The photographs peppered through memoir Tenement Kid – of the younger Bobby Gillespie, his family, his Glasgow neighbourhood, and later his rock bands, most notably Primal Scream – change from monochrome to colour as the author grows in fame through the book. They breathe life into the sweeping narrative, of a working-class kid exploring feelings of wanderlust that conflict with the opportunities on offer to those from low-income families. Yet often, these are the people with the clearest, most intelligent voices: voices of cultural importance.
Tenement Kid meanders through honest diatribe and vivid descriptions of Gillespie’s surroundings. Often a whirlwind of celebrity and music, the background to songs listeners only heard the final product of is however illuminating. (Primal Scream’s Moving On Up and Loaded were THE songs that got this reviewer through assignments at college and university: freedom encapsulated in their punk rock psychedelia.)
As the snapshots of life are assembled in Tenement Kid, it feels like each chapter holds a new space. While Bobby Gillespie’s life is very different to my own, I brought my own childhood experience – growing up with a musical parent – to the book, which helped me to relate to it more closely.
Tenement Kid, Bobby Gillespie (White Rabbit)
Price: £20. Info: here
words BILLIE INGRAM SOFOKLEOUS