The Seal Club – Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh, John King
The Seal Club is a three-novella collection by the authors Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh and John King, three stories that capture their ongoing interests and concerns, stories that reflect bodies of work that started with Morvern Callar, Trainspotting and The Football Factory – all best-sellers, all turned into high-profile films.
In Warner’s Those Darker Sayings, a gang of Glaswegian nerds ride the mainline trains of northern England on a mission to feed the habit of their leader Slorach. Frustrated, cynical and a big disappointment to his family, Slorach is also a man of great intelligence and deep knowledge, a British Rail timetables call-centre guru who just happens to be addicted to gambling machines. And pubs. Welcome to the world of the quiz-machine casual.
In Welsh’s Atrocity Exhibition, a terminally ill woman’s family gather in Edinburgh for her last Christmas, but everyone needs to be on their best behaviour, and that includes her son Frank, recently released from prison and trying to forge a new life as an artist. Also present is his brother Joe, who arrives in a state of alcoholic dissolution. The ultimate nightmare family-Christmas looms, where secrets and lies explode like fireworks.
In King’s The Beasts Of Brussels, thousands of thirsty Englishmen assemble in the EU capital ahead of a football match against Belgium, their behaviour monitored by two media professionals who spout different politics but share the same interests. Meanwhile, a small crew of purists run the gauntlet in Germany, eager to join the fun. As order breaks down and the Establishment rages, we are left to identify the true beasts of the story.
The Seal Club is maverick, outspoken fiction for the 2020s. It will make you think and it will make you smile.