Porno

( 27 )

Overview

The Trainspotting lads are back...and in worse shape than ever.
In the last gasp of youth, Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson is back in Edinburgh. He taps into one last great scam: directing and producing a porn film. To make it work, he needs bedfellows: the lovely Nikki Fuller-Smith, a student with ambition, ego, and troubles to rival his own; old pal Mark Renton; and a motley crew that includes the neighborhood's favorite ex-beverage salesman, ...

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Porno

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Overview

The Trainspotting lads are back...and in worse shape than ever.
In the last gasp of youth, Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson is back in Edinburgh. He taps into one last great scam: directing and producing a porn film. To make it work, he needs bedfellows: the lovely Nikki Fuller-Smith, a student with ambition, ego, and troubles to rival his own; old pal Mark Renton; and a motley crew that includes the neighborhood's favorite ex-beverage salesman, "Juice" Terry.
In the world of Porno, however, even the cons are conned. Sick Boy and Renton jockey for top dog. The out-of-jail and in-for-revenge Begbie is on the loose. But it's the hapless, drug-addled Spud who may be spreading the most trouble.Porno is a novel about the Trainspotting crew ten years further down the line: still scheming, still scamming, still fighting for the first-class seats as the train careens at high velocity with derailment looming around the next corner.

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Editorial Reviews

GQ
“A version of the English language that has seemingly been poured into a blender and whirred at high speed with a handful of razor blades.”
GQ
“A version of the English language that has seemingly been poured into a blender and whirred at high speed with a handful of razor blades.”
Evening Standard [London]
A worthy sequel.... Charming, funny and sly, Porno is a good poke at all kinds of pretence and moral tidiness.— Melanie McGrath
Melanie McGrath - Evening Standard [London]
“A worthy sequel.... Charming, funny and sly, Porno is a good poke at all kinds of pretence and moral tidiness.”
The New Yorker
In a wily "Big Chill" maneuver, Welsh brings back the cast of his iconic first novel, "Trainspotting," for a serially narrated Edinburgh reunion, but, though ten years have passed, none of these seedy characters have grown up at all. When pimping and pub proprietorship become a bore, Sick Boy and Renton turn their energies to the production of a porn film entitled "Seven Rides for Seven Brothers," in which they and their nearest and dearest play starring roles. Brawling, bonking, and Scots brogue aside, there's room for some solid satire -- of gentrification, globalization, and the hypocrisy of Britain's Labour Government. Surprisingly, the book's most convincing voice is that of its only female narrator, an ambitious Sick Girl, who takes on each man and somehow comes out a winner.
Kevin Greenberg
After a few notable letdowns, Welsh springs back with a sequel to Trainspotting that recaptures some of the vitriol of its predecessor. Porno picks up ten years after Trainspotting ends, with Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson returning to his Scottish hometown in a half-hearted attempt to make good. Having traded in heroin addiction for occasional crack use, Sick Boy is seeking to revamp his image, but not before indulging in a final scam: making a porno film. With the help of a confused coed, Sick Boy will reunite the Trainspotting lads for one more go at the big time. A master of misanthropic humor, Welsh shows as much style and wit as ever. As he has in past novels, the author writes many chapters in the thick brogue of his working-class characters. It's a disorienting argot that at its most effective is almost musical. The book delivers what you would expect from a sequel to Trainspotting: more grime, more desperation, more violence and more black humor. But the book also finds Welsh striving for, and achieving, something more mature. Things here are only funny on the surface. These bruised-up characters become more complicated and sympathetic as the situations they find themselves in dissolve into tragedy.
From The Critics
After a few notable letdowns, Welsh springs back with a sequel to Trainspotting that recaptures some of the vitriol of its predecessor. Porno picks up ten years after Trainspotting ends, with Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson returning to his Scottish hometown in a half-hearted attempt to make good. Having traded in heroin addiction for occasional crack use, Sick Boy is seeking to revamp his image, but not before indulging in a final scam: making a porno film. With the help of a confused coed, Sick Boy will reunite the Trainspotting lads for one more go at the big time. A master of misanthropic humor, Welsh shows as much style and wit as ever. As he has in past novels, the author writes many chapters in the thick brogue of his working-class characters. It's a disorienting argot that at its most effective is almost musical. The book delivers what you would expect from a sequel to Trainspotting : more grime, more desperation, more violence and more black humor. But the book also finds Welsh striving for, and achieving, something more mature. Things here are only funny on the surface. These bruised-up characters become more complicated and sympathetic as the situations they find themselves in dissolve into tragedy. Author—Kevin Greenberg
Publishers Weekly
The Trainspotting gang returns in a sequel to Welsh's cult novel, this time trying to scheme their way into the annals of adult entertainment. Ten years older, but criminally irresponsible as ever, Sick Boy, Renton, Begbie and Spud are still focusing on illicit drugs and seedy sex. Budding entrepreneur Sick Boy or Simon, as he prefers to be called now comes up with the brilliant idea of starting a porno flick company in Edinburgh, and hunts down Renton in Amsterdam, where his former friend owns a nightclub. With the help of Nikki Fuller-Smith, a ravishing and frustrated undergraduate film student and part-time sex worker aching for fame, the two begin filming and marketing their first movie, making it all the way to the top of the industry before the inevitable crash. Meanwhile, homicidal Begbie and pathetic Spud lurk in the background, waiting to crash the party. To boost the hormonal rush of the narrative, Welsh tells the story from different points of view, the thickness of the dialect varying convincingly from voice to voice (English Nikki quotes from Middlemarch, while the nearly incomprehensible Begbie says things like "Ah lits um go tae git the bat wi baith hands"). As has been noted many times, Welsh has an uncanny talent for dialogue, and his writing is often diamond sharp (a sexual encounter is described as "raging bull and mad cow get on board the love boat"). If this follow-up feels less urgent than the original, it is no reflection on Welsh, but rather on the growing familiarity of the terrain he has so inimitably staked out. 10-city author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Those lads from Edinburgh are at it again. Yes, almost six years after Welsh's wildly popular Trainspotting appeared here, his characters return in Porno after playing subsidiary roles in last year's thick Glue. Here, things are looking up for Simon David Williamson ("Sick Boy"), who has inherited a pub in his native Edinburgh. He's also ready to break into the movies, specifically that branch identified as the "adult entertainment industry." For this purpose, he enlists the aid of Nicola Fuller-Smith, hoping that her hyphen will give a touch of class to the work-in-progress titled Seven Rides for Seven Brothers. The big issue is whether Simon will meet the psychotic Begbie, to whom he mails unsolicited gay porn in jail. Welsh's ear for dialectdoesn't fail him in this worthy successor, and his fans won't be disappointed. Dust off those Scottish-English dictionaries. For all larger public libraries.-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Trainspotting boys are back and not a whit wiser for the decade that’s passed.

Welsh (Glue, 2001, etc.) knows what a good thing he had with Trainspotting and thought it might be a laugh to see what happened to the pack of Scottish junkies and grifters ten years later, letting them narrate their stories in turn. The focus of this overstuffed comic sequel is Sick Boy, who’s still pulling scams, only with more aplomb. He’s got two primary ones going: renovating an old pub (though the longer he’s into that one, the more legit it seems to get) and directing a porn film with some friends. Renton, who made off with his money years before, is now running a club in Amsterdam and seems to be settling into a pre–middle-age sloth. Begbie is still a psychotic font of rage and invective who’s come out of jail a little earlier than most people thought and is looking for someone to take revenge on. Spud shows up every now and again, a sad portrait of a lifelong junkie hanging on to life only by some cruel joke of the cosmos. Into this boys’ club comes Nikki, a student with a taste for self-degradation who gets involved with Sick Boy and, concurrently, his film. She’s a fascinating figure in that, unlike the rest of these random elements, Welsh actually seems to have taken the time to try to figure out what makes this damaged and self-hating person tick. Sick Boy makes for good reading, as his amoral self sizes up and then dispenses with everyone who crosses his path, always finding the angles. Begbie foams at the mouth in an almost unreadable Scottish patois, while Renton doesn’t add much to the story—and the less said about Spud the better.

Flush with bile, bitter humor, drugs, and sex: a funfew hundred pages spent with the worst that humanity has to offer.

From the Publisher
“The poet laureate of the chemical generation.” — The Face

“Welsh writes with a skill, wit and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing for decades.” — Sunday Times

“A pure writer, producing staggering feats of storytelling… the skill of a master.” — Independent

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393324501
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/19/2003
  • Edition description: First American Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 484
  • Sales rank: 467,709
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh is the author of Trainspotting, Ecstacy, Filth (soon to be a major motion picture), Glue, Porno, and Crime, among other works. Welsh is also producing movies and writing screenplays. A native of Edinburgh, he lives in Chicago and Miami.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Stag

1

Scam # 18,732

Croxy, sweating from exertion rather than from drug abuse for once in his life, struggles up the stairs with the last box of records as I collapse on the bed, gaping through a numb depression at the cream woodchip walls. This is my new home. One poky room, fourteen foot by twelve, with an attached hallway, kitchen and bath-room. The room contains a built-in wardrobe with no doors, my bed, and just about space for two chairs and a table. I couldn't sit in here: prison would be better. I'd fucking well go back up to Edinburgh and swap Frank Begbie his cell for this frozen hovel.

In this confined space the stench of old fags from Croxy is suffocating. I've gone three weeks without a cigarette, but I've passive-smoked about thirty a day just from being in his proximity. - Thirsty work, eh, Simon? You coming down the Pepys for one? he asks, his enthusiasm seeming like a gloat, a calculated sneer at one Simon David Williamson's reduced circumstances.

On one level it would be sheer fucking folly to go down Mare Street, to the Pepys, so that they can all snicker, 'Back in Hackney, Simon?' but, aye, company is what's wanted. Ears must be bent. Steam has to be let off. Also, Croxy needs an airing. Trying to give up fags in his company is like trying to come off gear in a squat full of junkies.

- You're lucky to get this place, Croxy tells me, as he helps me unload the boxes. Lucky my fuckin arse. I lie down on the bed and the whole joint shakes as the express train to Liverpool Street hurtles through Hackney Downs station, which is about one foot outside the kitchen window.

Staying put in my state of mind is even less of an option than going out, so we're cagily descending the threadbare stairs, the carpet so worn that it's as hazardous as the side of a glacier. Outside, sleet falls and there's a dull aura of festive hangover everywhere, as we make our way towards Mare Street and the town hall. Croxy, with absolutely no sense of irony, is telling me that 'Hackney's a better manor than Islington, any roads. Islington's been facked for years.'

You can be a crustie for too long. He should be designing websites in Clerkenwell or Soho, rather than organising squats and parties in Hackney. I put the cunt wise to the ways of the world, not because it'll do him any good, but simply to stop nonsense like that filtering into the culture unchallenged. - No, it's a step backwards, I say, blowing on my hands, my fingers as pink as uncooked pork sausages. - For a twenty-five-year-old crustie, Hackney's fine. For an upwardly mobile thirty-six-year-old entrepreneur, I point at myself, it has to be Izzy. How can you give a class bit of fanny in a Soho bar an E8 address? What do you say when she asks, 'Where's the nearest Tube?' - The overland's orlroight, he says, pointing up to the railway bridge beneath the turgid sky. A 38 bus chugs past, spewing its toxic carbon. These fucking London Transport cunts, they whinge on in their expensive pamphlets about the damage the car causes to the environment as they blooter in your respiratory system at will.

- It's no fucking awright, I snap, - it's shite. This place'll be the last part of north London ever to get the Tube. Even fuckin Bermondsey's got it now, for fuck sake. They can build it out tae that stupid fuckin circus tent, which nae cunt wants tae go tae, and they cannae do it here, that's well fucked.

Croxy's narrow face twitches in a sort of smile and he looks at me through those big, hollowed-out eyes. - You're throwing a right farkin moody today, aintcha, he tells me.

And it's true. So I do what I always do, drown my sorrows in drink, tell them all in the pub - Bernie, Mona, Billy, Candy, Stevie and Dee - that Hackney is just a temporary switch, don't expect to see me back on this manor full-time. No siree. Bigger plans, matey. And yes, I'm visiting the toilet frequently, but it's invariably to ingest rather than excrete.

Even as I'm shovelling it up my hooter, I realise the sad truth. Coke bores me, it bores us all. We're jaded cunts, in a scene we hate, a city we hate, pretending that we're at the centre of the universe, trashing ourselves with crap drugs to stave off the feeling that real life is happening somewhere else, aware that all we're doing is feeding that paranoia and disenchantment, yet somehow we're too apathetic to stop. Cause, sadly, there's nothing else of interest to stop for. On that note, rumours abound that Breeny's got a shitload of ching and a fair bit seems to be flying around already.

Suddenly it's tomorrow and we're in a flat somewhere hitting the pipe and Stevie's going on about how much it cost to purchase this load he's washing up and grudging crumpled notes come out as the stink of ammonia fills the air. Whenever that horrible pipe hits and blisters my lips, I feel sick and defeated until the toke sends me into another corner of the room: cold, iced, content, full of myself, talking shite, hatching plans to rule the world.

Then I'm out into the street. I didn't know that I was back in Islington, wandering around, until I saw the girl struggling with the map at the Green, trying to open it through her mittens, and reacted with a sleazy 'Lost, baby?' But the weeping tones of my voice, pregnant with emotion, expectation, and even loss, staggered me. I reeled back as much from the shock of this as from the hit of the purple tin I was holding. What the fuck was this? Who put this in his hand? How the fuck did I get here? Where are they all? There was a few moans and departures and I walked out into the cold rain and now . . .

The girl went as stiff as the stick of fleshy Blackpool rock in my troosers and snapped: - Fuck off . . . I'm not your baby . . .

- Sorry, doll, I brashly apologise.

- I'm not a doll either, she informs me.

- That depends on your standpoint, sweetheart. Try looking at it from my angle, I hear myself saying, like it's somebody else, and I see myself through her eyes: a smelly, dirty, purple-tinned jakey. But I've a job to do, birds to see, even a bit of money in the bank, better clothes than this stained and smelly fleece, this old woolly hat and gloves, so what the fuck's going on here, Simon?

- Piss off, creep! she says, turning away.

- I suppose we just got off oan the wrong foot. Never mind, the only way is up, eh?

- Fuck off, she shouts back over her shoulder.

Chicks, they can be a bit negative. I'm cursing my lack of knowledge with women. I've known a few, but my knob's always got in the way, come between me, them and something deeper.

I start to think back, attempting to recolonise my warped and overheated mind, stretching it out and breaking it down into units of perspective. It came to me that I'd actually been home, I'd got back to the new pad depressed that morning, having blown the last of the coke and started sweating and jerking off to a newspaper picture of Hillary Clinton in a power suit running for Senator of New York. I was giving her the old line about never mind those Jews, she was still a beautiful-looking woman and Monica wasn't in her league. Why, Bill needs his head looked at. Then we made love. After, as Hillary slept contentedly, I went next door to where Monica was waiting. Leith met Beverly Hills in a tasteful fuck of post-alienation. Then I got Hillary and Monica to get it on together while I watched. They'd resisted at first, but, obviously, I'd talked them round. Sitting back on that threadbare chair Croxy gave me, I relaxed to enjoy the show with a Havana cigar, well, a slim panatella.

A police car wails down Upper Street in a hunt for a slow civilian to maim as I shudder back into reality.

The bland but sordid nature of the fantasy causes me a bit of distress, but that's only because, I rationalise, that the comedown's making those ugly thoughts - that should be fleeting - stick around, clogging up the works, forcing you to engage with them. It's put me right off cocaine - not that I'll be able to afford any again for a while. Which is of no relevance at all when you're on it.

I'm on autopilot, but becoming slowly aware that I'm heading downhill from the Angel towards King's Cross now, inherently a sign of desperation if ever there was one. I hit the bookies in Pentonville Road to see if I can see any faces, but there's nobody I recognise. The scum turnover is high these days with vigilant polis everywhere around the Cross. They zoom about like powerboats through a swamp of sewage, only dispersing and displacing but never treating or eradicating the toxic waste.

Then I see Tanya come in, looking skagged. Her shrunken face is ash white but her eyes burn in recognition. - Darlin . . . she puts her arms round me. There's a skinny wee guy in tow with her, who I realise is actually a bird. - This is Val, she says, in the archetypal nasal whine of the London skag-bag. - Haven't seen you down here in ages.

I wonder why. - Aye, I'm back in Hackney. Temporary, likes. Been hittin the pipe a bit this weekend, I explain, as a squad of crackpot niggers jerk in: tense, rangy and hostile. I wonder if any cunt bets in this place. I don't like the vibe so we exit, that weird, anaemic-looking Val cow and one of the black cunts sniping something at each other, and head to King's Cross station. Tanya whinges something about cigarettes and, aye, I'm trying to stop but no way, needs fuckin must n all and I'm checking my pocket for slummy. I buy some fags, lighting up down the Underground. This fat, puffy, officious white cunt in one of those new light-blue, gay-stormtrooper London Transport uniforms tells me to put the snout out. He points to a plaque on the wall which commemorates the scores of people who died in a fire caused by some doss cunt's throwaway tab. - Are you stupid? Don't you care about that?

Who the hell does this clown think he's talking to? - No, I don't fucking well care, the cunts deserved it. You take that fucking risk when you travel, I snap at him.

- I lost a good friend in that fire, you bastard! This irate tosser screams.

- He'd be a wanker if he had a scumbag like you as a mate, I shout, but at the same time I extinguish the snout as we pile down the escalator onto the line. Tanya's laughing and this Val bird's hysterical, she's doing her fucking nut.

We tube it up to Camden and Bernie's pad. - You girls shouldn't be hanging around King's Cross, I smile, knowing exactly why they are, - and certainly not with fuckin niggers, I tell them. - All they want tae dae is get a nice white bird and pimp her oot.

The Val lassie smiles at that, but Tanya gets all wide. - How can you say that? We're going to Bernie's. He's one of your best mates and he's black.

- Of course he is. I'm no talking about me, that's my brothers, my people. Practically all my mates here are black. I'm talking about you. They don't want tae pimp me oot. Mind you, fuckin Bernie would if he could get away wi it.

The wee Val boy-lady giggles again in a strangely fetching way as Tanya pouts sourly.

We get up to Bernie's flat, me forgetting for a second which block on this miserable estate it's in, as it's very unusual to get here in the daylight hours. We disturb a solitary jakey, crashed out in his own piss at the bend in the stair. - Morning, I shout in brisk cheer, and the jake makes a noise between a groan and a growl. - That's easy for you to say, I quip, and the lassies smile at that.

Bernie's still up, just back from Stevie's himself. He's as wired as fuck, a gold and black mass of chains, teeth and soveys. I smell ammonia and sure enough he's got a pipe on the go in the kitchen and he gives me a hit. I take a long, hard suck, his large eyes full of manic encouragement as his lighter burns the rocks. As I hold and slowly exhale, I feel that dirty, smoky burn in my chest and a weakness in my legs, but I grip the edge of the worktop and enjoy the cool, frazzled high. I look at every crumb of bread, every drop of water in the aluminium sink in compulsive detail, which should sicken but doesn't, as the freeze bangs me, taking my psyche into a cold place in the room. Bernie's wasted no time, he's got another set rocked up in his dirty old spoon and he's laying a bed of ash on the foil and putting the rocks down as gently and tenderly as a parent might lower an infant into a cot. I hold the lighter in place and marvel at the controlled violence of his sucking. Bernie once told me he practised holding his breath underwater in the bath in order to increase his lung capacity. I look at the spoon, the paraphernalia, and think with a detached concern about how it all seems too reminiscent of my skag days. But fuck that; I'm older and wiser and skag's skag and crack's crack.

We're talking shite, ranting into each other's faces which are just inches apart, as we hold on to the worktops, like a couple of Star Trek's top boys on the bridge when the enemy beams rock the ship.

Bernie's on about women, hoors who have fucked him around, ruined the poor cunt's life, and I'm doing the same. Then we go on to the cunts (masculine) who've fucked us over, and how they'll get theirs. Bernie and I have a mutual dislike of a guy called Clayton who used to be a friend of sorts but who's now burning every fucker down. Clayton's always a good target for us if there's a lull in the conversation. If adversaries like that didn't exist, you'd need to invent them, to give life some drama, some structure, some meaning. - He grows sicker by the day, Bernie says, a strange pseudo-sincere concern in his voice, - sicker by the day, he repeats, tapping his head.

- Aye . . . that Carmel, is he still riding her? I ask. Always wanted to give her one.

- No, man, no, she fucked off to where she came from, Nottingham or some shit like thaa . . . he says in that drawl which lurches from Jamaica to north London, whistle-stopping at Brooklyn. Then he bares those choppers and says: - That's you, Scotsman, you see a new girl around on the street, you want to know what she's about, who her boyfriend is. Even when you have the nice wife and the child and the money. You can't help yourself.

- It's just being public-spirited. I try to maintain an interest in the community, that's all, I smile, looking next door where the lassies are sitting on the couch.

- The community . . . Bernie laughs and repeats, - it is good to maintain interest in the community . . .

And he's back at the washing-up again. - Keep on rocking in the free world, I chortle, heading next door.

As I head through, I note that Tanya's scratching at her arms through her top, obviously going into smack withdrawal, and as if by some ghostly transmission my own eye starts to shiver. I fancy a fuck to sweat out some of the toxins, but I don't like fucking junkies cause they don't move. Fuck knows what that boy-bird Val's on but I grab her arm and half drag her through to the toilet.

- What ya doin? she asks, offering neither compliance nor resistance.

- Gittin a blow job offay ye, I tell her, with a wink, and she looks at me with no fear, then just a little smile. I can tell that she wants to please me so much cause she's that kind of lassie. The damaged kind, who always just wants to please but never, ever will. Her role in life's theatre: a face to stop some fucked-up cunt's fist.

So in we go and I whip it out and the wood comes up. She's onto her fuckin knees and I'm holding that greasy head to my crotch and she's sucking and it's like . . . nothing really. It's awright, but I hate the way her beady eyes rise up to take stock of me, to ascertain whether or not I'm enjoying this, which seems a totally fucking ridiculous concept now. Most of all though, I wish I'd brought my beer through here with me.

I look down on that grey skull, the perishing eyes flicking up at me and most of all those big teeth, stuck in gums which have receded back due tae drug ingestion, malnutrition and non-existent dental care. I feel like Bruce Campbell in some out-take of The Evil Dead 3, Army of Darkness, where he's getting gammed by a Deadite. Bruce would just smash that brittle skull to powder, and I've got to get out before I'm tempted to do the same and before my softening dick is torn to shreds on that rank bed of rotting teeth.

I hear the front door go and, to my excited horror, one of the voices is unmistakably Croxy's, he's back for another round. Possibly Breeny as well. I think about that beer and I can't stand the thought of some cunt just casually picking it up and drinking it. It's the idea that it would mean absolutely nothing to them as well, whereas to me, right now, it's everything. If it's who I think it is, my beer is fuckin well gone if I don't make a move. I push this Val away and fire through, stuffing it in and zipping up as I go.

It's still there. The gear's left me already and I'm crack-hungry again. I slump down into the couch. It is Croxy, looking fucked, and Breeny, looking fresh, but wondering how he's missed out on a session, and they've actually brought some more beer up. Funny, but this doesn't produce any elation. It just makes that particular beer I cherished seem tepid, stagnant and undrinkable.

But there are more!

So more beers are drunk, more foolhardy deals are concocted and more rocks appear, Croxy knocking up a pipe out of an old placky lemonade bottle to compliment Bernie's activities, and pretty soon we're all fucked up again. This Val lassie's stumbled back in, looking like a refugee that's just been turfed out a fucking camp. Which, I suppose, is exactly what she is. She signals over to Tanya and she gets up and they head off without saying a word.

I'm aware that an argument between Bernie and Breeny is getting increasingly heated. We're out of ammonia and have had to move on to bicarb to wash up, which requires greater skill and Breeny's giving Bernie a hard time about his wasting of gear. - You're messin up, ya fughin prick, he says, his mouth half full of semi-broken yellow and black teeth.

Bernie says something back and I'm thinking about how I have to work later and should get some shut-eye. As I head down the hallway and open the door, I hear shouting and the unmistakable sound of glass breaking. I consider going back for about one second but decide that my presence would only complicate an already messy situation. I slip quietly out the front door and close it behind me, shutting out the screams and threats. Then I'm out and off down the road.

When I get back to the Hackney shithouse, which I must now call home, I'm sweating, shaking and cursing my stupidity and weakness as the Great Eastern from Liverpool Street to Norwich rumbles the building again.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

1

Stag

1

Scam # 18,732

Croxy, sweating from exertion rather than from drug abuse for once in his life, struggles up the stairs with the last box of records as I collapse on the bed, gaping through a numb depression at the cream woodchip walls. This is my new home. One poky room, fourteen foot by twelve, with an attached hallway, kitchen and bath-room. The room contains a built-in wardrobe with no doors, my bed, and just about space for two chairs and a table. I couldn't sit in here: prison would be better. I'd fucking well go back up to Edinburgh and swap Frank Begbie his cell for this frozen hovel.

In this confined space the stench of old fags from Croxy is suffocating. I've gone three weeks without a cigarette, but I've passive-smoked about thirty a day just from being in his proximity. - Thirsty work, eh, Simon? You coming down the Pepys for one? he asks, his enthusiasm seeming like a gloat, a calculated sneer at one Simon David Williamson's reduced circumstances.

On one level it would be sheer fucking folly to go down Mare Street, to the Pepys, so that they can all snicker, 'Back in Hackney, Simon?' but, aye, company is what's wanted. Ears must be bent. Steam has to be let off. Also, Croxy needs an airing. Trying to give up fags in his company is like trying to come off gear in a squat full of junkies.

- You're lucky to get this place, Croxy tells me, as he helps me unload the boxes. Lucky my fuckin arse. I lie down on the bed and the whole joint shakes as the express train to Liverpool Street hurtles through Hackney Downs station, which is about one foot outside the kitchen window.

Staying put in my state of mind is even less of an option than going out, so we're cagily descending the threadbare stairs, the carpet so worn that it's as hazardous as the side of a glacier. Outside, sleet falls and there's a dull aura of festive hangover everywhere, as we make our way towards Mare Street and the town hall. Croxy, with absolutely no sense of irony, is telling me that 'Hackney's a better manor than Islington, any roads. Islington's been facked for years.'

You can be a crustie for too long. He should be designing websites in Clerkenwell or Soho, rather than organising squats and parties in Hackney. I put the cunt wise to the ways of the world, not because it'll do him any good, but simply to stop nonsense like that filtering into the culture unchallenged. - No, it's a step backwards, I say, blowing on my hands, my fingers as pink as uncooked pork sausages. - For a twenty-five-year-old crustie, Hackney's fine. For an upwardly mobile thirty-six-year-old entrepreneur, I point at myself, it has to be Izzy. How can you give a class bit of fanny in a Soho bar an E8 address? What do you say when she asks, 'Where's the nearest Tube?' - The overland's orlroight, he says, pointing up to the railway bridge beneath the turgid sky. A 38 bus chugs past, spewing its toxic carbon. These fucking London Transport cunts, they whinge on in their expensive pamphlets about the damage the car causes to the environment as they blooter in your respiratory system at will.

- It's no fucking awright, I snap, - it's shite. This place'll be the last part of north London ever to get the Tube. Even fuckin Bermondsey's got it now, for fuck sake. They can build it out tae that stupid fuckin circus tent, which nae cunt wants tae go tae, and they cannae do it here, that's well fucked.

Croxy's narrow face twitches in a sort of smile and he looks at me through those big, hollowed-out eyes. - You're throwing a right farkin moody today, aintcha, he tells me.

And it's true. So I do what I always do, drown my sorrows in drink, tell them all in the pub - Bernie, Mona, Billy, Candy, Stevie and Dee - that Hackney is just a temporary switch, don't expect to see me back on this manor full-time. No siree. Bigger plans, matey. And yes, I'm visiting the toilet frequently, but it's invariably to ingest rather than excrete.

Even as I'm shovelling it up my hooter, I realise the sad truth. Coke bores me, it bores us all. We're jaded cunts, in a scene we hate, a city we hate, pretending that we're at the centre of the universe, trashing ourselves with crap drugs to stave off the feeling that real life is happening somewhere else, aware that all we're doing is feeding that paranoia and disenchantment, yet somehow we're too apathetic to stop. Cause, sadly, there's nothing else of interest to stop for. On that note, rumours abound that Breeny's got a shitload of ching and a fair bit seems to be flying around already.

Suddenly it's tomorrow and we're in a flat somewhere hitting the pipe and Stevie's going on about how much it cost to purchase this load he's washing up and grudging crumpled notes come out as the stink of ammonia fills the air. Whenever that horrible pipe hits and blisters my lips, I feel sick and defeated until the toke sends me into another corner of the room: cold, iced, content, full of myself, talking shite, hatching plans to rule the world.

Then I'm out into the street. I didn't know that I was back in Islington, wandering around, until I saw the girl struggling with the map at the Green, trying to open it through her mittens, and reacted with a sleazy 'Lost, baby?' But the weeping tones of my voice, pregnant with emotion, expectation, and even loss, staggered me. I reeled back as much from the shock of this as from the hit of the purple tin I was holding. What the fuck was this? Who put this in his hand? How the fuck did I get here? Where are they all? There was a few moans and departures and I walked out into the cold rain and now . . .

The girl went as stiff as the stick of fleshy Blackpool rock in my troosers and snapped: - Fuck off . . . I'm not your baby . . .

- Sorry, doll, I brashly apologise.

- I'm not a doll either, she informs me.

- That depends on your standpoint, sweetheart. Try looking at it from my angle, I hear myself saying, like it's somebody else, and I see myself through her eyes: a smelly, dirty, purple-tinned jakey. But I've a job to do, birds to see, even a bit of money in the bank, better clothes than this stained and smelly fleece, this old woolly hat and gloves, so what the fuck's going on here, Simon?

- Piss off, creep! she says, turning away.

- I suppose we just got off oan the wrong foot. Never mind, the only way is up, eh?

- Fuck off, she shouts back over her shoulder.

Chicks, they can be a bit negative. I'm cursing my lack of knowledge with women. I've known a few, but my knob's always got in the way, come between me, them and something deeper.

I start to think back, attempting to recolonise my warped and overheated mind, stretching it out and breaking it down into units of perspective. It came to me that I'd actually been home, I'd got back to the new pad depressed that morning, having blown the last of the coke and started sweating and jerking off to a newspaper picture of Hillary Clinton in a power suit running for Senator of New York. I was giving her the old line about never mind those Jews, she was still a beautiful-looking woman and Monica wasn't in her league. Why, Bill needs his head looked at. Then we made love. After, as Hillary slept contentedly, I went next door to where Monica was waiting. Leith met Beverly Hills in a tasteful fuck of post-alienation. Then I got Hillary and Monica to get it on together while I watched. They'd resisted at first, but, obviously, I'd talked them round. Sitting back on that threadbare chair Croxy gave me, I relaxed to enjoy the show with a Havana cigar, well, a slim panatella.

A police car wails down Upper Street in a hunt for a slow civilian to maim as I shudder back into reality.

The bland but sordid nature of the fantasy causes me a bit of distress, but that's only because, I rationalise, that the comedown's making those ugly thoughts - that should be fleeting - stick around, clogging up the works, forcing you to engage with them. It's put me right off cocaine - not that I'll be able to afford any again for a while. Which is of no relevance at all when you're on it.

I'm on autopilot, but becoming slowly aware that I'm heading downhill from the Angel towards King's Cross now, inherently a sign of desperation if ever there was one. I hit the bookies in Pentonville Road to see if I can see any faces, but there's nobody I recognise. The scum turnover is high these days with vigilant polis everywhere around the Cross. They zoom about like powerboats through a swamp of sewage, only dispersing and displacing but never treating or eradicating the toxic waste.

Then I see Tanya come in, looking skagged. Her shrunken face is ash white but her eyes burn in recognition. - Darlin . . . she puts her arms round me. There's a skinny wee guy in tow with her, who I realise is actually a bird. - This is Val, she says, in the archetypal nasal whine of the London skag-bag. - Haven't seen you down here in ages.

I wonder why. - Aye, I'm back in Hackney. Temporary, likes. Been hittin the pipe a bit this weekend, I explain, as a squad of crackpot niggers jerk in: tense, rangy and hostile. I wonder if any cunt bets in this place. I don't like the vibe so we exit, that weird, anaemic-looking Val cow and one of the black cunts sniping something at each other, and head to King's Cross station. Tanya whinges something about cigarettes and, aye, I'm trying to stop but no way, needs fuckin must n all and I'm checking my pocket for slummy. I buy some fags, lighting up down the Underground. This fat, puffy, officious white cunt in one of those new light-blue, gay-stormtrooper London Transport uniforms tells me to put the snout out. He points to a plaque on the wall which commemorates the scores of people who died in a fire caused by some doss cunt's throwaway tab. - Are you stupid? Don't you care about that?

Who the hell does this clown think he's talking to? - No, I don't fucking well care, the cunts deserved it. You take that fucking risk when you travel, I snap at him.

- I lost a good friend in that fire, you bastard! This irate tosser screams.

- He'd be a wanker if he had a scumbag like you as a mate, I shout, but at the same time I extinguish the snout as we pile down the escalator onto the line. Tanya's laughing and this Val bird's hysterical, she's doing her fucking nut.

We tube it up to Camden and Bernie's pad. - You girls shouldn't be hanging around King's Cross, I smile, knowing exactly why they are, - and certainly not with fuckin niggers, I tell them. - All they want tae dae is get a nice white bird and pimp her oot.

The Val lassie smiles at that, but Tanya gets all wide. - How can you say that? We're going to Bernie's. He's one of your best mates and he's black.

- Of course he is. I'm no talking about me, that's my brothers, my people. Practically all my mates here are black. I'm talking about you. They don't want tae pimp me oot. Mind you, fuckin Bernie would if he could get away wi it.

The wee Val boy-lady giggles again in a strangely fetching way as Tanya pouts sourly.

We get up to Bernie's flat, me forgetting for a second which block on this miserable estate it's in, as it's very unusual to get here in the daylight hours. We disturb a solitary jakey, crashed out in his own piss at the bend in the stair. - Morning, I shout in brisk cheer, and the jake makes a noise between a groan and a growl. - That's easy for you to say, I quip, and the lassies smile at that.

Bernie's still up, just back from Stevie's himself. He's as wired as fuck, a gold and black mass of chains, teeth and soveys. I smell ammonia and sure enough he's got a pipe on the go in the kitchen and he gives me a hit. I take a long, hard suck, his large eyes full of manic encouragement as his lighter burns the rocks. As I hold and slowly exhale, I feel that dirty, smoky burn in my chest and a weakness in my legs, but I grip the edge of the worktop and enjoy the cool, frazzled high. I look at every crumb of bread, every drop of water in the aluminium sink in compulsive detail, which should sicken but doesn't, as the freeze bangs me, taking my psyche into a cold place in the room. Bernie's wasted no time, he's got another set rocked up in his dirty old spoon and he's laying a bed of ash on the foil and putting the rocks down as gently and tenderly as a parent might lower an infant into a cot. I hold the lighter in place and marvel at the controlled violence of his sucking. Bernie once told me he practised holding his breath underwater in the bath in order to increase his lung capacity. I look at the spoon, the paraphernalia, and think with a detached concern about how it all seems too reminiscent of my skag days. But fuck that; I'm older and wiser and skag's skag and crack's crack.

We're talking shite, ranting into each other's faces which are just inches apart, as we hold on to the worktops, like a couple of Star Trek's top boys on the bridge when the enemy beams rock the ship.

Bernie's on about women, hoors who have fucked him around, ruined the poor cunt's life, and I'm doing the same. Then we go on to the cunts (masculine) who've fucked us over, and how they'll get theirs. Bernie and I have a mutual dislike of a guy called Clayton who used to be a friend of sorts but who's now burning every fucker down. Clayton's always a good target for us if there's a lull in the conversation. If adversaries like that didn't exist, you'd need to invent them, to give life some drama, some structure, some meaning. - He grows sicker by the day, Bernie says, a strange pseudo-sincere concern in his voice, - sicker by the day, he repeats, tapping his head.

- Aye . . . that Carmel, is he still riding her? I ask. Always wanted to give her one.

- No, man, no, she fucked off to where she came from, Nottingham or some shit like thaa . . . he says in that drawl which lurches from Jamaica to north London, whistle-stopping at Brooklyn. Then he bares those choppers and says: - That's you, Scotsman, you see a new girl around on the street, you want to know what she's about, who her boyfriend is. Even when you have the nice wife and the child and the money. You can't help yourself.

- It's just being public-spirited. I try to maintain an interest in the community, that's all, I smile, looking next door where the lassies are sitting on the couch.

- The community . . . Bernie laughs and repeats, - it is good to maintain interest in the community . . .

And he's back at the washing-up again. - Keep on rocking in the free world, I chortle, heading next door.

As I head through, I note that Tanya's scratching at her arms through her top, obviously going into smack withdrawal, and as if by some ghostly transmission my own eye starts to shiver. I fancy a fuck to sweat out some of the toxins, but I don't like fucking junkies cause they don't move. Fuck knows what that boy-bird Val's on but I grab her arm and half drag her through to the toilet.

- What ya doin? she asks, offering neither compliance nor resistance.

- Gittin a blow job offay ye, I tell her, with a wink, and she looks at me with no fear, then just a little smile. I can tell that she wants to please me so much cause she's that kind of lassie. The damaged kind, who always just wants to please but never, ever will. Her role in life's theatre: a face to stop some fucked-up cunt's fist.

So in we go and I whip it out and the wood comes up. She's onto her fuckin knees and I'm holding that greasy head to my crotch and she's sucking and it's like . . . nothing really. It's awright, but I hate the way her beady eyes rise up to take stock of me, to ascertain whether or not I'm enjoying this, which seems a totally fucking ridiculous concept now. Most of all though, I wish I'd brought my beer through here with me.

I look down on that grey skull, the perishing eyes flicking up at me and most of all those big teeth, stuck in gums which have receded back due tae drug ingestion, malnutrition and non-existent dental care. I feel like Bruce Campbell in some out-take of The Evil Dead 3, Army of Darkness, where he's getting gammed by a Deadite. Bruce would just smash that brittle skull to powder, and I've got to get out before I'm tempted to do the same and before my softening dick is torn to shreds on that rank bed of rotting teeth.

I hear the front door go and, to my excited horror, one of the voices is unmistakably Croxy's, he's back for another round. Possibly Breeny as well. I think about that beer and I can't stand the thought of some cunt just casually picking it up and drinking it. It's the idea that it would mean absolutely nothing to them as well, whereas to me, right now, it's everything. If it's who I think it is, my beer is fuckin well gone if I don't make a move. I push this Val away and fire through, stuffing it in and zipping up as I go.

It's still there. The gear's left me already and I'm crack-hungry again. I slump down into the couch. It is Croxy, looking fucked, and Breeny, looking fresh, but wondering how he's missed out on a session, and they've actually brought some more beer up. Funny, but this doesn't produce any elation. It just makes that particular beer I cherished seem tepid, stagnant and undrinkable.

But there are more!

So more beers are drunk, more foolhardy deals are concocted and more rocks appear, Croxy knocking up a pipe out of an old placky lemonade bottle to compliment Bernie's activities, and pretty soon we're all fucked up again. This Val lassie's stumbled back in, looking like a refugee that's just been turfed out a fucking camp. Which, I suppose, is exactly what she is. She signals over to Tanya and she gets up and they head off without saying a word.

I'm aware that an argument between Bernie and Breeny is getting increasingly heated. We're out of ammonia and have had to move on to bicarb to wash up, which requires greater skill and Breeny's giving Bernie a hard time about his wasting of gear. - You're messin up, ya fughin prick, he says, his mouth half full of semi-broken yellow and black teeth.

Bernie says something back and I'm thinking about how I have to work later and should get some shut-eye. As I head down the hallway and open the door, I hear shouting and the unmistakable sound of glass breaking. I consider going back for about one second but decide that my presence would only complicate an already messy situation. I slip quietly out the front door and close it behind me, shutting out the screams and threats. Then I'm out and off down the road.

When I get back to the Hackney shithouse, which I must now call home, I'm sweating, shaking and cursing my stupidity and weakness as the Great Eastern from Liverpool Street to Norwich rumbles the building again.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Copyright© 2003 by Irvine Welsh
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
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(16)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Porno

    Good book. A must read

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2006

    Irvine Welsh is the man

    You have to read trainspotting first! Porno is kinda like a follow up from where it all left off when Renton steals the cash. If you loved Trainspotting, you will definitely love Porno!!!!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Hahhahahha

    I typed in porn to see what would pop up all of the people who say its a great book are lonely and masterbate while reading this book u guys are pedofiles

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Hey!

    Go to hotel room res two!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    To any girl

    Lets have se.x

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Holly

    Does anyone need me?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    A s exy girl

    Walks in. "Hey, I'm Kristen," she said in a hot voice.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    To guy who advertised in Warriors book

    U r sick and gross and a total creepo. I hope u spend life alone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Officer josh

    Ok now I saw your advertisment and we arrest anyone wo does it or is about to here*writes on a piece of paper*this a a fine you have to pay please pay it tonight at police guy jut go to result one and ask for josh but if you don't pay the fine and do nook sex you will be arrested

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Disgust

    You disgust me. Sure its fine in rl, but in rp?! YOU DONT KNOW THE PERSON! U DONT KNOW IF UR AN EIGHT YR OLD WITH A SIXTEEN UR OLD!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Stop

    Stop. Just stop. This is DISGUSTING. What if you parents walked in on you doing this?! Or found your NOOK if you left to do something?? And if you don't live with your parents ((or guardians)), then you're a per.vert and too old to be roleplaying… just STOP.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    To officer

    The guy fled and locked himself out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Dre

    *slides hands over breasts

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    To DRE

    Go to our book asap

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Porno

    I honestly dont like this book and i dont know how it even got in my nook library wish there was a way i could juss delete it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    More of the same

    Once you've read one Irvine Welsh book you've read them all. Same themes, same characters over and over again. Porno is still enterataining enough, but not a patch on his earlier work, trainspotting in particular. If your going to read one make it trainspotting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2004

    The best book I've read in 20 years

    If I could give this book 100 stars, I would. It is sure not for everyone. It's a hard read because of the heavy Scottish dialect. And it's violent and profane. But it is just brilliant. This book follows the insanely popular 'Trainspotting'. However, this book is so much better. The plot is a little clearer and he has become a better, more mature writer. I loved Glue also, and will try to read all other Welsh books. But everyone who loves a truly intelligent, well-written book should absolutely give this a try. It is so laugh-out loud funny you just want to share this experience with everyone you know who is intelligent enough to appreciate it. But the problem is, probably 90% of the people I know aren't going to enjoy it and that's such a shame. It is just BRILLIANT. We that love great books should form a line at Irvine Welsh's feet and respectfully shout, 'We are not worthy!!!!'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2003

    excellent

    being an exiled Scot living in the US of A this was ane excellent book to read I frequently spat out my coffee at the local starbucks laughing at the exploits of the guys the book cover also raised a few eyebrows

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

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