Ahead of the Trainspotting gang’s final bow in ‘Dead Men’s Trousers’, we sat down with author Irvine Welsh to put the world to rights, discussing Trump, pilates and how going for a coffee in Bogota differs from your local Starbucks


Irvine Welsh has had a heavy night. No, take that back. Irvine Welsh has had a heavy week. As we sit down for a coffee (“Can I get one of those coffees that blows your head off? Cheers.”), he recounts the stop-offs and subsequent boozy nights the book tour has taken in so far. Leith, Glasgow and Manchester have all welcomed the launch of Welsh’s latest novel, ‘Dead Men’s Trousers’ with open arms and a party. You can only imagine how the “cartel leg” of the tour will play out when Welsh heads to Mexico and Colombia.

‘Dead Men’s Trousers’, Welsh’s latest, will be the Trainspotting gang’s final bow. Welsh tells me that Renton and co could well appear again separately, but it’s highly unlikely there’ll be another reunion. No cackling together in a grotty old folks’ home, sharing a bump. Having swapped Blighty for warmer pastures long ago, we sought Welsh’s two pence on a changing world and the life of an international man of leisure.

On Danny Boyle directing James Bond…

“Personally, I feel crap about it because it means he’s going to make more money from directing James Bond than he would from Trainspotting 3. That knocks that off the radar for a bit. No, I am delighted for him and John, it’s a great gig for them. It’s been going for so long, it’s a tired franchise, it’s dead on its feet so if anybody is going to breathe some life into it, they can. If you’d asked twenty years ago whether he was going to direct a Bond movie, he’d have laughed in your face. The older we get, the more tempted we are to say, ah well it’s a nice wee tickle like.”

On his new home…

“I’ve been itinerant for a year and I seem to have washed up on Miami beach. It’s weird, but great. I’ve got all this divorce, decay, relationship breakdown to deal with and you wake up and the sun’s blasting and you get out on the beach, and you think fuck all that. All the top New York chefs have opened up operations in Miami now because the weather’s so good for ingredients. The service is shit, but the food is fantastic.”

On keeping fit…

“I’m much more health and fitness conscious. I get up in the morning and me and my squad of milf friends all do pilates together. I’m there sweating fucking cheese, this broken mangled mess on the machines.”

On Trump…

 

“He’s a loud mouth fucking arsehole who’s dumb, but also smart enough to game this declining system, he’s an opportunist in that way. Rampant narcissistic egotist, probably mentally ill in some ways. But again, he’s a symptom. You’ve got Trump, you’ve got Brexit, you’ve got this fascist c*** in Spain, you’ve got these guys in Poland and Hungary. They’re all symptoms of this bigger malaise. The malaise is we don’t know how all this is going to pan out, so you want someone to tell you what’s going to happen, even if it’s the most ignorant stupid c*** in the world, as long they’ve got a loud mouth, that false certainty is something we always embrace.

On Trump being a supermarket manager…

I always think Donald Trump should’ve been a supermarket manager. He’s got that inglorious, pompous, cock of the roost thing and the beer tits. Supermarket managers have always got lager tits.

On travelling…

“If it wasn’t so far away, I’d move to somewhere in South America like Buenos Aires. People work to live there, rather than live to work. We just spunk our lives away doing meaningless shit. Every fucking minute seems to be a carnival out there, everyone’s enjoying something.”

On having a coffee…

If you’re in Bogota and someone asks you for a coffee, it’s a fucking event. Here it would be sitting in some Starbucks and it’s pissing it down with rain outside, with a little bit of crap shortbread and some terrible fucking cover version of some elevator music. They cover these shit songs that nobody even liked in the first place.

On Scottish football…

“I’m on Hibs TV all the time. After every game I text Neil Lennon. It’s either ‘brilliant result’ or ‘that referee was a c***’. He’s a fantastic manager and I’m delighted to have him. The last one was the St Johnstone game at home. Before that it was the Hibs Hearts game, the derby. I was sitting there watching it in Miami in the sun with a cocktail maker.”

On US soccer…

“I hate it. I have a soft spot for the San Jose Earthquakes, if Quakes are in town I’ll go see them, but I’m of that ilk where I like football to be a horrible industrial laddish pursuit.”

On what’s coming up…

“Loads of TV is coming up, mainly American though. Also got the Creation Records Alan McGee biopic which is hopefully going to be shooting this Spring or Summer depending what happens with the finances. We’ve got another one we’re casting and financing too, a kind of Northern Soul feminist heist movie set in Leith. With TV and film you always jinx them when you talk about them.”


Dead Men’s Trousers (Jonathan Cape) is out now


Words by Davey Brett