29 November, 2016

Working class boy by Jimmy Barnes

My introduction to Cold Chisel was at the first ever rock concert I went to in Wellington, where the band was Rod Stewart’s support act. We didn’t really know who they were, but Jimmy’s energy jumped out from the stage and the music was great.

Once I moved to Australia, Cold Chisel and Jimmy Barnes music was always around on the radio and at parties, so when I saw this book I was keen to find out more about the man.

I knew he had had come from a rough background and played hard but this book really tells what shaped him. Violence, child neglect, drinking, drugs, and petty crime all feature in his upbringing.

Jimmy’s family moved from Scotland to Australia in the early 1960's expecting a better life. Some things turned out to be better, but a lot remained the same.

This book covers Jimmy’s early years before he went on to success with Cold Chisel and is more about his family life than his music, however music is always in the background and this is the foundation of Jimmy’s show that he will be touring in New Zealand next year.

It’s very well told, and the writing flows with lots of anecdotes and yarns, as if Jimmy is there talking to you. Many of his descriptions made me laugh, this one about his sister’s boyfriend especially; “he wasn’t real smart but what he lacked in intellect he made up for in stupidity”.

Jimmy shares his feelings with us all throughout and despite some awful experiences he always looks at the positive side. Sad in parts. but honest; the love for his family shines through.

There’s great humour and in the end an acceptance and understanding of his parent’s struggles to bring up children, carrying on the legacy of how they themselves had been raised.

This book has been so popular the library has added many copies in print and ebook.
To quote Molly Meldrum (an Australian music journalist): “do yourself a favour” and read this one!

Title: Working class boy
Author: Jimmy Barnes

Recommended by Kathy N, Collections Development

Kathy N can’t sleep unless she has read a bit before turning the light off. As well as most fiction, she enjoys craft and lifestyle books to get project ideas for her rural home.

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