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click opera - Night questions
February 2010
 
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Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 01:24 pm
Night questions

Sometimes, out of the blue (I'm walking through snow, at night, in the countryside in Hokkaido, perhaps, and it's seven below zero) a question comes into my mind. I will discover the answer when I get home, I tell myself, using the internet.



Some typical questions I might be asking:

What is America doing about global warming? Well, when I get home I listen to programme 2 of Climate Wars, a Radio 4 series, which informs me that, although the Bush administration's policy is to reduce 'emissions intensity' by encouraging efficiency, the effect is to allow emissions to grow over the next ten years. But there are coalitions of liberal states on the East and West coasts now forming to devise their own much more responsible emissions standards, apparently.

I'm also asking myself why am I able to live by music and keep releasing records, when someone as brilliant as Howard Devoto has to work a dayjob? According to Paul Morley, in the October 2000 edition of Uncut magazine, '...for the past few years Devoto has worked in a photographic agency organising their systems. "It is only since I've done the job that I have a practical view of the future - and therefore a degree of... well... happiness. It is such a relief not having to rely for my survival on my creativity or lack of it. There is the thing about how - after what I was and what I might have been - I end up doing a job that can be seen as pretty... boring. Well - I could never have worked in the music business. My pride would never have let me. Whatever I feel about not being involved in all that is far outweighed by the relief of not having to perform all the duties you're expected to if you want attention."'

The Magazine website Shot By Both Sides leads me to this beautiful cover by an artist called Forms of Things Unknown of the track Stupid Blood, from Luxuria's great second album 'Beast Box':

'Burn your bridges, burn your boats
Smell the life you never had
That, I'm afraid and I'm not afraid, is that...'

Devoto is the T.S. Eliot of rock lyrics. Perhaps Ministry's mediocre cover of Magazine's 'The Light Pours Out Of Me' will be his 'Cats'.

When I ask myself why people never embraced Mr Devoto, despite the clear superiority of his lyrics, I am never far from asking why 98% of computer users fail to use Apple computers. Farhad Manjoo goes some way towards answering my question in an article in Salon, Hallelujah, the Mac is back:

'[Apple's] share of the world's computer business remains dismal. The company now has about 2 percent of the worldwide computer market; its market share in the United States stands at just above 3 percent, a tenth of the share of the top Windows PC maker, Dell. We won't pause long to chew on the paradox of the Mac -- the mystery over why, so far, the world's best desktop computers are also the world's least popular machines... Windows users don't expect much in the way of quality, beauty or elegance from their machines; if they did, they'd be Mac people. Instead, they expect their PCs to perform a great many tasks, and they've resigned themselves to having to labor over those tasks.'

I sometimes look at myself in the mirror and ask 'Am I Nathan Barley'? Nathan Barley is coming to the UK's Channel 4 on February 11th. Barley is a 90s yuppie fop and 'self-facilitating media node' invented by TV Go Home's Charlie Brooker. Brooker's satirical TV listings made gargoyles of British media formulae. Now, incestuously enough, one of them is about to become real TV. The Nathan Barley series, co-authored by Chris Morris, is based on a recurrent listing called 'Cunt', which proposed that 'Nathan Barley is a worthless, moneyed little shit who deserves to die.' Whenever I used to read about Barley's adventures, back in the 90s, they seemed to match my own. Nathan was listening to drum'n'bass, looking at websites on his Nokia Communicator, or reading an issue of Sleazenation magazine in a Tokyo hotel room. So was I. Brooker observed these foibles with black Nazi bile, though, and condemned Barley to die a thousand ignominious fantasy deaths for them. On the strength of the trailers, the actual TV show looks a lot milder, though funny and promising. Perhaps the sins of the 90s have been exculpated by the much worse excesses of the Naughties.



Finally, I ask myself 'Why does 'Otto Spooky' (the album Nathan Barley never made) look so damn cool, now I've finally got it in my hands?'

47CommentReplyAdd to MemoriesShare

ameinias
ameinias
siphonophorae
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)

i was going to start being a mac user but was intimidated by the prospect of having to re-buy all my software.


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riotdorrrk
riotdorrrkz riot
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 05:22 am (UTC)

for some illumination: Macs are no good if one does all their gaming on the computer platform...

also, i can't build my own Mac from spare-and-castoff parts, as said parts are difficult to find.


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airconditions
airconditions
WONGYOU!
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)

that photo of the snow is fabulous!


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azzy23
azzy23
Mlle. Bébé Gottbach, Ph.D
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 05:44 am (UTC)

Our policy on the environment is thus:

It's really cold in some countries. We, Americans, believe every man, woman, and child has the GOD GIVEN RIGHT (the Christian God, not one of those artsy fartsy gay-tolerant heathen gods, mind you) to be toasty warm! We're SELFLESSLY pumping precious petrochemicals into the air to help warm those downtrodden, frozen types. And to liberate them also.

(one ticket to Canada, please)

Otto Spooky does look cool. I don't have it yet. I am bitter.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
no, you are not Nathan Barley...but I suspect we all know someone like him

Interesting to see what the series will be like. In these days where reality outpaces satire on a daily basis, the gallery of fake hipster magazines on the site look all too real. I think at least one of them is pointing a knowing finger at Vice Magazine....

cheers,

AJ


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:09 am (UTC)


Didn't you write something about how most design (I think you were talking about Japanese mcdonalds) looks like it's stuck in 1998? The mac is a perfect example of the same outdated looking crap. And why would anyone make a computer in white? The keyboard of my friend's G4 has turned brown and disgusting. By constrast, my thinkpad looks great in a form-function kind of way.



And try doing architecture on a mac. Autocad, one of the oldest computer programs still in existence is still windows only. Don't even think about new, wonderful revit. What's this about macs being for all the creative types?


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)

That's a pretty ugly machine


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mcgazz
mcgazz
McGazz
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC)

http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/images/iProduct.gif


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xchimx
xchimx
john fisch
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:14 am (UTC)

adobe has publicly stated that their software runs faster under pc environments as opposed to mac environments. there are a lot of other benchmarks out there which destroy the myth of macintosh quality. granted your average dell looks like doggy excrement compared to mac design, but there are plenty of 3rd party case designs that offer a far greater diversity. but that's just my 2cents.


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j7bnvaaaetrd
the infinite mirror
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:20 am (UTC)
Devoto

I saw Magazine and Luxuria live. They were both great. Devoto is pretty arty for a dude from Manchester. Most people from Manchester are sort of dumb. The one time I spoke to Devoto he was talking about Proust. After Luxuria folded, Howard worked in photography. He quit music. It was like Rimbaud quitting poetry. When I was in NYC this past fall everyone was playing Magazine records at clubs I went to.


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akss
akss
Anton
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)

Last weekends I've read big article about you in Novosibirsk glamour journal for night clubs.

You are getting more popular.
=)


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)

...big article about you in Novosibirsk glamour journal ... You are getting more popular...

Wow, big in Siberia! At last!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 07:07 am (UTC)

Well, at least Siberians don't have to rehash tired Mac v. PC nonsense. I expect more from Momus listeners, but Nick did expose his blog to the "public." My Mac impregnated me and will shortly foster your grandchildren.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 08:29 am (UTC)

What then do you expect from Momus? And what does "Instead, they expect their PCs to perform a great many tasks, and they've resigned themselves to having to labor over those tasks" mean, exactly? That pc users expect their computers to do work and use them as more than just an expensive toy?


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eduard_green
eduard_green
eduard_green
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)

Does this icon show your chinese military coat from university days?

Fantastic red hair! Where did it go?

My red hair is fading fading fading...


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auto_appendix
Jason Weaver
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 08:23 am (UTC)

I don't think Brooker was having a go at the culture around Nathan Barley but rather the fact that characters like him lead such a hateful existence. You actually care about the culture you're involved in and actually create some for yourself. Vast difference.

Devoto is supposed to be getting some sort of line-up of Magazine together for Vincent Gallo's All Tomorrow's Parties in April. Yoko Ono is said to be performing too.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 08:50 am (UTC)

Yes, I think Brooker would see Barley's sins as something like these:

1. Barley is socially privileged and high class, with private means.
2. Barley is untalented, unproductive.
3. Barley plays while others around him work.
4. Barley is insensitive to the pain of the exploited and the poor.
5. Barley is an early adopter of fads and gadgets.
6. Barley is inconsiderate in public ('braying', talking during films, etc).
7. Barley is a masturbator, and sexually selfish.
8. Aesthetically and morally repugnant.
9. Believes, quite wrongly, that his actions inspire envy.
10. Enviable.


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auto_appendix
Jason Weaver
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 09:06 am (UTC)

You make him sound quite appealing.


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lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)

Nathan Barley and my cousin Reginald would be famous for each other, I'd wager.


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amuchmoreexotic
amuchmoreexotic
Ben H
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 09:24 am (UTC)

why 98% of computer users fail to use Apple computers

Take heart, momus. Apple may have 2% market share, the percentage of computers that are being sold right now, but their installed base (percentage of working computers that are Apples) is higher - I've read estimates of 10 or 15%.

People keep their Macs longer, in part because they don't get clogged up with spyware and discarded as "broken" after a couple of years. Look at the high prices on the second-hand Mac market - the supply from people getting rid of Macs is clearly much lower than the demand. Whereas a second-hand x86 PC is only valued as a doorstop.

And I think worrying that you might be Nathan Barley exempts you from any charge of Barleyism.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)

"Apple may have 2% market share" - says who and where?

"the percentage of computers that are being sold right now" - just after Apple release a raft of new products?

"People keep their Macs longer" - yep, it gets expensive upgrading all the time.

"Look at the high prices on the second-hand Mac market" - as above.

"Whereas a second-hand x86 PC is only valued as a doorstop." - This is a "good" thing.. accessable to the masses, not the clique.


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ohnefuehlen
ohnefuehlen
Seán H
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 10:22 am (UTC)

Since my principal use for a computer is gaming, a Mac would be next to useless, not to mention considerably more expensive. I can't think of anything this PC can't do that a Mac can...


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 10:40 am (UTC)

Momusu, Macs are an American product is my own answer to that old question... I'm happier buying Japanese product. Sure I run software of US origin, but since when did private individuals buy software??


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 11:03 am (UTC)

In addition it's widely agreed that Japanese language support is superior on Windows. Type a word in hiragana on a Mac and the chances are the first kanji the OS will suggest will be some arcane character no longer in use... benkyou ni naru kedo, fuben da ne.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)

boulderdash. Japanese language support was one of the reasons I switched from a Windows machine to Mac OS X years ago. I got sick and tired or literally fighting with IME's (or whatever they're called), and found Apple's kotoeri input to be far far easier to use (not to mention the fact the whole system is unicode).

as for suggesting kanji, you do know it learns what kanji you most often use don't you? type in some hiragana and choose an alternate kanji suggestion, and next time you type in that hiragana, it will suggest the one you chose last time.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I know that; the point I'm making is that if you input a word you've not typed in before, it often suggests some obscure reading rather than the most frequently occurring readings, which is what the windows IME does. Do you not find that??


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jimyojimbo
jimyojimbo
Dr Jim
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 10:59 am (UTC)

This is probably a bit of a pointless whinge, but: Why did you (or the record company) put that big pink sticker on the front of the jewel case? You have this lovely cover design, and then someone goes and whacks a big dayglo thing over the top of it. Grr.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 11:56 am (UTC)

The designer, James Goggin (no relation to Nathan Barley) and I both like dayglo. The CD is dayglo yellow. Both the sticker and the CD can be peeled off the case and discarded.


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jimyojimbo
jimyojimbo
Dr Jim
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 12:02 pm (UTC)

Hmm, yes, just whingeing. Never have been a big fan of stickers on the front of CDs. The CDs are usually quite nice though, and i tend not to discard them.

Check rhodri if you haven't already for an example of the truely Barleyesque. I mean, rhodri posted about a Barley-type, not that he... oh, dear, back to work.


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eduard_green
eduard_green
eduard_green
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC)

I had a friend- Lynn- who was phobic of stickers. She was terrified of them. Wouldn't buy anything with a sticker on them, except price tickets because they were everywhere, and would peel them off with her finger nails as soon as possible.
If she gave a few pence to a chariteer in the street she would get terrified if they tried to give her a sticker.


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jimyojimbo
jimyojimbo
Dr Jim
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)

Wow. I guess the adoption of the bar code in shops, and thus the decline of the good old price sticker really helped her out! :-) My problem with stickers on things is just a kind of neatness, perhaps. Stickers on CDs are sometimes superfluous to the design - in my opinion! - and I want them off off off. But then sometimes some fool has used stickers that leave big grubby bits of stick all over the case. Never satisfied.


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eduard_green
eduard_green
eduard_green
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC)

Lynn said she hated stickers after her mother used to have a big woman's purse covered in them and gradually all the edges started to peeeeeeeeel back and they became gross and grimy.

The trick to removing sticker residue is nail polish remover- just dab it on and the stuff comes away clean!


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stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC)

I work at night now, and so manage to see more daylight than when I worked during the day. You see, the building I sit in while I'm getting paid has no windows. Yesterday, while the sky was yet pale, I made my way to the post office and found a parcel from Darla.com stuck into one of the lockers they use when my mail won't fit into my mailbox.

Momus, Otto Spooky is your best work to date. I say that being a fairly new listener; but I have done my homework.

The turn towards experimentation you've taken in the textures of your songs adds so much to your already excellent skeletal songwriting and lyrics. (The packaging is exemplary this time round as well.)

While your philosophies are often debatable -- why bother elucidating them, if not -- your cross-media presentation of the Momus project remains compelling, halfway through this decade.

To think, eventually you may be seen as a relic of the 00s rather than the 80s.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)

Bows, mumbles, blushes...


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commodorevic
commodorevic
Commodore Vic
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC)

How was that Devoto/Shelley album? Buzzkunst?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)

How was that Devoto/Shelley album? Buzzkunst?

I found it terribly disappointing. Almost unlistenable. Horrible production. Luxuria was so great...


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)

Funnily enough I liked "Buzzkunst" a lot and remember our thread about it before. It takes a few plays to get into. On the other hand I sometimes found the Noko production on Luxuria "Unanswerable Lust" (and in particular the guitar sounds) a little too slick and over produced.
Maybe you need to work with Devoto and produce him. That would be a fantastic combo..

Richard


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)

I did have Devoto in my house once, and I did propose a collaboration called Weird Wired Wound, in which we'd make a sort of 'Spiral Scratch'-like record and put it on the web. It came to nothing, although he did play me demos for the Buzzkunst album (I preferred them just played on acoustic guitar) and listen to my tribute 'The Most Important Man Alive'. (I wanted him to duet on it, but after some reflection he declined.) He also wanted to do a duet with Kahimi Karie, but she'd never heard of him and nothing came of that either. But it was a thrill to have HOWARD DEVOTO in my living room, I can tell you. His voice had been there so many times before, but never his body.


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boof_boy
boof_boy
boof_boy
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC)

But where can I buy a copy of Otto?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)

I don't know where you're based, but at the moment www.darla.com is the best bet, mail order.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC)
massage sonores

hi

did you ever had a sound massage? i just had one here at the art centre. your sitting in a chair and behind you your artist/therapist uses all kind of found material to produces tiny noises next to your ear. all crispering and very minimal sounds that are manipulated by thierry madiot a french musician, performer of breath and wind, inventor of intstruments and collector of accessories.

it was really nice. very real-laxing
I now want one every day!
and I can.



erik


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thewomb
The Womb
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)

I don't know if you've heard it, but Devoto penned the lyrics for an amazing collaboration with Mansun entitled 'Railings' which they put on a b-side. Great stuff. Actually, there was another one too, called 'Everyone Must Win'. Definitely worth tracking down on Soulseek.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC)
Nathan Barleycorn Must Die

Having used both Macs and PCs so much over the years, I consider myself unambiguously bicomputerable. However, neither system has completely satisfied me--not the software, not the hardware (we're not counting Linux). I want more choices, machines that look and act different from the old, established models. Something smart and stylish--and as "invisible," in a sense, and as foolproof (for fools such like me) as the telephone or radio used to be. When will someone design me something I can't even imagine right now?

As for the by-now-infamous sticker--that is by no means a dayglo pink (in my American pressing)! A Chanel "Think Pink" at most, a salmon-with-sunstroke pink, an underfed geranium pink, but not dayglo, not fluorescent, nothing to charge your blacklight up for. However, I do like stickers or anything extra you can get with a CD, even if I prefer the uncluttered sticker-less design. (After all, the only place you'll see the word "Momus" anywhere on the cover is on the spine, so how is the casual WalMart browser even to know this CD is courtesy of Momus?)

Ah, Momus, you really bring back memories of my brother waking me late at night to Magazine's "Song from Under the Floorboards," a radical departure from the pop hits he used to pester me with. I'll have to give Luxuria another chance, because I was originally as disappointed in them as you were with Buzzkunst.

"Boulderdash:" my favorite new word of the day. The gibberish granite might spout?

Z.






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(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 2nd, 2005 12:26 am (UTC)
Me again

Nick
Did you check out the new beck remixes exclusive to i-tunes ?: http://www.apple.com/itunes/

8-bit Supermadrigal style !

Richard


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jennvix
Jenn Vix
Wed, Feb. 2nd, 2005 05:34 am (UTC)

"You Never Knew Me" by Magazine is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.


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hugo_barine
Brian
Wed, Feb. 2nd, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)

Damn it, when's this album coming out in the states! I need it! I want it! I am a capitalist whore!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 2nd, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)

It already is out in the States, if you mean my one!


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