Discussion:
The Rinse Cycle
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Bert Coules
2016-01-31 11:14:11 UTC
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This sounds as if it could be fun: "An entertaining take on Wagner's
masterpiece, in a comic play with highlights sung in English... The Rinse
Cycle is 16 hours of music shrunk to only 2, and conditioned with comedy".

http://www.unexpectedopera.co.uk/events/the-rinse-cycle/

Bert
REP
2016-02-01 01:20:47 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
This sounds as if it could be fun: "An entertaining take on Wagner's
masterpiece, in a comic play with highlights sung in English... The Rinse
Cycle is 16 hours of music shrunk to only 2, and conditioned with comedy".
http://www.unexpectedopera.co.uk/events/the-rinse-cycle/
Bert
Not to be confused with The Rince Cycle, a play adapted from Terry Pratchett's Rincewind novels.

Coincidentally, I only just discovered Pratchett last year and I'm already 21 books into the Discworld series... Addictive stuff.

REP
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-02-15 18:06:55 UTC
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Not to be confused with The Rince Cycle, a play adapted from Terry Pratchett's Rincewind novels.
Coincidentally, I only just discovered Pratchett last year and I'm already 21 books into the Discworld series... Addictive stuff.
REP
Glad you enjoy them, I do too, and they're gradually being credited by the intelligentsia over here at last, especially since Terry got ill and knighted respectively. I used to know Terry quite well when we were both getting going, although we were never close friends; we shared a publisher, a celebrated editor, Richard Evans, and hence a publicity department (which regularly misspelled our names) and hence were often guests together at conventions, signings, panels etc. At one of which I managed to spill a full pint of beer down Terry's trousers in front of about 2000 people, but that's another story (and someone else's fault). Richard and I were both in awe of Terry's ability, especially when he was originally producing two of these novels a year (later he cut it to one); he wrote half of Equal Rites in one night. If truth be told, though, Terry wasn't that easy to know, even without the beer; Richard's small daughter had a cactus with huge spines that blossomed brilliantly once a year, and she called it Terry. He was also inclined to sly squibs about fellow writers; it was suggested that I was the model for Mustrum Ridcully, and not just because the initials matched! If true I suppose I'm more flattered than otherwise..I think. I did not at all like Masquerade, about opera; Terry could be a determined philistine, and reacted obstinately to attempts to change his mind. But he was unquestionably a terrific writer who progressed from pure parodist to something closer to Dickens, funny at all sorts of levels. Some of his last books aren't that good, but it's amazing he could still produce them at all.

I hope you won't overlook his childrens's books, too, which, as the best children's books should, also read well for adults -- The Amazing Maurice, and the Wintersmith books are among the best. The first of the "Science of Discworld" books, by Terry with Professors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, is also well worth reading (not so the later ones, alas). There are also about five film adaptations, animated and live, but beware, they're mostly terrible, except one -- Hogfather, which stars Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey fame.

Cheers,

Mike
REP
2016-02-16 21:53:47 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by REP
Not to be confused with The Rince Cycle, a play adapted from Terry Pratchett's Rincewind novels.
Coincidentally, I only just discovered Pratchett last year and I'm already 21 books into the Discworld series... Addictive stuff.
REP
Glad you enjoy them, I do too, and they're gradually being credited by the intelligentsia over here at last, especially since Terry got ill and knighted respectively. I used to know Terry quite well when we were both getting going, although we were never close friends; we shared a publisher, a celebrated editor, Richard Evans, and hence a publicity department (which regularly misspelled our names) and hence were often guests together at conventions, signings, panels etc. At one of which I managed to spill a full pint of beer down Terry's trousers in front of about 2000 people, but that's another story (and someone else's fault). Richard and I were both in awe of Terry's ability, especially when he was originally producing two of these novels a year (later he cut it to one); he wrote half of Equal Rites in one night. If truth be told, though, Terry wasn't that easy to know, even without the beer; Richard's small daughter had a cactus with huge spines that blossomed brilliantly once a year, and she called it Terry. He was also inclined to sly squibs about fellow writers; it was suggested that I was the model for Mustrum Ridcully, and not just because the initials matched! If true I suppose I'm more flattered than otherwise..I think. I did not at all like Masquerade, about opera; Terry could be a determined philistine, and reacted obstinately to attempts to change his mind. But he was unquestionably a terrific writer who progressed from pure parodist to something closer to Dickens, funny at all sorts of levels. Some of his last books aren't that good, but it's amazing he could still produce them at all.
I hope you won't overlook his childrens's books, too, which, as the best children's books should, also read well for adults -- The Amazing Maurice, and the Wintersmith books are among the best. The first of the "Science of Discworld" books, by Terry with Professors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, is also well worth reading (not so the later ones, alas). There are also about five film adaptations, animated and live, but beware, they're mostly terrible, except one -- Hogfather, which stars Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey fame.
Cheers,
Mike
I hear you on Maskerade. I originally returned it to the library unread when I found out that it was about opera. We all know how ignorant popular opinions on opera can be. But I've since started reading it, and I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. I just have to remind myself occasionally that it's more a parody of The Phantom of the Opera than it is of opera, despite the usual jibes.

As for being the possible inspiration for Ridcully... He is an endearing character, so "flattered" is probably the correct response. And I'm not as in-tune with British culture as a native Britain, but I did get the sense that Ridcully was Scottish for some reason.

The TV adaptations do seem terrible, although I've only watched bits and pieces (and an hour of The Hogfather). They're faithful almost to the word, which is commendable (especially from an opera fan's perspective!), but the humor seems to be missing. The only real joy is seeing the different characters realized, but you don't need a whole film for that.

The children's books are definitely on my to-read list -- a number of fans think they're among the best books. But somehow they keep slipping to the bottom of my reading pile. For one thing, I'm not a big fan of the witches series, which they seem to be a continuation of. But I'm sure I'll get to them eventually -- maybe after I finish the adult novels.

REP
Bert Coules
2016-02-16 23:50:28 UTC
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The TV adaptations do seem terrible... They're faithful almost
to the word, which is commendable...
Not necessarily. A TV drama is not a novel and frequently it's more
faithful to the spirit of the original to change things to suit the new
medium than it is to slavishly stick to the letter.
...but the humor seems to be missing.
See what I mean?

Bert
REP
2016-02-17 02:36:07 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
The TV adaptations do seem terrible... They're faithful almost
to the word, which is commendable...
Not necessarily. A TV drama is not a novel and frequently it's more
faithful to the spirit of the original to change things to suit the new
medium than it is to slavishly stick to the letter.
...but the humor seems to be missing.
See what I mean?
Bert
You know, as I typed that sentence, I was thinking, "Bert is going to take issue with this...." So I'm just glad to be proven correct.

And while I don't disagree with you, I think one can have the best of both worlds. The first Harry Potter movie, for example, is both a faithful adaptation of the book and a successful piece of cinema in its own right. In general, faithfulness and quality are independent factors.

REP
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-02-17 14:44:27 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
The TV adaptations do seem terrible... They're faithful almost
to the word, which is commendable...
Not necessarily. A TV drama is not a novel and frequently it's more
faithful to the spirit of the original to change things to suit the new
medium than it is to slavishly stick to the letter.
...but the humor seems to be missing.
See what I mean?
Bert
There's something to be said for both. I objected to the latest BBC "dramatization" of The Day of the Triffids, because the changes -- a whole new subplot involving the narrator's father, and another providing for a pat "solution" -- were so drastic that they amounted to a new work simply leeching on Wyndham's superior original. The recent Blandings Castle travesties are even worse. But you're right about the Pratchett adaptations, too, and I think that the trouble there, despite the honest intentions, stems from the fact that so much of Pratchett's humour, as with Wodehouse, lies in his own voice. A shot of David Jason (not my idea of Rincewind at all) bustling across a field isn't inherently very funny, but as described by Terry is usually hilarious, because he is both setting the context and describing Rincewind's ridiculous reactions. You have to find some way of translating or replacing the narrator, and to do that in wholly visual form you need to be an exceptional director (and have an exceptional budget, I suspect). In theory animation could avoid that, but the two animated films are even worse.

And just to keep this on-topic, I was considering the problem in relation to cinematic Wagner lately, comparing Fliegende Hollander videos. I've yet to see in full the East German one which cuts the work in half and somewhat de-supernaturalizes it, but excerpts are impressive -- more so than some more literal versions, including the studio one with Donald McIntyre hip-deep in a tank of wreckage (and a phantom ship only a designer could love). Yet the McIntyre is undoubtedly a truer exposition of Wagner's concept....

Cheers,

Mike
Bert Coules
2016-02-27 01:23:36 UTC
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Just back from a performance of The Rinse Cycle, and very enjoyable it was,
too. A production of the chamber-opera company Unexpected Opera
(www.unexpectedopera.com) it's about a small group of people who work at a
patisserie deciding, for reasons unknown, to entertain their patrons by
giving an illustrated guide to the Ring. The title comes from a slight
misunderstanding on the part of their set designer, who starts the evening
very proud that he's been able to obtain three industrial-size washing
machines, rapidly becomes somewhat disillusioned, and then rallies as his
machines prove to be invaluable, supplying as they do everything from the
swirling waters of the Rhine to the magic fire, with Fafner's mouth and
Siegfried's forge in between.

The private lives and relationships of the patisserie performers rather
cleverly parallel those of the characters they play, and fictional fact and
mythical fiction collide and interact to lovely - and sometimes very funny -
effect.

A cast of five play the performers who in turn play most of the leading
roles in the cycle. The MD plays the piano and helps out on a couple of
occasions when an extra (non-singing) male role has to be filled. The
musical extracts (in Andrew Porter's English and some of them quite long)
are interspersed with byplay, commentary and questions ("But when do we get
to the Hobbits?") from the stereotypically dim (but nice) posh member of the
cast who also happens to be the only tenor.

There are two complete casts who alternate. Tonight, standards were high
and in some cases very high, with standout performances from Simon Thorpe
(Ronnie/Wotan/Hunding/Hagen/etc, including a non-singing Mime) and Mari Wyn
Williams (Hilda/Brünnhilde/various others). Thorpe has sung Telramund and
Kothner (and Scarpia and Escamillo) with Welsh National Opera.

All in all a splendid evening. It plays at the Charing Cross Theatre until
12th March and I recommend it highly for Wagnerians who aren't too serious
about things and who don't mind joining in the encore: a highly spirited
massed singalong of the Ride of the Valkyries.
Richard Partridge
2016-02-27 17:41:05 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
Just back from a performance of The Rinse Cycle, and very enjoyable it was,
too. A production of the chamber-opera company Unexpected Opera
(www.unexpectedopera.com) it's about a small group of people who work at a
patisserie deciding, for reasons unknown, to entertain their patrons by
giving an illustrated guide to the Ring. The title comes from a slight
misunderstanding on the part of their set designer, who starts the evening
very proud that he's been able to obtain three industrial-size washing
machines, rapidly becomes somewhat disillusioned, and then rallies as his
machines prove to be invaluable, supplying as they do everything from the
swirling waters of the Rhine to the magic fire, with Fafner's mouth and
Siegfried's forge in between.
The private lives and relationships of the patisserie performers rather
cleverly parallel those of the characters they play, and fictional fact and
mythical fiction collide and interact to lovely - and sometimes very funny -
effect.
A cast of five play the performers who in turn play most of the leading
roles in the cycle. The MD plays the piano and helps out on a couple of
occasions when an extra (non-singing) male role has to be filled. The
musical extracts (in Andrew Porter's English and some of them quite long)
are interspersed with byplay, commentary and questions ("But when do we get
to the Hobbits?") from the stereotypically dim (but nice) posh member of the
cast who also happens to be the only tenor.
There are two complete casts who alternate. Tonight, standards were high
and in some cases very high, with standout performances from Simon Thorpe
(Ronnie/Wotan/Hunding/Hagen/etc, including a non-singing Mime) and Mari Wyn
Williams (Hilda/Brünnhilde/various others). Thorpe has sung Telramund and
Kothner (and Scarpia and Escamillo) with Welsh National Opera.
All in all a splendid evening. It plays at the Charing Cross Theatre until
12th March and I recommend it highly for Wagnerians who aren't too serious
about things and who don't mind joining in the encore: a highly spirited
massed singalong of the Ride of the Valkyries.
Do you sing, "Nach Süden wir ziehen, Siege zu zeugen, kämpfenden Helden zu
kiesen das Los"?


Dick Partridge
Bert Coules
2016-02-27 19:35:21 UTC
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Post by Richard Partridge
Do you sing, "Nach Süden wir ziehen, Siege zu zeugen,
kämpfenden Helden zu kiesen das Los"?
Actually, "to save having to rehearse" we were instructed to sing "Da Da
Da-da DA Dah... " etc.

I'm was proud and delighted that my companion for the evening, who happens
to be a soprano of no mean ability and enviable volume, joined in with
gusto, contributing her own "Hojotohos" and turning a considerable number of
heads. "You're our first real Valkyrie!" commented a company member
afterwards. "You should have been up on the stage!"

Bert
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-02-28 17:30:16 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
Post by Richard Partridge
Do you sing, "Nach Süden wir ziehen, Siege zu zeugen,
kämpfenden Helden zu kiesen das Los"?
Actually, "to save having to rehearse" we were instructed to sing "Da Da
Da-da DA Dah... " etc.
I'm was proud and delighted that my companion for the evening, who happens
to be a soprano of no mean ability and enviable volume, joined in with
gusto, contributing her own "Hojotohos" and turning a considerable number of
heads. "You're our first real Valkyrie!" commented a company member
afterwards. "You should have been up on the stage!"
Bert
Always nice to hear a real voice at such moments. On my first night in the USA, lang syne, we went to Faust at the Philadelphia Academy of Music (with a rising young bass called James Morris), and were blown away by the sheer soprano impact--of the audience, in the Star-Spangled Banner. It was like about three hundred Valkyries letting rip, hitting the high notes for home runs under the Academy dome. "Ah," said our host. "It's the mothers of the chorus members, you see -- all Italians from South Philly..."

Cheers,

Mike
Bert Coules
2016-02-28 17:41:29 UTC
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Ha. I once journeyed to Cardiff to see Alberto Remedios' sole UK stage
appearance (as far as I know) as Otello. As was their first-night custom,
the Welsh National Orchestra began the evening by playing first the English
then the Welsh national anthems. The audience, not unnaturally, gave voice.
The Welsh anthem won.

Ber
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-01 17:34:17 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
Ha. I once journeyed to Cardiff to see Alberto Remedios' sole UK stage
appearance (as far as I know) as Otello. As was their first-night custom,
the Welsh National Orchestra began the evening by playing first the English
then the Welsh national anthems. The audience, not unnaturally, gave voice.
The Welsh anthem won.
Ber
Yes, I've heard the same in Cardiff -- inevitably, really -- and at rugger internationals, though some there are so plastered they start singing Va, pensiero instead. When Deb had just arrived in Britain we were watching some Welsh festivity; she remarked "That's a really good choir!" "It's the audience!" I told her. But perhaps the most amazing occasion was Sir Geraint Evans' Covent Garden farewell performance, of Elisir d'Amore. The entire audience, plus the multinational cast, sang the Welsh anthem to him, in excellent Welsh. The Adina, an Italian, was in tears, and so eventually was Evans, so emotive was the music. Scotland the Brave, alas, doesn't cut it by comparison, still less that bloody Flower of Scotland.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-02-28 17:19:50 UTC
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Post by Richard Partridge
Do you sing, "Nach Süden wir ziehen, Siege zu zeugen, kämpfenden Helden zu
kiesen das Los"?
Dick Partridge
Ah, the "original" words... Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on a see-saw, sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."

Cheers,

Mike
Bert Coules
2016-02-28 17:30:42 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on a see-saw,
sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."
Oh, that's a little harsh. He was only offering it as a guide to
accentuation, and I have to confess that its repetitive simplicity fixed it
in my mind on a very first reading, where it's stayed ever since.

To answer the point in your other post, yes, it was great fun. My soprano
friend went away determined to arrange a visit for the other singers in her
group - I like to be in the audience for *that* singalong.

It would be a shade expensive for Edinburgh I think, given that for daily
performances they probably would need to field two complete casts, but in
every other respect it's surely ideal Fringe material.

And on the washing machines, a snatch of dialogue from the play:

RONALD: So we're going to be singing Wagner in front of washing machines in
a patisserie?
HILDA: I've seen sillier productions.

Bert
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-01 17:13:05 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on a see-saw,
sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."
Oh, that's a little harsh. He was only offering it as a guide to
accentuation, and I have to confess that its repetitive simplicity fixed it
in my mind on a very first reading, where it's stayed ever since.
A little harsh, perhaps, but it just grates on me -- especially when I see the new Met Walkure, with the Valkyries merrily seesawing on the slats of the Machine. Mind you, I could never take that seriously anyhow, and by the look of them neither could they.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-01 17:35:13 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on a see-saw,
sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."
Oh, that's a little harsh. He was only offering it as a guide to
accentuation, and I have to confess that its repetitive simplicity fixed it
in my mind on a very first reading, where it's stayed ever since.
To answer the point in your other post, yes, it was great fun. My soprano
friend went away determined to arrange a visit for the other singers in her
group - I like to be in the audience for *that* singalong.
It would be a shade expensive for Edinburgh I think, given that for daily
performances they probably would need to field two complete casts, but in
every other respect it's surely ideal Fringe material.
RONALD: So we're going to be singing Wagner in front of washing machines in
a patisserie?
HILDA: I've seen sillier productions.
Bert
Like it. A lot. Maybe I can get down south again to see this, somehow.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-01 17:59:57 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Bert Coules
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on a see-saw,
sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."
Oh, that's a little harsh. He was only offering it as a guide to
accentuation, and I have to confess that its repetitive simplicity fixed it
in my mind on a very first reading, where it's stayed ever since.
To answer the point in your other post, yes, it was great fun. My soprano
friend went away determined to arrange a visit for the other singers in her
group - I like to be in the audience for *that* singalong.
It would be a shade expensive for Edinburgh I think, given that for daily
performances they probably would need to field two complete casts, but in
every other respect it's surely ideal Fringe material.
RONALD: So we're going to be singing Wagner in front of washing machines in
a patisserie?
HILDA: I've seen sillier productions.
Bert
Like it. A lot. Maybe I can get down south again to see this, somehow.
Cheers,
Mike
For the next three days only, on BBC Radio 3's website, there's an interview with the Unexpected Opera team, with excerpts, mostly sung:

http://bbc.in/20qujS9

I'm impressed.

Cheers,

Mike
Bert Coules
2016-03-01 22:31:00 UTC
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Thanks for that link, Mike.

Bert
Bert Coules
2016-03-02 10:46:54 UTC
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Mike,

Thanks again for that link. I just listened and was impressed again with
the performances. They don't handle the dialogue with the ease that
straight actors would bring to it, but there are no disasters; and the
singing is splendid.

It does seem a natural for the Edinburgh Fringe.

Bert

Richard Partridge
2016-02-28 22:34:55 UTC
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On 2/28/16 12:19 PM, Mike Scott Rohan, at
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Richard Partridge
Do you sing, "Nach Süden wir ziehen, Siege zu zeugen, kämpfenden Helden zu
kiesen das Los"?
Dick Partridge
Ah, the "original" words... Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on
a see-saw, sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."
Cheers,
Mike
If I remember correctly, according to Newman, Wagner originally meant to
have a chorus of Valkyries sing that. Of course, it ended up on the cutting
room floor.

Dick Partridge
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-01 17:20:25 UTC
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Post by Richard Partridge
On 2/28/16 12:19 PM, Mike Scott Rohan, at
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Richard Partridge
Do you sing, "Nach Süden wir ziehen, Siege zu zeugen, kämpfenden Helden zu
kiesen das Los"?
Dick Partridge
Ah, the "original" words... Better than Culshaw's "Sick on a see-saw, sick on
a see-saw, sick on a see-saw, sick on a train..."
Cheers,
Mike
If I remember correctly, according to Newman, Wagner originally meant to
have a chorus of Valkyries sing that. Of course, it ended up on the cutting
room floor.
Dick Partridge
Yes, hence the "original" words. And he was right to scrap them, too; they're old-fashioned introductory self-description, if you know what I mean (like "We're soldiers of the Queen"), whereas in the finished libretto the Valkyries reveal their function and their characters through ordinary dialogue, much more naturally. It's interesting that Wagner, here as elsewhere, chose not to spell out most of the background material, relying on his audience to have at least some idea of what Valkyries were.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-02-28 17:17:57 UTC
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Post by Bert Coules
All in all a splendid evening. It plays at the Charing Cross Theatre until
12th March and I recommend it highly for Wagnerians who aren't too serious
about things and who don't mind joining in the encore: a highly spirited
massed singalong of the Ride of the Valkyries.
Thanks for this, it sounds like immense fun -- wish they'd bring it up to the Fringe!

There seems to be something operatic about giant washing machines -- they lately featured in the Kirov's (excellent) Frau Ohne Schatten, where of course they also provided a flood, and a while back in Ken Russell's ghastly Mefistofele, as well as one or two other productions. Maybe it's their elemental force.

Cheers,

Mike
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