Nina Simone's Gum (Hardcover)

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Nina Simone's Gum By Warren Ellis Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Warren Ellis’ enchanting book follows a piece of discarded chewing gum, demonstrating how the inanimate can be imbued with a sacredness that is deeply human. A memoir of Ellis’ life in the orbit of artists and used gum, he writes about the creation of community through both music and the mundane. Granting flesh to the intangible, this book is written with an infectious joy and reverence for life that makes the world look a little bit brighter.

— Caroline


From award-winning musician and composer Warren Ellis comes the unexpected and inspiring story of a piece of chewing gum. Featuring an introduction from Nick Cave.

Warren has turned this memento, snatched from his idol's piano in a moment of rapture, into a genuine religious artefact. Nick Cave
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, 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 realized the time had come to release the gum. Together they agreed it should be housed in a glass case like a holy relic. Worrying the gum would be damaged or lost, Warren decided to first have it cast in silver and gold, sparking a chain of events that no one could have predicted, one that would take him back to his childhood and his relationship to found objects.

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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780571365623
ISBN-10: 0571365620
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: October 19th, 2021
Pages: 208
Language: English