Nina Simone’s Gum
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.
About the Author
Warren Ellis is an Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, most famous for his work as collaborator and bandmate of Nick Cave, in both the Bad Seeds and Grinderman. Both solo and alongside Nick he is also a multi-awardwinning film composer whose soundtracks include The Proposition, The Road, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Mustang and most recently This Train I Ride.
The LitVox Bookshop
Our bookshop’s range grows by the day. Moreover, we pride ourselves on being able to track down and obtain any book our customers want. Our recommendations service is open for all to use. If we recommend books to you through this service, we’ll can gather those books and send them to you no matter where you. If you’re buying books as a gift, we can gift-wrap them and send them wherever in the world you wish! We can even hand-write your greetings card with your personal message.
Remember that if you’re buying books as a gift, we also offer a wide-range of book prints, gifts and greetings cards for readers of all ages! Check out our print studio and gift-shop today. If you have any special requests for your order or need further gift inspiration, just contact our team at email@example.com, we’re ready and waiting to help!