A Q&A with Welsh about the economics of drugs can be read online at The Economist
Scheduled to be published in April 2012, Skagboys returns to Trainspotting’s iconic characters and tells the story of how Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, Tommy and Begbie came to be…
Here’s the official blurb from the publisher:
Both a prequel to the world-renowned Trainspotting, and an alternative version of it, Skagboys is Irvine Welsh’s greatest work.
Mark Renton seems to have it all: he’s the first in his family to go to university, he’s young, has a pretty girlfriend and a great social life. But Thatcher’s government is destroying working-class communities across Britain, and the post-war certainties of full employment, educational opportunity and a welfare state are gone. When his badly handicapped younger brother dies the family bonds start to weaken, his life flips out of control, and he succumbs to the defeatism and the heroin which has taken hold in Edinburgh’s grimmer areas.
His friends face similar challenges. Spud Murphy is paid off from his job and faces long-term unemployment, while Tommy Lawrence feels that only love can save him from being sucked into a life of petty crime and violence — exemplified respectively by the thieving Matty Connell and psychotic Franco Begbie. And then there is Sick Boy, the supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, scamming and hustling his way through life.
Skagboys charts their journey from likely lads to young men addicted to the heroin which has flooded their disintegrating community. This is the 1980s: not the sanitized version, of upbeat pop music, mullets, shoulder-pads and MTV, but a time of drugs, poverty, AIDS, violence, political strife and hatred – and maybe just a little love; a decade which changed Britain for ever. The prequel to the world-renowned Trainspotting, this is an exhilarating and moving book, full of the scabrous humour, salty vernacular and appalling behaviour that has made Irvine Welsh a household name.
Irvine Welsh has written an original short story for the Book Slam anthology One For The Trouble. Each piece in the anthology is inspired by a particular track by a specific band – in Welsh’s case, Comeback Girl by Irish funk rock band Republic Of Loose. One For The Trouble is available as a Kindle download for a piffling 2 quid 29 at the moment, but you can also buy individual stories at the official Book Slam site for 99p a go.
More about Book Slam:
One For The Trouble – Book Slam Volume One is the first publication from the UK’s premier literary event. Editor Patrick Neate approached eighteen Book Slam alumni, from household names like Irvine Welsh and William Boyd to newcomers like Kate Tempest and Sophie Woolley, to take a song title for inspiration for a new short story or poem. Simon Armitage’s poem, for example, reflects hauntingly on the suicide of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, while award-winning young adult author, Patrick Ness, stretches his skills with a darkly comic take on ‘Let Me Entertain You’. The resulting collection is unique, diverse and thoroughly entertaining. One For The Trouble provides a perfect snapshot of the very best contemporary British writing.
A new old book – Welsh’s novella The Rosewell Incident, previously published in the anthology Reheated Cabbage, has just been released as part of the StoryCuts series, Random House’s selection of 250 short story selections that are released as ebooks only. The Rosewell Incident’s synopsis reads “Cigarette-addicted aliens have Midlothian under surveillance. A jaded police constable, a pregnant teenager with a UFO obsession and a gang of youths bent on a violent scam are shaken up when a caravan of travellers arrives in Rosewell, and the local mechanic’s long-lost brother turns up in some peculiar company.”
Another ShortCuts is Welsh’s I Am Miami, also taken from Reheated Cabbage. “In the tropics of Miami, retired Scottish schoolteacher Albert Black mourns his wife of forty-one years. His grief and inability to connect with his son’s Americanised family combine to undermine the Christian ethos that has governed his life. Dejected, he summons a final rallying of his principles and seeks out a confrontation with a former pupil.”
The movie adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy is finally being released after a decade in development hell. There’s over 40 movie clips and interviews with the lead actors on YouTube on the IrvineWelshEcstasy channel – below is the official teaser for the film
A collection of long out of print Irvine Welsh stories from his early days of writing. Due for publication on July 2nd. It’s available for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk
In these pages you can enjoy Christmas dinner with Begbie, and see how warmly Franco greets his sister’s boyfriend and the news of their engagement. You will discover, in ‘The Rosewell Incident’, how aliens addicted to Embassy Regal have Midlothian under surveillance, and plan to install the local casuals as the new governors of Planet Earth. You will not be surprised to read that a televised Hibs v. Hearts game might matter more to one character than the life of his wife, or that two guys fighting over a beautiful girl might agree – on reflection, and after a few pills and many pints of lager – that their friendship is actually more important.And you will be delighted to welcome back ‘Juice’ Terry Lawson, and to watch what happens when he meets his old nemesis, retired schoolmaster Albert Black, under the strobe-lights of a Miami Beach nightclub. Most of the stories in “Reheated Cabbage” originally appeared in fugitive form in magazines and long-out-of-print anthologies in the 1990s. Finally collected together, they show all Irvine Welsh’s trademark skills – vaulting imagination, a brilliant vernacular ear, dark, scabrous humor and the ability to create some of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction.
Here’s the synopsis:
Welsh’s sizzling new novel, Crime, is a thrilling journey into the bright glamour of the Sunshine State and a seething underworld of utter darkness.
Now bereft of both youth and ambition, Detective Inspector Ray Lennox is recovering from a mental breakdown induced by occupational stress and cocaine abuse, and a particularly horrifying child sex murder case back in Edinburgh. On vacation in Florida, his fianc้e Trudi is only interested in planning their forthcoming wedding, and a bitter argument sees a deranged Lennox cast adrift in strip-mall Florida. In a seedy bar, Lennox meets two women, ending up at their apartment for a coke binge, which is interrupted by two menacing strangers. After the ensuing brawl, Lennox finds himself alone with Tianna, the terrified ten-year-old daughter of one of the women, and a sheet of instructions that make him responsible for her immediate safety.
Lennox takes the girl to an exclusive marina on the Gulf coast, and quickly suspects that he has stumbled into a hornet’s nest: a gang or organized paedophiles, every bit as threatening as the monster that haunted him back in Edinburgh. His priority is to protect the abused girl, but can the edgy Lennox trust his own instincts? And can he negotiate her inappropriate sexuality as well as his own mental fragility?
In Crime, Welsh has written a shocking and gripping story about the corruption and abuse of the human soul and the possibilities of redemption.
Q&A; interview with Mr Welsh on SuicideGirls.com, in which he reveals amongst other things that he’s stood David Bowie up. Twice. Lunatic.
Due to be published in the UK in July and in the USA in September, If You Like School, You’ll Love Work is Welsh’s first collection of short stories since The Acid House. (Which is, incidentally, my own favourite of all his books).
Here’s the synopsis for If You Like School, You’ll Love Work:
In his first short-story collection since “The Acid House”, Irvine Welsh sets us five tricky questions. In ‘Rattlesnakes’ how do three young Americans find themselves lost in the desert, and why does one find himself performing fellatio on another while being watched by the bare-breasted Madeline and two armed Mexicans? Who is the mysterious Korean chef who has moved upstairs to Chicago socialite Kendra Cross, in ‘The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park’, and what does he have to do with the disappearance of her faithful pooch Toto? In the title story, can Mickey Baker – an expat English bar-owner ducking and diving on the Costa Brava – manage to keep all his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid Cynthia’s body weight at the sexual maximum while attending to the youthful Persephone and dodging his persistent ex-wife and a pair of Spanish gangsters? By what train of events does Raymond Wilson Butler, writing a biography of a legendary US film director in “Miss Arizona” come to end up as a piece of movie memorabilia? And how, in the novella “The Kingdom of Fife” will Jason King – diminutive ex-trainee jockey and Subbuteo star of Cowdenbeath – fare in the world of middle-class female equestrians, and will he ever enjoy the tender and long-anticipated charms of Jenni Cahill and her remarkable jodhpurs? All of these questions are posed, and answered, in these five extraordinary stories: stories that remind us that Irvine Welsh is a master of the shorter form, a brilliant storyteller, and – unarguably – one of the funniest and filthiest writers in Britain.
IrvineWelsh.net has had a makeover and is a bit more easy to understand but less fun to mess around with – it’s the usual author biography and back catalogue stuff. Welsh has always been very ambivalent about the internet and I don’t think he’s about to become a web geek anytime soon