Posts Tagged ‘biographies of women singers’

Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning.

Yesterday, as I reported, the coroner at St. Pancras Coroner’s Office, London, released the toxicology report on Amy Winehouse, the 27-year-old British singer found dead in her flat on July 23. The official finding is that Winehouse’s death was due to alcohol poisoning. Her blood alcohol contained five times the legal limit of alcohol, which stopped her breathing and sent her into a coma. Three empty vodka bottles were found near her body in her bedroom.

Ironically, Amy Winehouse burst upon the international music scene with her 2006 hit single, “Rehab,” in which she famously refuses treatment for her alcohol and drug abuse:

“Rehab” became her anthem over the next five years as we watched, played out in the press, her very public spiral downward, in particular, the tumult that led up to her divorce from Blake Fielder-Civil, her husband of two years, whom she had met in a bar:

Blake Fielder-Civil and Amy Winehouse

“In addition to the reported drug use, Winehouse was famously caught on video carving the words ‘I Love Blake’ into her stomach with a shard of glass, and during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, she displayed photos of the couple passing pills to each other with their tongues.

But the Sid-and-Nancy-style love affair was also accompanied by photos of heated arguments that ended with both sporting bruises and scratches, as well as an arrest in Norway in October 2007 for marijuana possession; the couple were released with a fine. Just months after the wedding, Fielder-Civil was arrested on charges of suspicion of attacking a bar landlord and attempting to bribe him to drop the allegation. Following his incarceration, Winehouse was frequently seen wandering the streets of her Camden neighborhood in a daze, and she subsequently canceled a U.S. tour.” (source)

Some people laughed at Amy’s troubles; others scolded her for her misbehavior. Those familiar with addiction did neither. They knew all too well this predictable pattern. If Amy didn’t get treatment for addiction, she would die.

At yesterday’s inquest, Amy’s parents and friends listened as Amy’s doctor recounted how Amy had been totally resistant to any therapies that could have helped her with her drinking problems. That foolish decision robbed her of her health, beauty, freedom, and happiness, and, finally, her life.

In reporting the inquest’s findings, I have run across some websites with headlines saying, to the effect, that Amy did it to herself, that she deserves no pity: she drank herself to death. You will find none of these attitudes here. Yes, Amy Winehouse is responsible for her own troubles and the suffering she caused herself and others. But Amy was grappling with something she was powerless to control. She was an alcoholic who tried to control her drinking, which she could not.

Amy Winehouse, circled, as a 13-year-old pupil at the Sylvia Young Theatre.

Addiction is an illness. It is chronic, progressive, and, if left untreated, sometimes fatal. Amy Winehouse suffered from an illness she dangerously thought she could manage alone. Rest in peace, Amy Winehouse.

For more on Amy Winehouse on this blog, click here.

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British singer Amy Winehouse lost her battle with addiction.

It looks like we have an explanation for Amy Winehouse‘s tragic death. A coroner says the singer died from drinking too much alcohol, ruling it a “death by misadventure.” A pathologist says Winehouse (1983-2011) consumed a “very large quantity of alcohol” prior to her death and that her blood registered at 4.5 times over the legal drunk-driving limit. Winehouse, who died this summer at the age of 27, had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for years.

Her doctor says she had resumed drinking in the days before her death after a period of abstinence (which we don’t have to believe).

O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you:
Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom.
Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy.
Remove from them the fears that beset them.
Strengthen them in the work of their recovery;
And to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love.

source: The Book of Common Prayer

Read the coroner’s report on Amy Winehouse at the Associated Press.

Read about Amy Winehouse last days at the Daily Mail Online.

Read more about Amy Winehouse on this blog by clicking here.


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Carla Bruni proudly parades her growing bump as she makes her way into the launch event for her foundation to combat illiteracy at Centre Pompidou modern art museum, also known as Beaubourg, in Paris (May 17, 2011)

It was confirmed today that France‘s First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy is pregnant, possibly with twins due in October. Speaking to German newspaper Bild, her father-in-law, Pal Sarkozy, 82, said, ‘I’m glad to be having a grandchild.’ He went on to say that neither his son, French President Nicolas Sarkozy nor his daughter-in-law Bruni

 ‘want to know the sex the child, but I’m sure it’s a girl who’ll be as beautiful as Carla’.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy poses with then girlfriend Carla Bruni at the Giza pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 30, 2007. They would wed on Feb. 2, 2008, having known one another for only 9 weeks.

President Sarkozy, 55, – ‘Sarko’ – has three sons, Pierre, 26, and Jean, 24, from his first marriage to Marie-Dominique Culioli, and Louis, 14, with his second wife, Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz. Bruni, 43, is already a mother to Aurelien, born in 2001. His father was her then lover, the Paris philosopher Raphael Enthoven.

The announcement ends weeks of speculation that Bruni is expecting.

Source: The Daily Mail

Read more about Carla Bruni here.





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Carly Simon in 1973

In 1973, American singer Carly Simon scored the biggest global hit of her career with the release of  “You’re So Vain.” That year, the song hit #1 on the U.S. Pop and Adult Contemporary charts and sold over a million copies in the United States alone. “You’re So Vain”  is ranked at seventy-two on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All-Time.    

Written and performed by Simon, the hit became her signature song. In it she speaks critically of a self-absorbed lover.    

You’re So Vain Lyrics    

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and….
You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?
You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
Well you said that we made such a pretty pair
and that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee and….
 You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you…..
Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all of the time
And when you’re not you’re with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and….
You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you….. 

Carly Simon, "Anticipation." 1970

James Taylor and Carly Simon in an undated photo

Since the year of its release, the public has been obsessed with solving the puzzle in the song:

Who exactly is Simon referring to when she asserts in the song, “You’re so vain”?

Is it a lover from her past?

If so, then who is it?

 Carly Simon has dated many famous men.    

She has turned the speculation into a long-running guessing game, creating an intense media buzz and keeping the spotlight on herself. In countless interviews, she has dropped hints as to whom she is singing about but manages to never reveal his identity.  Her ex-husband musician James Taylor, to whom she was married when she recorded the song, is not in the running, she vows.    

 Interest has focused on four possible candidates, all of whom are Simon’s ex-lovers:    

rocker Mick Jagger (who sings back-up vocals on “You’re So Vain”)    

Mick Jagger marries Bianca De Macias in St. Tropez in 1971.

  actor Warren Beatty 

Actors Julie Christie and Warren Beatty, 1972.

 actor/musician Kris Kristofferson  

Carly Simon and Kris Kristofferson, 1974

 musician/activist Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam

Cat Stevens and Carly Simon in London, 1970, during the recording of Simon's song, "Anticipation." Simon wrote the song while waiting for her first date with Stevens.

The strongest contender is Warren Beatty – who actually phoned Simon and thanked her for writing the song about him.     

Here is a little bit of what Simon has said:    

The Washington Post – 1983

WP: Who was ‘You’re So Vain about? Mick Jagger?    

Carly: No.    

WP: Warren Beatty?    

Carly: It certainly sounds like it was about Warren Beatty. He certainly thought it was about him – he called me and said thanks for the song….    

WP: You had gone with him?    

Carly: Hasn’t everybody?    

WP: No.    

Carly: That only means you haven’t met him, though at the time I met him he was still relatively undiscovered as a Don Juan. I felt I was one among thousands at that point – it hadn’t reached, you know, the populations of small countries….    

 CNN – People In The News – 2004    

Paula Zahn : Long ago, you once admitted that it could potentially be a composite of a number of men that were dear to you in your life. Whether that be Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty or maybe even a little bit of James Taylor in there?    

Carly: Well, I guess for those who are interested in clues – the name of the person it was about had an “E” in it.    

PZ: Oh, well thank you…that’s very helpful Carly. That could be Mick, Warren or James. We still have the same three in the pot.    

Carly: Maybe I could disclose another letter. OK, it also has an “A”.    

PZ: (Laughter) Ok, we’ll be asking you about this for the next thirty years.    

Carly: Well listen, two vowels ain’t bad    

 Regis & Kelly – 2004

Regis : Isnt’ it time for you to tell the world – who’s the guy you’re singing about? Is it Warren Beatty? Is it Mick Jagger? Or is it me? Tell us!    

Carly: If I tell it, it’s going to come out in dribs and drabs. And I’ve given out two letters already, and “A” and an “E”. But I’m going to add one to it. I’m going to add an “R”, in honor of you.    

(End of Interviews) 

An a, an e, and an r – Warren Beatty certainly passes Simon’s letter test – and you can definitely put a checkmark in the vanity column, too.  In the New York Times bestseller, Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood, author Suzanne Finstad recalls a 1960 wrap party for the filming of  “Splendor in the Grass,” in which Natalie Wood starred opposite newcomer Warren Beatty.     

Actors Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood in 1962

At the party, Director Elie Kazan passed out gag gifts to the cast. He presented Warren Beatty with a hand mirror that said, “Good God, Warren.”    

“According to Kazan’s assistant director, Kranze, the mirror was a symbol for Beatty’s vanity during filming. ‘I recall distinctly getting on the set early in the morning and he’s in there before his make-up call….he’s in front of a mirror, a set stage, where the mirror’s right on the stage—and he’s got a straight pin, right? He’s putting that pin into each eyelash, and separating and moving them forward. He’s separating every ___ eyelash! He’s going one by one by one. Oh, my G__, this is six feet of pure ego!'”    

Besides, Beatty’s family comes from Nova Scotia, the place mentioned in the song, adding more credence to those who believe Simon wrote the song about him.    

In the new book, Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, author Peter Biskind estimates that Beatty has slept with over 12,000 women.

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Justine Lévy, the French author of "Nothing Serious" (titled "Rien de Grave" in France,) a thinly-veiled fictional account based on Ms. Lévy’s bad encounter with husband-stealer Carla Bruni, whom she calls "The Terminator."

“On Wednesday evening, Sept. 21, 2005, the designer Diane von Furstenberg hosted a cocktail party in honor of Justine Lévy, the author of Nothing Serious (titled Rien de Grave in France), a roman à clef based on Ms. Lévy’s recent, sensational personal life.

Ms. Lévy, 31, is the dewy daughter of the French celebrity-philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, and her book whipped up quite a scandal in France, illuminating certain universal truths about men, women and sex, and even jostling The Da Vinci Code from the best-seller list in the process.

…Ms. Lévy had a rather tragic encounter with the supermodel-cum-chanteuse Carla Bruni—the Angelina Jolie of Europe.

Ms. Lévy was married to a rising philosopher named Raphaël Enthoven, who was the son of her father’s best friend, Jean-Paul. She had a late-term abortion at the insistence of her career-obsessed husband and went through a messy two-year addiction to amphetamines.

That was before Ms. Bruni arrived on the scene. Ms. Bruni had somewhat of a home-wrecking reputation and was credited in the press with causing Mick Jagger’s split from his wife. In 2003, she remade herself into a pop singer and won the 2004 Victoires de la Musique in France.

Carla Bruni sings at the 2004 Victoires de la Musique in France

She was also, at one point, the mistress of Ms. Lévy’s father-in-law. She dumped the father for the son [Raphaël], shattering Ms. Lévy’s Raphaël Enthoven Jr. were married and have a son, Aurélien, born in 2001.]

Carla Bruni, former husband Raphaël Enthoven, and their son, Aurélien, circa 2003-2004

Nothing Serious, …published … by Melville House, is a fictionalized version of this story, with characters thinly disguised through pseudonyms. Of the Ms. Bruni–type character, the book’s femme-bot ‘Paula,’ Ms. Lévy writes:

‘I thought she was beautiful and dangerous with that immobile face, as if sculpted out of wax, when she smiled her bones sort of moved to reveal her teeth …. I thought she was beautiful and bionic, with the look of a killer,”’referring to her as the ‘Terminator.”

…(of Bruni, Lévy said):

 ‘If I see her, I kill her.’ “(1)

(1) Kolhatkar, Sheelah.  “It’s A Chattefight As Novelist Levy Nips Carla Bruni”. The New York Observer, October 2, 2005.

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Italian model Marpessa, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Carla Bruni, and Cindy Crawford at a Versace gala, 1992. Photo: Marina Garnier

Back in 1992, Carla Bruni (b. 1967) – First Lady of France, Italian heiress, international supermodel, singer – was romantically linked to Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger.

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

At the time, Jagger was married to supermodel Jerry Hall, who blamed Carla for the breakup of her marriage.

“Hall is said to be so jealous of Bruni that at a rock concert in London this summer she poured a mug of beer on Jean Pigozzi’s head and drove him from the backstage V.I.P. area, accusing him of having entertained Mick and Carla at his Cap d’Antibes compound.” (1)

Nevertheless, when interviewed by Bob Colacello of Vanity Fair that November, Bruni vigorously denied having an affair with Mick, although the press and close friends confirmed the affair.

At the time of the interview, Carla was flying high as an international supermodel, making over a million dollars a year. She had been on the covers of Harpers & Queen, Italian Elle, and Marie Claire, and was seen that month gliding down about 70 runways at the Paris, Milan, and New York ready-to-wear collections.

The video clip below shows Carla Bruni (Sarkozy) on the runway 1991-1995. Fashion designers featured include Dior, Versace, Chanel, Chantal Thomas.

Before Jagger, Bruni had been linked romantically linked to Donald Trump (when married to Marla Maples) and Eric Clapton.

Carla Bruni and Eric Clapton at a benefit for rain forests about 1992.

Clearly, the publicity had not hurt her career, Bruni confessed to Vanity Fair:

“‘A knife has two sides, the good side and the bad side. The good side is that the publicity is going to bring me more work and more money. The bad side is that it hurts….

Maybe I can get a subscription to scandals. Once a year. Every time my modeling rate goes down. Whom am I going to get next year? Hmmm.'”(1)

(1) Colacello, Bob.  “La Dolce Carla.” Vanity Fair, November, 1992.

Readers: For more on Carla Bruni, click here.

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Carla Bruni and Arno Klarsfeld at a 1995 Gianni Versace show.

First Lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was raised as the daughter of Italian concert pianist Marisa Borini and industrialist and classical composer Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi. However, in a 2008 interview published in Vanity Fair magazine, Bruni-Sarkozy revealed a bombshell: Her biological father is not really Bruni-Tedeschi.

Carla found out about her illegitimate birth in 1996, at age 28, when her legal father, Bruni-Tedeschi, was gravely ill. He summoned Carla to his deathbed and spilled the long-kept secret:  Genetically, he revealed, Carla was not his daughter. Rather, he went on, she is the love child born of an affair his wife conducted for six years with a man half her age. Carla’s biological father is the Italian-born, Brazilian grocery magnate Maurizio Remmert, who, as a young classical guitarist, met Marisa Borini when the two played in a quintet together.

How did Carla react to the news?

 “It was not a shock, and that is how I knew it was true, because I felt calm when he told me that,” says Carla. “I think lies are toxic for children, much more than a bad truth. Sometimes lies, when you are growing up, make you walk in a funny way to adapt. But I felt relieved. Isn’t it strange? I stopped feeling weird.”

Carla Bruni with mother Marisa Borini

Although Bruni-Tedeschi asked her not to tell her mother of their conversation, Carla did anyway, confronting her mother about a year later, after her father’s death. Her mother confirmed the truth, saying:

“What did you expect me to do? Go into the nursery to announce this to you?”

(That should tell us a little bit about Marisa, the mother….)

Carla Bruni's 2 millionnaire dads: Alberto Bruni Tedeschi (left) said on his deathbed that Maurizio Remmert (right) is Carla's real dad.

In 2008, Carla’s biological dad Remmert broke his 40-year silence on the matter and confirmed that he is Carla’s real dad. Remmert lives in São Paulo, where he is a grocery magnate, and Carla is in frequent contact with him. Since learning the painful truth, Carla has been through years of therapy.

Also check out these related posts:

“Carla Bruni Sings at Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert” and “Carla Bruni, Homewrecker?”

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Carla Bruni's famous backside, photographed by Helmut Newton, long before she became First Lady of France
Carla Bruni’s famous backside, photographed by Helmut Newton, long before she became First Lady of France

 Bob Colacello of Vanity Fair magazine interviewed Carla Bruni for this November 1992 article titled “La Dolce Carla”:

It’s no wonder 24-year-old Carla Bruni has been linked, fairly or not, to several famous older men with names like Jagger, Clapton, and Trump. When the author caught up with the Italian model on the Riviera, he found her as smart and beautiful as she is charming and, well, beautiful.

Carla Bruni, the 24-year-old Italian-born model who may or may not have broken up Mick Jagger’s 15-year union with Jerry Hall, comes to the door of her parents’ house near Saint-Tropez wearing a bathing suit of van Gogh sunflowers on a blue Lycra field, cut extra high in the rear, making her long and sinuous legs seem even longer and more sinuous.

Carla Bruni Sarkozy's family home: the 40-room Castello di Castagneto Po, near Turin, Italy

Carla Bruni Sarkozy's family home: the 40-room Castello di Castagneto Po, near Turin, Italy

The handsome Art Deco villa of the Bruni-Tedeschi family stands amid cypresses and pines atop a private peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean, which can be seen and heard slapping the rocky coast a few hundred feet below. On one side of the dahlia-lined gravel driveway, her brother Virginio’s vintage Citroëns gleam in the afternoon sun. It is a scene straight out of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis—until Carla Bruni picks up my not-so-light suitcase, throws it over her shoulder, and carries it up the stairs.

Carla Bruni is not your typical high-priced international mannequin—all pouts and poses—though she does make a million dollars a year, has been on the covers of Harpers & Queen, Italian Elle, and Marie Claire, and can be seen this month gliding down some 70 runways at the Paris, Milan, and New York ready-to-wear collections. Nor is she your typical highborn Northern Italian heiress—all yips and orders. Her family is rich; their lire come from the CEAT electric-cable company of Turin. But her father, Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi, is a composer of atonal music; her mother, Marisa, is a concert pianist. “They were more original, eccentric, and open than the real bourgeoisie of Turin. They could have been like that, but they weren’t, because they were artists before everything,” says Carla, curled up after dinner in their impressively well-stocked library, smoking a cigarette and stroking her cat George Sand. She has changed into a teal-blue neo-hippie macramé sweater and black semi-see-through Azzedine Alaïa bell-bottoms, but she is still barefoot, and with her straight, tawny hair, parted in the middle, she is a bit Julie Christie, a bit Pilar Crespi.

Carla Bruni as international model

Carla Bruni as international fashion model

When Carla was five, the family moved to Paris, where she now has an apartment of her own facing the Bois de Boulogne. At 19, she dropped out of art-and-architecture studies at the University of Paris and signed up with City, the modeling agency. “The first ad campaign I did was Guess? jeans. It was scandalous, because I was sitting on the knee of this old man,” she notes in a low, throaty tone that is all the more seductive because it is so matter-of-fact.

She prefers older men in real life, “men who are superior to me,” as she puts it, and has been linked in the media to three very different men in their 40s: Eric Clapton, Donald Trump, and now Mick Jagger. She admits that she had a “strong relationship” with Clapton three years ago, but is cutting on the subject of the financially troubled real-estate developer. She maintains that she only had tea with Trump three times (always chaperoned by His Royal Highness Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia) before awaking one morning to the People-magazine headline trump says goodbye marla, hello carla. “I didn’t have even any thought of the beginning of an affair with him. Nothing, nothing, nothing. That’s why I’m so rude in my denials. I don’t know what clicked in his head. I think it’s about the need for constant publicity. It was really disturbing.… It gives me the reputation of this woman who is running after married men.”

Mick Jagger and wife Jerry Hall. Hall filed for divorce from Jagger in 1992, calling him Jagger is a "lying, cheating, no-good slimeball." Jerry Hall is a Texas native.

Mick Jagger and wife Jerry Hall. Hall filed for divorce from Jagger in 1992, calling him a "lying, cheating, no-good slimeball." Jerry Hall is a Texas native.

She is absolutely mum on Mick, though the press has reported, and close friends of the Jaggers’ claim, that she has been having an affair with him for well over a year. “I’m using the old Japanese proverb,” she tells me with open-eyed insouciance, “ ‘Turn your tongue a hundred times in your mouth before saying anything.’ ” Has she met Mick? “Once.” Did she rendezvous in Thailand with him the day after Jerry Hall gave birth to their third child? “No.” Then why has Hall publicly denounced Bruni as the cause of her problems with Mick? (Hall is said to be so jealous of Bruni that at a rock concert in London this summer she poured a mug of beer on Jean Pigozzi’s head and drove him from the backstage V.I.P. area, accusing him of having entertained Mick and Carla at his Cap d’Antibes compound.) Bruni’s reply: “Ask her.” I try a different tack. What is her favorite Rolling Stones song? “Who? What are you talking about?” She lowers her lids over her cool blue eyes, then raises them again and whispers, “ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ ”

Although she’s being coy about Jagger, what’s refreshing about Carla Bruni is her frank intelligence. She is as convincing on Stendhal’s “crystallization of love” as she is on the essential silliness of modeling (“Most of my work is about moisturizing”). And after three scandals in as many summers, she knows what the fame game is all about. “A knife has two sides,” she says, “the good side and the bad side. The good side is that the publicity is going to bring me more work and more money. The bad side is that it hurts.” She concludes playfully, “Maybe I can get a subscription to scandals. Once a year. Every time my modeling rate goes down. Whom am I going to get next year? Hmmm.””

For more on Carla Bruni on this blog, click “Carla Bruni Sings at Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert” and “Carla Bruni, Love Child.”

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France's First Lady, Carla Bruni, is also a singer, model, and actress. Her dating resume, prior to her marriage to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, includes rock stars Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.

France's First Lady, Carla Bruni, is also a singer, recording star, model, and actress. Her dating resume, prior to her marriage to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, includes rock stars Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.

From the BBC:

Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has taken part in a New York concert to celebrate the 91st birthday of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the event at Radio City Music Hall also featured performances by Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and Will.I.Am.

Click below to hear Carla sing.

For more on Carla Bruni Sarkozy, you might enjoy reading this post: “Carla Bruni: Homewrecker?” and “Carla Bruni, Love Child.”

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