Working Class Boy
by Jimmy Barnes
Editor: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
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Long before the cold chisel, long before “Barnesy”, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan a household name, an icon of Australian rock, the veteran of Ozrock – there is no reward or cliché that does not apply to Jimmy Barnes.But long before the cold chisel and Barnesy, long before the stories of success and excesses, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan – a working class boy whose family travelled from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.Boy of the working class is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which have fuelled the excesses and recklessness that define, but almost destroy, legendary rock’ n’ roll.It’s about the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes.It’s a book of engraving memories with frustration and frenzied energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.RAW, rags, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny, Jimmy Barnes’ childhood memory is the story of both filled and destroyed migrant dreams and migrants.After his arrival in Australia in the summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family – Dot, Jim and their six children.The scramble to be managed in the hard northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s takes its toll on the swans as diminished money, too much alcohol and shredding temperaments has given way to violence and despair.This is the story of the family collapse, but also a young boy’s dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a unique chance to join a rock’ n’ roll band and get out of town for good.Nothing will prepare you for the power of Jimmy’s memory.A ferocious, graphic account, debauchery of his working class childhood – really painful and yet often tender and funny.I couldn’t ask because, above all, it’s also a story of resilience and bravery.Sam Neill visceral, brave, honest: it is as if Angela’s ashes meet Trainspotting – only more brutal.A deep and guttural cry of a book, he talks about the pain and evil that haunt so many people.
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