Hey everyone, Friday night, I walk out at 5 am and when I get back to my cabin at 4 pm I eat, a besan flour based pizza and salads from the garden. I drink a bottle of red wine then Jayne and I dance. When the time comes and Jayne leaves, I party some more. Tonight, I am listening to my 60s blues saviour, inspiration and educator….. NINA SIMONE. I first heard her singing at an Auckland party house in 1966. The house long gone to make way for a free-way.

Backlash Blues and I love you Porgy touched my soul. I was 18.

Nina Simone was radicalised when she was 11. A gifted pianist, she was to give a concert in a Southern town when she witnessed her parents being re seated from the front row to the back row because they were black, to make way for a white couple.

It was the time the Vietnam war call up in NZ to all young men aged 18 plus. My generation were pressured, right wing families, ballot by birth-date, none of us knew where Vietnam was on a map. Australian anti war boys were arriving in Auckland, many were gay boys, ( 18-19 ),escaping the Australian draught, bringing to us naïve NZ boys the arrogant French and American reasons for colonising Vietnam, because of the red menace, something most older NZers talked about. Those of us who were questioning were soon asking why we should go and kill grass root farmers? Us Nz boys knew we were ignorant, as were our families and peers.

Irony now all these years later when we are ready to sell and buy anything that is not screwed down to the Chinese.

Nina Simone focused our under ground movement. I read then, French colonial history and listened to articulate Australian men who knew why they had fled from conscription in their homeland. Their reasons made sense. Why we were expected to go kill humans we had no idea of who they were or how they lived?
I knew then I would be deemed a coward by those dumb Rhodesia supporting farmers I grew up around. As school children we were never taught anything of NZ, Aotearoa’s colonial history. It was my hospitalization at 13-14 where the wards cleaners were Maori women when my actual education began.

My birth-date was not drawn in the conscription ballet.

God we were so naïve.

I Pay tribute to Nina Simone. Suffering from depression and later diagnosed with bi-polar I forgive her for the night I had tickets to see and hear her perform at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, London, for her then not to show.

Enjoy as I have tonight.

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