Archive - November 2000








Christys hats at Smart Country York

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Christy’s hats are available from Smart Country on  Low Petergate in York. Miller Christy founded the Christys’ hat business in 1773. Behind the name lies not only a tradition for quality and hand craftsmanship, but a history spanning back over 200 years. Their wide range of headwear encompasses fedoras, panamas, caps, riding bowlers, dressage hats and eventing hats. Perfect for country pursuits. Christys & Co. at Smart Country York are the leading manufacturing hatter in Great Britain. Established in London in 1773 they have a worldwide reputation for craftsmanship, style and excellence in traditional, classic and modern headwear. Throughout the world when people see a Christy hat at Smart Country York, they know there has been no compromise in quality and that the hat on their head bears the tradition started by Miller Christy all those years ago.

The price of a Panama hat usually reflects how finely it has been woven. A more finely woven Panama takes much more time to make. Each piece of straw is split by hand and then woven. The more times the straw is split, the finer the weave, generally producing a Panama of greater quality. Panamas can be woven so finely and tightly that they can actually carry water. There has been a Panama for sale in the USA in 2011 at the price of $100,000. It is exquisite and took the maker 5 months to complete.

Whilst not quite as expensive as the above mentioned Panama, Christys’ Panamas at Smart Country York are of beautiful quality, and are genuine Panama Hats, hand woven in Ecuador using Fibres from the ‘Paja Torquilla Palm’ and then handmade in England. The Panama hat was made famous as protection from the sun by men building the Panama Canal. Today we all need protection from the sun’s harmful rays. The Panama at Smart Country York is a smart classic solution.

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Stones at Robert Smart Menswear York

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Robert Smart Menswear in York stock a wide range of Stones jackets at Robert Smart Menswear York . Established in 1991, Stones is a German brand that brings quality, style and comfort to the wearer. It is a classic fit with a modern twist.

 

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Robert Charles at Robert Smart Menswear York

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ROBERT CHARLES MENS DESIGNER ACCESSORIES & BELTS COLLECTION available from Robert Smart menswear in York

The Robert Charles Collections at Robert Smart Menswear York are inspired by Nature at her boldest and vibrant best. Audacious by design, playful on purpose and consummately creative, Robert Charles is self-expression at its highest. Originality now has a name. Statement is now in style. And fun is finally back in fashion. Robert Charles at Robert Smart Menswear York is as much a collection of vibrant accessories as life is a collection of different moods, different days and different opportunities to be a different colour. Offering a selection of high quality, stylish leather belts for you to choose from, Robert Charles Accessories at Robert Smart Menswear York are a great choice for casual designer style. Find what you’re looking for with Robert Charles Accessories available now from Robert Smart Menswear in York. Our wide range of belts, cufflinks and ties need to be seen to be appreciated!

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Meyer at Robert Smart Menswear York

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Magee Clothes, available at Robert Smart Menswear in York. Established in 1866, by John Magee as a small draper’s shop in Donegal, Ireland selling handwoven tweed. Today they specialise in luxurious fabrics, beautiful garments and most importantly Magee at Robert Smart Menswear York  offer a unique Irish identity to the world. Magee at Robert Smart Menswear York has nealry 150 years of heritage and history behind them. Founded in 1866 as a small shop in Donegal by John Magee, today the company has four shops in Ireland, is a wholesale supplier for high quality independent retailers around the world. It is also internationally renowned for its luxurious and colourful fabrics. Magee at Robert Smart Menswear York has been perfecting the art of men’s wear since the 1800’s.  Magee at Robert Smart Menswear York are continuously evolving to provide you with everything you might need in your wardrobe.  What about a luxurious wool and cashmere mix tweed jacket for a day at the races, a sharp pinstriped suit and crisp tailored shirt for that important meeting, a morning coat for that special day, an Irish linen and silk mix jacket, linen shirt and chinos for a summer picnic, a beautifully warm coat for those bitter winter days, a tuxedo at Robert Smart Menswear York for the Christmas party, or perhaps just a casual unstructured jacket, polo shirt and jeans for the pub with friends.

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John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York

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Robert Smart menswear of York are proud to stock John Smedley  knitwear. Known for high quality knitwear and a rich manufacturing heritage, John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York are a luxury brand with roots in the Derbyshire countryside and garments regularly featured in some of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazines.

Though John Smedleys past helps make them who they are, it’s their design and innovation that keeps John Smedley  at the forefront of contemporary fashion. Whether they’re planning for Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter Collections John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York there’s always plenty in store for the year ahead.

John Smedley Outerwear Collections

We’re extremely proud of our outwear John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York collections because each year we build on the variety and stunning combinations that are available. The John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York Men’s range features some truly special pieces that boast a whole new level of detail. As always, garments are of the highest quality, including Merino wool for cooler climes and cotton items for when the warmer weather arrives.


New Zealand Merino Wool

John Smedley’s extra-fine New Zealand Merino wool is specially bred by selected wool growers on the alpine pastures of the South Island. It’s a soft, sumptuous yarn that’s naturally warm, comfortable and easy to maintain. In 1995 John Smedley  began a unique sourcing programme with a specially selected number of wool growers in New Zealand which we still maintain today. It means we can trace our knitwear and control its provenance. They also have Zque accreditation which guarantees that we maintain fair and ethical practices in the way we work with their suppliers and the way they treat their sheep, as well as the quality of the wool.

Experience John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York today is based on 225 years’ experience of knitting. We take our long-standing values and apply them to a contemporary fashion industry. They strive to make all our garments at their mill in Derbyshire, which keeps they true to their roots, but equally important, it means they manage our traceability and stay in control of what they create.

Quality

All of this helps John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York  to guarantee quality and apply quality standards. There are no short cuts. No searching for lower priced alternatives which mean lower quality. John Smedley only buy the very best and we’re in control of the production process from start to finish.

Each John Smedley knitwear at Robert Smart menswear York sweater takes around seven weeks to produce and consists of more than three miles of the finest yarn and around 1.2million stitches.

 

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Harris Tweed at Robert Smart Menswear York

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Robert Smart Menswear in York are a Harris Tweed stockist.  Harris Tweed is cloth that has been handwoven by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. This is the definition of Harris Tweed contained in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 and it ensures that all cloth certified with the Harris Tweed Orb symbol complies with this definition and is genuine Harris Tweed, the world’s only commercially produced handwoven tweed.

The story of Harris Tweed is the story of a remote island community that lies between the Highlands of Scotland on the north west tip of Europe and the North Atlantic Ocean.

For centuries the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra have woven the magical cloth the world knows as Harris Tweed, Clo Mhor
in the original Gaelic- ‘The big cloth’.

From time immemorial, the inhabitants of the West of Scotland, including the Outer Hebrides had made cloth entirely by hand. As the Industrial Revolution reached Scotland, the mainland turned to mechanisation but the Outer Islands retained their traditional processes. Lewis and Harris had long been known for the excellence of the weaving done there, but up to the middle of the nineteenth century, the cloth was produced mainly for home use or for a purely local market.

In 1846, Lady Dunmore, widow of the late Earl of Dunmore, had the Murray tartan copied by Harris weavers in tweed. This proved so successful that Lady Dunmore devoted much time and thought to marketing the tweed to her friends and then to improving the process of production. This was the beginning of the Harris Tweed industry. At that time the method of making this handmade was as follows:

The raw material, wool, was produced locally and part of it would have been used in its natural uncoloured state, the rest was dyed. In the 19th century vegetable dyes were used. Following dyeing, the wool was mixed, the shade being regulated by the amount of coloured wool added; then it was oiled and teased; the latter process involves pulling the wool apart to open out the fibres. The next part of the preparation, carding, results in the fibres of the wool being drawn out preparatory to spinning. This was a very lengthy process followed by spinning carried out on familiar spinning-wheel by women. Until the turn of the century a very early type of handloom was used for weaving with a manually operated shuttle. The final process is finishing where the tweed is washed and given a raised compact finish. The involved in this process was often accompanied by songs in Gaelic.

As a result of the marketing efforts of Lady Dunmore, increased sales of the tweed were achieved and trade was established with cloth merchants in large towns in the UK.

At about the turn of the century the primitive small loom was replaced by the improved “fly-shuttle” loom. This was made of wood and heavier than the earlier loom tending to make weaving an occupation for men rather than women. Although originally imported from the Galashiels a local joiner started making the new type of loom in 1903.

Between 1903 and 1906 the tweed making industry in Lewis increased rapidly. Mr Aeneas Mackenzie’s carding mill in Stornoway added spinning machinery and a second mill was started by Mr Kenneth Mackenzie from whom one of the largest Harris Tweed producing companies in existence takes its name today.

At a meeting in Stornoway in 1906 efforts were considered for placing the industry on a more satisfactory footing. This was a most harmonious meeting and as the Trade Marks Act had been passed in 1905 making provision for a registration of Standardisation Marks, it seemed to be novel opportunity to end the increasing practice of offering mill-spun tweed as genuine Harris Tweed.

This meant the introduction of a system of whereby the tweed was inspected and, if passed, given a certifying stamp which would give confidence to the trade and public. A company limited by guarantee was formed under the title The Harris Tweed Association Limited. This was mainly to ensure the grant of a mark and an application was filed to register the well-known Harris Tweed Trade mark consisting of the orb and the Maltese Cross with the words Harris Tweed underneath. One of the objectives of obtaining a Mark was to protect the industry from the competition of the spinning mills.

The original definition read,”Harris Tweed means a tweed, hand-spun, hand-woven and dyed by the crofters and cottars in the Outer Hebrides”.

The Certification Mark was granted in 1909, registered in 1910 and stamping began in 1911. Amended Regulations were confirmed in June 1934 and the following was promulgated, “Harris Tweed means a tweed made from pure virgin wool produced in Scotland, spun, dyed and finished in Outer Hebrides and hand-woven by the islanders at their own homes in the Islands of Lewis , Harris, Uist, Barra and their several purtenances and all known as the Outer Hebrides”.

There could be added in legible characters to the Trade Mark, the words “Woven in Lewis”, “Woven in Harris”, “Woven in Uist” or “Woven in Barra” for the purpose of distinguishing where the tweed was made”.

The alteration in the Trademark Definition in 1934, allowing the use of millspun yarn, enabled the industry to make a huge leap in production. The stamped yardage increased tenfold and continued to increase till the peak figure of 7.6 million yards was reached in 1966.

The Hattersley single width loom The introduction of the Hattersley domestic loom in the 1920s enabled the weavers to produce more and to weave complicated patterns that could not be woven on the large wooden looms that were used for the previous 50 years.

This loom was brought to the islands by Lord Leverhulme who owned Lewis and Harris for some years and introduced many changes with mixed results.

The Hattersley loom is still used in the industry but is being replaced by the new Bonas-Griffith double width loom which was introduced in 1996 to satisfy market demands for wider, softer, lighter Harris Tweed. The Harris Tweed Association was the proprietor of the famous “Orb” Trademark. Throughout this century the HTA protected and promoted the Orb all over the world. The success of the industry meant that competitors tried to imitate Harris Tweed or pass off other fabrics as genuine. Much of the competition was from mainland Scotland and this led to a case at the Court of Session in 1964 that was, for a long time, the longest civil case in Scottish legal history. The judgement by Lord Hunter re-inforced the 1934 definition that tied all production processes to the Outer Hebrides and removed the threat of mainland competition. The years following the 1964 case were the most successful ever for Harris Tweed but, by the late 1980s the industry had begun to contract as fashions changed and the Harris Tweed jacket became less popular. The industry set out to transform itself by:

  • producing a new double width loom
  • re-training weavers
  • introducing new, tougher Standards
  • marketing the new wider, softer, lighter tweed.

The Harris Tweed Authority took over from the Harris Tweed Association in 1993 by Act of Parliament. Thus the definition of Harris Tweed at Robert Smart Menswear York became statutory and forever tied the cloth to the Islands:

Harris Tweed at Robert Smart Menswear York means a tweed which has been hand woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the islands of Harris, Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra and their several purtenances (The Outer Hebrides) and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.

The late 90s are a difficult time for the British textile industry and Harris Tweed is no exception. However there is confidence that the hard decisions taken to reform the industry will eventually bear fruit and secure the future of this unique product.

Harris Tweed at Robert Smart Menswear York (Clò Mór or Clò na Hearadh in Gaelic) is a cloth that has been handwoven by the islanders on the Isles of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra in theOuter Hebrides of Scotland, using local wool.

Traditional Harris Tweed at Robert Smart Menswear York was characterized by subtle flecks of colour achieved through the use of vegetable dyes, including the lichen dyes called “crottle” (Parmelia saxatilis and Parmelia omphalodes which give deep red- or purple-brown and rusty orange respectively). These lichens are the origin of the distinctive scent of older Harris Tweed.

The original name of the cloth was tweel, Scots for twill, it being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern. A traditional story has the name coming about almost by chance. About 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the river Tweed that flows through the Scottish Borders textile area. Subsequently the goods were advertised as Tweed, and the name has remained ever since.

During the economic difficulties of the Highland potato famine of 1846-7, Catherine Murray, Countess of Dunmore was instrumental in the promotion and development of Harris Tweed at Robert Smart Menswear York as a sustainable and local industry. Recognising its sales potential, she had the Murray family tartan copied in tweed by the local weavers and suits were made for the Dunmore estate gamekeepers and gillies. Proving a success, Lady Dunmore sought to widen the market by removing the irregularities caused by dyeing, spinning and weaving (all done by hand) in order to bring it in line with machine-made cloth. She achieved this by organising and financing training in Alloa for the Harris weavers and by the late 1840s a London market was established which led to an increase in sales of tweed.

With the industrial revolution the Scottish mainland turned to mechanisation, but the Outer Hebrides retained their traditional processes of manufacturing cloth. Until the middle of the 19th century the cloth was only produced for personal use within the local market. It was not until between 1903 and 1906 that the tweed-making industry inLewis significantly expanded. Production increased until the peak figure of 7.6 million yards was reached in 1966. However the Harris Tweed industry declined along with textile industries in the rest of Europe. Harris Tweed has survived because of its distinctive quality and the fact that it is protected by an act of Parliament limiting the use of the Sovereign’s Orb trademark to tweeds made in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

One high profile promotional success of Harris Tweed in recent years has been their use on several Nike running shoe designs including the TerminatorBlazer, and Air Force 1. Around 95 per cent of Harris Tweed production is from the mills of Harris Tweed Hebrides in Shawbost, Isle of Lewis, a company founded in 2007 and who have had success in extending the appeal of this “champagne of fabrics.” They export to more than 40 countries and supply designers like Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Steven Alan. While Harris Tweed has been mainly a fashion fabric in recent years, Harris Tweed Hebrides has broken new ground by supplying most of the interiors fabrics for Glasgow’s first five-star hotel, Blythswood Square, said to be the biggest interiors project since Harris Tweed was used in the fitting out of the ocean liner QE2 in the 1960s. The company has picked up two major honours: Textile Brand of the Year for 2009 at the Scottish Fashion Awards, and premier award for Outstanding Style Achievement at the Scottish Style Awards, reflecting a renaissance of interest in the fabric and its use by cutting-edge designers.

Every length of cloth is stamped with the official Orb symbol, trademarked by the Harris Tweed Association in 1909, when Harris Tweed was defined as “hand-spun, hand-woven and dyed by the crofters and cottars in the Outer Hebrides.”

Machine-spinning and vat-dyeing have since replaced hand methods, and only weaving is now done in the home under the governance of the Harris Tweed Authority established by an act of Parliament in 1993. Harris Tweed is now defined as “hand woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the islands of Harris, Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra and their several purtenances (The Outer Hebrides) and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”


 

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Gardeur at Robert Smart Menswear York

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Robert Smart have a wide range of Gardeur clothes in our York shop. We have on stock:  mens chinos, jeans and smart/casual trousers. We also stock year round the hugely popular gardeur mens shorts in a variety of colours. Quality Gardeur leather belts now available in our Petergate York shop.

The perfect blend of fit and comfort. Gardeur trousers from Robert Smart in York are loved by our customers for their quality, ease of wear and exceptional tailoring. Each style is matched to your tastes and is available in a range of seasonal coulours and three leg lengths.

When you choose a pair of Gardeur trousers from Robert Smart in York you have found your own individiual, classic style that you will want to come back to time after time.

Perfect Fit

Gardeur trousers from Robert Smart in York are renowned for their flattering fit. They are specially designed with a generous cut.

Ideal Comfort

Gardeur trousers from Robert Smart in York are designed with versatility in mind. Whether for holiday or more formal occasion, there is a style for you. Each style also includes features you’ll appreciate for their sheer comfort.

When you order a pair of Gardeur trousers from Robert Smart, you’ll benefit from our years of experience providing high quality clothing and service.

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Bladen at Robert Smart Menswear York

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Robert Smart are a Bladen stockist in York.Founded in 1917, Bladen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of traditional craftmanship with meticulous attention to detail. A Bladen jacket takes up to six weeks to create in a highly skilled process involving over 120 separate operations, many of them by hand. Bladen applies time honoured methods of construction to create clothing of exceptional elegance, comfort and durability of wear. Bladen is a signature brand we have sold for many years in York. If you have never owned a Bladen tweed jacket, have a look at our selection and add one to your wardrobe. Bladen cloths are made exclusively for Bladen by some of the finest English and Scottish mills. The interlinings are natural canvas with a four piece chest set to ensure a perfect and lasting fit across the chest and shoulders. Bladen is a signature brand we have sold for many years in our York store. If you have never owned a Bladen Blazer or Coat, have a look at our selection in York and add one to your wardrobe. Bladen cloths are made exclusively for Bladen by some of the finest English and Scottish mills. The interlinings are natural canvas with a four piece chest set to ensure a perfect and lasting fit across the chest and shoulders.

 

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Barker At Robert Smart Menswear York

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Barker shoes from Robert Smart in York have been an English tradition for over a hundred years. Only the most carefully selected leathers are used and the uppers are shaped on the last by hand.

Many other traditional shoemaking methods are still employed including slow natural drying and polishing. This is why Barker English shoes have a unique quality that no machine can ever match.

Barker have been making shoes in the Northamptonshire village of Earls Barton since 1880.

In a changing world, it’s good to know you can still find perfection if you look for it.

Barker shoes

Heritage

The foundation stone of the Barker brand was laid in a humble cottage in the heart of England’s shoe manufacturing industry in 1880, by an enterprising Northamptonshire boot maker.
Arthur Barker was a skilled craftsman and natural innovator, whose waterproof peg-sole boots were highly sought after (the pegs would swell when wet and make the sole waterproof). Unable to satisfy increasing demands, he employed other craftsmen in surrounding villages to fulfill his growing order book. With a keen eye on the future and a shrewd sense of timing, Barker invested in factory premises at the turn of the century, later securing contracts to supply the British army with boots during the First World War.

Throughout the interwar years, the Barker brand went from strength to strength as Arthur’s three sons joined the family business, taking the brand into new markets and territories. In 1947, a new factory was built in Earls Barton to house the women’s shoe production, and in 1950 the brand established a separate sales company to sell direct to retailers.

Why are Barker shoes so good?

One thing for sure, it is craftsmen and fine materials that makes good shoes. At Barkers, there is no shortage of either. Our craftspeople produce some 200,000 pairs of hand lasted sewn shoes each year.

How do we do it?

In 1986 Barker built a new factory and offices using Northamptonshire local brick and stone. It is now one of the finest footwear factories in Europe and occupies a 4.5 acre landscaped site at the centre of the village of Earls Barton. This site is only a few hundred yards away from the original site of 1880. We are at the heart of the British Shoe Making Industry with a highly skilled local labour pool.

The factory was designed to make fine English shoes. Each section was custom built to achieve this. For example good natural light is a prime requirement for leather grading, colour matching and consistently good stitching, so the environment was arranged to provide this.
Today, Barker continue to manufacture the finest quality shoes which sell throughout the world. And although modern methods of production have been introduced over the years, the same skills, traditions and craftsmanship are very much evident today. In a world where things are constantly changing, it is reassuring that some things will always remain the same.

Design and Style

In the 1940s Albert Barker (third generation) was an internationally acknowledged footwear designer. He demonstrated that an insistence on traditional standard need not to be old-fashioned. He backed a pursuit of innovative styling with determined brand promotion, once ploughing three successive years’ profits back into advertising. These policies of top quality materials, craftsmanship and distinctive classic design are still carefully maintained.

 

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Vintage 55 at Robert Smart Menswear York

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Neither a revival nor a commemoration. Neither nostalgia nor a return to the past. And VINTAGE 55 tshirts fom Robert Smart in York is not even about melancholy for bygone eras, nor is it simply about imitation. VINTAGE55 is more a tribute to the experience of clothing that tends to get lost in the accumulation of events; in the passing of days, years and centuries that leave their threads behind. To feel like we’re part of a story made up of people who stayed in the background. To seek out, try on and sharpen up an article of clothing.
To inspire innovation exploiting the irresistibile charm of simplicity.
VINTAGE 55 clothes from Robert Smart in York, carried by the breeze coming from the distant, or the recent past, should be full of energy, fun and possibilities. Clothes to forget you have them on. Work suits or tracksuits, T-shirts, shirts or sweatshirts, tennis shoes, slacks, skirts or dresses: clothes to put on, take off, leave behind, lend and swap; to wrap your scent on. VINTAGE55 clothes from Robert Smart in York that respect the past, recalling the years when teenagers first exploded onto the scene with their music, their desire for adventures; passion for movies; attachement to their campus uniform and team colours. The years of rebel poets, women on the way to liberation, irreverent artists and extreme clothing. A tribute not only to Anglo-American vintage clothing, but also to eras whose influence can be seen by anyone who picks up the trail of man’s journey through time. We’ve borrowed a term (VINTAGE) and repositioned it on the rack for people wishing to preserve the common sense of whatever is well made; the simplicity of whatever is useful and necessary. VINTAGE55 from Robert Smart in York sews stitches that carry the sound of timeless music (Is Mozart really old and past? Otis Redding is still alive for those who listen to his music…).

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