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Tenement Kid

Rough Trade Book of the Year
  • Author
    • Bobby Gillespie
Regular price £12.99
Regular price Sale price £12.99

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'Gillespie is rock and roll's Oliver Twist. A punk rock fairytale, razor sharp on class struggle, music, style, and a singular view of the world resulting in one of the world's great bands. Couldn't put down' Courtney Love

Born into a working-class Glaswegian family in the summer of 1961, TENEMENT KID begins in the district of Springburn, soon to be evacuated in Edward Heath's brutal slum clearances. Leaving school at 16 and going to work as a printers' apprentice, Bobby's rock n roll epiphany arrives like a bolt of lightning shining from Phil Lynott's mirrored pickguard at his first gig at the Apollo in Glasgow. Filled with 'the holy spirit of rock n roll' his destiny is sealed with the arrival of the Sex Pistols and punk rock which to Bobby, represents an iconoclastic vision of class rebellion and would ultimately lead to him becoming an artist initially in the Jesus and Mary Chain then Primal Scream.

Building like a breakbeat crescendo to the Summer of Love, Boys Own parties, and the fateful meeting with Andrew Weatherall in an East Sussex field, as the '80s bleed into the '90s and a new kind of electronic soul music starts to pulse through the nation's consciousness, TENEMENT KID closes with the release of Screamadelica, the album often credited with 'starting the '90s'. A book filled with the joy and wonder of a rock n roll apostle who would radically reshape the future sounds of fin de siècle British pop, Bobby Gillespie's memoir cuts a righteous path through a decade lost to Thatcherism and saved by acid house.
  • Published: Jul 07 2022
  • Pages: 432
  • 196 x 128mm
  • ISBN: 9781474622080
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Press Reviews

  • Mark Lanegan

    As hugely influential and inspiring as Bobby Gillespie's music is, we now know his genius includes the telling of this story and reviving the ghosts that brought the music to life
  • Warren Ellis

    A righteous journey, an elegy for the transformative power of rock and roll told with heart and soul. The Gospel according to Bobby Gillespie
  • Courtney Love

    Gillespie is rock and roll's Oliver Twist. A punk rock fairytale, razor sharp on class struggle, music, style, and a singular view of the world resulting in one of the world's great bands. Couldn't put down
  • Irvine Welsh

    If they encapsualted the spirit of rock and roll in one person it would be Bobby Gillespie. The book is affirmative not just of a rockin' life but the beautiful working-class culture that made it. I felt like shedding tears of joy reading it, but also enraged about what we've lost
  • Simon Reynolds

    From Rottenrow hospital to the TOTP studio, this is the enthralling and vividly detailed story of a boy dreamed himself into a rock and roll star
  • Mojo
    Readers will be astonished by the detail in his memoir, the extraordinary rolling energy of his prose, and his warmth, gratitude and performerly wisdom . . . The way Gillespie writes about music's intoxicating buzz is inspirational . . . Tenement Kid's joy is in its undeviating belief in rock iconography
  • Guardian
    A fascinating story
  • The Times
    An impassioned, elegantly written tale of self-realisation through fandom, along with plenty of doubts and insecurities
  • Daily Telegraph
    An obsessive music fan who fulfilled his wildest rock star dreams, Gillespie has found an authentic voice to desribe his often hair-raising experiences, and the result is a rock 'n' roll epic
  • Louder Than War
    I can't recommend this book highly enough . . . the best music-related book I've read this year, and essential reading for anyone who loves and cares about alternative music
  • i Newspaper
    Gillespie is a hypnotic writer and this self-aggrandising yet self-lacerating self-portrait is, on its own terms, brutally honest
  • Irish Times
    Tenement Kid is a thrilling read laced with copious laugh out loud moments. This is a riveting account of how a tenement child of the Cold War era, and his friends, created a soundtrack for the hopes and dreams of a generation
  • Big Issue
    This, as his enjoyable memoir Tenement Kid confirms, is a true believer steeped in politics and pop culture . . . The most arresting passages are those in which he captures the febrile, incestuous activity of Scotland's underground music scene in the Eighties/early Nineties . . . He also strikes an unforced yet tangible note of melancholy: we will never be so young and free again
  • Concrete Islands
    Bobby Gillespie is a believer. A true disciple who, in his autobiography Tenement Kid, is going to take you on a spiritual journey through poverty and the struggles of a city at the end of time, in a country being dismantled by an evil overlord with all the might of the state behind her, and into the light and triumph of a band finding their identity. It is a tale of redemption, of how - through a spiritual and chemical path - rock and roll can truly save, taking you away from the suffering to your higher self. This is a tale of love; it is a tale of salvation . . . It does what you expect from a rock and roll memoir but also achieves something rare for the genre: it gives the sense that Gillespie is still one of us