Trainspotting Author Irvine Welsh says he no longer has to sit in the pub to find inspiration from his neighbors’ dark, alcohol-soaked thoughts – he just goes on social media.
The Scottish writer is currently promoting the second series of the ITV drama Crime, The film stars Dougray Scott and Joanna Vanderham as detectives working to solve crimes in Edinburgh.
In an interview on Radio 4 Today On the show, Welsh talked about the new season and how he draws inspiration from the conversations he witnesses online and on the go.
“You can find some crazy people on social media and just go to their account,” the 64-year-old said. “You don’t have to stand next to them, buy them drinks or listen to them, you can just see it all open-heartedly. People just give all that stuff away, they give away the very worst elements of themselves.”
Welsh noted that people “are different in real life than they are on social media,” meaning it’s still important to spend time in the real world and not on a screen.
“It’s important to see people for who they really are and how they act,” he said. “People in real life are different than those on social media. To reach the humanity of the characters, you have to mingle with them and spend time with them.”
In a 2020 interview with The independent, Welsh admitted he could spend hours on Twitter, which he used as a distraction that was “less harmful” than some of his previous addictions.
When speaking about his character DI Lennox, played by Scott, Welsh described him as “a sort of avenging angel” rather than a clear figure of the law.
“He’s not really a police officer, he’s a guy who uses the power of the police to catch murderers and sex offenders… because he himself was a victim of abuse as a child,” he said. “So he’s kind of an avenging angel, he’s looking for revenge and he’s actually using the police as a kind of weapon to help him in that quest.
“And that’s really his mission. I think he believes he can “heal himself” by putting everyone he puts away is cathartic for him, it’s another itch scratched.”
Welsh rose to fame after the publication of his 1993 novel trainspotting, It followed a group of misfits as they navigated Edinburgh’s dark, crime- and drug-filled underground. The film was made into a 1996 film by Danny Boyle with Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in the lead roles.
His latest novel, The long kniveswhich followed the later life of Francis “Franco” Begbie, a violent psychopathic character first introduced in Trainspotting series, was released last year to great success.