It's not the end yet for Trainspotting characters

Scottish writer Irvine Welsh says some of the characters in Trainspotting could still feature in his future books.
Scottish writer Irvine Welsh says some of the characters in Trainspotting could still feature in his future books.ST PHOTO: SYAZA NISRINA

Instead of elections, countries should have a widespread lottery every five years to determine who gets into the Cabinet, according to Scottish writer Irvine Welsh.

"It's random and it means you have a cross-section of everybody represented in that model," said the author, who is best known for his first novel Trainspotting (1993).

Having good quality people would therefore be incumbent on the education system, he added.

Welsh, 60, was speaking at the Singapore Writers Festival on Sunday, in a talk that saw him slam patriarchy and proclaim that anyone above the age of 50 should not be allowed to vote.

"Humanity is in a bit of an existential crisis," he said, adding that the ongoing Brexit situation is the upshot of the past 30 years of neoliberalism.

Trainspotting, voted as Scotland's favourite novel in 2013, tells the story of heroin addict Mark Renton and his friends - sociopath Begbie, con artist Sick Boy and whipping boy Spud. They have appeared in five of Welsh's 12 novels - including his latest, Dead Men's Trousers (2018).

The story, Welsh suggested, might not be on its last legs yet. "They won't all be together again, but we'll see whether the two of them could do something together again."

He said he does not feel too sentimental about the gang. "I don't really think of them that way. They are just like tools in a box. You bring them out to do a certain job and just put them back in the box," he told The Straits Times in a separate interview over the weekend.

The author, in Singapore for the first time, has been trying not to read fiction these past 15 years.

"I used to read a lot of fiction and then I get to that (point) where you get influenced.

"I don't want to become like somebody whom you can see is taking a bit from this person, a bit from that person," said Welsh, who added that the last thing he read was probably British economist Stephen D. King's Grave New World: The End Of Globalization, The Return Of History (2017).

He has also been steering clear of reviews since his first book came out 25 years ago.

"I realised they were all the same. Whether it's a good or bad review, it's exactly the same. It's a string of adjectives - and then brilliant, or s***, at the bottom.

"It's not very helpful to me. When I've finished a book, I'm not interested in it anymore."

In Miami, where he lives, he busies himself with television projects and writing a new novel about gun violence in Las Vegas.

"I think that's what it is. You never really know what it's about until it's out there... It's an intergenerational kind of novel, (about) people's response to post-traumatic stress, their response to shootings."

Later this week, he will head to Hong Kong to deejay at Clockenflap, the island's three-day music and arts festival which begins on Friday.

"I've messed around with music for years and years. I've started deejaying again and I've just finished a techno album," said the writer, who collaborated with United Kingdom-based producer and deejay Steve Mac for Mac's new production These Machines.

Welsh, a former heroin addict, suggested that the hedonistic lifestyle is not for him anymore.

Recently divorced, he plans to move back to Europe early next year and settle there "to be closer to friends and family".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2018, with the headline 'It's not the end yet for Trainspotting characters'. Print Edition | Subscribe