“I think I’m lucky that I joined a band and didn’t end up in jail or dead.”
Jimmy Barnes, Working Class Boy
Working on an assignment like this requires a certain amount of reading and research.
Reading academic books from various perspectives about the historical context and what is occurring now in Elizabeth, and in the vehicle manufacturing industry, helps put into place parts of the puzzle that makes up the city and its people.
Absorbing other people’s experiences of growing up in Elizabeth, along with delving into my own memories, surfaces complex and sometimes long-buried emotions that help with expressing something meaningful through the project.
Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Boy can be quite harrowing at times. However, Jimmy writes with such frankness and humour that it is a pleasure to read. He is able to talk openly about his early years, which were filled with alcoholism, violence and poverty. Somehow, it seems, he has found a way to make peace with his past.
As a kid Jimmy, like many others his age, became immersed in the rock and roll records that recently arrived migrants from the UK brought with them. This music was to have a wide impact on the creativity and desire of many local kids to play music. For Jimmy Barnes it provided an escape from the poverty and the lack of a meaningful future. The rest, as they say, is history.