Echoes of A New Tomorrow: Life after Revolution in the Commonwealth of Britain

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BigBadBob

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Congratulations, Densley!

This is rather the bet that I've made, yes. At the very least, I will be in London which is where all my uni friends now live anyway, so if everything goes Pete tong I won't be completely adrift…

I hope, and not just because it would imply the rest of us will also be free from this caged half-life by then, you are able to engage in debauchery that will make that... thing... you posted in the FAWHA thread look like a primary school picnic.
 
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DensleyBlair

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I'm hopelessly behind on this AAR at the moment (although I am enjoying the story as it unfold), but I want to pop in real quick and say congratulations!
Thank you Cora! (both for the congrats and for the reading)

Please do feel free to drop in with any comments you have on the older chapters. I am always curious to know what people make of them – and I enjoy the excuse to go back and read them myself for the first time in ages!

Congratulations, Densley!
Thank you Sir Bob!

I hope, and not just because it would imply the rest of us will also be free from this caged half-life by then, you are able to engage in debauchery that will make that... thing... you posted in the FAWHA thread look like a primary school picnic.
Ban this sick filth!

(If you ever fancy a real trip, the whole film that that "thing" came from is easy enough to find on youtube.)

I too hope for a broader freedom from the half-life by autumn at least. Speaking purely for myself, unemployed and holed up in the middle of nowhere gets very tiresome very quickly – and frankly I've had it easy! We are all owed a spot of debauchery I'd say, however we might choose to take it.


EDIT: And I should not let slip the chance to mark the 1,000th reply to this thread. Many many thank yous to all who have helped make this historic feat a reality, and of course to BBB who pushed us over the edge. I should think of some commemorative bauble to adorn you with or something…
 
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BigBadBob

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Ban this sick filth!

(If you ever fancy a real trip, the whole film that that "thing" came from is easy enough to find on youtube.)

I too hope for a broader freedom from the half-life by autumn at least. Speaking purely for myself, unemployed and holed up in the middle of nowhere gets very tiresome very quickly – and frankly I've had it easy! We are all owed a spot of debauchery I'd say, however we might choose to take it.


EDIT: And I should not let slip the chance to mark the 1,000th reply to this thread. Many many thank yous to all who have helped make this historic feat a reality, and of course to BBB who pushed us over the edge. I should think of some commemorative bauble to adorn you with or something…

Having had it stuck in my head for two hours now, I must admit that, uncoupled from context and imagery, the song itself is, as the children say, a banger.

I spent the first term of my last year of university, and the summer before, entirely devoid of any kind of obligations. Even with people consistently around once term started, I was going completely bonkers towards the end. I can only imagine what it must be like to be locked down without obligations to keep some semblance of time. I very much hope you will be released from this purgatory soon.

I confess to not even having realised I'd put up the 1,000th reply, despite noting to myself earlier today that Echoes was tantalisingly close. Please consider the congratulations in said reply to also apply to the achievement that is producing a work of such quality that it can pass this hallowed mark. I take my baubles with just enough milk to cover that the teabag has been left in too long, and with no sugar.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Having had it stuck in my head for two hours now, I must admit that, uncoupled from context and imagery, the song itself is, as the children say, a banger.
If you do actually like it (and who wouldn't? Reggae, punk and parodic opera is a powerful blend) you will also love the Jerusalem rendition (and be no doubt received at the lack of accompanying choreo)


I could write pages and pages on the film itself, and if we ever get there I may well do so in Vol 2. It's an unquestionably odd watch, but such a fascinating artefact of the whole punk thing. (Did I mention that the framing narrative involves John Dee and Elizabeth I summoning an angel and travelling forward in time? And that's all before Elizabeth II gets killed in a mugging in Deptford…)

I spent the first term of my last year of university, and the summer before, entirely devoid of any kind of obligations. Even with people consistently around once term started, I was going completely bonkers towards the end. I can only imagine what it must be like to be locked down without obligations to keep some semblance of time. I very much hope you will be released from this purgatory soon.
At good points, I've been able to spend days doing fun things like catching up with my reading and writing Echoes. The rest of the time has been staring at films to try and get ahead of the panicky anxiety spells.

Frankly, even the knowledge that I now have a new project to look forward to in the Autumn has (so far, early days) been a revelation. Amazing what having a tangible future thing to am for can do for one's psychic state.

I confess to not even having realised I'd put up the 1,000th reply, despite noting to myself earlier today that Echoes was tantalisingly close.
I would be lying if I said that I hadn't been keeping an eye on it since we hit about 850, when I found myself curious one long, empty afternoon to see how Echoes compared to the historical 'big beasts' of Vickyland. What I found was that, once you take away the many interactive AARs to have graced this part of the forum, there aren't actually that many 'standard' AARs that get into the high hundreds – maybe twenty or so in a decade. No idea how this compares to other parts of the boards, but it struck me as worthy of comment seeing as there seems to be an emergent trend of Vicky as a home for the new 'grand projects' of AARland. (Which I guess makes sense: stable game and a small but dedicated readership means lots of time to plan ahead without worrying about staying 'current', and a tight knit group of friends willing to spend their time talking to each other about dreadnoughts and Hammer Horror and god knows what else.)

The real puzzle to my mind is the view count, which is so far and away above the general trend in AARland these days that I have genuinely no idea what to conclude except that there are literally thousands of silent visitors reading along. (If this is in fact the case, please do feel free to drop by and say hello!) There was one time around the end of last autumn when ever time I posted the viewpoint went up by 1k, which if you stop and look at the rest of the numbers is beyond belief.

Please consider the congratulations in said reply to also apply to the achievement that is producing a work of such quality that it can pass this hallowed mark.
Thank you very kindly indeed. Honestly, my proudest takeaway from all of this is that this thread has become a bit of a community for people to come and talk about weird alt-historical British things. It gives me immense pleasure to be able to facilitate this very odd hobbyist microsociety.

I take my baubles with just enough milk to cover that the teabag has been left in too long, and with no sugar.
Hmm, thinking about it maybe a bauble is not appropriate for so singular occasion as this. Maybe I will write you into the story instead… "Big Bad Bob", the ironically named very nice gentleman doing some benign thing or other with the social democrats. :D
 
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Cora Giantkiller

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At good points, I've been able to spend days doing fun things like catching up with my reading and writing Echoes. The rest of the time has been staring at films to try and get ahead of the panicky anxiety spells.

Frankly, even the knowledge that I now have a new project to look forward to in the Autumn has (so far, early days) been a revelation. Amazing what having a tangible future thing to am for can do for one's psychic state.

I quite agree with this. The hardest thing about quarantine has been the complete inability to make plans for the future. Having a thing to look forward to is so important.
 
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Wraith11B

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Speaking to the view count, and not with any sort of authority, I imagine that it could be counting every page turn as well as every time someone checks in in a certain amount of time, and with different browsers. So, for instance, I had a whole pile of things to catch up on, and if responses come tonight, I'll be checking them from either my work computer or my personal phone, and so that could bump the views up by three or four.
 
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DensleyBlair

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I quite agree with this. The hardest thing about quarantine has been the complete inability to make plans for the future. Having a thing to look forward to is so important.
Absolutely. Even something as simple as arranging to meet someone to go for a walk in a fortnight's time can have a drastic effect.

Speaking to the view count, and not with any sort of authority, I imagine that it could be counting every page turn as well as every time someone checks in in a certain amount of time, and with different browsers. So, for instance, I had a whole pile of things to catch up on, and if responses come tonight, I'll be checking them from either my work computer or my personal phone, and so that could bump the views up by three or four.
I think you are right on all fronts here. I reckon the value probably does overshoot the mark by virtue of double counting and so on. That said, the main source of my amazement is the quantity relative to other comparable threads, rather than necessarily the quantity by itself. This thread does seem to have an anomalous number of clicks considering the whole Vicky forum within the last couple of years, but honestly I don't really expect to find out why. Just something that amuses (and bemuses) me when I have nothing better to think about. :D
 
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Wraith11B

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DensleyBlair

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Hello! Glad to see you, InvisibleBison (invisible no more, I suppose :D)

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or idle thoughts about the story so far, I'd love to hear.

And then there's this guy... :D
It was a day of revelations all round, really! :D

***

I'm going to take the day/weekend to finally fulfil my promise to @El Pip and get a piece done for Read Even More All About It (which all of you should come and join in with). After that I'll finish the final slice of life update (for now) and hope to get something by the middle of next week. Then it will be back to foreign affairs for a bit covering the fallout (thankfully not literal) from the missile crisis.

Plenty to look forward to from my perspective – only four years until we hit the volume 1 grand finale!
 
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El Pip

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I'm going to take the day/weekend to finally fulfil my promise to @El Pip and get a piece done for Read Even More All About It (which all of you should come and join in with).
Damnit I'm going to have to do a High and Mighty now aren't I?

Plenty to look forward to from my perspective – only four years until we hit the volume 1 grand finale!
The sheer rapidity of your progress is both impressive and unseemly.
DYAEiOu.gif
 
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Damnit I'm going to have to do a High and Mighty now aren't I?
Far be it from my place to suggest how you should approach a project you yourself are facilitating, but: yes. I think the Porte would appreciate it.

Anyway, trying to ape Childe Harold while making a semi-coherent point about the Cossacks and somehow not making it all utter bilge was a fun exercise to attempt.

The sheer rapidity of your progress is both impressive and unseemly.
DYAEiOu.gif
I keep forgetting just how fast it's been, tbh. Since last March we've whizzed ahead an astonishing thirty years! (It feels different from my perceptive because I write most of the material ahead of time, so what for the readership has been an eleven-month journey has been something like an eighteen-month one for me.)

That said, we've been slowing down a lot recently. The last nine years of action have taken six months! :D
 
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InvisibleBison

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If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or idle thoughts about the story so far, I'd love to hear.
I did find it interesting that, if the rumors are correct, there was an effort to prevent A Day in the Life of John Tennyson from being published. It seems that even though Bevan's government is trying to navigate away from Mosleyism, outright criticism of the man is still controversial. I can't help but compare this to the de-Stalinization that occurred after Stalin's death, though Mosley and Stalin are in many ways quite different figures.
 
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I did find it interesting that, if the rumors are correct, there was an effort to prevent A Day in the Life of John Tennyson from being published. It seems that even though Bevan's government is trying to navigate away from Mosleyism, outright criticism of the man is still controversial. I can't help but compare this to the de-Stalinization that occurred after Stalin's death, though Mosley and Stalin are in many ways quite different figures.
This is absolutely a valid comparison. Mosley and Stalin are very different, you're right, and I don't really want to play up the possibility of a direct analogy too much because Stalin's OTL legacy and Mosley's TTL legacy diverge in very marked ways (which I'll go into). But certainly this legacy is contested within all levels of politics, and also somewhat within wider society.

The biggest thing to take into account different to Stalin's case is that Bevan is in a much stronger position than Khrushchev was c. 1953, and more's the point Mosley left power in a much weaker position than Stalin. That is, he left power at all; he was forced into retirement by sustained popular pressure, as well as a series of canny manoeuvres by the political opposition. (This will all be recapped before the Vol 1 finale, btw. This conversation is sort of where the whole story is leading.) The Bevanite coalition comes to power in September 1961 more or less completely victorious over the 'continuity Mosleyite' faction, and by the 1963 election Bevan and his allies are firmly in control of the political apparatus, backed up by the biggest electoral turnout since the revolution (a massive 58.6 per-cent!).

Nevertheless – the hardcore Mosleyites won 7.1 per-cent of the vote at the same election, and there are a number of people unhappy with the liberalising reforms Bevan has embarked upon. The main battleground is the Bureau of Domestic Affairs, which was the stronghold of Mosley's power in his last years when he took to welding state and police power in an attempt to keep himself in power. This didn't work, but opposition leader David Lewis coming in to head up the department most associated with the Mosleyite 'terror' is only a surface-level change. Bevan and Lewis spent much of the period between September 1961 and May 1963 battling the bureaucracy to try and weed out the most partisan Mosley loyalists, but this obviously doesn't happen overnight – and, what's more, the new government is trying to push through a lot of change very quickly. The result is a sort of 'two steps forward, one step backwards' approach to liberalisation.

As for how acceptable it is to criticise Mosley is public, this is a very contentious point. Putting 'clear red water' between him and Mosley is almost the modus operandi of the Bevan government; Bevan got into power as an opponent, not as a successor, therefore a considerable degree of criticism is not only possible but necessary to the survival of the Bevanite project.

(Incidentally, I think I summed this up best through Peter Cook and Dud Moore in Redadder's Christmas Carol ('broadcast' in 1973):

NEIL: You mean to say, ma'am, that in this enlightened, post-censorship age there even is such a thing as the wrong idea?

BARBARA: Oh, give me a break… It's very simple: if the last lot did it, fire away; if it was us… well… it wasn't. Got it?

LEGS: Yeah. The last lot did the bad stuff, and you lot did nothing.

There comes a point where Bevan's entire offer to the country is that he isn't Mosley, and I suppose if you like you could accuse him of trading in 'Mosleyism with a human face'. But this is all to come.)

Where this all hits opposition is twofold: 1) there are still those in the Domestic Bureau who, post-censorship, remain uneasy about public critique of Mosley tout court, and hence don't want to allow the more damning stuff (like John Tennyson); 2) securing one's own position by undermining one's predecessor is an incredibly risky strategy unless one is radical about actually changing the system underneath. There are many people even in the reformist regime who worry that scuppering Mosley's legacy before the body's cold, if you like, will do irreparable damage to the entire Commonwealth system – and the faith of the public in the basic 'goodness' of the Commonwealth project.

As I say, all of this is to come – and in a way this answer gets at the heart of the conclusion to this Volume, so thanks for asking the question because it works very nicely as a prelude to what is on the horizon.
 

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Hey Densley!
I must say I am a big fan of your story, and find it very interesting
a very, very long time ago you said that if anyone with experience in victoria 2 modding to try and mod it in
now, I am a terrible modder. But I am willing to try my best and making one for you if you want
 
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Hey Densley!
I must say I am a big fan of your story, and find it very interesting
a very, very long time ago you said that if anyone with experience in victoria 2 modding to try and mod it in
now, I am a terrible modder. But I am willing to try my best and making one for you if you want
Hey there! Thanks for commenting and welcome to the thread. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the story. :)

An Echoes mod would be incredible, and I would absolutely welcome any attempts to make one. I do have a bit of experience modding in countries and so on, but beyond that I have no knowledge whatsoever. Would be very happy to consult on the narrative aspects, though. Might as well put all of the useless lore I have written up to some good use! :D
 
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Just a note to say that the promised final update in the slice of life quartet is still in the works, but that after hitting a roadblock with other, non-forum projects last week I've been taking some time out from writing to do fun, enriching things like reading books for a change. Hopefully I'll have something finished by the end of the week, then we can move back to the Cuba wrap-up and look forward to some post-crisis diplomacy.

In the meantime (and to revive a topic of conversation from a couple of weeks ago), during my 'downtime' I've been having some productive thoughts about the development of music in the Commonwealth (popular and otherwise) over the Sixties, Seventies and a bit of the Eighties. Most of this is way off in the future, but more immediately I've been re-evaluating just what I want to do with The Beatles. Obviously this is a key problem to anyone writing an alt-Britain 20th century timeline, so it is entirely fit and proper that it should have detained my attention for weeks on end. *insert Pip's nodding emoji here*

As it stands, I've completely discounted the alt-history I'd already constructed and narrowed it down to something like three or four alt-alternatives. This is mostly in the service of making things a bit less deterministic, which is always worthwhile – but I'll be damned if it isn't a hard thing weighting up alt-historical integrity with the possibility of creating a world without "A Day In The Life".

Anyway, to help me make my mind up I am all ears if anyone has any hypothetical Echoes-verse Beatles headcanons. Otherwise there is a genuine chance I will never get around to writing the 1969 finale because I'm too preoccupied by the question of binning off "Norwegian Wood".
 
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Obviously this is a key problem to anyone writing an alt-Britain 20th century timeline, so it is entirely fit and proper that it should have detained my attention for weeks on end. *insert Pip's nodding emoji here*
I am glad to see you have your priorities correctly sorted.
DYAEiOu.gif


Anyway, to help me make my mind up I am all ears if anyone has any hypothetical Echoes-verse Beatles headcanons. Otherwise there is a genuine chance I will never get around to writing the 1969 finale because I'm too preoccupied by the question of binning off "Norwegian Wood".
"They all got shot for being dissidents" is obviously the most likely outcome. But assuming that is off the table what could occur?

My starting point is, naturally, Soviet Pop Music as I cannot imagine the Commonwealth allowing the sort of independent A&R that occurred in OTL- what if the wrong sort of artist found success singing the wrong songs? So the VIAs could be a model, bands can play around in their own time as much as they like but can not take a step up until they have an approved "Artistic Director" who is their manager and state censor/fixer. Seems a job Epstein could do well.

Just having them stay as the Quarrymen is a bit cliche, so why not really lean into and go for the Red Beatles? One of the rules of VIAs was 80% of the tunes had to come from the Composers and Songwriters Unions, I can absolutely see a good union man live Bevan going along with that, so you will have to cull 80% of their work and keep only the 'best' 20% for themselves. I can also see Lennon & McCartney join the union and farming out the songs they aren't allowed to play to others.

I imagine there is a lot less drugs in the Commonwealth (one of the benefits of being a police state) so Epstein probably survives and I just can't see Yoko Ono and Lennon meeting, so she's out of the picture. So the Red Beatles don't break up early, no trip to India either so that unfortunateness is butterflied away. At some point they will face the question they never had to, when fashions change do you do a Bowie and completely reinvent yourself or take the traditional rock route and just carry on as you are. I can't see them being allowed to split up or being artistically happy just carrying on, so some sort of middle ground, probably aided by cultural change being a bit slower in the Commonwealth.

They survive long enough to see the Commonwealth overthrown and the revolutionary mob stringing Bevan up from Tower Bridge, in a gesture of reconciliation they are allowed to play at the Jubilee Restoration Concert to welcome the Queen back onto the throne. Sound good?
 
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I am glad to see you have your priorities correctly sorted.
DYAEiOu.gif
Pop music is to Echoes what industrial finance and naval architecture are to Butterfly.
DYAEiOu.gif


My starting point is, naturally, Soviet Pop Music as I cannot imagine the Commonwealth allowing the sort of independent A&R that occurred in OTL- what if the wrong sort of artist found success singing the wrong songs? So the VIAs could be a model, bands can play around in their own time as much as they like but can not take a step up until they have an approved "Artistic Director" who is their manager and state censor/fixer. Seems a job Epstein could do well.
I am mildly familiar with the VIAs. Bizarre old thing, but apparently wildly popular. (And why wouldn't they be, singing everything form tender love ballads to stinging attacks on the decadent West?) Part of the reason I want to write about the *Beatles is to get to grips with the state's relationship to popular entertainment – particularly with Bevan beginning to roll back the censorship. What I'm slightly more interested in in the Soviet example is the subculture, which was quite inventive (as you'd have to be) getting things recorded in state-controlled studios and so forth. Watched a video about it back in summer which I'll see if I can dig up again…

I like that as a way to bring Epstein in, by the way. Whether his (presumably now ex-)businessman father would be so thrilled about him going off to work for Bevan, I have no idea. But then he did ship his son off to RADA OTL after he found out he was gay, so it sounds like there was at least a certain… pragmatism.

Just having them stay as the Quarrymen is a bit cliche,
Just to give you an idea of how long this has been gestating in my mind, I have a note from about September 2019 that reads "Beatles stay as Quarrymen ???"

so why not really lean into and go for the Red Beatles? One of the rules of VIAs was 80% of the tunes had to come from the Composers and Songwriters Unions, I can absolutely see a good union man live Bevan going along with that, so you will have to cull 80% of their work and keep only the 'best' 20% for themselves. I can also see Lennon & McCartney join the union and farming out the songs they aren't allowed to play to others.
Northern Songs becoming a state subsidiary would be a novel twist. Lennon and McCartney did farm off songs to other Epstein-managed acts OTL, so this all fits very well. And of course the first few albums were rife with covers anyway, as was very much the norm.

I imagine there is a lot less drugs in the Commonwealth (one of the benefits of being a police state) so Epstein probably survives
Epstein died of a prescription drug overdose, so whether that would change too much I'm less certain. Although I probably won't go into it ever, I'd be willing to suggest that amphetamines and barbiturates are still a thing in mid-century British medical practice.

and I just can't see Yoko Ono and Lennon meeting, so she's out of the picture.
Aye, that's definitely not happening.

Not that I'm on board with the whole "Yoko killed The Beatles" thing, mind, but it is a fairly obvious butterfly.

At some point they will face the question they never had to, when fashions change do you do a Bowie and completely reinvent yourself or take the traditional rock route and just carry on as you are. I can't see them being allowed to split up or being artistically happy just carrying on, so some sort of middle ground, probably aided by cultural change being a bit slower in the Commonwealth.
One of the things I am most interested in is the question of what happens if the group does go on into the Seventies. Their last EMI contract ran until 1976, of course, so if they can make it that long without murdering each other there is always the possibility of fulfilling Alan Partridge's Wings dreams…

NPDfwdZXEoNE.gif


They survive long enough to see the Commonwealth overthrown and the revolutionary mob stringing Bevan up from Tower Bridge, in a gesture of reconciliation they are allowed to play at the Jubilee Restoration Concert to welcome the Queen back onto the throne. Sound good?
I think it's fair to say that any Restoration dreams will have to remain firmly in dreamworld, but I do have a little piece on the Queen planned for the near future.
 
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GangsterSynod

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I have to admit that the Soviet music environment isn't exactly my strong suit, so I can't necessarily chime in too much, but I do question if their sound would be quite as hard-edged as it was OTL, at least. If they're not gigging in Hamburg in the worst clubs ever, they might sounds more like the Kinks circa Village Green Preservation Society (with a jazzier twist, maybe, given TTL's environment) than Please Please Me at first. Of course, they could be gigging in Britain in the worst clubs ever, so...
 
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