a one-world ticket in her hand and a trolley bag full of records,
Veronica, one of Vancouver's hottest new female deejays, was ready
for an exotic club-culture experience around the world. Ready
perhaps, but unprepared for the global frenzy created by her unique
musical mixes of house music (ranging from lounge sounds to vocal,
disco, funky, and after-party sounds) in each of the major cities
throughout the tour.
Original as her
musical style, her diary reads like an excerpt from a modern Alice in
Wonderland, with wild encounters of both the animal and human kind.
Day 1 - Four and a
half hour flight to New York - served some strange muscles that
resembled fish labia (if there was such a thing).
Taxi driver had
some weird stories about TV and stage personalities he'd driven -
including one with prostate trouble who requested a vase to urinate
into on the journey. The vase was a gift for the taxi-driver's
mother, even so he was happy to oblige a passenger in an emergency,
the problem occurred when the celebrity handed it back after use.
Arrive at hotel,
and unpack and get ready in all of twenty minutes, as I had a meeting
a record label rep at a nearby club. Met lots of really
interesting people, and got a taste for New York City's Club scene.
Everything is on such a large scale, especially the alcohol portions!
I meet several female DJs, and also Darren Emmerson (a DJ from the
UK!) Not bad for being there only two hours! WOW!
Day 2 - First stop
- the New York Satellite Records store - the Elysian Fields for any
deejay, the stock is amazing. I enter a time warp drifting
along on musical sojourns, emerging hours later with headphone
indents and a strong desire to purchase a second record bag and
trolley. Not possible on this trip, so I settle for just fifteen
records that I can't live without, and one amazing boxed set of
African rhythms. I play at Liquids tonight in the East Village,
New York City, which reminds me somewhat of a cross between
Vancouver's Bar None (aesthetically) and Lotus (crowd and musically
speaking), and everyone I meet is very sweet! The stereotype of
New Yorkers being rude just does not hold up at all! These are
some of the friendliest people on earth! I have a great 3 hour
set, with people (mostly 20-25 year old women) asking me to autograph
the CDs I am giving away! Grab a cab back to the hotel at
around 4:30am, and I'm taken on a tour of many sites including Times
Square and Central Park, free of charge! Back by 5:30am.
Day 3 - Slept most
of day recovering, a short day in a city that never sleeps.
There's entertainment on every corner. In Times Square a crowd
draws around a compelling drum beat that turns out to be a couple of
guys playing upturned empty paint containers while a third guy spins
and gyrates across the sidewalk - break-dance style. The talent
is phenomenal. Now for the other priorities - the Empire State,
Carnegie, Radio City and Grand Central. Dinner, then bed - early!!
Day 4 - A quick
visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art - should have set aside a
whole day for this place, it's gigantic. Drool at the originals
by Monet and Van Gogh (my favorite) - the urge to touch them is
overwhelming, but the attendants are extremely vigilant. At one
point I sit on a bench and slip my feet out of my shoes and an
attendant immediately instructs me to put my shoes back on in the gallery.
Central Park would
take a whole week to explore so I resolve to return and take more
time on my next visit. I'm on a plane again tonight - time has
Day 5 - Arrive in
London and visit family for five days. Not enough time to get
back to London's record stores, but Oxford offers a few gems.
Hmm - can I slide in three more records into the bulging bag?
Will the trolley survive under the weight? It does have a
lifetime guarantee, after all!
Day 10 - Airborne
again for just a couple of hours to Mallorca, one of the Balearic
Islands off the coast of Spain. My fears regarding carry-on
weight limits have been allayed and the record bag is safely
ensconced in the overhead compartment. (I hope there's no
serious turbulence - if that falls out someone dies!) Meet
Matty Mateos (DJ/Producer) he's sitting right next to me on the
plane, making tracks on his laptop! We part ways upon landing.
For such a small
island the airport is huge and very modern. The taxi seat
almost burns my backside, the heat is searing and the air-con doesn't
kick in for fifteen minutes. Rivulets of sweat course beneath
my shirt as we wind our way up into the mountains to the hotel.
Clusters of shuttered, stone houses cling to the hillsides and orange
groves abound. I notice that the goats wear large cowbells and
the bougainvilleas burst in pink splashes across the parched landscape.
Day 11 - Rent a
car and explore some of the local villages - Valldemossa and Deia -
beautiful sleepy stone villages nestled among the mountains.
The roads are narrow with switchback bends and every car I meet is in
the middle of the road - I honk the horn at every bend from now on.
Day 12 - More
exploring on roller-coaster roads. Eat at a bizarre village
restaurant where every square inch of the interior walls and surfaces
is covered with oil paintings, clocks, plastic grapes, traces of
faded Christmas decorations and ornaments. I sit at a table
that is graced by crooked candelabra, a lamp with a burned shade and
on the table are real lemon branches complete with lemons and
leaves. There is barely enough room for my plate, but the food
Day 13 - B.C.M. is
the club mecca in Magaluf, a seaside resort south of Palma in
Majorca. Frequented predominantly by British tourists, it is an
all night, no-holds-barred creation for dance lovers. I drove
to have a look at it during the day, and realized it was huge.
Once I arrive in the evening, I realize that there is another
football field sized area I haven't noticed behind the massive
club-BCM Square. There are ex-Page 3 girls (topless pin-ups
from one of the British tabloids) serving drinks, men riding plastic
bucking broncos, controlled by a guy who delights in throwing them
off within five seconds. The club manager insists I am
photographed on the bronco! I sit side-saddle, give the thumbs
up, and dismount, all on the condition that it does not move.
Later I tour the club, which is already packed with at least 4000
people. With massive amounts of equipment, two people are hired
to work the lights, on enormous control boards to my left, and I am
not short of equipment either, with three turntables and two CD
mixers. The crowd is so full of energy! At 3am, the
resident DJ Des Mitchell introduces me and people are screaming and
reaching over into the DJ area, which is heavily secured. My
first song starts, and I am being asked to sign autographs and pose
for pictures, which is flattering, but it leaves little time for
mixing! I have no idea what else transpires during that set,
but by 6am, I am leaving with BCM attire, in my rented
"Ibiza" brand car. My ears are ringing incessantly.
Day 14 - Wake up
at around 3pm, and I think I am deaf. I manage to visit another
village where a cemetery perches on a craggy cliff edge and the
photos of deceased loved ones that have been plasticized and attached
to the gravestones intrigue me. Go to bed early, still with
ringing ears like I have never experienced before.
Day 15 - Visit a
local market where patterned leather goods and hand-made lace shawls
and doilies are displayed. Another excellent meal in a roadside
café, my Spanish is a little rusty, but I seem to be
managing. I buy some fabulous dresses in a tiny roadside boutique!
Day 16 - More
airports and flying - back to London, England (terminal 1), taxi to
terminal 4, then an eleven hour flight to Cape Town, South Africa.
Day 17 - No
contacts in this dark continent, but apparently there is a fairly
lively club scene, so maybe one day in the future, I'll be back to
sample the action. Unfortunately, the South Atlantic Ocean is
hurling gusts of horizontal showers at me throughout my visit, so my
views of the coastline are somewhat hazy. My first priority is
to buy a large coat, but become distracted as I find some fabulous
sushi at a restaurant in the Victoria and Albert waterfront mall -
just what I have been craving!
Day 18 & 19 -
Bargain for malachite carvings at the local market and wander along a
windswept beach with relentless breakers. Almost deafened by
crashing seas and howling winds - the storm is determined to run its
course. A severed sheep's head surprises me nestled in the
crook of a sand dune. It looks fresh, but there's no blood and
no trace of its body - my mind conjures up visions of satanic beach
rituals and the shivers across my back aren't solely caused by the
Day 20 - Counting
decapitated sheep heads to get to sleep...kidding! Travel to
Cape Point and take the tram (funicular railway as they call it) to
the top. Spectacular views of wild and treacherous coastline, I
see the home of many shipwrecks - victims of the boiling rivalry
between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
stalk the car-park at the base of the tram and numerous signs warn
people not to feed or approach them, as they can be dangerous.
I relish a bowl of hot soup in the Cape Point restaurant, but I'm
alarmed as a scream echoes through the room and a whole family are
running from their seats. I waste no time either, and grab a
chair just incase! In the middle of their table sits a large
male baboon with huge fangs, helping himself to the meals.
Kitchen staff run across the restaurant hurling cutlery, breadbaskets
and sling-shots against the intruder until it finally retreats back
out the door, a piece of bread in its hand. It is a sliding
door that someone forgot to close and this particular male baboon
apparently sits in wait for the opportunity to rob the tables on a
daily basis. The food is good, so I can't really blame the
baboon for trying.
Day 21 - Finally a
patch of blue sky, just long enough to take the gondola ride up to
the top of Table Mountain. The floor rotates on our ten-minute
ride up, enabling everyone to take in the breathtaking view across
town and the surrounding coastline. During the ten-minute ride
the mantle of clouds have shrouded the top in mist and rain again and
I have to be content with the memory of the gondola views.
Day 22 - An early
morning flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg that proves to be a
white-knuckle ride as the turbulence has the aircraft bucking like a
bronco. I have traveled a lot recently, but this is the first
time I make a mental note of where to find the wax-lined bag in the
seat pocket in front of me! Another small prop. plane ride to
Skukuza in the Eastern Transvaal and I'm off on Safari for three days.
Day 23, 24 &
25 - Early morning and late evening safari rides in an open top jeep
prove to be an amazing experience. The animals are used to the
shape and the sound of the jeeps, but we are warned not to stand, as
the animals would attack should the overall shape change. On
one trip a rhino decides he's had enough of the jeep voyeurs and it's
heads down, horn up, ready to charge. The acceleration of the
jeep is superior to a rhino's gait, thankfully.
reveal hunting lions and sleek leopards illuminated in the
flashlights glare. Even the African skies are spectacular with
displays by the Southern Cross, Mars and the Milky Way studding the
The bush camp is
open to animals and I have to be escorted back to my room by the
safari guide every night following supper under the stars.
Day 26 - Back to
Johannesburg, but first a mandatory insecticide is sprayed on the
plane once the doors close to prevent the spread of Malaria. I bury
my nose in my sleeve until the sickly stench has dissipated.
I am so
grateful to receive my record bag that had to be stored in a locker
in Johannesburg airport (due to weight restrictions on the small
plane.) On to Sydney, Australia - a long flight, but I must
sleep as I play at the Globe club tonight.
Meet the promoter
and DJ who booked me in Sydney, Australia, and they are the funniest
people I have ever met. My cheeks actually hurt from laughing
so much by the end of dinner! The club is quite busy when I
arrive, and there are two floors. I am downstairs, with the
drum and bass upstairs. At 2am, I am on the decks, and by
2:30am, the entire upstairs is cleared out and the owners close the
top floor and deal with the over-population problem on the ground
floor. I have the best set of my life at the Globe, and
everything seems effortless. I meet great people again, and the
thought of moving to Sydney is planted in my head by another DJ.
At 5am, I realize I have only 3 records left, and I let the other DJ
know. They are laughing as I was only to play for 2 hours, but
since I was wearing no watch and they did not want to stop me, I kept
on going. I wished that night would never end! Back at
the hotel by 8:30am.
Day 27 - Since
last night went so well, I am booked to play again tonight at a
different club called Tank.
Short day only
time to wander around the Rocks market, an open- air market of crafts
that runs the length of a street at the weekends and is sheltered by
sail-like awnings. Street entertainers wander the perimeters,
one character is a very tall man dressed immaculately in a dark suit,
white gloves and a huge cube head with a clock face back and
front. Another act is a group of three Elvis look-alikes with
exaggerated quaffed hair and sequined suits, who sing in perfect
harmony to unsuspecting shoppers and follow them around the market
mimicking their movements.
I get ready for
Tank and upon arrival, I am blown away by the beauty of this colonial
building-turned-club. There has been no expense spared, with
the many different rooms and unusual furniture in this multi-story
club. I take many photos, even one of the bathrooms, as they
too are spectacular with their oversized sinks and rooms! As
2:30am arrives, I am on the decks and there is barely room to move,
and a traffic jam to get down the glass stairs! Many men and
women tell me of their excitement to see a female DJ, and I tell one
girl, "Ya, not bad for no penis!" She laughs &
high-fives me. I see my name being projected on the walls
I am home by 9am.
Day 28 - Find the
Central Station record store and resist the urge to buy the store
again-only one record this time!
Treated very well
by a promoter who is keen to know the date of my return in order to
launch my career in Australia. Takes me to over 15 different
venues from clubs to lounges and afterhours. I am introduced to
many DJs and promoters and club owners. This guy knows
everyone! Australians live up to their incredibly friendly and
Day 29, 30 &
31 - On to Perth where the club scene seems sparse and restricted to
weekends only. The highlight is holding a koala bear (very
touristy) and getting my photo taken. The fur is surprisingly
coarse and the claws quite menacing, but it really is a beautiful creature.
Day 32 - An eight
and a half hour flight to Hong Kong, my last stop and my last
gig. I step out of the airport into a humid inferno, 33 degrees
with 90% humidity is hard to take. Taxi to Kowloon where I
marvel at the density of high-rise apartment blocks built
precariously on the edges of the mountains surrounding the
water. Looking across the harbor toward Hong Kong Island it's
the same story, rows and rows of high-rise buildings spanning the
slopes to the very top of Victoria Peak.
Time to shower off
the humidity and meet D.J. Simon for a promotional radio interview on
RTHK, also to advertise tomorrow nights party on Lamma Island.
The radio studio feels like home, and reminds me of radio shows I
have done in Vancouver in the past. We are done in no time at
all, and we head out to some clubs. Hong Kong definitely likes
to party and I meet more club owners and DJs. I am having
troubles remembering everyone's names!
Day 33 - I take
the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island and cram into a tram
(another funicular train) with crowds of other visitors going to the
Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong. We seem to claw
our way up the mountain at an angle of almost 30 degrees - standing
room only and no air-conditioning make for a long ride, even though
it takes only five minutes. At the top, I am amazed at the
restaurants and shops all perched on the top of the mountain.
The views are incredible, looking down on Hong Kong Island and across
the water to Kowloon and the mountains beyond. At the base of
the tram, I jump into an open-top double-decker bus back to the ferry
and prepare myself for the Lamma Island full moon beach party.
I meet DJ Simon,
DJ Kevin and a woman named Cherry, all of who speak at least 3
languages each, and board the ferry for Lamma Island. It feels
strange being able to drink a cider not only in public, but also
aboard public transportation! We arrive at the island, and
there are no roads, only walking paths - certainly a change from Hong
Kong, and only a thirty-minute ferry ride away! We hike into
the island, and come out the other side of the tiny town, to a beach
with pristine white sand. I see people clustered all the way
down the beach around small fires, and it seems everyone is clutching
a bottle of wine.
At around 2am, I
am on the decks, and I see a crowd of people, next to the China Sea,
and the reflections of the fire dancers in the distance add to the
excitement, but it is still so hot! About 29 degrees with 70%
humidity! I play for around an hour and a half, and take a
break, as I am so exhausted from the heat. My records are
getting moist and I am trying my best to keep sand away from the
precious vinyl. At 4:45am, I am back on, just in time for a
sunrise set, and I have the perfect song to play, which I bought
months before I left with exactly this scene in mind. My music
is very different from the other DJs, but the comments I receive
assure me that different is a good thing at this party. Sunrise
over the South China Sea accompanies my final mix - a superb
synchronization that has glistening bodies swaying in homage to the
new day. At 7am, I am so exhausted, it is getting rapidly
hotter now that the sun is up and I realize the urgency of returning
to the air-conditioned hotel room as soon as possible, without having
to hug too many sweaty, sand-covered people! We go to a nearby
house, where I camp out by the air-conditioner before making
the trek back to the ferry terminal. (Heat aside) this reminds
me of outdoor parties on Vancouver Island. I am home within an
hour, and I shower and collapse between cool sheets - bliss!
Day 34 - Slept and
went to the pool, and then slept some more.
Day 35 - Rising
close to evening, I decide to sample the famed Hong Kong shopping and
head for Harbour City Mall, apparently the largest shopping area in
Hong Kong. I am not disappointed; the corridors of shops trail
off into the distance, peppered here and there by a few restaurants
and cafes. The variety of merchandise is amazing, if you have
the stamina, you can find almost anything here. The scale of
the place blows me away - it makes Metrotown Centre look like a
cluster of corner-stores. I'm undecided as to whether this
place would offer the perfect antidote to shopaholics or whether it
would actually breed them.
Hong Kong at night
is a magical sight, especially when viewed from Victoria Peak, my
last trip with D.J. Simon before packing for tomorrow's flight back
Day 36 - Eleven
and a half hours of flying and the Gulf Islands reveal themselves
beneath some wispy morning clouds. The air is cool and fresh
with a hint of pulp and I suck it in greedily. My record bag
and trolley survives the journey and is now bulging with new sounds
collected from around the world. I'm eager to share the
experience with the Vancouver club-goers, to offer them tastes and
textures of other music lovers from far shores. Thankfully, the
universal language of music offers me the chance to do exactly that.
club-goers are also eager to sample the latest musical acquisitions
of such a talented D.J.. As we welcome D.J. Veronica back to
Vancouver, the anticipation of her creative global mixes is tinged
with anxiety at the thought of losing such local talent to
Australia. Let's hope that Vancouver recognizes star quality in
its own vicinity before another country claims the unique gift as its
own 'home-grown' success story.
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