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Headscratchers / Trainspotting

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  • What are June and Second Prize's actual last names? Porno and Skagboys contradict each other on this. Respectively, June is either Taylor or Chisolm and Rab is either McNaughton or McLaughlin. And if she is June Chisolm, does that mean she was actually related to Chizzy the Beast? The plot thickens...
    • Perhaps June changed her name to Taylor to distance herself from Begbie after the break-up. Fat load of good it did for her...
    • Same goes for Second Prize; he could have changed his last name in an attempt to distance himself from his mates after his Faith–Heel Turn. Though this is less likely as Renton is aware of his last name being McNaughton in Porno despite having been in Amsterdam for a decade. It was likely a mistake on the author's part.
  • In the film, why did Begbie handle the negotiation for the coda's heroin deal? Surely Sick Boy would have done a better line of negotiation with his manipulative streak.
    • Begbie didn't trust Sick Boy and no one thought it was worth the effort to argue with him most likely.
  • Speaking of the deal...Wouldn't they have saved themselves a LOT of trouble if they'd just divvied up the money and gone their separate ways right after the deal?
    • Only Renton and Sick Boy (in the novel) expressed a desire to part ways after the deal. Begbie, Spud and Second Prize were still under the impression they're all great friends.
    • Would YOU want to tell Begbie you wanted your share there and then, or wait until it comes to the "offical" divvy up time. Guy's mental.
    • Also, it can be inferred that Sick Boy, Begbie, Spud (and in the novel, Second Prize) are all mentally still stuck in Leith/the present/their personal versions of loyalty to your friends. Only Renton has the desire to leave the quicksand behind and move forward in life.
  • Why don't Diane's parents seem to have any problem with their underage teenage daughter sleeping with a (relatively) grown man? They even feed him breakfast and joke about his cluelessness.
    • The parents lampshade this a bit at breakfast before Renton comes in: Father: "I see Diane's brought another 'friend' back.. .", then the mother replies "Don't be jumping to any nasty conclusions". So they're, perhaps wilfully, ignorant of the truth, and have probably had arguments before about it, so content to think of it as innocent.
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    • It's implied that, for better or for worse, they're just used to it after it's happened so many times before. It helps that they're also suggested to be quite liberal for (probably) middle class Edinburgh parents in 1988 (the book) or 1996 (the film); in Porno, Dianne and Nicki go to Di's place and smoke some hash with them several years later.
  • How does the film justify Renton relapsing to heroin? It makes sense for Spud, Tommy and Sick Boy because a) Spud has a disastrous messy incident in his girlfriend's house and has no real hope of ever having sex with her or otherwise progressing the relationship, and he has no real prospects or hobbies to displace his addiction to b) Tommy is a virgin to the drug but also won't be able to get back together with his ex, he's caused them mortal embarassment with the loss of their sex tape and he wants to try skag as a one-off to numb his pain (which doesn't take, of course) and c) Sick Boy has an uncanny ability to use the Salisbury Crag sparingly and can control his addiction so it doesn't overpower the rest of his life. But Renton? He is upset about the cultural cringe he feels for Scotland vis-a-vis being "colonised" by England (fact check: it wasn't, it's in a union with it and two other nations) and this seems to be prefigured by his shock and shame at having slept with Dianne, an underaged school girl. Last I checked, frustration about the sluggishness of your country to develop a political identity isn't justification for going back on a Class A drug. The statutory rape deal may be more of an impetus for some people, but in his case, the police and especially Begbie (or really anyone else besides her parents) never found out about him pulling Dianne, and in any event it was an understandable mistake (she seems to intentionally lure him into the situation, under the misapprehension that she was an adult). The book seems to give more justifications for his relapsing, primarily that he just has a susceptible personality to certain drugs, but what else is there in the film to sell it to the audience?
    • Well, it's heroin. One doesn't really need an excuse to do it... save for "it exists and I like it". Once a person develops a taste for the stuff its rather hard to avoid it. Especially if you're able to stay relatively functional when you're using. The sheer marvelousness of the feeling is justification enough. Well, if you're a junkie yourself. I don't really know how to explain it to a non-user.
    • To be completely honest, it doesn't need any justification. Renton's still an addict, one who has tried to go sober many times before. It's essentially the same reasoning as why recovering alcoholics won't drink even when they've been sober for years. Addiction (of any kind) doesn't need any external justification to feed itself, it just needs the means and opportunity. Think about the thing you like best in the whole world: if you were starved of it for, say, several weeks and then given the chance to indulge in it again, would you really say "no thanks, I'm good"? In the most simple terms, the justification for Renton relapsing is purely because he's able to.
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    • Okay, let's look at the myriad factors that likely turned Rents onto the smack in the first place: it being around him, in his social circle, in a deprived city with no work, in a society he doesn't believe in. By the time he relapses, what, exactly, has fundamentally improved for him? He was driven to smack once. And part of the journey he makes, and the reason for the ending, is escape. In a more narrative sense, the justification for him relapsing is to cement why he must leave. Oh, and your comment about Scotland being in a Union is not really congruent with how Renton perceives things, "facts" be damned when it comes to understanding a flawed character's subjective motivations.
  • Begbie turns up at Renton's place in London because he is on the run for armed robbery of a jewelers. Yet he goes back to Edinburgh to attend Tommy's funeral, even though he is still on the run.
    • Begbie's strategy as described in most of the books is, if the heat is on, head down south, lie low for a while and wait for it to blow over. On top of that, when he talks about the crime in the film, he doesn't actually state that they have his name or anything. They might just have a vague police sketch based on the impression of scared witnesses and that's not always reliable. It's likely that he'd go to rob in a part of Edinburgh where he's not so well known, such as Tollcross, rather than his hometown of Leith. His friends are actually very important to him, so nothing would stop him from wanting to pay his final respects.
    • You could also say this is taking Begbie at face value. He just wants to be close to his best mate Mark, doesn't he? He follows Renton down to London, then follows him back for the funeral. In the prism of how Begbie feels about Renton, the armed robbery seems almost redundant: of COURSE Begbie would find a reason to visit his best bud the Rent Boy! The armed robbery was but an excuse, then alas, a friend died. Begbie, somewhat ironically, does see loyalty to his mates as trumping everything else.


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