- The "Notes On An Epidemic" series of chapters, particularly the ones literally concerning the spread of HIV across Edinburgh. While most readers will pick up on obvious name drops such as Matty, the list of infectees also contains some minor characters throughout the Welsh Shared Universe. Such as Julie Mathieson, who Renton briefly eulogises in the following novel and reflects sadly on Begbie's selfish chauvinism towards her, and on her horrible treatment by the neighbours. And unless you're eagle eyed, you won't spot Keezbo either because he's hardly ever referred to as Keith Yule in the main text. The short, pitiless listings underscore the terrible scope of the tragedy.
- George Frenchard is another blink and you'll miss it listing. Remember one of the young brothers of the girl whom Begbie got pregnant? Who only wanted to stand up for her and the baby alongside the other brothers, saw them brutalised and got stabbed in the ribs and stomach by the Generalissimo for his trouble? Yeah, he also succumbed to both skag and the virus. And of course, he remains jobless. Begbie will likely neither know nor give a damn as to the true misery wrought by his crazed behaviour.
- Goagsie is a possible third. In "Held Out" his real name is Gordon. In Notes on an Epidemic 6 there are two Gordons. This is right before the reveal his IS infected in the next chapter.
- The vast majority of infections being down to needle sharing, the large amount of young unemployed in the lists, the secondary causes (blood transfusions, sexual contact, being born to a carrier), the evidence of whole families being wiped out alongside individuals... yup, not a hint of levity to be found anywhere in these chapters.
- Nicksy is desperately rummaging around the bin at the bottom of the rubbish chute to save an abandoned puppy. Besides all the various detritus and gunk, he discovers what first seems to be a bizarre space alien doll. But much to his horror, he realizes that his one-time lover Marsha has done a DIY abortion job (very late along in the pregnancy) and dumped the kid among the garbage. The level of detail and chilling violence done to the poor foetus really hits home.
- Renton referring to Hazel as "the most beautiful person [he's] ever known", then, under the influence of withdrawal, as a "fucked-up frigid wee hoor", underscoring perhaps one of Renton's most genuine and unique relationships ultimately disintegrating as seen in the following novel. The casualty of his revelation in the following book that she's completely dropped him also retroactively underscores how far he's fallen into addiction, that he seems to no longer care much for what he's lost, no matter its value.
Tear Jerker / Skagboys