#nomakeupselfie: 3 Things You Must Know Before Posting

While the #selfie meme irritates me personally, I’m far more irritated by the short-sightedness by many critics of the ensuing Cancer Research UK campaign, raising awareness and funding cancer research. Continue Reading →

Rudd Deals: Naked vs Native

Kevin Rudd, Nick Kavanagh (Naked Communications) and Alyx Gorman (The Vine) have been in the spotlight for the last few days over what boils down to a bungled attempt at the latest trend in branded content, known as “Native Advertising”. Continue Reading →

Infographic: Perspective on Today’s Record-breaking Pop Music

Today’s pop artists are breaking records set by some of the industry’s all-time greats like The Beatles and Michael Jackson, with the help of growing digital distribution and consumption.
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Thom: A Portrait of Modern Youth

Thom is a 19 year-old from the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland, mid-way down the east coast of Australia. He’s also the subject of Riley Blakeway’s eponymous, debut biopic film embedded above. Like a lot of films that capture the essence of Australian culture, there’s an underlying and at times depressing sense of sparseness and futility – a sense that in fact, the portrait of Australian youth in many senses, is much the same as it ever was.

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Hong Kong: “City of Dreams”

Jonathan Van Smit lives in Hong Kong and captures documentary-style street photography between the hours of 11pm and 4am. He’s one of the most open and interesting guys I’ve ever met: the kind of guy that makes you want to put the mic away and be mates. His gritty, black and white captures are almost always shot from-the-hip and tell a story of Hong Kong’s underbelly.

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Hobo Daze: The Lords of Shenzhen

Vagabond Skateboards brought together their team to meet up with local skaters from Shenzhen and spend a day cruising through the Cantonese country side.

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Take-Away Shows for China

It’s been a very busy month, being on the road filming a research video with enovate and launching a new music video project with my friend Charles Lanceplaine. Let’s talk about the music videos first. The most recent one, filmed in Taipei is embedded in this post (watch it here if you’re inside China)

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We All Want to Be Young in China

“We All Want To Be Young in China” is a video I concepted/directed for enovate (edited by Giuseppe Farina). It’s a 3-minute crash course on the evolution of contemporary youth culture in China. I really hope it inspires young people in China and educates those outside China on some of the influences on this increasingly important and ever changing consumer group.

Those in China sans VPN can view it here.

The video was inspired by the popular online video from Box1824 called “We All Want To Be Young”.

China [Youth Culture] Outlook

My mate Nick‘s thoughts in words and images, on the state of China’s youth culture. Review to follow. But for now, gedditindaya.

It’s been a couple months in the making, and I couldn’t be happier to release it for all to read. Filled with text and photos, the China Outlook dishes up some much-needed insight into the evolving youth culture of Mainland China. Keeping with THE PUSH SHOVE’s penchants, this publication focuses predominantly on developments in Chinese sub-cultures, and is organized into four areas:

  • Youth culture beyond Shanghai and Beijing
  • The expanding underground music scene
  • 2011 the year of Action Sports
  • The Virtual – Actual Network

[via The Push Shove]

19 Year-old Zach Wahls on Gay Marriage

Yesterday, was the first day in the court hearing addressing the proposed ban of gay marriage in Iowa, which has been legal in the state since 2009. I’d challenge anyone to make a more compelling case for the legalisation of gay marriage than 19 year-old University of Iowa student Zach Wahls did in his impressive 3-minute testimony.

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Spike Jonze: Most Epic Skateboarding Film Ever

So it seems I’ve been a little bit swept-up by skateboarding films lately and I haven’t even been seeking them out. I haven’t got much to say about this one. I’ll sum it up for you in a few words.

Spike Jonze, Ty Evans and Cory Weincheque direct ”Lakai Fully Flared”. The most epic skateboarding trailer I’ve ever seen. Aside from the tricks. But who’s watching them anyway. This trailer would still be epic if they used Justin Bieber on the soundtrack.

Just watch it.

Converse Skate Film “Ni” 逆

The idea and the resources behind this film gave it a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the execution was lacking something: in the narrative, the message and the (skateboarding) tricks.
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Reel Cool #4: Film Premakes (How To)

I recently came across a YouTube meme of posting “Premakes” or in plain English, scenes from old movies (the older and more obscure the better) re-cut and re-titled and passed-off as more recent modern classics. It’s a similar concept to the sweded films made popular by Jack Black’s “Be Kind Rewind”. Check out five of the best premakes I found, including one (the first one) that shows you frame by frame exactly how the author has put it together, including the titles of the very old (forgotten) movies he sourced clips from.

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The 4Chan Guide to Adland

A group of Shanghai’s young advertising professionals (if you’ve got a better way to describe us, leave it in the comments) re-bonded last night over a few hot pots. It’s also a great opportunity to work out which agencies you could see yourself fitting into. In the event that you aren’t able to join us for the next Shanghai hot pot, the 4Chan guide to adland should help you decide.

But where’s BBDO?

The BBC Called: They want to know how musical you are…

BBC Labs are running some online tests that examine your relationship with music. Being someone who has played music for most of my life, listens to it heavily and even worked in the industry, I was curious to know how I scored. Link for the test and further explanation of the results after the jump.

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Smooth Criminal: Shredding the Cello

Two cellos, literally shredding their bows in an acoustic arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. The performance is to classical music what Center Stage was to classical ballet. Forget the bad acting. It’s the unfakable intensity of the musical performance that had me (really) clenching my jaw as Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic saw through the strings, tearing the hair out of their instruments.

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Anybody’s Fixed Gear: One Gear Book

A couple of my photographs are being published in a forthcoming book about fixed gear bicycles. It’s called “One Gear”. Congratulations to the guys at Anybody’s Fixed Gear. The sample spreads (below) look great.

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Music From Saharan Cellphones: Volume 2

I suppose you could call Christopher Kirkley the audiophile’s linguist. He travels the world researching and documenting the music of largely unknown traditional cultures and their relationship with modern technology.

I’ve been reading his blog since October last year when he posted his first mixtape – one of my most exciting musical finds of 2010. He’s just posted Volume 2 of Music From Saharan Cellphones. A mixtape compiled from discarded* cellphones in Sahel region of West Africa.

Download link and more about Christopher’s latest mixtape after the jump.

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Christian Were: Vinegar Girl

Also, Check out Christian Were’s shots of Xinjian, China on flickr. Full of that nostalgic magic, produced when a great photographer masters the art of film.

[via Ruby Pseudo]

Music Data Visualisation: End of Year Top Albums 2010

If you’re like me and you don’t have time to look at every Thom, Mick and Iggy’s “2010 Best Album” list. Head straight for the buffet of the most respected “2010 Best Album” lists –an incredibly thorough, beautifully designed, interactive data visualisation.

End of Year Top Albums 2010 [zoho.co.uk] provides a visual summary of the most successful music albums in 2010, based on the aggregation of a large variety of music rankings and charts, ranging from Amazon.com‘s list, over the Daily Telegraph to Rolling Stone and The Times).

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Shoes of Prey: Thanks Jodie

My very lovely friends Jodie, Michael and Mike from Shoes of Prey recently dropped-in to Shanghai for a visit. I have a lot of fun getting dressed in the mornings and Jodie happened to take a liking to this particular outfit. Read her post and design your own shoes.

Visual Life Documentary: The Satorialist

I really enjoyed this short documentary on street fashion photographer, Scott Schumann aka The Satorialist. He has such an professional, friendly, but somehow odd report with his subjects. There were two quotes from the film that particularly resonated with me. See below.

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Shanghai’s Real Life Superheroes

Yes, the chap in this photo is for real. He’s one of the real life, crime-fighting vigilantes dishing out justice on the streets of Naples, Italy. There’s an entire online registry of people just like him patrolling neighborhoods all over the world.

It’s been happening for a few years and made the news in Seattle last week. But I felt it relevant to post after recently reading about our own masked vigilantly here in Shanghai, in an entertaining short story by local indie music aficionado Andy Best.

Check out Andy’s story “Mantis vs. Phantom“. A very entertaining read.

[via PSFK]

Shanghai 5: Skateboarding Documentary

Shanghai 5 is a documentary of the development of the the city’s skate culture and their on-going love affair with it’s dreamy urban architecture. The debut screening was held at The Source, back in early December and I really wish I could have made it along. Late or not Shanghai 5 deserves to be written about. More after the jump.

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China’s Youngest Skater + World’s Biggest Skate Park

Yesterday Mattias and I rode our bikes to the outskirts of Shanghai to check out the world’s largest skate park (‘SMP International Skate Park‘). We ran into seven year-old Xiao He, comfortably dropping-in and rolling around the various banks, hips, fun boxes, rails, ledges and hubbas. He told us he’d been skating for one year. For me it was further evidence of a growing mainstream acceptance of alternative sports and sub-cultural movements like skateboarding, fixed-gear cycling, punk, indie music, urban art and sneaker culture. After all, his parents had to buy the equipment and drive him to the skate park every weekend for the past year.

Shots of Xiao He in action after the jump.

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Listen to Acrylics ‘Nightwatch’

Robert Smith fans will love the way that guitar is struck. But those warm, handfuls of keys played through a heavy woolen blanket are what seduced me into the lap of a third consecutive listen. Please enjoy the Acrylics track below.

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Wiki WikiLeaks: Hip Hop Style

A tongue-in-cheek video outlining the latest ‘news’ in the on-going WikiLeaks slash Julian Assange case. There’s even a hat tip to one of 2010′s biggest viral video successes and current #1 most-viewed clip on YouTube, Antoine Dodson’s “Bed Intruder Song” at 4min 30sec. Although the amount of actual news content in this (WikiLeaks) video is questionable, it’s a great way to help communicate important current affairs to audiences who have no interest in tuning in to the traditional 6pm bulletin on the box.

[via Schitz Popinov]

Li-Ning: Running with Nike + Adidas

A hilarious new video spot from Chinese athletic company Li-Ning. According to chinaSMACK, a number of Chinese sites are predicting Chinese expats in the US to take offence. But I think, if anyone, it’s the mainstream American population who are most like to take offence. See for yourself below.

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Creativity: New Ideas Not Required

I don’t want to get all philosophical on you. But sometimes I enjoy stretching my brain in this way. In this TEDx video, so-called “Account Planning Guru” Paul Feldwick explains the need to re-define “creativity” away from terms like originality and innovation. To me, that’s like saying we need to avoid using words like rhythm and melody when defining the word “music”.

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Online Fashion: 9 Innovations for Online Sizing

Lately, I’ve been trying to problem-solve  how to get accurate fittings online for a product like custom mens’ shirts. Here are 9 possible innovations in determining sizing when shopping for clothes online and the advice I received from a handful of clever friends.

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Massive Music Shanghai: Tang King

Earlier this week Diederik van Middelkoop of Massive Music emailed me their latest music video, “Shanghai, Shanghai” featuring rapper ‘TK’ Tang King. It’s a really fun clip, featuring glimpses into all the iconic scenes you encounter everyday, living in Shanghai.

After the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and the millions and millions of visitors who came and went, the message still lingers on in Shanghai: ‘Better City, Better Life’

Film Director Bas Roeterink, music house MassiveMusic Shanghai and Rapper Tang King (‘TK’) sat down, took that message, and spun it around.

‘Make a Better City, Have a Better Life’.

You Stole My Idea

You stole my idea. But it’s OK. Because without me, the execution of my idea is (at worst) nothing and (at best) yours. It’s a sentiment that I’ve held for a long time and today I read about some clever people who agree.

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Carsick Cars Announce Split

Carsick Cars, perhaps one of China’s most well known indie acts to international audiences, has split. Read an English translation of the band’s official statement on Douban today below.

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Queen Sea Big Shark @ Mao Livehouse

Beijing indie-pop rockers Queen Sea Big Shark played at Shanghai’s Mao Livehouse on Friday night. I’ve had people in the (China music) industry tell me their live show was over-rated. Friday night was anything but. The venue brought great sound and front gal Fu Han brought a visual feast of a show and bag loads of intensity. The set flirted between club music and their signature guitar-pop and B52s-baselines. One friend aptly described the mix as almost Bowie-esque.

20 images from the show below. And a playlist to stream while you browse…

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Video: 5KUAI (Shanghai)

My first attempt at a technique called “lens wacking” or “free lensing”:

A short film about our neighbours.

The couple downstairs in our Shanghai laneway compound spend every afternoon dicing up fresh vegetables and cooking fresh noodle pasta. Then at 9pm, they wheel it out onto the intersection at the end of our laneway and fry-up woks full of tasty vegetable noodles until 5am.

Between the laneway and the intersection is one of the most popular fruit shops among residents of the French Concession. The local business owner stocks a huge range of hard-to-get imported ingredients and fresh produce, which has earned her the name ‘Arugula Lady‘ among expats.

For 5 kuai, you can eat like a king in Shanghai.

Song is a special Daytrotter Studio recording of ‘Ghosting’ by Freelance Whales. Download the whole session free.

Yimmy Yayo: Untitled & Unrelated

If you’re in Sydney on Thursday 11 November, don’t miss what will be a hella exciting collection of photographs from Yimmy Yayo, aka my dear friend James W. Mataitis Bailey.

All prints will be raffled off (tickets $1) with the proceeds going to JUMP, Australia’s largest mentoring program for young emerging artists. Images from the exhibition will be posted here on Pity The Cool, following the opening.

All the details after the jump.

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Reel Cool #3: New York (China) Dolls

Five live tracks from two of China’s most influential indie punk acts and one incredible, ‘free folk’ act. Filmed almost exactly 12 months ago in Brooklyn’s powerHouse Arena. I love the film grading and production. Feels like it could have been filmed 30 years ago. Very special performances.

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Images from JR Exhibition in Shanghai

Wrote a post yesterday about JR’s work. Went and check out his latest exhibition opening at 18Gallery on the Bund tonight in Shanghai. JR himself (+team) was at the gallery and I managed to catch him to ask a few questions that I was keen for answers on. I also found out the locations of some of his Shanghai pieces.

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Transmedia: Time To Think About The Past

“Future, it’s a time to think about the past” Cut Copy (2004).

I’m constantly reminded by people a lot smarter than I am (like my friend Craig Schuftan) that so many of our latest trends and our brave new ‘future’ world is actually just clever re-packaging of the past. Especially when it comes to media… Continue Reading →

TED Prize Winner in Shanghai: Street Artist JR

Pervasive street artist JR, who was just awarded the TED Prize, is opening his latest exhibition ‘The Wrinkles of a City’ in Shanghai tonight. His work is characterised by intimately-shot black and white photographs, super-sized and pasted in remarkable urban locations. There’s always a strong humanitarian message in his works.

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Listen: New Warpaint Album ‘The Fool’

Stream The Fool below. The latest album from LA’s dreamy psych-pop quartet, Warpaint will be released next week. I love these guys. My review (or someone else’s) to follow.

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Adam Perry’s iPhone App to Change Music Industry

Last weekend, the Guardian reported on the launch of Adam Perry’s (A and Bloodhound Gang) new iPhone app. But is it really going to change the music market in the way that it needs to?

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Yuri Suzuki: Product Design Meets Music

The Sound Chaser is an amplified toy train with a stylus (record needle) that runs along tracks made of old vinyl records. The artist, Yuri Suzuki is an amazing dude who, for the last few years, has been leading innovation on the relationship between music and product design. Watch the video above to see a demonstration of the new music-inspired products he produced for the London Design Festival. Below are some of my favourite musical products Suzuki has created over the last few years…including a musical kettle, which looks more like a guitar than a kitchen appliance.

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Best Live Tame Impala Session Ever

Free download or stream Tame Impala’s very special Daytrotter session below. I’ve been a die-hard Daytrotter fan for years now. It’s a unique free music model with an amazing story behind it. And I recommend it to almost anyone who ever asks me where to go for some new music.
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Jarvis Cocker Does Disco

I’ve been sitting on this track for a couple of weeks now. It’s time to share. Without further ado, a match made in futuristic disco heaven…French duo Discodeine “Syncronize” featuring Jarvis Cocker (formerly of Pulp). Out next month on Dirty / DFA.

Reel Cool #2: Five Music Videos Trying to Change the World

Below are five amazing music videos that will change your view of the world. Heck, with your help they may even change the world. The artists involved include: Muse, Radiohead, The Killers, David Bowie, Queen, Bloc Party, Broken Social Scene, Grizzly Bear, The National and Conor Oberst… the list goes on. Just watch.

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Little Punk: China’s Answer to SoKo

Shanghai lofi indie-folker, Little Punk has just dropped her sophomore album, Hey guy, you are big time alright. and it’s well worth a listen. Now.

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The Ugly Side of Youth Culture

Gay, straight, bi-sexual, whatever you are, you need to watch this. It’s not something that many youth trend/culture blogs like to talk about, which is one reason I’m posting it here.

Youth suicide is the third highest cause of death amongst 15-24 year-olds globally, exceeded only by “Accidents” and “Assaults”.

The key to change doesn’t lie in censorship or even reportage. It’s a responsibility that should be shouldered by ‘soap operas’ (ie. popular culture).

(via)

24 Hours in Mumbai (Bombay) for Qantas

On the surface, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is true to the imaginative representations of popular fiction. But chaos, noise and filth are merely birthmarks on India’s biggest and most diverse city. Offensive contradictions coexist harmoniously in its flesh. But its dusty old soul rewards persistent open-mindedness and brave curiosity…

Continue reading this article on the Qantas Travel Blog and check out the featured photo gallery.

Patrick Seabase: Motor-paced Cycling

Brand new video from Switzerland’s Patrick Seabase (former pro skater and sponsored track bike rider). Great to see him spending a lot more time on the bike these days. He was the driving force behind the recently defunct GOrilla bicycle company and currently working on a number of his own projects. Stay tuned to his new blog for updates.

Motor-paced training refers to act of riding very close behind a van or motorcycle (with the rider providing the windbreak) and using the slipstream to reach speeds of up to 100km/h. It’s one of the toughest cycling sessions a rider can do. As you’ll see in the video, Patrick reaches 83km/h on on his carbon track bike.

Update: Tips on Motor-paced training. And some beautiful still shots from Ian White.

Nick Peden: Images of Contemporary China

Here’s a selection of really interesting images from Nick Peden. Nick recently returned to Shanghai, after a research adventure through greater China, focusing on youth culture in the country’s second-tier cities. These images remind me why I love living in this part of the world.

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George Michael Released + Wham! in China

[October 12, 2010] George Michael has been released from prison after serving half of an eight-week sentence for crashing his car while under the influence of cannabis. [via Guardian]

To mark this day, here’s Lindsay Anderson’s “Foreign Skies” documentary of Wham!’s 1985 China tour. Wham! was the first western band to tour China, consummating the 10-day tour with a show, attended by 10,000 screaming fans at the Workers’ Gymnasium in Beijing.

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9 Ways to Improve the Lifelounge Youth Trends Report

Recently, I was contacted on Twitter (along with a few others) and offered a report containing “research on 16-30 y.o tastes in music, sport, fashion, entertainment”. The Urban Market Research (UMR) report is a collaboration between Lifelounge and Sweeney Research. But the question is, “Do we need another trend report?” Here’s nine ways Lifelounge and Sweeney Research can improve their UMR.

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New Album: Yann Tiersen’s ‘Dust Lane’

Stream ‘Dust Lane’, the new album from Yann Tiersen, composer of the soundtrack to the cutesy French film “Amelie”.

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Reel Cool #1: A Week of Music Videos

“Reel Cool” is a weekly post series featuring five videos worthy of your eyeballs. Here’s the first and it’s all music: El Guincho (Spain), Oh Mercy (Australia), Twin Shadow, Airport (India) and Bang Bang Tang (China)…

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Indie India: What’s the fuss about? (Pt. 2)

Read Part 1 of this series: “Indie India: ‘Early Influencers’

This is the second post in a three-part series, reporting on Mumbai’s independent music scene today and offering some commentary on the challenges facing India’s emerging music industry.

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Mark Ronson & the Business Intl

Mark Ronson’s latest album, Record Collection, is a cracker. I’ve been steaming it for most of the day. “An album of seductive retro pop and soulful dance-floor jams”, is a spot-on assessment from flavorpill. See below for a review of the album and everything you need/want to know about ‘The Bike Song’ –incl. video & lyrics.

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Indie India: “Early Influencers” (Pt. 1)

This post is the first in a short series detailing my learnings in India.

For the last decade, indie music has been battling for a credible presence in India’s first-tier cities, like Mumbai. Despite some media outlets prematurely breaking the shell of an ‘Indian indie scene’ sometime ago, Mumbai’s music community has continued pipping its way into an internationally recognised industry. Now, though still teething, there are very few who would refute India’s emergence onto the world’s independent music stage. Earlier this month, I spent two weeks embedded in Mumbai researching what’s really going on. Starting with the Nokia Music Connects conference [review to follow], I couch-hopped across the island-city from gigs to gurus, receiving a unique musical and cultural education, and uncovering a surprising trail of Australian musos in the process.

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CNNGo Mumbai: Shaa’ir + Func

A profile on Mumbai’s most popular indie music act, Shaa’ir + Func, and their contribution to the city’s emerging music community –published on CNNGo. More images from Shaa’ir + Func’s live show here.

Immortalised: Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

Charles Haddon, frontman for UK electro-pop trio Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, reportedly committed suicide yesterday, following the band’s set at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. To be honest, I never really listened to much of the band’s work and it’s a strange feeling to ‘discover’ them in the wake of such unfortunate and sad circumstances.

It got me thinking though about how many other people, on learning of this tragedy, felt compelled to engage with Haddon’s music. Continue Reading →

The Most Badass Music Video in India

Athiradee Kaalam has taken Bollywood music videos to a whole new level of ‘badass’. Picture an Indian Michael Jackson, Erik Estrada, James Bond, David Lee Roth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and John Travolta all stitched up into one impossibly cool gent who has invaded an episode of Power Rangers.

[via @klustout]

China’s Straddling Bus: The Inside…

The unveiling of China’s innovative, congestion-alleviating new bus design caused a web storm this week. But what hasn’t been released yet is what the inside of such a groundbreaking concept will look like. Here’s the answer.

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The Music World Goes Anti-Israel

I finally got around to reading a series of articles—open in my browser for sometime now—on international artists [not] performing in Israel. And in an attempt to post a balanced piece I read a bunch more. It seems to me that there is simply no decision made in, around or about Israel and the West Bank that isn’t political, intentionally or otherwise. Here’s a rundown of the past couple of months and the long list of high-profile artists that have, consciously or not, become political pawns, for one side or the other.

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Reptile + Retard: The Know China, But Still Don’t Know How to Spell Beer

[image credit: Rasmus Weng Karlsen]

A few months ago Danish duo Reptile and Retard completed a massive and very debaucherous tour of China. Here are some of the highlights published by Vice Magazine this week.

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Six Groundbreaking New Rules: US Decriminalises ‘Piracy’

The US Copyright Office announced today 6 groundbreaking new rules that bring Copyright Law into line with fair use of new technology. The rules below now prevent you from being prosecuted for the following common practices. However one huge omission is the music industry.

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The Problem with China’s Music Festivals

The downfall of the majority of music festivals in China is made obvious by one short quote from Suzhou International Music Festival’s Chief Coordinator, Yu Hui.

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Bangalore Youth: More in Common with NYC than Rural India?

“My fundamental belief is that people across the globe are more alike than dis-similar. My belief is there’s a global youth culture, where a youth in India has more in common with youth in NY than with people from rural India.”

Joseph Tripodi, Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer, The Coca-Cola Company.

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China’s Best Baked Goods: Baker & Spice

The best bakery in China sits in the heart of Shanghai’s French Concession district. Here are some images I took this week for an article appearing in New Zealand media.

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ARAB in Shanghai

Swiss artist and my good mate, Ian White (aka Cutterskink, aka ARAB) recently dropped into Shanghai for a visit. Among some of the the mischief while he was here, we thew some paint up in an incredible abandoned old building. Check out some of the stills from the area on flickr.

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RIP Gingers: Evolution of a Media Meme

It’s been building for 5 years. Content featuring (and often abusing) gingers was controversial, trendy, popular, socially acceptable and most recently endorsed by the Victorian Government in Australia. It was funny for a while. But thanks to a lame and very, very late grab at being cool and controversial by VicRoads and more likely, their ad agency, it’s over.

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The Algorithm of a Meme

Good friend and pop-blogger Julian Cole, recently posted an article on The Algorithm of a Meme. It reminded me of an interesting piece of software called Current, which contains the exact said algorithm –a meme radar of sorts.

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What ‘The Wire’ taught me about Australian Politics

If The Wire taught me anything about politics it’s that it doesn’t really matter who Australia’s leader is, under the current system. For whatever good intentions and false hopes potential leaders hold for delivering on promises, ‘setting things straight’ and speaking for the people, will be bent and broken under the weight of the support that was bought and begged on the road to the top seat.

Politics (and the country’s future) is what happens offscreen, between the lines and behind closed doors. But if it makes you feel better…bring on the next puppet.

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Sa Dingding: First Chinese Artist to Infiltrate the West

Sa Dingding (萨顶顶), a 26 year-old electronic-pop-folk artist, will be the first Chinese musical artist to ‘conquer’ the western music market.

Here are 5 reasons why:

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Unlikely Allies: China + The Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan

C.Custer posted an interesting retrospective on the ChinaGeeks blog this week, discussing soft power, censorship and how the Wu-Tang Clan became unlikely ambassadors for China and its traditional culture. So what do 90s east-coast hip-hop, the Confucius Institute, a 1987 film by Steven Spielberg and an Australian electro-pop duo have in common?

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New Music for the Time Poor

created by Sophie Hirst

The biggest challenge to discovering new music time, or lack thereof. Best friend and music marketing executive, Sophie Hirst has the solution. Her new blog, The Perfect Five –the music blog for people who don’t have time for music blogs.

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Canada + China Leading Piracy

The US names and shames the world’s worst piracy offenders. The release, circulating news wires around the world couldn’t come at a more opportune time for two of the main offenders. From 28 May–4 June 2010, a league of Canada’s key music industry innovators and decision makers travel to China for the mainland’s largest music industry business conference –transmitCHINA.

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Who Are The Favourite Bands of China’s Youth?

Bands China Youth Like

BBC Radio 4 correspondent, Rajan Datar, went to a recent gig at one of Beijing’s major live houses and asked a handful of Chinese youth to name their favourite bands. Their responses were varying combinations of the acts listed below.

Oasis, Joy Division, Lady Gaga, Rolling Stones, Ting Tings, Tom Waits, Blur, Johnny Thunders, Ramones, Smashing Pumpkins, Suede, Radiohead, The Doors, Iggy Pop, Sex Pistols.

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Beck + INXS

With a decade separating the prime of these two pieces of ear candy, there was, until now, only one way you may have come to witness them grace the credits of the same track –a bedroom mash-up, beat-matched within a bunny whisker of obscurity by a nostalgic teen, with his Dad’s record collection and a cracked copy of Ableton.

Watch Beck’s Record Club in the studio covering INXS’ Kick (1987), by far their best album…except, of course, for INXS The Greatest Hits

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Music Wars: Converse vs Nike

Above: The making of the Hifana+Nike Music Shoe.

In August last year Converse stamped a giant Chuck Taylor star on the Chinese indie music scene with its hugely successful Converse Love Noise campaign, engineered by Shanghai agencies W+K and Split Works –and awarded Ad Age China’s Top Marketing Campaign for 2009. The campaign was centered around local artists in five key cities across China and incorporated live music, live art and a filmed documentary, featuring two of China’s buzz acts, P.K.14 and Queen Sea Big Shark.

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Article (link): The Breakdown of Tribal Borders

Flickr Photo Download: The Breakdown of Tribal Borders (MEDIA Magazine)
(via @NeochaEDGE)

The article above discusses insights into the failures of marketing efforts targeting China’s Youth, and recommendations moving forward. Finally, hard numbers to prove that youth don’t have to belong to one tribe. In fact, the study cited in the article above suggests that Chinese youth dip in and out of a number of different sub-cultural tribes simultaneously.

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Dead: Australia’s Best Music Blog

Yesterday Google removed one of Australia’s top 5 music blogs—the best, in my humble opinion—after repeated complaints from labels and web sheriffs. On the surface, it appears Google shouldn’t be blamed for removing unlicensed material (like mp3s) and their stance on copyright infringements are clearly stated in their Blogger Terms of Service…or should they? There’s a lot more to the situation.

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Shanghai (Spring) Breakfast

Pancake stack

The most over-observed, polite conversation point in Shanghai: the tardy arrival of the new (warmer) season. Rather than pine about how much we missed the weather, with it’s beautiful blue sky, tweeting birds and golden morning sun, we celebrated it’s company with a delicious home-cooked stack of thin pancakes — not crepes — thin pancakes. I’m not going to explain the difference, you’ll just have to trust this former skeptic that one indeed exists.

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Wale In My Ears

wale

Wale‘s debut album, Attention Deficit (2009), has been popping up on my playlist sporadically since my good mate Dave recommended it. I relocated to Shanghai just over a month and have been helping local music company, Split Works put this together. More on that in another post.

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Tokyo Travel Insider

Tokyo Travel Insider

The images from my recent post on Tokyo have been published at Qantas Travel Insider. Check out the site and their Twitter account for loads of great food and travel tips too.

Music is Just Advertising.

Music is just advertising (for itself): it’s a self-promoting product. Another way of looking at it is that a single song is an advertisement for the artist that wrote it. Each single that’s released – aside from hopefully generating revenue in its own right – is a vehicle for winning another fan for the artist, in the hope of connecting with them again (and again) in one way or another. This could be by having them discover other material the artist has written (or will write), other projects the artist is involved in, or by attending a live performance.

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New York Bicycle Film Festival

Never Sleep

I recently had the opportunity to head to New York to check out and hang out at the Bicycle Film Festival ‘world headquarters’. Friends from BFF HQ some of the other visiting cities bombed around between bars, parties, and art shows in mild summer weather — without doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had on a bicycle.

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Touring NYC on two wheels (article published by FHM, July 2009)

Words and pictures covering the New York Bicycle Film Festival published by FHM:
http://fhm.com.au/touring-nyc-on-two-wheels.htm (full article).

Memes (article published in jmag, April 2009)

Below is an small piece I wrote for jmag (music magazine). Look out for it in the April 2009 issue:

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Seven things you didn’t know about me.

To show my appreciation at Julian Cole‘s efforts to jump-start my blog, here are a few things you may not have known about me.

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Bloc Party @ Hordern Pavillion

I’m really not a fan of the Hordern Pavillion as a venue. But for a huge act like Bloc Party you really can’t argue with that venue choice. The guys were extremely gracious during a meet & greet with triple j winners. Kele welcomed the 10 winners and their guests from on stage, as they made their way across the vast hanger-like space. The band finished the soundcheck with three tunes especially for the 20 punters voluntarily jammed up against the pit barrier. After soundcheck Kele, Russell, Gordon and Matt took the time to meet everyone personally and sign whatever was thrown in front of them.

Their set was a perfect mix of their huge radio hits and new material.

Check out the rest of the photos from their Sydney show @ The Hordern Pavillion on the triple j gallery.

Big ups to a band who are grounded enough to know the value of their fans and really know how to turn-on a live performance.

Seven Ways to Make Your Gig a Success

There has been an incredible run of really great gigs lately, and a few that only held my attention long enough to finish the plastic up of beer in my hand and muscle my way out of there. Obviously each act was interesting enough to get me through the door. So what happened between that promising first impression and the awkward second date? Continue Reading →

Emiliana Torrini @ Metro (Syd)

Emiliana Torrini’s live show was beautiful. It was one of the best I’ve seen since Regina Spektor toured in 2007. CW Stoneking, who played at the Metro the night before Emiliana was also one of the most brilliant shows I’ve seen this year. The key is in their storytelling (between songs). After attending one of their gigs, you’re left feeling like you know them better on a personal level — something you’ll never get from just listening to the record.

I hope these photos have captured some of that memorable performance. All photos posted in the triple j gallery.

Pyjama Boy Returns

Faced with a creative cul-de-sac and with the advice of my good friend Nick Crocker looping around in my head — write what you know — the focus of my first post seems obvious. After almost five years, Pyjama Boy is still one of the most successful examples of personal brand marketing that I have. And it happened prior to any marketing or media training.

Pyjama Boy was a social experiment, live performance, travel adventure, social catalyst and whim. It involved travelling around the world for 8 weeks, wearing nothing by pyjamas (except of course in bed).

Pyjama Boy is an accidental example of a very sticky idea. Here are five reasons why I think it worked: Continue Reading →