Porno by Irvine Welsh

So, I just finished this book, and I’m inclined to say that I actually liked it. Not over-the-moon excited, but it was fun. That being said, I struggled to manage the first 300 pages. If you remember Trainspotting – also written by Welsh – you’ll be familiar with Mark Renton (Rent-boy/Rents), Danny Murphy (Spud), Simon David Williamson (Sick Boy/Sicky), Francis Begbie (Franco).

Ten years after we left them at Trainspotting, we find Sick Boy returning to Leith (Edinburgh) with a plan. He seems to be the man of the hour; with a vision for high-quality pornographic films and dreams of “making it” in the big league. In the beginning, I find myself excited by him, his mystery and power over people. As the story progresses, I want to punch the little bastard, I want him to lose everything and reveal himself as the loser he truly is. At times I had to stop reading; I was so mad with him.

Franco is pure madness! A psycho who gets out of jail and seems to be on the verge of explosion with the merest comment from others. His is an attractive viewpoint but I wouldn’t wanna dwell in his head for long.

Spud is so stupid and kind, you can’t ignore his puppy personality. He has dreams and aspirations that get crashed at every turn. Poor Murphy.

A really interesting POV is the new addition of Nikki Fuller-Smith: a student at the uni, educated, but street-smart as well. She studies film theory so, naturally, she becomes partners with Sick Boy (he doesn’t like this nickname, so keep calling him that).

The ending is cathartic; an overall good experience. I would have enjoyed it more in my teens, I believe, but I would have lost some of the subtler meanings of the story.

I really loved Welsh‘s writing but the Scottish slang? Arghhh! That’s why I struggled for two to three weeks reading this book. Anyway, here’s a list of the words I now know the meaning of, and maybe it’ll help you read Porno more smoothly:

  • oan=on
  • wee=little
  • goat=got
  • fae=from
  • tae=to
  • yir=you’re/your and ye=you and
  • dinnae=don’t and didnae=didn’t and disnae=doesn’t
  • ah=I and ah’m=I’m ays=me
  • no=not
  • huvin=having
  • maist=most
  • ay=of
  • wis=was
  • ehsel=himself
  • ehs=his and eh=he
  • jist=just
  • eftir=after
  • auld=old
  • n=and
  • fir=for
  • doon=down
  • oot=out
  • pit=put
  • ma=my or mom and muh=my
  • whae=who
  • oan=on
  • git=get
  • ootay=out of
  • dae=do
  • wi=with
  • gie=give
  • thaire=there
  • hert=heart
  • chist=chest
  • kin=can
  • urnae=aren’t
  • ooirs=hours
  • pills=pulls
  • aw=all
  • ken=know
  • heid=head
  • willnae=will not
  • peyin=paying
  • burd=bird wich means woman
  • steyin=staying
  • thair=there
  • shi’s=she is
  • bairn=child/kid
  • wis=was
  • ivir=ever
  • wi=with
  • yin=one
  • ur=are
  • wid=would
  • ower=over
  • gless=glass
  • brek=break
  • gled=glad
  • oantay=onto
  • cat=guy
  • awright=alright
  • nae=no
  • oaf=off
  • sae=so
  • sortay=sort of
  • lit=let
  • aboot=about
  • nivir=never
  • huv=have
  • um=him
  • barry=great
  • airm=arm
  • poakit=pocket
  • caird=card
  • ain=own
  • jayket=jacket
  • wid=would
  • awfay=awfully
  • defo=definately
  • hoose=house and hame=home
  • clathes=clothes
  • c’moan=come on
  • thin=than
  • whin=when
  • thit=that
  • hoat=hot
  • gaun=going
  • thir’s=there is
  • mibee=maybe
  • thum=them
  • somewhaire=somewhere
  • perty=party
  • mooth=mouth
  • hur=her
  • whae=who
  • yill=you will
  • ivir=ever
  • gaun=going
  • fawin=falling
  • hoor=whore
  • baith=both
  • masel=myself
  • ootay=out of
  • daein=doing

I don’t think I’ve got them all, but you get the idea. Once you get used to it you don’t even notice the difference. As I said, though, it took me a while.

Sick Boy to Nikki, p. 445: “I’m so glad you don’t do coke. It’s a boy’s drug, girls can’t take it. I know what you’re going to say, that’s sexist. But no, it’s an observation underpinned by an acknowledgment of woman’s autonomy, which is a feminist stance. So applaud, baby, applaud…” You have to love/hate the guy.

There will be a film adaptation of Porno by Danny Boyle (supposedly planned for 2016). Scagboys is the prequel of Trainspotting, if you want to see how it all started.

Have fun!

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