Irvine Welsh was born in Leith, the port area of the Scottish capital Edinburgh. He states that he was born in 1958, though, according to the Glasgow police, his birth record is dated around 1951. When he was four, his family moved to Muirhouse, in Edinburgh, where they stayed in local housing schemes. His mother worked as a waitress. His father was a dock worker in Leith until bad health forced him to quit, after which he became a carpet salesman; he died when Welsh was 25. Welsh left Ainslie Park High School when he was 16 and then completed a City and Guilds course in electrical engineering. He became an apprentice TV repairman until an electric shock persuaded him to move on to a series of other jobs. He left Edinburgh for the London punk scene in 1978, where he played guitar and sang in The Pubic Lice and Stairway 13, the latter a reference to the Ibrox disaster. A series of arrests for petty crimes and finally a suspended sentence for trashing a North London community centre inspired Welsh to correct his ways. He worked for Hackney London Borough Council in London and studied computing with the support of the Manpower Services Commission.
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