Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tear Gas Is One Helluva Gas!

Dearest Reader,

Tear Gas GRANADE!!
A happy week 4 to all earthlings. A wonderful and prosperous 2012 to all! Seriously, let us all grow from strength to strength. Let us all be more of who we desire to be. These are my personal desires and my desires for all that exist. Yes, I am feeling good, peaceful, and at ease. I am having that rapid heartbeat thing again, but other than that, I am good.

Oh, wait!! I am not completely good physically. On Friday, I ran into some teargas and I've been feeling a little under the weather ever since. No, I wasn't protesting somewhere, nor did I get gassed out by the authorities for shady business like a home coke-lab.

I was just in the nightclub in Rosebank when all of a sudden, the club went from full to empty in 30 seconds from my vantage point. And then, I saw people coughing, covering their eyes and acting strange, and I wondered what the hell had just happened. Not being too concerned for some odd reason, I figured that, if something really bad had happened, my friend would have told me and fetched me from where I was sitting, which he didn't... But, I should have known. When black people run, you run with them and ask questions later. SMH! But, what did I do? I saw people run off and watched.

Then, after I was literally the only one left in the club, say about 5 minutes after it cleared, I began to sneeze a bit. Now, it started to connect (incorrectly). People cleared the club fast, people were covering their faces, and also I had heard the DJ announce that they were clearing the club on purpose so I came to the conclusion that it was just time to leave, but still I didn't anticipate. My friend would have fetched me and I just saw him walk across the empty club, so it's all good. As a matter of fact, I remember reaching for my phone to tweet the following: "Jeez! Clubs nowadays use chemical warfare to get patrons out. I swear they teargassed us", but I didn't get time to tweet it.

This would have been a joke tweet. I didn't actually think that there was teargas in the air. I mean, WTF? Teargas? That's so 90s. That's so Occupy Movement. "Of course, there can't be teargas in a relatively upmarket club", I thought. Even the thought of teargas had me thinking that I am so dramatic to even think of it. I remember thinking to myself that I have watched too much tv to think that far. Little did I know that I was right on the money.

As I left the VIP area to find my friend, the sneezing started getting seriously heavy. Then my throat started to burn, and then, my eyes started burning slightly, and I knew that I was inhaling something that was attacking my mucous membranes. Yes, that's exactly what I thought. I said to myself, "whatever it is that's in the air is attacking my mucous membranes..." LOL I thought of Ammonia, and thought that I should be careful how I breathed from then onward, i.e. slow, shallow breaths. The further I went from the VIP area, the worse it got, until I decided to go near the doorway and this is when I finally saw my friend again, waved to him and went to ask him what in God's Earth was going on with this joint.

My New Night Club Look From Now On!
Instead I asked him whether he was done with the club because I am getting allergies, I told him, and he said he had one little thing to do and asked me to wait. Thereafter, I sneezed even more, so much that I asked one of the waiters for some serviettes or something. This was when the waiter said I must go to the bathroom for that. BIG MISTAKE!!!

I entered the bathrooms and this was the epicenter of the teargas bomb attack! There it was thick and hazardous that I literally had to sprint out of the bathroom to get to safer air. This in 6 inch heels. I fumbled with my left hand as my eyes were not seeing clearly anymore in order to find the exit, and with my right hand I covered my mouth and nose. I also decided to stop breathing completely and I held my breath in but, this meant that I was holding in teargas, but at least I wasn't getting anymore in??? I dunno which was better, but with the shallow, deep breaths I was taking, it didn't catch me at full blast, and I had enough air in my lungs to get out of there. Anyway, I can hold my breath for more than a minute easily so it wasn't too big a deal.

As I got out of the bathroom, I almost got on my knees from the discomfort, but because I just don't panic like that among company, I walked as if nothing big had happened as I rejoined the bar area where my friend, club manager and some waiters were. At this time, my nose was running, and I literally had mucous of H2O viscosity dripping like a loose tap out of my nose, but I masked it with my hand by doing the coke addict nose touch. This is when I told my friend that he must not enter the bathrooms because whatever was in the air, was thickest there, and I told him that I was going outside for air.

When I got outside, this is when I found out that it was indeed teargas. I must have taken at most 4 breaths from running out of the bathroom, pretending as if I wasn't phased, telling my friend I am going out for air and walking slowly out the club in order to not raise my heart rate which would have required me breathe in  more air than I should.

I stood outside alone looking cool, calm and collected, while taking long, deep breaths. Thank God for meditation and breathing exercises for teaching me how to lower my heart rate. Honestly, if I had panicked, I would have breathed more, but I wasn't totally spared. the fact that I was withholding the air in my lungs also means that I allowed the teargas to react more in my lungs.

The result is that, my chest is still sore, even now, as if I have flu. My throat is not as sore anymore, but my voice is low and cracking. My eyes have not been seeing as clearly as I know them to be either because I have been wearing my glasses more since then. Lastly, I have just felt a little fragile.

The one time I decide to go clubbing, this happens, and had I not been the type to insist on being seated in a separate area (VIP) I would have been more damaged than I am now. I was supposed to play at a gig in Newtown today but I couldn't. All I have done since Friday was take painkillers for my chest and anti-histamines for the insistent sneezing. Seriously, my nose won't forget this saga. neither will my lungs. My lungs are burning as if I was smoking 10 smokes at once with no filter And, what a waste... I was feeling fabulous these days. Now... I feel bleh.

Tomorrow is Veronnica Day. That's the day when my new team meets for all things me related. I meet my new stylists called The Glam Squad which is exciting. This is a meeting which includes my manager, my artist management company (agent, strategists and media, ICT solutions and IT solutions guys) and a whole bunch of  beautiful people who have come together to make my business a success. I will write about these fabulous people on a future blog because the point to this blog is also to help upcoming artists to do it right.

What I mean is that, I am not into this whole thing of pretending to have money to make money. I believe in making money! Period! I believe in business and business must be treated as such, professionally. A music career is 50% business, which is what Veronnica Days are about, and the other 50% is about me and my artistry. I am good in business. I get a lot of idiots ask me why it took me so long to make it if I was actually good at what I do? My answer to those idiots is this: EXCELLENCE!

MLK wasn't good at what he did. His dream didn't even come  true, let alone in a year!! 
I am not trying to be famous! I am not trying to make money! I am not trying to be a broke musician! I am not trying. Period. I am doing! And, when I DO, I DO it right! To do it right, I will wait for as long as it takes to get things right. I am the least desperate person I know because I do not NEED anything. I desire things. I am patient, deliberate and systematic. I have never heard of a successful, power to be reckoned with, business person who went from envisioning a venture to implementing it in a year. It does take years to create empires, and to create excellence. Mediocrity takes a year. And, I am not mediocre. I am something else. Those who feel it can feel it. Those who have seen it have seen it. Those who are mediocre have been blind to it. I have never done anything halfheartedly or for the wring reasons because I am a thinker first before anything.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about IMMORTALITY! I am talking about leaving LEGACIES behind that will be in the story of the people left behind! I am talking about changing the way "the game" is played. That takes a while. That takes sacrifices. That takes perseverance and staying power. Actually, if you don't believe me google multi-millionaires and half inherited their money, the rest worked for it. Those who worked for it had to envision their desires, plan how to achieve their desires and then implement their desires and lived a happy life. I am not one of those people who happen on things mistakenly. I am deliberate in all that I have ever had.

So, ask me again why if I am talented, why I am not a success yet? Then I ask you to look at yourself, because the only person who can ask such a question is someone who isn't in the big leagues. Sorry, but that is true. I have never met a millionaire who asked me that about my music in this manner. Actually, the millionaires I know are so supportive, and all I hear from them is that I must keep at it, do it right, and do it according to MY vision, not other people's visions. but I have met a lot of average Joes who ask me that question and they left me baffled for some time, but now I know..

Anyway... I digress. This blog was about me being choked up by teargas. Not answering questions from people without vision or business instincts. SMH! I mean, even an MBA would never ask me such a dumb question because it takes more than a year to get an MBA, so, yeah...

Anyway, I need some cough mixture and some tea.


Veronnica Wolpendz

P.S. The team calling our meetings Veronnica Day is more than my ego can handle. Already, this has made my mind wonder... I imagine myself having a holiday named after me. I mean... why not? I have the ability to do great things, so why not have a holiday named after me? But, please... Only after I am dead. Okay, guys? Make it every Friday the 13th!! LMAO!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am The Messiah: I Speak of Myself In Third Person Regularly

Dearest Reader,

This is my favorite song by Drake. It's called, "Say What's Real". This song and another called "Successful" featuring Trey Songz, are the only songs by Drake which I truly enjoy.

First and foremost, I am Veronnica Wolpendz, a singer, song-writer and a guitarist plus a teacher (not professionally). That is WHAT I am before anything else right now, even though I have a lot of other refined skills. As for WHO I am, I AM. Yes, the answer to WHO I am is "I AM". These are very important things to remember about me, so that, when you require any of my time, it must contribute to both these things. If it doesn't contribute to these things, and you ask more or less of me than What or Who I am, you will pay for my time in some form whether it be monetary, or through a product or a service to make up for my time because it takes lots of energy to go outside of what I have chosen to be.
Veronnica Wolpendz and Jerry Deeuw (3rd person talk) hehehe

This is why I charge for performances. Performing, although quite exhilarating and exciting, drains me. I get absolutely harassed by performing, and I always need to retreat before I perform. But, as I said, I get paid to perform, and so, although it is something I choose to do, it is still a service I provide outside of What I do. You see, I sing, write songs and play guitar for fun, at home, on my own. When there are people involved, it becomes a job, a nice job, but a job nonetheless. You may wonder why I even perform then if it is so taxing, and the answer is that I owe it to the world to share what I have been given, a gift from the gods. *dramatic much?* Performing is not about me. It is about a duty and a calling. I know this sounds absolutely arrogant, but wait and see. Just wait and see as you and many others get touched by my work. It is out of my hands really. I merely perform what was given to me by something bigger than me, and this material I perform touches people, and me too, by the way. Call it the Messiah Complex if you like. I speak my truth. As a matter of fact, if you think I have this complex, you can eat me!

Me as the Messiah. LMAO!

What I wouldn't charge for, because I have no problem doing it, is creating the music. Creating and writing music actually energizes me. It is the easiest thing ever! The only effort comes in mastering the songs and making no errors when I play them. So, as far as I am concerned, people can have my music for free. If I was the only person involved in making the music and an album. If it didn't take money to make, I'd give it away for free, honestly! But, there are producers, marketers, and all sorts of people who are involved in getting songs recorded and an album out, so it can't be free. Anyway, the money from sales won't come to me anyways, so in essence, I am doing it free.

Speaking of albums, I am 3 songs away from finishing my album. I thought I would do an EP but it turns out that I have an album's worth of material within the time period that was allocated to doing an EP, therefore, I am going to releasing an album this year, not an EP. I suppose, that is good news, but it makes no difference to me. EP, LP, Album, or whatever... To me it is a bunch of songs that I will be giving away for free so that I can be booked to perform to touch people's lives. That is all this means to me. Honestly!  

After writing this blog, I am going to start writing some lyrics (and watching tv) because I always write those last, like the day before they are needed. I work better under pressure, or maybe it is a habit I got from school when I would procrastinate until the last minute and still get a higher mark than the kids that started first. Yeah... That describes me quite well, actually. I never start first. There are always delays and challenges in my journey, but what's amazing is that, I always come out on top. I can say this now because I recognize a pattern as I look back at my life's events. 

Zakes Mda on the cover of his latest book. Click on link below to buy!
Other than the music, people think I am chilling doing nothing because I don't talk about the things I do outside my music. The reason for that is because I am intent on being known to those who have not met me as an artist first, and other things last. Besides, it is very interesting to see how people treat you when they think they have nothing to gain from you, i.e. people treat you very badly if they have nothing to gain from you, unless they are beautiful souls who don't care about the material/physical. It is quite telling. Especially because I don't drive (unless I have to) in this car obsessed society of ours. *laughs and shakes head in amusement* I bet you're curious why I don't drive, huh? Well, it has nothing to do with being broke, even though I have BEEN broke many times in my life. I am writing a book, and it will all be in there because it is a very interesting story. Gawd! I have so many stories. I have stories for days! Weird, twisted, and amusing stories. 

"Book?" you ask. Yes, I am writing a book. Zakes Mda is the brains behind it, and that is all I am saying about it until it is time to blog about it. It is not yet time to reveal that particular story. All you have to know is that, I am writing a book, with Zakes Mda holding my hand every step of the way. I am pretty lucky to have my hand held by a legend. To be honest, I still think I am dreaming to have such an opportunity, to receive guidance from this man is something I have dreamed of. Actually, musically, another legend is holding my hand but that's all going to be in the book too. 

*** NB: Please do yourselves a favor and get Zakes Mda's Memoirs called Sometimes There Is A Void Just click and buy, for crying out loud, you cheapskate!! 

In the words of Drake, who's song "Say What's Real" is posted above because I love this song,

"How could you pass up on [her]? [She] just take them records and [she] gas up on 'em..."

Thanks for reading,

Best Regards and a wet kiss to you,
Veronnica Wolpendz

Love, Peace an Power. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hepatitis is FOREVER! - My ANC Weekend in Mangaung!

Dearest Reader,

As I write this blog, I am feeling a bit weird, rapid heartbeat, feeling a bit spaced out, and I know with certainty that the iron supplements, vitamic C and the Calcium/Magnesium aren't the cause, or everybody would be on 'em. So, I wonder what's going on with my body. Maybe I am ascending. :) Okay, that's enough of a pity party. Let's move on to the blog post about what happened 7 days ago when I went to Mangaung to perform at the ANC Centenary celebrations.

I went to sleep around 3am and 4am on that Saturday, the day I was supposed to be heading to Mangaung, Bloemfontein. I wasn't at a party, getting down to the boogy. I was just experiencing good ol' insomnia. Before that, I had a genius plan to take an antihistamine to knock me out. What transpired was that the antihistamine didn't work on time, and I ended up sleeping for 3 hours to wake up 7am, drunk and groggy from the antihistamine which had decided to take effect during my short stint of slumber.

Where the crap begun. At Bassline's parking lot
I was meeting Malik at 9am in town at Bassline, at their parking lot. I arrived on time and he had arrived early, so it wasn't me who had to wait. Score. I was exhausted, sleepy and out of it, and so was he, but for different reasons. We were told to get to Mangaung on Saturday, even if the performance was on Sunday, in order to make sure that we got ourselves checked in and accredited (government protocol). We didn't mind. Our plan was clear. We were going to drive for 4 hours, get to Mangaung, check in, sleep until the evening when we would go around the town, mingling and so on. But, things didn't end up this way.

Instead, when we got to Mangaung, we found out that more important people took our accommodation, so we were stranded. It wasn't just me who was caught up in this mess, but almost all the artist which were meant to check in on Saturday. So, from noon until 8pm, we were driving around Mangaung trying to find a roof to sleep under, meeting up with these young men with a convoy of Hummers and dancing at filling stations... Of course, I wasn't dancing. I don't dance. I watch dancers. We also sat in restaurants for longer than normal during this day, what with being homeless and all.

Hepatitis is FOREVER!! 
There was a place we found, but it was such a roach motel that I refused to even sit on their furniture. This is when I told Malik that I would gladly sleep in the car because I was not about to share a bed with bedbugs, roaches and a snail. Yes, at this "Bed and Breakfast" there was a snail, mold, and god knows what else my naked eye couldn't see in the room that I was meant to have. I refused! My mild OCD couldn't allow me to do such. Heck, that place was filthy! I have seen medical detectives, alright! I just knew that there was semen on the walls and fecal matter on the ceiling that would gladly show up under UV light. I just knew it and I was not going to catch Hepatitis for the love of my music. Hell effin No! Hepatitis is FOREVER!

A few hours later, I thought to call one of the organizers, and this was when I was hailed to the Southern Sun, a premium hotel where I could lay my head snugly as I had envisioned that morning, on fluffy pillows and clean sheets. I was dropped off at the hotel, and when the organizers were done fixing the accommodation problem, I slept where I had been originally booked, at Phillip Sanders.

The crowds loving our former president more than the current.
I was dirty, salty, sticky, looking like a piece of old cheese (and smelling like one, I am sure) and I only got to sleep, like the day before, at 4am or so. I was woken up 3 hours later again, by a young man calling me and saying, "Wake up Little Big Nuz. wake Up!". Yes, that was my nickname from a conversation we had before I went to bed about some hot piece of ass which I named "Little Big Nuz" because I didn't know who he was. Unfortunately, the name came to me because no one knew my name either. The irony! Haha! At around 8am, I was in a cab, driving to the stadium where the big and grand finale of the ANC Centenary was to occur.

When I arrived at the stadium, in the artist's designated area, there was not a soul but I. I could have worried, but I had decided 12 hours ago to stop worrying about life and about this gig and to just go with the flow. So, I sat there and waited to be told how I was going to be taken to the PVAs that I was meant to be. Then, as I was busy on my phone, the organizer told me that I will be performing on the main stage because artists were tardy. I freaked out, naturally! I was so scared that I decided to take my beta-blocker because I was starting to lose my mind.

The Stadium's Stage
I was expecting to perform in front of a few thousand people, sure, but I was not expecting to perform in a stadium that was filled to full capacity by the looks of it. I was still thinking that it must be some elaborate joke when one of the stage helps came and told me that it was time to set up. I sighed, took my guitar case and asked, "Which way is it?" and I was taken to the stadium as seen on the pic on the left. That confetti looking stuff below the ANC logo are humans.

Backstage, they asked who I was so as to announce my name when I went on stage. I told them, and that became a bit of an ordeal because they didn't know how to say my surname, so I took a pen and wrote it down for them. "Wolpendz as in 'Wall' and 'Pends'!" and I could have hung around until I knew that the backstage guy could say my name properly but I had bigger problems on my hands, the problem being, tens of thousands of comrades waiting for the show to begin. I walked away and asked another guy to plug in my guitar and then I remembered that during this whole mess, the guitar was not tuned, so when the announcer said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for Veronnica Wollopins" I was still to sit and tune. So, I made the crowd wait as I tuned my guitar calmly. I didn't care. And, only when I was done did I look up and greet them in Zulu and say, "San'bonani!" and I started playing a song which I had only written a day before.

That's me performing, looking like a piece of shit
The song was in Zulu, which is my first language and all, but which happens not to be the language in which I express myself artistically. Don't ask because I don't know. And don't tell me about the white man brainwashing me, and all that jazz. It has nothing to do with that if you knew my creative process.

So, I sang, the audience was incredibly receptive and the clapped along as I played and sang. When my set was done, they applauded and I swear I received a standing ovation, unless... they were already standing. Ha! Then, again, when I was walking across the stadium, my guitar case in my right hand, they begun to whistle, clap and wave. When I waved back, they made even more noise and I guess that means they were happy with the effort I made.

I went to the arists' designated area and sat at some corner on my own to absorb the moment. Then, a strange thing happened.

People, one after another started to approach me to take photos with me. It could be that they thought I was some other artist called Zahara who also plays the guitar like me, or it could be that they thought "We don't know who she is, but she was on stage at an ANC event so she might be a big deal now or someday!". I was happy to pose with them, and like the antihistamine, the beta-blockers only started taking effect after the performance, so I wasn't shy to speak to people, answer questions and so on. A group of people did ask me if I was Zahara's sister, and what's funny about it is that they were dead serious. Ha! Gawd, that was funny.

Around 3pm, we decided to go home.

I got home at 9pm. The drive was slow because of rain. I then went on twitter, if my memory serves me well, because I couldn't sleep since the beta-blockers had me wide awake. What ARE these beta-blockers anyway. Note to self: Google Beta-blockers and their side effects. I know it's a bit late to look them up now, but could they still be affecting me 7 days later? This rapid heartbeat is a bit uncomfortable.

Anyway, that's all folks!

Veronnica Wolpendz
Love, Peace and Power!

P.S. Some photos are courtesy of Maricelle Botha

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The ANC Is Going To Make Me Vomit!

African National Congress (ANC) Emblem
Dearest Reader,

Chief Albert Luthuli
On Sunday, the 8th of January, I will be performing in front of thousands of people on a very historic day for South Africa, i.e. The ANC Centenary. The word "centenary" is self-explanatory; The ANC is celebrating their 100th year as an organization and a political party. Although I might not be happy about politicians in general due to my assumption that they are corrupt and self-serving, I would never have even had the opportunity to sing for a living were it not for The ANC and its members who died for my salvation. It may sound dramatic, but this is exactly what they did for us and I am forever grateful. As a matter of fact, I actually can't believe that I am being paid to perform at this event because performing would have been payment enough.
Steve Biko

This political party was once deemed as a terrorist organization in the old apartheid regime of South Africa with Nelson Mandela being the Osama Bin Laden of their time, and now these very terrorists are the leaders of the Republic of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize winners and one of the most inspiring examples of human strength and fighting spirit. Perspective is interesting, is it not? Why are some called terrorists and why are some called heroes? How does one change from one to another? Why are some dead and why are some alive? That's another blog, but it is an interesting topic to ponder if you are a seeker of truth.

This speaks to my heart in volumes, because I always support the underdog as I have always been one all my life. I am honored to be part of their celebrations because they literally saved my life by giving me more choices than I would have had otherwise as a black South African. I don't care how cynical, anti-establishment you are; you can not ignore the sacrifice and duty that The ANC and its members provided for us in South Africa. For that, I say a huge, resounding "Thank YOU" to these real life heroes.

Chris Hani
I should be rehearsing instead of writing this blog update but oh, well... I have 4 days to get my act together. I will be performing 10-15 minute sets throughout the day at different venues for the celebrations, which means that I will be doing a maximum of 5 songs, which isn't much. It will be just me and my guitar, jamming as usual, which is a bit of a relief too because the performance won't be pretentious, which means that it will be familiar as I always play with just me and my guitar. On the other hand, it is more frightening because I don't have a band to play off and "hide"behind, but who cares, I will just drink my beta-blockers and hope for the best.

Yes, I don't drink and I don't take drugs (yet) so, I will be pretty nervous. I won't have a drink, a smoke or a line to help me cope. It will be quite interesting. I know I am going to vomit either before after a set from nerves. That is a sure thing! I have the most extreme performance anxiety known to man, but that won't stop me, unfortunately. I won't let anything that is in my power stop me from doing what I desire, even this.

Oliver Tambo
There will be other artists playing there. It will be an extravaganza of South African talent. I will not mention them here because I am not certain who they are, but besides that, this is my blog and you guys know how self-centered I am. Yes, it is all about me, me and ME. God! Just writing this blog has me getting indigestion from the thoughts of it all. So, let me stop typing and get myself an antacid.

Happy New Year.

I was going to say more, but I do feel sick now from thinking about this gig.

Thank You,

Veronnica Wolpendz
Love, Peace and Power!

Nelson Mandela

P.S. Google the guys whose pictures are on this blog post. Learn about them. Know their life stories, and know what some of them died for. What was their message? What was their cause? And those who live, study them too, and learn the struggle of darkness versus light that is politics, fighting for freedom and what has been sacrificed for the world to be as it is today.