Author Topic: Irvine Welsh  (Read 5928 times)

magval

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Irvine Welsh
« on: March 25, 2018, 05:38:29 PM »
Welsh has a new yin out this week, Dead Men's Trousers. It's the fifth of the Trainspotting books, making it only the sixth of his that I'll have read after I finish Filth today or tomorrow. I stopped reading books for about ten years so never really got around to any of his other work but I've enjoyed each of these except Skagboys, which was awful even though I can't remember why.

What do you like or dislike about Irvine Welsh? Which are the ones to read and the ones to avoid?

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2018, 06:37:02 PM »
Can nae understand.

itsfredtitmus

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2018, 08:39:18 PM »
Dunno pure juts canae kin th' fanny ye ken whit ah pure techt YAAAAAAAAAS

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2018, 08:50:12 PM »
Any of the early ones are great. Out of them all I would recommend any of the ones about renton etc except for Blade Artist as I just didnt buy the complete personality change in  Begbie.  I would avoid (or leave til last)  Crime, Bedroom Secrets of the  Masterchefs and If you liked school... (short stories,- Reheated Cabbage a better collection). Out of the most recent ones A Decent Ride is ok- more of a comedy with Juice Terry from Glue/Porno, but would really recommend The sex lives of Siamese Twins which was his best for years.
If you've not read itgo for Marabou Stork Nightmares next though.

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 01:47:33 AM »
Acid House is great, the short stories one. Been a long time since I read any of his books though, last one was Filth which I thought was shit.

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2018, 04:05:57 AM »
I also gave up on him after Filth. It wasn't terrible, just a bit pointless.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 10:41:25 AM »
I file him alongside Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk as a distinctive writer who had one fairly decent book in him but has just kept writing it over and over again with diminishing returns. i follow him on Twitter and he reminds me of a dad trying too hard to be cool. Trainspotting deserves its status though, and I actually thought Filth was pretty good, surprised to see it getting a bit of a slating above

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 11:31:26 AM »
Maybe “shit” was a bit harsh but I found it nondescript and pointless. As you put it, diminishing returns.

Beagle 2

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 12:09:36 PM »
I really enjoyed Porno and was dismayed to find out that everybody thinks it's awful. However, I got about a quarter of the way through Skagboys before deciding that was actually awful, he seemed to be completely retrospectively reinventing characters based on a wider political point he wanted to personally make and I saw no reason for him to try and fit it into that world at all.


magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2018, 07:36:55 PM »
I loved Porno when I read it in 2004 and 2012. Looking forward to reading it again, though not til after I give Glue a go.

I just finished Filth. It was bloody compelling reading, really very funny and fairly devastating at times. A great novel.

the ouch cube

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2018, 07:43:42 PM »
I prefer it when he splices the social realist gritty stuff with fantastical elements, so 'Glue' bored the pants off me but I managed to be the only person ever who liked '...Masterchefs'.

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2018, 10:12:05 AM »
I've liked most of his stuff although he loses some of his power when he's not writing speech and narration in the Edinburgh dialect, that's one of my favourite things about his writing.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2018, 07:44:11 PM »
I think he's a brilliant writer of 'normal' prose actually. He's expert in dispatching beautiful phrasing but uses it sparingly enough not to be sickening.

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2018, 03:23:16 PM »
Was it in Marabou Stork Nightmares where there is a short story which is basically the Jimmy Saville story - years before even the Theroux interview, or his death, let alone the revelations about him being a predator.

Default to the negative

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2018, 04:27:47 PM »
'...Masterchefs'.

I saw that book as 'Irvine Welsh does Peep Show'. It was pretty crap, overall. Might have worked better as an Acid House story, where he could do Twilight Zone-ish supernatural tales and the reader wouldn't feel cheated if there was no satisfying pay off, punchline or twist, because it was only 5 pages long anyway.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2018, 04:34:45 PM »
Was it in Marabou Stork Nightmares where there is a short story which is basically the Jimmy Saville story - years before even the Theroux interview, or his death, let alone the revelations about him being a predator.

The Acid House, mate. " Marabou Storm Nightmares " is the one with that smashing rape scene which appears to take place over the course of a night that lasts approximately 26 hours.

Serge

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2018, 04:40:48 PM »
No, the Saville-inspired one is 'Lorraine Goes To Livingstone', the opening story in 'Ecstasy'. He's renamed Freddy Royle, and there are references to his being a necrophiliac and inappropriate behaviour with children, as well as just being a general sex maniac. When I first read it, I'd never heard any of the Saville rumours, but not long after I moved to London, somebody told me most of them, and the penny dropped in connection with that story.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2018, 04:51:51 PM »
Serge is right, readers. Mine error is due to my deliberate attempt to completely eradicate all memories of top short story collection " Ecstasy" out of my lovely mind, due to it being such a very, very fucking awful book. " The Acid House" isnae actually half bad, and contains some top stories like that one where an unimpressed God turns that feller into a fly.

Default to the negative

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2018, 05:09:03 PM »
" The Acid House" isnae actually half bad, and contains some top stories like that one where an unimpressed God turns that feller into a fly.

The film adaptation of that has its moments, mainly due to the casting of God and Coyle's parents. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast are crap.

The adaptation of 'A Soft Touch' is excellent, better than the book and almost makes the whole enterprise worthwhile.

But then... the third short film is the titular 'The Acid House'. I have no idea why, in such a low-budget anthology, they chose to adapt a story that would rely heavily on special effects. The puppet baby looks awful. It's also a perfect example of how what works on the page does not necessarily work in film. When you put that story on the screen it feels like you're watching a lowbrow 'Look Who's Talking' type of comedy, albeit with Scots dialect and swearing.

Serge

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2018, 07:51:34 PM »
Serge is right, readers. Mine error is due to my deliberate attempt to completely eradicate all memories of top short story collection " Ecstasy" out of my lovely mind, due to it being such a very, very fucking awful book. " The Acid House" isnae actually half bad, and contains some top stories like that one where an unimpressed God turns that feller into a fly.

The final story in 'Ecstasy', 'The Undefeated' is very good, and in fact, it would probably have been better if he'd published it as a novella, rather than cramming it in with two subpar pieces of shock-tactic crap.

purlieu

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2018, 10:04:47 PM »
I rather enjoyed Skagboys, although I prefer Trainspotting and Porno. I found Glue a bit harder at times but generally enjoyed it.

The new one isn't getting the best reviews, is it? I Googled his name and the latest results were reviews headlined "Maybe it's time to retire these radges for good" and "Irvine Welsh flogs the ‘Trainspotting’ generation to death".

Honestly, I thought Porno finished off the series really well, it was the closest thing to a standard 'happy ending' I can picture him doing, and it really worked. I can't work out why he's revisiting these characters again.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2018, 12:11:42 AM »
Finished Dead Man's Trousers there. Didn't need written, I reckon, but an enjoyable enough read in the same way Skagboys wasn't. Hasn't left me reeling like Filth or Trainspotting did but I've no regrets having spent a few days on it.

Couldn't tell you for any amount of money what the plot was, mind.

Jockice

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2018, 06:31:33 AM »
Trainspotting is the greatest novel ever. How do you follow that? How would anyone follow that?

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2018, 12:07:51 AM »
Filth is a bit daft, a bit grand guignol, but it's often coruscatingly funny and I retained a speck of pity for the protagonist despite his being an irredeemable cunt (redeemability generally making all the difference for me).

I've not really Trainspotting, weirdly, but Marabou Stork Nightmares is the most impressed I've otherwise been by Welsh. It's grim going, though (not in the pornographic way of, say, American Psycho... it's far more realistic and common-place and so far more insidiously disturbing than that. In my afterword Welsh said he received a lot of letters after the book's publication from men admitted to having committed similar atrocities to the protagonist.

Though it's much harsher, it struck me as stylistically indebted to Welsh's compatriot Alasdair Gray, especially (the rather brilliant imo) 1982, Janine.

Serge

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2018, 03:52:56 PM »
I did get around to reading 'Dead Man's Trousers'. While  readable enough, it's also just not very good. Most of the Sick Boy scenes are bloody interminable, and a lot of the Begbie bits just seem like offcuts from 'The Blade Artist'. The much-vaunted 'death of one of the characters' is a let down - it's fairly obvious who it is - and, on the whole, it's just.....some pages of writing.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2018, 05:23:32 PM »
Aye, I can barely remember anything about it. It's always nice to spend reading-time with characters you like but I can't recall a thing that happened. Conversely, I read Filth the week before and can recount scenes in vivid detail.

Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2018, 11:11:05 PM »
I think I'm going to give it a miss. Trainspotting is beautiful, incredible, and I can't take any more of the warping and spoiling of the characters. Porno was a let-down, with the exception of Spud's narrative, and I didnae bother with Skag Boys.

I think his style's changed- he seems to be into grotesques and very black comedy now, and it's a mismatch with the style of the original.

Paul Calf

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2018, 09:20:47 AM »
Controversially, I think Trainspotting is one of his weaker efforts. Porno is a far better book, and Glue better still. Trainspotting looked like a set of notes, sketches for a novel and in places felt like the product of a creative writing course.

But the truth is that Irvine Welsh isn't a very good writer. His purple passages are sometimes toe-curling ('a powdery dusk that would fall so slowly that you felt cheated by the light's departure') and his habit of over misapplying and overusing adverbs really irritates. I love his subject and approach, but you'd think his decades at the centre of the Scottish literary scene would have taught him how to write.

But the main thing he needs to do is to sack Tam Dean fucking Burn and get someone to read the audiobooks who can do accents from outside the geographic area comprising lowland Scotland, Lothian and Renfrewshire without sounding like an educationally subnormal racist, and who understands the material.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2018, 12:52:24 PM »
I saw him at Xmas doing a reading of a section of the new one.  You could have cut the air of toe curling embarrassment in the room with a knife.

Paul Calf

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Re: Irvine Welsh
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2018, 01:05:01 PM »
I don’t know what’s worse: his generic Ain’t Half Hot Mum Indo-Pakistani effort, his Dippy Ermintrude-meets-BBC poshoid English accent or the shocking London-Caribbean cringefest he deployed in

He can shit off for that Nottingham accent too. It does sound like he was aiming for Birmingham, vaguely hit Comedy 1970s Mental and didn’t give a fuck.

When
 you consider the number of of budding actors working in Pizza Express alone, TDB’s persistence as Welsh’s narrator of choice makes you wonder exactly what’s in the photos of Welsh that TDB must surely have secreted in a bank vault in Zurich.

More audiobook complaints: why the fuck are so many of them abridged? Filth, Glue, Porno. Porno in particular is so butchered that the plot doesn’t make any sense. Amsterdam completely excused from Filth. Munich gone from Glue. It’s infuriating, especially at the price they go for.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 01:17:05 PM by Paul Calf »