Jimmy Barnes had a hell of a childhood.
Pick up a copy of the Scottish-born Aussie rocker’s new book, Working Class Boy, and you can read all about it.
You can read about how he and a friend, both barely five years old, were cornered by a Glasgow gang. Jimmy – James Swan then – eventually got away. His friend didn’t.
Working Class Boy is Barnes’ third attempt at writing the story of his life.
The first time around he started writing in 1994.
“I can’t even really remember what I was writing about then,” he says. “I think I was sort of just getting the idea of how to write a story really, about my life. So I don’t know if I’d written about any of the issues.
“I had about 30,000 words or so, but at that time my family and I moved to France. And when I got to France, it was as far away from Elizabeth and the life I’d grown up in – and as far away from rock ‘n’ roll really – as you could get. It was a different world. So I just sort of stopped writing.
“Then somebody robbed the house – they stole all the electronic stuff and one of the things they took was my computer. I didn’t have it backed up or anything so that was the end of the book.”
Fast forward to the year 2000 and Barnes was again bitten by the writing bug. But other things got in the way.
“By that point I was really heavily in the throes of alcohol and drug addiction,” he says. “So I wrote about the stuff that was important, but the way I wrote about it, it wasn’t clear, and I was making too many jokes about the situation, about stuff that was really important. So I stopped again.
“I’ve still got that stuff in my computer – it’s very interesting and some of it’s funny, but it just wasn’t right.”
It seems his current book is a draft of sorts. Give him another ten years and he may finally write the book he’s been wanting to write.