Last night I finished reading Skagboys by Irvine Welsh. It's the prequel to Trainspotting and is set about four or five years earlier. In Edinburgh, 1984, Mark Renton is young, charismatic and intelligent with a girlfriend he is madly in love with and is the first of his solidly working-class family to go to university. He spends his weekends hanging out with his friends: ruthless and manipulative Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson, gentle and naive Danny "Spud" Murphy, vicious psychopath Frank Begbie and sleazy Matty Connell. However, unemployment is sky-rocketing and the traditional communities which Renton and his friends grew up in are swiftly disappearing. Beset by family tensions, as well as growing boredom and nihilism, Renton joins Sick Boy and Spus as they start indulging is the heroin (or "skag") that is flooding the streets of Edinburgh. Of course, it's not long before their experiments end up in full blown addiction, and the group begin a nightmarish existence constantly scheming and scamming for money and a fix. Also an AIDS epidemic is swiftly developing, and Renton and his friends are right in the middle of it. The book is bleak, violent and disturbing, but it is also extremely funny and sometimes deeply moving. It is told usually in a first person stream of conciousness style in phonetically-rendered Scottish dialect. For example: "So we visitors ur aw cauld n wet, as we pit oor stuff intae wee boaxes, oor keys n watches n that, no thit ah've goat a watch, likesay, but ye ken whit ah mean."
It was a pretty busy day at work. Hopefully I should be able to get the books that I ordered tomorrow.