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Tenement Kid: Rough Trade Book of the Year

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Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Third Man Books is dedicated to publishing the best in poetry, fiction, speculative fiction, SF/F, and non-fiction with the same diversity and award-winning design that are hallmarks of our partner company, Third Man Records. Back in 1994, when I was 15 years old, my only way of listening to new music was to listen to the radio on Sunday evening.

Gillespie’s family lived in one room, sharing a bathroom with other families, later moving to a “room and kitchen” in the same tenement, with the then-family of four sharing a bedroom. Readers will be astonished by the detail in his memoir, the extraordinary rolling energy of his prose, and his warmth, gratitude and performerly wisdom .

In this book, Gillespie takes us through the release of Screamadelica and the tour that followed as Primal Scream become the most innovative British band of the new decade. His happy times on the Boys Brigade football team taught him the value of teamwork and organisation, while Jock Stein’s strategy in the 1967 European Cup influenced Primal Scream’s approach to playing live, where every gig should be “a commando raid on the soul”. I was frequently reminded of (my hero) George Orwell’s statement that prose writing should be “clear, like a pane of glass” in the book’s honesty and refusal to cop out from the occasional not so comfortable memory. Then, not only does it follow Gillespie's journey to commercial success with Primal Scream, it's also a very accessible history of the UK's post punk scene which I found really interesting.

I guess all nationalism is exclusive, not just English nationalism… When it happened, I thought, well, maybe this is English nationalism, which is, for me, frightening. For him, being a Romantic, even a cynical Romantic, means that on balance one tends to see the human glass as half full. As the '80s bleed into the '90s and a new kind of electronic soul music starts to pulse through the nation's consciousness, Primal Scream become the most innovative British band of the new decade, representing a new psychedelic vanguard taking shape at Creation Records. His experience was dutifully described as courtesy of John Peel in 1977, in the midst of the rising angst of his generation and was the ignition to the collective kindling of the working class discontent of a young man ready to challenge the Status Quo in a Thatcherite society.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.

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