In Luka Bloom's letter to Hot Press last week, he stated that he was not "anti-streaming", as such, just that he had decided not to service his new album Bittersweet Crimson to Spotify or other streaming services, because it doesn't work for him.
It was a fine and funny letter, and some of it needs to be quoted straight: "If people wish to experience my record, all I ask is that they actually buy it from actually me; because I actually generated the songs and the momentum, and paid all the people who helped get the record done, over a period of two years. My only motivation in this appeal was clear and simple: I need the money."
You read that and you think, 'it's so crazy it just might work'.
But there was a bit of history in it, too, from Luka: "I am old enough to remember things called Record Companies;… very talented at structuring complicated contracts and then exaggerating expenses, to minimise the payments owed to the people who generated the 'product'…But at least the Record Companies participated with us. They funded recording; they employed people to market songs. For God's sake they even came to the gigs and told us we were brilliant. Great craic. Part of my problem with streaming is that it's just no craic. I do literally EVERYTHING, and then they LITERALLY pocket the dough. To me that is LITERALLY no craic."
I would add to this the fact that these 'record companies' sometimes employed people to look for talent, people who would discover, say, Randy Newman or Tom Waits or Warren Zevon or indeed Luka Bloom; artists who wouldn't necessarily sell as many albums as The Eagles, but who would sell enough to keep making records - records, after all, being the product made by these 'record companies'.
It was probably Michael Jackson who ended that business model, which, as Luka Bloom affirms, had been strangely effective up to a point, for some time.
I mean, Jacko didn't himself decree it, but I do recall that when he started selling albums in gargantuan quantities, a thought seemed to form in the corporate mind of the 'record companies', that went something like this: If we, as multinational corporations, place the vast majority of our resources at the disposal of superstars such as Michael Jackson, we can achieve such economies of scale, we won't need to bother any more with your Warren Zevons, some of whom can be high maintenance - I mean they make lovely records and all, but if, say, 50 Randy Newmans equals one Michael Jackson in terms of the bottom line, maybe life would be a lot easier just going all in with Jacko?
By dint of such simple accountancy, you eventually ended up with what I would describe as Nils Lofgren Syndrome.
This manifested itself one afternoon on RTE when, to my astonishment, Mr Lofgren appeared on a daytime TV show, which I think was presented by Mr Marty Whelan.
As Marty would well know, Lofgren had been quite a rock star - his Shine Silently is still one of the most exquisite tracks in all of rock 'n' roll, and he was revered as a guitarist by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, who would pay him tremendous sums of money to be a sideman. Hell, he was so good he could play the guitar while doing backflips, actually. Literally.
So Nils Lofgren was doing fine, in general, except for this one thing: he was on RTE daytime TV, promoting a gig, and a CD which he'd be selling at the gig. This suggested to me that he was no longer availing of the resources of a major record company - nor, ultimately, were they availing of his resources.
Because again, why would you have 50 Nils Lofgrens when you can have one… Bruce Springsteen?
Yet it now seems that Lofgren was ahead of the game, or at least he had seen that the game would soon be gone - that our old friend the internet would achieve something almost beyond human comprehension, by finding new ways to avail of the resources of musicians and all sorts of other creative people, ways that hadn't been dreamt of, even by the record companies.
Lofgren was roughly anticipating Luka Bloom, asking that people actually buy his record from actually him. Because otherwise it has been broadly accepted that the only way for actual musicians to make actual money, is by playing gigs. And since there are no gigs these days…
Yes this has been 'broadly accepted', as so much of the powerlessness of mere humans against the tech monsters has been broadly accepted.
Faced with the unfathomable enormity of it all, many industries (including newspapers) simply froze in panic, resigned to the fact that all our endeavours must be offered up to the great god Google.
So Luka Bloom is not "anti-streaming", but I'm sensing that if we want a world with any Luka Blooms in it, or anything else that is any good, this is the way to go. Literally.
Donald Trump gets too much credit sometimes for his three-card-trick merchant's ability to 'distract'.
Last Thursday it was said he was distracting from the worst economic quarter on record by tweeting out the idea that November's US presidential election might be postponed.
Yet if you're trying to 'distract' people with what would be the official ending of democracy in the United States (it ended unofficially some time back), maybe you're not on top of that whole distraction thing after all.
I mean, would it not work the other way round, too? If you're trying to mess with an election for the first time in American history then wouldn't it be a handy distraction to have these economic numbers that are no great surprise anyway?
Moreover, it was suggested his election tweet was helping to distract from the death of former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain from Covid-19 weeks after Cain attended the disastrous rally in Tulsa - and there was Barack Obama's oration at the funeral of civil rights leader John Lewis, a real distraction for Trump.
Yes, maybe that's what it was all about - the wrecked economy, the end of democracy and the insanely stupid deaths of his followers, all to put a hole in Barack Obama's ratings?
It's Distract-O-Mania over there, but the card to watch most closely is the election scam. Indeed, in that regard the only option that would have no appeal whatsoever for Trump is that of the free and fair election. Gangsters don't do anything free and fair.
And there's a game that comes into play here, one that Trump's always been really good at: in his efforts to de-legitimise the election he's doing a version of the game of going bankrupt and slithering away from the wreckage somehow.
Now he has bankrupted America itself, financially and morally and every other way, he is looking for his biggest 'win' yet in the old liquidation game - a 'win' in this case having none of the usual meanings of that word, but just the vision of Trump emerging unharmed again from the ruination which he has wrought.
It is what he does. And it is what he's trying to do again, whatever it takes.
If anyone thinks remote learning is new they probably don't know about Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.
The Australian TV series, which was also on RTE, featured an intelligent kangaroo and the boy Sonny Hammond and their adventures in Waratah Park. It also featured the School of the Air, which broadcast lessons to outback children. At a time when Irish children were enduring brutality in the classroom, it was quite a thing to watch Sonny receiving a perfectly good education by listening to the radio.
And, of course, by listening to Skippy.
Isn't that right, Skip?