Is the time right for Trainspotting 2?
1996 was an amazing time to be alive: I was a young teenager and the world, (or Britain at least), was a melting pot of incredible happenings - Music was in a wonderful state of affairs with Britpop, Trip hop and Dance all sharing the centre stage, TV was dangerous and exciting with shows like TFI Friday and This Life and there were also incredible films being made. One such film was the Danny Boyle film, Trainspotting, based on Irvine Welsh's book of the same name.
Flash forward twenty years (I know, right?!) and the sequel is finally coming out. But is it too late for it to have the same sort of cultural impact now, in 2017?
Don't get me wrong, I was initially really pleased and excited to hear about the sequel when the news broke - It'd be good to touch base with Renton, Begbie, Spud and Sick Boy once more. It felt like an old friend coming back to see me and I was up for it - I'd even booked a spot in a local bar (in my mind) for the homecoming.
But then I thought about it.
As great as the film was (and you would be hard pressed to disagree with that) I believe the timing and climate that it was released in had a huge part to play in its success. Taking nothing away from the Director, Script and Actors themselves, Trainspotting came out in a time of hope and the belief that anything was possible: We had this young fella who was making the right noises for the masses called, Tony Blair and we were well into the 'Cool Britannia' days. People were buying records and listening to FULL ALBUMS - That's right, from start to finish in one sitting - and Trainspotting, being the epitome of cool, cottoned onto this and released the soundtrack that was quite simply sublime and had some of the biggest names of the Britpop era on it.
Essentially, the music at the time, the fact that the UK was the place to be and the culture of the nineties played an extremely important and relevant part in Trainspotting's success.
So, the question is, does the sequel fit into this day and age? All we have to do is look back at 2016 and see how different a world we now live in. Things are faster and more immediate and most importantly, things don't seem to carry as much meaning or gravitas anymore - You hear a song, you like it, you listen to it. You forget it. You move on. Artwork is no longer poured over, you don't have to wait longer than 2 seconds to get almost anything you want, from books to music to films. And as great as some of this is, there is also a huge problem: Nothing means anything anymore. It is all replaceable.
Those that know and love Trainspotting will remember the event when you got to see it. You'll remember telling your friends about it, talking about this Geezer, Ewan McGregor and watching it over and over, picking up ideas and seeing what is truly possible in film. In British film. AND THEN you got the friggin' soundtrack and listened to it incessantly, pouring over the awesomeness of Damon Albarn, Pulp and Underworld.
Can you imagine this happening in 2017?
I know, I sound pretty negative about the whole thing, which I genuinely don't want to be, but the truth is I really LOVE Trainspotting so much and I don't want the work spoiled! I've always hated films being remade or sequels coming out 15/20 years later. It stinks of cashing in because in my mind the moment has passed. It's like when bands reform - I have zero interest in it. I couldn't care less about how important they were back in the day, the time has moved on and there is not much point in harking back to a bygone era. Even when The Beatles partly reformed in 1995 it was a wet whimper of a reunion that even George Harrison wished hadn't have happened and called it short.
The Beatles records are there for all to hear, we don't need an attempt to get back the magic 30 years later...and I'm a fucking super fan! A lot of bands could take heed from this. The Stone Roses, I'm looking at you!
I mean, even TFI Friday had an attempt at bringing back the nineties and it was atrociously lame and try-hard. That stuff worked in the era of Loaded and FHM but not now. I'd sooner watch back to back episodes of the BBC3 Sit-Com, Two Pints of lager and a packet of crisps - Incidentally, which used a lot of the 'Lad-ism' of the nineties...and was absolute shit.
So, can Danny Boyle do it again in this climate? Possibly. I do think everyone involved has done it for the right reasons and not just to pay off a huge tax bill. Maybe the film will actually focus on society today and highlight the (possibly terrible) changes that have taken place in the past twenty years. Maybe Danny Boyle has gone all Ken Loach on us and it will hold a mirror up to society and this film will be a work of sheer genius. We'll have to wait and see. But let me say this, regardless of my rant...
I'LL BE FIRST IN LINE TO SEE IT!
What do you think the new Trainspotting film will be like? Let me know in the comments below.
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