ANATOMY | Poems | Poetry

NaPoWriMo 2017

By on 28 March, 2017

I’ve been terrible at writing this year. Great at reading it out loud and also about shouting and chanting a bit (yoyoyoyoyoyo check out my band ANATOMY), but creating new stuff? Not really.

This is why, and also because I love a challenge, I’m doing NaPoWriMo this April. It’s like NaNoWriMo, but instead of writing a novel, you write a poem each day.

I’m following the pitches and ideas from The Poetry School. If you join their free group online, they can send you information every day.

Also, if you have a website, add it to the official list so you can show your commitment. Scary. But fun. But scary. But fun.

Particularly because it’s my birthday on the 2nd of April, I’ll be belting all over the East Midlands during the first half of the month, and maybe reading stuff during the second half. Fun.

Save me, Barry!

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ANATOMY | Film | Films | Leicester | Music | Music | Painting | Poetry | Portfolio

House of Her – An International Women’s Day videocast

By on 8 March, 2017

Hello, cuties. I’ve been doing so much stuff these months I seem to have neglected this blog. Gonna break the silence and share this luffleh press release by the luffleh House of Verse. Luffleh.

“House of Her”

Leicester’s female performers and artists come together in new video for International Women’s Day

Over 15 female artists, performers, writers and musicians have come together to create a compilation of performance pieces to celebrate International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017.

Produced by House of Verse curator Jenny Hibberd, the video offers a kaleidoscope view of the issues and thoughts of Leicester’s female artists, and what International Women’s Day means to them.

“After a conversation with fellow poet Asher X, we realised that only one fifth of the House of Verse performance collective are female and we wanted to think of something we could do together to big up the ladies. Realising it was soon to be International Women’s Day was mega inspiration to create this multi-woman video.”

– Jenny “Hibword” Hibberd

Artists contributed one-minute pieces, offering uplifting, empowering or challenging messages in response to International Women’s Day. With everything from performance poetry to hula-hooping, the video shows a variety of perspectives and represents the many talented female artists making work in Leicester today.

“Wo! Man. You glow, man. Kind of everywhere. You know? You brimming, flowing, human beam. You light-packed fateful gleam. You dream.”

– Hibword

Released on 8 March, the video will be shared on House of Verse’s website, social media and Youtube accounts.

Many of the artists featured in the video will also be performing at Moonshine Word Jam, an International Women’s Day special at The Exchange Bar on 9 March. See the Facebook event here.

House of Her: Celebrating International Women's Day 2017

Happy International Women's Day you divine beings <3Enjoy this kaleidoscopic compilation of female artists, performers, writers and musicians to celebrate ^_^Produced by Jenny "Hibword" Hibberd.Contributing artists in order:00:05 Rhiannon Jayne Townsend01:05 Lulu Rose May02:30 Danni Spooner03:30 Asher X (Ash Er)04:41 Mellow Baku06:06 Amber Woods07:23 Rosa Fernandez08:23 Anatomy (Cynthia Rodríguez, Emily Rose Teece, Adrienne Jones, Leonie DuBarry-Gurr)09:24 Natalie Beech10:27 Punky Hoops (Rae Lloyd)11:27 Hib Word (Jenny Hibberd)13:18 Emily MerchantMusic credits: Erykah Badu – AppletreeTove Lo – Habits (Stay High) – Hippie Sabotage RemixOdesza – White Lies (Instrumental)Links:www.houseofverse.co.ukwww.facebook.com/thehouseofversewww.instagram.com/house_of_versewww.twitter.com/thehouseofverse

Posted by House of Verse on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Produced by Jenny “Hibword” Hibberd.
Contributing artists in order:
00:05 Rhiannon Jayne Townsend
01:05 Lulu Rose May
02:30 Danni Spooner
03:30 Asher X
04:41 Mellow Baku
06:06 Amber Woods
07:23 Rosa Fernandez
08:23 ANATOMY (Cynthia Rodríguez, Emily Rose Teece, Adrienne Jones, Leonie DuBarry-Gurr)
09:24 Natalie Beech
10:27 Punky Hoops (Rae Lloyd)
11:27 Hib Word (Jenny Hibberd)
13:18 Emily Merchant

Music credits:
Erykah Badu – Appletree
Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High) – Hippie Sabotage Remix
Odesza – White Lies (Instrumental)

Links:
www.houseofverse.co.uk
www.facebook.com/thehouseofverse
www.instagram.com/house_of_verse
www.twitter.com/thehouseofverse

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Culture | Gender | Lifestyle | Nottingham | Poetry | Race | Sexuality | Spoken Word

Cutiepocking Notts Pride 2016

By on 26 July, 2016

nottspride

After Coventry Pride, and after all the gross stuff going on with the world, I felt it was my responsibility to get more involved with Pride and speak out as a member of the community. So, going the extra mile, I’ll be performing not once but TWICE at Notts Pride this year.

queerzinedeanatta

First, at the Mouthy Poets Queer Zine launch. The zine was conceived by Dean Atta at his Queer Poetry Masterclass, as a way to show the resulting exercises and similar material. It was a very fruitful experience, and I can’t wait to hold it in my hands. It features work by Atta, Alex Bond, Denise Dee, Petra Mijic, Neal Pike, Barbara Schaefer, Beccy Shore, Milla Tebbs, Joni Wildman and yours truly. The launch and readings will be at Lee Rosy’s Tea on Broad Street, 2:30pm. But please, be there from 1:30pm to enjoy the full Poetry Corner and see regular performers from Write Minds Wiff Waff.

qtipocalypse

Later, the end (or the beginning?) will be near at the QTIPOCALYPSE, an open mic for Queer Trans and Intersex-Identified People of Colour (or like you can pronounce the acronym, Cutiepock). It’s organised by QTIPOC Notts, a group that was just set up last November and aims to give space to people of colour with diverse genders and sexualities who may not feel comfortable in the average mainstream LGBT community. Allies are welcome to watch and listen. Hosted by the grand Dr Angela Martinez Dy, better known as El Día. It will be upstairs at Rough Trade Nottingham, also on Broad Street, 7pm.

So yeah, come to one. Or the other. Or both. I recommend both. Also, everything else at Notts Pride. Marching, listening to music, making music, looking at pretty things, getting pretty things, celebrating our identities and fighting for recognition with words and glitter.

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Film | Films | Internet | Media | Mental Health | Poems | Poetry | Spoken Word | World

The Tube of You

By on 22 July, 2016
All these tubes are yours. Image: MorgueFile.
All these tubes are yours. Image: MorgueFile.

Dunno if I’ve mentioned it already, but when my therapist found out I was trying to do “poetry stuff”, she told me to film myself and upload the videos on YouTube. It sounded terrifying. I mean, I’m going to therapy and stuff. Why would I want to be so “exposed” to mockery and disdain? That’s why I uploaded most of my film work and footage to Vimeo instead. No chance of sick comments, very niche, from filmmakers to filmmakers. Plus, none of that soul-selling copyright nonsense. I didn’t know YouTube let you register your films under Creative Commons!

Image: MorgueFile
Image: MorgueFile.

Then, Pangaea World Poetry Slam came. Submit your videos, people can vote, you may win money, and will definitely get to be known internationally. However, you have to upload them on YouTube. Nowhere else. Get naked. Also, there are some cool free workshops on Hangouts that will help you to improve your game.

Thank you, Pangaea, for making the impossible, possible.
Thank you, Pangaea, for making the impossible, possible.

So I followed my therapist’s advice and here goes nothing! The official Cynthia Rodríguez YouTube channel. I’ve been uploading pieces for Pangaea once a week for the past three weeks, and will upload one very likely next week. From live footage to just talking to the camera from interesting places to full-blow film montage, I’m just looking for different ways to share stories and messages as they might benefit, amuse or *inspire* others. It’s already helping me improve and become less camera shy, and people have already started doing their own spoken word/films and looking for open mics to share. Sharing is caring!

Last week’s delivery was “How to Leave the House in Times of Trouble”. I want as many people as possible to see that one because the world needs you, obvs. Before that, it was footage of “Pepper Spray” from the open mic at Coventry Pride.

This week, the weather was so nice I sat on the grass at Victoria Park and relaxed a bit. I was so chilled out that I ended up filming and uploading my entry for Pangaea right there and then. An old-ish poem, from three months ago or so. It’s called “Frivolous”, and I wrote it after the Open Stage at The Y where I read a lot of my hardcore pinko shit and then came the adorable Anna My Charlotte with an ukulele (she plays harp too! <3) and said she would see a bit frivolous after all my stuff, and then proceded to sing and play the most charming and nostalgic stuff ever. The perfect songs to play in the park on a peaceful sunny day.

So yeah, follow, like, share, whatever, and if you have videos and words, share them to the world!

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Film | Nottingham | Poems | Poetry

Film Haiku

By on 7 July, 2016
Image: Morgue File.
Image: Morgue File.

On Monday, I went to Nottingham for a workshop with Leanne Moden in preparation for the Words for Walls contest organised by Nottingham Uni. Since the workshop was hosted at Broadway Cinema, most of our freewriting exercises were film-centric. This was the first one: writing one or more haikus about some of our favourite films without mentioning their names and letting people guess. Here are mine, and now I will ask you to guess from each plot which films I’m talking about. Answers in the comments section, please. 

1.

He had just one job,
but his car proved that he was
a real human being.

2.

Village of the damned?
Get ready for these bad boys:
have a Cornetto.

3.

“Slicing up eyeballs”.
Pixies said what I had to.
Forgot piano.

4.

My voice for these legs,
alas life under the sea
was better than this.

5.

Back in our homeland,
sing “This Corrosion” to me.
All alien robots!

6.

“I did not hit her”.
“You are tearing me apart!”
Catch the football now.

Still angry about the state of the world, but here’s some light fun as a method of self-care. 🙂

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Afghanistan | Braunschweig | Germany | Internet | Nottingham | Poetry | South Africa

Rediscover Communication II: Restless Pens and Foreign Tongues

By on 9 June, 2016

13177603_994019397360432_7223197157003744156_n[1]

Last Bank Holiday, the lovely peeps at Mouthy Poets organised Restless Pens & Foreign Tongues, a workshop/open mic as part of Neat Festival and held at Nonsuch Theatre. The month-long festival, based in Nottingham, aims to bring and create interactions in arts and performance within an international context, particularly in the relationship of Britain as part of Europe.

The workshop was led by Melanie Irmey, member of the German collective Loewenmaul and based in Nottingham while she worked with Mouthy Poets for a few months. From the local corner, Chris McLoughlin facilitated the workshop too, and inspired us to write, read and share.

The idea was to explore the complexities and connections of the spoken language, not only in English but — preferably, rather — in other tongues, native, learned or even unknown. Sounds, ideas, new names for old feelings, old words for new images.

Even the WiFi is international at N_Space. :P
Even the WiFi is international at N_Space. 😛

It didn’t mean you had to know another language, but that you had to be willing to know, or even guess one or another. The vast majority of the students only knew English and whatever they could remember from holidays and GCSEs. Leanne Moden, a marvelous writer and pivotal part of poetry in the East Midlands, says she only speaks “English and Bad English”; yet that was certainly not an obstacle. There were a couple of Afghan boys in the beginning, alas they were a bit intimidated and left within an hour. It’s a shame, because it would have been beautiful to listen to their words.

Exploration was key. We were encouraged to describe pictures and concepts in our own language, borrow other people’s, incorporate their words into our work, take fragments of our work and translate them into dialects we had never heard before thanks to the imperfect powers of Google Translate.

loewenmaul_skype

Later, the magic of technology took our interactions to the next level. Thanks to Skype, we held an open mic for and from the members of Loewenmaul all the way to Braunschweig. Through a massive projection on the wall, the poets shared collective and individual pieces in German, English or both. Albeit my knowledge of German comes mostly from hilarious Rammstein song titles (“You Smell So Good“, anyone?) and the most metal egg-free cookies recipe ever, the sentences were strong and powerful. There was one, shoulders naked, who proclaimed something quite immense about how — paraphrasing — “your mother is dead, but she was never alive in the first place”. If any Loewenmaulers could share her name and, in fact, the names of all the lovely performers, it would be majestic.

loewenmaul_chrismcloughlin

Then, from our side, works in English and more. Moden scuba diving into Icelandic, me trolling everyone with Mexican pop culture in Spanish, and this badass South African dude named Pete — again, share name and more work, please — shared an Afrikaans account on the current situation in his country. He later read the English translation, but even the original writing was engaging enough.

That’s what I mean with rediscovering communication. In the end, the words stop needing translation. We sort of develop internal devices like the ones from Stark Trek or Mass Effect, even environmentally-controlled programmes like the one from the TARDIS, and we speak the language of the world and the world speaks our language.

A lot of the people who want to close borders, a lot of the people who want to leave the community, don’t even bother understanding their motherland tongues.

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Events | Leicester | Poetry | Short Story

FTRW @ Inside Out Festival

By on 17 May, 2016

ftrw_insideoutfestival

Last Saturday, a few hours before Leicester City raised the Premiership trophy up in the sky, some of us Find the Right Words people read a few things at the Curve theatre as part of Inside Out Festival, a very lovely celebration of arts, theatre and learning.

insideout_tobycampion

The afternoon was compered by Toby Campion, one of the many lovely people who remind me how much I love Leicester, the Midlands, Britain and the world. If you haven’t seen his poems/love letters to this beautiful place, do it now, then come back and keep reading.

insideout_kevinhudson

Of course we were all going to have a Leicester/football poem. Kevin Hudson, for a start, with his comedic rhyme and reason and scarf, to boot. Also, he took us far into the kingdom of Nottingham (you may have heard from that place) on a quest to find a snazzy kitchen appliance and discover only disappointment. Peel your own fruits, people!

insideout_ellierose

Elizabeth Morgan Rose was one of the headlines of the afternoon. Quiet and shy, but her words were strong on their own. Loud, sharp statements about not relying on others and not letting ourselves fall into codependency. Not being someone’s key, someone’s jacket. Screaming is not always necessary to get a point across.

insideout_ohstandfast

Unless you’re Oh Standfast! In that case, yelling is not optional: it’s compulsory. Standfast was my favourite act at Handmade Festival just the week before that, and he came back again to complain about pretentious airplane passengers, dining alone, having housemates when you’re 35 and living in London, honeymoons and a series of peculiar life-sized models. “If you think this is funny, it’s comedy. If you think this is clever, it’s poetry. If you don’t understand it, it’s art.”

insideout_clareabbott

And we wish comedy, poetry and art paid well. Clare Abbott certainly does. She told us about the time she found 45 quid on her daily commute. Some of us know how important and special is that, specially in the creative field. Or in any field that doesn’t involve being a douchebag and ruining people’s lives, to be honest. She also told us about how difficult it is to find jobs, to make ends meet and survive.

insideout_cynthiarodriguez

Then some girl read stuff about sports.

insideout_stephenthomas

Stephen Thomas followed with odes to music. To the wonders of vinyl, discovering new things and the little surprises (sometimes embarrassing, sometimes enlightening, but mostly fun) we can have when accidentally putting records in different sleeves. To Amy Winehouse. It seems like a generational thing to write about Amy, particularly in the FTRW environment. She definitely left her beauty mark on all of us. Like a Monroe piercing that will never heal.

insideout_chrismartin

Something that healed well was Chris Martin’s tattoo. A week before ending up under some needles at Market Harborough, he wrote about getting something done. Something that conveyed his love for coffee and his partner. Got an interrobang (‽) in the end, the most precious punctuation mark to never be on a standard keyboard. He loves his children too. So much, he lets them cover him in glitter, “the only thing [he has] in common with drag queens”.

insideout_mikebrewer

After the break, we had the adorable Mike Brewer talking about love. From serious, heartbreaking moments like finding pictures of dead lovers in the attic; to cherishing your smart and sturdy desktop computer called Penny (“she cost a pretty penny and she’s worth every penny”).

insidout_poetman

This was followed by ol’ reliable Poetman, who went for a poetry route rather than a singing route but was still hilarious and amazing. A group of teenage dancers certainly enjoyed his performance, and that’s a very tough demographic to reach. But then, they know very well what it’s like to “scroll and scroll ’til it destroys [your] soul”, the wonders of real coffee and all the brands of energy drinks you love to hate or hate to love.

insideout_jodiehannis

People came and went according to their schedule. So many things were happening at the festival, the venue and the Cultural Quarter, that we would have different members of the audience for every performer and nearby. When Jodie Hannis got on the foyer, a lot of people were leaving the main stage after seeing Legally Blonde: The Musical. So it was extra poignant to see Hannis talk about CSA, the scars it can leave and the ways you can stop it, while little girls were having their pictures taken by their families posing with cardboard props and a picture of Gaga the Dog. You just wish these little girls never go through that. You just wish Jodie never went through that. You just wish no one does.

insideout_rubykelman

At the end, after tears were shed thanks to Jodie and Toby, Ruby Kelman shared some of her work. As I mentioned before, Amy Winehouse seemed to impact a lot of people in the group, and Ruby had a poem about her too. Plus a few things about love. Cooking with your lover, drinking tea with your grandma, all those links between romance, family, companionship and meals.

Gaga the Dog.
Gaga the Dog.

Performing at such a huge and stunning venue (even in a small, cozy corner) like Curve theatre was fantastic. It was quite a challenge to deal with the ebbs and flows of people coming around, stopping, staying, leaving. But knowing that somehow, one word or another, one concept or another, got into their minds and gave room for communication, was pretty satisfying for everyone involved.

Bonus: Magic!

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Canada | Las Vegas | Media | Music | Poems | Poetry | Portfolio | Sports | United Kingdom | United States | World

El Gordito Goes to Vegas (FTRW Speed Poetry Challenge)

By on 28 April, 2016

It was a fun challenge to do my first stint at a Speed Poet at Find the Right Words. The instructions are easy: people shout topics at you, you go off to write a poem involving some/all of these topics, then you come back and read the results. Here is mine, on the junior doctors strike, Martin Castrogiovanni preferring to party in Las Vegas over playing against his former team, Victoria Wood and Prince leaving Earth, and the Hillsborough disaster verdict. How the feck did I manage how to connect these subjects? I have no idea.

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Culture | Events | Leicester | Podcasts | Poetry

What You Saying? Poetry Podcast

By on 19 March, 2016

graffiti-creator-poster-what-you-saying

Poetman is a superhero in the making. He has only been doing spoken word for the past 18 months, but he’s already a staple of the local scene. A wonderful thing that differentiates Will Horspool from other poets — besides his use of cool pedals and musical gadgets — is that not only he wants to create and share, but he wants other people to create and share as well. “Spoken word is not dead”, was the name of his open mic in Glenfield. And to keep it alive, he knows it’s very important to constantly plant new seeds.

That’s what What You Saying? is about: a venue for people from all walks of life to share their words and incept new ideas. Rather than sticking to good ol’ reciting, What You Saying? is a poetry podcast and event aiming to inspire new ways to write and speak, perhaps connecting to other disciplines such as music and comedy.

Shed_Poetman
Poetman

For a start, it happens every month (or at least it’s meant to) in the basement at The Shed, the oldest alternative music venue in Leicester, mostly focused on rock and metal. Not your average theatre or jazz café, but what other people would call “a dive bar”. Not really a place to take your parents to (unless your parents are Lemmy Kilmister and Cherie Curie, in that case you’re fucking awesome), but certainly a place full of character and love.

The first What You Saying?  happened last Wednesday 9 March, and started around 8pm. It was meant to be split in two halves, but the response was so overwhelming that it was arranged into three halves (?). All of them with the same gravitas, and mostly recorded for the poetry podcast afterwards.

Here is the list, or most of the list, of the performers that evening:

  • Ruby Kelman, a young promise and regular at Find the Right Words. She recites in an adorably awkward manner, like she is confessing her love to you and fears you won’t reciprocate (of course you will, who wouldn’t). One of her love declarations was dedicated to Amy Winehouse, the doe deer blinded by the paparazzi flashlights, and not the fabricated product of said members of the press.

Shed_StefanSeniuk

  • Stefan Seniuk, a rock and roll poet and “The Devil’s Bard”. Clearly influenced by the Beat Generation, punk and rock icons and the teachings of Dr John Cooper Clarke, he invites people to join the chorus like they do with bands in the arena. “We’re All Whores”, he made us chant at some point, and it was actually kind of true.

Shed_Tyga

  • Tyga, again someone relatively green in public, but delivering words way beyond her years. A street image with street stories, taking us out to clean our own rubbish and mop our own vomit as members of society. Someone to definitely watch out for.

Shed_JoeDoyle

  • Joe Doyle, mainly a musician, and compère of his own open night at Manhattan 34. One of his stories was about a fly-killing bully, a monster who uses all kinds of items to catch those (apparently) smaller than him, yet performed in a funny voice and poise to remind us that these bullies are nobodies in reality.

Shed_JodieHannis

  • Jodie Hannis. She likes fish tacos over sausage sandwiches, and is not afraid to say it. A recent tenant at the House of Verse, and someone we will certainly keep seeing around.

Shed_OscarPrince

  • Oscar Prince, who still relates the name “Fergie” to a certain Scottish duchess and not the lead singer of Black Eyed Peas.

Shed_TrevorGlyneLocke

  • Trevor Glyne Locke, who has been writing for decades before we were a figment of our parents’ imagination. Surprisingly, this was the first time he read in public, and he took us back to a decade we didn’t live, riding his scooter all over the world.

Shed_CynthiaRodriguez

  • Some broad who talked about pepper spray, swimming, cutting your hair in the loo and paraphrasing R.E.M.

Shed_PhilipPetersen

  • Philip Petersen, roaring laughter and roaring voice. An impressive presence in and out of stage.

Shed_DouglasDeans

  • Douglas Deans, reciter of truisms and complainer of the same things that annoy me in life. Quite a figure on the rise in local theatre. You can’t miss him.

Shed_K12

  • K12, who is only in college and yet he can demolish you with his turbo fast speech and his pulverising topics. A previous contender in Heard of Mouth, and someone who needs to come out and slam more often.

Shed_DanielNicholas

  • Daniel Nicholas, the enfant terrible of East Midlands comedy. He was attacked by bears, yet he didn’t win an Oscar. You will see him around because of course, you will.

Shed_PoetZeropence

  • Zeropence, also in charge of his own interdisciplinary open mic night: ANERKI, every last Thursday of the month at The Turkey Café. Excellent tempo and flow, whether a capella or in a musical collaboration.

Shed_JamesCull

  • James Cull, a metal musician who hadn’t read poetry in public before and ended up sounding cuter than a lot of us. Appearances can betray those who don’t know that metal folks can actually be the nicest.

Shed_PavelPeytchiek

  • Pavel Peytchev, another metal poet with a soft heart, worried about the woes of today, sensationalism, deceit and the way media manipulates the masses.

In between acts, Poetman performed both by himself and with Peter Prick, prick by name and prick by nature, rambling over funky guitars and making us question ourselves as he questions himself.

Shed_PoetPrick

If you want to hear and download (because you do, right?), just click on this as you please. Also, visit Poetman’s website and follow him on all social media to stay in touch and know everything he does.

The next What You Sayin? live Poetry Podcast is on Thursday 21 April, again, at The Shed.

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Poems | Poetry | Portfolio

Lust LP

By on 27 October, 2015

Written at the Perfume and Poetry workshop at Lush as part of Everybody’s Reading Festival, later performed at Find the Right Words. Based on Lust by Gorilla Perfume.LustLP

Just because someone won’t touch you
— someone who really likes you —
never assume that no one else will,
never assume that the world ain’t your oyster.

Stand up and walk, carry that smell around
like a train on a dress,
like a train on its way
to everlasting success.

Like the tail of a dragon
who is ready, just ready,
always ready to fight.

Keep on carrying that smell
like a tale you won’t tell
but that you and the world will remember forever.

A blush on their cheeks,
a secretive wink,
a furtive kiss or two in the dark.

But above all things you, you, you and you
since you are yours and I am mine
and our love will not tear us apart.

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