Trainspotting: Twenty Years Later

Trainspotting: Twenty Years Later

A look back at 1996's heroin-fuelled masterpiece
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It was twenty years ago that Danny Boyle's drug-soaked film adaptation of "Trainspotting" graced cinemas in the United Kingdom and, shortly afterwards, the United States. So, unsurprisingly, with the trailer for a sequel released last week much of the fervour surrounding this cult classic has been revived. With the original cast, including Ewan McGregor's Mark "Rent Boy" Renton (arguably his best character), returning for the sequel it is no wonder that "T2: Trainspotting" has sparked a clamouring of excitement and curiosity amongst longtime fans and newcomers alike.

The artistic and cultural prominence of "Trainspotting" is, at this point, indisputable. An Academy Award nomination for the screenplay, a ranking of number ten out of the top 100 British Films of all time by the British Film Institute, and a vote of being the best Scottish film ever made in a 2004 general poll are only a handful of examples of the critical and public accolades given to the film. Though outside of the United Kingdom it may not be as widely remembered as other popular films of the era it has taken on the mantle of a cult classic. Even drenched in the aesthetic trappings and cultural stereotypes of the 1980s and '90s "Trainspotting" finds relevance and resonance far beyond the time and place of its setting.



The initial impact of "Trainspotting" comes from its embodiment of Thatcherism and post-Thatcher Britain, in Scotland in particular. Margaret Thatcher was, in a way, Britain's Reagan. Her nationalistic, morally absolute conservatism and anti-socialist rhetoric fuelled a consumerist explosion throughout the 1980s that some argue promoted material greed and societal selfishness. Much like Reagan's "idyllic" America, the Britain that Thatcher spawned was one that favoured capitalistic expansion and oversimplified, counter-revolutionary fear-mongering over supportive public programmes and intelligent debate. To this day, in both countries, opponents of any form of socialised policies will often employ the stoically dumbed-down phrases and anecdotes of the Reagan/Thatcher era to support their anti-leftist claims, even if those bumper sticker quotes lack any form of intellectual substance.

As the economic bubble of fast and hard consumerism expanded to its most dangerous limits there were always people left behind. Left to aimlessly wander in the dust of commercialised society run amok. Those left in poverty, those whose families found themselves in the lower strata of this monetary excess often turned to sex, drugs, and music to alleviate the mind-numbing redundancy of a life they saw as prepackaged, plastic rubbish. This is where "Trainspotting" excels, transcending its setting to be a classic of disaffected youth culture and restless angst.



The film stands as a rejection of modern life, a blunt depiction of characters alienated from the grande sweeping gestures of what historians and popular culture define as the overarching elements of the era. The heroin-induced mania of these characters, a desperate form of escapism turned addiction, is presented with a brutal honesty that can, at times, be almost uncomfortable to watch. There are close up shots of heroin injections and the subsequent orgasmic release that the high brings, all taking place in squalor and dilapidation. There is an element of surrealism within "Trainspotting" an artistic and strange representation of the out of this world experiences of the junkies that populate this bleak world.



Moments like the impossibly weird Brian Eno-driven ambience of the toilet scene, where Renton dives into a public toilet only to find himself swimming in what appears to be clean, open water with a bed of smooth stones below, help to remind the viewer that this is a world of junkies and weirdos, people whose perceptions of reality are far from trustworthy narratives. The infamous Junkie Limbo scene, where Renton is forced by his family to quit heroin cold turkey, is particularly jarring. Crammed with hallucinatory, sometimes painful imagery, the effects of withdrawal are presented with an agonisingly, yet still artistically expressive, frankness. It is a scene that stays with the audience, embodying the refusal of censorship in "Trainspotting". There is no dancing around the troubled lives of these young adults, which has prompted some critics over the years to claim that the film glamorises drug culture and strung out characters to the lower classes of society. These critics oftentimes seem to be missing the point.



What makes "Trainspotting" so special, so relevant, even twenty years on is the brutal honesty of its world and characters. It resonates thanks to its refusal to compromise, providing dark humour and bleak reality with random flourishes of the surreal. Addiction, AIDs, death, crime, and moral ambiguity are just facets of the dark shadow of Thatcher's perfectly individualistic, capitalist Britain. It is a story of those left behind by pop culture and society, the people that the posh and the proper sweep under the rug to tidy up their aesthetic. It speaks to the alienated and disaffected with an almost universal appeal, because the world it depicts is one that many in real life find themselves inhabiting.

Cover Image Credit: wallpapercraze.com

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The 10 Most Overrated Halloween Costumes College Girls ALWAYS Choose

Stop rotating the same 5 costumes already, ladies.
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We've all been there. How hard is it to come up with a creative Halloween costume? Or is it? Here are 10 of the most overrated Halloween costumes that you should NEVER do again.

SEE ALSO: 11 Feminist Halloween Costumes You Don't Need Cleavage To Feel Sexy In

1. A cat

It's time to stop.

2. Risky Business


3. Harley Quinn

I get it, Margot Robbie is hot as f***, but you're not so...

4. An athlete

Do you even watch sports? Plus, don't you wear this theme enough at frat parties?

5. Superheroes

One word. basic.

6. Police

Is this so you can blend in when you get arrested?

7. Anything With A tutu

Didn't we wear these enough as babies??

8. aliens?



We get it, you like glitter. Save it for bid day ladies...

9. The Purge

Anything to show some skin while managing to hide your face. Let's face it, Hillary Duff did it best in "Cinderella Story."

10. Anything else that requires ears and a tail

"I'm a mouse, DUH."

Cover Image Credit: Abbey Coleman / Pinterest

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18 Types Of Mini-Golfers You Come Across On An 18-Hole Course

Which type of mini-golfer are YOU?

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Mini-golf: A fun activity that has been around since 1916. We have all played mini-golf before and have probably played a variety of courses over the year. The one thing you might not always realize is the players around you. Next time you go mini-golfing take a look at those playing around you and see if you can find these 18 types of players. Even see which of these mini-golfers you fit!

The professional golfer.

This is the golfer who always has to look at the hole, line up his shot every time, and takes the rules seriously such as adding a stroke when the ball goes out of bounds. I mean it's mini-golf, you don't need to line up ALL your shots.

The driver.

This is the golfer who drives the ball as if he was on an actual golf course. It's one thing if you have a power swing, but this person typically drives the ball purposefully.

The obnoxious one.

This is the golfer who is just wild and all over the place. They make such a big deal out of every play, might make irrelevant comments, etc. It's just unnecessary.

The cheerleader.

This is the person who is constantly cheering others on. Even if it's a bad play they'll say "awe, it's o.k! You still got this!"

The family with the annoying kids.

This is the family where the parents don't know how to control their kids. This is where the kids will go to the next hole before their parents, destroy some of the property, or even interfere with other people golfing.

The family that tries to act like a family.

This is the family that you can clearly see is just acting like a family. It could be as simple as a family that seems tense and is just playing together to a family where the dad and kids are playing while the mom just walks around with them filing her nails.

The group of 8+.

This is the group that holds EVERYONE up. They don't care if there are 8+ balls on one hole at a time. If you are this group, please let people behind you go ahead.

The inseparable couple.

This is the couple that is all over each other. They're constantly kissing if they aren't playing or they are taking pictures of each other.

The teenage girls.

These are the girls acting all innocent and taking selfies while playing while their parents sit near the entrance for them. It's the only thing they can do without parent supervision.

The oldie.

This is literally a grandma or grandpa who is naturally just slow. They are so adorable, but it'll take a good 2 hours to play a full 18 holes with them because of how slow they move.

The smokers.

These are the people smoking cigs or cigars while playing. Let's just hope they aren't smoking around kids and put their butts in the little buckets at each hole.

The slow pokes.

These are the golfers that just take forever. If you are a slow poke please be considerate of those behind you and let them go ahead of you.

The competitive one.

This is the one who is constantly up in your face about how they're going to win. They are the ones who can't just enjoy a game of mini-golf.

The out of bounder.

This is the golfer who constantly hits the ball out of bounds. At that rate you don't even give them a penalty stroke because they'd be up to 10+ on one hole.

The goofball.

This is the person who just acts silly. They could be the ones using a child's size putter or balancing on different rocks or stumps on the course.

The clueless one.

This is the one who never realizes what hole their on, when it's their turn, or what they are even doing.

The scorekeeper.

This is the golfer who takes keeping score seriously. Or this could just be the person who naturally always keeps score when you go mini-golfing.

The normal couple (or group).

These are the people we all love. It's the people who like some friendly competition, but don't goof around. They move from hole to hole at a good pace and keep to themselves. They also are cognizant of those around them. These are the mini-golfers we all love and should strive to be.

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