Here’s a taste of Shopping News: global launch tomorrow at the Merino Markets, Longreach

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The 13th century Basilica of St-Urbain, opposite the Restaurant de l’Etoile in Troyes

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M. Mignot, notre boucher aux les halles de Troyes

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At les halles, Troyes

In my new book Shopping News I visit les halles (markets) in the small city of Troyes (pronounced Trois) east of Paris and discover its range of meat, fruit and vegetables, seafood, cheese, wine and bread, as well as knick-knacks galore. My friends, guides and translators Matthieu Lardeau PhD and his wife Hind El Feghaly, introduce me to the butchers, the fish mongers, the bakers and the vegetable sellers they know from their weekly shopping trips. They tell me about a regional delicacy invented right there centuries ago. It’s a sausage called andouillette made from pigs’ intestines, the lower tract.

So I say: ‘Oh yes, I’ll have some of that.’

‘And you must have tête de veau?’ they urge.

‘Oh, sure, what’s that?’ Well, translated it’s ‘veal head’ but in practice they refer to it as the ‘face of the calf’.

So off we go to the centre of Troyes and in the shadow of the 13th century Basilica of St-Urbain come to the Restaurant de l’Etoile which specialises in these two dishes, and plough right in. The andouillette is served barbecued and alone on a plate, accompanied on a separate platter with a mountain of frites (French fries). The tête de veau, ordered by our colleague Laure Muselli PhD, but for me also to taste, is served as a casserole in a bowl with a very creamy, noticeably fatty sauce, and a side dish of steamed vegetables.

No ‘label’ accompanies either of these dishes: it’s unwritten tradition and word of mouth, mainly via my companions. The sign outside the restaurant is in French and if I need any more information, I can always ask the waiter … in French. But everyone in the region knows that andouillette is a ‘coarse-grained smoked tripe sausage made with pork (or occasionally veal) chitterlings, pepper, wine, onions, and seasonings (and if you want the details and pictures, visit Wikipedia). Food writer Jill Dupleix has written that it’s a ‘pale, lumpy sausage made from pigs’ intestines that smells like a pissoir (a urinal)’. Other, more brutal commentators, say it smells like poo. Fortunately I disagree with both and thoroughly enjoy the sausages which arrive on my plate, perhaps not least because I have a glass of genuine local brut Champagne (for Troyes is in the heart of the Champagne region) to accompany my meal. The tête de veau is, if anything, a little more challenging, because of the image it conveys … the little calf’s face peering up from the bowl. But it’s a tender, melt-in-your-mouth morsel, very fatty as Laure had pointed out.

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Hind El Feghaly in les halles, Troyes

Both andouillette and tête de veau, along with the alluring boudin noir (blood sausage, which is exactly what it says it is) are sold fresh in butchers’ shops in the Troyes halles, such as our provedore that day, ‘M. Mignot, votre boucher’.

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My guides, Matthieu Lardeau and Hind El Feghaly

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Right now Right now in New York New York

Intrepid Eat-Drink-Sleep-Shoppers Erin and Pip are in the audience at Matilda the Musical right now at the Schubert Theatre on Broadway, New York City … and this is what they see!

Earlier they visited the famous Brill Building, which in its heyday was home to some of the great singer-songwriters of the 20th century.



Inside, now (Picture: Erin Cokley)

matilda stage

Pictures: Erin Cokley

At the Brill Building, New York, yesterday

At the Brill Building, New York, yesterday


My, oh my …

Oh our bargain-hunting daughter Erin is a marvel … her dad (me) writes about shopping and she finds this wicked link!

Australian agroforestry movement gains momentum, farmers diversify into timber plantations @ABCRural

The golden rule for growth is diversification, as this report on the ABC last month demonstrates …

Australian agroforestry movement gains momentum, farmers diversify into timber plantations @ABCRural.

Word is spreading

Online Journalism Blog

We’ve been invited to have our worldwide launch of Shopping News at the new Merino Markets at Longreach, so thanks Sue Smith for this honour. It’ll be in August and we’ll let you know details closer to the date. Copies will be on sale and you can also buy right here right now (click the book cover on the right –>).

UK journalism colleague Paul Bradshaw has also kindly devoted some of his popular blog space to a virtual launch and guest post about Shopping News … you’ll find loads of other interesting stories there too. Just click the image at the top of this post.

And we’ve announced the date for our first TAFE Small Business Solutions business improvement workshop, also in Longreach. We start at 5pm on August 11 and seats are strictly limited so please, if you want a booking, my advice is to get in now.

Is this the only expanding shop in Longreach?


I walked into Leonie Huff’s little shop Nature’s Tonic just after Christmas and I have to say I was impressed. Packed shelves, fresh stock, friendly staff. It’s tucked away at the rear of the Merino arcade where our other retail mate, Sue Smith, runs Spinifex Collections (which we featured just before Christmas).

Six months later and Leonie has doubled her floor space by opening a juice bar across the arcade and filled it with tables and chairs. Now we hear that she’s become a magnet and other businesses are relocating to be close to this omen of success.

Sue, Leonie and other businesses in the arcade last month held a gala shopping night and the talk is there’ll be more.

Leonie might be the hot spot but Mike Lockrey’s “hydroponic fruit and vege factory” is also evidence of Longreach’s latest growth spurt.

This erstwhile pizza shop owner has branched out into hydroponic tomatoes, lettuce and cress and we’ve tasted them … they’re the best in town in our book.

If you’re a Grey Nomad or just a regular tourist who likes your veges fresh and not too expensive, he sells every weekend at the railway station but daily 10am-noon just on the north side of the Thomson River near the Golf Club at Cramsie. Here’s a map …

and his website

Don’t forget to buy my new book Shopping News online … where you can read lots of other ways to Shop Your Way to Success™ (soon to be a series of business seminars).

The story’s out


After 10 years of research, my book Shopping News is now available from Melbourne publisher Australian Scholarly Publishing. Unlike most books about journalism it’s priced way below $100 … only $A39.95, and is available both as paperback and eBook. As the back-cover blurb says, “Shopping News contains the keys to the next generation of journalism and news publishing, with 16 clearly explained practical models for reporters, editors and producers everywhere”. I have shopped and researched for more than 10 years, from Iran and India to the UK, from China, France, South Africa and Australia to the United States. <more from the cover…> “As he shopped, Cokley learned retail and manufacturing secrets, including the latest in network theory, to show how journalists and publishers can reach and delight more people, ultimately achieving that Holy Grail of everyone in business, customer satisfaction, without compromising ethics or quality. It’s a must-read for everyone in the media business.”

Special excerpts and value-add illustrations from Shopping News will be published here from now on, including our new toolkit for reporters, editors, producers and Internet Service Providers, the Audience Soundtrack Analyser, and a Chinese version as well, priced at only 99 cents each. We hope you like Shopping News — and yes, it’s for shoppers, small business owners and digital marketing readers too

Need a mentor for your small business?


Very happy to let you know that our business experience and expertise is now available through the TAFE Queensland Small Business Solutions program, which offers business mentoring for a low one-off fee of $395. If you or a friend have a small business which could use the tried and tested advice and methods described here, please contact TAFE here and mention my name. Available all through Central and South-East Queensland. I have run businesses in publishing, retail, and (of course) small-to-medium sized journalism enterprises.

Cokley Mentor

How to vacuum clean a Jumbo jet

In the category of “you learn something new every day” … now I know how it feels to vacuum clean a Jumbo jet. Yes, a real one, at the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in Longreach where I have worked part-time as a tour guide since October 2014. I can report it takes about an hour of pretty stiff effort in January’s summer heat, equipped with a 5kg RocketVac backpack vacuum and a very long power cord. Here I am (below) at the rear of economy class, looking forward. Like most things, there is an easy way and a hard way. I now know that it’s easier to start down the back because of the design of the seats (you can get under them more easily from the rear) and how difficult it is to vacuum a spiral staircase up to the old Captain Cook lounge (lower picture) … now that’s an interesting exercise. Oh yes, I’ve also feather-dusted the 1979-vintage airliner throughout, as well as its 1959 cousin 707 across the museum parking area. It’s a whole new world out here in Longreach.economy


Today’s job advertisement in the media


Oh dear, and for The Daily Telegraph, too. Perhaps they fixed it on the site? Nope


It’s been a fascinating long day’s journey into the night of the living job seeker. Here are some examples of would-be employers looking for would-be staff.



Agreed, perhaps it’s one of those internet joke-meme thingys? But it appeared, nevertheless, on the Indeed job site.

Here are some more … (listen by clicking on each screen-shot image or here and here):




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