21 years is a long time in the scheme of things. 21 years is a quarter of a lifetime for most people. 21 years is the amount of time it takes to pay off a house. If you can afford one in the first place that is. So step back 21 years from today and we land in 1996. A world that was perhaps more sheltered from the harsh realities of life than it is today. Or perhaps I was just too naive to see what was really going on?
When Trainspotting gained cinematic release in 1996, I was 18 going on 19 years old. I was working part-time in a record store, dabbling in life as a DJ, growing a pretty cool taste in music, wearing flamboyant clothes and make up whilst finding my way into life as an adult. I was going to nightclubs every weekend, snogging fit birds and well, I even lost my virginity in a friends bedroom in Paddington. Yes, she gave up her room whilst myself and some lass knocked one out in around ten minutes. I know, I know, ten minutes is hardly hercullean but hey, it is what it is. Find me a man who fucks like a stallion on his first time into bat and I will pin the fucking medal on his chest myself!
In 1996, Manchester United defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup Final thanks to a Cantona screamer. Cunt! Tony Blair swept to power in the following twelve months as British PM off the back of lies and deceit. Oasis were the biggest band in the world and America were dropping bombs around the world as they played world police. Some things never change ey? Oh, didn’t Jeff Buckley die as well? He had a beautiful voice didn’t he?
So where do we find Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begby 20 years on? After hiding away for in Amsterdam, Renton returns home to Edinburgh and finds some things never change. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since he took off with the loot at the end of the original film. You would think after all this time old friends would allow bygones to be bygones right? You couldn’t be further from the truth my friend! Some of the original cast have managed to better themselves which is a saving grace at least yet, as the mess unravels, Renton soon finds that things don’t always go to plan.
The film has a plot that unravels into chaos within no time at all. The adventures accumulate whilst old habits die hard. There is a poignant moment early in the film after Renton returns to his childhood house where he learns of his mothers death and finds his bedroom has been left as it was in case he returns home to roost. Whilst reminiscing in his teenage abyss, Renton begins to flip through his old vinyl collection. It’s here that you notice the sound drop whilst he passes over his Bowie records. As director Danny Boyle recently put it, he wanted to find a place in the film for a fitting tribute to Bowie. Job done lad!
Whilst not being as edgy as the original, T2: Trainspotting still has enough gas in the tank to get you through with plenty of laughs and quirky behaviour that will leave you hoping we can all catch up again down the track, maybe another 20 years from now to follow a new story. The soundtrack is however a major let down despite a handful of redeeming numbers. Still, your complaints about the film will be outweighed by the sheer rush of thrills, spills and humour that only Scottish people can pull off.