Reading time: 6min.

by Jade Newman

Trainspotting – the nineties and the non-conformist after party

Trainspotting is regarded as a cult classic and with Danny Boyles’ visionary aesthetic ability and the cast’s convincing charisma it capably conserved the edginess of Irvine Welsh’s novel and epitomized the hedonistic 90’s decade. Camouflage, Converse, suede bombers, denim, Adidas stripes, combats, crop tops, snake skin, pinstripes and peroxide remind us of the casual yet risqué fashion of the ‘heroin chic’ times. The film is set in an impoverished part of Edinburgh and the characters partake in excessive drug use as a diversion from mundane mainstream social conditioning and as a means ‘to take the pain away’. The narrative is raw and real and expresses how many in society are ‘addicts in domestic and socially acceptable ways’. The legendary sound track features Underworld’s classic ‘Born Slippy’ and some of Brit Pop’s finest including Blur and Pulp.

The nineties’ output of fashion, film and music, was in sync in terms of rebellion and stick-it-to-the-man symbolism (Oasis and the Gallagher brothers certainly made their mark).  Modern day Millennials which includes the teens of the 90s, have reignited this revolutionary spirit in recent times. The approach has been tamer and more thought-out with the aid of the Internet as a key research tool. There has been shunning of unethical consumer goods and material possessions have also lost appeal in favour of exotic experiences, mindfulness and spirituality.  A large number of this sub section of society are self-employed and refuse to be dictated to, they are seeking more meaning in life. Parallels can be drawn to the ‘naughty nineties’ such as the casual and gender-fluid fashion, truth seeking and the allure of an alternative lifestyle. The Millennials have taken a teetotaler and less brazen approach but without doubt action has been induced to counteract capitalism and enforce change. 

This culture shift has resulted in a new version of blowing your mind, which is through education, travel and art. The nineties were full of creative talent, spunk and stamina but the nation suffered a hangover of anxiety, depression and stretched healthcare services. Trainspotting also poignantly portrayed self-destruction, strained personal relationships, guilt, empty love and loneliness, which emanated each hit. There was also reference to the dark side of drug dependency and death. Maybe it’s time to consciously clean up the party and for the new generation to tuck up their parental predecessors for a rest. To aim to awaken and abolish any type of drug which is chemically treating unhappiness and pain with severe consequence.

Choose a conscience. Choose well-being. Choose an independent mind. Choose knowledge. Choose empowerment. Choose life.