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- Irvine Welsh



Courting Disaster

The magistrate's expression seems tae oscillate between pity in loathing, as he looks doon at me n Spud in the dock.

You stole the books from Waterstone's bookshop, with the intention of selling them, he states. Sell fuckin books. Mafuckin erse.

- No, ah sais.

- Aye, Spud sais, at the same time. We turn aroond n look at each other. Aw the time we spent gittin oor story straight n it takes the doss cunt two minutes tae blow it.

The magistrate lets oot a sharp exhalation. It isnae a brilliant job the cunt's goat, whin ye think aboot it. It must git pretty tiresome dealin wi radges aw day. Still, ah bet the poppy's fuckin good, n naebody's asking the cunt tae dae it. He should try tae be a wee bit mair professional, a bit mair pragmatic, rather than showin his annoyance so much.

- Mr Renton, you did not intend to sell the books?

- Naw. Eh, no, your honour. They were for reading.

- So you read Kierkegaard. Tell us about him, Mr Renton, the patronising cunt sais.

- I'm interested in his concepts of subjectivity and truth, and particularly his ideas concerning choice; the notion that genuine choice is made out of doubt and uncertainty, and without recourse to the experience or advice of others. It could be argued, with some justification, that it's primarily a bourgeois, existential philosophy and would therefore seek to undermine collective societal wisdom. However, it's also a liberating philosophy, because when such societal wisdom is negated, the basis for social control over the individual becomes weakened and . . . but I'm rabbiting a bit here. Ah cut myself short. They hate a smart cunt. It's easy to talk yourself into a bigger fine, or fuck sake, a higher sentence. Think deference Renton, think deference.

The magistrate snorts derisively. As an educated man ah'm sure he kens far mair aboot the great philosophers than a pleb like me. Yiv goat tae huv fuckin brains tae be a fuckin judge. S no iviry cunt thit kin dae that fuckin joab. Ah can almost hear Begbie sayin that tae Sick Boy in the public gallery.

- And you, Mr Murphy, you intended to sell the books, like you sell everything else that you steal, in order to finance your heroin habit?

- That's spot on man . . . eh . . . ye goat it, likesay, Spud nodded, his thoughtful

expression sliding into confusion.

- You, Mister Murphy, are an habitual thief. Spud shakes his shoodirs as if tae say, its no ma fault. - The reports state that you are still addicted to heroin. You are also addicted to the act of theft, Mr Murphy. People have to work hard to produce the goods you repeatedly steal. Others have to work hard to earn the money to purchase them. Repeated attempts to get you to cease these petty, but

persistent crimes, have so far proved fruitless: I am therefore going to give you a custodial sentence of ten months.

- Thanks. . . eh, ah mean. . . nae hassle, likesay.

The cunt turns tae me. Fuck sakes.

- You, Mr Renton, are a different matter. The reports say that you are also a heroin addict; but have been trying to control your drug problem. You claim that your behaviour is related to depression experienced due to withdrawal from the drug. I am prepared to accept this. I am also prepared to accept your claim that you intended to push Mr Rhodes away, in order to stop him from assaulting you, rather than to cause him to fall over. I am therefore going to suspend a sentence of six months on the condition that you continue to seek appropriate treatment for this addiction. Social services will monitor your progress. While I can accept that you had the cannabis in your possession for your own use, I cannot condone the use of an illegal drug; even though you claim you take it in order to combat the depression you suffer from as the result of heroin withdrawal. For the possession of this controlled drug, you will be fined one hundred pounds. I suggest that you find other ways to fight depression in the future. Should you, like your friend Daniel Murphy, fail to take the opportunity presented to you and appear before this court again, I shall have no hesitation in recommending a custodial sentence. Do I make myself clear?

Clear as a bell, you fuckin docile cunt. I love you, shite-for-brains.

- Thank you, your honour. I'm only too well aware of the disappointment I've been to my family and friends and that I am now wasting valuable court time. However, one of the key elements in rehabilitation is the ability to recognise that the problem exists. I have been attending the clinic regularly, and am undergoing maintenance therapy having been prescribed methadone and temazepan. I'm no longer indulging in self-deception. With god's help, I'll beat this disease. Thank

you again.

The magistrate looks closely at us tae see if thirs any sign ay mockery oan ma face. No chance it'll show. Ah'm used tae keepin deadpan whin windin up Begbie. Deadpan's better than dead. Convinced it's no bullshit, the doss cunt dismisses the session. Ah walk tae freedom; perr auld Spud gits taken doon.

A polisman gestures tae him tae move.

- Sorry mate, ah sais, feelin cuntish.

- Nae hassle man . . . I'll git oaf the skag, and Saughton's barry fir hash. It'll be a piece ay pish likesay . . . he sais, as he's escorted away by a po-faced labdick.

In the hall ootside the courtroom, ma Ma comes up tae us n hugs us. She looks worn oot, wi black circles under her eyes.

- Aw laddie, laddie, whit ah'm ah gaunnae dae wi ye? she sais.

- Silly bastard. That shite'll kill ye. Ma brother Billy shakes his heid.

Ah wis gaunnae say something tae the cunt. Nae fucker asked him tae come here, and his crass observations are equally unwelcome. However, Frank Begbie came ower as ah wis aboot tae speak.

- Rents! Nice one ma man! Some fuckin result, eh? Shame aboot Spud, but it's better thin we fuckin expected. He'll no dae ten months. Be oot in fuckin six, Wi good behaviour. Less, even.

Sick Boy, looking like an advertising executive, pits his airm aroond ma Ma, and gies us a reptilian smile.

- This calls fir a fuckin celebration. Deacon's? Franco suggests. Like junkies, we file out after him. Nobody hus the motivation tae dae anything else, and pish wins by default.

- If you knew what you've done tae me n yir faither. . . ma Ma looked at us, deadly serious.

- Stupid fucker, Billy sneered, - nickin books oot ay shoaps. This cunt wis gettin ma fuckin goat.

- Ah've been nickin books oot ay fuckin shoaps fir the last six years. Ah've goat four grand's worth ay books at Ma's n in ma flat. Ye think ah boat any ay thaim? That's a four-grand profit oan nickin books, doss cunt.

- Aw Mark, ye didnae, no aw they books . . . Ma looked heartbroken.

- But that's me finished now, Ma. Ah eywis sais thit the first time ah goat caught; that wis it over. Yir snookered eftir that. Time tae hang up yir boots. Finito. Endy story.

About the book:

'Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting on a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.'

Trainspotting, one of the most magnificent and hilariously stomach-churning novels of the 20th century( not to mention the masterpiece of contemporary British literature), follows the drug-addled journey of a bunch of junkies as they battle it out with drugs, society, life, and everything that's 'shite'. Written in traditional Scottish dialect, Trainspotting is replete with cuss words and harrowing incidents that will leave you aching for the life you had before you got your hands on the book. This is offensiveness that transcends itself.

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