Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, slut-shaming, revenge porn. Choose (millennial) life
Or at least, the life the creators of Trainspotting 2 think we have
After a mammoth 20 year long wait, the trailer for Trainspotting 2 was finally dropped today, complete with an updated, 2016 Choose Life monologue.
Renton’s iconic speech, recreated on the bedroom wall of every single person you knew at uni, is now less about buying things, growing up and taking heroin and more about how we’re always bloody glued to our phones eh?
In full, it’s: Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently. Choose watching history repeat itself. Choose your future. Choose reality TV, slutshaming, revenge porn. Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work. Choose the same for your kids only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen. And then take a deep breath. You were an addict so be addicted. Just be addicted to something else instead. Choose the ones you love. Choose your future. Choose life.
The majority of the stuff everyone loved in the first film is there, and the smattering of new references are obviously just a nod to “yeah, I mean 21st Century, am I right?”. It’s a little bit weird. In a way it’s a good thing that things like slut-shaming and revenge porn are recognised as being as endemic and well-known as they should be. It’s also probably a woke nod to the book the sequel was based on, Porno, where Sick Boy – and I’m certain this averts any spoilers the film might have – tries to fuck over Nikki in the course of his attempt to create an ill-fated career in pornography.
In another though, it feels pretty gloomy to reduce the things young people care about to, primarily at least, just ~social media~. Oh, and zero hour contracts. And shit coke. Hobbies, jobs and drugs which are somehow worse now than they were in the 90s.
All of the people I know who are excited for the new Trainspotting film are people who had barely started school when the original was released in 1996. Even though they watched it years later they still identified with it. Because the stuff in Renton’s original Choose Life speech – the buying useless things and existential crises and not knowing what your legacy will be – that all still exists for us as much as it did in the 1990s.
In full, it was: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.
So less iconic. The “things your mum thinks you care too much about” speech probably won’t put anyone off seeing the new film when it’s released in January. The sequel will probably still be as amazing as the original and the book it’s based on. It will also look much much more cringe on a poster in someone’s bedroom though.