Trainspotting Revisited

Twenty years after the release of Trainspotting, director Danny Boyle has revisited the film that defined 90s indie culture.

Set in Edinburgh, the iconic 1997 film engaged with a group of directionless ‘twenty-somethings’ that are riddled by drug addiction.


T2 – Boyle’s sequel – is a nostalgic re-work of the former film, and begins with the repercussions of Mark Renton (played by Ewan McGregor) stealing £16,000 from his drug-addicted friends so he can begin a ‘new life’ in Amsterdam.

Equipped with another ‘choose life’ monologue, Renton returns to Edinburgh and re-visits the vices of his youth.


The majority of T2 is a montage of memories, scenes and quotes taken directly from the original Trainspotting film. Like its former, T2 is fuelled with heroin, cocaine, sex and alcohol.

The 90s was an era defined by rave culture and new wave, which Trainspotting’s unforgettable soundtrack celebrated, while heralding the musical geniuses of the 80s.

The original soundtrack features Blondie, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Joy Division – and of course the seminal track, ‘Born Slippy’ by Underworld.


As opposed to Trainspotting, Boyle’s sequel seems preoccupied with a declining music scene.  Despite T2 being set in the modern day, the soundtrack is still firmly fixed in the 90s, showcasing the likes of Queen, Blondie and The Clash.

The trendy raves found in Trainspotting are replaced with a nightclub that is not to dissimilar from ‘Flares’. While the DJ blares out an awful pop song, Begbie looks disgruntled at the people wearing bunny ears and tutus. Here he realises that our contemporary music culture is far removed from the edgy brilliance of the 90s rave.


Another scene that touches upon this musical difference is when Renton riffles through his old record collection. In this reflective moment, all you can hear is the sound of his fingers flicking through the musical geniuses of his former era. It is a silent but powerful tribute as he gazes nostalgically at his David Bowie album.

It therefore seems only fitting to revisit the soundtrack that defined the musical culture of the 90s:


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