Nice to be in the forefront. Edinburgh Central Library kindly invited me to give the talk Trainspotting at Twenty a week ahead of the anniversary of the launch of the film. Got a nice review: apparently I educate as effortlessly as I entertain, for example, which was a line I used about the film. See the full text at Key excerpts below:

Tim probably knows more about Trainspotting than anyone (with the possible exception of Irvine Welsh!) and yesterday he came along to Central Library to talk about the film adaptation of the book, which premiered 20 years ago this month.

Tim began by putting Trainspotting in a social and historical context, explaining the circumstances that led to the Sunday Telegraph describing Edinburgh in 1986 as “the AIDS capital of Europe”.

Then Tim moved on to the book itself and the ‘cultural fireball’ that it became.

Perhaps a film of the book was inevitable, although as Tim explained filmmakers Danny Boyle, John Hodge and Andrew MacDonald had previously forsworn adaptations, wanting instead to create original cinema.

We really enjoyed hearing Tim’s thoughts on the film’s plot, characters and particularly its music. Tim also took time to remind us on the impact the film had: how Trainspotting became a brand, and what that brand represented.

It was interesting to read contemporary reviews of the film as well: from Will Self’s description of it as ‘an extended pop video’ to Shelia Johnston’s feeling that ‘for all its brilliance, the film finally feels sour and hollow’.

Tim believes that Trainspotting ‘educates as effortlessly as it entertains’ – we could say the same about him.

Actually I was aware of having too much content, and the talk was prepared for a younger audience. Another time I probably won’t go into the backstory of HIV, and would want to emphasis how the film could be titled “A Junkie’s Progress.” It was good to see so many people, including some old friends. Thanks to the library for the shop window.