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gabelson
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There's a female comic who has made interrupting herself her "hook"- her name is Wendy Liebman. She interrupts herself with a "subliminal" punch line. It's a pretty interesting approach, actually.
Back to ad-libs. Yes, there is the rehearsing of ad-libs, and then there is the true ad lib. Ever watch a comic or magician actually respond cleverly to a heckler, with comments SPECIFIC to that guy AT THAT MOMENT, so you KNOW it's an ad lib? It's like true magic! And the line doesn't have to be HALF as funny as a "prepared" line or ad lib, and yet will get TWICE the laugh, because the audience KNOWS it's spontaneous. Now obviously, even the best comics aren't going to come up with brilliant lines on their feet every set, but it's something one can learn to do by putting in LOTS of stage time. To become as relaxed up there, as you are in your living room. Robin has the unique fortune of having a photographic memory. Everything he's ever heard in life, every funny line (LOL), he remembers, and can bring to an improvisation at a split second's notice. He'll have the perfect line ready for every possible situation. Very few have that talent.

Gabelson
Dannydoyle
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Wait now your talking both sides of things here.

If he has "heard it before and can bring it to improvisiation at a split seconds notice" THAT IS NOT IMPROV!

THAT is what I was saying in the first place. He did not think of it on the spot, HE REMEMBERED IT. Your confusing the heck out of me.

He also had the warewithal to practice those lines till they LOOKED ad libbed.

YES there is the true ad lib, but being a competent actor means you can make your rehersed lines seem ad libbed. That is our talent or at least it should be.

Look at Mac King when he has them sign the WRONG side of the card my "mistake" every show! Each time it looks as if it is ad libbed, or a mistake. That is the point.

I agree there is a true ad lib, but it is not really elevated to the status you give it. Proper acting, routining, and scripting can definatly fool an audience into thinking it is a true ad lib. And why should they ever be any the wiser?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
gabelson
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I stand corrected, Danny. You are right- indeed, what I meant was that Robin's memory is so good, it APPEARS to be an improv, and is not literally "in the moment". And he doesn't NEED to practice the line... in fact, it may have been something he heard 20 years ago (probably in a comedy club), and just remembered it on the spot as it fit the particular situation. And yes, proper acting and scripting should make EVERYTHING spontaneous. I was always amazed at how many audience members thought we did different jokes every single night! However, I respectfully disagree on one point- as a paid stand-up who worked 17 years on the club circuit (over 10 network television appearances), I don't believe I "elevated" the status of a true ad-lib. The audience DOES know the difference... when an audience member who's a rocket scientist with a purple pants and orange hat heckles you (not that you'll see that guy too often), and you have a SPECIFIC comeback for him, the audience knows you're thinking on your feet, and will laugh harder than they would at a funnier line which was delivered numerous times. When I was coming up through the ranks in the 80's, I came up with Reiser, Romano, Seinfeld, Rock... (obviously, I was the caboose of that train!) In fact, I was the emcee at the Comic Strip in NYC, and introduced Chris Rock to Eddie Murphy... and that was the beginning for Chris. Any of those aforementioned guys, as brilliantly funny as they were, and as strong as their material was... when they had to handle a heckler, or said something that could only apply to their immediate situation, THAT line would get the biggest laugh of their set. How many great comics (and there are many GREAT comics) have you seen (when you hang out at comedy clubs) are on automatic pilot every night? As brilliant as they are, they play it safe. That's part of the reason an audience appreciates something said that's truly spontaneous. Don't underestimate the public, even though we've all played to some crowds with the intelligence of plant life.
Dannydoyle
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The thing is if you were in the comedy clubs at the time you know the stories of Robin Williams sitting in the back of the clubs with a pensil and paper. Maybe he didn't have film for his photographic memory those nights. The stories are stuff of legend now, and quite true.

I think we are getting to my original post which you disagreed with, but now seem to agree with. Comedy is mostly memory.

I never underestimate an audience. BUT like I said, a good actor can make them think it is spontanious. That is why we act! Look at what Maryl Streep can make you think is going on.hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Now yes heckler stoppers are a spacific case, but 90% of them are rehersed and re worked. Heck if you have been in comedy as long as you have (and I assume you have) then you know there are only 5 jokes in the first place. Which is why comedy cycles.

The vast majority of what you refer to is what Jay Marshall called "thinking in funny". THAT is the skill of which you speak. I do it all my life. It is where your "in the moment" theory comes from. It is tough and can indeed go either way. (Jay may not have coined the phrase, he simply used it a lot).

Funny part is if you read the posts you are saying exactly what I have been all along now. You still keep dropping names for some reason. We get it. We know your a good writer, I have no doubts. Really I assume you have better things to do than come here and fake a resume. So no more need for names. I use Jay as he was a magician everyone knows.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
MetalBender
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Reading this is interesting for me because I'm a stand-up comic. I'm not a working pro, but I am a part time proffesional. The big reason I don't work all the time is because I'm an american living in Canada, and I only have a student visa. I do work in the states, but that's not really important. I work as a magician, but I don't bring magic on stage, I'm a close up guy and I know my place.

First of all that link the guy posted about Humber College, I go there. I study Comedy Writting and Performance from some of Canada's top comedians, and I study in Toronto. It's a good program if you make it work for you. I study Stand-up, improv, acting, physical comedy, and sketch. My sketch teacher was on SNL (her name is Robin Duke, she was on during the Joe Piscapo years.) My physical teacher has done wildly popular clown shows in theatres all over the world, his name is Mike Kennard. My improv teacher is Allan Gutman, he directed Second City for a long time. My stand-up teachers are Larry Horrowitz and Rob Trick, two comedians who've worked all over the world. We have Joe Flarity (he was in Happy Gilmore) as an artist in residence. Last year we had both Billy Crystal and Eugene Levy come and lecture to us. It's a good program if you work it. It won't make you funny, but it will hone your skills, teach you the buisness side of things, and get you wicked connections. I STUDY comedy. It's my major in college you could say. We sit and discuss comedy, we write comedy, more importantly we PERFORM comedy. I do four to ten open mics a week, plus I do the occasional under the table paid show out and around Ontario with other comics. I've done stand-up for five years now, and I've got to tell you being in a creative atmosphere like this program is excellent. People can trash talk my program all they want, but I sit in class with some of the next big comics.

As for the argument about Second City, I'm going to post my notes on how they create a show. These notes are taken directly from Robin Duke, who was a cast member of Second City Toronto for a number of years.

Every night there is the sketch review show, then the improv set afterwards. During the improv set afterwards the cast generates ideas from the audience, works on ideas they have, and forms them into scenes that work. During the time the theatre is dark cast members take the scenes from the improv sets and rework them untill the director is happy. There is no script untill the opening night of the show when the entire show is transcribed, and at that time the review show is set in stone.

Feel free to argue all you want about what Second City is, but that's how they create a show. The first half of the show is sketch review, the second half is improv. It is long form improv, a type that most people aren't used to.

Open mics are out there, you just have to find them. If you can't find them, create them. Everyone watches comics on television and thinks they can do better, they usually can't, but you will have people to perform. If you have questions about creating a room give me a shout and I'll give you some pointers. If you're in Toronto give me a shout and I'll take you to them. They are out there, go do them, and leave the cards at home.

I consider myself a stand-up these days, despite the fact that I still do professional magic. I'm going to put my two cents in, and feel free to yell at me, but everything I'm about to say is true. Magicians, as a group, engage in intelectual property theft on a larger scale than anyone else. I've done it, we've all done it. Don't say you don't, because I'm sure I can look at your act and point it out. The fact is we like to know things, and very often we have no qualms about taking a joke. That's not studying comedy. Sorry I'm getting preachy, and ranty, I'll stop in a second. How many times have you been watching another magician or comedian, said to yourself, "I like that line." Then you put the line in your act. It doesn't hurt anyone, except that you just entered the realm of hack. We are so protective of our secrets, that we don't notice when we start stealing stuff. Go out, do stand-up, then look at your act and realize how naieve you are. Feel free to hate me. After I became a comic, the magician inside me died, and I'm glad he did. I love magic, but I hate magicians. Step back and look at us as a group. There are shinning examples of brilliant performers who write and perform original comedy that are a credit to our people. Then there is the rest of us. Let the tearing me to shreds begin.
"Magic up close and personal, the way is should be."

http://www.DelusionMasters.com
gabelson
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Actually, I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, this is why (as I mentioned in an earlier post) there is a stigma attached to magicians, and a major reason why you don't see them on the late night talk shows. It's because audiences are savvy, and they HAVE heard it all before. Comics, on the other hand, (the good ones, at least), are defined by their material, and vice-versa. Hey, they created a sitcom around Ray Romano's act, all of which is factual- Lived next to parents, brother a cop, etc. And yes, as you and Danny have mentioned, most improv groups work off of suggestions from the audiences, then formulating a scene. But certainly, being from Canada, you must know there are many improv groups who still perform spontaneously, without a net. Not saying that's better or worse, but they do exist. Check out the history of "Compass". (I know two in Ottowa alone)

G
Dannydoyle
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So now NO magicians are doing original stuff? Man you hate all magicians and paint them all with the same brush. Nice. Very bitter.
The main reason you are part time is because you want to be. Do this for 20 years, heck one year, then try to tell me about my act, which by the way you have never seen. But why let that stop you from making sweeping generalizations about groups of people.
I can name about 100 people off the top of my head who do NOT steal lines and have a fantastic act. All you are pointing out when you say everyone does it is that YOU do it. NOT everyone. Tell Whit Haydn he is a thief. Juan Tamarez, Bill Malone, and on and on.

Yea it is just easier to paint all magicians with the same brush. We too are glad the magician in you died. You are bad enough for the art of comedy,let alone spilling over into magic. Glad their team got you in the trade.

Being bitter about magic won't help you. Hating magicians won't help you. It gives you someplace to direct a lack of sucess and frustration, but it won't help.

gableson has probably seen the same thing in the past. It is a trap many guys fall into. It happened a LOT in the late 80s as the comedy club BOOM was ending and people were looking to blame for their lack of work. You havn't even done this full time for any time and your already there. Congrats your way ahead of the curve.

I hope this gives you another reason to hate magicians. Or to learn. You pick.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
gabelson
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You're right, Danny... which is why I said a "stigma" has been attached to magicians, unfair as it is. Curious that it hasn't been applied to stand-ups, as well, as there are just as many hacks in that field. But I think the crux is that more audiences are familiar with linking rings and sponge balls, than a comic, say, doing a McNuggets joke, or the "why don't they make the plane out of what they make the black box out of?" joke. The general public has NO IDEA how many great, original thinkers there are in magic... which is why when a Marc Salem or Gerry McCambridge, or any of the folks you mentioned perform, people are blown away. It's magic like they've never seen before.

G
Dannydoyle
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You got it buddy.

Actually there are LOTS more hack comics out there. Some even working.

IT in part added to the decline of the comedy club as we knew it. Not as it is now with his less than a hear part time experience I mean the golden age of the 80s.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
gabelson
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No question, Danny. And as the quality of comics started to decline, so did the intelligence of the audience. In 1980, stand-up comedy was something you had to SEEK OUT, and only the people really interested in listening, would come. After 10 years, it became something to do if the movies were sold out, or if the dance club was closed. And it died. When I started, in 1980, (and again, I'm name dropping! But it's only to illustrate what comedy WAS). In 1980, a typical MID-WEEK show at the Comic Strip in NYC, was Paul Reiser, Jerry Seinfeld, Rita Rudner, Eddie Murphy, George Wallace, Richard Belzer, Larry Miller, etc. Now, you're LUCKY if one of those guys pops by on a weekend for a surprise cameo. Like Vaudeville, the
"hot" stand-up scene of the 80's was a short window in the history of comedy, one, which Seinfed himself said, we will never see the likes of again.

Gabelson
Dannydoyle
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Actually I hold out hope.

Club owners are waking up kind of. Hopefully the bowling alley clubs will be gone and every bar with a corner stage should be stopping soon. We are ready for a researgence!!!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Tony Brent
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You are correct about the hack comics out there Danny. An agent sent me a demo reel of a popular cruise line comic hoping I would book the guy to work in the show that I produce in Orlando. Everything the guy did was hacked. Old Richard Pryor and George Carlin done poorly. I didn't hear one original thought.

Tony Brent
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MetalBender
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Ok guys.... get a grip... I played devil's advocate for eight seconds and you flipped out... If anyone says anything radical on these boards everyone assumes he fell out of the devils womb, and started making personal attacks. Did anyone recognize any of the tounge and cheek in the idea that the magician inside me died? Why would I hang out on a magic message board just to poop on other magicians? Ok so I'll admit some of the stuff I wrote was out there. Does any of it have any merrit, and will you atleast concede that as a group we participate in a lot of intelectual property theft? Lord, Magic Makers and many other magic companies are practically built on intelectual property theft. I could probably get sued for that, but will anyone concede that statement is right on the money?

Did I accuse anyone specifically of being a hack and stealing? Did I name Whit Hayden or Bill Malone? When I said "you" have stolen I was using the universal you. Can you honestly tell me that you never EVER lifted a joke. Didn't I say there are some shining examples in our proffesion? Can you give me any credit at all? I have some valid points, and I will admit I stated them a tad on the strong side.

Oh, and don't get me started on hack comics. I'm very fortunate that my comic friends are cutting edge, and incredible. However there are a load of hacks out there, and I will never say that comics are free from sin. Let me rephrase everything I said in a more gentle way without any tounge in cheek, without any fire and brimstone, and in as polite a way as I can. It's something I truly believe, and I hope no one here will argue with me.

"Can magicians, as artists, stop telling children that was our name when we were a little girl? Maybe then some of us will be on Comedy Central."

Can I get away with that? Sure I'm a little bitter, ok a lot bitter. I'll tell you where it comes from. I was with my mom on the harbour front in Toronto yesterday, and I saw a guy (Max the Odd I think he called himself) butcher cups and balls, then EXPLAINED to the audience how it was done, and the harbour front paid him to be there. It conjured up all those memories of the jerks who do Doug Henning's act, tell me it's original, then get paid for it. So something had me tweaked. I appologize if I offended everyone, I was a little torqued up against magicians.

The only thing I'm really going to defend myself on is the part time thing. I worked in a theatre town (Pigeon Forge) as a full time entertainer and made an comfortable living. I had a number of reasons to leave the area, and go back to school that I don't feel I need to share with the community, and I'm part time now because I'd prefer not to fail out of school. Am I at ALL justified in choosing to maintain good grades while I'm in school, and not gigging around in my car constantly?

Ok so I put my opinions in a more polite manner, explained that the magician inside me is not really dead he's just bitter, and defended my current proffesional status. Am I allowed to play now? I still consider myself a comic, but next time I'll try and use my edditing equipement better. Sorry, I'm a jerk, but aren't a right on some things? Don't some of us.... a lot of us.... need to write better and.... going back to the topic of this thread... study comedy?

p.s. Guys, seriously, check out the Humber School of Comedy Writting and Performance, some of you will dig it, some won't, but if you are thinking about going back to school and at all studying theatre, this is a handy way to do it.
"Magic up close and personal, the way is should be."

http://www.DelusionMasters.com
MetalBender
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Ok guys.... get a grip... I played devil's advocate for eight seconds and you flipped out... If anyone says anything radical on these boards everyone assumes he fell out of the devils womb, and started making personal attacks. Did anyone recognize any of the tounge and cheek in the idea that the magician inside me died? Why would I hang out on a magic message board just to poop on other magicians? Ok so I'll admit some of the stuff I wrote was out there. Does any of it have any merrit, and will you atleast concede that as a group we participate in a lot of intelectual property theft? Lord, Magic Makers and many other magic companies are practically built on intelectual property theft. I could probably get sued for that, but will anyone concede that statement is right on the money?

Did I accuse anyone specifically of being a hack and stealing? Did I name Whit Hayden or Bill Malone? When I said "you" have stolen I was using the universal you. Can you honestly tell me that you never EVER lifted a joke. Didn't I say there are some shining examples in our proffesion? Can you give me any credit at all? I have some valid points, and I will admit I stated them a tad on the strong side.

Oh, and don't get me started on hack comics. I'm very fortunate that my comic friends are cutting edge, and incredible. However there are a load of hacks out there, and I will never say that comics are free from sin. Let me rephrase everything I said in a more gentle way without any tounge in cheek, without any fire and brimstone, and in as polite a way as I can. It's something I truly believe, and I hope no one here will argue with me.

"Can magicians, as artists, stop telling children that was our name when we were a little girl? Maybe then some of us will be on Comedy Central."

Can I get away with that? Sure I'm a little bitter, ok a lot bitter. I'll tell you where it comes from. I was with my mom on the harbour front in Toronto yesterday, and I saw a guy (Max the Odd I think he called himself) butcher cups and balls, then EXPLAINED to the audience how it was done, and the harbour front paid him to be there. It conjured up all those memories of the jerks who do Doug Henning's act, tell me it's original, then get paid for it. So something had me tweaked. I appologize if I offended everyone, I was a little torqued up against magicians.

The only thing I'm really going to defend myself on is the part time thing. I worked in a theatre town (Pigeon Forge) as a full time entertainer and made an comfortable living. I had a number of reasons to leave the area, and go back to school that I don't feel I need to share with the community, and I'm part time now because I'd prefer not to fail out of school. Am I at ALL justified in choosing to maintain good grades while I'm in school, and not gigging around in my car constantly?

Ok so I put my opinions in a more polite manner, explained that the magician inside me is not really dead he's just bitter, and defended my current proffesional status. Am I allowed to play now? I still consider myself a comic, but next time I'll try and use my edditing equipement better. Sorry, I'm a jerk, but aren't a right on some things? Don't some of us.... a lot of us.... need to write better and.... going back to the topic of this thread... study comedy?

p.s. Guys, seriously, check out the Humber School of Comedy Writting and Performance, some of you will dig it, some won't, but if you are thinking about going back to school and at all studying theatre, this is a handy way to do it.
"Magic up close and personal, the way is should be."

http://www.DelusionMasters.com
MetalBender
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Sorry for posting twice, my PC is dieing... I need a mac....
"Magic up close and personal, the way is should be."

http://www.DelusionMasters.com
Dannydoyle
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You are not done suffernig yet. You are a comic when OTHERS think of you as such. When you have put those years in on the road, THAT is the very process which makes you a comic. You choose to circumvent this process. Fine, school is a great choice. don't' think you have been where we have been and can judge us. You havn't.

Of course you have a valid opion. Everyone does. Your just not entitled for your opinion to be correct. What did you expect? You go and act all superior as if the old 20 year road dogs don't know anything. Funny thing about tongue in cheek, dosn't really transate over the internet now does it? That is why they caution against it in the rules here.

So does your case have merrit? Well kind of. Do I as a current professional use standard lines? YOU BETCHA! Why? Because they work. The lines have been here for 100 years for a reason. So if you update it some, make it your personality, change a few words, then yep use it. It is about the audience. Now 95% of my act is NON standard lines, and nothing that came from anyone elses original act.

I am not sure how a magician working with children can expect to be on Comedy Central to begin with so what they tell kids is irrelivant.

Point is really no other magician is keeping YOU off of TV. The only one keeping you from being on TV is you.

You appear bitter as it seems less talented people than you (in your mind) are getting work and being paid. Welcome to life. If this makes you bitter your gonna hate the next 20 years for sure. Best advice is get over it. Look at it this way. If these guys get work, a talented and educated man like yourself will REALLY make goood. Point is others success or failure does NOT affect you in one way or the other.

You don't have to defend yourself as a perormer and how and when you do it. I don't particularly care one way or the other. Obviously it has you kind of permenantly torqued. You made the choice, not us.

Well thanks for clarifying. Hope this dosn't torque you too badly. Wasn't meant too but you can't write like in your first post, then just appologise and hope all is forgotten.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
gabelson
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Danny, great to meet a fellow-road warrior. I agree, hopefully all the bowling alleys doing comedy will be closed soon.. .. although 25 years ago, those were the first places guys ike Seinfeld and Bill Maher made their living- $60 gigs at "Charlie's Uncle", a beer pub in New Jersey. No matter what the resurgance, I don't think we'll ever see the likes of that era again, because there are just too many *** comics out there who think slapping together an act will lead to a network deal. Back in the 80's, comics did stand-up because they loved STAND-UP, not because they thought they'd get a development deal out of it. (Yet another reason stand-ups were by and large stronger back then). But yes, the weeding out of the **** clubs will hopefully lead to thinning out the (hack) herd of late-night wannabes.

Gabelson
Dannydoyle
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Yea your right I am afraid the golden age of comedy clubs may indeed have been a thing of the past and may not return.

Problem was it was TOO GOOD! Too many people on the band wagon and inevitably it will slow down and eventually stop.

I miss those days actually. I started in the 80s in the midwest. Well mid 80s. Rosemonts Comedy Café, Lansings Comedy Womb,(or tomb if you will. 35 or 40 comics every tuesday standing on a fire escape! Just for a 5 minute spot)

Like I said I think these things actually help us in our development as much as anything we learn in seminars or books. Both are essential.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bursky
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It was the boom in comedy clubs that ruined comedy. Any idiot could put together 30 mins of crap and make $40,000.00 a year.

Posted: Jul 6, 2006 12:42pm
By the way Gabe Abelson, there is a book about the Compass Players. I don't think it is still in print. Great book. I think it was called Compass or the Compass Payers.
Dannydoyle
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Your not kidding brother. It completly ruined comedy. And the equivilant of the Nuclear Winter that followed was not fun.

I remember showing up to clubs to be paid on Sunday and the doors chained. NOT one night gigs, but actual clubs.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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