Irvine Welsh

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Irvine Welsh in 2006

Irvine Welsh (born in Leith, Edinburgh on September 27, 1958) is a Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer.


  • You can't just have stuff that is free and escapist, you have to have stuff that is confrontational as well. You need stuff that is mystical but you need the realism too.
    • "Alan Black Interviews Irvine Welsh for 3AM", 3:AM Magazine (2004).

Trainspotting (1993)[edit]

  • Sometimes ah think that people become junkies just because they subconsiously crave a wee bit ay silence.
    • Renton, "Kicking: The Skag Boys, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mother Superior" (Chapter 1, Story 1).
  • That beats any meat injection … that beats any fuckin cock in the world … Ali gasps, completely serious. It unnerves us tae the extent that ah feel ma ain genitals through ma troosers tae see if they're still thair.
    • Alison and Renton, "Kicking: The Skag Boys, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mother Superior" (Chapter 1, Story 1) (ellipses in the original).
  • "We are all acquaintances now". It goes beyond our personal junk circumstances; a brilliant metaphor for our times.
    • ibid
  • The rhetorical question, the stock-in-trade weapon ay burds and psychos.
    • Tommy, "Relapsing: Scotland Takes Drugs in Psychic Defense" (Chapter 2, Story 1).
  • Ah hate cunts like that. Cunts like Begbie. Cunts that are intae basebaw-batting every fucker that's different; pakis, poofs, n what huv ye. Fuckin failures in a country ay failures. It's nae good blamin it oan the English fir colonising us. Ah don't hate the English. They're just wankers. We are colonised by wankers. We can't even pick a decent, vibrant, healthy culture to be colonised by. No. We're ruled by effete arseholes. What does that make us? The lowest of the fuckin low, tha's what, the scum of the earth. The most wretched, servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat intae creation. Ah don't hate the English. They just git oan wi the shite thuv goat. Ah hate the Scots.
    • Renton, "Relapsing: The Glass" (Chapter 2, Story 2).
  • The only people that ever made a difference to Billy were the Provos, and they were cunts as well. Ah've no illusions aboot them as freedom fighters. The bastards made ma brar intae a pile ay cat food. But they jist pulled the switch. His death was concieved of by these Orange cunts, comin through every July with thir sashes and flutes, fillin Billy's stupid head with nonsense aboot crown and country and aw that garbage. They'll go home chuffed fae the day. They kin tell aw thir mates aboot how one ay the family died, murdered by the IRA, while defending Ulster. It'll fuel thir pointless anger, get them bought drinks in pubs, and help establish their doss-bastard credibility wi other sectarian arseholes.
    • Renton, "Bang to Rites".
  • I dinnae Tam, ah jist dinnae. Life's boring and futile. We start oaf wi high hopes, then we bottle it. We realize that we're aw gaunnae die, withoot really findin oot the big answers. We develop aw they long-winded ideas which jist interpret the reality ay oor lives in different weys, withoot really extending oor body ay worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short, disappointing life; and then we die. We fill oor lives up wi shite, shite like joabs n relationships, tae delude ourselves intae thinkin that it isnae aw totally pointless. Smack's an honest drug, because it strips away these delusions. It's the only really honest drug. It disnae alter yir consciousness. It jist gies ye a hit and a sense ay well-being. After that, ye see the misery ay the world as it is, and ye cannae anesthaetise yirsel against it.
    • Renton, "Relapsing: Cock Problems" (Chapter 2, Story 4).
  • Funny scene, likesay, how aw the psychos seem tae ken each other, ken what ah means, likes?
    • Spud, "Kicking Again: Na Na and Other Nazis" (Chapter 3, Story 2).
  • Rents once sais, thirs nothin like a darker skin tone tae increase the vigilance ay the police n the magistrates: too right.
    • Spud, "Kicking Again: Na Na and Other Nazis" (Chapter 3, Story 2).
  • How many shots does it take before the concept ay choice becomes obsolete?
    • Renton, Blowing It: Courting Disaster" (Chapter 4, Story 1).
  • Ah wonder if anybody this side of the Atlantic has ever bought a baseball bat with playing baseball in mind.
    • Sick Boy, "Blowing It: Deid Dugs" (Chapter 4, Story 3).
  • Ah cannae feel any remorse, only anger and contempt. Ah seethed when ah saw that fuckin Union Jack oan his coffin, and that smarmy, wimpy cunt ay an officer, obviously oot ay his fuckin depth here, tryin to talk tae my Ma. Worse still, these Glasgow cunts, the auld boy's side, are here through en masse. They're fill ay shite aboot how Billy died in service ay his country n all that servile Hun crap. Billy wis a daft cunt, pure and simple. No a hero, no a martyr, just a daft cunt.
    • Renton, "Bang to Rites".
  • Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tae absorb and change people whae's behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken aw the pros and cons, know that ah'm gaunnae huv a short life, am ay sound mind etcetera, etcetera, but still want tae use smack? They won't let ye dae it. They won't let ye dae it, because its seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whit they huv to offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a fuckin couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth; choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.
    Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it's thair fuckin problem. As Harry Lauder sais, ah jist intend tae keep right on to the end of the road ...
    • Renton, "Blowing It: Searching for the Inner Man" (Chapter 4, Story 4).
  • Still, failure, success, what is it? Whae gies a fuck. We aw live, then we die, in quite a short space ay time n aw. That's it; end ay fuckin story.
    • Renton, "Blowing It: House Arrest" (Chapter 4, Story 5).
  • Ah thought that every cunt over twenty was a toss an no worth speakin tae, until ah hit twenty. The mair ah see, the mair ah think ah wis right. After that it's aw ugly compromise, aw timid surrender, progressively until death.
    • Renton, "Blowing It: Bang to Rites" (Chapter 4, Story 6).
  • He had noted that with older people. They often try to control younger, more popular and vivacious people; usually due to the fact that they are jealous of the qualities the younger people have and they lack. These inadequacies are disguised with a benign, protective attitude.
    • Renton, "The First Shag in Ages".
  • Ah suppose man, ah'm too much ay a perfectionist, ken? It's likesay, if things go a bit dodgy, ah jist cannae be bothered, y'know?
    • Spud, "Speedy Recruitment".
  • Ah've never felt anything about countries, other than total disgust. They should fuckin abolish the lot of them. Kill every fuckin parasite politician that ever mouthed lies and fascist platitudes in a shell-suit and a smarmy smile.
    • Renton, "London Crawling".
  • He died a hero they sais. Ah remember that song: Billy Don't Be A Hero. In fact, he died a spare prick in uniform, walkin along a country road wi a rifle in his hand. He died an ignorant victim ay imperialism, understanding fuck all about the myriad circumstances that led to his death. That was the real crime, he understood fuck all about it. All he hud tae guide him through this great adventure in Ireland, which led tae his death, was a few vaguely formed sectarian sentiments. The cunt died exactly how he lived: completely fuckin scoobied.
    • Renton, "Bang to Rites"

The Acid House (1994)[edit]

  • Ah jist shrugged, -- Well, as one anarchist plumber sais tae the other: smash the cistern.
    • A conversation between plumbers.
    • "A Blockage in the System".
  • That cunt Nietzsche wis wide ay the mark whin he sais ah wis deid. Ah'm no deid; ah jist dinnae gie a fuck. It's no fir me tae sort every cunt's problems oot. Nae other cunt gies a fuck so how should ah? Eh?
    • God talking to Boab, the story's main protagonist, in a pub.
    • "The Granton Star Cause".
  • Bad luck is usually transmitted by close proximity to habitual sufferers.
    • The narrator talking about Ange after they are released from prison.
    • "Stoke Newington Blues".
  • The duty sergeant was going through his routine of asking each brawling set of prisoners who the Billy and who the Tim was. If the handshake is right he will let the Billy go and slap the Tim around a bit. That way everybody's happy. The Billy gets to feel superior and delude himself that being a non-churchgoing 'protestant' is somehow important; the Tim gets to feel persecuted and indulge his paranoia about masonic conspiracies; the sergeant gets to slap the Tim around.
    • "The Two Philosophers".
  • There's nothing worse than a violent beating from an unremarkable person. Physical violence with someone is too much like shagging them. Too much id involved.
    • A Smart Cunt: A Novella, "Associates as Opiates" (Chapter 3).
  • That's all very well as an abstract moral principle, Avril, a coffee-table theoretical construct, but there's no denying the sheer gratuitous pleasure to be derived from seeing members of the ruling class in pain and torment.
    • A Smart Cunt: A Novella, "Marriage" (Chapter 13).
    • Darren and Brian explaining their own notions of anarchy to Avril.
  • Once you've been with each other in a primal, shagging state, it's hard to talk about the weather.
    • A Smart Cunt: A Novella, "Marriage" (Chapter 13).

See Also[edit]

External links[edit]

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