Skagboys by Irvine Welsh

To make it clear, Skagboys is a rather lengthy 550-page long prequel to Trainspotting, published some 20 years or so after the original hit the shelves and corrupted the minds of millions – and given the fact that Porno, a 2002 sequel to the same Rents/Sick Boy/Begbie routine was so-and-so (I couldn't read it, so I just listened to a shortened audiobook instead), hopes were not too high.

Despite being a little bit slow at the beginning (I tried to start reading it three times, and only the 3rd attempt got me past Chapter 1), the book caught up with me somewhat later, and got me pretty much immersed in it till the very end.

My call – the absolute peak of the novel is a chapter called Chute, a standalone story about Nicksy, rather a secondary character than the main crew, a brilliant piece of literature in its own right – brutal, raw, jaw twisting, gripping, and showing that grandpa Irvine hasn't lost his form yet. After such intensity through, a comedown was imminent – and there was a prolonged, I'd say, even dragging pace-killer of Renton's 100-page rehab diary.

The very end of the book was a tiny bit disappointing, as with all my love and devotion to Welsh, I didn't like at all his poorly hidden winks and nods at the T-novel and the T-movie – had a lame taste, if you ask me – but nah, what can you do in a prequel.

Overall, hard as it seems to believe, I still adore these dirty, incorrect, abusive, and violent crime/sex/addiction stories of Leith's troubled youth – and probably not to a lesser extent than when I first read them, after I'd bought a copy of Ecstasy in 1996 in the old Zwemmer's bookstore on Kuznetsky, once I had found out about Mr. W's world in Птюч magazine. Oh well, these days are long gone.

If you don't wanna read the whole of Skagboys – well, read just Chute, it's awesome.

The Walking Dead vol. 111 by Robert Kirkman et al

This “you got no guts” thing is soooo Citizen Noxie, hehe.


The Juliette Society by Sasha Grey

Reading a couple of articles about Sasha Grey's recent visit to Russia and her support for Pussy Riot (though with Sasha Grey, it's a pun of words in itself), I realized Ms. Grey has just published a book – and, surprise, surprise – not a typical autobiography describing hard youth and then a working gal's sweaty days in the trade, but a full fledged fiction novel. Wow. So I've tricked amazon into believing I am now living in London (typically, they think I'm in the US, but the US edition isn't out yet), bought a copy for 4 quid and started reading. (Even put down Skagboys that I am reading now on a quick hold.)

Well, after reading a number of website reviews, I was expecting an erotic novel of sorts, a fifty shades, the Story of O or so kinda thing, but written by a much more experienced girl. (BTW, I still haven't read Pauline Reage – and for sure I haven't read E.L. James, as 50 million housewives couldn't get it wrong, if you get my drift – this book is forever off limits.)

Kindle says 100%, and I have three topics to mention.

First, sex – I would've been surprised if there wasn't a pinch of it. I guess Mr. Kubrick changed the perspective on sexual fantasies for quite a few people with that Tom Cruise movie, huh, Sasha inclusive. To my mind though, this book ain't so erotic – graphic sometimes, maybe, but not erotic, as Sasha is way too reflexive and not so straightforward.

Second, a big theme in the novel is Sasha's big screen aspiration, love for the non-porn celluloid, and her movie student career. Her numerous references to a few great films of the past are too simple and plain for my taste, far from the undeniable truths and insight of the Bambi book by the revered David Mamet, and nowhere near the rage with which Pat Bateman talks about Phil Collins's music, but still quite fun, especially given Sasha's very own cinematic past.

And, third, the end of it had a little bit of Kill List aftertaste – but just a tiny whiny bit. And all too predictable. Anyway, no spoilers!

Overall, a very quick read – and don't forget, that ain't a fake E.L. James story, that's Sasha Grey – and she must know her shit on the subject )))) Not even close to Venus in Furs, probably the greatest erotic obsessions novel I have read, but still, a decent try.

Plot is always subservient to character. Always, always, always and without fail. […] Just as an aside, there is one type of movie, and only one, that doesn't conform. One genre that flagrantly breaks the rule. Not only breaks it, but turns it on its head, just because it can, and it doesn't give a fuck: the porn movie. But let's not go there.