Spotting Trains

8th July 2020

when it comes to a film that is so personal like Trainspotting is, your mind- well, at least my mind- rushes to think of the ways in which your own life intersects with those of the fictional characters that you have just formed a kind of inexplicable attraction to. BUT

what constitutes a film that is personal like Trainspotting

but not like, say, The Irishman,

another film told through the inner monologue of the lead character

because, in my simple, common, totally fresh as fuck, looked down upon by all self-respecting A Level Media Studies students analysis, Trainspotting tells the story of the life and progression of its lead character, amidst his friends, as opposed to the other film i mentioned, a nevertheless entertaining history of the events of the lead character’s life. however the concept that binds the audience to the character in such a powerful way is youth. one of the defining characteristics of the impact that trainspotting has on its viewers is that it either relates to their own situation, or to their youthful years gone by: a powerful concept that the film’s sequel, T2 Trainspotting, released 20 years after the original, made integral to its purpose.

and i fall into the first camp. and while the circumstances may be different: i, in fact, live in the world of T2’s 21st century rather than Trainspotting’s late 90s cool, my addiction is a totally socially acceptable (wink wink) one to nicotine and assorted nicotine delivery products plus i only ever had one sniff of MD, i am so much of a wuss that i worry about stealing a 2 litre bottle of tango from the tesco down the road, and i live far away from the sprawling hubub of scotland’s capital city or any city for that matter: but the resonant themes are still there. youth, friends, bad decisions, the jobcentre, pubs and clubs and saying fuck it and throwing caution to the wind.

lack of a driving purpose

perhaps one of the more interesting thoughts floating around in my head is that, while the characters of trainspotting have a driving purpose in their lives, that of the procurement and mainlining of heroin, i, at least, do not. or perhaps not one in the social sense, one that requires you be physically present in one place to acquire and use a physical product.

it feels not only for me but many of my contemporaries that we only woke up to go to school and we only went to school because we’d have nothing else to fill the days with; and now the ones of us who left school have nothing to wake up for so we fill it with aimless clicking on the web and the occasional one or less hour session of playing some video game, and only one of us has anything close to a full time job whereas i find it difficult to go to sleep and wake up, get ready and fed for a 10 hour a week graft at a shop flogging used 360 games to stoners and buying dinged up PS3s to pay for a couple of extra drinks that we all regret in our skanky excuse for nightlife, all of us think about death more than we should but we are all still alive, because from my perspective while i do not fear the totality of death, getting over the hump and actually dying seems like too much pain to not necessarily bear but more than i can be fucking bothered with.

kinda like doing heroin really. i reject the suggestion that this film glamorises hard drugs because firstly it doesn’t and secondly you can’t even get me to face a needle once every three months let alone more than twice in a single day.

perhaps the aimless clicking is like the nitrogen they pump into a clean room to force out the oxygen, filling the space where a dependence on illicit substances would form itself.

the giro

that must be a very scottish thing. we never called it giro down here. giro is just some logo that you saw inside your paying in book in your natwest child account.

i’ve never had to worry about trying too hard to get the job; in fact today i saw some fucking prick write something online along the lines of “i’m tired of this world that values youth over experience”. yeah, thats why its so easy for me to find a job, because i’ve got SO MUCH FUCKING YOUTH.

totally outgrowing the place you were born

the very ground on which i was born no longer stands. it was demolished because the maternity ward in which i was born had a penchant for neglecting non-white babies for sport. i started my life in a town where people move to live out the end of theirs. and at the moment i live in a slightly larger town 8 miles away where the highest aspiration is to sell your soul and labour in perpetuity to the weapons industry to produce sea vessels designed to intimidate a faded enemy that are built, like bypasses, because they have to be built and they are going to be built, despite how they are totally useless without britain licking the boots of the yanks. drug deaths are high enough to be national news items. and i am so utterly fucking sick of it all. the insularity of this little penis dangling off england into the irish sea is so suffocating. and i mean, if you weren’t sick of it, i’d be inclined to think there’s something wrong with you.

of course renton hop foots it to london, makes a minor success of it, and of course he is haunted by

the anchor of your horrible bastard friends

renton’s problems are junkies, jokers, and the kind of fella that has a pocket knife on him. my suffocating bubble that i’ve constructed around me are drunkards, clowns, gamers, absolutely barefaced arrogant aggressive remorseless bags of shite, and more often than not, all of the above. and however much they may piss you off in their own right, what brings you shame is the behaviour that they impress on you.

i struggle to talk about this, but i maintain that because my being autistic stopped me from forming friendships as any other feckless kid would, i amped up the risk taking, boundary pushing, attempts to entertain by hurting others so that i could at least get people to laugh at me. that, as i learnt throughout my early childhood, set me on a pretty vile path. but now i feel i am past that, and that it would have been better if i had not adapted in that way but then, i would have nothing to fall back on except being a hopeless computer nerd.

but once you pencil yourself into that niche of pisshead prick, there are no rules or guidelines on how to break out of the bubble.

renton has seen that he has to break free already before the palaver in the pub but the bag gives him an opportunity to pack up and leave. i am waiting for my “bring me a cigarette” moment. of course it is a lot harder for me to disappear in the way renton does thanks to all of my life being lived on the internet

a back to earth conclusion

trainspotting is such a phenomenon because- i, can’t really be bothered ending this piece with a “there are 10 minutes left on the clock in your GCSE English Literature exam” style conclusion when i have written less about the film and myself and more about my frustrations and issues, i just felt like i couldn’t end the piece like this. i think i shall go to sleep and dream about chain smoking in the rain outside the train station now