Friday, April 27, 2012

Skagboys by Irvine Welsh-Review


I should confess now that I am massive Irvine Welsh fan. I've read all his stuff, loved some more than others, but he has at least three books that I have read easily 100 times or more. We have two things in common, Irvine and I, both brought up and lived same areas(three in total the same) and both share the same hairdresser (Mother Nature)

So I was delighted when Waterstones phoned me a week ahead of release to say my copy of Skagboys was ready for pick up. Set in 1984, it takes us to the 22 year old version of the characters we loved from Trainspotting. None of them are on Heroin(Skag) yet and this makes at least one (Renton) a completely different guy from Trainspotting. Whereas Sickboy, Spud and Begbie are pretty much the same.

There is the usual highly descriptive style of Welsh writing throughout and at least three genuine laugh out loud moments (One for me is Renton's description of his boss "A grasping, spiritually dead, scabby-minded cunt, the sort Thatcher loves") but overall I was disappointed.

The story is mainly the descent of Renton, Sickboy and Spud into Heroin dependancy and can make for very grim reading at times. Nothing wrong with that of course but leaves little opportunity for Welsh's stunningly good humour.

It was obvious to me that this was written when Trainspotting was and lopped off by the publisher. There is not enough incident in it to justify 548 pages and I didn't think the whole re-hab part worked at all. I came away with the impression that Irvine was asked for some Trainspotting type stuff again and re-hashed this that he had already written, something that he actually confirmed last week, but I was expecting a lot more.

My own Welsh favourites are Filth, Porno and Glue. Sadly this won't be joining them but I'll still be buying his next one.

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