Now That’s What I Call Music 57

 

Released-  5th April 2004

Music History

 

Me History

 

If I had to save one track from this album, which this time around feels like asking me which of my children I’d want to survive, that track would be… 

Track by Track Breakdown

Britney Spears – “Toxic”

Easily her best single. The syncopated beats and screeching violins and frankly how rudely she says ‘I think I’m ready now’ towards the end (for shame). Can’t not dance to this.

Kelis –
“Milkshake”

What a double to start! I don’t know what there is new to say here, so just put this on and appreciate!

Jamelia
 – “Thank You”

Very odd backing. Wonky. But actually a great song. Touching.


Kylie Minogue –
“Red Blooded Woman”

One of those moments when her star is on the fade again sadly. To be honest, she’ll bounce back. It’s what she does.

Justin Timberlake – “I’m Lovin’ It”

In an otherwise wonderful solo career, writing the McDonald’s jingle is probably his lowest moment.


Enrique Iglesias featuring Kelis –
“Not In Love”

It’s okay. Annoying that he got Kelis on but it just sounds like every other Enrique Iglesias song. And steals a line from 10cc.


The Black Eyed Peas –
“Shut Up”

Not entirely terrible. But I reckon a better song with this title will come out in 12 years or so.


2 Play featuring Raghav –
“So Confused”

The limpest use of a good danceable beat I have ever heard. Even Sean Paul would refuse to guest on this.


Beenie Man featuring Ms Thing and Shawanna
 – “Dude”

He’s a horrible man, but I can’t help but enjoy his music. Bounces along at a great clip.

Peter Andre – “Mysterious Girl”

I reviewed this back on 1996’s Now 34 and I’ll be damned if I’m listening to it again. So this is what I said:
Famous for this song and marrying the plastics and retardation magnate Jordan. I can’t work out which is worse. This song is liked ironically by the sort of man who thinks unwanted groping is just ‘bantz’. That’s how bad it is.


DJ Casper –
“Cha Cha Slide”

No matter how basic EDM is, it could never stoop down to this, which is basically outtakes from an exercise tape over a beat. Or Agadoo without the charm.


Girls Aloud –
“Jump”

Cover of the Pointer Sisters, which adds nothing new – to its credit!


Boogie Pimps –
“Somebody to Love”

Enjoyable update of the Jefferson Airplane classic. Face it, the original wasn’t as danceable!


Atomic Kitten featuring Kool & the Gang – 
“Ladies’ Night”

They can’t quite drain all the funk from the original. But good lord can we all just agree to sent £3 a month so Kool and his gang don’t have to debase themselves this way?

Emma – “I’ll Be There”

I feel like I might have missed out on a great fake 60s album by Baby Spice here. A great low budget Dusty Springfield pastiche here, complete with multiple key changes.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor “I Won’t Change You”
Scissor Sisters “Comfortably Numb”
Deepest Blue “Give It Away”
LMC vs U2 “Take Me to the Clouds Above”
Special D. “Come with Me”
Ultrabeat “Feelin’ Fine”
Motorcycle “As the Rush Comes”
Ferry Corsten “Rock Your Body Rock”
Will Young “Leave Right Now”
Katie Melua “The Closest Thing to Crazy”
Norah Jones “Sunrise”
Blue “Breathe Easy”
Kelly Osbourne featuring Ozzy Osbourne “Changes”
Blink-182 “I Miss You”
Busted “Who’s David?”
Fountains of Wayne “Stacy’s Mom”
Franz Ferdinand “Take Me Out”
Alistair Griffin “Bring It On”
Sugababes “Too Lost in You”
VS “Love You Like Mad”
Joss Stone “Fell in Love with a Boy”
FYA featuring Smujji “Must Be Love”
N.E.R.D “She Wants to Move”
Jamie Cullum “Frontin'” (Live)
Keane “Somewhere Only We Know”
Snow Patrol “Run”
Alex Parks “Maybe That’s What It Takes”
Ronan Keating “She Believes (In Me)”
Michelle McManus “All This Time”

 

Final Verdict

out of 44.

https://open.spotify.com/user/

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

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I gave a speech

Pretty much what I said above… I gave a speech at a college in West Bromwich this week. It was about politics in general and the green party. I figured I’d blog it, as i worked quite hard on it by my standards.

Here it is:

Afternoon. My name’s Ben, and I’m the coordinator of Sandwell Green Party, and I’m here today with Rob, who is the chair of the West Midlands Green Party, and so is annoyingly more important, smarter and better looking than me. My job basically means I organise what we do locally, and do all the jobs nobody else wants to do. We’ll get onto this in the Q and A, if you’re interested, but doing a lot of work for the Green Party for no money has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
I’ll be kicking off, talking about the scale of the problems we face, and some of the high level solutions to this, then Rob will take over and talk about some of the more detailed solutions we think might solve problems here.
And thank you for choosing to spend your lunchtime listening to us. I am just about young enough that I remember being at college, and I’m not sure I was quite as mature and diligent as you. Well… I’m certain I wasn’t, and I’m more than a little jealous of the better future you’ll have ahead of you for it.
Except… I’m not confident you’ll have a better future. You’re a generation who, if lucky enough to go to uni, will leave with an average £44,000 of debt. You may have to grow up never owning your own home. You’ll pay a small fortune for a sandwich – well, even more of a fortune, I’ve eaten in a Starbucks too – because intensive farming will have rendered our land unfarmable, and besides, we all voted to close our borders to anyone who might actually work on our farms anyway. And that’s before I even to get to the Greens specialist subject of climate change, and the devastation it will cause if we don’t address this LAST WEEK!
By the way, don’t worry – I’m not going to stay this gloomy for the full 40 minutes. But I kind of feel that we need to point out the huge challenges that face us. These challenges are here for a few reasons, which I would like to outline before we get to the less miserable bit. Because I’d like to say here that there are answers. There aren’t easy answers, unless you want to blame someone who doesn’t share your skin colour or religion, but there are answers, and that’s what inspires me to do what I do.
So, why are we in the mess we’re in?
The main answer I have is our system rewards short term thinking. All the problems above started, at the very least, before you were born. Some of them before I was. Some of the BEFORE EVEN YOUR TUTORS WERE BORN. Pollution started in the Industrial Revolution, in the 19th century. House prices started going stupid in the 1980’s. Free university ended in the late 1990’s – it did me over too!
Our system is such that it doesn’t pay for our MPs to think of the consequences of their policies. Our media sees a problem and wants it solved yesterday, and politicians agree to this, rarely, if ever, thinking of the long term consequences of acting too quickly.
And the causes of this go back even further. We haven’t seriously reformed our political system since the 17th century. And don’t get me wrong… it was brilliant then. But since then, pretty much every country, save for maybe North Korea has overtaken us. The House of Lords, which is completely unelected, is the second largest government chamber in the world, after Communist China.
Our antiquated first past the post system means that the Conservatives only need 35,000 votes to win a seat, Labour need 40,000, Lib Dems 300,000, and Greens over 1,000,000. And yet we have it better than UKIP, who got one seat for nearly 4m votes. Whatever your feelings about Mr Farage, that isn’t fair. Power is kept amongst a select few, making them unaccountable, and significantly more vulnerable to corruption.
To move this closer to our own doorstep – do any of you know the make up of our local council?  Of 72 seats, 71 are held by Labour. Regardless of how you feel about them, they hold 97% of the seats, despite only getting 58% of the votes . This means the views of two out of every five people who vote in Sandwell don’t count, and nobody represents them.
And the combination of these two things means that politicians play only to win. We only elect one chamber, and that only once every five years. As a result, politicians will say pretty much anything to get in at election time – it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work, because by the time it breaks, there will have been another election, and a whole new bunch of short term promises to keep or break. Most other countries – even America, the land of the Trump, have two chambers, and staggered elections so that this isn’t completely changed every five years, and there is at least some long term thinking.
Even more countries across Europe have a much fairer form of democracy, normally a form of Proportional Representation. I know I’m talking to smart people here , but I’ll very quickly explain that PR awards seats based on vote share, so that all votes, or at least most votes count. If the Angry As Hell At Adults For Not Getting That We’re Old Enough To Set Our Own Rules, Now Stop Ruining My Life Mum Party gets 30% of the vote, they’ll get 30% of the say in Government. This means more people’s views get represented. It means smaller groups don’t get ignored. And that’s brilliant.
Better still, it makes it a lot more likely that every law gets properly challenged – when you create a fake majority, they can essentially pass any law they like, irrespective of how stupid it is. This is how we end up with poorly planned policies and pointless wars. By making larger parties rely on other parties to pass laws, they iron out the sort of short term thinking that has led to so many of our problems today. It’s of little surprise, to me at least, that Germany has one of the strongest economies (and best rent prices) in Europe, and also has a proportional system.
None of this has destroyed our country. Yet. We are still one of the world’s leading democracies. But we have fallen three places in the Global Democracy rankings in recent years. We’ve taken a huge risk in leaving the EU (I’m not discussing the rights and wrongs of this here. I only have 15 minutes) and our democracy will now have to stand alone. With the problems I have listed above, we will surely sink unless we take action now. And to do this, we will need practical LONG TERM solutions.
Finally, and I almost don’t want to say this – because it feels like I’m saying what you want to hear – but we believe that you should have the vote from 16. Any decision politicians make are going to affect you more than they’re going to affect me, and a lot more than they’ll affect you’re Nan, so why shouldn’t you have a say? Simply put, you can join the army, you can have a kid, you can get a job and pay tax. Surely you should have a say in what happens when you do those things?
I suppose the main thing all of this has in common, is that our system is built so that those who have power do everything they can to hold onto that power. This is the main problem anyone who wants change faces. But this is also where the solution lies.
Because we do actually live in a democracy. And that means that people have the final say. When I joined the Green Party, a bit over two years ago, I didn’t think I could change anything. I just thought I’d pay membership once a year, and hope that paid for someone else to do some work.
Then I went to a meeting, and everyone was nice. Then someone convinced me to leaflet. Then to run for election (I lost), then to manage our local elections, to help on campaigns for renter’s rights, refugees, clean energy…
I quickly realised that if you get up and just do a little work in your spare time (I do have an actual job outside this) you can actually make real change happen. I had the good luck to meet our previous leader, Natalie Bennett, and she said what is probably the most powerful thing that sums up why I’ve found this work so rewarding. She said that there is one big lie that lets things go wrong. And that is that politics is something that’s done to you. And this isn’t true. Politics is something YOU DO.
I’d go so far as to say it’s your job as a citizen to do it. A small group of well organised people getting out there and trying to change things, can change things. Almost every good change through history from the abolition of slavery to breaking Trump’s travel ban most likely started with a few people, in a room, saying… “Wow… this looks difficult… LET’S DO IT ANYWAY. (I know that’s how the Trump one happened, the activists behind it have given interviews).
So if you take one thing from my bit today, it’s that if you see an injustice, a problem, anything that irks you… you’re probably the right person to fix it. Politics isn’t for any one group of people, and you aren’t excluded from it. And if giving up my lunch break to chat to you today gets even one of you out there deciding to change things… Well… It’ll be worth the cost of that overpriced Starbucks sarnie.
Now, I will be the first person to say that you should never trust an adult who is sure they know the answers. However, I believe we have a strong set of possible solutions to the problems facing us today, in the policies that we in the Green Party fight over every conference. So I would like to hand over to Rob now, who will talk to you about these.

Episode 26: Manchester Vs Merseyside

I mentioned when I started that I do a football podcast now, which in part is the reason I’m so poor at updating this blog. This episode covers the pointlessness of kitchen roll, 90’s legends Trev and Simon, and of course last weekend’s football. Give it a try. I have a nice voice. Like David Baddiel with a blocked nose.

Mid Table Matters

After an unplanned week off, MTM is back to discuss the best team on Merseyside’s win over troubled looking Guardiola’s Man City team and another draw between fierce rivals United and Liverpool.

An Iwobi inspired Arsenal heap more misery on the Swans and Chelsea and West Ham look better without their sulky stars.

There’s all the usual extras; the Millwall Minute, Exeter Second, Poem and quiz, and at the very end, a little treat for all those who remember Saturday morning children’s telly with fondness. So, join in and swing your pants.

Listen here:

Or download from here: https://midtablematters.podbean.com/e/episode-26-manchester-vs-merseyside/

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Lucas, Bartley and Womack: The Future of the Green Party

2 2 4 Politics

Last weekend saw the Green Party of England and Wales’ autumn conference, and the formal announcement of the Green Party’s new leadership team – Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley as joint-leaders, and Amelia Womack as Deputy Leader.

Lucas and Bartley’s victory was not a surprise, but perhaps the size of their victory was (87.7% of the vote, 81% clear of their nearest rival). This is despite some displeasure at the manner of the announcement they’d be standing (an article in the Guardian the day before formal nominations opened). Lucas had previously suggested she may continue with the decision she made in 2012 – to step aside from the leadership so that, among other benefits, more faces could make a name for themselves, and build a national reputation. Deputy Leaders Amelia Womack and Shahrar Ali among those suggested as possible candidates, as well as MEP Molly Scott-Cato.

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Mid Table Matters Podcast Episode 1

 

So. This is a podcast I have the honour of chairing. And this is our first episode. I’m quite enjoying doing it, and hope it fills the gap in the market where Radio 4 lacks a programme like this.

If anyone from Radio 4 is listening, our rates are reasonable..

Episode 1 is here! We review the first round of Euro 2016 games and look ahead to the rest of the tournament.   Listen here: Or download from here:   We’ll be back on Saturday……

Source: Mid Table Matters Podcast Episode 1

Sausage and Leek Meatball Tagliatelle

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Happy January. If, like me, you got paid early in December, and are now eagerly anticipating being paid and trying to wring value out of every last penny, then I hope this recipe helps.

It’s a Niger Slater one that does his talent for making superbly comforting food from easily available ingredients, and I’ve got two dinners out of it for about four quid.

Ingredients

A pack of sausages
Two leeks
A 250ml tub of cream
150g tagliatelle
Chilli flakes
Dill
Fresh parsley
Tarragon

Method

Slice open the sausages and put the insides in a bowl, discarding the skins. Add a couple of teaspoons of dill and chilli and squodge it all together with your hands.

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Fashion this into about 8 largish meatballs. In a large saucepan, heat a generous amount of olive oil. Brown the meatballs win this, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes, shaking occasionally to evenly cook the balls.

Transfer the balls to a bowl. Put a pan of salty water on boil and cook the pasta. Chop the leeks, and put them on a low heat in the pan you cooked the meatballs in, to cook in the juices.

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When they are soft and lovely, throw in the cream, some tarragon and chopped parsley, and season. Add the meatballs and drained tagliatelle and let it cook for a few more minutes.

Serve, eat, meditate on the fact your poverty is manageable for 10 minutes.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Now That’s What I Call Music 54

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Released-  14th April 2003

Music History

S Club 7 split up. Phil Spector doesn’t do gun safety. And Apple launch the iTunes store, the first irritating addition to the hideous bloatware that is iTunes.

Me History

I’m 19. I am generally drunk. Pound a pint night on Mondays and indie disco at the art school on Fridays. Looking over this Now album is giving me weird alcoholic flashbacks to snippets of nights out, like Proust, but with the madeleine biscuit replaced by the stink of ciggies, and with sticky beer on my Stan Smiths.

If I had to save one track from this album, which this time around feels like asking me which of my children I’d want to survive, that track would be…  nearly impossible to pick. Had Nelly, Junior Senior, Punjabi MC, Girls Aloud or Cam’Ron appeared on any other volume with these songs, they’d have won no doubt. But Like I Love You is probably one of the main reasons I stopped being an indie snob. It’s pop perfection.

Track by Track Breakdown

t.A.T.u.All the Things She Said

The passing of time has rendered the whole schoolgirl lesbianism marketing angle a little odious. But the song is still a great dark pop number. Great start.

Justin TimberlakeLike I Love You

The comeback single Michael Jackson should have gone with. Syncopated, sleek and sexy. And possibly the best pop single this side of 2000, even 13 years on. Also, got to love the guest spot for Clipse.

Nelly featuring Kelly RowlandDilemma

Love it! This should close every nightclub ever, in the style of a school disco. Let the uncomfortable slow dancing begin!

Richard X vs Liberty X Being Nobody

Mash up culture meets pop, with this lovely hybrid of Ain’t Nobody and Being Boiled. Clever move Richard X. Clever Move.

Room 5 ft. Oliver Cheatham Make Luv

I’m easily pleased. It sounds disco. I’m on it.

Junior SeniorMove Your Feet

If you put summer, joy and Mentoes in a bottle and shook it up, this is the noise it would make as it explodes. Pure, unalloyed fun.

Girls AloudSound Of The Underground

One of those pop debuts that pretty much decides that this act is going to be round for years. In terms of the time, it sounds like a collaboration between Atomic Kitten, Richard X and Fatboy Slim. Don’t you wish that happened?

BustedYear 3000

It’s stupid. And assumes that we’ll have a lifespan of about 250 years in the very near future. And they’re pretty sniffy about boy bands for a boy band. But I’ll allow it.

Melanie C Here It Comes Again

I sometimes feel a bit sorry for Mel C and Mark Owen. They both wanted to be the ‘serious AOR’ one after their groups split, but both never really managed it. Bless ’em.

Sinéad QuinnI Can’t Break Down

Tries too hard to give it attitude. A pretty wide miss.

DariusRushes

Darius remains my favourite reality TV singer of all time. Not that this song is any great shakes.

AppletonDon’t Worry

Half of All Saints. Less than half as good. Amusingly they both married famous Liams. Gallagher of Oasis and Howlett of The Prodigy.

Atomic KittenLove Doesn’t Have to Hurt

It could be about anal sex or domestic abuse, and either would be more enjoyable than this.

BlueU Make Me Wanna

Blue go back to being crap. They keep promising more then letting you down…

Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé Knowles03 Bonnie & Clyde

They’d make a nice couple wouldn’t they? Who’d have thought they’d both be royalty today? It’s a great song, but a great song that they have both far exceeded since.

Jaimeson featuring Angel BluTrue

Garage says goodbye with a whimper.

Zoe BirkettTreat Me Like a Lady

Basic. Disco pop. Instantly forgettable.

S ClubAlive

Sorry guys it’s over. Stop. Give up.

One True VoiceSacred Trust

These were the winners of Popstars:The Rivals over Girls Aloud. Which says all you need to know about Simon Cowell shows.

Kym MarshCry

I’m disgusted with myself for liking it. It’s trite and so 2003 it hurts. But like it I do.

Ainslie Henderson Keep Me a Secret

Nice. Bland. One of those things that has been pitched to appeal to everybody but is loved by nobody.

Daniel BedingfieldIf You’re Not the One

Aww. He’s a right sweetie. Musically meh, but I want to give him a big hug…

David SneddonStop Living the Lie

He wrote it himself. Which should be celebrated. But… He very clearly wrote it himself. And lost the post it note saying ‘Put chorus in later’.

Robbie WilliamsFeel

Trying to sound more clever and meaningful than it is. Catchy chorus though.

OasisSongbird

Let Liam write one. Four words that spell the end of Oasis. Almost as bad as Mick Jagger telling you Keef’s going to do a couple now.

Turin BrakesPain Killer

Affable niceness on acoustic guitars. I was far too ‘edgy’ (read ‘pretentious’) to enjoy it at the time. Like it now!

ColdplayClocks

So ubiquitous that I know it’s the hold music for at least two utility companies. Does nothing for me.

Lulu & Ronan KeatingWe’ve Got Tonight

I fucking hate Lulu. That is all.

SugababesStronger

Moody break up ballad. Good on its own, but following Round Round and Freak Like Me it was always going to sound a bit weak.

Beenie ManStreet Life

They keep putting nice Beenie Man songs on here. When all anyone wanted at the time is Who Am I? Who got the keys to my bimma?

Cam’Ron featuring Juelz Santana, Freekey Zeekey and ToyaHey Ma

If you’re making a summer mixtape, and this isn’t on it, it’s not a summer mixtape.

Nelly featuring Justin TimberlakeWork It

Both artists getting a second song on here. And there is no drop in quality. It’s a fantastic sleaze fest of a tune.

Panjabi MC Mundian To Bach Ke

Absolutely immense. The best song to sample the Knightrider theme. Including Busta Rhymes. So that is high praise.

ScooterWeekend!

Hmm. I’m getting the suspicion that all Scooter’s songs sound the same. Right down to the fake crowd noise.

DJ Sammy The Boys of Summer

Christ on a ten gear, was the original not horrible enough?

Divine Inspiration The Way (Put Your Hand in My Hand)

If I spent the same amount of time writing this sentence as they spent on this song I wouldn’t have finished it.

Queen + DJ VanguardFlash

Nowhere near as bad as the forthcoming desecration of Freddie Mercury’s grave that’s to come. But frankly, if it doesn’t have Brian Blessed shouting ‘GORDON’S ALIVE!’ it’s not good enough.

ErasureSolsbury Hill

Erasure put their stamp all over the Peter Gabriel classic. It’s Erasure. Of course it sounds bloody great!

The Mock TurtlesCan You Dig It? (Fatboy Slim & Simon Thornton 2003 Remix) (As featured in the Vodafone ad)

Too reverent to the original. Probably the first weak Fatboy Slim remix. More like a remaster. The song’s still a relative classic.

Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton Big Yellow Taxi

Jon Mitchell is a genius, and an easy equal to Bob Dylan. Counting Crows are only liked by the sort of white guy who grows dreadlocks. How do you think this was going to end?

Richard AshcroftScience of Silence

While I can’t put my finger on it, there’s something missing from Richard Ashcroft’s solo singles that the Verve had. All the same parts are there, but it doesn’t stir you.

Massive AttackSpecial Cases

One of those lovely, bleak, sinister Massive Attack songs. Like a wasteland on a winters day. In the best way.

Final Verdict

21 out of 42. Fiddy percent. But when it’s good, it’s some of the best pop ever. So much so it’s making me doubt my methods.

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Happy Burns’ Night

I love that the Scots think we English hate them, when every year we allow them to sell us catfood in fancy packaging, and wolf it down in honour of a poet who didn’t even speak very good English and pretend we don’t know they’re playing us!

Just playing, love the stuff! May yer lum be reekin etc.

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PS- Sorry I’ve been hibernating. Normal service will resume shortly.

Now That’s What I Call Christmas

Okay… its a repost from last year. But it’s Christmas. And this album doesn’t change much each year. From a quick glance, I think there’s one song I haven’t covered in this article.

Sooo. In the spirit of completeness;

Idina MenzelDo You Want to Build a Snowman

A worthy addition to the Christmas song canon. But Let it Go is clearly better.

Antipathti

NOW-XMAS-2013-1020x1024

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here. This, however, is a break from the norm to review an annual offshoot of the series, compiling (in theory) the best Christmas songs of all time onto three fun packed discs.

Released- 3rd November 2014 (Though, let’s face it, there’s one every year)

Music History

2000 years ago, in a manger, Jesus was born. 1950 odd years later, pop music was born. The two work well together.

Me Holiday History

Originally a Roman festival called Saturnalia, and appropriated by Christianity under the Emperor Constantine as the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. In fairness, Jesus is pretty cool about the whole thing, and doesn’t want presents himself, and is just like, ‘Guys…

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