I walk with a particularly smart fellow, one who can talk derivatives and mathematics before switching to film and literature and then on to music. Yesterday morning I had to ask him to stop. He was in the middle of giving me a run down on the latest Russian films he'd watched and I turned to him and said 'enough, I feel like my brain has been pruned'. Incidentally, I had done the same to someone in my life last year and she would stop me in my tracks and say 'Nicholas, stop, I just can't absorb anymore'. Sometimes we get like that, don't we.
But, he did steer me to one particular song after we got onto the topic of Nina Simone and her voracious appetite for men accompanied by her very serious bi-polar condition and bi-sexuality. I was quoting her journals that were quoted in that wonderful Netflix 'What Happened Miss Simone? ' , the title, I believe, being a reference to a Maya Angelou poem. He said softly to me as we made our way along New South Head Road, just near the part where you get a big glimpse of the harbour, a very clear and fresh morning ' of all the songs of Nina Simone, my favourite must be 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes?' .
I was at home in the evening, still suffering that general malaise of taking stock of my life when I decided to put on my air phones and listen to the song and I got lulled into an emotional Sunday night considering all the things that had transpired in the last decade and wondering where all the time had gone. Two weeks earlier I was writing all this sort of optimistic gratitude sort of stuff, which I believed then and I believe now, but no, now it was catching up. And having been sober for 4 months with one night off for my birthday, I was processing it all in a very raw manner. Normally the tears would flow as the whisky bottle reached half way, but in the morning in a haze and smelling of cigarettes, you make you way to the shower and try to scrub it off. But when you are perfectly sober and come up against the same currents, well it cuts much deeper.
I do not encourage you to listen to this song unless you are in that mode where you are ready to shed a skin. It has that melancholic cadence and haunting suffering that sits behind the voice of Nina Simone and it almost demands that you take stock of life and weep.
Who knows where the time goes, who knows?