When I met Colin, I was struck by how different he looked from his geeky, rather Hobbit-like persona in Merlin. His blue eyes glitter with intelligence and compassion, and a rare, lovely charisma; and better still he is so unexpectedly gorgeous! […]  My lovely students, Maria and Roisin completely, and rather sweetly, fail to recognise Colin from Merlin, and happily let him muck in and carry boxes and props for the shoot. Colin is a star, but he isn’t the least bit arrogant. He is warm-hearted and friendly to everyone. Even so, there were blushes all round when I stop trying to do a hundred and one things at once, and properly introduce him to everyone. After promising him that he won’t go hungry at lunch, I’ve organized a delicious vegan picnic, he tells me that he usually brings his own sandwich to work to avoid complete starvation. What a terrible thought. By this stage everyone is hopelessly smitten with him.
- Alison Jane Reid (BTS at The Lady Magazine)

Ex-One Direction Members' Solo Careers: What We Do (and Don't) Want to See

It’s been a little over a year since One Direction did the unthinkable, announcing an indefinite hiatus, reassuring fans they would get back together but giving no indication as to when. If boy band history tells us anything, this isn’t a promising claim, but we remain hopeful. In the interim, the lads have remained busy, perhaps hinting at what the future holds. Curious? Us too, so we’ve broken it down, member by member.

Louis Tomlinson

What We Know: After One Direction announced its hiatus, Louis underwent possibly the biggest transformation… he’s a dad now! When he’s not cuddling up to 8-month-old Freddie Reign, he’s becoming a guest judge on America’s Got Talent and enjoying his break.

What Should Happen: As the noted bad boy of 1D, we think inking a solo deal wouldn’t be the worst move for Louis. As for now, we’re happy he’s focusing on his son and career goals that are less stressful – there’s no touring the world when you’re on a scheduled TV show. Perhaps personality-based work is where Louis will excel.

Niall Horan

What We Know: If anything, Niall has been doing the whole hiatus thing better than anyone else in One Direction. He’s really taken this time to take a gosh darn break (there are about 1,000 photos of his playing golf and enjoying himself out and about in London and L.A.). A few days ago, tabloids like The Sun and The Daily Star claimed Horan signed a solo deal with Universal, but nothing has been proven yet. We do know that he might be flirting with some music composition – teen dream Shawn Mendes has hinted at the pair working together.

What Should Happen: Horan should definitely collaborate with Mendes. We totally see him as a songwriter more than a solo artist… there’s more time to golf when you go to the studio every day instead of a new city on a new continent.

Liam Payne

What We Know: Since One Direction called it quits, Payne has been pretty busy – teasing us. At the end of 2015, he co-wrote the song “The Night We Met” for an Irish boy band Hometown. A few weeks later he teased a solo song, a little R&B ditty he shared in a 15-second Instagram clip. Around the same time, Payne was spotted in the studio with rapper Juicy J and producer TM88 of 808 Mafia. It seemed like Payne was going to route of Zayn Malik, a sexier, more mature sound. A few months later a collaboration between Payne, Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa surfaced, something Liam would later call a demo – not a single. Fast forward to July 2016 and Liam has signed a solo deal with Capitol. When will we get something real, Liam?

What Should Happen: Well, Liam is clearly going to get to work on a solo album sooner rather than later, and we’re stoked for it. He loved songwriting while in One Direction, so we wouldn’t be surprised if he attempts to co-write most of the tracks on his first solo effort. One thing we do know – this is definitely going to be more R&B/hip-hop than 1D. Maybe this is growing up?

Harry Styles

What We Know: If you want an in-depth account on Harry’s present and future, we’ve broken it down for you here. When One Direction announced its hiatus, everyone sort of assumed heartthrob Styles would be the first to pull a*NSYNC/Justin Timberlake and launch an uber successful solo career within the music umbrella. Instead it was Malik who made that move, and Styles went on to write tracks (which haven’t been released, but have been registered to the publisher ASCAP.) Beyond that, our boy H is filming the Christopher Nolan World War ll drama Dunkirk. However, Harry has inked a solo deal with Columbia Records – the details of which we’re going to have to wait and see.

What Should Happen: Dunkirk will likely be a success. Even if you’re not a history buff, chances are your dad is and with Harry in the picture, could there be a more perfect family date? We think Styles will probably pursue acting and music simultaneously, the World War ll drama getting his feet wet. As for the kind of music his solo career will allow, we think Styles is going to go the classic rock a laFleetwood Mac route. There’s a reason “What A Feeling” on One Direction’s last album, Made in the A.M., was such a Harry song.


What’s cool about him is that despite the fact he has a large female following he’s unafraid to look disgusting. Does he have no ego?

No but he loves that. His wife hates me because she always waits to see what I’ve done to him [laughs]. He’s one of the least vain actors, he just likes to do characters with a twist. I think he enjoys it very much. -Anders Thomas Jensen

...from the band members' own mouths

I think a lot about “all will be revealed in due time from the band members’ own mouths” being published in Billboard back in January. 

I know so many people were pumped up about that quote and article, but nine months later and it still doesn’t quite sit right with me. 

I think the public trashing of Billboard by Azoff (see below) means that although on the surface it seems like a positive, NT article, it’s actually an OT article. 

Fans can breathe a sigh of relief… probably. 

No mention of Harry (separating him from the rest is a tried and true OT tactic), Niall doing nothing at all. Lilo’s Family Guy cameo is mentioned which is fine, and then Liam’s recording, emphasizing that there’s also rap (not 1D music). 

I think not mentioning upcoming parenthood was just a diversionary tactic so it wouldn’t be as obvious as all the other UK mouthpieces. (Billboard is definitely a Simon mouthpiece.)

Getting back to my original point, I think OT *knew* that 1D would have gag orders and couldn’t say anything for months and months so reporting that they would be able to say something seems super sneaky. The fans will be waiting for something that won’t be coming any time soon. 

Originally posted by ungifable

And here is a collection of Azoff’s tweets about billboard:

Sappho, the Original Lesbian

For this first article of a project that is sure to jump around history we thought it might be best to start as close to the beginning as possible. While there is no way to find out who the first human to experience romantic attraction to a person of the same gender was, we are going to go as far back as we can manage at this time, to one of the most recognizable figures in history: to Sappho.(Read the full article here)

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Multiclassing a Rogue in 5e - Searching for Damage

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I was invited to participate in a dungeon crawl campaign. It’s set up as a race, so in this instance, I want my character to be optimized-ish. I want to play a rogue (or mostly a rogue) and I want to do a lot of damage. I have no idea how to do that.

Here are the goals of my design
High damage. Whatever I do, my character need to kill more efficiently than a standard rogue.
Avoid builds that only look to level 20. I’ve never had a character level to 20. She needs to contribute to the team during her entire existence.
Street legal. No weird homebrew rules and I don’t have the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. It’s Player’s Handbook only for this test.
Long term resources. We don’t do an 8 minute battle then a long rest. Time is of the essence. She is going to be separated from civilization, and needs to avoid single use resources.

The Contenders
Here are all the builds I wanted to compare.
Avenger. Take a Rogue (arcane) chassis, add five levels of the Fighter (battlemaster), and a two drops of Paladin. You use the battlemaster’s repost ability to spam off turn sneak attack, and then back it up with smite that is fueled from the arcane trickster’s spell slots. I love smite, sneak attack, and martial dice, and I want to combine them all together. This build is melee only.
Standard Rogue. Rogue 20 (Assassin) included for comparison purposes.
Slayer. A ranged Rogue 15 (Assassin)/Fighter 5 (Champion). This multiclass ranged rogue will take advantage of the fighter’s second attack, archery fighting style, and an improved critical.
GWF. A great weapon Fighter 20 (Champion). This fighter primarily uses a great weapon fighting style and a maul. For comparative purposes, this build is assumed to have the great weapon master feat starting at level one. This build also mirrors a fighter that uses a longbow, takes the archery fighting style, and sharpshooter feat


  • Rogues will always get sneak attack
  • Action surge will be used for combat
  • Ability score increases will be used for primary statistic (strength or dexterity) and then for feats 
  • Main stat is +3 at level 1
  • All mundane equipment is available

Damage Per Round: The Ability to Punch
Calculating to Hit. I took the average AC of a monster at the CR of the character’s level (see DMG page 274), and used that to calculate a to hit percentage. This was used to modify the total damage a character could do. As the character’s level up, monsters become harder to hit. If you don’t invest in the stat that boosts your attack modifier, your damage will go down. The formula looks something like this:

(1-(([Average Monster AC for CR X] - [Character to hit at level X])*.05))*(average damage of hit)

Resource Use. For resource based attacks (action surge, martial dice, et cetera), I made the following assumptions. In an adventuring day, there are 6 encounters consisting of 4 turns of heavy combat, and two evenly spaced short rests. For example, a 2nd level fighter would use the action surge ability 3 times and it’s assumed she would use the action granted to attack. Thus you take the damage done by the action surge divided by eight (24 daily rounds/3 daily uses) to determine the amount to add to the round total. 

For smite, I assumed all spell slots were used for that purpose and divided the total damage by 24 (the number of estimated combat rounds per adventuring day) to get what they add to the character’s damage per round. For the rogue’s assassinate bonus I assumed it would hit 2 times out of six combats or one in every 12 rounds.

Results. All the multiclass and fighter builds landed between 49 and 54 modified damage per turn at level 20 while the standard rogue was left far behind behind. Also, the combo fighter/rogues had a more linear progression. With one exception, starting at level 8 the fighter/rogue combos drastically outpace standard fighter and rogue. The fighter catches up when they get another extra attack, but then fall behind again. The most extreme example occurs at level 19 the where the Rogue/Fighter combos are doing around 48-50 damage a turn, while the fighter floats around 40. Only at level 20, does that extra attack bring them up to speed.

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So if you want to be a rogue and do damage, take 5 levels of fighter. The Slayer (rogue/fighter) build basically matches the Avenger (rogue/fighter/paladin) but is far less complicated to play. You don’t have to be worried about wading into melee to use your reposte or smite to max your damage.

Things I learned while I was doing this comparison:
To hit is constant. Without the archery fighting style, your character’s to hit percentage on the average AC of appropriately leveled monster is basically 65%. This assumes you spend your ASIs to pump your main ability scores.
You are easier to hit as you level up. AC is generally static for most heroes. Hence, monster to hit slowly goes up by 15 to 20% over the course of a character's’ career.
5 levels of fighter make a huge difference for a rogue. If you look at the graph, the biggest leaps in ability are when 5th level of fighter is taken. For rogues, a second attack means you basically ensure your sneak hits. Furthermore, the fighting style and martial abilities (even if you just take “champion”) pump your damage.  For example, more than 45% of the damage of the Avenger at level 20 is due to the synergistic effect of those 5 levels.
Smite isn’t as cool as I thought. By level 20, the Avenger has 25 d8s that come from smite. Spread out over an adventuring day, this accounts for about 8% of her damage. You can still nova, but you are sacrificing a bit of long term viability. Remember we are sacrificing 10% of our character levels and choosing arcane trickster to pump up the number of spell slots. It might not be worth it.
Feats require Intelligence. Part of this analysis included checking if the the power attack feats (sharpshooter and the like), where you take a 5 to hit reduction for an additional 10 damage, created a large benefit for the character. In the graph below, the Sharp Slayer was assumed to always use the feat. It made minimal differences in damage output and lost efficiency as the character’s damage increased. Bottom line, you gotta be smart about it and use the ability against softer targets. The feat is worth more to a lower level character who doesn’t do a lot of damage.

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For me, the Rogue 15/Fighter 5 looks to be the best bet. At the end of the day, you sacrifice a few points of damage per round to avoid melee combat and resource monitoring.

What do you think? Do you agree? Did I miss something? Let me know. 


This article is peppered with misspellings and grammatical errors.  I got tired of adding “[sic]” to every one - if you see it and it’s wrong, it was “published” that way.


Courtroom packed as jury hears first evidence

[handwritten] You are greater than them all they cannot understand

S. Kasparian
Staff Reporter

BALTIMORE – A decades long hunt ended yesterday with the apprehending of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  Lecter is the FBI’s main suspect in the gruesome Chesapeake Ripper murders that ravaged the area for years.  Officials have suggested that his reign of terror may reach back as far as 15 years.

[highlight] The FBI has never encountered a serial killer who possesses the cunning of the Chesapeake Ripper who has been able to allude poilce for such a long time even though his murders are amongst the most shocking and elaborate on [/highlight] record.  The manhunt creshendoed yesterday afternoon when Dr. Lecter was arrested at the country home of [circle] Will Graham [/circle] – a profiler who worked for the FBI until he himself became suspected of being the Ripper and was arrested and subsequently released only a couple of short years ago.  No word on Graham’s actual involvement in the crimes or arrest has been

of the psychiatric community in the Bay area for nearly 20 years and was most notable  known to the public for his testimonials at the trial for Will Graham.  Dr. Lecter was Graham’s clinical psychologist and played no small part in his incarceration in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

Graham was later exhonerated and Dr. Lector himself became the lead suspect.  The attempted arrest of Lecter resulted in the death of one person hospitalization 3 others, 2 of whom were FBI agents.  Dr. Lecter then disappeared until now when agents were able to successfully take him into custody without incident.

[Text repeats]

[Caption below photograph] Photograph by R. Cheyne  DR. HANNIBAL LECTER – Makes his first public appearance since his arrest.  Usually quite dapper, Dr. Lecter still remained composed even in prisoner’s attire.

The author “S. Kasparian” is likely a nod to Hannibal’s art department trainee, Sonia Kasparian.

The photographer “R. Cheyne” is likely a nod to Hannibal’s art director, Rory Cheyne.

What Kind of World Do We Live In?


Have you ever taken a moment to consider how materialistic we can sometimes get?  When we go out into society and are constantly being surrounded by alluring merchandise; how many times do we think ‘I want that’, ‘I’d be happier if I had that’, and ‘That will complete me.’  Instead of spending our time thinking about where to dump our hard earned savings, we should be thinking more about how to love our neighbour, improve ourselves, and make the world a better place. 

So live freely.  Laugh more often.  Do kind deeds. Love until you cannot love anymore because each and every second that we are alive, we are given the power to chose how we are going to use it.  Why waste it by being materialistic? 

Listen, Battlefield 1 owes nothing to history - Kill Screen
The title might say it all: Battlefield 1’s choice of numeral suggests a process of looking backward, of turning to the past to find a way forward. In its appearance at the EA Play event yesterday, Battlefield 1 demonstrated this in what was a comprehensive display of force: British Mark IV tanks churned through French mud like supercharged rally cars, soldiers bayoneted their foes after Olympian sprints across the battlefield, and zeppelin after zeppelin tumbled to the ground in a simulacra of the Hindenburg’s fiery descent. Yet the commentary was not the panicked voice of Herbert Morrison, his cry of “Oh the…

There is no humanity lost here, no death. These soldiers return to their feet as soon as they have fallen, run through bullets, throw themselves to prone position with the abandon of a Hollywood stunt man. As we watch a magic syringe revive a fallen teammate, a parachute effectively deployed seconds before impact and grenades ping about like tennis balls, it becomes increasingly clear that this is a Battlefield game before anything else. World War I is little more than a patina, a thin layer of mud and mustard gas draped over the same whirring machinery…

The lack of similar distaste being expressed around Battlefield 4 in particular is telling of both our comfort with depictions of contemporary conflict and our lack of moral compunctions regarding fictional warfare. Of course, Battlefield 1 is no less fictional than Battlefield 4, and watching five minutes of game footage will more than prove that. This is World War I reimagined as a frictionless machine, an endless breakneck charge. The question of historical accuracy seems comical when the game fails to depict reality in any sense.

On Love and Fathers

By John Laurens

This past week, from Monday to Friday, the people of the LGBTQ community (and its allies) celebrated bisexuality and all the wonderful people that fall under its umbrella, such as Freddy Mercury, Amber Heard, Amy Winehouse, and, most notably, my boyfriend Alexander Hamilton. I met Alexander four years ago at an HRC fundraiser event just a few months after my show started - he actually came up to me as I was working up the courage to go talk to him! Normally, I love talking to people, but when you’ve made as many cracks at a person as I had to Alexander, someone known for his unpredictable temperament, there’s reason to tread lightly. But, as it turns out, he had a sense of humor and actually really loved that I called him out on my show. Lucky me! I got even luckier as the night went on, as we sparked up a friendship right away, and I doubt there was ever anything platonic between us. 

Now might be the time to recognize a recent bit of scandal that has arisen between by boyfriend and I. In early 2005, Alexander eloped with his girlfriend at the time, Elizabeth Schuyler. They met in college and had a whirlwind romance that led to a most likely inadvisable marriage. Their marriage has yet to be annulled, and neither is in any rush to do so. Since 2007, Eliza and Alex’s relationship has been what can only be described as on-again-off-again. Their relationship, however, has not been particularly romantic since January of 2013. So now we reach the question of me. What do I think of this marriage? Do I feel threatened? Am I ever insecure about my standing in Alexander’s heart? 

No. And let me tell you why. Alexander Hamilton is the single most passionate, expressive, and outgoing human being I have ever met. He kissed me two days after he met me, and three hours later he told me the whole story of him and Eliza. Hamilton is known for his impossibly well-articulated rambles, and this was no exception to that. His storytelling was chaos, but his message was crystal clear. I could not hope to express all that he poured out to me, so I will summarize it with this one poignant line that has stuck with me for the last four years: “I love Eliza. I love her wholeheartedly and unconditionally because she’s there when I need her and she loves me the way I need her to, and nothing more. If I need a sister, it’s her. A friend? It’s her. A wife? Her. Even if I need a maternal face, she’s the only one I need. And, for the foreseeable future, I think I’m just going to need a best friend and family in her. I need you for the rest of the love." 

Anyone versed in sexuality speak would argue that that particular declaration would constitute as my boyfriend coming out as polysexual. To that, I say that he identifies as bisexual and will be bisexual until he decides otherwise. This isn’t a polyamorous relationship, people. Well, it kind of is, but it’s not. It doesn’t need to make sense to everyone, alright? Just know that we’ve got it figured out. Well, we’ve got it at a place where we’re on the same page.

But a lot of people don’t do well with ’trust me, we’ve got it down’. At the top of that list is my father, ex-senator Henry Laurens. Never once in my life have I agreed with that man. When I was nine, he took away my all my kiddie science books because he thought one of them mentioned evolution. When I was twelve, he would glare at me from across the dining table if I tried to go on about something interesting I had learned in school. When I was sixteen, I tried to come out to him. He slapped me across the face, took me out of his will, and said I could maybe get my inheritance back if I erased who I was to his level of satisfaction. A week later, I remained stubborn, so he threatened me into going out with one of his hunting buddies’ daughters. She’s a sweet girl. As adults, we’ve become friendly, but as teenagers, she was airheaded, infatuated, and desperate to lose her virginity. Between those big Filipino puppy dog eyes and my father’s fists, I was guilted into sleeping with her. At seventeen, I got her pregnant. The next year was not pleasant for any of us. I got out as fast as I could, and I went halfway across the country to a college of barely 1000 people in southern Wisconsin to do so. I’m not going to go into the details of how I got my father to pay for my tuition. 

Once I graduated college, I went to New York to work on my Master’s degree, started going to standup places on the weekends, and the rest is history. I have not spoken to my father since I was 23 years old. That changed this month, however, when it was revealed that my boyfriend was married. I received from him perhaps the longest email I have ever seen in my life, detailing how shameful and disgusting I was, how vile my boyfriend was, and the kind of shame it had brought upon him to share a name with him. It was scathing and harsh and written with the utmost anger, and, by the end, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was in this moment, reading that awful email, that I realized that I was free of him. I had outgrown my father and his wretchedness and his prejudice and hate. I had not, however, outgrown the pettiness of youth, and my reply to the email was a series of pictures of Alexander and I in various disgustingly romantic moments, followed by this simple message: "I love him. He loves me. He is honest with me. You don’t own me. I couldn’t give less of a f**k as to how I make you look.” Dear God, I hope he was pissed.

My father could never love me for who I am. I found someone instead who is shaped a little differently than the rest, but fits snugly with my puzzle piece. Complicated or not, I’m here so long as he is, and not a moment longer. Keep that in mind when you celebrate Pride. 



Jordan: Nahed Hattar shot dead ahead of cartoon trial
Gunman kills prominent writer Nahed Hattar outside Amman court where he was facing charges over "offensive" cartoon.

A gunman has shot dead prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam.

Hattar was struck by three bullets before the unidentified assailant was arrested on Sunday, state news agency Petra reported.

Witnesses and police said Nahed Hattar, 56, was preparing to enter the courthouse for a hearing when the lone gunman shot him at close range.

“He was standing at a short distance of about one metre in front of Nahed on the stairs of the Supreme Court,” a witness told the Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions.

Hattar, a Christian, was arrested on August 13 after posting a caricature on his Facebook account that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews.

He removed the cartoon shortly thereafter, saying “it mocks terrorists and their concept of God and heaven. It does not infringe God’s divinity in any way”. It is not known who produced the cartoon.

Many Jordanian Muslims considered it offensive and against their religion. Authorities said Hattar violated the law by widely sharing the caricature.

He was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.

Government spokesman Mohammad Momani condemned Hattar’s killing as a “heinous crime.”

“The government will strike with an iron hand all those who exploit this crime to broadcast speeches of hatred to our community,” he told the Petra agency.

But supporters of Hattar said they held the government responsible for the shooting, accusing Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki of creating a hostile atmosphere that encouraged violence against the writer.

“The prime minister was the first one who incited against Nahed when he ordered his arrest and put him on trial for sharing the cartoon, and that ignited the public against him and led to his killing,” said Saad Hattar, a cousin of the writer.


Daoud Kuttab, an award winning journalist and director of Community Media Network, told Al Jazeera Hattar’s killing represents a “scary situation where people with opinions we don’t like or the government doesn’t like become susceptible to assassination”.

“It’s a clear case of intellectual terror,” said Kuttab.

“The omen is that many people are now going to be worried about what they say… It’s a scary situation for people who believe in the freedom of thought and opinion and the right of expressing their opinion.”

Social media accounts of prominent conservatives in Jordan and elsewhere were celebrating Hattar’s death, saying he deserved it for blasphemy.

Anja Wehler-Schoek, resident director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Jordan, said she found the social media posts “shocking”. The German foundation promotes democracy and political education in the region.

“This is clearly a very dark day for Jordan, which has long been celebrated as a model of peaceful co-existence,” she said. “I am very worried we are seeing the end of an era here and more and more problems to come in the future.”

Sara Williams, a Jordan-based journalist, told Al Jazeera that Hattar had been detained in the past over critical postings about Jordan’s king.

“The was not his first brush with the law, but people I have spoken to are shocked about today’s events,” Williams said.

“This morning, outside the hospital where Mr Hattar’s body was taken, some family members of his were screaming of rage at the interior ministry, which is responsible for security, and particularly cursing the minister of interior.

After sharing the cartoon on Facebook, the backlash against Hattar was immediate with Jordanian social media users lambasting the writer for purposely causing offence to Muslims.

Social media users also called on the government to question and arrest Hattar, and some attacked him for being Christian and a secularist.

Attempting to explain his motive for sharing the cartoon, Hattar said he did not intend to cause offence to Muslims and wanted the cartoon to "expose” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In another explanation, Hattar said “as a non-believer” he respected “the believers who did not understand the satire behind the cartoon”.

Tom Hiddleston Is Gucci’s New Campaign Star

Back in July, there was a moment when we were a little worried about Tom Hiddleston. Between the widespread mockery of that ‘I Heart T. S.’ T-shirt (sorry, vest) and a slew of headlines shouting about his dwindling chances of playing James Bond, the actor seemed far from the suave Night Manager star of old.

It seems, though, that Tom has managed to pull off the near impossible and rise from the ashes of Hiddleswift in style, managing a. to avoid attempting a social media takedown of his ex (a la Calvin Harris); b. to land a high profile fashion campaign with the undisputed label of the moment, Gucci; and c. to do so in the company of some beautiful afghan hounds. Well played, Hiddleston, well played.

Actually I am just posting this article so I can do this:

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