06 March 2019 Posted By : Jason Sheehan

'Dead Men's Trousers' Takes The Trainspotting Crew For A Last, Too-Long Ride

Yeah, Irvine Welsh is back.

I mean, never really gone, right? Not with, like, a dozen books to his credit. So more apt, perhaps, to say that his most famous creations are back. The OG trainspotting crew: Begbie, Renton, Sick Boy and Spud. They already got a prequel (Skagboys), a sequel (Porno), a spin-off (The Blade Artist), and now this, Dead Men's Trousers, which Welsh himself is calling "the grand finale of Trainspotting."

That's bittersweet if you're a fan — happy that there's one more romp for the pride of Leith, sure, but sad because it's (allegedly) the end. But really, it's time. It's due. And DMT, though it has some problems — though it is absolutely 100% showing its snarling, wheezing age (in good ways and bad) — is a surprisingly fitting send-off. Someone dies by the end of it. Lots of someones, actually, but one that really matters. A copious amount of drugs are done. That language — that rock-mouthed, mushy, dense Scottish radge slang that made Welsh's name back in the day — works the same as it always has. It's musical, propulsive, both brilliant and maddening, sensible only when your eyes are half focused; when you hear it rolling off the page rather than trying to read it straight. That bit at the top there? That's Franco Begbie, putting the capstone on all criticisms of his creator. Breaking the 4th wall just a touch. Saying what we've all been thinking all these years. I mean, the drug stuff? Sure. Do it or don't, but do you have to talk about it so much, Irvine?

It's buried deep, that line, but it is the logical answer to Trainspotting's original "Choose life" riff. It is the old man's grouch. The survivor's impatience with those who just can't stop blabbing about their trauma. It's the ending the series deserved, got, then plugged on for another hundred-odd pages of blood, death, cocaine, middle-age and regret.

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