Saturday, 28 January 2017

Review: T2 Trainspotting

Walking down to the cinema I wondered what kind of mug am I? Here I am living in Dublin, where the streets are lined with drug addicts, and I'm paying to see junkies on the big screen. As if to prove my point, I passed a gentleman smoking Class As out of an empty Coca Cola can five minutes from the theater. There's poetic symmetry there, if you look hard enough.

T2 Trainspotting begins with Renton running on a treadmill in a gym, a picture of health. It's in striking contrast to the opening scene of Trainspotting, when we were first introduced to him as the reckless youth running from trouble. We learn that he's been living in Amsterdam since absconding with the £12,000 two decades ago. He returns to Leith and reconnects with Spud and Sick Boy, who is now just Simon.
Spud's life has plodded along. He has continued to take drugs and they've taken their toll on his life. Separated from his partner and his son, the beginning of the film sees Spud in a dark place which culminates in an attempt on his own life.
Simon is stuck in a rut, or a failing pub to be precise, and has harboured hurt and anger at Renton for leaving him. He grasps at the hope that a new business venture will help him get the lifestyle he desires. His girlfriend/friend (depending which one of them you ask) is the only new addition to the main cast.
Begbie's violence caught up with him at the end of the last film and he's spent the past 20 years in prison. After a daring escape, he's unleashed on Leith once more and soon discovers that Renton's back in the picture. Parallel to this, there is focus on his relationship with son and the grating generational differences which exist within that sphere.
Other characters from Trainspotting make an appearance too. Renton's father plays a short, but touching role. Renton's mother has since passed and we learn that she never gave up hope of her son coming home. Homage is paid to her memory when Renton's shadow casts upon her space at the dining table. Diane, now a successful lawyer, also resurfaces in a scene set in her office. On her desk is a bronzed impression of a baby's hand print, so it can be assumed that she is now a mother. She doesn't wear a wedding band.

Whilst the sequel to the book, Porno, comes out in a number of scenes, the plot of T2 Trainspotting is an original screenplay. It skillfully weaves in references to the original film and retains the clever dialogue that made Trainspotting a cult classic. It's not just cinematography, it's social commentary and cultural expression. It delves into mundane reality and the struggle of those who choose neither life nor heroin. This film exists in the void in between; when youth is spent and there's nothing coming up ahead. It's captivating and soulful, and it will be the best film you see all year.

Rating: 5*

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

How to Help your Friend get over her Bastard Ex-Boyfriend

There's nothing worse than seeing your friend hurt when she's going through a breakup. If he has been a bastard and broken her heart you need to step your best-friendship up a notch and get her through it. Begin with the absolute essentials, a wine and whine night within 72 hours of the split. It's about more than just listening to her cry. She needs to get mad. Call out all of his bastard antics, no matter how minor, and identify a few key themes. Come back to these salient points throughout the night. Stick the knife in, twist, and repeat.
Next, you need to protect her from herself. Social media means we're all connected these days, it's just not always for the best. Obviously the number one concern is that she will torture herself by checking his page. The danger here is that she will see a tagged photograph of him with an unknown female and descend into a murderous crying fit. If she does engage in this particularly gruesome form of self-injury, you need to be there to pick apart who exactly that bitch is and have your yellow legal pad to hand to list all the ways your friend is better.
The other danger of social media is that your friend could be going about her day, happy out, and suddenly he pops up on her timeline and slams her back into that bad place. The nuclear option is to block him; out of sight out of mind, after all. If social etiquette precludes her from this then she ought to mute his profile. They'll remain friends online, and it doesn't send the same message as blocking, but she can live her life without risking exposure to his BS.


Once you've covered the basics you can move onto the next phase: getting-over-him-but-not-really-getting-over-him. Think girls' night out and encouraging her to shift the face off the next man she sees. It's half fun and games half listening to her sob at 2am. Conversationally, things might get a bit repetitive, but let her vent. The key to this stage, however, is keeping her away from rebound men. That means no exchanging numbers or last names, even if she shags someone. Especially if she shags someone.

Breakups are tough and there's no way you're going to be able to take away her pain. It can be hard watching her go through it all knowing that nothing you do can magically fix everything. But you can help her get through it. Whether it's cathartic rage-crying, or getting her mind off the whole sorry situation long enough to laugh at a dumb joke, your presence is more valuable than you think.