Authors: Irvine Welsh
Irvine Welsh is the author of seven works of fiction, most
ALSO BY IRVINE WELSH
The Acid House
You'll Have Had Your Hole
The Acid House
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Published by Vintage 2004
Copyright © Irvine Welsh 1995
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First published by Vintage in 1996
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The author is grateful for permission to reprint lines from the following:
'Mad About the Boy' by Noel Coward © 1932 The Estate of Noel Coward, by kind permission of Michael Imison Playwrights Ltd, 28 Almeida Street, London N1 1TD. 'Never, Never, Never' by Tony Renis and Alberto Testa copyright by Italcarish Edizione Musicale S.R.L. Milan © 1973 by Peermusic UK Ltd, London. 'Big Spender' by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields© 1965, 1969 Notable Music Co & Lida Enterprises, Inc. All rights administered by WB Music Corp, Campbell Connelly & Co Ltd, 8–9 Frith Street. London W1V 5TZ. All rights Reserved. Used by permission. 'From Russia with Love' (Lionel Bart) © 1963 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI Unart Catalog Inc. USA. 'Goldfinger' (Barry/Newley/Bricusse) © 1964 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI Unart Catalog Inc. USA., 'Nobody Does it Better' (Marvin Hamlisch/Carol Bayer-Sager) © 1977 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI U Catalog Inc. USA., 'Thunderball' (John Barry / Don Black) © 1906 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI Unart Catalog Inc. USA., 'For Your Eyes Only' (Bill Conti / Michael Leeson) © 1981 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI U Catalog Inc. USA., 'Diamonds Are Forever' (John Barry / Leslie Bricusse)© 1971 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI Unart Catalog Inc. USA., and 'You Only Live Twice' (John Barry / Leslie Bricusse) © 1967 EMI Catalogue Partnership / EMI Unart Catalog Inc. USA. All reprinted by permission of CCP/Belwin Europe, Surrey, England.
Every effort has been made to obtain necessary permissions with reference to copyright material. The publishers apologise if inadvertently any sources remain unacknowledged.
The material used in this book is taken from the Zero Tolerance campaign which originated in Edinburgh. Zero Tolerance it the first campaign to use the mass media to challenge male violence against women and children. The campaign believes that there is no acceptable level of violence against women and children.
Thanks time again. Always first and foremost to Anne, for reasons which you could write all the books in the world about and still not do it the slightest bit of justice.
Then to Kenny McMillan and Paul Reekie for providing me not just with stacks of ideas for this book, but also much of the information I needed to complete it, as well as numerous other East Terracing (now sadly, the East Stand) boys for their specialist info. To Kevin Williamson, Barry Graham and Sandy McNair for casting their beady eyes over the manuscript and providing useful feedback. It goes without saying that the above can't be held responsible for the many defects, only that such crap bits would have been more numerous without their intervention.
To the City of Munich local authority, without whose generous hospitality this book would not have been so quickly completed.
To all at the publishers, especially Robin Robertson and Nicky Eaton, and Lesley Bryce, the best editor in Western Europe. To Jeff Barratt at Heavenly.
To various pals in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Amsterdam and other places whom I can always rely upon to drag me into clubs or pubs or onto the terraces for mischief whenever an outbreak of sanity threatens. You know who you are; nice one to each and every one of you.
Nods, winks, hugs and best wishes to all the punters and posses I've met up with over the last year at Pure, Yip Yap, Slam, Sativa, Back to Basics, The Ministry, Sabresonic, Desert Storm, The Mazzo, The Roxy, Sunday Social and Rez. Well done to all the DJs for keeping it going.
A very big thanks to my family for not being the one in this book.
Massive respect to all.
Irvine Welsh, Amsterdam, October 1994
Scepticism was formed in Edinburgh two hundred years ago by David Hume and Adam Smith. They said: 'Let's take religion to the black man, but we won't really believe it.' It's the cutting edge of trade.
We should condemn more and understand less.
It. was. me. and.Jamieson.
On this journey, this crazy high-speed journey through this strange land in this strange vehicle.
Just me and Sandy Jamieson.
But they were trying to disturb me, trying to wake me; the way they always did. They willnae let this sleeping dog lie. They always interfere. When the cunts start this shite it makes things get aw distorted and I have to try to go deeper.
DEEPER. Things get dis
Aye right ye are, take your fuckin hand oot ma fuckin erse.
DEEPER – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sandy Jamieson is my best friend down here. A former professional sportsman and an experienced hunter of man-eating beasts, ŀ enlisted Jamieson's aid in a quest I have been engaged in for as long as I can remember. However, as my memory is practically non-existent, this could have been a few days ago or since the beginning of time itself. For some reason, I am driven to eradicate the scavenger-predator bird known as the Marabou Stork. I wish to drive this evil and ugly creature from the African continent. In particular, I have this persistent vision of one large blighter, a hideous and revolting specimen, which I know somehow must perish by my own hand.
As with all other events, I have great difficulty in recalling how Sandy Jamieson and I became friends. I do know that he was of great help to me when I first came here, and that is enough. I do not wish to remember where I was before. I am averse to my past; it is an unsavoury blur which I have no wish to attempt to pull into focus. Here and now, Africa and Sandy, they are my present and my future.
I feel a cool breeze in my face and turn to face my companion. He's in good spirits behind the wheel of our jeep.
— You've been at the wheel far too long, Sandy. I'll take over! I volunteered.
— Wizard! Sandy replied, pulling over by the side of the dusty track.
A large insect settled on my chest. I swatted the blighter. — Yuk! Those insects, Sandy! How positively yucky!
— Absolutely, he laughed, clambering over into the back of the vehicle. — It'll be great to stretch these damn pins! He smiled, extending his long, tanned muscular legs across the back seat.
I slid into the driver's seat and started up the jeep.
All Sandy and myself had in the world were this rotten old jeep, some limited supplies and very little money. The majority of our possessions had recently been expropriated by a cunning but somewhat morally deficient native fellow, whom we'd rather foolishly hired as a guide.
For a while we had planned to engage the services of some young native boys, but the undernourished specimens we had encountered had proved to be unappetising prospects. . . that is, manifestly unfit for the physical demands adventures with Sandy and I would inevitably place upon them. Eventually we secured the services of one shifty urchin who went by the name of Moses. We took this to be a sign of good luck. It proved anything but.
Moses hailed from one of the shanty towns that lined the banks of Lake Torto. While I have to admit that we were not in the position to be able to pay our manservants generously, our behaviour towards Moses scarcely merited the response of this roguish boy: the blighter did a runner with the bulk of our money and supplies.
I find this attitude of 'something for nothing' sadly prevalent amongst the non-white races, but I put the blame fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the white colonialists, who by assuming responsibility for GOD THAT
— Definitely more of a response that time, Roy. It's probably just a reflex, though. I'll try it again . . . no . . . nothing this time around.
Naw, cause I'm too quick for youse, you'll never find ays in here.
DEEPER – – – – – – – – Sandy is masturbating in the back of the jeep and she is just laughing . . . ch . . . what the fuck's gaun oan here . . . what's
daein here . . . it's just supposed tae be Sandy n me . . . I'm losing control and all I can hear is her laughter and I sec her face in the mirror; her face warped and cartoonish as his semen shoots onto her blouse. Her face is like . . . is like I want to . . . I'm feeling jealous. Jealous of Jamieson. What I want is for her not to just sit there laughing, not to sit and encourage him; I want to scream, don't encourage him you fucking slut, but I have to concentrate on the road because I've never driven before . . .
I can't keep my eyes off Sandy Jamieson. There is a sick tribe of demons lurking behind his generous if gormless facade. I am moved to shout, — You're a metaphor, Jamieson. You don't exist outside of me. I can't be angry with nothing, you're just a manifestation of my guilt. You're a projection.
This is ridiculous. Sandy's my friend. My guide. The best friend I've ever had but
But Jamieson now has his penis in her mouth. Its head bubbles her cheek outwards from the inside. It looks horrible, that swelling, that distortion of her face. Sandy's face, though, is even worse; it reddens and inflates, providing a contrast to his dark, shaven head and the whites around his dark green eyes. — I'm real enough, he gasps, — this rod is in your girlfriend's head.
In my mirror, while at the same time trying to keep my eyes on the dusty, winding track that they ridiculously refer to as a road, I see a blade come tearing out of her face. Panic sets in as I realise that the vehicle I'm travelling in is a structure now indivisible from my own body and we're dipping and flipping over, rising upwards in a shuddering rush into a buzzing wall of light. I'm gulping frenziedly at air which is so thick and heavy it feels like water in my lungs. I hear the shrieks of a large, predatory bird soaring past me; so close to my head I can smell the diseased remnants of carrion from it. I regain some sense of control over the vehicle only to find that she's gone and Jamieson is sitting in the front passenger seat with me.
— It was getting a tad crowded back there, he smiles, gesturing behind us to a trio of Japanese men in business suits who are occupying the back seat. They are excitedly snapping with cameras and speaking in a language which I can't make out but which doesn't seem to be Japanese.
This is totally fucked.
Is Sandy the best guide in all of this?
I'm starting to feel happier. The deeper I get, the further away from
I get, the happier I feel. Sandy Jamieson's expression has changed. He is reassuming the persona of a loyal friend and guide rather than that of a sneering adversary. This means I'm back to where they can't get to me: deep in the realms of my own consciousness.
But they keep trying; even from in here I can feel them. Trying to stick another tube up my arse or something similar, something which constitutes a breach of my personal no no can't have this . . . change the subject, keep control.
DEEPER– – – – – – – – – Holy Cow! Sandy exclaimed as an unwanted Marabou Stork flew past the passenger window. I knew that it was our bird, but pursuit was difficult, as I had little control over this vehicle. The bird was impossible to follow in flight, but later on we would endeavour to locate its nest on the ground and destroy the beast. As things stood, however, we were coming down slowly, with a strange hydraulic hiss, towards the surface of this tropical, forested terrain.
— I've absolutely no control here, Sandy, I defeatcdly observed, pulling at levers and pushing at buttons, but to little avail. I threw my hands up in exasperation. I wanted to stay up here. It seemed important not to land.
— Any biscuits left, Roy? Sandy asked eagerly.
I looked at the packet on the dashboard. There were only three left which meant that the greedy blighter had scoffed most of them!
— Gosh Sandy, you're a Hungry Horace today, I remarked. Sandy gave out a high, clear laugh. — Nerves, I suppose. I don't particularly want to land, but at least this place might have some proper tuck.
— I hope so! I said.
The craft descended implacably, coming down over what at first seemed to be a small settlement, but which appeared to be expanding continually beyond our line of vision until we saw it as a giant metropolis. We were hovering down into this old stone colonial building which had no roof; only the jagged remnants of glass around the periphery showing where one had been.
I thought that our craft would never squeeze through the gap and braced myself for collision. However, its dimensions seemed to alter to fit the shape it had to go through, and we touched down in a rather splendid hall with some interesting gothic stonework. This was obviously some sort of public building, its grandeur hinting at more affluent times and its poor state of maintenance indicative of a more sordid and less civic present.
— Do you think we're allowed here, Sandy asked shakily.
— I don't see why not. We're explorers, aren't we, I told him.
As we got out of our car (for this was what the vehicle now seemed to be, a simple family saloon car) we noted the presence of many people, wandering around aimlessly, and taking little notice of us. Some broken glass crunched under my feet. I started to feel more than a wee bitty paranoid, thinking that the natives would perhaps blame us for breaking the roof. While we were innocent, circumstantial evidence could certainly be weighted against us by an unscrupulous and malevolent set of officials in a corrupt regime, which to a greater or lesser extent meant any regime. I had absolutely no intention of getting back into that vehicle, nor, evidently, had Sandy; engaged as he was in the removal of his backpack which contained half our supplies. I followed his lead and swung my own pack over my shoulders.
— Strange little performance this, I noted, turning to Jamieson, who was surveying the scene with increasing distaste. Two white men walked straight past us, completely ignoring us. I was just starting to entertain the possibility that we were invisible when Sandy roared,—This is preposterous! I am a seasoned explorer and a professional footballer! I demand to be treated in a sporting manner!
— It's okay, Sandy, I smiled, placing a comforting hand on my friend's shoulder.
This outburst was certainly effective in registering our presence, but only at the expense of generating hostility from some of the citizens present. In particular, one band of youthful roughs were sizing us up.
Gosh and golly.
Damn and fucking blast.
— Sandy's the
of British soccer, I limply endeav oured to explain.
up – – – Okay Roy?
Then I felt something – – – – – – – – – – – coming
AH FEEL SOMETHING AH FEEL IT BUT YOUSE CUNTS CAN FUCK OFF AND DIE CAUSE YOUSE'LL NO GIT AYS IN HERE YA CUNTS
DEEPER – – – – – Let's scarper Sandy, I nodded, noting that the mood of the mob had turned sour and – – – coming up – – – oh fuck I've lost control again THESE CUNTS' FAULT, LEAVE AYS ALANE and now I feel the stabbing beak in my arm, it can only be the Marabou Stork but it's my injection, it's the chemicals, not ones that dull and chill my brain, not ones that make me forget because with these ones I remember.
Oh my God, what dae ah fuckin well remember . . .
Lexo said that it was important that we didnae lose our bottle. Nae cunt was tae shite oot; eftir aw, the fuckin hoor asked fir it. She'd've goat it fae some cunts anywey the wey she fuckin well carried oan and the fuckin fuss she made. Aye, she goat slapped aroond a bit, but we wir fuckin vindicated, British justice n that. She wis jist in the wrong place at the wrong time n anywey, it wis aw Lexo's fault . . .
. . . change the subject . . . I don't want this. I want to keep hunting the Stork. The Stork's the personification of all this badness. If I kill the Stork I'll kill the badness in me. Then I'll be ready to come out of here, to wake up, to take my place in society and all that shite. Ha. They'll get a fuckin shock, when they see this near-corpse, this package of wasting flesh and bone just rise and say: — Awright chavvy! How's tricks?