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