Novel approach

The punchy. episodic style of Trainspotting the book doesn‘t easily lend itself to the structure of a film. bttt that didn‘t deter writer John l-lodge. Alan Morrison reports.

ust over a year ago. when everyone else was getting worked tip about the imminent release of .S'liri/lmr- (imi'e. screenwriter .lohii llodge had a

running around in a haze of nervous anticipation. the Glasgow-born doctor‘s mind

was concentrating on completing the draft of


‘()nce you get beyond the language.‘ he said to The [.f.\'l at the time. ‘thcre's a lot ofemotion. It doesn't have a narrative. and that's attractive in a book. where you're compelled to read because of the characters and the language arid the individual incidents: btit cinema audiences tend to want something more.‘

After going fifteen rounds with l.eith patois. llodge emerged the victor. Unlike llarry (iibson‘s stage version of the novel. which dramatises scenes in a fairly loose episodic manner. the film needed to shape the incidents within an A-to-B narrative ‘clear and linear" is how director Danny Boyle describes it.

Rejecting the pass-tlie-plot-baton model of Richard Linklater‘s Slackers or the interwoven perspectives of Robert Altman‘s .S'lim'l ('uts‘. llodgc. Boyle and producer Andrew Macdonald made an unofficial blood pact that

different set of concerns. Instead of

their movie would fall into a pacy. 90-minute chronological structure. Hence the fast cuts between scenes in the first half that shift to a focus on Renton in London and the money- making drug deal towards the end.

llodge came tip with a 4(l-page first draft in November WW. and polished up a more complete version over the ('hristmas period. Although the writer reckons there was no particular moment when it all fell into place. Macdonald does mention one key turning point.

‘l’oi' us. when we were reading it. it was when

John turned the toilet scene into images.‘ says

the 30-year-old producer. ‘ln the book. this guy is fishing around. tip to his shoulders. looking for drugs. and John just took him right down inside the toilet bowl. That sense of fantasy and

Trainspotting glossary


R‘s-M .sss. » o \ (“puma N” v.‘ '“ i 1 r .7 ., .

Andrew Macdonald (producer), John Hodge and Danny Boyle (Director)

surrealism was. to me. how you captured the tone. the desperation. on film.‘

The trio aim to stick together and film llodge‘s next original screenplay a ‘romantic adventtire' called A Life Less ()rrli'naiy once they‘ve whipped tip the necessary budget. This new genre should provide a challenge. although connections between the subject matter of llodge‘s first two works are already apparent.

‘People will point out that Tmins/wiring‘s about friendship and betrayal. btit that‘s just a coincidence.‘ he. argues back. ‘Sliullmv Grave was a film where plot was the most important thing and everything else was subservient to that; btit in this film it‘s the other way around. The plot is not the most important thing. Most of all it‘sjtist a study of character and situation.‘

‘These foreign cunts’ve goat trouble wi the Queen‘s fttckin English. ken.~ says Frank Begbie. For many local readers. the novel is a landmark of authenticity. depicting the people they know in the words they themselves use. For others. some of the lingo has proved bewildering. Andrew Burnet offers a trainspotter‘s guide to Trainspotting vocabulary.

harry (ix/z. (iood. pleasing. e\cellent. biscuit-arsed (it/l. Stupid. undignified. .\'ot bai‘r'y at all.

brassic (Ir/I. l’enruless [rhyming slang: boracic lriit : skint].

buttie boy n. A man of hoinosesual [tl't‘lt‘l't'llc‘c‘s

Chill 11.. ll). r'l'o assatilt w lllll a ia/or or other sharp iriiplcinent.

chory r'lr. 'l‘o steal. usually by sltopliftitig. A practical way of supporting a sriiack liabit.

collies n. pl. Drugs [rhyming slang: from collie dtig. a popular breed of sheepdog which has never harboui'ed ambitions to be a pig].

cream pull II. III humour [rhyming slang: = huff]

doss cunt n. A lazy or otherwise reprehensible person.

draltpak n. 1. A portable container designed to hold several pints of draft beer. purchased in a ptib. 2. A tattooed member of Scotland‘s white trash

community ‘.-\ mosaic shell .l_\' scar tissue n utdian inkf

gantin can it tiil/. In dire need of se\ I‘L‘llCll.

hirays/hireys II. pl. .\loney. hoachin/hotchin iii/i. l’lentifully supplied leg: the place w is tuckiii hoachiii \yi manto. ken' l.

~'. I??? . ‘7 ..

[ask it iills n. pl. l’ills [rhyming slang]. Jambo Ii. A supporter of Heart of lvlidlothian Football Club. [rhyming slang: Jam tarts 2 Hearts].

Joe Baxi n. A taxi [rhyming slang]. Joe McBride Ii. A session of sexual

congress [rhyming slang: = ride].

Joe Strummer n. An undesirable situation [rhyming slang: : bummer]. k.b. 11.. ll). t'l‘o giver a negative response (usually to an amorous enqtiii‘cri [stands littl' Allin k/ltlr

keep shoatie r/i. 'l'o stand guard or act as an early -wa:ning system.

keks n. pl. (ientleinen's tindergai'inents. ken the Hampden roar v/t. To be abreast of the situation [rhyming slang: llaitipden :oar :2 scol'c]

labdick n. An officer of l .otliian and Borders police [dei M cd from initials i...-\.ti.|.

Lee Marvin H. liyceptioiially hungry [rhyming slang = starvin].

lemon n. An attractive young woman [rhy iiiriig slang: lemon curd : bird]. Iike/likes/likesay lllll'l'l. An essentially meaningless addition to any utterance. (ilaswegian etpuvalcnts include /)\i'/l(".t(l\' arid lint.

Lou Reed /!, .»\mphctaitunes [rhy ntrng slilllgi 2 speed].

manto n, rol/r'i'. Attractive young women. described collectively [rhyming slang: .\lantovani = fanny].

on the rock ’n’ roll (l(//. Not in gainful employment [rhyming slang: : dole]. pagger n. A botit of swedgrng (qv ). Paris Bun n. A supporter of Rangers l‘ootball (‘lub; hence. a (ilaswegian of Protestant affiliation [rhyming slang: = Hun].

potted heid lull. deceased [rhyming slang: = deid].

radge n.. iii/,r. .\lad. bad and much more

dangerous to know than Lord Byron ever

Salisbury Crag n. 1. An lidinbtirgh landmark. to be found in llolyrood Park. 2. heroin [rhyming slang: = skag].

If ~

A l scoobied tit/j. \’e.\'ed or confused. [l‘lOlll rhyming slang. as in ‘Ah htivnae goat 1 Seuoby l)t)t).‘ shan (MU. Not iii the least bit barry (q.v.). shunky n. Lavatory. soapdodgers n. pl. Derogatory term for Weegies tt|.v. l. stoat r/i. 'l'o employ one's head as a blunt instrument. usually with intent to inlliet injury. swedge 11.. vi). (To) fight or brawl. Normally a spontaneous and carefree activity much enjoyed by young men about town of a Saturday night. No castial pursuit for football casuals. though. as lrvine Welsh reveals in Mum/mu Stork .N’i'g/il/iiiirey'. Weegies n. pl ()ccupants of Edinburgh's sister city to the west [derived from Cilas-wegi-ans]. wide-o n. A dodgy character. usually with dodgy dress-sense and/or facial hair. Frank Begbie. for example.

The List 9-22 Feb l99611