Anatomy Of A Photo: Mad Jacques, Pioneer Of Neutral Service

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“Où est ma voiture banane?”

Whenever you see one of those yellow cars or motorcycles laden with spare wheels and manned by efficiently deliberate young professionals with no allegiance or favour to any one rider, take a moment to reflect on the oft-overlooked pioneer of the neutral service as we know it today, M. Jacques Mavic.

Usually only sighted once a year in July, Jacques would appear out of the thin air of the Alps, armed with his trusty Silca and a set of nail clippers, offering assistance to any rider that needed it. Most of the time, they didn’t, but they knew when that mad glint lit up in his eyes, there was no course of action beyond waiting for the police to arrive while Jacques manically pumped an already inflated tyre while yelling “Mes têtards émigrent”.

The last known sighting of M. Mavic (which translates literally as “replace me”) was around 1957 around Grenoble. The only remaining evidence of Jacques’ and his innovative service work is his oil-stained raincoat and a matchbox containing a 3/16 ball bearing tangled in hair, now housed in the Plumbers Museum in Oudenaarde. With only patchy anecdotal history to go by, the life of Jacques is still one of mystery, violence and paté.

*What do you know of Jacques’ history?

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60 Replies to “Anatomy Of A Photo: Mad Jacques, Pioneer Of Neutral Service”

  1. Famous for dispensing pot Belge prepared according to his own recipe, in addition to the mechanical assist.

  2. Holy bicycle clips it’s my great uncle Gonfleur the mad inflateur of Tornais. Over consumption of anis by his mother when he was breastfeeding caused permanent delusions of adequacy and he ran away at the age of 46 to join a travelling group of trombonists. Unable to come to terms with reality he descended in to terminal madness needlessly inflating tyres in the Pyrenees in summer and impersonating a French civil servant in the winter months. Eventually he was awarded a pension for his services and retired to Surrey.

  3. I think Cuddles might take issue with this statement of yours:

    “Whenever you see one of those yellow cars or motorcycles laden with spare wheels and manned by efficiently deliberate young professionals with no allegiance or favour to any one rider.”

    Although the commentary is PAINFUL to listen to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl_eqDVRnJc

  4. Sadly I cannot add further detail to this curious & innovative gentleman’s obit.  Hopefully someone can.  Great photo, almost maniacal in his glee.

    Buck – I agree,  Cadel had a tough time in that Vuelta.  Third by the same margin as the time taken for “parochial service” to arrive.  Nevermind,  anyone who follows racing knows what happened.

  5. @Buck Rogers

    I think Cuddles might take issue with this statement of yours:

    “Whenever you see one of those yellow cars or motorcycles laden with spare wheels and manned by efficiently deliberate young professionals with no allegiance or favour to any one rider.”

    Although the commentary is PAINFUL to listen to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl_eqDVRnJc

    That was a blue car though… Jacques would be turning in his grave.

  6. @brett

    @Buck Rogers

    I think Cuddles might take issue with this statement of yours:

    “Whenever you see one of those yellow cars or motorcycles laden with spare wheels and manned by efficiently deliberate young professionals with no allegiance or favour to any one rider.”

    Although the commentary is PAINFUL to listen to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl_eqDVRnJc

    That was a blue car though… Jacques would be turning in his grave.

    Wonder how much of that issue was that it was Shimano service & Cuddles was rocking a Grouppo?

  7. Best AOP for several years, ever since Marko’s Roulin’ Dirty bit from fucking 2010. Strong work, @Bretto.

    @Buck Rogers@PT

    Fucking Cadel was a master of having a tough time and getting shafted by luck. He’s a modern Steve Bauer; always getting jacked out of races for reasons “beyond” their control. Personally, I buy into the “you make your own luck” sort of philosophy but nevertheless both have made my heart bleed on more than one occasion.

  8. Whats not commonly know about Mad Jacques is that he performed burlesque of a night time in the tour village tent. As evidenced in the main photo by an ample brassiere slung over his shoulder in readiness for that nights performance.

    Also known as “M.Jacques Mavic the versatile”

  9. “Where is my banana car” hahahaha

    “Son sur la route à la recherche de Cadel Monsieur Mavic”

    Bahahahahaha

  10. @Mikael Liddy

    @brett

    @Buck Rogers

    I think Cuddles might take issue with this statement of yours:

    “Whenever you see one of those yellow cars or motorcycles laden with spare wheels and manned by efficiently deliberate young professionals with no allegiance or favour to any one rider.”

    Although the commentary is PAINFUL to listen to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl_eqDVRnJc

    That was a blue car though… Jacques would be turning in his grave.

    Wonder how much of that issue was that it was Shimano service & Cuddles was rocking a Grouppo?

    That is a good point.  But if Shimano was officially providing the NS, surely they would have been obliged to carry some Campy in the wagon?  Or does someone know if they actually had none?  If that were the case, would it be fair to say that it would have pre-11 speed on both sides and the 10 speed Campy/Shimano integration was a bit hit & miss?   I’ve ridden a Shimano cassette in 10 speed Record and it worked though.

  11. Incredible! I’ve just read his autobiography – “Jacky Mavvy – Under Pressure.”

    Amazing story. One of eight children adopted at birth by a turnip farming couple from Turnais who hated kids but needed “shoveleurs”. But he sliced off all the toes of his right foot in a freak turnip digging accident. No longer any use in the fields he was regected by the family and confined to the machinery barn. By the time he was 10 his only friend was a rusty compressor. It was here that he started his love affair with pumping.

  12. @the Engine

    Holy bicycle clips it’s my great uncle Gonfleur the mad inflateur of Tornais. Over consumption of anis by his mother when he was breastfeeding caused permanent delusions of adequacy and he ran away at the age of 46 to join a travelling group of trombonists. Unable to come to terms with reality he descended in to terminal madness needlessly inflating tyres in the Pyrenees in summer and impersonating a French civil servant in the winter months. Eventually he was awarded a pension for his services and retired to Surrey.

    He retired to Surrey as he didn’t quite “fit” in with the Chipping Norton set.

  13. I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

  14. @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Jesus Brother!  Now that you mention it, I think that I must be a bit of a descendant of Mad Jacques, esp after an espresso ot two!!!!

  15. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Jesus Brother! Now that you mention it, I think that I must be a bit of a descendant of Mad Jacques, esp after an espresso ot two!!!!

    Yep, Mad Jacques liked his coffee as thick and as black as unrefined oil.

    BTW, the cars behind are parked – parked because they don’t want Mad Jacques messing with their tires.

  16. This AOP is going great places. I’m excited!

    Also, I need a raincoat like that to wear for cyclocommuting. I think it would make me extra visible to cars with it tailing me in the breeze like a sail.

  17. @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

  18. @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love.  They named him Herpes with much affection.

  19. @Nate

    @brett

    @Nate

    I’d like to get that recipe…

    I’m sure you are familiar with the general outlines, but the details I imagine died with him.

    Indeed, some say Jacques was found dead in a hotel room of a massive Pot Belge overdose, while others say he may have been murdered.

  20. @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon.  But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

  21. @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love. They named him Herpes with much affection.

    I thought Herpes was one of the Greek gods? The messenger of the gods with wee wings on his feet. He carried a herald’s wand and wore a traveler’s cap. The pump is clearly the wand and his beret is the cap. So in actuality, Mad Jacques is actually Herpes in disguise.

  22. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

  23. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love. They named him Herpes with much affection.

    I thought Herpes was one of the Greek gods? The messenger of the gods with wee wings on his feet. He carried a herald’s wand and wore a traveler’s cap. The pump is clearly the wand and his beret is the cap. So in actuality, Mad Jacques is actually Herpes in disguise.

    Ha!  YES!  You must be right!

  24. @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

    Moving to Portland, then, are you? There’s a ‘cross racer there who could be your ‘stache sensei.

  25. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love. They named him Herpes with much affection.

    I thought Herpes was one of the Greek gods? The messenger of the gods with wee wings on his feet. He carried a herald’s wand and wore a traveler’s cap. The pump is clearly the wand and his beret is the cap. So in actuality, Mad Jacques is actually Herpes in disguise.

    Wasn’t Herpes the Greek King of the Mountains God from the Red Polka Dots hence the origin of the jersey?

  26. @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

    Steampunk can give you tips if you fancy the Civil War style ‘tache.

  27. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love. They named him Herpes with much affection.

    I thought Herpes was one of the Greek gods? The messenger of the gods with wee wings on his feet. He carried a herald’s wand and wore a traveler’s cap. The pump is clearly the wand and his beret is the cap. So in actuality, Mad Jacques is actually Herpes in disguise.

    Wasn’t Herpes the Greek King of the Mountains God from the Red Polka Dots hence the origin of the jersey?

    Nah, that was his sister Chlamydia.

  28. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

    Moving to Portland, then, are you? There’s a ‘cross racer there who could be your ‘stache sensei.

    If @Buck moves to Portland they better make a TV show out of it.

  29. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

    Steampunk can give you tips if you fancy the Civil War style ‘tache.

    Steamy’s fuck’in ‘stache ROCKS!!!  Total facial hair envy right there!!!

  30. @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love. They named him Herpes with much affection.

    I thought Herpes was one of the Greek gods? The messenger of the gods with wee wings on his feet. He carried a herald’s wand and wore a traveler’s cap. The pump is clearly the wand and his beret is the cap. So in actuality, Mad Jacques is actually Herpes in disguise.

    Wasn’t Herpes the Greek King of the Mountains God from the Red Polka Dots hence the origin of the jersey?

    Nah, that was his sister Chlamydia.

    @Nate

    @brett

    @Nate

    @brett and by the way, it was a cheap brothel, not a hotel.

    I always get those two mixed up…

    I wonder why?

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot I bow to your clearly superior knowledge of these things………

     

     

    I just FUCK’IN love where this has gone.  Who the fuck needs facebook when you have the V site, BABY!

  31. It is rumored that Jacques frequented the Carcassonne sperm bank to leave a deposit and receive his cash reward with which he pruchased Gauloise and Martell.  I am further led to believe the services of said sperm bank may have produced at least one U.S. based rider from Texas. Just a rumor, but………

  32. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @wiscot

    I have to say, the afflicted rider is showing levels of calmness not repeated until Tommeke in Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Of course, I doubt he can get a word in edgeways as I’ll bet Mad Jacques talked like a mad fucker on speed.

    Yes, the rider is none other than Henri Simplex (‘Simple Henry’), who was Jacques’ preferred target as Henri, being the village idiot, would always cede and never put up any resistance to Jacques’ manic inflating.

    Here we see Henri’s trademark ‘nipple goggles’ worn proudly around the chest, and it looks as though his front jersey pockets are stuffed with walnuts and a head of cabbage, which his mother would pack for him every ride. She is out of frame to the left, also yelling at Henri to “pick up some lawn clippings on the way home.” Rumours abounded in the village that in fact Jacques and Mrs Mavic had a long and steamy affair, possibly resulting in the birth of Henri.

    I think that the Misses and Jacques also gave birth to Henri’s younger brother and thus also created a long lasting legacy forever remembered in the lore of love. They named him Herpes with much affection.

    I thought Herpes was one of the Greek gods? The messenger of the gods with wee wings on his feet. He carried a herald’s wand and wore a traveler’s cap. The pump is clearly the wand and his beret is the cap. So in actuality, Mad Jacques is actually Herpes in disguise.

    Wasn’t Herpes the Greek King of the Mountains God from the Red Polka Dots hence the origin of the jersey?

    Nah, that was his sister Chlamydia.

    @Nate

    @brett

    @Nate

    @brett and by the way, it was a cheap brothel, not a hotel.

    I always get those two mixed up…

    I wonder why?

    @Teocalli

    @wiscot I bow to your clearly superior knowledge of these things………

    I just FUCK’IN love where this has gone. Who the fuck needs facebook when you have the V site, BABY!

    A-Merckx brother. Finally someone said it!

  33. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

    Steampunk can give you tips if you fancy the Civil War style ‘tache.

    Don’t tempt him, sir!!

  34. @HMBSteve

    It is rumored that Jacques frequented the Carcassonne sperm bank to leave a deposit and receive his cash reward with which he pruchased Gauloise and Martell. I am further led to believe the services of said sperm bank may have produced at least one U.S. based rider from Texas. Just a rumor, but………

    His eyes are very close together…

  35. @frank

    @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers don’t forget the sister, Gonorrhea.

    @brett so difficult to tell the difference between OD and murder. If only M Poirot could have been induced to investigate the case of a lowly fellow Walloon. But no, Hercule was too busy indulging his Anglophilia, from Sussex to Monaco and points oriental.

    All of my kids and family have been warned that when I finish my military career I am going to (attempt to) grow a Poirot mustache immediately!!!

    Steampunk can give you tips if you fancy the Civil War style ‘tache.

    Don’t tempt him, sir!!

    Yah, between Steamy’s mustache and your hair, I do not know why I even come here anymore.  Pure hair inadequacy on my part.  Leaves me wallowing in insecurity every time.

  36. This is why I love this site: The Mad Jacques AOP that kinda got WAY off base (guilty as charged as an accessory) followed by the Third Hour. From the ridiculous to the sublime. Seriously, with all the crap going on out there, this site is a safe haven for us all.

    And Buck, you come here so you can contribute in your own inimitable way (see above).

  37. This might be one of the stranger threads I’ve read here. But then again, I haven’t been around that long. I’ll probably be better off just sticking to the bikes thread…  Cheers all.

  38. @harminator

    Incredible! I’ve just read his autobiography – “Jacky Mavvy – Under Pressure.”

    Amazing story. One of eight children adopted at birth by a turnip farming couple from Turnais who hated kids but needed “shoveleurs”. But he sliced off all the toes of his right foot in a freak turnip digging accident. No longer any use in the fields he was regected by the family and confined to the machinery barn. By the time he was 10 his only friend was a rusty compressor. It was here that he started his love affair with pumping.

    Solid fucking gold.

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