World needs love, says ‘Trainspotting’ author

The world would be a better place if everybody had someone to love,» Scottish writer Irvine Welsh told the press yesterday in Athens. Can this be the same man who rode to fame with the gritty novel «Trainspotting» which explored the underworld of Edinburgh? «I know it sounds a bit hippy, but I think love is more important than art. I think that’s what we’re here for,» he said. Welsh was in town on a lightning visit at the invitation of the British Council, where he spoke to the press before presenting his work at Bios on Pireos Street with music mixed for the occasion by DJs Volt Noi and Number 6 and a screening of his cult film. Music was crucial to the style of «Trainspotting,» Welsh explained. «I’d been running rave clubs where people really got into the feel of the music. That was something to do with ecstasy, of course, but I wanted people to feel my writing in a visceral as well as an intellectual way. I didn’t want to use spoken English; it’s good and precise but it’s imperialistic. I went back to Scottish, to street language, using a 4/4 beat to establish a rhythm. I wanted people to trip out on it a bit. But a book is an artifact to be read and it needs characters as well, otherwise it would be mere self-indulgence.» It’s not just love we need, Welsh believes, but an awareness that our lifestyle is not sustainable; we are making ourselves and the world around us sick. «The only valid resistance will come when we’ve satiated ourselves and come to a collective realization that we’re doing harm to our spirit and soul. Authentic spiritual enlightenment will come from that, but we’re not there yet. There’ll be a continual narrowing of horizons until we’re strait-jacketed and have to break out again.» Welsh’s books are published in Greek translation by Oxy publishers.