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Irvine Welsh on what drives drug consumption
"You’ve got whole communities, for generations, that are using drugs to hide", says Trainspotting author.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 18 May 2012
In the issue of Hot Press (Forbidden Fruit special, out now), Scottish author Irvine Welsh speaks candidly on a number of topics, including drugs, attitudes towards his cult classic Trainspotting, and why Americans don’t understand his characters!
In the interview, Welsh speculates on why drugs, which feature so much in his novels, are so endemic. “You’ve got whole communities, for generations, that are using drugs to hide", says the author. "They’re medicated against any kind of resistance or any kind of self-improvement or any kind of life change, just to maintain the status quo. The horrible thing is in this kind of consumer capitalist world, we just consume more of everything – whether it’s drugs or shoes or jackets or coats or drink or boots.”
Welsh’s novel Trainspotting sold well over a million copies in English alone. “When you write something like that, you think your mates are gonna read it and nobody else will. You think that maybe there’ll be a thousand copies sold locally, and that’ll be cool and everybody will like you... Then you get to 100,000 and they’re going, ‘he’s fucking sold us out, that bastard!’”
He also claims that Americans don’t understand his characters – and says Irish travellers are more interesting than their American counterpart. “Americans don’t know how to fucking swear. It’s amazing. In Ireland, Scotland and England, we specialise in gobby psychopaths. Whereas in America, it’s always quiet psychopaths.”
He continues: “American Travellers are really boring compared to the Travellers over here. It’s weird, they don’t swear, they don’t drink, they don’t dress up at weddings, and they don’t have bare knuckle fights. All the things that make Travellers interesting, they don’t do.”
Read the interview in its entirety in the new issue of Hot Press, out now.