January 22, 2008

The Top 100 Retro Reggae Countdown

Please vote for the most chilled out, unhyped countdown ever! See the poll on the right hand side. Thanks in advance :)

January 15, 2008

Remember Sir Ed

New Zealand is filled with walking tracks. I suggest instead of simply naming a mountain, or proclaiming a national holiday after Sir Ed - although I like these ideas - how about something 'out in the field'?

Near the top/end of a walking track, erect a small sign that nominates the rest of the track is called "the Sir Ed summit walk" or something. It would give a feeling that you are achieving something...

Otherwise we could promote him up to the ten dollar note?

January 11, 2008

The Girls Is Mine 2008

Well, Michael Jackson releases his Thriller 25 in February, complete with "todays hottest producers and artists" on the remixes included. First (and lets hope ONLY) release is The Girl Is Mine 2008 - released worldwide on January 14. (this Monday at time of posting)

Here's the tracklisting for new reissue:

1 "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (Jackson) - 6:03
2 "Baby Be Mine" (Temperton) - 4:20
3 "The Girl Is Mine" (with Paul McCartney) (Jackson) - 3:42
4 "Thriller" (Temperton) - 5:58
5 "Beat It" (Jackson) - 4:18
6 "Billie Jean" (Jackson) - 4:54
7 "Human Nature" (Steve Porcaro and John Bettis) - 4:06
8 "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (James Ingram and Quincy Jones) - 3:59
9 "The Lady in My Life" (Temperton) - 4:59
10 Vincent Price vocal recording (Temperton) - 2:53

11 "The Girl Is Mine 2008" with will.i.am (Jackson/will.i.am) - 3:11
12 "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008" with will.i.am (Jackson/will.i.am) - 4:17
13 "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" with Akon (Jackson) - 4:11
14 "Beat It 2008" with Fergie (Jackson) - 4:10
15 "Billie Jean 2008" Kanye West mix (Jackson) - 4:34
16 "For All Time" (Jackson) - 4:08

You can listen to a 2 minute sampler of the Michael Jackson remixes here. If you dare.

January 8, 2008


When you need space - absolutely lovely people, lovely weather and a holiday with charm - I could not recommend Akaroa more highly.


We arrived to our hilltop cottage, and enjoyed the excitement of arriving, unpacking and getting to know our surroundings. The view as astonishing. The house is down a shingle road, off the summit road - which is very high and concerning for those who suffer vertigo. Lots of sheep and deer in the paddocks that surrounded us.

Directly below us was Barry's Bay, and Duvauchelle (which I nicknamed Douche-bag-ville coz I had trouble with the pronunciation). Through the binoculars we found at the cottage, you can see Robinsons Bay but not Takamatua. And as for viewing Akaroa - our retreat could only see the lighthouse end of town, which in essence was bait for us to 'just go there'.

We headed down the steep gravel road, onto the main road into Akaroa. Checked the place out. I had not been before, whereas Lara had. Yes, Akaroa was a French settlement in 1840, known then as Port Louis-Philipe - but the English proclaimed British sovereignty over the South Island at Akaroa that same year, and 'long harbour' Akaroa was established.

The french influence still remains today, as I noted the names of shops, and street signs. Rue Lavaud is the main road through Akaroa, and Rue Jolie a parallel street closer to the water. Interestingly, as one moves further through Akaroa, Rue Lavaud becomes the coast road for a bit, then veers off to the left and becomes Rue Jolie. Rue Lavaud just ceases to exist. The French worked in straight lines when designing these streets, and if you were to consider connecting each part of Rue Jolie, the road would run underwater.

We wandered the streets, picked up flyers and admired the small retirement town (which is home to around 600 people - 31% are over 65 years). Despite this, the summer period blows the population to around 7000, and the cafes and restaurants come to life.

Our Activities

Upon visiting the little township, we quickly found the info centre, and everything pointed to us taking a tour on the water and seeing rare Hector Dolphins. ~ side thought - its a bit odd to promote the rarity of it, when there are chartered tours that visit them everyday!? ~

We decided not to take the tour - in order to give us something to do next time we visit Akaroa. Instead we opted to drive and cycle around the township, checking out some of the walkways up the back of Akaroa. Some of these are quite steep, but worth the effort. We had lunch and a lovely Monteith's Beer at one of the waterfront bars afterward.

We also took the time to drive around the Summit Road, and visit some of the greater Banks Peninsula beaches, starting with Little Akaloa. It was quite tucked away and looked like a perfect place to take the family - especially if you really want a quiet, secluded and fairly rugged retreat.

Further around, we found Okains Bay, which is divine! The very large sandy beach is tucked inside the geography, resembling giant cat paws. Perfect for jetskiing, swimming and there are walks and even a cave to explore! There are campsites, a historic Maori Museum, and very small gas station which services the year round population of about 1100, most of whom are in fisheries or agriculture.

We left off a visit to Paua Bay, and Le Bons Bay. I toyed in my head wondering if there would be any locals in Le Bons Bay who owned a yacht, called it "Drum" and every new years eve, puts on a white suit, takes the boat out and anchors, puts on a record of Duran Duran's "Rio", pours a glass of champers, singing "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand, just like that river twists across a dusty land" glamming their way into a new year, in a bay that time forgot.

The only other place we visited was Barry's Bay, and Wainui. On our way there, we stopped into French Farm. It's a restaurant and winery. We sampled a few of their wines, and walked away with a $22 bottle of Akaroa Harbour Merlot 2004. It was very happy to sit on our lips, and was a divine bottle. Its now one of my favourite wines, on Facebook.

Wainui was PACKED! I have no idea why, but perhaps its the rebel beach. It is directly across the water from that "fancy French settlement". Looking around, the place was packed with petrolheads on jetskis, people swimming, others on the beach with music blasting. It was packed and really felt like Whangamata in summer. We promptly left after seeing a car pacing up and down the road, with two young chaps in the front, and another few getting towed on the back with drinks in hand. That, and noticing an ambulance parked waiting for a disaster to happen.

We dropped into Barry's Bay Cheese - a local delight. There are cheesemaking demonstrations, tastings, and you can purchase the locally made cheese... which we did. We headed to the Duvauchelle store to pick up some breads and other things, and noticed bottles of the same Akaroa Harbour Merlot 2004, $10 cheaper than at the winery! Bugger!

We enjoyed some time in the Akaroa cinema as well. We caught a fabulous Irish film called "Once". Misfits and music... just wonderful.

January 7, 2008

Don't panic

2007 was another year of growth in NZ radio.

Ultimately nothing new on the format front aside from the DAB trial turning on an analog signal (playing country hits), more so the interesting thing was the growth of radio's online property.

The ability to connect better with not only the radio station, interactivity between users was a big focus point. The new Edge website clearly shows this in action and so far is the best display of not only understanding web2.0, it's also aligned with it's audience's habits, whom for the last 2 years have been playing around on Myspace and Bebo. This keeps The Edge relevant (rather than being on 'the edge').

Oldies are the next age group that need the same outlets. They are huge users of old friends and singles online dating websites. Trademe is firmly bookmarked with every kiwi computer user, and adult radio would benefit greatly from having a talking, online community at their website.

Another thought I had, was all the technologies of the late 90s like ICQ that never really took off, which is largely due to the fact that nearly all New Zealanders were on dial up internet, and the idea of streaming something like video through ICQ, was ludicrous.

My my, how things have changed for the better. Today we 'YouTube' ourselves, and we are starting to watch and talk with each other via video on our phones. ICQ now has a whole farm of competitors now such as Messenger, Google Talk, and the big monster - Skype. Eventually watching YouTube video on our telly at home becomes a realistic proposition. Youtube launched a NZ portal in 2007 - not before TVNZ and TV3 launched on-demand video as well.

The same can be said for Radio content.

As for "broadcasting" your product/brand via FM or AM, in the 90s, a handful of radio stations like More FM and 95bFM looked beyond radio transmission to get their product out. They began streaming their program in low quality on the web. This was the start of pushing radio out beyond the traditional means.

Today, radio podcasts it's content as an on-demand service. Timetables are becoming less relevant. Even Rick Dees can be streamed, whereas in the past we had to wait until Sunday. Waiting for a top of hour news bulletin might be next for a review.

Revenue is also finally splitting off from traditional advertising time in AM/FM radio broadcasts. We are now using advertising in online streams, website banners, phone-text services, RDS, newsletters, podcasts, music referral downloading. Some companies are tapping these platforms that radio has, as a catalyst to generate advertising revenue. These spinoff services are simply 'plugged in'. Simple stuff like voucher schemes and cancellations are making cash for Mediaworks - completely outside of their radio products.

So - what didn't work online in the late 90s is worth revisiting now.

It's an interesting image huh?. While there is always music, how we've been consuming it is always evolving. Radio will survive technological change too, because radio - like the music it plays (and the industry that develops it), is evolving. Simply put, Radio is going though a technological revolution.

In fact, radio in NZ and Oz will finally begin to catch up with the UK and the US - by introducing a new digital platform from which users (not 'listeners') can better interact with radio stations.

Watch this video to see how the UK have nurtured Radio into an impressive modern toy:

Petrified, or excited?

Coldplay - Don't Panic