My Ecstasy Meeting the Not-so-Filthy Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting, Skagboys, Filth

So if anyone actually reads my blog they’ll know Irvine Welsh is one of my top author obsessions. I would apologize for repetition, but if anyone is kind enough to read, I’m sure they’ll indulge my infatuation. If you truly love someone, you want the world to understand how brilliant that person is. And so I continue to expound on the pure genius of Irvine Welsh. He is witty, incisive, poetic, imaginative, and a great storyteller.

In conjunction with Litquake, Welsh was interviewed by one of his close friends, Alan Black. I arrived early and anxiously reread Skagboys. A Litquake employee asked if she could take my photo (I’m not going to lie, I was excited to represent the San Francisco Welsh audience.) They showed a small clip from a documentary about Welsh. Following that was an interview between Black and Welsh which felt more like a conversation between two old friends about one’s writing. Welsh was extremely funny and charming. He did a reading from Skagboys, starting at the first “POOKOW” on page 37 through page 41. He read enthusiastically, shouting out the word POOKOW!!! each time. He acted it out, squatting and shuffling, and making faces. He not only has a way with words, he also has a way with reading. His reading was loud and over the top, just like the scene he read, which is on par with Renton disappearing down the dirtiest toilet in Scotland (in Trainspotting).

Monday morning; cunting, evil, degrading, spunk-guzzling Monday morning. Aroond thirty staff oan duty and ah cannae talk tae one single fucker. Not one. Gillsland is the one cunt ta dae well oot ay the recession, moving oot ay high-end shopfitting wi six men, tae low-end housepanel construction and thirty employees. The labour costs are aboot the same, mind you, the tight cunt.” (Welsh, 37)

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting, Skagboys, Filth

There was a question and answer session that I wanted to be a part of and yet couldn’t bring myself to raise my hand. I almost did, but I was sitting next to a bunch of loud people who kept asking questions I didn’t care about; for example, what does Welsh think of the election? what does he think of one American team beating another? I really wanted to know about his writing process but unfortunately I didn’t have the courage to ask. Lesson learned.

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting, Skagboys, Filth

Welsh was kind enough to sign all the books people brought/bought and I saw him sign someone’s Trainspotting dvd. I had special ordered my copy of Skagboys through England earlier in the year because I couldn’t wait for the American release date (which was four months later). He signed mine and he took a photo with me (he took photos with everyone that wanted to). I of course, froze up and couldn’t say anything. I asked him how he was and he said good and politely asked me how I was. I turned bright red but he was so genuine that he made me feel at ease with him (or as much as I could meeting a man whose every work I’ve read at least once).

I left and walked home alone because I couldn’t catch a cab. I walked under the freeway and somehow it seemed appropriate. It was a dark, dirty poetry; beautiful with all its flaws without asking for forgiveness, just like Welsh’s characters.

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting, Skagboys, Filth

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