Nina Simone’s Gum by Warren Ellis
My rating: five stars
Let’s get something out of the way up front.
Warren Ellis is a fuckin’ delight.
Like, a we’re pretty lucky to have him-level delight.
Nina Simone’s Gum is a rare thing: a shortish book that seems to be filled to the brim with delight. It’s about Ellis, but not really. It’s about chewing gum, but not really. It’s about a sense of the man as conveyed by a worshipful consideration of a legendary singer’s ephemera.
It is inexplicably, joyfully Warren.
OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)
This is day one. Today’s song was probably the first Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song I saw, thanks to Rage, the late night/early morning music video show here in Australia. Actually, the first I ever saw may be the fairy-lit cover of ‘In the Ghetto’ but this one stuck more in my memory. For my money it remains one of the strongest songs the band has done, even though lyrically it’s less leaning on Faulknerian gloom for inspiration and more wearing its skin as a jacket. Still, plenty of grim mud-sloshed words to go around, indicative of the whole And The Ass Saw The Angel thing, and some good Leadbelly vocal rips to go along with it. (more…)