Porno – Irvine Welsh (versión original en inglés)

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Estado: usado.

Editorial: Jonathan Cape London.

Precio: $000.

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.
Begbie’s back
Ali Smith
Irvine Welsh is back on form with his new novel. That’s what most of the reviewers will be saying, because that’s what they say about Welsh every time he brings out a new book, as if it’s somehow surprising that the book is good, or that the man-monster who brought us the amorality of the Leith underclass, the seamy underside of the druggy Edinburgh rave generation and possibly the nastiest literary rape and dog-torturing scenes of the 20th century can actually write. But Welsh is not a monster or a conundrum; he’s a literary stylist, pure and simple, and Porno is his latest examination of one of his favourite subjects, the addictions of our baser natures.
The thing about Welsh is that he always delivers. It could be said that he has never quite delivered with the same rawness of energy as he did with his debut, Trainspotting, in 1993. It became the most shoplifted book of the decade and re-energised the contemporary potential of language, literary voice and novelistic shape with its interconnective communal form and with its starburst of unapologetic urban Scots.
It had an authenticity of voice inherited from west-coast writers like Alasdair Gray, Tom Leonard and James Kelman, transferred by Welsh with shocking impact to the usually staid and snobbish east coast. As it passed its narrative from voice to voice in an unforced democracy of idiolect it shattered expectations of what literature was and who its heroes or owners were.
Welsh’s theme was impotence, especially moral impotence. Trainspotting, elegiac yet electrically alive, set the Welshian double standard: it was a book that used the lies people tell to reveal an existential honesty; a book so up and pulsing that the strange festival of grief at its heart, the “big, BLACK HOLE like a clenched fist in the centre ay my fucking chest”, was startling and deeply revelatory.
Welsh’s second novel was another exploration of numbness, the more self-consciously experimental Maribou Stork Nightmares (1995), the story of a man in a coma, mentally suspended between a fantasised jungle expedition and a gang-rape he took part in, the latter described in sickening detail and bringing the first of a raft of troubled critical reactions (of the type that likes to assume the writer approves of or colludes with the actions of his characters). Was this a foul celebration of this horrific sexual violence rather than a study of contemporary manhood?
After this came the farcical masterpiece on double standards, Filth (1998), in which Welsh’s most bigoted, filthy-mouthed, sexist, racist, and degraded creation, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, in an ingenious device for providing a back story, shares the place of novelistic hero with the worm in his own gut, and is eaten alive by his own abused insides.
Glue (2001) was stylistically much less excitable, a local epic about how the world changed between the pre-Thatcherite 1970s and the new century. Though gentler than its predecessors, it was well tuned to the adolescent turn-on of power when it comes to both sex and violence: “Ah cannae stoap takin the blade oot tae look at it,” as one of its boys says, in quiet wonder.
Glue is a book about boys; Welsh’s world is typically a male-centric one, horrifying yet self-parodying, almost pantomimic at its most extreme moments. Filth’s Bruce Robertson sits in the men’s toilets looking at the graffito he has just written, accusing another member of the force, with whom he’s in competition for promotion, of being gay. “I’m sitting there looking at it for a while. I start chuckling and my sides ache. Then a depressed feeling digs in, followed by a steady outrage.” Welsh’s novels work by this internal balance of self-made farce and rage. The overwhelming feeling is rage, Robertson says. “We hate ourselves for being unable to be other than what we are. Unable to be better.”
It’s a world of everyday schadenfreude, where robbing your friends is the norm and where “women are like tetrapacks: it isnae what’s inside that’s important, the crucial thing is tae get these flaps open”; where consumerism eats people, where abuse will breed abuse, sadistic things will happen to dogs, bees, rabbits and people and, most importantly, the tables will turn. They always turn: Welsh is incomparably moral as a writer, as chillingly and unexpectedly righteous as the Lou Reed song “Perfect Day”, which enjoys its brief druggy haze while telling its listeners not to forget that we’ll reap what we sow. With Welsh, similarly, what you live by, you’ll inevitably die by.
But the latest novel has a lightness new to Welsh and a ludicrous, joyfully spelled-out plot. Porno revisits the narrative of Trainspotting nearly 10 years after the book and, crucially, six years after the film; if the film of that novel cartoonised the book’s characters, then Porno – which begins in scruffy fag-end London, passes through newly upmarket Leith and ends up at the exclusive Cannes (Adult) Film Festival – traces what it’s like to watch yourself become two-dimensional for money.
When it comes to who’s going to screw whom, Porno isn’t about sex or even pornography so much as about Welsh’s redefinition of what is truly pornographic. “That’s the thing with sex work, it always comes down to the most basic of formulas. If you really want to see how capitalism operates, never mind Adam Smith’s pin factory, this is the place to study.”
Utterly cynical Sick Boy Simon Williamson comes back to help gentrify 21st-century Leith by taking over a pub, the Port Sunshine, and filming stag movies there after last orders. He decides to make his fortune making a porn film, Seven Rides for Seven Brothers. Ruptured penises unexpectedly feature.
Meanwhile it’s payback time, literally, for Renton, who ran off with the money at the end of Trainspotting; Spud, the innocent, has decided to write a book; and Begbie, the psychopathic monster of the original, is out of prison looking to kill whoever it was who sent him “poof’s porn” through the post while he was inside. Other characters turn up from other books (most welcome is Dianne, the lovingly fantasised underage schoolgirl of Trainspotting, now an equally fantasised clever girl who loves good sex and is writing a thesis about sex-workers).
The new addition to the usual suspects – the worm in the innards of Porno – is the voice of the game porn star and failed gymnast Nikki Fuller-Smith, pert, beautiful, English, film studies student by day and (inevitably) sex-worker by night. Nikki, of course, is a two-dimensional creation herself, an upmarket Welshian exercise in stereotyping, desperate for sexual satisfaction and fame as a means of control, happy to have her cake and throw it up, as Welsh puts it, to keep herself in the sexual running.
The novel takes a while to get going and only really comes alive 100 pages in, when Begbie re-enters the drama; as with the Dodger and Fagin in Dickens’s Oliver Twist, the bad bastard is the life and rotted soul of the novel. In fact, the force of Begbie blows the two-dimensional boys and girls away. What I’d give to see Welsh find a female creation to match this force. But such a girl, unhaveable, undismissable and uncategorisable, couldn’t exist in Welshworld, where everything and everybody, not just the girls, are simplified, categorised and had.
Some of Welsh’s most brilliant writing here is a poke at new Scottish identity, a set-piece where the disenfranchised Spud goes to the Edinburgh Room in the library to begin writing the history of democracy in his town, but is terrified there by his own unsuitability: “It felt tae ays like I was breakin in, man.”
Spud and Begbie, the invisible-made-visible, the lowlifes that Sick Boy doesn’t want in his pub, are now the only speakers of full dialect in this book’s new Leith, and Porno’s finest pornographic revelation comes in another moment of unexpected pathos where Begbie, desperate to get rid of his migraine, is opening a box of Nurofen, a brand he’s never heard of because he’s been in jail. Welsh shows with an extraordinary lightness of touch how the brand objectifies the man; how a man has become, as it were, less than the pill he’s taking.
It’s in this performance of a pornographic world, in the raging scathing of it, that Welsh’s moral universe – haunting and pervasive – kicks in, and, yes, Welsh gets it up, he shoots, he scores; one more time, Welsh on form.
Sick Boy and the hangover
Burhan Wazir
Billy Connolly – the Big Yin – is rarely a man to be argued with. I remember a friend’s parents who went to see Connolly in concert in Glasgow in the late Eighties. Connolly, dressed in his typically grandstanding manner, mischievously pretended to be hurt at the criticisms in local newspapers about his use of colourful language. ‘Does anyone actually have any objections about ma bad language?’ he asked his audience. ‘Anyone?’ My friend’s mother, Mrs McLean, bless her, stood up and raised her hand. ‘What? You actually object to my language?’ asked Connolly, still feigning hurt. ‘Well, yes,’ she replied. ‘Sometimes.’ Connolly stared back hard: ‘Well you can jest fuck aff, then,’ he screamed.
The anecdote leads us to Porno the seventh novel by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh. Much like the Glaswegian comic Connolly, a ‘Weegie’ to Welsh, Porno contains all the hallmarks of the now well-established Welsh style. Newcomers and aficionados will be forced to sit down and interpret ‘that cunt Donnelly cadge’, ‘that Chizzie beast’, ‘ah’m guan’, ‘it gied ays’, ‘radges’, ‘chib’ and ‘chavvie’.
Welsh, whose first love is music, was always an unlikely ambassador for Scottish literature. Taken in their entirety, Porno and its six predecessors have done as much to popularise the city of Edinburgh as Connolly’s humour has Glasgow. Like many of his generation, Welsh, disillusioned by the poverty he saw around him, moved to London to follow the punk movement. He never quite cut it as a musician and instead found himself working as a clerical temp at Hackney Council. Further disillusionment set in and, in the late Eighties, Welsh returned to the Leith area of Edinburgh and began to write short stories while taking a business studies degree.
Edinburgh had changed, however. Now booming with a tourist economy, it was beginning to enjoy all the fruits of a hedonistic, night-time dance music culture. Illegal raves, attended by tens of thousands, were organised throughout the countryside. They attracted all manners of artists, poets, intellectuals, film-makers and authors. And in Edinburgh itself, writer and activist Kevin Williamson had set up the underground literary magazine Rebel Inc.
Rebel Inc, without a doubt, brought Welsh to his first audience – his first short stories for the magazine showed him to be a quirky, often hilarious writer. I was freelancing for a local Glasgow-based magazine, M8, at the time and remember Welsh contributing a few pieces on the importance of dance culture. His journalism was like a rollercoaster of emotions, opinionated and compelling.
But dance music was merely a diversion – a populist front for attracting readers to his writing. Trainspotting, published in 1993, remains his greatest achievement. Set among the working class poor, it chronicled the degraded and apolitical lifestyles of a group of Scottish drug addicts.
It arrived in Scotland just as youth culture and politics were being stirred into one potent mixture. British dance groups were the new punk stars of the day. And Trainspotting, capturing the neurotic and deprived underside of a city suffering from an identity crisis, perfectly documented the isolation of a generation. Unsurprisingly, it is a novel whose legacy Welsh has found difficult to surpass.
Trainspotting would see Welsh assume, perhaps rightly, the role of a British literary maverick. It also, on the evidence of a return to form with Porno, led him towards an anxiety as a writer. His next novel, Marabou Stork Nightmares, was a disappointment. And Ecstasy, a collection of three novellas, was equally clumsy in finding its stride. His fourth novel, Filth, pushed him further away from the limelight. And while his one attempt at literary reinvention, Glue, a sprawling tale of four childhood friends from the housing estates of Edinburgh that spanned nearly four decades, was ambitious, it was released to a near-deafening silence.
With Porno, however, Welsh has gone full circle – both creatively and mentally. The book brings him back to the now familiar, and therefore slightly less shocking, territory of Trainspotting. That book culminated with Renton abandoning his friends, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie. Ten years later, Porno opens with the various characters from Trainspotting still banished to their own personal hells: Sick Boy is working in a London strip club. Begbie, thankfully, is in a Scottish jail, awaiting release. Renton is hiding in Amsterdam. And Spud, always the hapless victim, is planning to write a history of Leith.
Like Trainspotting before it, Porno opens with a devilishly simple plot. Sick Boy takes over his aunt’s dilapidated Leith pub. The site reunites the old cast, while also introducing a slew of fresh new faces. Here, Welsh establishes himself as something of a Renaissance man, expertly, and, for the first time, writing sympathetically about women. He introduces Nikki Fuller-Smith, a sexually voracious film school student who works in a massage parlour to earn money. Smith finds her calling in pornographic movies. She is the most well-rounded character yet to surface in a Welsh novel:
‘The most horrible thing a man can say to me is that I’ve got a great body. Because I don’t want a good, great, lovely, beautiful, body. I want a body good enough to be in the magazines and if I had one I would be in them and I’m not cause I don’t. My mascara’s running with my tears, and why am I crying? Cause I’m going nowhere, that’s why.’
The passage, and Smith’s fading dreams, sums up Porno. Back for the first time since 1993 on friendly ground, Porno, like Trainspotting, captures and celebrates the hangover of youth.

 

ENTREGA A DOMICILIO (OPCIONAL – CAP. FED.) $50.

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