heard on record

imago, Monday, 17 November 2014 20:48 (four years ago) Permalink

Not seen him live, but the record is extraordinary. In all sorts of ways: people who like it will really, really, really like it; those who don't will simply be unable to make any sense of it, and I'm not yet sure which camp I fall into. It sounds like a stream of consciousness, both musically and lyrically. In many ways its a truer and more difficult form of alternative/outsider music than any noise or deliberately anti-melody record, because there are tunes and melodies here, they just seem all wrong - the notes, the chords, the progressions all seem wrong. Like a folk Beefheart.

Unsettled defender (ithappens), Monday, 17 November 2014 20:56 (four years ago) Permalink

I've definitely mentioned him on here a few times as well. Seen him probably about half a dozen times in the last 3 or 4 years, I think the first time was just as The Magic Bridge came out and he's never been less than brilliant. From the visceral impact of Poor Old Horse the first time I saw him, to the pouring out of his heart in Wooden Bag, to co-opting folk standards like The Brisk Lad, to the sinister tragedy espoused in Ghost Of A Tree - which could also live on the creepy british tv thread in tone - I've always been rapt.

I wrote about Nothing Important on FB but can't find my post. I'll repeat what I said there though - The Vile Stuff is the distillation of his career to date and if he never does anything again that song will be enough.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Monday, 17 November 2014 21:29 (four years ago) Permalink

let's post it here, in fact

imago, Monday, 17 November 2014 21:32 (four years ago) Permalink

2:40 into "Nothing Important" and this is very easily going into the "I don't get it" file

the farakhan of gg (DJP), Monday, 17 November 2014 21:38 (four years ago) Permalink

"The Vile Stuff" is completely obsessing me right now. Probably my favourite track of the year. (Evidently based in truth, as his teacher left a comment on his FB:

"Ha ha. I remember that trip to featherstone castle one of the highlights of my teaching career"

Also heard very good things about him as a live performer, from a trusted source. Hell, even his collages are good:

mike t-diva, Monday, 17 November 2014 23:51 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm interested

i did it all for the 'nuki (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:20 (four years ago) Permalink

i've liked some of this guy;s stuff but i'm getting an icky jam-band feeling from that last youtube

I dunno. (amateurist), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:51 (four years ago) Permalink

how many minutes did you listen for

after 2 or 3 minutes the vocals come in and it's completely gripping, imo

imago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 03:00 (four years ago) Permalink

i listened to the whole thing!

I dunno. (amateurist), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 04:13 (four years ago) Permalink

I think this would probably appeal to folks who dig the Incredible String Band. I'm more on the Holy Modal Rounders' team, myself.

rushomancy, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:32 (four years ago) Permalink

I can see tracks like Judas Iscariot and all the instrumental pieces on The Glass Trunk appealing to Derek Bailey fans. John Fahey fans might get a lot out of this too.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:37 (four years ago) Permalink

Judas Iscariot is like a more deliberate Bill Orcutt

john wahey (NickB), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:49 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I can see that.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Dammmm, just listened to Nothing Important on Spotify: "Judas Iscariot" an instrumental,justifies the Fahey and Derek Bailey comparisons right away, unselfconsciously; title track's vocals vulnerable, idealistic, tenacious, suggesting Robert Wyatt and Roy Harper; "The Vile Stuff" is a mighty tag-magnet for all of the above and RIYL ISB, the groove of solo Wino, Dredd Foole, and maybe Jandek (though I'm not a J-man fan). This track is or surely should be the one to get him on campus etc. radio. "Doubting Thomas" instrumental perfectly folds into its four minutes plus. The words haven't all registered yet, but I like the ones that have. Thanks ILM!

dow, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:17 (four years ago) Permalink

Seems that this all comes from his own youngblood experiences (incl. listening to his records and himself), more than wearing influences on his sleeve. Though still working on his own unmistakable sound, own voice, as writers say.

dow, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:21 (four years ago) Permalink

It sounds like a stream of consciousness, both musically and lyrically. In many ways its a truer and more difficult form of alternative/outsider music than any noise or deliberately anti-melody record, because there are tunes and melodies here, they just seem all wrong - the notes, the chords, the progressions all seem wrong. Like a folk Beefheart.

Description sounds like Kevin Coyne, in KC's more out there moments. But he doesn't sound like Kevin Coyne, more like Roy Harper gone weird.

Euripides' Trousers (Tom D.), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:37 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, Coyne and Beefheart are in the same associative family tree, but actual sound closer to young Harper.

dow, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:50 (four years ago) Permalink

Seriously one of the year's best records

Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:52 (four years ago) Permalink

i liked the first track on glass trunk with the letter so much but have cooled on him since then

ogmor, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:39 (four years ago) Permalink

Oh yeah this is pretty cool. Like the guitar playing a lot.

grandavis, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 20:21 (four years ago) Permalink

listening judas iscariot right now

good, but as a couple others pointed out VERY bill orcutt almost to the point of distraction for me sometimes

i did it all for the 'nuki (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 20:39 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm liking "Nothing Important" quite a bit.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 20:42 (four years ago) Permalink


this song is awesome

i did it all for the 'nuki (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 20:43 (four years ago) Permalink

also the first song was good, i shouldn't be backhanded, it was more "put together" than orcutt usually is and it's not like recalling bill orcutt is an easy task either way

i did it all for the 'nuki (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 20:44 (four years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Richard Dawson 'The Vile Stuff' (Karen Gwyer Remix)

Listen to Karen Gwyer's hypnotic version of the song

"Nothing Important is driven by an ongoing conflict between entropic impulsiveness and an almost classical sense of beauty and order...Dawson's most ambitious and affecting composition to date." 7.8 - Pitchfork

"The 33-year-old Newcastle avant-troubadour has made one of the most unique singer-songwriter records in recent memory with the abrasive, vivid Nothing Important.” - Rolling Stone

The sinister lament that is ‘The Vile Stuff’ shows Dawson as a master of the minutiae of British storytelling as he charts the downfall of a group of students on a school trip, “downing Asda’s own-brand stubbies in the lad’s bogs” before succumbing to all sorts of transgression and calamity – fracturing skulls and cheekbones, stabbing screwdrivers through their hands and hopping into bed with their teachers. It’s a song as surreal as it is strangely relatable in its pitch-black humour and effortless conjuring of grizzly adolescent fantasy.

In her remix, Gwyer takes the song's ominous instrumental loop and tones it up into a muscular, sinister alien-club track reminiscent of her releases for No Pain In Pop.

Read a recent interview with Richard Dawson via BOMB Magazine (conversation w Cian Nugent):

dow, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 23:46 (four years ago) Permalink

That's from, so's this

dow, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 23:49 (four years ago) Permalink

oh my fucking god this remix

imago, Friday, 5 December 2014 00:36 (four years ago) Permalink

just found myself listening to this dude earlier today cuz he is supporting the ex next week. definitely pro him

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 5 December 2014 00:37 (four years ago) Permalink

listened to him for the first time yesterday, siked to have a new person to listen to whose work I think is amazing

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 5 December 2014 20:07 (four years ago) Permalink

to me, this has some similarities to akron/family back in the day when they were really on top of what I believed to be an extremely compelling sound

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 5 December 2014 20:09 (four years ago) Permalink

listening to the back half of nothing important and oh man this guy

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 5 December 2014 21:50 (four years ago) Permalink

maybe I need to go to both days of the the ex thing

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 5 December 2014 21:50 (four years ago) Permalink

aah, i used to kind of know this guy from when he worked at alt vinyl in newcastle years ago, pleased to see him making a name for himself (or is it just on ilm . i saw him play loads of times about 5 or 6 years ago and he was always great but never got round to hearing any of his albums somehow (will rectify this). i remember being being quite taken aback when i first heard him singing, him being such a mild mannered, softly spoken chap.

Benny B, Friday, 5 December 2014 23:31 (four years ago) Permalink

i`ll admit my memories of that time in the north east are getting pretty hazy, but i remember wondering at the time htf maximo park and the futureheads blew up when field music and richard dawson were sooo much better

Benny B, Friday, 5 December 2014 23:37 (four years ago) Permalink

gosh how did a band whose calling card was a novelty 80s cover make a deeper impression on the public than this guy with his sixteen minute song about school kids getting drunk on 4x and stabbing themselves with screwdrivers

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 6 December 2014 09:16 (four years ago) Permalink

ha! well it was back when i actually gave a fuck about such things.

Benny B, Saturday, 6 December 2014 10:31 (four years ago) Permalink

five or six years ago RD's music was much more quote-unquote accessible straight-bat folk-rock kinda stuff; afaik no-one took much notice until he started to get ~weird~

proper maoist (DJ Mencap), Saturday, 6 December 2014 11:21 (four years ago) Permalink

So what a couple of bits I've heard reminds me of (so far) is some Harsh 70s..-era Dead C 'heavy' strumming. After five mins I can't be arsed.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 6 December 2014 16:26 (four years ago) Permalink

I dreamt about Richard Dawson last night.

In the dream the mainstream had decided to try and co-opt him and so he had been invited on TV wanker-fest Sunday Brunch with Tim Lovejoy and The Other One. It was a special summer edition which was outside and the invited "too old for Hoxton but we're going to pretend anyway" middle class twunt target market were having a picnic. To try and make him more palatable they had given him a completely inappropriate backing band and they started a version of The Brisk Lad that sounded a bit like Take That. Richard tried to destabilise things by picking up a saxophone (which he clearly couldn't play) and tunelessly honking over them after the first verse. The producers responded by turning up the backing to try and restore order. Richard then walked off the stage in amongst the picnickers and started ad-lining verses, but when he said he would split the stolen sheep "from maw to cunt" it got a bit much for the producers and it went to a black screen.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Sunday, 7 December 2014 11:32 (four years ago) Permalink


someone not on phone pls repost to striking imagery thread asap

imago, Sunday, 7 December 2014 12:30 (four years ago) Permalink

That should have been "ad-libbing" near the end, but autocorrect obvs.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Sunday, 7 December 2014 12:37 (four years ago) Permalink


imago, Saturday, 13 December 2014 02:44 (four years ago) Permalink

Just interviewed him. Lovely man.

Unsettled defender (ithappens), Monday, 15 December 2014 13:14 (four years ago) Permalink

Spoke to him after the gig and can corroborate this

imago, Monday, 15 December 2014 13:34 (four years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

this is great! how did i not hear it till now?

this is just a saginaw (dog latin), Wednesday, 7 January 2015 10:41 (four years ago) Permalink

This should be right up my alley but I've never managed to get past the first couple tracks.

Dinsdale, Wednesday, 7 January 2015 11:44 (four years ago) Permalink

there are only 4 tracks

London's Left-Wing Utopian Non-League Ultras Are Reclaiming Football (imago), Wednesday, 7 January 2015 13:50 (four years ago) Permalink

Saw him on Saturday and I'm not convinced the full band works if I'm honest. Still tremendous though.

Can't remember the order but Scientist/Prostitute/Soldier/Weaver plus a version of The Cruel Ship's Carpenter in there somewhere, then closing with Ogre and The Vile Stuff.

Chat involved a fake electrocution, how John broke his guitar (but Richard wasn't going to make a big deal out it even though John broke his guitar), texts from Richard's dad and something about cats I don't remember.

Mud... Jam... Failure... (aldo), Tuesday, 20 June 2017 13:09 (one year ago) Permalink

has he toured the USA? would love to see him live this year

flappy bird, Tuesday, 20 June 2017 17:04 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah Im loving this. Some wyrd "A Field in England" vibes on some tracks. "Soldier" is one the best songs I've heard this year

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Tuesday, 20 June 2017 19:26 (one year ago) Permalink

soldier has such a comfortably-worn plodding weariness to it. played it v differently live, snarled and shouted his way through it. in general I thought he pulled the more progge elements off better live when the intensity of his performance could bear them better

ogmor, Tuesday, 20 June 2017 19:52 (one year ago) Permalink

good lord

imago, Thursday, 22 June 2017 22:21 (one year ago) Permalink

that was a tonic

imago, Thursday, 22 June 2017 22:21 (one year ago) Permalink

i am tired
and i am afraid

flappy bird, Friday, 23 June 2017 01:42 (one year ago) Permalink

A cross between..

Super furry animals, Comus and Ed Barton.

That's good, BTW.

Mark G, Friday, 23 June 2017 06:10 (one year ago) Permalink

Love it so far

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 23 June 2017 11:07 (one year ago) Permalink

This guy makes me want to revisit Bob Drake, who I haven't listened to in years.

Evan, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 16:01 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm so in love with this album. Really feeling 'Weaver' and 'Beggar' today.

cajunsunday, Thursday, 29 June 2017 20:07 (one year ago) Permalink

can't stop wondering about how the potato in shapeshifter got to bryneich/bernicia. it's such an odd line, is it deliberately anachronistic/anatopic?

ogmor, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:28 (one year ago) Permalink

there are a few deliberate anachronisms! like what's a collie doing in the dark ages

imago, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:35 (one year ago) Permalink

it's a better world he's made

imago, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:35 (one year ago) Permalink

the blurring of those times and these is like what paul kingsnorth was doing with his 'shadow tongue' in 'the wake', which i read concurrently to discovering this album, both complementing each other brilliantly

imago, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:37 (one year ago) Permalink

see also: the closing poem of m* n***l

imago, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:39 (one year ago) Permalink

but what is the significance of this potato?!

ogmor, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:42 (one year ago) Permalink

perhaps the shapeshifter is also able to shift the shape of objects, and it had been a humble apple beforehand. magic does what magic does iirc

imago, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:45 (one year ago) Permalink

the more i think about it the more deliciously puzzling the song is, but the potato is somehow what sends it over the top for me. the potato as a casual yet unsettling gesture to seal the deal after the shapeshifter has freed them. and the way he sings it of course.

ogmor, Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:59 (one year ago) Permalink

everyone i've played "ogre" for says it sounds like polyphonic spree :(

flappy bird, Thursday, 6 July 2017 16:07 (one year ago) Permalink

Mmmm hmmmmm

Mark G, Thursday, 6 July 2017 20:06 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeeeah, this is good

ultros ultros-ghali, Friday, 14 July 2017 19:37 (one year ago) Permalink

how good :p

imago, Friday, 14 July 2017 19:45 (one year ago) Permalink

I really wasn't sure to start with but then Ogre took over my inner jukebox and now I'm getting mildly obsessed

ultros ultros-ghali, Friday, 14 July 2017 20:10 (one year ago) Permalink

In other words it's growing on me like a bastard. How does it compare with his older stuff?

ultros ultros-ghali, Friday, 14 July 2017 20:13 (one year ago) Permalink

As good as the last album, i.e. as good as it fucken gets

imago, Friday, 14 July 2017 20:25 (one year ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

late to the party but aoty

devvvine, Sunday, 30 July 2017 14:52 (one year ago) Permalink


imago, Sunday, 30 July 2017 15:37 (one year ago) Permalink

imo a lot of people are going to be figuring where this fits into their decade list come december 2019

imago, Sunday, 30 July 2017 15:42 (one year ago) Permalink

Blame it on the 'shock of the new', or changing musical tastes, but I'm just not as impressed by this one as I was Nothing Important. Guess that last album hit me during my peak Wire-reading / free jazz listening / Derek Bailey celebrating phase, but this record, to me, feels safer and more flat-plan. I loved the lyrical sprawl of those longer songs, as well as the abstruse guitar playing. This feels more reined-in by comparison, but maybe I need to do some background reading here to get a better feel for what the songs are about and the concepts behind them.

Shat Parp (dog latin), Monday, 31 July 2017 07:49 (one year ago) Permalink

maybe I need to do some background reading here to get a better feel for what the songs are about and the concepts behind them.

Progge warning.

weird echo of the falsies (Tom D.), Monday, 31 July 2017 08:09 (one year ago) Permalink

Some of the weirdness and atonality has been delegated to other instrumentalists, but it's still there! It does have a more straight-folk vibe but that's a conscious aesthetic decision and I think it works beautifully - this record really brings out RD's amazing sense of melody and progression. Plus the arrangements are flat-out wonderful.

If forced at gunpoint to choose I'd probably still go with Nothing Important but they're both phenomenal IMO, he is the best songwriter going

imago, Monday, 31 July 2017 08:32 (one year ago) Permalink

I admired rather than enjoyed Nothing Important but Peasant has really struck a chord with me - that it's more melodic probably does help a lot. Definitely a highlight of 2017.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 31 July 2017 08:59 (one year ago) Permalink

"Soldier" is a fucking great song.

flappy bird, Monday, 31 July 2017 18:04 (one year ago) Permalink

five months pass...

Don't know much about this subgenre (British avant-folk?) but to me Dawson sounds like a less roots-anchored Robin Williamson – if we go by his later, ECM material. Anyway, I'm really enjoying this, especially the dirge-like 'Hob'.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 15:23 (one year ago) Permalink

There's nothing like it.

I like to roll out the North Sea Radio Orchestra comparisons, but that's mostly because that's the only other UK alt-folk-adjacent contemporary music I love this much. It's more chamber music than Dawson, who's in turn much more experimental. Peasant represents some kind of melodic rapprochement between the two though, perhaps

imago, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 17:15 (one year ago) Permalink

Was about to say the guitar playing reminds me a bit of some Incredible String Band tracks, something like "White Bird" perhaps.

― Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Saturday, 3 June 2017 18:05 (six months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

... which is a Mike Heron track actually, though he's definitely more Robin Williamson. Not that I've heard enough of his material though, tbh.

Whiney Houston (Tom D.), Tuesday, 2 January 2018 17:36 (one year ago) Permalink

eight months pass...




A spokesperson for the band says: "Each hailing from historically different tribal regions of the Old North, the musicians on Mogic challenge the idea that the ancient world was rife with magic, while the new is infiltrated by cold logic. The tracks on Mogic create new phantasmal blends of images and ideas that draw upon the mystical and technological. Mogic is a discombobulating pop prayer exploring artificial intelligence, witches, nanotechnology, pre-medieval history, robots, romance, computer games and waterfalls.

imago, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 11:27 (four months ago) Permalink

"I live on a mountain
The only tall sculpture on this planet
The view is appalling"

Excellent song, excellent video.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 11 September 2018 11:33 (four months ago) Permalink

this was certainly unexpected but it's very cool

ufo, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 11:41 (four months ago) Permalink

saw him live at a festival this year, was indeed something to behold, guy is brilliant

niels, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 12:04 (four months ago) Permalink

for everyone who wished peasant sounded more like the super furry animals

ogmor, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 12:10 (four months ago) Permalink

lmao this rules

devvvine, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 12:56 (four months ago) Permalink

Bass reminds me of The Cure in parts. Unexpected, this. I like

Duke, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 19:59 (four months ago) Permalink

If you're going to make lazy comparisons to other Welsh pop acts, make them to people who are actually excited to hear this album

‘I live on a mountain, the only tall sculpture on this planet. The view is appalling..’ YES @HOgledd

— G W E N N O (@gwennosaunders) September 11, 2018

imago, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 20:57 (four months ago) Permalink

actually, speaking of Welsh postpunk, the song it reminded me of most was this

imago, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 21:28 (four months ago) Permalink

GWENNO KIND OF QUOTED WHAT I QUOTED FIRST I AM MORE IN LOVE THAN I ALREADY WAS <333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 11 September 2018 21:45 (four months ago) Permalink

Gwenno reads ILm, I am sure of it now. And that is alright.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 11 September 2018 21:45 (four months ago) Permalink

Finally got around to Nothing Important. I think I like his sinister minimalist moods more than his whimsy, but then again 'Hob' was the highlight of Peasant for me.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 12 September 2018 06:59 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

hen ogledd album good-not-mindblowing, worth a listen though

imago, Friday, 16 November 2018 14:52 (two months ago) Permalink

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