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Scottish Literary Pornography

The Trainspotting Lads Are Back

"Straight actors are bigger whores than porn stars, just letting somebody use your body, or the images of it you create, that's fuck all. It's when you let them use your emotions; that's real hooring. You can never, ever prostitute those," says Sick Boy in Porno, Irvine Welsh's follow up to Trainspotting.

The chronicle of the Trainspotting crew ten years later, Porno tells the story of Simon Williamson (aka Sick Boy), who returns to Scotland to take over his aunt's pub. To make his artistic mark in the world, he starts working on a porno film. He's off the skag, but all the cocaine he shoves up his nose makes him more of a prick than he already is.

Simon recruits Nikki as his star. Nikki works in a massage joint where she sometimes gives hand jobs to please her male clients and to get extra cash to put her through film school. She even dreams of herself directing porn: "After doing stag films, I want to do real porn, then I want to produce or direct. To be the one in control. Me. A woman. And I'll tell you this right now, the only industry in the world where you have that control to any meaningful content is pornography."

Begbie is out of prison after serving time for a manslaughter sentence. If he gets his hands on Renton, he'll kill him. Renton hooks up with Sick Boy to work the porno film scam. Sick Boy is still pissed about their past, but he's figuring to move Begbie and Renton, like chess pieces, for his own gain. Spud is trying to stay off drugs. He's got a son and longtime girlfriend, but his relapses and absurd attempts at becoming an author put his relationship in jeopardy.

Like he did in Trainspotting, Welsh writes Porno in phonetic Scottish. "Guys" and "girls" are "gadges" and "gadgettes," "ehsel" is "himself," "fir" is "for," "nivir" is "never" and "oantay" is "onto." That is only the beginning of the wild Scottish lingo ride.

As I sat reading Porno in a café, I had to sound out some of the words, just to hear them aloud -- quite embarrassing when you're trying to look like an intelligent reader, but not as embarrassing as talking loudly on your cell phones in cafés (you know who you are).

If you liked Trainspotting you'll really dig Porno. Irvine Welsh has a distinctive, fresh voice that's refreshing to read. As a writer, I learned a lot from reading this book. If you hated Trainspotting and can't stand reading phonetic Scottish, don't even pick up this book. It will be your loss while the rest of us reminisce how great our reading experience of Porno was.

By Irvine Welsh
W. W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393057232
Hardcover: 420 pages (September 2002)

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