Tag Archives: music

Top 5: Kraftwerk, Blood Service marketing, Archibald Prize, ice cream & kale chips and no time for a nap

Last week’s ‘stuff to be grateful for and admire’ includes music, marketing, art, food and an appreciation for not having enough time for a nap. Here are last week’s Top 5:

1) Music: Kraftwerk at Vivid Sydney
Kraftwerk are a German electronic music band that formed in 1970. This show had amazing sound and 3D visuals. It was so much fun, I had a sore face from smiling!


2) Marketing follow-up material from the Australia Red Cross Blood Service
I received this material a few weeks after donating blood for the first time in Australia. From a marketing point of view, I love it! It’s brought me right into the story, it’s given me accountability and made me feel a little bit spesh. However, there’s a slight flaw in this because I’m not allowed to give blood in Australia – I’m only allowed to give plasma so with this first ‘trial’ donation, unfortunately I didn’t save three lives. Still, I like this material so I’ll let it slide!

Australian Red Cross Blood Service

3) Art: Archibald Prize
On the 26th of May I went to the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. The portraits were talented and wonderful, but the portraits that spoke to me the most were those by the kids. Most of them chose to draw or paint one of their parents, siblings or grandparents and their commentaries of why those people are special to them brought tears to my eyes.

Love Face by Vincent Fantauzzo

Love Face by Vincent Fantauzzo (Source: Art Gallery of NSW site)

4) Culinary creations: banana cacao ice cream and kale chips
Word on the street is that kale is totally in. It’s actually been the word on the street for some time now, but I’ve only just attempted kale chips and they are delicious! I mixed torn pieces of kale with coconut oil, garlic and smoked paprika and baked them for about 10 minutes.
Another treat that I made last week was banana cacao ice cream with my flatmate. This stuff is too easy and sooooo tasty. We blended 3 frozen bananas, cacao and a dash of water to make what you see here. Next time I’ll make date caramel sauce to drizzle on top 🙂

5) No time for a nap
Last Saturday I was struck with a strange thought. I’d been out late the night before, got four hours of sleep, went to a boxing class in the park, had brunch with the good people from the class, and then took a walk to buy produce from the markets. I had a few key tasks to tick off the ‘to do’ list before meeting a friend in the city for a gig that evening. Feeling pretty tired, I was hoping to take a nap before the show, but I didn’t have enough time. And that’s when the thought struck me: I had an amazing day with friends, fitness, sunshine and fresh food, and my biggest ‘problem’ of the day was not having enough spare time for a quick snooze. Not having enough time to nap because the day held so many great experiences and people to enjoy them with? Now that’s a thought to be very grateful for indeed.

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Top 5: Gifs, slow food, startup ideas, recorder intro and Daft Punk

In an attempt to express more gratitude and awareness of all the good things in life, I’m embarking on a little project. Once a week I’ll post my ‘Top 5’ of the week – things that made me think, smile, marvel, laugh, appreciate or reflect. I hope you’ll enjoy them, too.

This week’s Top 5 are:

1) The Great Gif

Great Gatsby gif
After Titanic came out I had Leo posters covering my walls for several years. He is divine, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action again in The Great Gatsby. Put Leo in a gif, and a Great Gatsby gif at that, and I’m yours. Thank you to @kingnivin for spotting and sharing this – check out Nivin’s post here. He writes about how gifs could be the next big thing in movie promotion. I agree.
Gif from The Great Gatsby promo Tumblr.

2) Hungry Mondays deliciousness
Hungry Mondays is delicious, slow cooked food that I buy pretty much every week. A group of chefs slow cook two different dishes every week and sell them for $9 a portion (if you pick up from a few handy locations). One of last week’s dishes was my favourite so far: 16 hour pork and beef chili con carne with a house baked corn bread. It doesn’t hurt that whoever runs the Facebook page has an impeccable way with words, e.g.: “House baked corn bread comes fresh out of the oven, gets cooled and sliced. It comes as a side with El Capo’s chilli con carne, the sweetness of the bread compliments the chilli of the chilli, which is mild to medium, depending on how soulful you are.” They’ve captured my heart with both food and words.

A Hungry Mondays dish

A Hungry Mondays dish – image from the HMs Facebook page

3) What are the best ways to think of ideas for a startup? 

I enjoyed this answer by @startuprob on Quora. He lists some absolute gold ways in which you can generate ideas, such as:

  • Look through your bank statement to see where your money is going. (Could you be doing any of those tasks better? Cheaper?)
  • Ask yourself, “What type of business would you want to run if there was absolutely no chance of failure?”
  • Look through the customer service sections of websites and find out what people are complaining about.

Thank you, Rob! Read his full answer on on Quora.

4) 20th Century Fox intro on the recorder

It’s a couple of years old and completely ridiculous but brings back memories of failing miserably on the recorder (didn’t we all have a crack at primary school?) and it certainly scored LOLs. Thanks Jayde and Nick for the heads up!

5) Daft Punk’s new track, Get Lucky

The French boys are back and I’m loving this funky 70s vibe track. Get on it!

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My Ultimate Best Websites List

This is a collection of pretty much all my favourite websites. The ones I get my news from. The ones I retweet from. The ones I get stories/recipes/advice/knowledge that I share with friends. I hope you enjoy the selection!

Internet Tech, Business and Entrepreneurship
Fast Company – http://www.fastcompany.com/
Inc. – http://www.inc.com/
The Next Web – http://thenextweb.com/
Mashable – http://mashable.com/
Cnet – http://news.cnet.com/
Smartbrief – http://www.smartbrief.com/index.jsp
ReadWriteWeb – http://www.readwriteweb.com/
TechCrunch – http://techcrunch.com/
Digital Trends – http://www.digitaltrends.com/
Gizmodo – http://www.gizmodo.com.au/
Harvard Business Review – http://hbr.org/
Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/
Entrepreneur – http://www.entrepreneur.com/
Wired – http://www.wired.com/
Strategy+Business (Booz & Company) – http://www.strategy-business.com/

Teach Yourself Tech & Design
Codeacademy – http://www.codecademy.com/
Lynda.com – http://www.lynda.com/

News & Business
The Economist – http://www.economist.com/
The Guardian – http://www.guardian.co.uk/
BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/
AlJazeera – http://www.aljazeera.com/
The New Yorker – http://www.newyorker.com/
Time – http://www.time.com/time/magazine/
The Wall Street Journal – http://asia.wsj.com/home-page
Bloomberg Businessweek – http://www.businessweek.com/
BRW – http://www.brw.com.au/
Forrester – http://blogs.forrester.com/
New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/

Marketing & Advertising
B&T – http://www.bandt.com.au/home
Mumbrella – http://mumbrella.com.au/
Marketing Profs – http://www.mpdailyfix.com/
Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/advertising
Campaign Brief – http://www.campaignbrief.com/
Experian – http://www.experian.com.au/blogs/marketing-forward/
Marketo – http://blog.marketo.com/
Salesforce – http://blogs.salesforce.com/
Radian6 – http://www.radian6.com/blog/
IAB. Australia – http://www.iabaustralia.com.au/

Home, Lifestyle & Culture
More Intelligent Life – http://moreintelligentlife.com/
The Gloss – http://thegloss.com/
Daily Life – http://www.dailylife.com.au/
Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Apartment Therapy – http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/

Ideas & Creativity / Business Inspiration
Springwise – http://www.springwise.com/
Trendwatching.com – http://trendwatching.com/
Idealog – http://www.idealog.co.nz/
TED – http://blog.ted.com/

The Oatmeal – http://theoatmeal.com/
The Onion – http://www.theonion.com/

Information Learning & Sharing
Slideshare – http://www.slideshare.net/
Quora – http://quora.com/

Wolfram Alpha – http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Productivity, Lifestyle, Career & Personal Development
Lifehack – http://www.lifehack.org/
The Daily Muse – http://www.thedailymuse.com/
Chris Guillebeau’s Blog –  http://chrisguillebeau.com/
Marc and Angel Hack Life http://www.marcandangel.com/
Leaving Work Behind – http://www.leavingworkbehind.com/
Seth Godin’s Blog – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Hype Machine – http://hypem.com/
Tastekid – http://www.tastekid.com/
Grooveshark – http://grooveshark.com/
Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/
22Tracks – http://22tracks.com/#ams/doritos/15425
Musicovery – http://musicovery.com/
Noisetrade – http://noisetrade.com/

Punchfork – http://punchfork.com/
The Patterned Plate – http://thepatternedplate.wordpress.com/
Rasberri Cupcakes – http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/
In Pursuit of More – http://inpursuitofmore.com/
Turntable Kitchen – http://www.turntablekitchen.com/
Stonesoup – http://thestonesoup.com/blog/
Nigella – http://www.nigella.com/
Maggie Beer – http://www.maggiebeer.com.au/recipes

Broadsheet – http://www.broadsheet.com.au/sydney/
Daily Addict – http://www.dailyaddict.com.au/?location=sydney
Sydney TimeOut – http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/

Photography & Editing
Pixlr – http://pixlr.com/ and http://pixlr.com/express/
Photo – http://photojojo.com/
Stuck in Customs – http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

I’ll add more as they come up.

What are your best go-to sites?

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Day 15: Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play #30daysofme

Crowded House – Four Seasons in One Day
Salmonella Dub – Dancehall Girl
Billie Holiday – I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
Tori Amos – Tear In Your Hand
The Clash – Police & Thieves
The Pogues – A Rainy Night in Soho
Enya – How Can I Keep From Singing
Duffy – Warwick Avenue
Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine
Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby 
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Day 10: Songs I listen to for different moods #30daysofme

So today's topic is 'songs you listen to when happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad.' I didn't think that I consciously listen to certain songs for different moods, but after going through my iPod, I realise that I possibly do. Here are some of the selections. 

Happy and hyped go hand in hand and make for songs like:
Black Eyed Peas – Weekend; Rock that Body
The Blues Brothers/Aretha Franklin – Think
Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark
The Clash – Rock the Casbah
Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
Estelle – American Boy
Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
Huey Lewis and The News – The Power of Love
Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
Jay-Z & Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
Katy Perry – California Gurls
Lady Gaga – Just Dance
Lionel Richie – All Night Long; Dancing on The Ceiling
Michael Jackson – Rock With You
Ryan Adams – New York, New York
S Club 7 – Don't Stop Movin'
Van Halen – Jump

If I'm feeling a little melancholy I'll listen to songs that are either uplifting and reflective or make me even more sad:
Bic Runga – Sway
Bon Jovi – Always
Brooke Fraser – C.S. Lewis Song
Carla Bruni – Quelqu'un M'a Dit
Cafe del Mar – Close Cover
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
Crowded House – Fall At Your Feet
David Gray – This Year's Love
The Doors – Riders on the Storm
Enya – Book of Days
Eva Cassidy – How Can I Keep From Singing
Fiona Apple – Sally's Song
Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman
George Michael – Careless Whisper
Guns n Roses – November Rain
Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong
John Farnham – You're The Voice
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Lou Reed – Perfect Day
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Muse – Butterflies and Hurricanes; Starlight
Neko Case – Hold On, Hold On
Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue – Where The Wild Roses Grow
Patrick Swayze – She's Like The Wind
Paul Potts – Nessun Dorma
Pearl Jam – Black
Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Roxette – It Must Have Been Love
Serge & Charlotte Gainsbourg – Lemon Incest
Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight; 1979
Starship – Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
Tina Turner – We Don't Need Another Hero
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

Boredom is not a feeling that I encounter often so I'll substitute the word 'boredom' for 'passing time', for instance when I'm sitting on a train or bus:
Chemical Brothers – Surface to Air
Coeur de Pirate – Comme des Enfants
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary (and more)
The Cure – Close to Me
Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
Faithless – various songs
Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe 
Massive Attack – various songs
Michael Jackson – various songs
Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Tamacun
Tracey Chapman – Give Me One Reason

I'm also rarely mad but there are a few songs that help the emotion pass faster when I find myself fuming:
Chemical Brothers – Galvanize
Cake – I Will Survive
Eminem – Not Afraid
Faith No More – Epic
Green Day – Welcome to Paradise
Michael Jackson – Come Together
Muse – Uprising; Supermassive Black Hole
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Pearl Jam – Even Flow
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust

So there you have it. 

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How to expand your music repertoire

Believe it or not, occasionally the predominance of 80’s rock music on my iPod wears a little thin and I have to branch out. Here’s how I do it: 

  • Ask friends to give you a list of 5 songs they’re currently listening to.
  • Listen and create playlists on Grooveshark. Another good site for this is Deezer, which has a lot of alternative versions and mixes of songs too.
  • Create a profile and look up your favourite artists on last.fm to get suggestions of similar/recommended artists. You can also create playlists and more on this site.
  • Check out global Top 40 Lists to see what other countries are listening to.
  • Look on iTunes or some of the other sites I’ve mentioned above for artists you already are familiar with but haven’t heard much from.
  • If you’re in Finland, France, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden or the UK, use Spotify for creating and listening to playlists that you can share with your friends.
  • Check out the playlists of radio stations overseas (you can’t always listen due to licensing issues). I like KKSF.com which is a jazz radio station in San Francisco.
  • Look up festivals in different countries (well, let’s be honest – mostly the States and the UK) to check out the lineups. Popular ones include Coachella, Lollapalooza, GlastonburyOutside Lands and The Secret Garden Party.

Screenshot images can be attributed to sfoutsidelands.com and coachella.com 


Huey Lewis and the News – Live in San Francisco!

The number of awesome music acts that are on in San Francisco blew me away. I missed out on a great festival this last weekend but managed to catch two great bands during my four days. One was Huey Lewis and the News.

The night before the show my friend Erika and I decided that we wanted to go but we thought we’d just buy tickets at the door of Mountain Winery. We arrived about a half hour before it was due to start and just as we were about to buy our tickets, the guy behind the desk said, “Here you go, have these. A man donated them to the desk so they’re yours.” We looked at the tickets – two VIP passes worth about $100 each! Needless to say, we were stoked!


All images appearing on this blog (solange.posterous.com) may not be reproduced, copied or manipulated without the written permission of Solange Francois© 2010

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Photos: Fête de la Musique in Paris

Held every year on the 21st of June since 1982, this brilliant festival of music lights up the streets and hearts of all who come within its reach. And you almost have no choice in taking part since all of Paris’ arrondissements have musicians or bands sharing their talents until the wee hours of the morning.

I headed to the 6eme arrondissement at 7pm to meet up with three girls from my French course, and we first headed to the Jardin du Luxembourg to watch a passionate group from Ecuador charm the crowds. One of the members was Bolivian, and the Bolivian Ambassador was present to enjoy the festivities. 

For me, the festival is a reminder of the power of music in bringing people of different cultures and beliefs together and simultaneously pacifying the soul. My host-mother Laurence told me that although it’s one of the busiest nights in Paris, problems are few and far between because music (whether it be jazz, rock, classical, hip-hop or any other genre) makes people happy. She couldn’t be more right.


All images and videos appearing on this blog (solange.posterous.com) may not be reproduced, copied or manipulated without the written permission of Solange Francois© 2010

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Discovering culture and music on the road

What defines another culture? These are the things I take notice of when I’m in a new country:

  • People – What they wear, what they believe in, who they live with, their sense of humour, how they socialise, how they speak, how they tell stories and what jokes they enjoy. What is the attitude to beauty and hygiene? What is the level of patriotism? Are the people ethnocentric?

  • Infrastructure – What is the public transport system like? What kind of architecture fills the city? What are the hospitals and other facilities at their disposal like? How is the city spread out?

  • Sport – What do the locals most enjoy watching and playing?

  • Law & politics – Are the locals happy? What do they get in return for their taxes? How do they feel toward their police force and country leaders?

  • Food, wine and other consumables – What do people eat, drink and cook? What products are on the supermarket shelves? What is the attitude to alcohol?

  • Festivals and art – What do they celebrate and what sort of art and films are produced?

  • MUSIC!!!

There are so many interesting components to experience when immersing oneself in a different culture, and no question about it, music is my favourite. (Admittedly, food follows at a close second – who am I fooling).

Discovering the musical tastes and abilities of people from other countries is exciting and enlightening. What sounds bring them together? Do they the sing along over a pint (Ireland, Scotland, etc) or do they prefer moving their bodies to the beat? Do they continue regular use of traditional instruments (like much of Asia) or has electronica taken over? Why do some songs make it to the Top 40 in some countries and never see the light of day in others?

Perhaps the topic produces more questions than answers but some things are for certain – music breaks the ice, ignores language barriers and makes people happy. And if you’re lucky, you end up with a Panamanian taxi driver’s awesome dub Master Mix or an Armenian immigrant’s self-titled CD to add to the collection.


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