ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Irvine Welsh’s Guilty Pleasures

Irvine Welsh’s Guilty Pleasures

Irvine Welsh’s Guilty Pleasures
11 September 2013

Mark Millar. John Niven. The late Iain Banks. The Scottish have a significant talent when it comes to producing deliciously dark word smiths. One of the most macabre and successful of all is Irvine Welsh, author of gritty must-reads including Trainspotting, Filth, Porno and Skagboys.

In an effort to find out what makes this darkest of minds tick, ShortList quizzed Welsh on his guilty pleasures, from heartbreak magazines to the unholy sounding haggis burrito. In all, he's a frightfully normal bloke...


Yes, it's pathetic, but I love to get in touch with the part of me who is 13 years old, living at my mums, loaded with hormones and highly desirous of every woman I see, but has as much chance of popping his cherry as Hearts F.C. do of avoiding liquidation. Fortunately, there are plenty opportunities to satiate this side of my persona, many of them provided by Michael Bay and his Transformers franchise. Nobody smashes things up quite so extravagantly, and despite telling myself every single time that this will be my last, I know I'll be back. In fact I was in Detroit this summer when they were filming Transformers 4 and I was already pinning...


Dexter. A fabulous series when it started out, but the premise has been so ludicrously stretched that everybody in Miami is now a serial killer or has dated one. Does this deter me? Not a bit. I have incredible brand loyalty and I'm the ultimate consumer/victim of modern capitalist entertainment. That's why I write so violently against its banalities. So I'll tune in till the bitter end with Dex, while I'm absolutely delighted that it's the last series. Harry's redundant ghost now irritates me, and show is only saved by the over-the-top, super camp guest villains.


Burritos are not health foods. Nor is haggis. But the haggis burrito, perfected by Los Cardos of Leith Walk, Edinburgh, is a thing of subliminal beauty. I now go to the Mexican joints in LA and Chicago and I used to love, and feel short changed because they don't have this on the menu. Sour cream, avocado, cheese and salsa was MADE for MacSween's haggis. It must contain six billion calories, but it's so good I'm guilty about not being guilty.


I'm a sucker for the type of power ballad they use at sporting events, Europe - The Final Countdown, Whitesnake - Here I go Again, Survivor - Eye of the Tiger get the picture. I feel I've already said more than enough and to continue here would be to dig myself in deeper down. Down down, deeper down.


I've been known to browse those terrible celebrity heartbreak magazines in newsagents - through ironic eyes, I stress - just to keep up with the zeitgeist of our decadent and decaying late capitalist consumer world...


Yes - Tales From the Topographic Oceans. I think I've only played the album once, but the sleeve notes are a thing of great beauty. To understand why punk rock happened, you have to open the gatefold sleeve of this album and read.


Jambos Kickback. It's a Hearts fans website, and it's massively entertaining without meaning to be. I can't do the Hibs ones, they just depress me, but other clubs, particular Hearts, I find amazing fun. It's great to find people so passionate to the point of mental derangement about something you couldn't give a toss about.

Irvine Welsh is speaking at the Henley Literary Festival on Tuesday Oct 1 at 6pm in the Kenton Theatre. Tickets, cost £9 each and can be bought at or by phone 01189724700 between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday. ShortList readers can buy two tickets for the price of one by using the code shortlist

(Images: YouTube, Rex)