2016 marks 20 years since Irvine Welsh’s eloquent tale of working class destruction, Trainspotting, was first released unto the world in its new big screen format. The film may have opened the wider world’s eyes to the violence, poverty and drug abuse that littered urban Scotland, and rightfully so, but as is often the case, it couldn’t quite compete with the compelling vividness evoked from the pen of the author himself.
The band of misfits introduced to the world in the 1993 novel of the same name provided a definitive cultural bookmark, becoming inextricably linked to 90s Britain, and becoming, for many, the go-to introduction to British post-modern literature. Though a number of the central characters are iconic, there can be none more notorious than Francis Begbie, the incendiary, conscience-free psychopath who has played a key role in the both the development and longevity of the Trainspotting series.
And The Blade Artist is all about Begbie. Described as Welsh’s darkest book yet, we find Begbie living a seemingly perfect life in California with his wife, Melanie, and their two daughters. Now a successful sculptor, he’s scarcely recognisable from his earlier literary appearances. However, his violent history soon begins to catch up with him as his wife discovers something gruesome, before he’s drawn back to his native Scotland for the funeral of a son he barely knew, and he comes face to face with the friends and foes of his past life.
Irvine Welsh is a revered Scottish author of a number of novels, including Trainspotting, Filth (which has also been adapted for screen) and A Decent Ride. A new film adaptation, Trainspotting 2 (loosely based on the novel Porno) is due to be directed by Danny Boyle this year.
Irvine Welsh will be discussing the return of Begbie with local writer Simon Toyne at the Sallis Benney Theatre on Friday 8th April, from 19:30 to 20:45. Tickets are priced at £15.11, though there is a special student discount code for University of Brighton students (listed at the bottom of the article) allowing you to purchase tickets for just £10+bf.
Tickets are available here
Student Discount Code: IRVINEBRIGHTON