Lou Reed: the man

The lately lamented Lou Reed is the songster of Perfect Day, on which Trainspotting the film pivots: it ruins the film and it makes it, depends how you are reading it. To play Perfect Day when a young man is in a dangerous overdose is perverse and cruel. That’s if you are letting the on-screen narrative dominate what’s happening. On the other hand, if you allow the mood of the music to dominate, it becomes clearer: oblivion is a perfect day for a junkie who finds everyday life unbearably overpowering. And the heroin itself issues its own warning: ‘You shall reap just as you sow’. It’s all there. Thanks to Lou Reed for the song, and thanks to Danny Boyle for his genius and courage in making it the soundtrack for the overdose scene. And by the way, did you notice that the needle goes into Renton’s arm at exactly the mid-point in the running time of the film? Only geeks like me notice that sort of thing. Andrew MacDonald (producer) tells me it wasn’t planned that way.
More on this in the last chapter I have to finish, and I’m working on it now: Trainspotting the film.

Do the math!

My aim is to write a 70,000-word book. This follows that each section, or chapter, has an allocated percentage. Writing a potted history of Leith in 7,000 is a challenge. The aim is to demonstrate a) that Scotland is not England, and Leith is not Edinburgh, and b) that in consequence Leith has always been an edgy, exciting place to live in. I could write far too many words on pre-20th century history. It’s a problem, because I have really good information on just how badly Leith was treated after WW2, how Irvine Welsh’s generation was the generation without a cause. So a lot of the early stuff is being saved for another time – and while I’m writing about Leith 1950 – 1990 I feel the despair and resentment that, in part, Welsh was writing about in Trainspotting. If you have any insight or information to share with me I’ll be pleased to have it. But time is running out – the drafts are getting finalised.