The “authorities”, or the “establishment”, are really changing their tune about Irvine Welsh. Twenty years ago he was a flash-in-the-pan author with a foul mind who celebrated hard drugs. Now that he has said his next work of fiction is to be in the area of American gun culture, look at a recent editorial with this heading in The Scotsman, no less:

“Our world view is shaped by many factors, but books, films, and other works of art play a significant part. Abraham Lincoln reportedly greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe with ‘so you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this war’ after Uncle Tom’s Cabin laid bare the horrors of slavery for many in pre-Civil War America; John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath exposed Depression-era poverty; and George Orwell’s 1984 remains a powerful warning about the dangers of totalitarianism.

“Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting was a publishing sensation that got people talking about drug addicts in a different way. If his draft of a novel about gun violence in the US and the ‘unhealed wounds in American society’ has anything like the same appeal, we may have another title to add to the relatively small list of genuinely life-changing books.”

Having got himself on the Roll of Honour once, he’s being asked to do it again. Nae pressure, then, Big Man, eh?