Nina Simone's Gum
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.