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Skagboys by Irvine Welsh
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May 12, 12

Read from April 17 to May 12, 2012

Irvine Welsh once again proves home is where the heart is with another great depiction of Leith lowlife in this Trainspotting prequel. The characters of Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud remain his finest creations - the four horsemen of the Skagopalyspe, outdrugging, fighting and drinking all comers. Wisely, Welsh stays away from many of the 80s nostalgia cliches and Thatcher-bashing it would have been easy to slip into (the opening scene at Orgreave apart). Instead, he makes the star of the book heroin itself, documenting its rise from niche habit for hippy wasters to Edinburgh epidemic. A fantastic sequence in a rehab centre was the highlight for me (although i did have the Breakfast Club popping into my mind throughout) as is a doomed mission through a heroin-free Edinburgh. But there also flaws - a few scenes could have been edited down or out, and his London voices have always seemed a bit 'farking' cliched. But as usual with Welsh, the good far outweighs the bad, especially when it comes straight out of Leith and on to the page.
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