Nina Simone’s Gum

£20.00

In July 1999, Nina Simone gave a rare performance as part of Nick Cave’s Meltdown Festival. After the show, in a state of awe, Warren Ellis crept onto the stage, took her piece of chewed gum from the piano, wrapped it in her stage towel and put it in a Tower Records bag. The gum remained with him for twenty years; a sacred totem, his creative muse, growing in significance with every passing year. In 2019, Cave – his collaborator and great friend – asked Warren if there was anything he could contribute to display in his Stranger Than Kindness exhibition. Warren realised the time had come to release the gum. Here, we reflect on how something so small, and of little apparent significance, can form beautiful connections between people.

In stock

Description

THE TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER
A GUARDIAN, TELEGRAPH, THE TIMES, IRISH TIMES, SUNDAY EXPRESS, ROUGH TRADE, MOJO, CLASH, ROLLING STONE, UNCUT BOOK OF THE YEAR

From award-winning musician and composer Warren Ellis comes the unexpected and inspiring story of a piece of chewing gum.

FEATURING AN INTRODUCTION BY NICK CAVE

I hadn’t opened the towel that contained her gum since 2013. The last person to touch it was Nina Simone, her saliva and fingerprints unsullied. The idea that it was still in her towel was something I had drawn strength from. I thought each time I opened it some of Nina Simone’s spirit would vanish. In many ways that thought was more important than the gum itself.

On Thursday 1 July, 1999, Dr Nina Simone gave a rare performance as part of Nick Cave’s Meltdown Festival. After the show, in a state of awe, Warren Ellis crept onto the stage, took Dr Simone’s piece of chewed gum from the piano, wrapped it in her stage towel and put it in a Tower Records bag. The gum remained with him for twenty years; a sacred totem, his creative muse, a conduit that would eventually take Ellis back to his childhood and his relationship with found objects, growing in significance with every passing year.

Nina Simone’s Gum is about how something so small can form beautiful connections between people. It is a story about the meaning we place on things, on experiences, and how they become imbued with spirituality. It is a celebration of artistic process, friendship, understanding and love.

‘The year’s most eccentric and joyful musical memoir.’
DAILY TELEGRAPH (Books of the Year)

‘A meditation on art and value, connection and collaboration […] Fantastic.’
THE TIMES (Books of the Year)

‘One of the most strange, illuminating and wonderful ‘music’ books ever.’
MOJO (Books of the Year)

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 21 × 16 × 3 cm
Author

Publisher

Imprint

Cover

Hardback

Pages
Language

English

Edition
Dewey

782.42164092 (edition:23)

Readership

General – Trade / Code: K

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