My short bio: Irvine Welsh here to talk about anything from writing, to the Miami gym scene, to EDM. Oh, and my new book, THE SEX LIVES OF SIAMESE TWINS. Learn more here:

My Proof:

EDIT: Thanks so much for joining, you are all top shaggers who deserve to get spectacularly laid tonight. I'm sorry I could only answer the tip of the iceberg, but did them in order, and apos to those I didn't get to. Big love x

Comments: 1005 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

99ZN71031 karma

My mate Kenny says he went to Electric Picnic with you and some guy called John a few years ago. Is this true or is he at it?

IrvineWelshAuthor1390 karma

Yes, it's true. It would John Graham from Musselburgh. Give Kenny my best. Top lad.

bogbrain360 karma

What was your inspiration for Filth?

IrvineWelshAuthor672 karma

I worked in Edinburgh Council and there was a crazy guy who hated the world. He hated his bosses, and his subordinates. I thought: make him a cop, then he can do some real damage. There is always a lot of stuff in the papers about dodgy coppers, because its far damaging than dodgy council workers.

GregorGuy295 karma

Greetings from the West of Scotland, Irvine! Here are my questions:

  1. When you were writing some of the scenes in TRAINSPOTTING did you ever think they were a bit fucked up?

  2. Were you worried that your Scottish slang would be difficult for some readers to understand?

  3. What are your thoughts on the film adaptations of your novels?

IrvineWelshAuthor768 karma

  1. Not at the time. But you look back and think, what will people think of you, family, close friends etc. Now I won't write anything unless I get that uncomfortable feeling.
  2. Yes. It looked a mess on the page. Couldn't understand it myself at first.
  3. Win-win. Crap movie - they fucked up my lovely book. Great movie - they had the material to work with.

ltjboy0380 karma

I know you're done here, but on the off chance you peek back later I'd like to say that TRAINSPOTTING was a big reason why I ultimately ending a very long and tumultuous relationship with pills/heroin. So thank you.

IrvineWelshAuthor23 karma

Thanks - glad you got through it and came out the other side.

6jesus6christ6282 karma

what do you think of the gentrification of London?

IrvineWelshAuthor855 karma

It's shit and it's driving people out of the communities they've lived in for years. Much of it is driven by megarich overseas buyers getting big second homes they live in for two weeks a year. Of course, UKIP seek to blame Polish cleaners.

Narutophanfan1265 karma

Do most conjoined twins share the same sexuaility/ any cases where they did not share the same sexuailty?

IrvineWelshAuthor319 karma

I don't think they would necessarily share the same sexuality, any more than they would necessarily share the same tastes in music or drinks.

pm_me_your_captchas261 karma


IrvineWelshAuthor734 karma

I can't really handle them now. You spend so much of your life fucked up that being sober feels quite trippy. If something new and mind-blowing came on the market though...

27th_wonder226 karma

How much Chocolate was used while filming Trainspotting's "worst toilet in scotland" scene?

IrvineWelshAuthor319 karma

There was quite a few Yorkie bars melting in the Glasgow heat that summer.

yerba-matee178 karma

How do you feel about Scottish independance not coming through?

''Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers''

IrvineWelshAuthor242 karma

I felt very positive about the whole process. I never really put that much stock in the vote, it was a kind of snapshot, whereas the march to independence is more of a moving picture. I think it's been a when rather than an if for a while.

CobraCornelius158 karma

Good morning Mr. Welsh. I am a huge fan. Thank you for all of your work.

I have a question that fans have probably asked you a lot already; How come Second Prize was on so many pages of Trainspotting and then he never made it into the movie? Somehow it is just like him not to make the cut.

My next question is about all of your characters in general. How do you come up with them? Are they based on stories that you hear from people in Scotland? Is Sick Boy a real person?

IrvineWelshAuthor235 karma

You always have to make tough choices when you adapt a book. If everything in the book was in the movie, it would play for about 12 hours.

Sick Boy is probably an amalgamation of about 2-3 people. I think all characters are also a little bit a part of the author, or a younger version.

liamquane91 karma

Do you have any writing advice?

IrvineWelshAuthor355 karma

Finish the story. Sounds simple, but a lot of people get hung up on how the first sentence, paragraph or chapter reads. It's not important at the early stages. The beginning, middle and end of the story is. Your first draft is just a rough road map for your eyes only.

Wardicles8784 karma

Do you think you will see Hibs win the big cup in your lifetime?

P.S. Not all trolling, actually a big fan...FILTH has been my favourite book since I read it in high school 12 years ago and I loved the film adaptation! Big fan of all your work.

IrvineWelshAuthor87 karma

This would have been an ideal time to stop...I never got the SC as a big cup, it's been toytown for years since we all became League crazy. I think it would kill part of the last remaining romance of the tournament if Hibs won it, because that jinx is the only really interesting SC story. Ta for the continued support.

AihMendoza78 karma

Hello from the Philippines, Mr. Welsh! I’ve been a huge fan since high school and your work has deeply influenced me. I’m kind of freaking out right now. My questions are:

  1. Simple one first: What are your favourite films?
  2. Do you think the meaning of 'choosing life' has changed from when you wrote Trainspotting to now? How do you think it has?
  3. You have the ability to talk to your 21-year-old self. What do you say?

Thank you greatly for this AMA! I hope this finds yeh well!

IrvineWelshAuthor153 karma

  1. Fitzcarraldo, Double Indemnity, White Christmas
  2. I think it has many meanings, and means different things to different people.
  3. Don't listen to anybody over 26.

ThePsych1871 karma

Thanks for the AMA. I only got round to finally reading and watching Trainspotting late last year, and I was amazed that I'd never seen them before. You, sir, are a genius.

What were your inspirations for some of the characters from Trainspotting, as well as the story itself? Have you had experience before with addiction? And please suggest one of your favourite pieces that I can read haha.

Sorry for the interrogation, cheers :)

IrvineWelshAuthor133 karma

Thanks. Trainspotting was partly, but not totally, inspired by my own experiences. It's very difficult to be objective about your own life. I always felt I was just dabbling in drugs but I suppose when you are trying to tear your mum's purse out her hands you need to re-evaluate. Read Sex Lives of Siamese Twins.

waterphallus57 karma

What's your favourite album and artist? Love your work.

IrvineWelshAuthor134 karma

I would say Station to Station by David Bowie is my favourite album, but there are so many great ones, and so many artists I like and admire.

Missy_Elliott_Smith3 karma

Of course Irvine Welsh picks the album that Bowie doesn't remember making because he was so thoroughly fucked on cocaine.

IrvineWelshAuthor6 karma

It's one of the few albums that makes you want to do coke in a way that no other album wants to make you do a drug.

speccynerd56 karma

Some writers questions -

How do you physically write? Do you have a word count target? Do you listen to anything? How long do you take per day, and how many days a week? How many drafts do you do? How do you edit?

IrvineWelshAuthor67 karma

It all depends on what's going on in my life and what stage of a project I'm at. Sometimes you can tinker around for a bit with a couple of hours a day, then it hits critical mass and you just have to go for it - all hands on deck till you drop.

redbeatles52 karma

Your twitter commentary on the Murray game in the Aus Open was top notch, is this something you would be willing to go into full-time?

IrvineWelshAuthor537 karma

They couldn't afford me at the BBC, and I'm not on the sex offenders register so probably wouldn't qualify.

HPB48 karma

How long before the BBC get you onboard for your tennis commentary skills at Wimbledon ?

EDIT : "why are you such a cunt ?"

IrvineWelshAuthor54 karma

I don't think Sue Barker will be having sleepless nights. Still unsure of the second one...

EpicDivorceMan44 karma

What went into writing the character of Ray Lennox in Crime versus writing him in Filth?

Talks of a Porno movie were happening around last year with even original cast members of Trainspotting talking about willing to come back for it, any that starts to pick up more?

Love you and your shinny head.

IrvineWelshAuthor48 karma

I thought Lennox seemed secretive in Filth, and it appeared from his limited air time that there was more to him. So I brought him back for Crime.

Well, we've been talking about it for a while. It's like all film and TV projects, it can take time if you're doing it right.

Jux_41 karma

If you had one "holy crap!" fact about the sex lives of Siamese twins to sell me on the book, what would it be?

IrvineWelshAuthor59 karma

I can't really do that without paradoxically giving out a spoiler, which would make you less inclined to read the book.

speccynerd35 karma

Hi Irvine - massive fan here. Have loved you since reading Trainspotting back in 94. I once read an interview with you online, I think it was with Kevin Williamson and you were both pilled off your nut, talking about Billy The Fish playing in goal while on one, and you said how free you felt to write anything you liked. Do you remember this interview, and if so, do you know what happened to it? It was hilarious.

IrvineWelshAuthor82 karma

Yes. I was a bit of an evangelist for ecstasy and it was Kev's first pill. Practically had to force it down his neck. Of course, it was like he invented the drug himself about two days later. The interview is in Rebel Inc mag.

liamquane33 karma

Hi Mr. Welsh What was it like working with Danny Boyle? :~)

IrvineWelshAuthor126 karma

When you work with him you're aware that you are privileged to be working with a major talent. He glows in the dark.

LozPacitti26 karma

Evening shagger, what you watching/reading/doing these days? Want to start something new but at a loss at the moment as to what so on my arse scrolling netflix like a zombie.

IrvineWelshAuthor61 karma

Speaking of zombies, I've come late to the Walking Dead party but I'm enjoying it. I also think the new series of Girls is the best one so far, they've moved from simply showing something to satirizing it more.

Trausti10125 karma

What books/authors have inspired and motivated you?

IrvineWelshAuthor81 karma

They all do. A writer has to read. Even ones I dislike make me think: I could do better than that shite. Great ones, you go: well that's something to aim for.

lula248821 karma

What is your favorite pizza topping and how would you best utilize that in your writing career?

IrvineWelshAuthor60 karma

I like cheese, salami and black olives, probably for the visual clash. It would make a nice book cover for a story called DEEP FIRED PIZZA and OTHER TAKEAWAYS

basedsims20 karma

Alright Irvine.

Filth is probably my favourite book and I've started to read Marabou Stork Nightmares, and I got a couple of questions:

  • How much do you like the film adaptation of Filth? Was there anything you wished was possible with the picture that was missed from the book? (McAvoy was amazing in it)

  • Ever since the Bergkamp mention in Filth I thought you had a soft spot for the Arsenal, but from Twitter I gathered you're more of a Hammers fan, what's the reasoning behind this?

Cheers from East London

IrvineWelshAuthor41 karma

  1. I love Filth. James McAvoy gave a mind blowing performance and Jon Baird put a fantastic movie together.
  2. Yes, always lived near the Arsenal, but followed West Ham. Used to go out with girl who's bro was a big fan and he and his mates adopted me when I first came to London. Always seemed to meet happy Hammers at key points in my life there.

tjonesy6617 karma

Any word on Porno?

IrvineWelshAuthor36 karma

Well, I think you jinx a project by talking about it. In film/TV you are very much a team, so it doesn't help one person making statements without running past the rest of the gang first!

yerba-matee17 karma

I'm planing to read some of your novels in spanish as i now live in South America.

How do you ffeel the translations hold out?

Being translated into a generic accent do you think they lose some charm?

IrvineWelshAuthor50 karma

I think they might lose something, but they also gain too. The translator is often a second writer.

amouat15 karma

You seem to have lived in a lot of different cities. Is there any particular reason you move around so much? Do you think you'll ever live in Edinburgh again?

IrvineWelshAuthor19 karma

I've always been Nomadic. Wanted to travel from an early age. I'd like to move back at some point, but I still have a place there and spend about 2-3 months a year there, so I don't feel as if I've lost touch. Will move again at some point, but not sure where.

EpicDivorceMan14 karma

How did the narration/explanation of music in driving passages come about?

IrvineWelshAuthor40 karma

I think this might be a reference to Siamese Twins...I tend to make a playlist for every character I write. It helps get into their skin.

TheLifeAdventure13 karma

Hi Mr Welsh, what are your thoughts on EDM?

IrvineWelshAuthor23 karma

Dance music has become very widespread in the USA. However the term EDM is more commonly used in the sunbelt. It's interesting how many dance people in the Northern cities still use 'house' and 'rave'. At the last Miami Winter music Conference, my mate Dave Beer from Back to Basics started stopping people in the street asking them what EDM was. Few understood the term compared to dance music, house and rave. But I think its great that the USA now has its own dance music stars.

blondieblue_11 karma

Hi! First at all, I just want to say that I'm a huge fan of your work. I read a couple of interviews so I know a little bit about how much do you put about yourself and about your life in your books. My question is, after the book of "The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins" are you planning to "come back" to Scotland or are you thinking in something different, more in the line of this last book???

A lot of love from a spanish fan! (and Sláinte!)

IrvineWelshAuthor32 karma

Yes, coming back to Edinburgh, with my next book, which is called A Decent Ride, and features Juice Terry from Glue and Porno as a cab driver.

spazzydino11 karma

Hello Irvene! You are my favourite author. I have just binged six of your books. It is a bit dark, but I always wondered what happened in the woods in Marabou stork nightmares, right before the uncle gets blown up near the jeep? You seem to have an excellent knack for writing about absolute bastards, sickboy has been my favourite so far. Have you had a lot of experience with absolute bastards? Also homophobia seems to be a big theme in your books, have you much experience with that also?

IrvineWelshAuthor31 karma

You can't have grown up in the seventies and eighties UK and not experienced the bad things in life; misogyny, racism, homophobia, sectarianism etc. In some ways my writing is about trying to understand the power of these things over people and the consequences of succumbing to them.

the_c00ler_king10 karma

Evening Mr Welsh, what is your favourite type of pie?

IrvineWelshAuthor30 karma

I like Key Lime Pie, which is a Floridian desert?

liamquane10 karma

Hi Mr. Welsh What was it like working with Jon Baird? :~)

IrvineWelshAuthor23 karma

A nightmare. I'm still working with him, and he's a tough taskmaster. No, it's pretty amazing. Jon has a terrific eye for story and a fabulous work ethic and great sense of fun. Any writer or actor is fortunate if they get to work with the FEMBA kid.

omyachinshoulder9 karma

Is Beth still riding horses?

IrvineWelshAuthor10 karma

Very much.

Ohanna139 karma

Hi Mr. Welsh. Huge fan here. What are your favorite bars in Miami / South Beach, and which one is the bar that you depict at the beginning of Crime? I always thought it was the Tavern, on 16th and Alton i think, but could never confirm. Thanks for doing this AMA, you rock.

IrvineWelshAuthor18 karma

Thanks. A favourite of mine, and one that shows in Crime and other books, in Macs Club Deuce on 14th between Washington and Collins.

liamquane6 karma

What was it like directing your first film?

IrvineWelshAuthor13 karma

I directed a TV movie called Good Arrows. It's fun, but it means long hours concentrating on just one thing. You finish it on your knees. Would I do it again? Probably yes.

propanegod4 karma

Have you ever taken dxm in recreational doses?

IrvineWelshAuthor7 karma

Yes. Incredible. (That was YEARS ago though)

epska3 karma

Yesterday I ended "Reheated Cabbage"... I read it in portuguese... just before I read "Glue" in the original language... I'm from Colombia, so my native language is spanish... is incredible how some words may overstep barriers... I just wanna know if you usually talk to the translators about the book and the intentions of specific expressions?

IrvineWelshAuthor4 karma

Some of them you have stronger relationships with than others. But I'm not great on languages, a bit of Dutch and French, but certainly not enough to give any helpful advice.

msi1011 karma

Hi Irvine. I'm a Massive fan!

2 questions:

1)Have you read Shantaram by Gregory David Robberts?

2)Can we expect to see 'Porno' on the big-screen anytime soon?

Keep up the good work!

IrvineWelshAuthor3 karma

  1. No. 2. Who knows? Maybe!

michael17johnston1 karma

As a Hibs man, who do you hate more, Rangers or Celtic?

IrvineWelshAuthor16 karma

Neither. People follow their teams, and there's too much hate over football, which is utterly pointless.

grpprg0 karma

Do you ever think that some of your writing is like Channel 4 "documentaries", unless but successfully attention seeking?

IrvineWelshAuthor8 karma

Unless what?