T2 Trainspotting: A True Sequel

Trainspotting the movie was screened in 1996. Twenty-odd years later, in 2017, T2 Trainspotting was released starring the same character actors Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner and Johnny Lee Miller. The story in this second film is a true sequel, set realistically 20 years after the first one. It explains why Renton (Ewan McGregor) ran off with the money he did all those years ago, depicts Simon’s (Johnny Lee Miller) and Begbie’s (Robert Carlyle) reactions to that event and to Renton’s return to Edinburgh, and how the comical-looking Spud (Ewen Bremner) comes to write ‘wee stories’ that evolve into the book Trainspotting (written by Irvine Welsh). Important themes in the first story are flagged in the second, many giving plausible reasons for why the characters turn out the way they do; things such as the scene with Begbie’s drunken father, and character deaths (baby Dawn and Tommy) in the first story. In this regard the sequel is clever and very satisfying. It ties up loose ends in a neat conclusion.

The present-day story in the sequel is also believable, depicting the characters speaking in Scottish accents and experiencing some of the same old struggles with politics, money, crime, drugs, environment and relationships, albeit in a changed Scotland. I read the book Trainspotting last year and struggled through the Scottish dialect and stream-of-consciousness-type writing. But this style, combined with a mix of hilarity and serious issues, made for a compelling story, and the style is well-replicated in T2 Trainspotting. True to the book, the characters’ vocabulary in this film is swimming in expletives – but only at the beginning. The opening lines are used to set the scene and then the swearing thins out, making for more palatable viewing.

I did find the reliance on the past in T2 Trainspotting a bit irritating and got bored with the ‘good ol’ days’ theme. The film is not a standalone and viewers would need to know the original story to fully appreciate the second. The film is entertaining, though, and is very well acted.

T2 Trainspotting opens at cinemas in South Africa on Friday 24 February 2017.

Plane, Train and Automobile to Scotland

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to Scotland we go, with our online check-in and hand luggage only, heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho”. This was the bravado and happiness my group of five felt as we exited our London accommodation at 6.15am on 27 December 2016. We were off to Edinburgh! Once up north we would pick up a pre-booked hire car and travel to countryside Comrie where we planned to spend a few days before returning to London. We would get to the airport with about 50 minutes to spare.

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The letters of Edinburgh airport. Photos: Brenda Daniels

The letters of Edinburgh airport. Photos: Brenda Daniels

The smiles we exchanged on the train to the airport turned quickly to nervous lip biting when we saw the security queue. The one we had to join was packed with shuffling customers while the “fast track security” avenue was invitingly empty. Cheerful airport attendants issued instructions to: put liquids in minute plastic bags; close those tiny bulging bags; donate items that didn’t fit in those tiny bulging bags to the bins provided; remove jackets, coats, hats, scarves, boots, belts, keys, laptops, mobile phones (basically unpack and undress) and lay these items next to each other in the too-small plastic trays for checking. I was the first of our group to make it through to the other side so snatched up my belongings and galloped through the terminal in search of boarding gate information. This was difficult. I hadn’t repacked and redressed properly so my trousers were falling down and my boots were tripping me up. Also, there was no boarding gate information. Mainly because the gate had already closed.

It was also a mistake to leave the rest of my party. We all became separated into three groups. While charging through the airport each group thought the others had made it to the aeroplane and that they were the only ones left behind. Gnashing of teeth at the thought of being the only ones to miss out. Eventually, security personnel shepherded us all through the “return-to-the-other-side-because-you-missed-your-flight-and-start-all-over-again” channel. (You won’t miss it; it’s the one teeming with slumped-shouldered, dragging-feet people.)

Well, we did make it to Scotland. Eventually. (We drove). Needless to say we had learnt our lesson. For our return flight from Edinburgh airport we smugly arrived over two hours ahead of time. Naturally, the first thing we saw on the boarding gate info board was “flight delayed indefinitely”. Apparently there was freezing fog in Munich. More gnashing of teeth. The airline did ease our discomfort, though. By giving us each a refreshment voucher to purchase something yummy. The vouchers were worth GBP 3 each. Because of all the extra time on our hands we read up on passenger rules and rights. We discovered that you can claim from the airline if your flight is delayed by over three hours. We counted down the minutes once we were on the plane and were gleeful when we landed back in London three hours and ten minutes late. We are currently awaiting millions in compensation. (Once we figure out where on the website to claim.)

Comrie was lovely by the way.

Happy times at Crieff, near Comrie in Scotland. Photo: Roxanne Daniels

Happy times at Crieff, near Comrie in Scotland. Photo: Roxanne Daniels