One of the many wise things my brother-in-law (Uncle Mike) said to me was this:

“The ideas people always end up getting fucked by the money people.”

The occasion of his utterance was many years ago, when the vulture venture capitalists were giving me the runaround with funding — in essence, they thought my business plan was great, as long as I changed the product, its marketing and its target market — and when I refused to change anything, they promised to release the funds… after six months’ further study.  Result (as Longtime Readers may remember):  a third of a million dollars’ savings lost, staff laid off, followed by ruin and bankruptcy.

The same is true not just of venture capital gnomes, though.  It is a fact of life in the music business, where creative people are happy just to get an opportunity to create music, make albums and perform at concerts for their fans;  while in the background the loathsome accountants and managers collect the money, demand more and more “product” from the artists, and try to justify their greed and rapacity by pleading that they “invest” in the artists and are therefore entitled to a return on their investment.

I recently watched the biopic of the late Amy Winehouse, the British jazz singer and ultimate Train Smash Woman, on Netflix.  I would urge everyone to watch it — if you can stomach it all the way through — to see exactly what I’m talking about in the previous paragraph.  All Amy had was boundless talent;  all she lacked  was maturity, commonsense, guidance, protection and security, and nobody ever helped her by giving her any of it.  Instead, her life was one long catalog of exploitation, enabling and vampire-like sucking of everything she had, with the predictable outcome. And she didn’t deserve any of it.  To say Amy was vulnerable would be guilty of gross understatement, and her world treated her like a sadist would kick a newborn puppy, just because the squeals sounded good.

Here’s my comment on the tragedy of Amy Winehouse:

Every single person involved in this vulnerable young woman’s sad life:  her “friends”, her producers, her record company’s executives, her “bodyguards”, the press reporters and paparazzi who hounded her every move, her husband, and most especially her father — every single one of them deserves to be  put into the stocks and beaten with heavy chains.  For hours.


  1. Rodin’s masterpiece She who used to be the beautiful heaulmière is tragic. It is tragic in that it communicates a thing inevitable to mortal woman.

    Winehouse was a tragedy of the avoidable; avoidable, yet as old and repeatable a tragedy as that which befell Rodin’s model. It has happened and will happen countless times in each generation, to girls whose names will never draw millions screaming in adoration. I’ve heard the bitter old wretches they become if they live long enough screaming in the night with diesel smoke voices, belching bile at those who should have been loved ones, or those who took the place of anyone who might have once loved them. And I’ve heard them young, at the very flower of youth, and you could tell them just by their voice, their manner of speech, their eagerness to please someone in conversation that any fool could see ought just as well have SCUM tattooed across the forehead.

    They keep happening though they very well might not; that’s this tragedy. There are always those who will not unlearn what they have from the cradle been taught. You will never save them from themselves.

    1. “…those who will not unlearn what they have from the cradle been taught. You will never save them from themselves.”

      In “working with others”, I have found your comment sadly on the mark. In another context, if not a different war, is the following.
      Commenting on the potential of modern weaponry and warfare, the late historian John Keegan stressed the imperative to never forget the lessons of past conflicts; “Unless we unlearn the habits we have taught ourselves we shall not survive.”

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