Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie was always destined to be Bobby Gillespie.
The scion of socialists, he grew up surrounded by Che Guevara posters, radical left-wing literature, plus folk, blues, rock, pop and country records.
This, as his enjoyable memoir Tenement Kid confirms, is a true believer steeped in politics and pop culture. He absolutely lives and breathes music. Gillespie often comes across as a rather silly and earnest character when interviewed, but when parlayed by his own hand that romantic zeal is endearing.
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Yes, he’s prone to absurd purple prose, but he occasionally reveals a surprising willingness to laugh at himself: oblivious and self-aware all at once. A sweet soul.
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 (the book ends with the release of Screamadelica). There are drugs. Lots of drugs. Freebasing was “fun”, apparently.
He also strikes an unforced yet tangible note of melancholy: we will never be so young and free again.