Few books fulfil the promise of their titles so graphically as Filth by Irvine Welsh says Alan Taylor (9 August ). Yes, things are going badly for this utterly corrupt tribune of the law, but in an Irvine Welsh novel nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get a whole lot worse. Filth. Irvine Welsh, Author W. W. Norton & Company $ (p) ISBN Welsh begins with a detective’s investigation into a murder–the death of a Ghanaian.

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Filth is a masterpiece Promotion is in the offing, he’s got all the booze and drugs he needs, and his various plots aimed at friends and wepsh seem to be working out.

Robertson, compulsive and repulsive by filtg, has only two problems. One is a case of racially-motivated murder on his patch. The other is that there’s a nasty tapeworm in his irvinee and it seems intent on having its say Welsh’s jet-black comedy at once entertains and appals A Penguin Random House Company.

The official website of Irvine Welsh, an acclaimed and often controversial writer of novels, stories and stage and screenplays. Filth With the festive season almost upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Filh is winding down at work and gearing up socially – kicking off Christmas with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam. There are irritating flies in the ointment, though, including a missing wife, a nagging cocaine habit, a dramatic igvine in his genital health, a string of increasingly demanding extra-marital affairs.

The last thing he needs is a messy murder to solve. Still it will mean plenty of overtime, a chance to stitch up some colleagues and finally clinch the promotion he craves. But as Bruce spirals through the lower reaches of degradation and evil, he encounters opposition – in the form of truth and ethical conscience – from the most unexpected quarter of all: In Bruce Robertson, Welsh has created one of the most corrupt, misanthropic characters in contemporary fictionand has written a dark, disturbing and very funny novel about sleaze, power, and the abuse of everything.

At last, a novel that lives up to its name. The trouble with wslsh like him is that they think that they can brush off people like me. Like I was nothing.

They don’t understand the type of world we’re living in now; all those menaced souls clamouring for attention and recognition. He was a very arrogant young man, so full of himself. Irine he’s groaning, blood spilling thickly from the wounds in his head and his yellow, unfocused eyes are gandering around, desperately trying to find clarity, some meaning in the bleakness, the darkness around him.

Thieving, rape, drugs. And that’s just the police

It must be lonely. He’s trying to speak now. What is it that he is trying to say to me? Or was it help please hospital? It doesn’t really matter, that little point of detail because his life is ebbing away: You pushed me away mister. You tricked me and spoiled things between me and my true love. I’ve seen you before.


Long ago, just lying there as you are now. I was glad then and I’m glad now. I reach into my bag and I pull out my claw hammer.

Part of me is elsewhere as I’m bringing it down on his head. He can’t resist my blows. They’d done him in good, the others. After two fruitless strikes I feel a surge of euphoria on my third as his head bursts open. His blood fairly skooshes out, covering his face like an oily waterfall and driving me into a frenzy; I’m smashing at his head welwh his skull is cracking and opening and I’m digging the claw urvine into the matter of his brain and it smells but that’s only him pissing and shitting and the fumes are sticking fast in the still winter air and I wrench the hammer out, and stagger backwards to watch his twitching death throes, seeing him coming from terror to that graceless state of someone who knows that he is definitely falling and I feel myself losing my balance in those awkward shoes and I correct myself, turning and moving down the old stairway into the street.

Out on the pavement it’s very cold and totally deserted. I look at a tin-foil carton with a discarded filtu left in it. Someone has pished in its remains and rice floats on a small freezing reservoir welsg urine.

The cold has slipped into my bones with every step down the road jarring, making me feel like I’m going to splinter. Flesh and bone seem separate, as if a void exists between them. There’s no fear ircine regret but no elation or sense of triumph either. It’s just a job that had to be done. The Games Woke up this morning.

Woke up into the job. It’s all around you; a constant, enclosing absorbing gel. And when you’re in the job, you look out at life through that distorted lens. Sometimes, aye, you get your wee zones of relative freedom to retreat into, those light, delicate spaces where new things, different, better things can be perceived of as possibles.

Suddenly you see that those zones aren’t there any more. They were getting smaller, you knew that. You knew that some day you’d have to get round to doing something about it. When did this happen? The realisation came some time after. It doesn’t really matter how long it took: The zones got smaller and smaller until they didn’t exist, and all that’s left behind is the residue.

The games are the only way you can survive the job. Everybody has their wee vanities, their own little conceits. My one is that nobody plays the games like me, Bruce Robertson.

Robertson, soon to be D. The games are always, repeat, always, being played. Most times, in any organisation, it’s expedient not to acknowledge their existence.

But they’re always there. Now I’m sitting with a bad nut and Toal’s thriving on this.

I’ve been fucking busy and he’s told me to be here, not asked, mind you, told. I got it all from Ray Lennox who was first on the scene with some uniformed spastics. Aye, I got it all from young Ray but Toal of course needs his audience. Behind the times Toalie boy, be-hind the blessed times. He paces up and down like one of those fuckin Inspector Morse type of cunts. His briefings are the closest to action the spastic gets.


Then he sits back down on his arse, petulant because fikth are still filing in. Respect and Toal go together like fish and chocolate ice cream, whatever the spastic deludes himself by choosing to think.

Filth :: Books :: Irvine Welsh Official Website

I got three sheets last night and this lighting is fi,th my heid and my bowels are as greasy as a hoor’s chuff at the end of a shift doon the sauna. I fart silently but ifvine swiftly to the other side of the room. The technique is to let the fart ooze out a bit before you head off, or you just take it with fulth in your troosers tae the next port of call.

It’s like the fitba, you have to time your runs. My friend and neighbour, Tom Stronach, a professional footballer and a fanny-merchant extraordinaire, knows all about that.

Not a magic name. Not a name to conjure with. Talking of timing, Gus Bain arrives, red-faced fae Crawford’s with the sausage rolls. He’s passing them around and looking like a spare prick at a hoors’ convention as Toal starts his brief.

Niddrie’s looking on in the usual disapproving manner of the bastard. My fart-gas has wafted over to him. He’s waving it away ostentatiously and he thinks it’s fucking Toal! Toal stands up and clears his throat: He was found on Playfair Steps at around five o’clock this morning by council refuse workers. We suspect that he lives in the London area but there is at present no positive identification.

Lennox was down at the morgue last night with me, he says, nodding to young Ray Lennox who wisely keeps his features set in neutrality in order no tae flag selsh up as a target wels the hatred and loathing which floats aroond this room like a bad fart.

My bad fart, most likely. There was a time when we could exempt each other from that hatred and loathing. I feel a bit light, then it’s like my brain starts to birl in my head sending my thoughts and emotions cascading around.

I sense them emptying into something approximating a leaky bucket which is drained before I can examine its contents. And Toal’s high, sharp voice, reaching into filtg. This is where he starts to play silly buggers.

He was in the Jammy Joe’s disco until three a. That was when he was last qelsh alive. We can perhaps assume that our man felt irvin much an outsider, alone in a strange city which seemed to have excluded him. Typical Toal, concerned with the state of mind of the cunt that got murdered. Fancies himself as an intellectual. This is Toal we are talking about here.