Little Downham Byegones and Organs fair, 29th March 2014

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I remember going to this event a few times as a young child (when the car-trailer-sized mechanical organs seemed like gigantic towering machinery), then didn’t for years and years. As my interest in classic cars, steam engines and patriotism increased, the more annoyed I got with myself for always forgetting this (only remembering as I drove past it, on the way to some other place).

More recently, I got involved in an international group of friends called The Regular Sweets, and we make collaborative and individual videos about our lives, and where we come from (and, less recently, I started this blog XD). This event was perfect material for that, so off I wandered!

Agricultural engine “Success”

I actually thought there would be more steam engines than there was, and there was only one “full size” one (unless you count the steam car that was also there). I also thought there would be steam engines powering the mechanical organs, but actually they were just run on electrically-generated compressed air instead.

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And an information board about the engine. Interesting to see it was built in 1914. 1914 is quite “in the culture” at the moment, as it’s now 100 years on from World War 1. Much is made of the “modern warfare” aspects of that conflict – the aircraft, tanks, machine guns etc. But in everyday life there was still plenty that was driven by “Victorian” technology! These traction engines in particular would drive from farm to farm (very slowly), and would then stay still, using their engines to push and pull machinery such as ploughs up and down fields with pulleys.

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Other steam engines

There was also a couple of mini traction engines, though one of them had two seats and was being driven around. Steam has incredible torque, you know. At one point they put it into reverse and just instantly went backwards, no need to stop first XD.

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And then there was this “Lykamobile”. It looks like a Victorian car, but has modern “59” (that’s late 2009, not 1959) numberplates. I thought it might be electric, as I think the safety regulations are a lot more lax for electric cars (mainly so the G-Wiz could be sold here, though a reproduced original Mini couldn’t). But actually it’s steam powered! It can also be bought and built in kit-car form, meaning you could have a steam car of your very own! (With a lot of money and assembly time, anyway).

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http://www.steamtractionworld.com/lykamobile.htm

More classic commercials

A Ford Escort van, Morris Minor van and Commer van. Last time I went to this show properly, probably 2005-or-so, there was a Morris Minor van for sale, which needed quite a bit of restoration. I wonder if this is the same one, newly finished?

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Also, an old military ambulance, based on a Land Rover. It won’t be from during the war, but is probably from not long after it.

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Classic cars

There was quite a few, and quite a variety, of classic cars there. Though there was also several Morris Minors, two very similar Rover P4’s, and even a couple of 50’s Vauxhalls of the same family!

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Morris Oxford estate, and 2CV-based kit.

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Big green Austin, of some kind, with military markings.

Here’s some immaculate Rover P4’s, and a Morris Minor. Just the sort of scene you might have seen on a hastily-converted “bomb site” city-centre car park, circa 1959.

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MKII Lotus Cortina, but not in the famous Lotus colours.

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Vauxhall Cresta from 1955. I think this was before the “P series” Crestas, which started from the PA Cresta, which looked like a 57 Chevy, or something.

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A Swift… *squiiint*… F Type?

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Morris Minor Travellers.

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Something from the Rootes group; Singer / Sunbeam / Hillman etc.

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The cooler Lotus Cortina. I once saw a fake one for sale, based on a normal 2-door Cortina that had had a ‘modern’ (well, 80’s) 2-litre Capri engine chucked in. Wish I’d bought it!

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Morris Six

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Can’t remember what this was

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Vauxhall Velox, a lower “trim level” than the Cresta.

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Austin Cambridge, basically the same as the Morris Oxford from above.

Bikes

There wasn’t that many bikes, of the motor or pedal kind XD. And they were all kind of crammed away behind the mechanical organs.

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Honda

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The best one, late 20’s / early 30’s mean machine.

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A pedal bike based on a post office motorbike, from the 40’s

Tractors and Stationary engines

There was plenty of non-steam farm equipment too, mainly old tractors and a bunch of small stationary engines (internal combustion). Most of the latter were running, and backfiring like mad. They were all pretty crudely built, some just had a big hole for an exhaust pipe. I loved the smell!

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Rat tractors!

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RrRrRr-PHUT! RrRrRr-PHUT!

Mechanical Organs

These are one of the main attractions of the show. They have a lot of wind-pipes like a church organ (though with a different, less sombre tone), mechanical drums, bells and other tinkling bits. Some even have animated figures that move! In Victorian times, they were controlled by long strips of paper, card or punched wooden sheets with holes in, or else revolving drums with spines on. All these systems activated ‘switches’, or valves for air pressure, as they moved – making them an early ancestor of computer programming. I don’t know if the organs there that day were Victorian survivors, newly-built, or maybe restored old ones which have been installed in modern trailers.

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Fenlander II

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Galadriel

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Los Tubos… this one had quite a different tone to the others.

Byegones

Inside the village hall, there was a number of displays of interesting old things. There was also a number of barrel organs and smaller mechanical organs, though I forgot to take pictures of most of them.

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Small piano thing, on a table of assorted bits and bobs

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Matchboxes… surprising to see how old some brands (like Spar) actually are!

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Old car ornaments

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Cans for petrol and oil

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Toy cars

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Farm tools

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Ice skates.

Somebody at my work does something called “fen skating”, where they wait for areas of fenland to get slightly flooded in winter, and then freeze. If you get enough rain, followed by low enough temperatures, you could skate for miles, in and out of trees, over fences and so on.

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Childcare / midwifery table

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Magic lanterns

Magic Lanterns were the “TV” or “Cinema” of the day, with several projected pictures over one another giving the illustion of movement, for instance a scene of a fire with ‘moving flames’, or a ship with the sails dropping. This one would probably have been extremely expensive.

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More modern video equipment, including a 60’s cine-camera and 80’s video camera, which you actually put VHS tapes directly into!

Heh, I mentioned seeing somebody with an even bigger VHS video camera at a school sports day in about 1991, my mum had his name instantly. She never forgets the “insult” of somebody conspicuously-consuming, evidently.

Barrel / Smaller Mechanical Organs

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One “played” by an animatronic clown. There was actually another one being played by a teddy bear, but I forgot to take a photo.

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Other ones

The event was pretty cool in all, though not very big (I’m sure there used to be another event in the village that was in both the village hall car park, park car park, and school playground, with all sorts of events and displays). But it did put me in the way of knowing that there’s a much bigger steam engine / classic car show in Haddenham in September, which ought to be worth seeing (well, if I’m here in September, anyway). There’s also a place called Prickwillow Engine Museum, with displays of steam and diesel engines which used to be used to drain the fens. That might even be worth a “dashcam” cycle trip to!

The miscs

Just a bunch of other photos from my phone…

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Revised “looking for a Japanese girlfriend” t-shirt design

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Odd thing seen at Camcon

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Things that people made for my work’s charity Halloween party.

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Soho Bullit! Right next door to a good Japanese book shop, which is called, er, “Ultimate Dry Cleaning”.

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Suddenly, and for no reason, these thumbnails have started to be stretched vertically. Anway, a gingerbread house somebody at work made for Christmas. Check out the second photo!

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Third hibernating butterfly to wake up too early. This one I kept in my cabinet with a flower it could eat pollen from, but it died anyway.

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Decorative lamp I got my granny

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The last sunset of the year (2013!) was wonderful. Taken with two different cameras…

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There’s a monthly manga meetup in London, which I went to a few times last year. This year I hope to go more regularly. I had to kill time (it’s on a Sunday, everything shuts hours beforehand), so went to the Embankment, first time I’ve been there, actually.

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Ripper Street is the shit

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I meant to write this post after episode 1 of series 1, but failed to. We’re now waiting on episode 6 (of 8) of series 2 (which was sprung on me a bit unexpectedly, if I’d not idly opened the paper that day I wouldn’t have known it was back on).

Anyway, it’s a brilliant detective series set in Whitechapel, the first series was set in 1889, shortly after the Jack The Ripper murders (one of the first lines in it was “she’s been ripped!”). The main character is Inspector Edmund Reid, who was a real person, though he bears little resemblance to his real-life counterpart (who was far more interesting, a high-ranking druid and a balloonist!). There’s also the usual tough sergeant who is handy in a fight, and an American army doctor (and former spy) who does the CSI stuff. The first series had an ongoing storyline revolving around the background of Captain Jackson, who was a Pinkerton detective in the USA, and got involved in the Haymarket Massacre, a real event of 1886. That’s one of the things I love about Ripper Street, though it’s clearly fictional (despite having some characters who really existed), they make a lot of references to things that really happened at the time. Other references include a boat accident which Inspector Reid was injured in (the real one wasn’t, though!), and the shutting down of the “freak show” at which the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, was exhibited.

The new series looked like it was going to revolve around trying to bring the drug-dealing chief inspector of a neighbouring police division to justice, but that appears to fallen by the wayside in favour of more “individual” episodes touching on various political issues of the day such as the growth of Chinatown, feminism and Irish republicanism. There’s also another ongoing plot about Captain Jackson’s wife, Long Susan (who runs a brothel) being in debt to a local slum landlord.

They’ve managed to avoid anachronistic technology pretty well, and have been sparing with stuff that was cutting-edge at the time. No doubt rich parts of London had electric light, but Whitechapel didn’t! They even make reference to the steam-powered lines of the underground, we haven’t yet seen a telephone or motor car, and film is something they look upon as if it’s witchcraft.

There does seem to be plenty of anachronistic speech, though. But it has been toned down a little in the second series. The first used the term Molly House (used in City of Vice a few yeats previously. That series was set in 1749!), and they occasionally sounded more like characters from Shakespeare or the Bible! That’s been toned down a little in series 2, though the odd modern phrase (like “knock yourself out”) has slipped in. I was surprised to hear the term “infernal machines” used. At the time, that was the term used to describe a bomb, especially one intended to kill people.

All in all this is a great show, in fact I’m probably more excited about where series 2 is going than I am about the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who! I hope it continues for a lot longer – the real-life Reid lived until 1917, working as a private detective in a small seaside town after he retired. Of course, the 1890’s and 1900’s were a period of rapid technological advancement and laid the foundations of the social changes that the world wars were to bring about later. If the writers can keep on coming up with complicated cases and ‘impossible’ murders, it will be great to see these years through the lens of London’s poorest!

FX Haruhi

I was wandering Japanese videos on Youtube, probably looking for Ryukoka / Gunka, or WW2-era propaganda footage, when I ran across a Christmas video from this bona omi:

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That text scrolling across him is because these videos originally come from Nico Nico, which displays comments scrolling across the screen at the point in the video where they were made. You’ll see those a lot as this story unfolds…

Why yes, that is a sexy Christmas elf costume sold in kinky shops. I re-found the video about a month after, when I went back to my own channel for something and saw the record of a comment I’d posted on it. I scanned about looking for more videos of this guy, and discovered he’s got quite a line in cross-dressing:

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And yes, his lallies are rather bona, too:

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Holy shit do I want that

I noticed that videos of him, ripped from Nico Nico, had been uploaded by many different people. A sure sign that he is, for better or for worse, internet “famous”. Google Chrome translations revealed many negative comments saying things like “death”, “scrap” and “scum”. I’m guessing it’s worse.

I found out he was calling himself Haruhi Suzumiya. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that was the name of a famous manga character, and so not much help. But I also noticed that FX (ForEx, for foreign exchange) trading was mentioned in conjunction with him a lot. I googled “FX Haruhi”, which offered to autocorrect to “FX ハルヒ”, and the hunt was on! I found, er, this:

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Machine translated once again, as all the text bits in this entry will be

http://www43.atwiki.jp/niconamafx/pages/15.html appears to be a website with ‘profiles’ of people who have become infamous on the Japanese-language internet, and he’s one of them. That thing about him being “neat” is actually a mistranslation of NEET, or Not in Education, Employment or Training. It was originally used in a British government report to describe people on the dole, but has since been seized upon by far-eastern geeks. In Japan it’s become synonymous with Hikkomori, or “shut ins”, kids who are so socially awkward they never go out at all. But FX Haruhi is not quite that extreme.

The site follows up with a list of his, er, “sins”

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“Preformatted doubly eyes”? Piss off, his eyes are gorgeous

Apparently he exposed some bank account details accidentally on one video, and these people have “made a beggar many times”. They then follow up with loads of salacious stalker gossip on how often he has a bath. Who really has the moral high ground here, eh?

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Then there’s his sins in FX trading. Apparently he lost (a lot of the machine translations say he “dissolved” or “melted” XD) 10, 17 or 20 million yen (not as much as millions of pounds, but still a lot), which was apparently his parents’. OR which he had won at Pachinko (Japanese “gambling”, which you technically can’t play for cash, but everybody does), which he had apparently been playing under-age.

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FX Trading, yesterday.

Though from his mother’s reactions in several videos, it probably was his parents’ money he wasted. He certainly seems to like gambling, in fact he even has a bandit in his room, and plays it on one of the videos XD.

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Still looking adorable ^-^

After a video of his loss, and his mother screaming at him (The video where this apparently happened, though of course I can’t understand anything beyond a lot of “nan da yo”, is zoomed in, has another window covering up the ‘action’, and millions of Nico Nico scrolling comments in all colours), the story was picked up by some minor Japanese news sites. The machine translations doing the usual hatchet job:

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http://blog.livedoor.jp/dqnplus/archives/1621104.html

http://rocketnews24.com/?p=93673

Mind you, at other times he doesn’t seem too badly off (the videos have all been deleted and re-uploaded by random people, it’s impossible to work out a proper chronology):

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Keep it there, chum. It’s safter than turning it randomly into Euros and back

His mum often appears in the videos, but isn’t always ranting either. In the Christmas video I saw first she is for a bit, even when he tries to bribe her (XD). In another one they’re both vlogging and drinking together XD.

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Still that doesn’t stop the flow of negative comments. Here’s a typical one. Something tells me that the poster can’t be trusted, though.

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LOL, “scrap” again

The wiki entry I found about him also has a list of quotations from him and his mum. Hilariously, the translation of a website created by people who are more sympathetic to her called her a “hag”.

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Then there was “the damn war and bloodshed”. The translators have really gone to town on this one!

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What?

It starts off with him talking normally, then he leaves and there’s a great deal of shouting from him, his mum and somebody else. With the usual excitable text speculating on what is happening:

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Then he comes back like this:

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How dare anybody injure such beauty?

Apparently he tried to borrow ¥30,000 off somebody, possibly his grandfather, somebody dodgy, or another trader. That person came to visit and trouble ensued (one translation of one of the mirrors of the video even implies it was the police who came round(!)). The Wiki mentions this too, saying it happened in March last year

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Youtube commenters reacted with the typical level of sympathy:

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10? 17? 20? Make your bloody minds up

An artist also got an Ukiyo-e style “fanart” tagged on his (well, possibly his) Nico Nico page:

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Oh dear…

But despite all that mess, he’s still gorgeous, isn’t he? Which brings us on to where this post is going, namely that

I WANT TO BE HIS BOYFRIEND!

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TAI-HE-I-YO-O-OO!

Why yes, that is a very wonkily-drawn rendering of the Mikasa, a product of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. I want to Anglo-Japanese a-lie with him, all right. I even bought a comic on the subject:

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Bad teeth, ugly smile. This pic took like 30 goes before I produced a non-blurry one, so it will have to do >.<

Just look at him! “Doubly eyes”, indeed. His eyes are wonderful :3

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<3 <3 <3

BUT, is he so? Well there IS one video where he’s trying to flirt with an American girl who owns lots of snakes (well, he’s typing pre-made lovey phrases to her whilst actually talking to somebody else on Skype XD)

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We also learn that a Jigglypuff is called a Purin in Japan.

But then again, some of the things he does in other vids are rather camp:

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That second one is a funny delayed reaction to delicious noodles XD

There’s also a report on that wiki page that he “raised a queer voice” while shirtless in front of a station, before “collaborating” with the police. Could be have been trolling for trade? XD

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Mind you, after that we have more records of financial misdemeanors. I hope, if we ever get gay married (do they even have that in Japan?) that he doesn’t Jew me out of my money, like a Turk.

And while not an indication of blueness per se, he does like cute cats, including a very sweet and squeaky tiny kitten ^;^

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Anyway, having become very intrigued by his enchanting beauty, I had to go and search for ‘legit’ pages actually written by him. I found what appears to be his Twitter. Apparently he recently bought a car, so can’t be doing all that badly, even after “melting” so much money.

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https://twitter.com/suzumiyakurona

And as this is an eye-candy post in the newly created eye-candy category, here’s just a bunch of other pictures of him I collected but couldn’t slip into (ooh, ain’t ‘e bold?) the post any other way.

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Remember to cut out and keep your voucher

 “But wait” you say. “What’s this about him raising a queer voice while shirtless outside a station? Did the wiki-creators follow him about, or did he film that?”. Well, unfortuately the video is at powerpoint framerate, but we do get a glimpse:

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Holy shit do I want to possess that

And then his “collaboration with” the Saitama police:

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Oh dear…

He really ought to move away from his detractors and the bad memories, and make a fresh start elsewhere. Now I’m not making any sort of undue suggestions about drastic moves halfway across the world, but, well…

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 Nobody gonna take my guy, gonna keep him to the end

Nobody gonna take my guy, he stays close on every bend

 Ooh, he’s a killin’ machine, got everything

Like a movin’ mouth, body control, and everything

I love him, I need him, I see him

Yeah, he turns me on

All right, Hold Tight, I’M A HIGHWAY STAAAR!