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Author Archives: AnneMarie

About AnneMarie

Just a corner of the wonderous web for me to post my mental meandering through the weird, unusual, funny, sad of my every day life. Please visit my web site for a more indepth biography of this nobody

The Cecil Hotel, LA

Recently I binged the Netflix documentary series Crime Scene The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel, it was an interesting watch, if you’re into real life oddness.

It centres around the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, a 700-room hotel opened in the mid-1920’s just before the Great Depression, along with several grand hotels in the area it enjoyed a period of opulent prosperity and was aimed at the middle class traveller and business men. After World War II the area, also known as Skid Row, fell further into transience as fortunes changed, the stark increase in sex workers, drug dealing and users, along with those unable to afford rents and the increasing protocol to herd the homeless into a manageable area of the ever expanding City, increased criminal activity.

Curiously ever since the Hotel first opened it has been linked to suicides, mysteries and murders. The first documented suicide was January 22, 1927, when Percy Ormond Cook shot himself in the head while inside his hotel room after failing to reconcile with his wife and child. In 1967 “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood long-term resident, a retired telemarketer was found dead in her room, she had been raped, stabbed, beaten and her room ransacked. Her murder remains unsolved. The Press often linked the hotel to numerous serial killers. Frequently residents had died from drug overdoses or long term substance and/or alcohol abuse. There is even a Wikipedia page detailing some of them.

The documentary beds itself around the disappearance in February 2013 of young Canadian student Elisa Lam. She was an avid blogger and frequently documented her travels, fashion, life thoughts online garnering many regular followers. When away from home she called home everyday, after her parents hadn’t heard from her they called the LAPD and news started circulating about a missing person. As the Police struggled to piece together Elisa’s movements they released the elevator CCTV footage, it went viral and set in motion an interesting series of events.

An army of ‘web-sleuths’ scrutinised in meticulous details, frame by frame, the cctv sparking the beginnings of numerous conspiracy theories, many still perpetuate. Things like, why’s the time stamp jumping, the door isn’t closing, whose that shadow. Suddenly people across the globe were gathering in FaceBook groups to discuss minute anomalies, some visiting the hotel to re-enact and trace where she had been. What I found very telling as the documentary continued was how this congregation of unqualified amateurs ardently believed they could succeed where the professionals could not and that they believed every morsel of conjecture and hypothesis from a straightforward mugging gone wrong to the CIA using vanishing vaporise lasers. But there was more to come.

SPOILER ALERT :: if you don’t want to know the outcome I’d suggest ceasing here …. thank you for reading ….

……

….. Okay dear reader, I hope you’re not eating or drinking while you read on.

…….

About two to three weeks after Elisa’s vanishing a few hotel guests and residents started to complain that the water had an odd odour and taste and the water then started to change colour to a sludgy brown. A maintenance worker was sent to inspect the four roof top water tanks. Sadly one of them contained the floating bloating remains of a young girl, later identified as the missing traveller.

Now the merry band of web sleuths really had something to get overly involved with. From behind their screens and keyboards they pieced together bits of facts with leaps of notions, ignored some elements and fantasised others, to quite catastrophic levels.

Attention turned to how did Elisa get onto the roof. The access door was locked and alarmed, this meant that the hotel management had to be involved, a member of night staff had to have killed her. The design of the building meant that there was a metal fire escape on the outside, a series of stairs and platforms covering all fifteen floors, including the roof, accessed from a hallway window that was not alarmed, locked or monitored in anyway. Debris on the roof showed that it was frequently used by people to smoke, drink, take drugs, have parties etc.

The nature of her discovery caused a media frenzy as a police chief was leaving the hotel trying to get through the jostling crowd of reporters he was asked a question which he hastily replied “When Officers approached the water tank the hatch was closed”. The web brigade pounced on this to mean that she must have been dumped because no-one could close the hatch from the inside, so it must be murder. The officer was correct in his statement, because when the maintenance worker noticed the hatch was open and that’s when he discovered the grizzly contents and had closed the hatch from habit as he called for help.

Searches across the internet brought up ‘evidence’ of a Mexican death metal singer called Morbid, due to his chilling lyrics, which included a reference to a girl drowning and his dark videos addressing death (one was filmed at The Cecil), along with having stayed there, meant he must have lured her to the rooftop and killed her. He was hounded, trolled, and harassed over a period of months, received death threats and villanised as a murderer by the Court of Online Public Opinion. It caused him to suffer a breakdown and such depression that he attempted suicide. The ‘evidence’ grasped by the onliners was years old and at the time of Elisa vanishing Morbid was in Mexico but even still today eight years later he still get mail labelling him a murderer.

One aspect of Elisa’s life was, to some degree, suppressed until late on in the investigations and not readily available, she had been diagnosed as bi-polar and had a history of intentionally not taking the prescribed medication, which had caused her to experience strong psychotic episodes, along with hallucinations in the past. Armed with this knowledge, along with the Coroner’s report showing toxicology levels and there being no evidence of any assault or violence on her body, it was concluded that her death was accidental.

At the end, I felt sad that this young life had ended, that so many innocent people had been branded and abused because of tenuous links but mostly I was concerned, almost worried, about the mob mentality and power of online collectiveness. This ferocious hungry entity eagerly hurrying for instant information, affirmation and inconsequential action feels a little bit like Pandora’s box.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2021 in Films, In The News, people, Review

 

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Shouting At Burglars

During the course of conversation I recalled an anecdote which had my carer laughing. Hopefully it will bring a chuckle to your chops too.

When I was about thirteen or fourteen there was an incident. When I lived with my parents we were in a very rural village, lots of woodland and open marshland. In the early hours of a morning my Dad was woken by a sound, thud-thud-thud, reasonably rhythmic in nature. He asked my mum who sleepily thought it was the pile drivers across the marshes, but not that early in the day, unsettled he got up to investigate. I had a pet rabbit Rv who as soon as he heard people movement would thump his back legs against the back of his hutch wanting out into the enclosed courtyard. Rv’s hutch was against the wall of the garage, beside the window of the workshop area and opposite the kitchen window and door, Dad thought it was Rv getting his Thumper action on. So he unlocked the kitchen door and shouted across the courtyard to Rv “Shut up, you noisy bugger!” As he crossed the hallway he noticed that the garage side door was ajar, which was extremely unusual, it was then a penny dropped. Dad went back upstairs to get dressed and when he went to the garage there every yard or so was a hessian sack each with the contents of our big chest freezer, the rhythmic thud being the closing of the heavy freezer lid (it didn’t stay up). As shocking and upsetting as the event was at the time, we couldn’t help but wonder what said burglar thought was going on when he heard a deep voice declaring “Shut up, you noisy bugger!”.

Fast forward about seven years, I was home alone, Mum and Dad were away visiting old friends. At the same time the flat roof of the garage was being replaced. By the end of day one the roof had been stripped back to its rafters and the new boards just laid on top. As I was about to get ready for bed I opened the front door to call the cat in “Kevin! Kee-viiin, move your backside“, as I stopped to see if the ginger and white blob was approaching I heard distinct foot steps on wood echo through the garage. Yikes!! I locked myself in and immediately rang the police. The culprit was caught trying to break in elsewhere. Yet again I can only imagine the shock the fellow must have felt as all of a sudden someone is bellowing a name, telling him to move his backside.

Hee hee…

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2021 in Life, people, Pets

 

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Now listen here 2021!

How has it been for you so far?? Really! Well I say…..

Me? Well let’s see, it’s frigging freezing and I’ve that niggling nasal drip making the throat feel suspect, is it a head cold wanting to brew or just changing temperatures doing their thing or something far more suspicious. After a zoomy chat with a hospital consultant, letters are being sent as no one from my GP Surgery has contacted me about the requested pneumonia vaccination and to remind them I’m highly vulnerable and need a home visit for any jabs. Grocery delivery slots are getting snapped as quick as they are released, good job I’m still eligible for the eight hour priority slots. Several of the carers with the agency I use and likely ones I see have tested positive for CoVid and today my front door has decided no one shall pass.

It decided to be sticky of a morning and we put it down to the colder than a witches tit night temperatures, as it wasn’t a problem during the rest of the day. This morning my beefy stout carer semi hurled herself at it so I messaged my awesome superhero Neph thinking it might just need some WD40 and a stern talking to. Neph rocks up in a shortsleeved tee shirt (I’m sure he’s part polar bear) and when I suggested he lock the door and feel how it’s sticking, did so and it stucked stuck.

Not very does often he get a perplexed expression on his face but as he fedangled the lock, huffed the handle mechanism, brute yanked the door, perplexion indeed crossed his face. “hmm, I don’t think it’s the mushroom, more like the bolt not lifting in the spag at the middle”. Well I think that’s what he said, it all sounded a bit wigwam for a ducks bridle to me.

Now I’m not saying that Facebook can predict the future but across the past few weeks there was been an ad appearing for “Panes In The Glass” a local small business advertising window repairs, hinge greasing, lock maintenance etc, I read their reviews and recognised the van so they’ve been to my area before. It’s getting late on a Saturday afternoon so thought, mentally prepare to leave a message which I did and within two minutes he called back and after spouting forth about spags and mushrooms he thought “it might be the gearbox” (don’t you just love the variety of technical language). After a discussion about what is likely involved and how things will go, weather permitting and if Murphy can keep his law to himself, on Monday a very nice man is going to try and fix it.

Now let’s hope the carers due across the next couple of days get the message to use the back door. 🀞

We haven’t even reached double digit January yet and already 2021 is being a 🀬. Although I did managed to get a surprise treat to BFF, some strictly not birthday flowers some just because flowers (it’s her birthday in a couple of days and she told me to only send a card). And a special kitty cat in Switzerland sent me some new year wishes 😸.

Sure hope I get a fantastic prize after passing all these tests.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in Life, people

 

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Same Old New

As much as there is nothing about this year that many of us would want to hang on to, again I feel a tug as I do every New Year’s Eve. There are those who talk of new beginnings, fresh motivation and forward ideas but for me it feels like the things I enjoyed, that I used to do, the people I was connected to, are further in the past. Somehow that seems sad.

Once upon a few decades ago we would all gather at my parents house, have a meal, probably another box of crackers, maybe play a board game (well Big Sis and I would with audience participation) and then an evening of tv, chatter, and a feeling of everyone waiting for the clock to chime so we could all go to bed. Most likely because we were tired of all the preceding festivities.

When things changed after mum died, New Year’s Eve was likely the one night I’d be in bed early with a book and only knew the time by the ships horns and cacophony of fireworks.

There were of course a couple of exceptions, midnight 1st January 2000 I was drinking champagne and dancing on the deck of a tall ship, watching fireworks, being deafened by horns, kissing strangers, moored in Tenerife between cruise ships showing them how mighty we were (some of their passengers didn’t look like they were having a ball) – sailory types know how to par-ty πŸ˜‰.

There was the year a gang of us on a message board saw the various New Years in as the time crossed the globe. Apart from the in joke of “F5 Renee!” once midnight had passed in the U.K., I could say to my American pals “You guys are sooo last year”, well it tickled me.

As I sit here in my hovel, musing and pondering, I do wonder

  • Where will I be this time next year?
  • How will I be this time next year?
  • Who will no longer be with us?

Still, wherever you are, I honestly hope we are heading toward better things and I wish you all well πŸ₯‚

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2020 in General, Life

 

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As ancient as…

You that feeling when……. you are watching a black & white movie (Carry On Regardless, 1961) and your carer arrives asks what you’re watching and questions “So when did colour tv start?”

I explained that there were colour films shown in cinemas before there was colour tv because colour over black & white was hideously expensive to make. I thought that colour tv was introduced around the late 1960’s (turns out it was a Wimbledon final 1967 on BBC2) before becoming mainstream in early 1970’s.

This branched on to the fact there were (and still are) tv licenses for either a colour tv or a black & white one, this notion seemed quite startling, along with that many homes did not have a colour TV set until the mid/end of the 1970’s.

When I went on to remark that I remember as a child being told to change the channel because there were no remotes, and there were only three channels broadcasting at set times of the day (kids tv about 3pm til shutdown 11pm), and that at close down the BBC would play the National Anthem – well my carer’s jaw dropped to the floor.

When I said channel 4 didn’t start until 1982 and Sky started 1989 she remarked that she found it hard to believe these things happened not that long before she was born (1998).

Talk about feeling ancient!!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2020 in General, Life

 

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Small Change, Profound Difference

It is not often I extoll the virtues of technology and it’s even more rare for such to bring a tear to the eye. Let me explain.

Across the decades I have amassed a significant music collection on my Mac, a mixture of uploaded cd’s, downloaded purchases from Amazon/iTunes and independent offerings. If I was to press play and let it run on unabashed it would take a month to get through. When I was spending every morning at my desk I could merrily listen to my tunes, mixing Mozart with Madness, a touch of Mancini mingled with Marmalade, Zakk moshing with ZZ Top, as I whittled some html coding, wrangled a bit of number crunching, wrestled with photo editing and such like. It was entertaining and uplifting, seeing as my brain seems to be mostly filled with lyrics and set to Kareoke mode.

With the loss of my mobility I became separated from this mentally motivating activity and I have so missed it, time spent at my desk has become seriously dwindled. I had considered streaming services but felt resentful at having to pay money to hear music I have already spent monies upon.

I had procrastinated about searching for an answer, I had dawdled over posting on the MacForum for a suggestion. I had hoped Siri could help but my Mac is too old. I started seeing adverts for the new HomePod mini and the sown seed slowly germinated, maybe one of these could access and play my music. It spurred me on to ask on the forum if this could work with my particular kit, I hit publish and waited for a potentially helpful reply.

To my delight and surprise a helpful bod answered my post and introduced me to the app “iTunes Remote” as a potential solution. Google and I spent an evening reading and researching, could this be the answer? Could it really be that straightforward? Well, dear reader, in short, yes!

So yesterday after carer had positioned me at my desk I set to. Slightly pessimistic because things that class themselves as quick or easy rarely are. I followed the instructions with a tingle of anticipatory expectation.

  • App Store, download free app iTunes Remote to iPad
  • Open app, select manual set up (4-digit code appears)
  • Open music app on Mac
  • From Devices list select iPad
  • Enter iPads 4-digit code
  • Done, sorted, connected.

It really was that easy!!!

Okay so far so good…..but…….. now to test the theory. From the iPad app I selected a track and hit play and music sprung forth from my Mac βœ… …… I adjusted the volume, skipped forward and backward. Alright…..but…… I put my Mac to sleep, counted to twenty, opened the app and selected a track and again the swinging piano vibes exuded from my dozing Mac βœ…βœ…. Right then, the big test, shut down and restart both the Mac and the iPad, open app and select a tune, without hesitation the dulcet tones of the lyrical warbler wafted across the room βœ…βœ…βœ…. Another test, this morning I opened the app and selected a play list annddd it’s playing βœ…βœ…βœ…βœ….

I am reconnected to my music, my smile could not be wider, I’m busting my (sat down) moves, twerking so much I’m gonna give my buttocks whiplash, I have gone from famine to feast ….. so much choice, it’s almost overwhelming. Brain is fizzing as it sings along to tracks it hasn’t heard for years.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Music, Review, Tech

 

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What cost entertainment

There’s been rumblings again over the cost of the TV License fee, whenever that particular debate rears its noggin I have the same thought. How many of the dissenters could list the areas the BBC covers? This is followed by a second question, how much to the same dissenters pay for other entertainment streams?

Currently the TV Licence fee is Β£157.50 per annum, which is about Β£13.13 per month, for thousands of hours of international, national, local news and radio stations, there is sports and nature coverage, funding into natural history and films, commissioning of documentaries, comedy, drama, quiz shows, music shows, buying-in of internationally renowned programmes, some niche series. All the online content on the website, I-player and BBC Sounds. And a heck of a lot more that I’ve forgotten or not found yet.

Back in the dark ages (I think that’s the 1970’s nowadays) we had three channels and none were broadcasting 24/7 (I know, utter deprivation), yet there always seemed to be something worthy of watching. The 1980’s brought a couple more channels and while one was thought to be a tad ‘alternative’ slightly ‘avant- guard’ this expansion still didn’t diminish viewing choice. There have been many changes since then……

So what’s available to us now to broaden our viewing options.

  • Sky
  • Virgin
  • BT Vision
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Apple tv
  • Now tv
  • Brit Box (how to get people to pay again to watch repeats, classic)

These additional services are not as far reaching, or offer the same degree of entertainment, yet in comparison seem to cost more than the BBC. I guess what the dear old Beeb needs to do, as discussed in W1A, is to “find out what we do best and do less of it, better“!

All the same …. as I scroll up and down the Freeview TV guide and cannot find a thing to watch (that’s a fib, I’m watching Apollo 13, again), I wonder if all this availability has done anything to improve our entertainment access.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2020 in In The News, Life, Review

 

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My Bubble Done Burst

My bubble just burst and BFF has left to return home. You see she had planned to come visit as soon as she got home from her June/July visit and again as her travel date approached there were changes with Covid rules that threw everything in the air. Anyway, it was decided that her visit would indeed be classed as ‘essential’ because she’d be my primary sole care provider, leaving the hovel only to get food. So our plans went ahead ……. a few minutes ago her taxi turned the corner and she’s setting back for home.

We always have fun, eat foods we don’t usually eat, watch films and documentaries, play games, talk, laugh, cry, discuss, entertain and be entertained my Signor NotMyCat, go to bed late, lay in even later. A few chores get done and of course online shopping for those thought-about-semi-essential items. I became designated yarn unwinder as she crocheted a ripple blanket, this time breaking her speed record (I’m claiming credit for it). But all too soon it comes to a close, and I am eternally grateful to BFF’s hubby for letting her come for the extended pj-party.

Our viewing list is quite extensive when seen altogether.

  • The Queen’s Gambit
  • The Crown (series 4)
  • Making A Murderer (both seasons)
  • Joe Exotic The Tiger King
  • Secret Love (Netflix documentary)
  • Stepmom
  • Johnny English
  • Johnny English Returns
  • Johnny English Strikes Back
  • Mr Holland’s Opus
  • Extremely Loud Incredibly Close
  • Forrest Gump
  • Sweethome Alabama
  • Atonement
  • My Big Fat Greek wedding
  • Bridge of Spies
  • October Skies
  • Little Man Tate
  • Most Hated Woman in America
  • Twenty Feet From Stardom
  • As Good As It Gets
  • Ruth & Alex

I cannot begin to fathom the intelligence of Joe Exotic and the Making A Murderer documentaries, it certainly made for conversation and the Making A Murderer became compelling viewing as we waited for the next twist and turn to the fates of the family members. If you’ve got twenty hours spare I’d recommend it, it will boggle and bewilder beyond sanity.

Soooo, yeah, back to my usual with a bump…..

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2020 in Films, Life, people, Projects

 

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LockedDownIshKinda

Well here we are, the beginning of another month, not completely sure which one, possibly Octonovdecber. Anywho as we stock pile our loo roll and pasta, try and figure out whether to drink mouthwash or infuse disinfectant, let’s recap on the to-do list.

  • Print off business transaction reports – βœ…
  • Back-up Mac – βœ…
  • Upgrade OpSys software – general update successful βœ…
  • Complete Blue Badge renewal – not done ❌
  • Purchase tv signal booster + cable – no problems but still might ❌.
  • Update website news – βœ…
  • Finish two cat blankets – βœ…
  • Make one mouse toy – I made two βœ…
  • Make one fish toy – I made two or three βœ…

I think I might award myself a πŸ₯ˆ silver medal, I done quite good, all things and apathy taken into account.

One of my too-early-in-the-am cogitations wondered whether I could set up Siri to voice control and thus have access to the hours and hours of accumulated music that’s on my Mac or use Spotify for even more. Using voice control would mean I could shout across the room and not need to be at the desk – wild idea, right? I researched the various technicals, saved a couple of how to pages, noted possible playlists and felt prepared so that after comp was update I could with a flick, swipe and click clear my throat and produce music ….. but I forgot rule #1, anything using words like easy, simply, isn’t. Sadly as my machine (not the upgraded software) predates 2018 voice activated Siri is not possible. Dang, darn and poop.

Back to 1️⃣ (see what I did there, lol). Many moons ago Mac had something called FrontRow, which enabled users to access movies and music on the Mac via a small remote, maybe there is a way to do this using the iPad. More searching, researching and reading to do. I miss music, it is an important feature that I need to reconnect with, for my mental well-being.

I really should factor in one afternoon a week to be at the desk between visits, I enjoy being there, sorting things, creating things, doing those tasks that need the compy. It is all too easy for the apathy to go the easy route and put it off another day or week or more.

Soo, for this coming month, I’m going to dedicate it to communication. Writing emails/messages to people I maybe haven’t been as diligent with keeping in contact with. There isn’t much of note to state, I’m fine, carers are fine, getting grocery delivery slots booked and that’s it. But it’s good to reach out.

Speaking of which there’s an email I need to write to confirm that after eight weeks of chasing I’ve finally had my blood drawn for the tests the Neuro Rehab Consultant wanted.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2020 in Life, Projects

 

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Tim Minchin

It’s not very often that my ear worm chooses a whole artist but recently while lazing in bed or pootling on the iPad I suddenly get the urge to sing “……fuck I love boobs though…..”, maybe it’s just as well I am not out and about in public!

Tim Minchin describes himself as a musician, but this underplays his artistry, his creative skills and his often dark humour. How he analyses the things that make you think, how he dissects and interprets thoughts, ideas, philosophies and puts them into a song that hooks you in linguistically, musically, emotionally and mentally. But what is it about his creations that seem to appeal to me.

Maybe it is his acrobatic linguistics and agility, in songs like Prejudice or his piano whimsy of Rock & Roll Nerd, maybe it is the poignancy of I’ll Take Lonely Tonight or the deep thought of Not Perfect, perhaps it’s the pure risquΓ© amusement of Inflatable You or the musicians amusement of F Sharp, he performs a couple of beat poems which take you on a journey so adroitly, especially Storm. It could be the absurdity that he sees meets with me.

Now I should add a warning here, he uses language some don’t care for and he has opinions that some would not agree with, especially on the controversial topics like religion, creationism. It is not a mocking attitude, more of an “I’ve read and listened but still don’t understand how people wholeheartedly believe ‘this'”.

I enjoy watching his live performances as his expressions and timings add another layer of language, there are few piano players that almost mesmerise me, Jools Holland is another, Tim seems to throw his hands (and sometimes feet) at the keys and they always hit the right notes, the right way at the right time, he cannot sit still as he plays (unless it’s a serious song). He tends to perform barefoot, a throwback to early experimental days where going barefoot helped him feel confident and quelled the stage nerves.

It took me a while to decide which song to link here, I make no apology if you find yourself merrily, absentmindedly singing “…..fuck I like boobs though….”

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2020 in Music, people, Review

 

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