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Monday, 21 November 2022

Tenement Kid


I didn't have any intention of buying the book Tenement Kid by Bobby Gillespie  but was happy to see it in the library. It comes in at just over 400 pages and is very well written. It is much better than I thought it would be.

He spent his first few years in a tenement in Springburn in North Glasgow prior to moving to Mount Florida in the South as part of the slum clearances. I found this part of the book particularly interesting. I was brought up relatively near to Mount Florida and subsequently had a flat there for a number of years so I was familiar with many of the local references such as Gloria's Record Bar and the Toledo Cinema.

Bobby is just over a month older than me (I like to think that I've aged better) and therefore I enjoyed the references to the Glasgow music scene at that time. The Apollo obviously but also Tiffanys, Rooftops and pubs such as the Burns Howff  and the Doune Castle.

Gillespie and Alan McGhee both went to Kings Park Secondary with McGhee the year above and bonded over their love of music so it was probably inevitable that Primal Scream ended up on Creation.

Before that he was a roadie for Altered Images , a bassist with The Wake and the drummer of The Jesus and Mary Chain on  the Psychocandy album.

He is brutally honest and takes no prisoners, himself included. His was a totally hedonistic lifestyle with shedloads of drugs. I'm not that comfortable with his glamourisation of drugs particularly when they have taken the lives of people he knew including Primal Scream member Robert "Throb" Young

The final part of the book concentrates in some detail on the birth of the Acid House movement and finishes with the release of Screamadelica in 1991. Both of these passed me by at the time but I have subsequntly picked up the album.

The book is well worth a read

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Just Like Honey

Primal Scream - Velocity Girl

Primal Scream - Movin' On Up


  1. Sounds a great read, thanks for the recommendation - I love a good music autobiography' there's a lot about Bobby I didn't realise or appreciate until relatively recently. And yes I'd say you've definitely aged better too!

  2. I'm a sucker for music autobios/bios, but there's just something about those that focus on Glasgow, or indeed Scotland, that often irk me as my recollections of incidents, events and places often differ from those of the author. This is one I haven't been attracted to, mainly as I reckoned Bobby would have difficulty either recalling things accurately or would paint himself in the best possible light, but with you pointing out he does have a go at himself, then I'll soften my attitude. But I reckon I'll wait till it comes out in paperback and inevitably ends up going cheap on Fopp!