Talk:Trainspotting

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Do we really need an entire paragraph about the opening song? HelpJazz 17:20, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

The whole article makes a very valid point which Liberals - including those who have infiltrated this site - seek to deny, HelpJazz. Bugler 17:24, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
Ok... but do we really need an entire paragraph about the opening song? HelpJazz 17:26, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
I see your point, it is probably out of proportion with the rest of the article, but my assumption was that the article would grow, with assorted people adding bits and pieces about various aspects, especially as it is currently under discussion on the Main Page talk page. The song paragraph was my "bit". There has been some discussion about whether this film glorifies drug use or discourages it. The lyrics of the song point in one direction, but the quote in one of the references tells a different tale, more in keeping with Bugler's perspective, so I thought it would add to the discussion. I assume others will eventually add a synopsis of the plot, information about the actors, awards won, etc. This article's only been here a day, so let's give it time. --Hsmom 18:36, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
I could understand it maybe in context of the movie, but as written the paragraph is only about the song itself, material best reserved for its own article. I also don't think the reference can seriously be considered as giving evidence to the "pro-drug" nature of the movie, and if it is being used that way, it should be much more prominent. HelpJazz 19:28, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
HelpJazz, looking at it again, you're absolutely right. Although in my mind the song and the movie are intertwined, I didn't do a good job of conveying that in what I wrote. I guess Ebert's not going to be offering me a job any time soon! I'll try to improve it over the next week or so. --Hsmom 11:53, 26 October 2008 (EDT)
I admit it's been a long time since I've seen the movie so I don't remember how well they are intertwined (plus I rarely listen to lyrics anyway). HelpJazz 13:46, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

Trainspotting & Train Spotting

I'm not quite sure what the second part of this sentence means. (I wrote the non-italicized part.): "The film has nothing directly to do with the British hobby of train spotting, in which railfans keep records of the rolling stock they've seen,[5] beyond the authors' opinion that shooting heroin is as little use as he considers the railfan hobby to be." Is there something I've overlooked in the movie that refers to train spotters and implies their hobby is useless? Could we add more information to the sentence to show where this is in the movie? And which "authors" does this refer to, the man who wrote the book, or whoever wrote the screenplay? (I'm probably being a little sensitive here, because my brother dabbled in train spotting as a child, which I always thought was kind of neat. And the nit-picky grammar corrector in me is bothered by "authors'", as the book was written by a single author and movie authors are usually called screenwriters - I don't want to correct it as I'm not sure who it is referring to. It's been a long time since I've seen the movie, so it's quite possible I have overlooked a reference to train spotting.)--Hsmom 12:08, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

Hsmon, I was the one that made that change (twice actually, a little different each time, with Andy making it ambiguous in between). First, I put the apostrophe in the wrong place. I was referring to Irvine. Second, I've been a lifelong rail enthusiast (railfan) myself, although done very little actual "trainspotting". But the sentence refers to Irvine's alleged opinion of the hobby, not mine. Third, I recall hearing years ago that the title did have something (indirectly) to do with the railfan activity, so I went searching. It was difficult to find anything authoritative, but I did find a forum in which someone was quoting something Irvine said in an interview. According to that, it wasn't anything actually in the book, let alone the film. I can't readily find that reference again just now, but I've found a few other references. Unfortunately, they are somewhat contradictory! There are several claims that the title is a reference to the blood vessels (tracks) and needle holes (trains on those track), but these appear to be speculation. According to Wikipedia and a couple of other sources, it was actually a reference to an incident in the book that didn't make it to the film. See here for a few different claims on the title. The following, from IMDB's FAQ on the movie, actually incorporates all three stories!
The title is a reference to an episode where Begbie [Robert Carlyle] and Renton [Ewan McGregor] meet "an auld drunkard" in the disused Leith Central railway station, where they mean to use a toilet. The dunkard asks them (in a weak attempt at a joke) if they are "trainspottin."


Welsh has explained that, when he was growing up in Edinburgh, there was an abandoned train station that had become a place frequented by the homeless and drug addicts. When the drug addicts were going to the station to take drugs, they would often say that they were going 'Trainspotting'. According to director Danny Boyle, "Through the late '80s in Britain, it (Trainspotting) began to mean anybody who was obsessive about something trivial, and part of that is drugs. It's a very male thing. Women, they know better. It was a way in which men would conquer an area of life by just knowing everything about all the Sean Connery films."

Coincidentally, long term heroin injectors damage the veins in their arms leading to 'track marks' or 'tracks' all the way down their arms, and other parts of their bodies with easy access to veins.[1]
I'd say that I hope that clears it up, but it's probably just made it murkier! In summary, though, it seems that it does have something to do with the hobby; it's just a question of exactly what that is.
Philip J. Rayment 05:34, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
If you want to make it even more murky, there's a scene in the movie where one of the characters is going through detox in his childhood bedroom -- complete with train wallpaper. This might have nothing to do with why they titled the book Trainspotting, but as a viewer of the movie, it's what always stuck in my head :) HelpJazz 10:14, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
If it helps, the only reference to train spotting is a scene in the novel that was not included in the film, and it is pretty much what Phillip describes above. However, there is an important omission that changes the significance of the scene entirely, the homeless drunkard turns out to be Begbie's father. That doesn't clear up the use of the term for the title entirely, and there is likely still a symbolic meaning, but the reference, in this context, is clearly more significant than the mere passing mention indicated above. Not sure if that's worth adding to the article. SamJ 10:44, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

OK, nice work all! So we've got several things to put in:
1) There is no actual train spotting in the movie (I think we agree on that),
2) There is some train imagery/symbolism/motifs in the movie ("tracks" on addicts' arms, wallpaper, scenes in train stations or with trains (I vaguely remember some, but I could be wrong and I have no desire to watch the movie over again to see if I remember right - it was disturbing enough the first time), etc.),
3) There is a scene in the novel that mentions train spotting, but it is not in the movie, (Confirmed by SamJ above, and Wikipedia, but unfortunately nothing we can cite yet - perhaps we can use it with a "cite needed" notation)
4) "Trainspotting" may have a local slang meaning. (This rings true for me.)
Without the quote from the book, I'm not sure we can make the case that the author felt "that shooting heroin is as little use as he considers the railfan hobby to be" - that seems to me to be a bit stronger than the scene implies to me - I don't know that we can say the author feels train spotting is useless. The slang sounds more to me like an ironic use of the term and not necessarily commenting on the actual hobby - like a bar I saw recently called "Rehab" - "Let's all go to Rehab" (and aren't we all clever) - that kind of thing. I did look in my library system for the book, but they've only got the movie and the soundtrack, so I couldn't get the actual quote.
SO - let's see if we can put together a paragraph that works. "Despite the name, Trainspotting does not have anything directly to do with the hobby of train spotting, in which railfans keep track of the rolling stock they've seen. The name refers to a scene in the original novel, which was not included in the movie. The movie also includes a number of references to trains, including the train wallpaper in the lead character's childhood bedroom." This is not perfect - can we improve it here then transfer it to the main page? --Hsmom 14:50, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

Sounds good, though I'd be inclined not to mention the wallpaper, as it seems entirely irrelevant, maybe even coincidental, and the only other reference to a train I can recall is one passing by in a single scene, so "a number of references to trains" seems an exaggeration. SamJ 16:46, 28 October 2008 (EDT)
Makes sense. Let's leave out the train reference sentence until we can come up with more/better examples. So we are left with "Despite the name, Trainspotting does not have anything directly to do with the hobby of train spotting, in which railfans keep track of the rolling stock they've seen. The name refers to a scene in the original novel, which was not included in the movie." Philip J. Rayment, HelpJazz, can you also take a look and see if you have changes to suggest? --Hsmom 18:33, 28 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm happy with that version. The source I found on which I based the current wording was no better than other ones mentioned above, so this is as good as anything. Philip J. Rayment 21:27, 28 October 2008 (EDT)