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Reheated Cabbage by Irvine Welsh

Reheated Cabbage (edition 2009)

by Irvine Welsh

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1371787,614 (3.36)1
Title:Reheated Cabbage
Authors:Irvine Welsh
Info:Jonathan Cape (2009), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:Scotland, domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, Christmas, short stories

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Reheated Cabbage: Tales of Chemical Degeneration by Irvine Welsh



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Reheated Cabbage (Tales of chemical degeneration).

Within this book, all bar one of the stories have appeared before. The majority having been published in an assortment of magazines and compilations, described by the author, "as toe-curling Scotsploitation & drugsploitation anthologies that were prevalent in the 90's".

This collection of eight stories, starts with A fault on the line, in which the main character's desire to watch the football at all costs, results in his wife's legs being ripped off by a speeding train & whilst on the ambulance journey to the hospital, he is working out how he can watch the footie. In the second tale (Catholic guilt), we meet Joe, probably the most homophobic, gay-bashing individual ever to darken the pages of a book, who dies whilst having sex with his mate's sister. The story ends with him condemned to spend eternity buggering men he has known, as penance for his ways. Then we get to the third tale (Elspeth's boyfriend) in which Welsh reintroduces us to Begbie. Francis Begbie is the most psychotically toxic & malevolent character that Irvine Welsh ever created. He first came to my notice in "Trainspotting" where he would lob full pint glasses over a balcony onto the people below, as a prelude to starting a fight. In this tale, it's xmas at his mums house & Begbie ends up nutting his sisters fiancé, for the crime of ------- saving him from choking to death (he slaps him on the back).

"Ah smacks the nut ontae the cunt, n eh faws back, hudin ehs face. Thaire's screams fae the women n the bairns n Joe's ower n ehs goat a grip ay ma airm . --- what ur fuckin daein, Franco? The boy helped ye! Eh saved yir fuckin life!

Eh battered ays oan the back in muh ma's hoose! Nae cunt lays thair hands oan me! In muh ma's hoose, oan Christmas day!

And so on, in the 4th tale, we meet a misogynist, in the 5th, Aliens addicted to embassy cigarettes & speaking with Scottish accents (Midlothian), who want to replace the world's leaders with Scottish thugs. The 6'th, we have two mates carrying around the corpse of an old friend. In the 7'th two guys fight over a girl, then after a pint & a few pills realise their friendship matters more.

Which leads us to the final tale & the only new tale in this collection, "I am Miami". In this story Albert Black, a once puritanical schoolteacher, although now retired & living with his son in Miami, spends his time reading the bible & denouncing all the hedonism & sinfulness around him, alienating himself from his family & pretty much everyone he comes into contact with. This is until one day he bumps into an old pupil, now a successful DJ & through a combination of events (& drugs), he realises how hard he has been on everybody, himself included & that because of his strictness as a teacher, the pupils understood he never gave up on them. So this story ends on a note of redemption, even if it's only because the ex pupils had taken Ecstasy & not their usual Cocaine, which as one of them says, would probably have ended with them kicking the shit out of their old teacher.

I was going to be facetious & state that this book should be translated into English, but that would be doing it & myself a disservice, although a lot is written in the patois of Welsh's Edinburgh roots, the rhythm of it soon becomes natural & easy to follow & in the process shades in the characters, adding another dimension to them. This is necessary, as to find any redeeming features in this cast of misanthropic, misogynistic drug & drink addled individuals is going to take every trick in the writer's repertoire. Thankfully Irvine Welsh's tricks bag is full, this book is overflowing with humour, some of it sly, sneaking up on you when you least expect it (Catholic guilt) & some of it coming right up and smashing you in the guts with a baseball bat (The Rosewell incident), but all of it full of zest, full of an energy that screams life. I will add one proviso, if you are the slightest bit shocked or offended by tales of extreme sex, drugs & mindless violence, or of a language that's so caustic it could strip flesh! Do not touch this, for everyone else, this collection of short stories is very dark, very bitter & very, very funny & also when you least expect it, very moving.

http://parrishlantern.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/irvine-welsh.html ( )
  parrishlantern | Jul 2, 2012 |
Aw these gadgies whinging aboot the lingo, can get tae f*ck, ken? Kelman didnae hiv tae put wi aw this shite frae fannies like yooz.. Mibees you'd prefer Burns if the c*nt wrote in English? Mibees you'd be happier if language wis jist wan dreary middle class middle English monotone? Mibees wideos like yooz prefer your stories aboot the workin classes tae be aboot things yi can get behind? Life isnae aywis a f*cking Mike Leah movie, and the workin classes arenae there to appeal to your middle class prejudices either. So git yir heed's oot yir arses and gie yirsefl a shake. And more to the point, give Welsh another go and please don't dismiss great literature because you're finding it a challenge. Didn't stop you reading A Clockwork Orange did it? ( )
1 vote Stefbp72 | Feb 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
After reading Trainspotting (and then later seeing the film adaptation), I was looking forward to more of Irvine Welsh's stories -- and that's pretty much what I ended up with: more of the same. I've picked up and put down this collection about 15 times since it turned up in my mailbox, and I'm not sure that it's really worth the trouble. ( )
  cornerhouse | May 3, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Irvine Welsh's uncanny ability to present deeply flawed, twisted characters in an honest and humorous way—without pulling punches or offering extranarrative psychological justifications of the characters' personality or actions—is on fine display in many of the gritty, dingy works in this collection. That said, it was difficult to retain interest in some stories (especially the longer ones), while one or two seemed very rough around the edges, even accounting for Welsh's trademark "raw" style. All in all, it's worth flipping through for some of the character studies, but it is a bit uneven throughout. ( )
  andrewa121 | Jul 18, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Like commodoremarie, I have not read or seen any other works by Welsh. I requested this book from Early Reviewers because it was categorized as "Humor".

After struggling through the first story, I found that humor is a very subjective manner. I probably would have enjoyed this book as an audio book instead of a regular book. Trying to read it as written detracted from the stories themselves. ( )
  Tygerlander | Feb 10, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393338029, Paperback)

Never-collected tales, including outrageous early stories from the Trainspotting years, plus a raucous new novella.

Reheated Cabbage gathers stories showcasing Irvine Welsh’s trademark skills: vaulting imagination, brilliant vernacular ear, scabrous humor, and the ability to create some of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction. You can enjoy Christmas dinner with Begbie at his Ma’s and see how he greets his sister’s boyfriend and news of their engagement. You’ll discover in “The Rosewell Incident” why aliens speak hardcore Scots English and plan to put Midlothian roughs in charge of the planet. And you’ll be delighted to welcome back “Juice” Terry Lawson and now internationally famous DJ Carl Ewart, and watch them as they meet an old nemesis, retired schoolmaster Albert Black, under the strobe lights of a Miami Beach nightclub. These stories, most first published in small magazines and out-of-print anthologies, are all wildly offbeat and will delight both fans of and newcomers to Welsh’s world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

SHORT STORIES. Enjoy Christmas dinner with Begbie, and see how warmly Franco greets his sister's boyfriend and the news of their engagement. You will discover, in "The Rosewell Incident", how aliens addicted to Embassy Regal have Midlothian under surveillance, and plan to install the local casuals as the new governors of Planet Earth. You will not be surprised to read that a televised Hibs v. Hearts game might matter more to one character than the life of his wife, or that two guys fighting over a beautiful girl might agree - on reflection, and after a few pills and many pints of lager - that their friendship is actually more important. And you will be delighted to welcome back 'Juice' Terry Lawson, and to watch what happens when he meets his old nemesis, retired schoolmaster Albert Black, under the strobe-lights of a Miami Beach nightclub. Most of the stories in "Reheated Cabbage" originally appeared in fugitive form in magazines and long-out-of-print anthologies.… (more)

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