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Spent the afternoon doing a bit of shopping in Leeds with Emiko. A rainy day after a very blustery night due to a storm with a name I've already forgotten. This naming of storms is a little strange and silly but I guess it puts some sort of personality on what is basically nature's indifferrence to human beings.

Emi wanted to go to one of the Chinese supermarkets in Leeds where she can buy Japanese food. She's planning a traditional Japanese New Year lunch party for a few of her Japanese friends on Saturday. We visited Leeds indoor Market, which has some lovely old architecture, to buy some fish. Amazing that this nostalgic place was set for demolition several years ago but so many local people and traders got together and petitioned to save it. It's a real jewel in Leeds' crown and I only hope it continues to survive despite the surrounding area having succumbed to extremely high priced, flashy designer shopping centres. I wonder how some of these glitzy shops will survive when the repercussions of Brexit eventually kick all our buying power into touch.

An item on tv news today about 'streaming.' As fans on my Dreamsville website know, streaming has been a topic of debate over the last two or three years. A great number of people now stream the music they consume rarher than buying it outright. A fairly cheap subscription to one of the many streaming sites allows people to listen to a wide variety of music via their computer, though they never actually 'own' the music, especially in the physical sense of owning a CD or vinyl album. It's like a version of a radio station where you pay a license fee to hear whatever music you want.

Unfortunately, this system delivers extremely poor royalty returns for the people who actually create the music, and has been the scene of much controversy with artists complaining about the way it pays for their work. The news item today told how various music publishing companies are now entering into litigation with one of the major streaming sites, ('Spotify,') who they claim owes them several billion dollars in unpaid royalties. Am I surprised by this? No, of course's been patently obvious from the beginning that streaming is just another example of unfair exploitation by the music business, (though that business has shifted its position from the 'analogue' realm to the virtual one.)

The good thing about the internet in this regard is that you can by-pass the industry need for the old publicity machine, the record company execs and A+R men, just make the music in your home studio and get it direct to those who want to hear it. The less 'middle men' the better.

The downside of this freedom though, is that anyone with the least amount of talent can also access these digital avenues to present their work publicly, which means there's a huge amount of less interesting, undeserving, dross to fight your way through to get to the good stuff. If you actually know what the good stuff is in the first place. Hey, ho...

Back at the ranch, I've had a bit of fun making a flyer for a non-existent album. I had the idea for a cosmic sequel to 'The Alchemical Adventures Of Sailor Bill,' (or Sailor Bill in space, if you like.) Anyway, here's the flyer...maybe one day I'll make the album too.


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