David Corio

Nina Simone

Ronnie Scott's, London
(January 9, 1984)

I loved Nina Simone’s music but I had never seen her perform before. A temperamental diva, she couldn’t be relied on to appear at her own concerts. Fortunately she turned up on this night. The lighting on stage was atmospheric - there was just a tiny spotlight pointing straight down and that was it. Unless Nina sang directly under the beam the film would barely register her. She avoided the light for most of her show. It was fixed just a couple of feet above her and must have been uncomfortably hot. This is the one printable shot from the whole show.

Several years later I went to a book reading in Brixton where Nina was publicizing her autobiography. I wanted to give her a copy of this print to thank her for her music. As I pulled it out of the box she screamed from the other side of the room ‘What the fuck is that?’ followed by ‘Don’t bring it any closer!’ It took a while before I played my Nina Simone records again.

Nina Simone