Cultural Life: Irvine Welsh, novelist

 

Books

Billy Collins' Nine Horses, a beautiful collection from an amazing poet. Impossible to analyze poetry, you either get or you don't, it's the deep trance music of literature. Have gone back to Charles Simic recently too. On the novel side, I'm catching up on my Carl Hiaasen. Reading a lot of lesbian fiction as the main characters in my current book are both gay women. I reread Nelson Algren's The Man with the Golden Arm.

Film

John Carter, a great ketamine movie. I also saw Young Adult, which was great, and re-watched that underrated classic Hot Tub Time Machine on DVD, much better than The Hangover. Have seen Ecstasy a few times, obviously, it's like Sex and the City but with young people and drugs instead of old people and BlackBerrys.

Music

How to Kill a Butterfly by Band of Holy Joy, what a brilliant album. "The Repentant" manages to be sad, harrowing and funny all at the same time. Don't Stand Me Down by Dexys Midnight Runners, which I've gotten back into in anticipation of the new Dexys album, which will be brilliant on the strength of the track Kevin Rowland let me hear in advance.

Television

America's Biggest Loser, there's something uplifting about seeing really fat people shedding loads of weight and thanking god and their personal trainer, when they previously thanked only god for the bountiful feast McDonald's provided.

'Skagboys' by Irvine Welsh is out now

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