Irvine Welsh grew up in Leith, Scotland. The son of working class parents, he spent his childhood in government housing, a milieu he gave voice to in his hugely popular novel and subsequent film, Trainspotting. The book was an international success and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 1993. Welsh moved to London in his twenties and played in local punk bands but returned to Edinburgh in the late-80s. Drawing inspiration from the the rave culture there, he began writing seriously and submitting to literary journals. After Trainspotting, he published Ecstasy, Glue, Porno, The Acid House and The Bedroom Secrets of Master Chefs. His books’ themes range from the Scottish identity, sectarianism, classism, immigration, unemployment, AIDS and drug use. Recent works are The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs (2006), a play, Babylon Heights (2006), written with Dean Cavanagh, and If You Liked School You'll Love Work (2007). His latest novel, Crime, was published in 2008. He has taught undergraduate creative writing at Columbia College in Chicago and currently divides his time between Miami, Chicago, Dublin and London.
Irvine Welsh: Yeah. I’ve kind of… I found out that… I’ve kind of pulled out this [post] chunk of “Trainspotting” which I never used because it was a bit too… I wanted to start off into, a bang into the addiction. It’s seemed a bit too kind of, a bit too cause and effect and all that kind of stuff, and I was probably a bit more [annihilistic] about [IB] was it would be it explaining how they became drug addicts, and I just thought is was, it was centered around the family dynamics a bit more and their dynamics with each other. I thought it wasn’t really that interesting in explaining how it is, [IB] this is what’s happened and this is the consequences of it.
So, I’ve kind of got more back into these old drafts and now I’m looking at sort of this… I think it’s just an age thing as well, where you’ve kind of get more interested in cause and effect, . So, I’m looking at what’s happened to the characters when they were younger. It starts just with them as a couple of about 18 months before “Trainspotting.”
It’s weird. It’s like kind of, I can’t write about… I find it really hard to write about anybody my own age. I’ve got to sort of write about an age that I’ve been through, . I can’t write about; I’m writing, now, I’ve been writing a story about a guy whose, I guess, in his 70s, which has been quite, kind of a weird thing to do. So, but I find it very, very hard going kind of doing.
But it just seems much more… It just seems much more real to me, to have lived through that kind of age and write about it. I’m not really interested in anybody… It’s weird because I’m not really interested in anybody over 40, basically, because you just go through the same kind of stuff, really. Whereas, I’m kind of… I’m interested… I know… I just feel that I’ve been boring for the last sort of decade or so, . So I’m kind of more interested in how I was and how people were prior to this.
Recorded on: September 8, 2008