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Irvine Welsh

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Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh was born in Edinburgh in 1958. He lived in London after leaving school, but returned to his native city where he worked in the Council's housing department. He gained a degree in computer science and studied for an MBA at Heriot Watt University.
His first novel, Trainspotting (1993), a blackly comic portrait of a group of young heroin users living in Edinburgh in the 1980s, was adapted as a film directed by Danny Boyle in 1996. The Acid House, a collection of short stories, was published in 1994 and was followed by Welsh's second novel, Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995), a harrowing stream-of-consciousness narrated by football hooligan Roy Strang. Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance, a collection of three novellas, was published in 1996, and a third novel, Filth, a vivid account of the violent adventures of a bigoted, racist and corrupt Scottish policeman, was published in 1998. Glue (2001), is the story of four boys growing up in an Edinburgh housing estate. Porno, a sequel to Trainspotting, was published in 2002.
Welsh is also the author of two plays, Headstate (1994) and You'll Have Had Your Hole (1998). 4 Play, an omnibus edition of four stage adaptations of Welsh's fiction by Harry Gibson and Keith Wyatt, was published in 2001. His screenplay of The Acid House was directed for Channel 4 Films by Paul McGuigan (1998).
His journalism includes a column for Loaded magazine and occasional articles for The Guardian. He is also a DJ and has recorded a single with rock group Primal Scream. In February 2003 Irvine Welsh began writing a Monday column for the Daily Telegraph.

“His Language”:
“When I first started to get into writing, it was via music. I'd generate ideas for songs that would turn into stories, then they'd turn into novels. I was biased toward music. I was getting interested in house music at that time, going to clubs and raves, and I wanted to generate that kind of excitement on the page. I'd always liked to read, but when I picked up books I wasn't getting the same kind of excitement from them that I was from going out clubbing. I wanted to get the same kind of feel.
I grew up in a place where everybody was a storyteller, but nobody wrote. It was that kind of Celtic, storytelling tradition: everybody would have a story at the pub or at parties, even at the clubs and raves. They were all so interesting. Then I'd read stories in books, and they'd be dead. I got to thinking that it had a lot to do with standard English. I mean, nobody talks like that in cinema, nobody talks like that on television, nobody sounds like that in song. In any other cultural representation, we don't talk like that, so why do we in the novel? I wanted to capture the excitement of house music, almost like a four-four beat, and the best way to do that was to use a language that was rhythmic and performative.. Standard English is useful for getting information across, but in terms of entertainment, it's not the funkiest language in the world.”

Past Tense: Four Stories from a Novel Clocktower, 1992
Trainspotting Secker & Warburg, 1993
The Acid House Cape, 1994
Marabou Stork Nightmares Cape, 1995
Children of Albion Rovers (contributor) Rebel Inc. / Canongate, 1996
Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance Cape, 1996
Trainspotting/Headstate (plays) Minerva, 1996
Filth Cape, 1998
You'll Have Had Your Hole (play) Methuen, 1998
Glue Cape, 2001
The Weekenders (contributor) Ebury Press, 2001
Porno Cape, 2002

Leith is a suburb of Edinburgh, a place where a lot of people come in contact with drugs and crime, also the place where Rents, Begbie, Spud and Sick Boy live.
These four guys, who know each other since they are little children, have no jobs or any ambitions to change there lives because it seems that they are satisfied.
The novel shows the readers how these guys, who are approximately 25 years old, live their life, respectively, survive on the streets of Leith.
The plot of the novel is compounded out of short stories, which are split into seven chapters. The stories are narrated by different characters, but most of the time by Rents.

Summary of the Plot:
First chapter: Kicking
The Sgag-Boys, Jean- Claude Van Damme and Mother Superior, narrated by Rents:
Sick Boy, who is on turkey, and Rents are watching a Jean- Claude Van Damme video as Sick Boy says that he immediately has to go to “Mother Superior” (his real name is Johnny Swan, also known as the white swan, who is a dealer as well as a junkie and called Mother Superior because of the length of the time he is addicted to drugs) because he needs Heroin.
As they arrive there Rents is on turkey too and Alison, a friend of them, is also waiting for a bang.
When it’s Rents’ turn to inject heroin into his veins, he describes the emotion, he has, after the injection.
“Take yir best orgasm, multiply the feeling by twenty, and you are still fuckin miles off the pace. Ma dry, cracking bones are soothed and liquefied by ma beautiful heroine’s tender caresses. The earth moved, and it’s still moving”. (p.11)
Then Alison tells Renton that he should go and see Kelly (who has a crush on him) because she had an abortion, but instead of that he goes home to finish the Van Damme video.

It goes without saying, narrated by Rents:
One day, when Rents, Sick Boy and Spud were sleeping they wake up through a loud scream of Lesley, who has a little baby (named Dawn).
She tries to tell them something about Dawn but then she collapses and Sick Boy goes into the bedroom, while Rents is cooking up heroin and Spud is trying to comfort Lesley.
When Sick Boy returns his voice sounds terrifying and he is talking weird stuff, so Spud and Rents go into the bedroom.
“Ah can feel death in the room before ah even see the bairn. It wis lying face doon in its cot. It, naw, she wis cauld and deid, blue aroond the eyes. Ah didnae huv tae touch her tae ken. Just lyin thair like a discarded wee doll at the bottom ay some kid’s wardrobe. That wee. So fuckin small. Wee Dawn. Fuckin shame.” (p.52)
Everybody is shocked because of the fact that a little innocent baby died, but they also try to shift on the responsibility and so they begin to discuss who the father might be.
As Sick Boy is putting his hand on little Dawn’s cold cheek and tears are filling is eyes, Rents recognizes that Dawns dead face looks so obviously like Sick Boy.
Then Lesley requests Rents to cook something up, because she needs a bang.
He puts out his spoon, lighter, cotton balls and heroin and cooks it up, while he tries to banish the other guys because they have to wait for their bang.
“Lesley comes first, eftir me. That goes without saying” (p.56)

Second chapter: Relapsing
The Glass, narrated by Rents:
Begbie and Rents want to go to a birthday party of a friend and meet each other in a pub, with them are June, Begbie’s pregnant girlfriend and Hazel, the girlfriend of Renton.
The relationship between Renton and Hazel is really weird, because they use each other in a social sense to project this veneer of normality. Both of them are unable to have a normal relationship because Renton is a junkie, who is impotent most of the time, and Hazel is frigid because her father had raped her when she was little. Their relationship is something like a screen for the unmeant truth.
At the pub Begbie feels annoyed by some guys who are standing in front of the bar and ordering drinks so he throws a glass on the head of one of these guys.
A few minutes later everybody is fighting in the pub, Rents, June and Hazel have a narrow escape and inherit Begbie, who wants to stay and fight more and more.
To excuse his behaviour, Begbie tells the girls that one of these guys had killed his brother, which totally isn’t the truth. Rent’s knows that, but he keeps silent because he is afraid of Begbie.
Begbie isn’t really a friend for Rents or anybody because Begbie is a rowdyish psychopath and nobody can relax if he is present, particularly when he is drunk.
“Begbie is like junk, a habit….he really is a cunt ay the first order. Nae doubt about that. The big problem is, he’s a mate n aw. Whit kin ye dae?” (p.83,84)

Cock Problems, narrated by Rents:
While Rents is sitting at home and injects heroin into his veins, suddenly somebody knocks on the door. First he thinks it’s the renter but then he hears the voice of his old friend Tommy.
Tommy is one of the few guys who have nothing to do with heroin and always tells Rents that he should stop with heroin, if he doesn’t, he might die.
When Tommy steps in he tells Rents that his long lasting girlfriend Lizzy broke up their relationship. He looks really down and suddenly Tommy asks Rents for a bang.
First Rents doesn’t want to give him something, but when Tommy starts to beg for it, he just can’t say no and gives him a bang.
Tommy gets high immediately and he is fascinated and when he comes down again, Rents tells him that this was the first and last time. He agrees and leaves.
Third chapter: Kicking again
The first shag in ages, 3rd person narration:
Rents, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie are in some kind of nightclub to pick up some girls.
Sick Boy, as always, is very successful because he has the looks and charm that appeal to women. Begbie is flirting with a female, and only Spud and Rents, who both has managed to kick heroin, are sitting lonely and jealously in the corner of the club.
Rents is on speed so he talks like a waterfall and notices a slim, tanned girl with brown hair , who gets annoyed by a overweight guy.
Then Rents talks to the girl, who’s named Dianne and they have a conversation about music.
Finally they go to Dianne’s place and have sex. After the sex Rents wants to sleep beneath Dianne but she tells him that he has to sleep on the couch, which is in the corridor and he has to be quiet.
The next morning Rents wake up through noises from the kitchen. He puts his clothes on and goes into the kitchen where an older woman and man have breakfast. They begin to ask him questions and he thinks that Dianne’s flat-mates are weird people. Suddenly a young girl, likely 14 years old, comes into the kitchen. First Rents doesn’t recognize her, but then he realizes that this little teenager in her school uniform is Dianne and her flat-mates are, actually, her parents.
After the breakfast Dianne and Rents go into a record store, there Rents departs from Dianne, who asks for his address.
After giving his address to her, Rents goes home and at the same night someone is knocking on his door.
It’s Dianne and although Rents knows that he is going to get his self into trouble he lets her come in.
“Moan in, he said, wondering how easily he’d be able to adjust to a prison regime.” (p.152)

Forth chapter: Blowing it
Courting Disaster, narrated by Rents:
Rents and Spud are in court for stealing books, which they wanted to sell.
Rents gets a suspended sentence due to his attempts at rehabilitation, while Spud is given a short prison sentence. After the decision of the judge Rents, his parents, Sick Boy and Begbie go into the pub to celebrate. But Rents doesn’t want to celebrate and be near these people around him.
The only thing he can think of his heroin, so he goes to Swaney

Searching for the inner man, narrated by Rents:
A psychiatrist talks with Rents about his past and his addiction. Rents tells him about his time in Aberdeen, when he was studying at university and how much he hated it there, because of the people. He didn’t want to have any social contact with these people and if he had social or sexual needs he went to pubs or prostitutes, where he spent the money for his scholarship.
Then he tells him about his brother Davie, who was handicapped, and how Rents and his elder brother were teased because of this fact.
When Davie died Rents felt sorry about the fact that he never cared about his brother.
Rents tells the psychiatrist a lot of stuff and, not rarely, he lies.
The result of the therapy is that Rents begins to find reasons or explorations for his addiction. Rents doesn’t want to be involved into the society and the norms of the society. He doesn’t want to play the game of life and he doesn’t want to set himself limits, respectively, he doesn’t want that others, like the society, set limits.
It also can be, that he just want to be different, doesn’t want to be “mainstream”, like the norm. Probably his drug consume strengthens his ego and he wishes to seem deep and complex.
“Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selifish, fucked-up brats ye’ve produced. Choose life.
Well, ah choose not to choose life”

Sixth chapter: Home
Winter in West Granton, narrated by Rents:
Rents visits his good old friend Tommy, who gets infected to the HIV-virus. The flat of Tommy is more a hovel and Tommy himself is a wreck. He doesn’t understand why this is happening to him because guys like Rents, Spud, Swaney or Sick Boy, who are using heroin for such a long time don’t catch the virus, but he does.
He begins to cry and in some kind of way he blames Rents for his situation because Rents was the person who gives him his first bang and Rents also thinks that in some kind of way it really is his fault.
Though he tries to console him up he doesn’t find the right and optimistic words because Tommy’s situation is everything besides good.
Rents knows that Tommy won’t survive the winter in West Granton because he doesn’t have the money to heat his flat or care about his health.
Tommy asks Rents for heroin, but Rents kicked heroin and so he gives Tommy money.
“He takes the money. Oor eyes meet, and something flashes between us. It’s something I cannae define, but it’s something really good. It’s thair jist fir second; then it’s gone” (p.317)

Seventh chapter: Exit
Station to station, 3rd person narration:
Rents, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud, who gets out of prison, have a plan to make big money and finally to achieve some kind of peace. They somehow come to drugs for around 16 000 pounds which they want to sell in London.
When they arrive there they sell the drugs to Pete Gilbert, a very big man in the drug industry.
After finishing the deal Begbie, Rents and Spud go out to celebrate their luck and leave Rents, who tells them that he is not feeling well, alone in the hotel room with all of the money.
But Rents is not feeling that bad as he had told them. He grabs the bag, in which the money is, and leaves the hotel room, goes over the street and gets on a bus, which takes him to the station Liverpool where he buys himself a ticket to Amsterdam.
First Rents was very paranoid that someone probably would steal his bag, with all the money in it, or Begbie would appear and beat him to death but now his conscience pricks him. He thinks about the good old times he had with Sick Boy, but then remembers that they have drifting apart for years now. He also thinks that Sick Boy, in a way, will have understanding for his actions, of course he will be angry, but his main anger will be directed at himself for not acting like Rents did.
Rents’ real guilt is centred on Spud because he really likes him and Spud is one of these guys who never had luck in their life, although a person like him deserves it the most.
That left Begbie. Rents doesn’t feel sorry for a violent psychopath like Begbie.
He is sick of it building Begbie’s status as somebody not to mess with, and their own indirectly, through their association with him.
“Ironically, it was Begbie who was the key. Ripping off your mates was the highest offence in his book, and he would demand the severest penalty. Renton had used Begbie, used him to burn his boats completely and utterly. It was Begbie who ensured he could never return. He had done what he wanted to do. He could now never go back to Leith, to Edinburgh, even to Scotland, ever again. There, he could not be anything other than he was. Now, free from them all, for good, he could be what he wanted to be.
He’d stand or fall alone. This thought both terrified and excited him as he contemplated life in Amsterdam” (p.344)

His real name is Mark Renton. He has red hairs and freckles and doesn’t think he is really attractive because in the past everybody was making fun of his looks.
That’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t any self confidence in dealing with women.
He is a vegetarian, but ironically he likes to torture animals and the only reason for his meatless life is that he hates the smell and taste of meat.
He seems to be egoistic, but I think that depends more on his addiction than on his real personality because he cares about some people who are important to him, but the problem is that he doesn’t give trouble to help these people, if they have problems, because he has a kind of pessimistic attitude and thinks, at the outset, nobody can help them at least he.
His big rival is Sick Boy because he is as intelligent as he is and so they often discuss about unnecessary things just to show each other how eloquent they are.
He doesn’t hate “the normality” as much as it first seems, because finally he wants to get rid of his old life and start a new, maybe normal, one.

Sick Boy:
His real name is Simon Williamson and his friends call him Sick Boy because “he’s just one sick cunt”. He is half Italian has a tanned skin and on the whole he looks really good. The problem is that he knows how to leverage his charisma, looks and intelligence so his using a lot of people only for his needs. He is the selfishness in person, also a narcissist and more often than not he has social contact to benefit by them. He is impatient of love and the only reason for his contacts to female persons is sex.
The first time when Sick Boy was not thinking about his self, was, when he saw his dead little daughter lying in her cot. That was the only time when I felt sympathy for him.

His real name is Danny Murphy and he is just a very peaceful and naive person.
He cares a lot about people, and tries to help them when they are down and he could never hurt anybody. He doesn’t have any ambitions to change his life because he hasn’t got the willpower to make something better of his life.
If Spud has had the mental strength of Sick Boy he would be in a much better situation than yet.

His real name is Francis Begbie and he is a very brutal, violence-loving, frightening person. His friends don’t really like him, but they stay friends with him because they are afraid of him. Begbie sees his self as very strong, tough and smart person and always wants to fight because he likes to have the power might over a weaker person.

Welsh about “Trainspotting”:
How did you write "Trainspotting"?
I found a 1982 diary and that became the basis of "Trainspotting" really. It was all nonsense, it was all fiction. And I took a lot of notes when I was traveling on a Greyhound bus from New York to Los Angeles and that also became "Trainspotting." So it was a fiction of a fiction really. But that's what really kick-started the whole thing.

Were you surprised by its popularity?
Yeah, I was. I wasn't surprised that it got a lot of attention locally. I knew that the punters would like it because it is that sort of book, but I didn't think that the literati would like it and I didn't think it would travel as much as it has.

My personal opinion:
First I have to say that it wasn’t really easy to read this novel, because of the changing narrators and also because of the Scottish slang in which the novel is wrote so I first read it in German to get a better understanding of the plot.
At beginning I didn’t like the book because it has a chaotic structure, but after, approximately, 150 pages I enjoyed reading it.
It’s clear that the author wants to criticize the government and the bourgeoisie of Scotland, but he criticizes unobvious.
He is just telling stories about the living and surviving in Leith and sometimes the criticism appears in the thoughts of Rents.
Before I read the book, I watched the movie “Trainspotting” (directed by Danny Boyle), which is based on the novel. The movie is a little bit different than the book, but I have to say that it has a better structure than the book, because it’s one coherent story.
But the book gives you something that the movie can’t give you and that is the possibility to put yourself into the place of the characters, to feel like they feel and maybe to understand their behaviour.


Porno is the sequel of Trainspotting, which shows what happened, ten years after the first part.
The story is narrated by different characters and most of the time by Sick Boy also known as Simon.

Summary of the plot:
Sick Boy, who doesn’t want to be called like that anymore, returns after living in London, where he failed spectacularly as a hustler, pimp, husband and father, to Leith and buys a pub. He has the dream of being successful and sees his chance, when his friend Terry offers him to make short porno-films in his pub so he has the idea to shoot a porno-movie. His crew consists of Terry, Rab, Nikki, Gina, Ronnie, Melanie, Craig and him.
Nikki and Simon (Sick Boy) begin a relationship, which is, most of the time, based on sex. Nikki herself is a student, who works in a sauna club, doing “hand-jobs” to her clienteles, to finance her scholastics.
Before the Porno-shoot begins Simon, Rab, Rab’s brother, Terry and Carl go to Amsterdam for Rab’s stag.
There he finally meets Mark (Rents), who is the owner of a club and learned karate, to protect himself
Of course Simon is really mad at him, the more because Mark only gave Spud his 3000 Pounds (the part of the drug-money) back. Simon tells Mark that Begbie is arrested because he had killed somebody, but the truth is that Begbie came out of prison a few weeks ago and has become more violent and angry than he was.
During his stay in prison he got gay-porn from an anonymous sender and Begbie thinks that Mark is behind that all, but actually Simon is the real sender.
Begbie’s only thought is to find Mark and take revenge and Simon is ready to help him, but first he needs Mark’s financial help.
Mark flies to Leith, but evades the places where he is because he is afraid to see Begbie’s friends.
When Simon comes back to Leith he tells Begbie, because he is nerved by him, that Spud and June, Begbie’s former wife, took drugs in her kitchen, although Spud only helped her making order. Begbie quickly goes to visit her and beats her.
As he tries to go away with his child the police hinder him. Now Begbie is not allowed to see his children, although June can not manage their education very well.
When the elder boy hits the younger brutally Begbie has to bring him into the hospital, where he goes to toilet. Because of the fact that there is no toilet paper in his toilet-cabin, he asks the man in the other cabin for toilet paper.
This man is Rents, who recognizes his voice immediately and escapes in front of the eyes of Mel, Nikki and Rab, who all were there to visit Terry, who broke his penis during the work for the porno so Simon has to replace Terry through Curtis, a stuttering and spotty teenager with a big penis.
Later that day Rents calls Nikki to apologize for his behaviour and she invites him to her house, where she lives with the other two students Lauren and Dianne.
When Rents arrives there he recognizes Dianne from the past and finally they become a couple.
Simon needs money for his porno, which is the reason why he and Spud drew secretly 1000 Pounds from Spud’s friend Kusin Dode by making him drunk. For Simon this money is not enough, so he and Nikki link a man and a woman who work in a bank to become a list with names and account numbers. The 65000 Pounds they gain they transfer to two swish accounts, which are only available for Rents and Sick Boy.
Spud wants to give his 500Pounds to his wife Alison and their son Andy, but she doesn’t want the money.
Spud wins a lot of money in a game, he wants to go with Alison and Andy to Disneyland, but she is again against that because he is still using heroin, not like Simon and Mark.
He is very desperate, because the history about Leith he wrote so passionately will not be published and his family don’t want any contact to him.
When Begbie tells Spud that he should meet him in a pub, he doesn’t and instead of it he tells his friend Chizzie, who also wants to meet him, to go into this pub.
As Begbie sees Chizzie he recognizes him from prison and knows that this guy is a child molester so he kills him, because he hates raper.
Then Spud invites Begbie in his apartment and tells him that he knows that he killed Chizzie, he makes him also with other things furious only to make him angry.
Begbie almost kills Spud, but that is what he wanted at first, so that Alison and Andy could receive money from the insurance. Then Spud decides to live and Alison comes timely to save her husband from Begbie. Spud survives with bad injuries, but he is together with Alison.

The porno is made and the crew likes it, but on the videocassettes it appears only Simon’s name. The porno is nominated for the porno awards in Cannes. Nikki and Simon take a suite in a luxury hotel, Gina and Curtis live in a cheep hotel, and the others have to stay in Leith. Mark tells Simon that he would come to Cannes, after he goes to Amsterdam where he has to sell his pub, but in fact he flies to Swiss to draw the money they linked from two banks. Simon finds out that and calls Begbie and tells him that Mark is in Leith. In this moment Begbie sees Mark who is taking money for Spud with one hand and holding Spud’s cat in the other one. Mark is thunderstruck and feels that he will be killed.
“My blood is frozen in my veins and all I can see is Frank Begbie tearing across the road towards to me, face contorted with rage and it’s like he’ll just run right past me and do some cunt else cause he doesn’t know me now and I’m nothing to do with him anymore. But I know it’s me he wants and it’s going to be bad one and I should run but I can’t. In those few seconds life’s shredded into a million thoughts. I reflect how hopeless and ludicrous my martial arts pretensions are. All that training and practice will count for nothing, it’s all shorn away by the expression on his face. I can’t abstract anything, because an old childhood tape is playing relentlessly in my head:
Begbie = Evil = Fear. I am in a total paralysis of will. The parts of me that envisage the simple adoption of the wado ryu stance, blocking his blow, ramming his nose into his brain with the palm of my hand, or sidestepping his lunge and elbowing his temple, yes, they are present. But they’re feeble impulses, easily overwhelmed by the mortifying fear that I’m slow- dancing with.
Begbie’s coming at me and I can’t do anything.
I can’t shout.
I can’t plead.
There is nothing I can do. (p.467)
But there comes a car and wounds Begbie. Spud comes to them and takes his cat, because Mark is in the ambulance which brings Begbie to hospital. Mark feels very sorry, but he has to leave his old friend, because Dianne is waiting in the airport. But he comes too late, the plane is gone, so they will fly the next day to San Francisco.

In the mean time Simon, who is hoping that Begbie has killed Mark, and Nikki come back to London, where they see Mark and Dianne checking in.
Simon tries to hinder Mark, but it’s too late. Then Simon visits his mother to appease her, because the papers are writing bad stuff about him and his illegal porn industry.
On his way back home to Nikki he is a little bit optimistic again and has the plan to invite Nikki to a dinner because she has been a rock for him.
When he arrives there he finds a farewell letter from Nikki, which says:
I’m off to visit Mark and Dianne. You won’t find us, that I guarantee. We promise to enjoy the cash.
Love, Nikki…” (p.481)
Desperate, because Nikki, Dianne and Mark took him in, he goes to visit Begbie.
There Simon speaks about their childhood and how he planned to link Mark, while he is writing things on Begbie’s plaster.
“I’m wondering if this cunt can hear me. No way he his never fucking waking up again, or if he does it’s as a total veg. ……
……I’m still idly doodling on Franco’s plaster cast with my Magic Marker as I pass the day with him. I LOVE 2 SUCK COCK.
-But I helped that Renton bastard. I kept him out of your fuckin clutches. Why?
Maybe because of that time back in London when you freaked out and accused me of being in it with him. You punched me and broke my tooth. Disfigured me. I had to get it capped. Not even a fucking apology. But I was fucking well wrong to keep him from you. Never again. I shall find him, Frank, and I vow that should you manage to come out of that coma and repair your broken body, you will be the first, the absolute first, to know of his whereabouts.
I bend right over the fucking drooling vegetable stooge. –Get well soon…Beggar Boy.
I’ve always wanted to call you that to your fa…and my heart leaps out of my chest as something fucking grabs my wrist. I look down and his hand is like a vice around it.
And when I look up, his eyes have opened and those blazing coals of enmity are staring right into my lacerated, penitent inner self…” (p.483,484)

He is the same person, he was in the past. A person who divides the world into two parts: he and the rest.
He feels some kind of a deep union with Nikki, but this turns quickly to hate and routine. Simon is not able to love anyone else than himself. On the other side he cares about his mother. And although Renton took him in, he trusts his former friend again. This shows that he is not as distrusting as he thinks and also that he is naive.
Simon does not want to be called Sick Boy, because he does not like his past which is over for him. His past includes Mark too and abstractly Simon lets Mark into his present. Their relationship shows how much trust Simon still has into Mark, because for him business contains confidence, but on the other hand Simon wants to pay it back to Mark. They have always been rivals and when Mark tricked him and the others in London, Simons pride was injured because this act of Mark showed that he was cleverer than Simon. The plan of Simon is to win Mark’s trust only to pay him back in kind and to be the cleverer one, but finally he is the fool again.

He has become mellower and more optimistic. It seems like he is enjoying life much more, then he does in past. He totally gets rid of heroin and through his cleverness he has become a successful business man. He is living the life that Simon is dreaming of.

Spud still is on heroin and the naive, but lovely person from the past. But when he is the death as near as it’s possible the will and the ambition to survive and change his life, for himself Alison and his child, explodes in him.

He has become more brutal and angry but ironically less dangerous, than you might think, and more human. It’s clear that he is not the evil one in this book, more a aggressive stupid man, whose foolery makes him harmless.

Welsh about “Porno”
Why did you want to write about porn?
Everyone seems to be involved in sex clubs now in Edinburgh. People go to a pub, then they all go back to each others' houses, shag each other senseless and get it on the DV. It's become like a social thing, like a dinner party. It's a bunch of people who would normally not be involved in that kind of thing.
I think that now, porn's a bit like drugs were in Trainspotting — it's underground, about to go mainstream. Of course, it can't really, because of the legislation. But everybody's into it. Thanks to the internet, it's easy for people to consume pornography, and forty percent of those who do are women. It changes the whole narrative

My personal opinion:
I like this book much more than Trainspotting because it doesn’t loose its captivating atmosphere in all the 484 pages.
The story is narrated by different characters, but this time it’s not chaotic because after reading a few sentences you just know which character’s turn is.
Irvine Welsh accomplished to give his characters spirit, through giving them their own kind of story telling, approximately, thinking because they think in different idioms.
This makes you feel that you are the character who’s narrating because you begin to think like them and understand their action, but on the other side there is still your own personality who is critical watching everything as a third person.
This novel is also more dramatic than Tainspotting, particularly, the end.

The “Mail on Sunday” wrote that every bit of the novel is as good as Trainspotting, but, as I said, it’s much better its predecessor and I hope that this novel is going to be filmed.


The plot is about Bruce Robertson, a sex- obsessed and immorally Scottish police officer, who has to solve a crime in the pre-Christmas period.

Summary of the Plot:
After a murder on a black man, Detective Toal, the gaffer of Bruce Robertson, instructs him to deal with the murder case.
Bruce is angry about that, because he thinks that this case will cost his
Pre-Christmas- vacationing, which he wants to spend in the red-light district of Amsterdam.
After his long working days, which are based on racialist conversation, talks against women and thinking about sex, Bruce goes back to his home, which is chaotic since his wife Carole and his little daughter Stacey left him.
Because of his chaotic, unhygienic and unhealthy life- style he gets a tapeworm, which intermits Robertson’s thoughts through its own thoughts.
Instead of trying to solve the murder case, Bruce wants to tantalise his boss and his fellow men in a mental way.
For example, he makes harassing phone calls to Buntay Blades, the voluminous wife of his friend Clifford Blades and finally he is successful in making Buntay believe that her husband is doing these phone calls, so Bruce becomes her rescuer and also lover.
But Bruce doesn’t feel anything for her, she is just another puzzle in his sadistic plan against his fellow men.
After his insistence on his “well deserved” vacation he goes, in company with Clifford Blades, who his a wrack, since his wife is blaming him for the harassing phone calls, to Amsterdam, where he spends his holiday, which are based on sex and drugs.
When he returns to Edinburgh his heath becomes worse and worse and the tapeworm in his bowel begins to think about its own existence and what kind of person his “host” may be.
“I’ve my Host, my friend who gives me everything I need to survive. But to live, I need much more…
…it has to be said that his laddie’s diet is not that nutritious. This points to my Host coming from, perhaps, a poor disadvantageous starting-out point in this great journey of life.
…The Host’s philosophy of life seems then; more rather than better.” (p.192)
The mental state of Bruce becomes worse too, so his boss and fellows recognizes that something isn’t okay and finally he doesn’t get his promotion.
While Bruce is dressing up like his wife Carole and acting like she had never left him, because he misses her, the tapeworm in his body reconstructs his past and gives an insight why Bruce has this kind of personality.
When Bruce’s mother was young, she was a happily married woman, but that changed after she got raped and finally got pregnant from the rapist.
She decided to keep the baby and gave birth to a son, who was named Bruce and a few years later another son was born.
But after the death of Bruce little brother, which was caused, in some kind of way, by him, Bruce was given to his grandmother, because his stepfather hated him.
There he grew up and became an outsider in school and his only friend was a beautiful handicapped girl with a metal-calliper on her leg.
She was his first love and died through a stroke of lightning, when she and Bruce were running through a golf-course, during storminess.
Carole was his second big love but than Bruce found out that she was cheating him with a black man.

Finally it turns out that Bruce is the murderer of the black man, but it’s not clear if this black man was the lover of his wife.
Bruce sees no sense in life anymore and hangs himself and before he makes his last breath he hears how someone unlocks the door to his flat and suddenly his daughter Stacey stands in front of him and sees how her father dies.
“Now I’m ready and I hear the key. I jump and I’m falling, then I feel myself rising, I hear a crash, but there’s no pain and there’s a figure at the frosted glass of the door but it’s not her (Carole) it’s to wee it’s Stacey no Stacey for fuck sake don’t open the door…don’t…and I care…
…I want more than anything for Stacey not to be there and see this and I’m trying to shout. No go away and I hear her screaming Daddy and I want to live and make it up to her and Carole, I can hear her now too, screaming BRUCE because I care and I’ve won and beaten the bastards but what price vitory
(The tapeworm):
“I feel slipping out of my Host in a large pile of his excrement and sliding down his leg inside his flannels. Then I’m away from him.
…I can’t sustain life outside of the Host’s the Other I am gone, gone with the Host, leaving the screaming others, always the others, to pick up the pieces. (p.399)

Bruce Robertson:
When you start to read the book, you first think that he is the ugliest person on the world.
He is addicted to sex, unhygienic, egoistic and sadistic and you might think that his character is evil throughout, but on the other hand he really cares about his daughter and loves her more than everything in the world.
The tapeworm, which appears after a certain part of the book and interrupts Bruce’s Scottish dialect, also shows the human side of Bruce and you begin to understand how he becomes to this person he is and finally it’s clear that he is the product of an instable home and a cruel past.
He has also a mental illness because he begins to dress up like his wife and talks to his self in the name of his wife.

Welsh about “Filth”:
To what extent does a fictional character represent your own state of mind? Were you going through a bad time when you wrote "Filth"? Robertson's a really despicable character.
Yeah he is. I've always liked to do that, though. I've always liked to get real bad bastards into fiction. When you read a lot of fiction, you can see that the person that's writing the fiction obviously wants to be seen as the central character. It's wish fulfilment. I try to get away from that. I like to have really bad horrible characters in the fiction. That was actually quite a good time for me. I felt quite upbeat when I was doing Bruce Robertson.

My personal opinion:
This book is very different, from all the books I have ever read in my life, because of the representation of the cruel life of the main character and even more because of the tapeworm, which begins to philosophize about its existence and the existence of his “host”.
I don’t know if it was the intent of Welsh, but I think that the questions and the theories, which the tapeworm has, are some kind of a parallel to the existence-questions of the human beings.
After finishing the book I was blown away by the complex and creative structure of the book; the thoughts of the tapeworm, the flashbacks to Bruce’s past and the monologues of Carole, which in the end, turns out as the monologues of Bruce, who was dressed up like her, all these things makes this book so different, in a very positive way.
Finally I just can say that this book proves again, how talented Welsh is.


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