On the eve of the publication of his memoir, the Primal Scream frontman talks to friend and author Irvine Welsh about his working-class upbringing, beating drugs and losing creative partners. Barbara Ellen listens in

Bobby Gillespie’s memoir, Tenement Kid, starts by documenting Gillespie’s Glaswegian working-class background and ends in 1991, as Primal Scream prepare to release their Mercury prize-winning album, Screamadelica. As Gillespie’s final line in the book has it: “Some say this is where the 1990s began.”

Last month, he and old friend, author and fellow Scot Irvine Welsh, got together to discuss some of the book’s themes. Gillespie, 60, explained that he was first asked to write his life story a decade ago, and had only just agreed to do it when lockdown struck. Tenement Kid charts Gillespie’s personal and creative journey, via the prism of punk, rock’n’roll, acid house and drug-fuelled hedonism. It also delivers a vivid portrait of Gillespie’s early working-class life, at times permeated with strong anti-Tory sentiment: “Of course,” says Gillespie, “I’m from Glasgow, there’s got to be.”

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