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Nick Mason book tour appearances in Seattle Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Nick Mason's great new book "Inside Out - A Personal History Of Pink Floyd" is selling well in various countries, and is now available in the US. To coincide with this, Nick underwent an exhaustive round of interviews and book signings, and here is our report on the first of these appearances, in Seattle.

Our thanks to everyone who has written with their stories of meeting Nick, along with their pictures of their special day. We've compiled a selection of them, which are presented here for your enjoyment.

Report by Michael Teige

I missed out on the Lazerdome deal the night before (sold out REAL fast!) but was able to get to the last chance to meet Nick event at the EMP in Seattle. It started at 7pm but I got there early at 5pm to get a nice spot. EMP members got tickets in advance and were let into the JBL Theater first, but there were only about a dozen members there.

Nick came out a little late as there was a Sonics game at the Key Area and both the Key and the EMP are in the Seattle Center. The increased traffic made a few folks get there late so they waited a bit. Nick comes out to a round of applause and takes his place at the podium.

The host had said he would not actually read from the book since we can all read ourselves. This was to be a night of Q&A and then the autographs. For folks who didn't have a copy of Inside Out yet, the nice folks at the EMP were more than happy to sell you one at $30 USD! Yikes...I thought the retail on the US soft cover version was $19.99 USD!

Well he got the usual pedestrian questions that were:
a. Answered in the book
b. Answered with about 5 seconds of research
c. Just plain silly.
But still, I'm not one to mock anyone's curiosity and you all had better not mock mine as this is what I asked him:

Me: "Mr. Mason, first let me thank you for coming to Seattle. Rick didn't come by for his CD signing tour so I really appreciate your coming way out here. [The jab at Rick made him smile - get what you want from that] The band image has always been one of four nice upstanding British gentlemen [at this he turned to look behind him as if I was referring to someone else]. On the Wall DVD commentary Roger says to Gerry Scarfe during 'Young Lust' that they never did anything of the sort with groupies that occurs in that scene. Imagine my surprise when I read in your book that Roger and yourself did indeed 'enjoy' the company of a groupie or two. Just how much of the Rock'n'Roll lifestyle did you all lead? And WHAT THE HELL WAS THE PUBLIUS ENIGMA?"

Nick: "Not much really. I like Peter Gabriel's quote of after a gig the most exciting thing is unwrapping the hotel bath soap. [I popped in and said "So you were no Keith Moon?" Nick replies:] Oh no! I was good friends with Keith and let me tell you he could be most entertaining at times, but that behaviour is too much like work." To paraphrase the rest he said that living life to such excesses can only lead to disaster as his friend Keith is no longer here. Then he asked me to repeat my other question.

Me: "What the heck was the Enigma?" At this he gave me a knowing look and said:

Nick: "That was a ploy done by EMI. They had a man working for them who adored puzzles. He used to work for the Reagan administration [laughter from the crowd, but he was being 100% serious!]. His job then would be to be in meetings with the president and when Reagan would say 'Let's bomb these people' he would say 'That's not a good idea sir!'. He was working for EMI and suggested that a puzzle be created that could be followed on the Web".

"The prize [I guess there was really one!] was never given out. To this day it remains unsolved. The prize was something like a crop of trees planted in a clear cut area of forest or something to that effect. It was not to be a prize of some tangible thing [such as a ride in the blimp or a front row seat at Earls Court] but rather a touchy-feely sort of gift that was more of a philanthropic thing than something you could hang on the wall. [I mentioned that the words were displayed on the lights at the Meadowlands gig] We, of course, could not see that from where we stood but clearly members of the crew were in on the riddle". He then confirmed that the three band members had NOTHING to do with it, but were aware of it and really didn't care about it, and that the whole this has been dead for years with nobody at EMI left to care about it. So anyone out there who thinks they solved it or is still trying to solve it, please forget it and give up and resume your life. It was not a joke but was never solved even in the face of Sandy's protests to the contrary. I have officially stopped caring about rumors or innuendo about it still being out there since now someone with official ties to the thing and who seemed to know info that I never heard before about it says it is long dead and unresolved.

Next time he picked me I asked: "How much of you is on aMLoR and what is the truth to the rumor that Gary Wallis was playing most if not all drums during the start of the '87 tour?"

Nick: "There is some of me on that LP, but I will admit a lot is not me. It had nothing to do with the inability to play but rather an inherent laziness I had that prevented me from coming into the studio. I would adopt the attitude of 'Bah, just get some session person to do the drums, I can't be bothered and who would know?' and therefore whole songs are done by someone else".

"The problem with this, is that when the tour began I had to work very hard during the rehearsals because for the most part I was learning the material then and there. That was a big mistake I did not repeat on the next tour. Gary was not there to cover for me as by the time the tour kicked off I was able to play the new songs".

I can't remember the whole night but a few things I can recall. Such as when someone asked about the little guitar part that bridges the gap between POTW 1 & 2 on the Animals 8-Track. The fan wanted to know if this version was available anywhere else. Nick seemed surprised that such a thing even existed. He had never heard of bonus material being offered on an 8-Track tape. Seeing that he had no idea what the guy was talking about I blurted out that the track was available on the now out-of-print CD "Goldtop" by Snowy White as the solo is done by him not David Gilmour. At this Nick looked at me with that typical look of amazement when fans know your life's work better than you do.

After the deal I had about five people come up to me asking who Snowy White was and if I had this CD I spoke of.

Also, a funny moment came when someone asked since TDB seemingly has so many overtures to Roger, could TDB be considered a peace offering to him and was the LP recorded with that in mind? At this, Nick said that saying TDB was a peace offering to Roger, is like saying the Normandy invasion was a peace offering to Adolf Hitler. At this, the whole place roared with laughter and even Nick seemed a little embarrassed by his comment. He went on to say TDB is not a peace offering to Roger and if you think that you got the wrong idea.

A fan asked him about the heartbeat readout on the gatefold of DSoTM. Nick told him it is supposed to represent the human heart and that the opening of Speak To Me is supposed to be a heartbeat. He said a real heart did not have the correct tempo [this invoked much laughter] so it was done with a bass drum and a soft beater. The fellow asked "did you do that?" and Nick smiled at him and said "Yes! I did it all by myself." He was very nice to the chap, who was mentally disabled, even though he was very rambly and a little disjointed for obvious reasons. This same fellow also mentioned the infamous Edgewater Inn here in Seattle, and Nick jumped in to say that they also stayed there and also fished out the window but never caught a shark. He was of the mind that if the members of Led Zep actually got a shark, they got it from the local fish monger and not from fishing out the hotel window!

He confirmed to one fan he has no plans to ever give a drum clinic, as someone who wants to learn to play a musical instrument should get proper instruction from someone who knows what they are doing. Someone also asked his thoughts on the laser show he saw the night before (at the Planetarium in Seattle). He said that he only hung around for two tracks, Run Like Hell and one other and that he was impressed. Normally he and the others cannot see the light show, and he is always impressed by a good light show when he can actually look at it.

When it was time to do autographs I was the only person there out of about 100 that had the W&N hardback edition. He asked me if it was Canadian or British and I told him that I got it from Amazon.ca but it is a European copy published by W&N and even has the price in GBP and not Canadian Dollars. He seemed impressed. I also mentioned that the P.U.L.S.E LP box he was signing was also British as P.U.L.S.E was not released on vinyl in the US. He told me that P* on vinyl was a rarity even in the U.K. so I was lucky to have the set and asked me where I found it. It was a gift from my wife who found it in a record store in Kirkland WA. They carry a large selection of RoIO's and were selling it for $85.00 USD. It was too rich for my blood but I loved it and my wife snuck over there one day and got it. He also signed my TDB tour program and my MLoR tour program that is a gift to my girlfriend who couldn't make it.

Humorously while I was talking to the chap in front of me and the young couple behind me in line (we also were all sitting together) it came up that I do not like personalized autographs. I am not whoever's "best friend" so I really don't care for "To Mike: My greatest fan and new best friend" or whatever on autographed stuff. I like a nice simple, pure if you will, signature uncluttered by the person's desire to write an intro to his signature. Gerald Scarfe insisted on putting "To Mike: Thanks for coming, Gerald Scarfe" in my Shine On book but I will forgive him that trespass. The young lady was in line behind me and when the host asked her if she wanted a name she started to think about it. I said just because I am a weirdo there is no need to adopt my odd practices in life! She said my words got her thinking and she decided to go sans personalization. To think this 33 year-old greying haired doofus could actually influence this 17 year old girl with his bizarre rambling was rather amazing.

She also was sad that in '94 she was in elementary school and therefore unable to attend the PF gig in Vancouver CA. This comment made me feel rather old. She had five copies of the book. At $30 USD each I wish I had that sort of coin when I was 17! Nobody said they always had the deep respect or offered him a cigar. One fan had him sign an acoustic guitar. At seeing this I kicked myself for not bringing my small gong for him to sign. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20 and I guess the gong is more associated with Roger than Nick. I told the fan that if he was intending to get all 4 signatures on the guitar he may try to get Roger's before David's or Rick's.

The JBL Theater seats 150 and there were about 50 empty seats. I think the majority of folks who wanted to see him came to the previous nights deal at the Lazerdome next door. This made the night much more cozy and relaxed than the madhouse the last night must have been. And other than the $10 parking fee (thanks for nothing you Seattle Sonics!) the event was free!

Report by Pat Garvey

I attended Nick's book signing at Seattle's Experience Music Project on April the 13th. I tell you - I was absolutely honored and in awe to meet him. I mean, this guy is a living legend. It was so surreal! To think - this man was one of the four founders of Pink Floyd. He played drums on Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall, two of the greatest albums of any genre EVER. He has spent the better part of the last 4 decades knowing, playing with and being friends with Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Syd Barrett. And I got to shake this man's hand. Wow. Its bone-chilling, really.

His 90 minute question and answer session before the book signing was particularly informative and interesting. I found that the last question of the night may have been the best. One fan asked Nick if the rumors that have been going around in recent years are true that suggest Division Bell was a call out to Roger to apologize to him and to try to reconcile their difference. Nick just kind of laughed and said "No, no. There's absolutely no truth to that. I never heard David say something remotely close to that, nor did I ever think he was implying that in the lyrics."

Among the other highlights, Nick was asked if there was any chance the band would be recording new material in the future. He answered "No, I don't foresee any new material from Pink Floyd any time soon.

To be honest, it's going to take another Live Aid or something of that magnitude to bring us all together again and play again. So I'm not going to shut the door completely on it. But don't go out and tell everyone 'Oh Nick said the band is getting back together.'"

Nick said he has never had any formal training to play the drums, which really surprised me. He said "But please, please, if you do intend on playing an instrument, be sure to get lessons and get trained. To not be trained to play a particular instrument is like not being taught how to speak the English language!"

Nick said that despite that the band are not playing together, all four are in together to put the new Pulse DVD in place.

I asked Nick while he signed my book if he had heard Alan Parson's new CD, A Valid Path. He said "No, I'm not familiar with it, but I'd like to hear it." I said "You should, its great!" As I walked away from him after he signed it, I looked him in the eyes and pleaded to him "Please get back together - I'll die happy if you do..." He just smiled at me.

Nick was asked if the band members still keep in touch. He replied "Well, I communicate with all of them. They just don't keep in touch with one another!"

Nick was asked if the band plans on releasing any more live albums. He said "To tell you the truth, we don't really have any more material for another live album. We never really recorded anything from the DSOTM days, at least not anything worth putting to the public, and we've documented the last few tours on a live album. So, there's really no point now. But, we may put a half-album out in the future with 6 or 7 songs that were recorded live, and sell the album at half-price of the standard sale these days."

Nick said he's never been a big Pink Floyd cover-band fan, and he can't recall ever seeing one of them live.

Nick was asked if he likes any current artists out today. He replied "I don't really listen to anything new out today. I saw Robbie Williams with my daughters a couple years ago, and he was really great. I really enjoyed him. But I think the last show I went to I thoroughly enjoyed was Peter Gabriel. I know I'm going back to the older guys, but he is truly a remarkable performer."

Nick was very classy and had really good stage charisma. He gave the audience a few laughs and answered all the questions (between 50 and 75 at least!) to the point and didn't drag on about anything. While he talked, you could tell the audience was in a trance listening to him - just glued to him! It was an experience I know I will NEVER forget. The only thing that can top this is, well...seeing Pink Floyd play before my eyes! But for now, this was great, and I consider myself so lucky to have him come visit Seattle!

Report by Cyrus Roland Simcoe

I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Mason last night at the JBL Theater in Seattle. I drove three hours from Portland, Oregon, and waiting at the front of the line for about three more hours. My wife and I were the first people there, but a line quickly formed behind us. There were a lot of personal Floyd stories being shared and almost everyone was leafing through a gorgeous new Nick Mason book. It was interesting to see so many people from different walks of life finding personal meaning in Pink Floyd's music.

My wife and I got front row center, which turned out to be directly in front of Mason's podium. So in other words, IT PAYS TO BE EARLY! Nick Mason, a man I have admired greatly since I was about 12 years old (more than 2/3 my life now), was standing about four feet away from me for two hours! This is an event not to miss.

Mason started by talking about the Book and how it came to be. The recent lose of close friends seems to be a major factor. He mentioned Douglas Adams, Michael Kamen, Storm Thorgerson's stroke. The death that seems to have affected him the most was that of Steve O'Rourke. The way he talked about these people was personal, and Mason was very sincere. All of this talk of death gave me a glimpse of what Mason must be going through. He's revisiting his life, everyday, with these interviews and questions, and it's hard to imagine all the memories that must surface because of this.

Most of the questions were pretty stupid (especially if you're an avid fan who visits Brain Damage everyday to see what's new). Even though I knew that Mason must get asked some of these questions a million times, he still smiled and answered them as if it were the first time he'd ever heard it (except for the Dark Side/Wizard of Oz question, which he made a little joke about).

There were a couple of nicely asked questions and Mason answered them all unabashedly. Some of the questions weren't even questions, but Mason always smiled and showed no signs of being annoyed. Nick Mason has a lot of character, and a lot of class. I admire him even more now for his honesty and integrity.

I asked him if he personally identified with Roger Water's Wall. He told the familiar story about how Roger came in with Pros and Cons and The Wall demos and how everyone in the band identified with Wall and how it was an easy choice. I had read this before, and I was looking for a little more, so I asked another question before anyone else could ask one. I asked, "So what happens when the Wall comes down? Do you start building another one?" He said something like, "You don't build another one. You learn how to feel connected with others, not isolated, and hopefully you find peace." I wish I had a tape recorder so I could get it word for word, but I must say, it's the best answer anyone could have given. Extremely inspirational.

After what must have been an exhaustive round of questions, Mason started signing books and memorabilia. I had him sign his book, his drawings on the inside of my Relics CD and a Storm Thorgerson "Taken By Storm" brochure that was already signed by Storm. I shook his hand and thanked him. This was an event that I will never forget!

Report by Scott Hall

Last night, my wife and I attended the Nick Mason Q&A/laser show event which was held at the Pacific Science Center. It was a memorable evening which I'll try to recall for you.

Ticket-holders began lining up outside as early as 2 hours before doors opened. It was cold and windy but we were all in it together and some of the people were really fun to talk to. While in line, I saw some of the things which people brought for Nick's autograph. Albums, t-shirts, drumsticks, cymbals and drum heads were all toted along for Mr. Mason's signature. My wife and I only brought our copy of Inside Out; we couldn't believe we didn't think of bringing anything else.

Once the line started moving, everyone eventually filed into the Adobe Laser Dome. There were two entrances: one for people who wanted to buy Nick's book, and one for everyone else. Fortunately, we already had our copy so we quickly got into the warm interior. Lots of people sat down on the main floor while others grabbed seats which were situated around the perimeter. Down front, a small stage was setup with two chairs in front of a drum kit.

As it turns out, a friend of mine who went to the event, too, purchased the last book. Everyone else behind him had to buy a voucher good for a signed copy and complained about the lack of product at the book signing. It's too bad that happened, but what can you do? (Hopefully, the book promoters will keep more stock on hand at future book signings).

Anyway, while we waited for everyone else to get inside, the smoke machines started pumping out a thin layer of fog into the room. Once everyone was well situated, the lights dimmed and the quick strumming of David Gilmour's guitar echoed throughout the dome. A live recording of "Run Like Hell" played while lasers flashed around the room.

When the song ended, the lights came up and a local DJ, Gary Crow, came up front to welcome Nick Mason. From there, Crow asked several questions about Nick's new book and his experiences in Pink Floyd. Later into the interview, Crow allowed some questions from the floor.

Nick told a funny story about fellow drummer, Keith Moon (from The Who). They were at a hotel one day when they found a mouse in one of their rooms. Given Keith's reputation for wild and unpredictable antics, Nick wasn't quite sure what Keith would do to the little rodent. Well, it turns out the Keith went down and brought back a 4-cheese platter for their guest.

A few people asked about the significance of the album covers for Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. Of course, Nick said that Storm Thorgerson was the best person to answer that. Nick said the images on Wish You Were Here were all about absence. As for Dark Side of the Moon, many interpretations could be made about the prism. One amusing idea is that the white light represents the band while the rainbow represents the music coming from them. In the end, he just thought the prism and the pyramids were a strong design. Nick was asked to describe the differences between David and Roger. Nick's response was classic: "One of them is tall...and fierce."

Nick mentioned his other book, "Into the Red" which was released a few years ago. He said it was fun to gather several racing cars from the early 1900's to modern times and race them around the same track. In comparing the various designs, he was surprised to see that many cars from the 1950's had the same horsepower as the cars of today. However, there was something those old cars were lacking... brakes and suspension. For the European release of the book, an audio CD was included which had captured sounds of the various racing cars he studied.

Nick suggested to get an interesting reaction from other, that instead of blasting rap music, it would be great to play this CD (with loud engine sounds) while slowly driving around town. Also, when the book was released in the US, the title was changed to "At the Limit" because some people might think it was about Russia and communism.

When asked if he thought Pink Floyd would ever perform again, Nick mentioned that David said it's over, but they might reconsider if there was another big charitable event like Live Aid. So its unlikely, but anything is possible.

After the Q&A session, people were told the book signing would begin while a laser show went on. My wife and I stayed for the laser show and were quite pleased we did. It was really cool because they played tracks that aren't well known "hits", like Summer '68 (from Atom Heart Mother), Bike (from Piper at the Gates of Dawn), Sheep (from Animals) and Shine on You Crazy Diamond -Parts VI-IX (from Wish You Were Here). The show went on for about an hour and we still got a good spot in the book-signing line when the last song was wrapping up. My wife and I ended up getting our book dedicated by Nick which was cool.

Thanks Nick for coming out to Seattle. It was a great evening!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Report by Joseph Christ

When I first read on Brain-Damage that Nick Mason would be doing a mini tour around bookstores and

science centers in promotion of his new book Inside Out, I was sad. Because I didn't ever think that he

would come to the United States, and if he did come, the chances of him coming anywhere within my range

were pretty slim. When I gathered enough courage to find out where he would be, I was in awe to discover

that he was coming to Seattle.

For 13 years, I have been waiting to finally meet a member of Pink Floyd. The funny thing is, is that I'm

only 17. I have been wanting to meet someone from Pink Floyd since I was three.

Ever since the first time I watched Delicate Sound of Thunder, I was hooked. I have had to buy three

copies of that video because I wore out the other two. When I found out that he would come to Seattle (I

live in Sandy, Oregon at the base of Mt Hood. Seattle is 4 hours away) I immediatly told my parents. They

knew that this meant a lot to me. They are both big Floyd fans and they also wanted to meet Mr. Mason.

They came up with the idea that they would take me, if I raised my grades in school. So for two weeks, I

worked my butt off. I stayed up till two every morning studying, and working like crazy. One day before

we left, I got my report card and showed it to my parents so they could decide my fate. They were pleased

enough with my grades and my mother and I ended up packing for the long trip ahead.

The night before I couldn't sleep at all. I was up all night thinking, planning and hoping. I woke up the

next morning upset. My mom woke me up in the middle of one of the best dreams I had in a long time. The

dream was that David, Nick, Rick and Roger all just showed up at my house and we jammed and played guitar

(I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had this dream :). The next day I gathered my copy of the book,

the first copy of Delicate Sound of Thunder, the camera, my minidisc recorder and a load of CDs, most of

which were Pink Floyd.

Just for the record, I have a million things more rare than a copy of Delicate Sound of Thunder on VHS,

but that one video turned me into the Pink Floyd fan that I am today and so it's probably the most prized

Floyd item I have; it's very, very VERY special to me.

Anyways, so we were off, in the car driving to meet Mr. Mason himself. We listened to The Division Bell,

Meddle and Amused to Death and an array of other albums. My mother and I have never really been that

close so I'm really glad we went, it gave us a chance to bond a bit.

For four hours I sat in the car, thinking about what I was about to face. When we finally got to the

hotel, I took a shower and immediatly headed off to the Pacific Science Center where I proceeded to wait

for three and a half hours. I faced, heavy winds, hail, and lots of rain, but it was worth it. I was the

first one in line out of a sold out crowd of exactly 500 people. I talked to the people behind me as they

were all showing off their rare Pink Floyd items, I explained why I brought the items that I did with me.

They all understood.

After a half an hour of extra waiting, they finally opened the gate. I hauled some serious ass to a

darkly lit room where I camped out on the floor and waited in anticipation. I ended up sitting next to a

really cool guy who has a copy of the Pink Floyd live in Seattle Washinton at the Kingdome where I was in

my mothers womb when her and my father saw Pink Floyd for the first time on December 8th 1987. I searched

for a copy of that show for seven years, and now I finally know someone who has it, he gave me his phone

number, I still need to call him.

Anyways, after about 25 minutes or so of chatting with other Floyd fans, the lights dimmed and they

proceeded to do a laser light show. They started with Run Like Hell from the live PULSE album which

really suprised me. Here in Oregon, they do laser shows, but they only do The Wall or Dark Side Of The

Moon, so this was refreshing. After it was over, Gary Crow took the stage and explained what was going to

happen tonight and the next night over at the EMP.

Then, entering the room from my left, there he was. Walking to the stage. It was him. It was Nick Mason.

I couldn't believe it. Here I was sitting about 2 feet from Nick Mason. I couldn't stop grinning. I

probably freaked him out a little bit, which is totally understandable. The interview went smoothly. They

chatted about the sound effects on The Dark Side album and the live Wall shows, the current status of the

band, Roger Waters and when he left, and Syd Barrett a lot. Then after about an hour and a half, the time

came where the audience was able to ask questions. I raised my hand a few times to ask the question: "Can

you say One of These Days I'm Going to Cut You Into Little Pieces like you did on the meddle album?" but

when Gary Crow chose me to ask the next question and my mind became frozen like a block of ice, I

couldn't remember what I was going to ask him!

After 13 years of waiting for this opportunity, I was going to blow it! My heart started pounding. I

began to sweat a little bit. Then, out of the blue, I thought of another thing to ask. I asked him if he

still dosen't like to eat the crust on his apple pie. He laughed and said that he has learned to live

with the crust. I came really close to screwing that up. I'm really glad I didn't, because I would have

regretted it for the rest of my life.

I sat back down and waited for other people to finish their questions. Then the time came where we lined

up at the door to get out stuff signed. The line progressed faster than I expected. When I was about four

or five people away, a nice lady came up to me and asked what my name was and wrote it on a little

stickey note and stuck it on the inside of the book where Nick was supposed to sign it.

When I was next I looked Nick straight in the eye and smiled, he smiled back. My mom was off to the side

taking pictures. Once Mr. Mason saw that she was taking pictures, I told him that was my mom. He broke

the sacred rule. He got up and stood next to me and let my mom take a picture of me and him together! I

told him thanks and that made mine and her day. I smiled again and then I left the building totally

speechless.

We proceeded to walk back to the hotel with the cool Seattle breeze running across my face and through my

hair. I knew that I would never forget that night. When we got back to the hotel, we went down to a

resteraunt where me and my mom ate dinner. We talked about what had happened and stuff. I like to think

that after this experience, our relationship as mother and son had changed, for the better. When we went

back to the room after eating, I called my dad and explained what had happened and told him all about it.

Then I called my VERY special friend Kara and we talked for an hour or so. Then my mom and I watched a

movie and I ended up falling asleep quite quickly.

I awoke the next day as happy as a 17 year old could be. We packed our stuff and drove another four hours

home. When we got home, I took a shower and went to the school to show off my autographs to my friends

who were really jealous. They all knew how much that trip meant to me and they were all happy for me. I

don't think I will ever be the same after that two day trip...


 
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