Quotes by Irvine Welsh

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It's only now that I realize that behaviour always has a context and precedents, it's what you do rather than what you are, although we often never recognise that context or understand what these precedents are. more...

I was anti-everything and everyone. I didn't want people around me. This aversion was not some big crippling anxiety; merely a mature recognition of my own psychological vulnerability and my lack of suitability as a companion. Thoughts jostled for space in my crowded brain as i struggled to give them some order which might serve to motivate my listless life. more...

I'm not running away, I'm moving on. more...

When two people were in love you had to leave them to it. Especially when you weren't in love and wished that you were. That could embarrass. That could hurt. more...

You can't lie to your soul. more...

I'm more of a warrior than you'll ever be. I believe in the class war. I believe in the battle of the sexes. I believe in my tribe. I believe in the righteous, intelligent clued-up section of the working classes against the brain-dead moronic masses as well as the mediocre, soulless bourgeoisie. more...

It was around the summer of 1982 when the drug problem really impacted. It became a lifestyle rather than a recreation. When you start lying and stealing, you cannot con yourself you're in control any more. more...

What worries me is the professionalism of everything. more...

I enjoy the freedom of the blank page. more...

I grew up in a place where everybody was a storyteller, but nobody wrote. It was that kind of Celtic, storytelling tradition: everybody would have a story at the pub or at parties, even at the clubs and raves. more...

I wanted to capture the excitement of house music, almost like a four-four beat, and the best way to do that was to use a language that was rhythmic and performative. more...

I'm working on a screenplay right now for the BBC, but I hope to have the decks cleared soon so I can get into the studio with my pals and put down some more tracks, try to get a strong dance single together. more...

Sometimes there's a snobbery among literary types that these people don't really get it, but in a lot of ways they get it more than the literati. There's a culture in the background that they understand and know. They get that deeper level. more...

I'd always liked to read, but when I picked up books I wasn't getting the same kind of excitement from them that I was from going out clubbing. I wanted to get the same kind of feel. more...

There's all this stuff that is happening in Edinburgh now, it's a sad attempt to create an Edinburgh society, similar to a London society, a highbrow literature celebrity society. more...

Writing is about culture and should be about everything. That's what makes it what it is. more...

I think young writers should get other degrees first, social sciences, arts degrees or even business degrees. What you learn is research skills, a necessity because a lot of writing is about trying to find information. more...

There is a kind of mysticism to writing. more...

Basically, particularly in Britain, it's a hegemonic thing that people who write tend to come from the leisure classes. They can afford the time and the books. more...

I spend so much time on the screen when I am writing, the last thing you want to do is spend more time on the Internet looking at a screen. That's what I hate about all this technology. more...

It's different in Scotland. People who come to readings are more interested in literature as such, but the readership in general is really quite diverse. It's a cliche, but it's said that people who read my books don't read any other books, and you do get that element. more...

The establishment, the newspapers, they try to create something called Scottish literature, but when people are actually going to write, they are not going to necessarily prescribe to that, they'll write what they feel. more...

When I first started to get into writing, it was via music. I'd generate ideas for songs that would turn into stories, then they'd turn into novels. I was biased toward music. more...

When people start writing there is this idea that you have to get everything right first time, every sentence has to be perfect, every paragraph has to be perfect, every chapter has to be perfect, but what you're doing is not any kind of public show, until you're ready for it. more...

The first job of a writer is to be honest. more...

I didn't have any concept of Trainspotting being published. It was a selfish act. I did it for myself. more...

I feel like I've exhausted guys and male friendships. more...

I tend to read more nonfiction, really, because when I'm writing I don't like to read other fiction. more...

Every kind of book I've written has been written in a different way. There has not been any set time for writing, any set way, I haven't re-invented the process every time but I almost have. more...

I'm always watching people over a short time frame, putting them in an extreme position. Sometimes you don't see the humanity in a person because the time frame is so short and the circumstance so extreme. more...

When I started off with Trainspotting, it was the way the characters came to me. That's how they sounded to me. It seemed pretentious to sound any other way. I wasn't making any kind of political statement. more...

Choose life ... I chose not to choose life. I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin? more...

How did it make you feel? more...

His eyes are wild, psychotic slits that bat-dance in your soul looking for good things to crush or bad elements to identify with. more...

I grew up in what was not so much a familyas a genetic disaster. more...

Rents once sais, thirs nothin like a darker skin tone tae increase the vigilance ay the police n the magistrates: too right. more...

How many shots does it take before the concept ay choice becomes obsolete? more...

Ah wonder if anybody this side of the Atlantic has ever bought a baseball bat with playing baseball in mind. more...

Bad luck is usually transmitted by close proximity to habitual sufferers. more...

There's nothing worse than a violent beating from an unremarkable person. Physical violence with someone is too much like shagging them. Too much id involved. more...

That's all very well as an abstract moral principle, Avril, a coffee-table theoretical construct, but there's no denying the sheer gratuitous pleasure to be derived from seeing members of the ruling class in pain and torment. more...

Once you've been with each other in a primal, shagging state, it's hard to talk about the weather. more...

You can't just have stuff that is free and escapist, you have to have stuff that is confrontational as well. You need stuff that is mystical but you need the realism too. more...

It was the books I started reading. It was the music I started listening to. It was the television I started watching. I found myself thinking again. I tried to stop because it was only causing pain. I couldn't. Wen all this is in your head it has to come out into your life. If it doesn't, you get crushed. I'm not going to get crushed. more...

Bruce, you're an ugly and silly old man. You're very possibly an alcoholic and God knows what else. You're the type of sad case who preys on vulnerable, weak and stupid women in order to boost his own shattered ego. You're a mess. You've gone wrong somewhere pal. more...

Now, for the first time, he's seeing that there really is a way out of this, and it's all so simple. You don't have to run away. You just meet somebody special and step sideways into a parallel universe. more...

I'd always done a lot of sniffing glue as a kid. I was very interested in glue, and then I went to lager and speed, and I drifted into heroin because as a kid growing up everybody told me, 'don't smoke marijuana, it will kill you'. more...

I love doubt in a woman. It's nearly as sexy as determination. more...

Good luck to progressive candidates in U.S. Senate elections against the usual rich, white, racist, women-hating pricks they run against. more...

It's hard to maintain both smack and crack habbits and remember to keep up mobile-phone payments. more...

Are you asking me or telling me? more...

Some people are easier to love when you don't have to be around them. more...

By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be. more...

When people start writing there is this idea that you have to get everything right first time, every sentence has to be perfect, every paragraph has to be perfect, every chapter has to be perfect, but what youre doing is not any kind of public show, until youre ready for it. more...

When I'm not writing, I read loads of fiction, but I've been writing quite constantly lately so I've been reading a lot of nonfiction - philosophy, religion, science, history, social or cultural studies. more...

Even as I'm shoveling up my hooter, I realize the sad truth. Coke bores me, It bores us all. We're jaded cunts, in a scene we hate, a city we hate, pretending that we're at the center of the universe, trashing ourselves with crap drugs to stave off the feeling that real life is happening somewhere else, aware that all we're doing is feeding that paranoia and disenchantment, yet somehow we're too apathetic to stop. Cause, sadly, there's nothing else of interest to stop for. more...

Sometimes ah think that people become junkies just because they subconsciously crave a wee bit ay silence. more...

Love does not exist, it's like religion, the state wants you to believe in that kind of crap so they can control you, and f**k your head up. more...

Thoughts jostled for space in my crowded brain as I struggled to give them some order which might serve to motivate my listless life more...

Now there is apparently a causal link between heroin addiction and vegetarianism. more...

You can only live in the world you ken. The rest is just wishful thinking or paranoia. more...

Iggy Pop looks right at me as he sings the line: 'America takes drugs in psychic defence'; only he changes 'America' to 'Scatlin', and defines us mair accurately in a single sentence than all the others have ever done. more...

Most middle-class people I know don't really live like me. Middle-class people worry a lot about money. They worry a lot about job security, and they do a lot of nine-to-five stuff. more...

We start off with high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we"re all going to die, without really finding out the big answers. We develop all those long-winded ideas which just interpret the reality of our lives in different ways, without really extending our body of worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short disappointing life; and then we die. We fill up our lives with shite, things like careers and relationships to delude ourselves that it is' all totally pointless. more...

It's all okay, it's all beautiful; but ah fear that this internal sea is gaunnae subside soon, leaving this poisonous shite washed up, stranded up in ma body. more...

He emphasised basic truths: you are not dying yet, you have to live your life until you are. Underpinning them was the belief that the grim reality of impending death can be talked away by trying to invest in the present reality of life. I did' believe that at the time, but now I do. By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be. more...

Ah walk doon Hammersmith Broadway, London seeming strange and alien, after only a three-month absence, as familiar places do when you"ve been away. It's as if everything is a copy of what you knew before, similar, yet somehow lacking in its usual qualities, a bit like the wey things are in a dream. They say you have to live in a place to know it, but you have to come fresh tae really see it. more...

Bruce, you're an ugly and silly old man. You're very possibly an alcoholic and God knows what else. You're the type of sad case who preys on vulnerable, weak and stupid women in order to boost his own shattered ego. You're a mess. You"ve gone wrong somewhere pal. more...

There's that horrible-beautiful moment, that bitter-sweet impasse where you know that somebody is bullshitting you but they're doing it with such panache and conviction...no, it's because they say exactly what you want to hear, at that point in time. more...

But even Es and cocaine, over the years they blow holes in your brain, rob you of your memories, your past. Which is fair enough, convenient even. more...

Ah suppose man, ah'm too much ay a perfectionist, ken? It's likesay, if things go a bit dodgy, ah jist cannae be bothered, y'know. more...

It wis like auld times, but in a sense that only served tae remind us ay how much things hud changed. more...

It's all okay, it's all beautiful; but ah fear that this internal sea is gaunnae subside soon, leaving this poisonous shite washed up, stranded up in ma body. more...

Everything in the street today seems soft focus. more...

He emphasised basic truths: you are not dying yet, you have to live your life until you are. Underpinning them was the belief that the grim reality of impending death can be talked away by trying to invest in the present reality of life. I didn't believe that at the time, but now I do. By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be. more...

Thir must be less tae life than this more...

Ah walk doon Hammersmith Broadway, London seeming strange and alien, after only a three-month absence, as familiar places do when you've been away. It's as if everything is a copy of what you knew before, similar, yet somehow lacking in its usual qualities, a bit like the wey things are in a dream. They say you have to live in a place to know it, but you have to come fresh tae really see it. more...

Sometimes ah think that people become junkies just because they subconsiously crave a wee bit ay silence. more...

That beats any meat injection... that beats any fuckin cock in the world... Ali gasps, completely serious. It unnerves us tae the extent that ah feel ma ain genitals through ma troosers tae see if they're still thair. more...

The rhetorical question, the stock-in-trade weapon ay burds and psychos. more...

Funny scene, likesay, how aw the psychos seem tae ken each other, ken what ah means, likes? more...

Still, failure, success, what is it? Whae gies a fuck. We aw live, then we die, in quite a short space ay time n aw. That's it; end ay fuckin story. more...

Ah thought that every cunt over twenty was a toss an no worth speakin tae, until ah hit twenty. The mair ah see, the mair ah think ah wis right. After that it's aw ugly compromise, aw timid surrender, progressively until death. more...

He had noted that with older people. They often try to control younger, more popular and vivacious people; usually due to the fact that they are jealous of the qualities the younger people have and they lack. These inadequacies are disguised with a benign, protective attitude. more...

Ah suppose man, ah'm too much ay a perfectionist, ken? It's likesay, if things go a bit dodgy, ah jist cannae be bothered, y'know? more...

Ah've never felt anything about countries, other than total disgust. They should fuckin abolish the lot of them. Kill every fuckin parasite politician that ever mouthed lies and fascist platitudes in a shell-suit and a smarmy smile. more...

Ah jist shrugged, - Well, as one anarchist plumber sais tae the other: smash the cistern. more...

That cunt Nietzsche wis wide ay the mark whin he sais ah wis deid. Ah'm no deid; ah jist dinnae gie a fuck. It's no fir me tae sort every cunt's problems oot. Nae other cunt gies a fuck so how should ah? Eh? more...

The dead man is on the trolley and the woman collapses across his chest. That's what the ghouls want a shufti at, like at that Princess Diana's funeral, they want to scrutinise those who really knew her, to drink the misery out of their faces. more...

Choose life ... I chose not to choose life. I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you"ve got heroin? more...

Here ah am in the junky's limbo; too sick tae sleep, too tired tae stay awake. A twilight zone ay the senses where nothing's real except the crushing, omnipresent misery n pain in your mind n body. more...

Bowie's death is a very emotional thing. My generation of working-class Britain, it feels like we lost our spiritual leader, our guru. I always thought that if I was to be a hundred, somehow Bowie would be a hundred and fifteen. He'd be there to still steer me and guide me. more...

When you think about what Homo sapiens are about, you almost feel that we are replacing ourselves. We won't be able to breathe and breed on this earth, so we replace ourselves with androids that can do. The androids can go up into space and take the future of humanity forward because maybe we just bow out with a carbon-based epoch. more...

We made the world uninhabitable for ourselves and it can only be inhabited by robots and androids. more...

You've got the whole stuff with transgender toilets and stuff like that - that's no way for a government to behave. We're supposed to be against ISIS, so why are we trying to slowly introduce a country-club version of Sharia law in America, you know? It doesn't make any real sense at all. I think there's going to be a lot of energy, there is already a lot of reaction against that - people are prepared to really stand up and be counted for democracy, and in the process to find out what is and what isn't. more...

I think just getting up and getting to the desk is a big thing. If you can do that, you're in the zone because there're so many distractions that can stop you. From my bedroom to my office isn't really that far, but I have to go via the kitchen and there's so many things that can stop me and interrupt me. more...

As a writer, you play this daft game with yourself - you're constantly looking for distractions, anything to stop you from writing, but you're constantly fighting the distractions to write as well. more...

The inspiration can come in such small ways that if you sit there just waiting for the big epiphany you'll sit there for the rest of your life. more...

You have to let people express themselves in the way that they need to express themselves. You have to express yourself in any way possible, provided you're prepared to live with the consequences. more...

In civic life, I think that's where you can debate what is good taste and what is acceptable to other people, and what's gonna offend people. Do that there, but leave it out of art, because art is the one frontier that shouldn't have restraints put on it. more...

I think the media in America have been absolutely fantastic about the rise of Trump, they've kept a firm eye on the ball: this constitutes democracy, this constitutes transparency, this constitutes fairness, this constitutes the way to behave in a civic society, this constitutes fascism, this constitutes authoritarianism. They're drawing that line, and they're calling him out every time. That's really what needs to happen, and you just have to do that. more...

If the media is just a cheerleader for an authoritarian populist, who isn't that popular, then we're in a sorry state. The media has to be critical - it has to scrutinize it, it has to call out things. more...

I think, ironically, the media's been good for America, but Trump's been good for the media. He's revitalized The New York Times and CNN - it's never had so much integrity and so much power ever, and that's because being attacked by constant authoritarians and fascists with an agenda has actually got them to sharpen up and to get back to base principles about what the media should actually be. It's also that the circulation boost has removed this horrible, incipient commercial pressure that compromises media. more...

In America I think we need to move towards a social democracy, European-style basically, and I think that in Britain we do as well. more...

We have to accept that capitalism is coming to an end. We can't provide paid employment for people, all the industries with technology are counter-intuitive to profit, and we have to have a transition to the conceptualist society. The only way to do it fairly is as a social democracy, a radical social democracy, which isn't compromised by neo-liberalism and isn't compromised by the rich, and isn't compromised by hegemonic, authoritarian interests: to have that balance between the government, the private sector, and then the individual citizens again. more...

In America, we've got to get back to these base principles of what democracy is. more...

The thing about drugs is that it [dealing] gives people an income to deal with, and it also gives people a compelling drama in their lives that they used to get from the office and the factory, and they're no longer there. What happens if you have everything in the hands of the state, particularly in the line of an authoritarian state, they just give people drugs to keep them doped up, to keep them passive. more...

It's crazy for somebody who's kind of empowered and wealthy like myself to say, "Oh, I don't need to be patronized by the state, I can make my own choices." But I've got things to look forward to, and places to go and if that'd been me there forty years ago, when I was a young kid in Muirhouse, it might've been a different story. more...

If you have no drugs, then you have revolution, and then drugs will be the only thing stopping that. more...

Chicago is seen as everything that Trump detests, which I think kind of reflects really well on the city I think, because it's a mark of what a classy, cool, sort of place it is. You can't tame everyone in America, as much as these people would like to, into some kind of small-town, Southern community. more...

People go to the big urban centres because they have a quality of life, a quality of intellectual inquiry in the big urban centres that you don't necessarily have in smaller, rural communities. I've got loads of friends and relatives that live there. People like living there, bringing up their kids there and all that stuff, but it'd be the death of me. I couldn't be in a small town, ten minutes I'd enjoy it, and then I'd get fed up because you're so constrained and constricted by it. more...

The first time I went to West Virginia I was surprised by how poor it was. It was like north India, there's kids running around in bare feet. The white working class has been disenfranchised as well. It's been disenfranchised by the liberal-left as well as the conservative-right. You really have to get people right across America and Britain and Europe and the world as a whole concentrating on the economic issues that affect them, because when you don't have that, you have all these phony, racist and cultural wars, and sexist wars. more...

We have to concentrate back on: Where is the money going? Where's it been going for the last thirty years? How do we start to redistribute the cake more evenly, and give people opportunities? That's as much about poor white people in West Virginia as it is about poor black people on the Southside of Chicago. more...

I think that a lot of people on the left are gonna get tired of fighting gun laws, so they're gonna embrace gun culture. I think when that happens, you've got serious, serious trouble. more...

Conservatives are giving up on democracy because it's not efficient. They want an autocratic regime. more...

If you continue to transfer the wealth of the population of the planet to a very small amount of people, it becomes untenable at some point, a democracy, because people eventually will realize what's going on. You can only bulls - t people through kinds of media outlets for so long, and eventually you have to physically control them. more...

I think that in the future, as more and more money and wealth goes to the 1 per cent, it's going to polarize into the people who are for and anti-freedom. It's not that they'll have a left and a right wing thing, it's going to be a freedom and anti-freedom polarization, I think. more...

I don't think that the Scots are happy to drift into Britain becoming the poorest of the poor, sub-American 51st state. more...

These days you can't write anybody off. If anybody is a right-wing populist, you can't write them off now because that is the rising tide of our time. more...

I think that Europe has to get its act together very quickly. The Belgian guy who's leading the negotiations against Brexit, he sees it as a whole chance to reboot Europe and reclaim the kind of social mission of Europe from all this corporate, bureaucratic, globalist stuff that has got into, building Europe for the people rather than the banks, again. more...

I think that the Brexit negotiations have to be a big thing that determines the democratic fight-back and galvanizes democratic Europe again against this rising tide of nationalism. more...

I can't stand still; I find it very difficult to sit around and do nothing. I've got to have projects on the go because the devil makes work for idle hands. I've got to be going forward all the time. more...

If I don't have something to do, I'm not the kind of person who can sit on a beach on holiday. I've got to go and check things out and see things and look at things, and have some kind of itinerary in my mind. I think that a lot of people who are, in some ways, successful are kind of like that. more...

If I stop working and publishing, and TV, and film and all that, I would be dead within a couple of weeks. I don't really have that kind of off-switch. more...

I think [Ecstasy] was a really good stab. It wasn't my strongest book or my strongest material, but they wanted to make a kinda "rave culture" movie. more...

[Ecstasy] had its flaws, but again it was shot on a low budget, and they did well. It's not in the same league as Filth. more...

I mean Filth is the best British film since Trainspotting. It might even be better. I keep watching it back to back with Trainspotting to try and work out which is the best. I can't split them. more...

We were looking for someone who could get the film [Filth] made at that kind of level, with the finance we wanted, and we spoke to a lot of people. When I met James [McAvoy] in the Soho Hotel with Jon Baird, the director, he looked about ten years old. I thought there's no way he's going to be a forty-year-old divorced alcoholic cop. I thought, really lovely guy, I'll let him and John talk and see if they get on. more...

The first of the Trainspotting crew to die. Out of the five of them like, Begbie, Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and [Margaret] Thatcher. Who'd have thunk she'd have been the first to go? She was the invisible author of the book, really. She created the conditions and the hubris whereby that whole culture flourished. more...

[Margaret Thatcher] was the invisible hand behind it. Without that, there'd be no Trainspotting and no Filth. more...

It was quite life-affirming, for me, that I felt hat kind of pity for [Margaret Thatcher], because I didn't think I ever would. more...

The celebration of death is not a good thing. Fetishizing death isn't a good thing. You should be celebrating life and enjoying it and all that. more...

It's interesting - you had [George] Osborne crying at [Margaret Tatcher] funeral. She would have been the first person, she would have read these tears as being as fake as the smiles of his predecessors when they knifed her in the back. more...

I've always felt really good about England. I've always felt really, really good about Britain. more...

It's the UK: We have to get beyond that imperialist state. I think that kind of imperialist, hierarchical, elitist state has made it easier to basically shaft everybody in the country, which it's been doing for the last thirty years. It has also sort of made it more difficult for England to fulfill its destiny, which in my mind is creating a multi-ethnic, multicultural society that is truly at the head of that post-imperial commonwealth ideal. I think that that's what England should be and that that's the kind of nation we should be. more...

I think Scotland's got its own issues, in some ways similar to Northern Ireland with sectarianism, which has been a long-running sore. All the issues of land ownership, development resources, poverty, alcoholism and violence, all these things. more...

If there's very strong civic unrest you can see a strong party of the Right emerging, whether it's UKIP [The UK Independence Party] or an even further-right party. more...

I think UKIP [ UK Independence Party] and the BNP [British National Party] are very, very English concerns. If they gather strength they're going to add to this schism between Scotland and England. more...

Nothing is covered adequately by the BBC. The BBC has become the biggest disappointment - they're just so terrified. And in a way it's not their fault: the parties have used them as a political football. more...

Their [BBC] idea of bipartisanship is to try not to offend the Conservative party, try not to offend the Labour party.There is no analysis of anything beyond that, and these two parties are exactly identical, following the same Neoliberal policies for thirty years. And it's no criticism outside of that, it's just that there's basically sectarian pandering to these two individual parties, these two individual organisations. They still make a lot of great programmes and do a lot of great things, but there's not much political analysis happening broader to that. more...

In some ways, you can say that at any time in any writer's career: 'He might have run out of ideas.' more...

I can't really say - if I've run out of ideas until I've had my next set of ideas. more...

I don't see [ Trainspotting ] as an albatross, I see it more as a calling card. It's got me out to Hollywood, I've got a good agent, I've got a good manager, I'm getting a lot of work out there and doing a lot of stuff - getting a lot of film projects on the go. more...

It's all been quite a revitalizing process for me, being out there in the States. It wouldn't have happened without Trainspotting. more...

The subsequent success levels, all the other stuff [after Trainspotting], it comes at a much higher level. more...

I'm not really interested in courting controversy, but I am interested in exploring issues that other people would deem to be controversial. more...

If it's something that I feel uncomfortable with, that's a reason for me to write it. I kind of like to make myself feel uncomfortable. I think if you're starting to feel uncomfortable with something when you're writing it, that's the reason really to push on with it. more...

I think there is a natural thing that you feel when you've written something taboo because you just don't want to expose the people you're close to. more...

I think that there are just so many people that can't afford not to have Obama win. He's gotten so many disenfranchised people back into the political system that if he didn't win, the disillusionment in America and the idea of more of the same failed policies of the last eight years [2000-2008], internationally and domestically, would be so bad for the country and the world as a whole. more...

People are really excited by Obama abroad because he seems to be the first American presidential candidate who has ambition to go out of the country. In a sense, with the power of globalization, you are kind of electing the leader of the Western world to an extent. more...

How stagnant and tepid the whole British political scene is now is just beyond belief. more...

Just lock myself in a room, stop answering emails, stop answering the phone and I come out with something. more...

When I go to places and do book tours, I don't really like doing traditional bookshops. It's nice to walk people through something instead of just standing up in a bookstore. more...

You can argue about violence. It's destructive, but people are inherently violent in a lot of ways. Abusing drugs is always bad for people and bad for society, but the whole notion of festival is tied up with intoxication. more...

People love talking about their jobs. Take them out, buy them lunch or take them for a beer and they'll talk about their job, provided they know that you're going to respect their anonymity. more...

I'm not interested in details that might get someone into trouble. I'm more interested in generalities rather than the particulars, as a journalist would be. Names, dates and times don't interest me at all. I'm interested in feelings and emotions. Most people are game, once they realize that you're on the level as far as that's concerned and you're not about exposing them, then they feel quite free to talk about it. Police officers and social workers are no exception. more...

You write people as human beings first and then the gender specific stuff second. more...

The readers get younger all the time, and we're getting older. more...

The books that are really valuable are the books that evoke a sense of place. more...

I can see why the Russians love Robert Burns, I think that Russians and Koreans have a very similar outlook to Scots. more...

When you're in your twenties, it's the last time you have the chance to experiment with multiple identities, to decide who you're going to be in life. more...

You know, people tend to get stereotyped for about forty percent of their behavior, so if you're completely crazy forty percent of the time you'll get stereotyped as crazy, even if you're totally boring thirty percent of the time and just studious the other thirty percent of the time. more...

In the cross-over, you get to a point where you realize that you've got all this genetic inheritance, and you've got all this social conditioning, but there is a point where you do have to make a choice, and that's the optimist in me: you have the freedom to make a choice about how you are going to be, and what you're going to do. more...

I think of the women I know, and very few of them are obsessed with shopping, or with getting a guy - they want their own thing, they have their own network going on. more...

Most people with good jobs, middle-class occupations, what have you, are only one pitfall away from social embarrassment and destitution. It's so precarious. Even salaried people in the West now feel this sense of being trapped, not having the freedom to strike out. more...

You've got first-generation Americans here who are going to be poorer than their parents. That's never happened in the States before, and it's going to have massive social repercussions here. more...

Most people in the West are not politicized. They're the most simplistic consumers - they're animals, basically. more...

I was in Athens for a football match when 9/11 went down, and it was quite spectacular - we went into this bar and tried to find out what happened, and the bartender said "it's only the American and the Arabs. They're not big football nations." So the feeling was, what's it got to do with us? Why are football games being cancelled in Europe? The intelligentsia in the West feel like they have to figure out the significance of it all, whereas people have other pressing concerns, related to basic needs. more...

When you look at the whole explosion of the Internet, the decline of print journalism, there are all of these plus-or-minus ramifications, and you have to work it out. The great thing about books is that you have a tactile thing that's there. You can download this or download that, but how long do you want to be staring at a screen for the rest of your life? You've got to have some kind of proper interface for people that's not about the screen. more...

People even split up by text message, they dump each other by text. Everything seems so disposable, so throwaway, but you have to engage with that if you're writing about the modern world. You've also got all these pop references that you feel obligated to make. They're just part of the bricolage of the whole thing, whether or not these are actually significant elements themselves. more...

I can see myself wanting to write a historical novel - you don't need to worry about references to reality TV or pop music, you can just get on with the basics of story and character. more...

There's no one way of telling a story or looking at reality, so I think any device is up for grabs as long as it fits in with the tone. more...

I've always got a book in my hands, a novel in my hands. The more I get into film, the more paranoid I get that I'm going to stop seeing things. more...

When you start off with your first book, people assume that you're like all the characters in the book - and it does complicate things, when you're being constantly bombarded with it, but you have to embrace it. more...

You're never going to get beyond other people's preconceptions of what you are and what you're about. more...

I'm quite comfortable now with being misunderstood. I don't really feel the need either to pander to it or to refute it. Just go on, and do what I've got to do. more...

It's nae good blamin' it oan the English fir colonising us. Ah don't hate the English. They're just wankers. We can't even pick a decent vibrant, healthy culture to be colonised by. more...

Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mindnumbing 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. more...

Choose life ... I chose not to choose life. I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin? more...

We start off with high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we're all going to die, without really finding out the big answers. We develop all those long-winded ideas which just interpret the reality of our lives in different ways, without really extending our body of worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short disappointing life; and then we die. We fill up our lives with shite, things like careers and relationships to delude ourselves that it isn't all totally pointless. more...

don't let jesus in. AA is just one obsession replaced with another more...


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