Saturday, 26 February 2011

Trainspotting - Classic Novel & Film

Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh, was a classic novel published in 1993, revolving around the subject of heroin addiction, which has been imposed on a group of 6 (the main characters) Scottish people.
Based in Edinburgh which, at the time, was struggling to cope financially, we follow the footsteps of Mark, Simon, Daniel, Francis, Davie and Thomas. For the majority, we are introduced to numerous short stories mostly narrated by Mark, following the struggle and manipulation of heroin. On one occasion, Lesley's baby dies, and it is decided the best way to deal with the situation is to shoot up. We are then lead to Mark's penultimate injection, and his eventual betrayal to his group of "friends", so that he can finally start a new life with substantial funds.
This was indeed a very dark book in comparison to others I have read. There were numerous situations which were indeed very eye-opening and hit hard. For example, as stated, Lesley's baby dies. Once Mark shoots up as a response to the situation, Lesley asks for some. Mark agrees yet makes sure he injects himself first as "it goes without saying". This reality hit hard that, regardless of her baby's death, heroin comes first to them all. In this case, friendship and hurt can only be seen as a distant matter to these junkies. 
What makes this a classic novel is also the fact that Irvine has managed to deal with numerous social issues at the time all in one go. Obviously, the main issue we comprehend throughout is drug abuse and addiction. These were certainly shocking. However, there are other disturbing underlying themes, such as sexual standards and general morality of it, as well as identity and an absense of nationalist pride. 

"This was to be my final hit. But let´s be clear about this. There are final hits and final hits. What kind was this to be?"

"People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, which is not to be ignored. But what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. After all, we're not fucking stupid. At least, we're not that fucking stupid. Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it. When you're on junk you have only one worry: scoring. When you're off it you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite. Got no money: can't get pissed. Got money: drinking too much. Can't get a bird: no chance of a ride. Got a bird: too much hassle. You have to worry about bills, about food, about some football team that never fucking wins, about human relationships and all the things that really don't matter when you've got a sincere and truthful junk habit."

I would certainly recommend this book to any classic novel lover. It was an extremely intriguing read, and touched upon areas which some may initially have assumed as being uninteresting. Irvine has definitely outdone himself and it is unsurprising that is a highly acknowledged classic novel. 
To anyone who wants to explore newer areas than traditional ones highlighted in novels, this one is a must-read, and will certainly encourage to read this author's other publications. 

The film was released in 1996, produced by Danny Boyle. It has been a while since I watched the film, yet it was still a pleasurable sitting. I was already glad at the fact that they decided to appreciate the classic novel by adapting it into a film, and the fact that the film got a positive reception was even better.

Danny Boyle is a fantastic producer. The group of actors used in the film were perfect for it and this was indeed a flawless film (it recieved an 8.2 on IMDB). To anyone who hasn't seen it, this is a must-watch.


  1. Loved the movie, haven't checked out the book though. Found it kinda odd that they kept the title "trainspotting" if they left out the part of the book that involved trainspotting.

  2. Love the book and the film, i always crack up at "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?" *Kick in the balls*

  3. I've heard mixed reviews about this movie. A lot of peopel absolutely love it....and they tell all their friends about it, and then their friends have such high expectations taht they end up hating the movie.

    I personally haven't seen it yet.

  4. Never heard of Trainspotting before but it sure sounds interesting. Followed!

  5. Sounds really good.
    Will watch the film :D