Trainspotting 2 and Web2.0: lessons from Spud about blogging

Trainspotting 2 hit the screens in a special Double Feature marathon last weekend in Den Haag. 

The erstwhile anti heroes of 1996 have struggled through two decades and survived. Just. 

Fast forward 20 years

Their earlier selves have timewarped into the present day, to some extent still in their past for the viewer and the character. As an audience we picture them there, back in a simpler world. One has been in prison which metaphorically fits their absence from public consciousness in the gap since then. 

Today their world is confusing. Their characters have feet in the past. One scene of remeniscence over football, features a quote that they ‘live in the past’. The girl who states this says that in her country the past is gone. 

How does this link to blogging? I hear you ask

I remember sitting in a meeting in a slightly unfocused way in around 2007 when a colleague voiced concern about the potential of Web 2.0

At that time I wasn’t clear, initially,  what she was meant and listened to the doom and danger she was concerned by. 

 A Web 2.0 website may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to the first generation of Web 1.0-era websites where people were limited to the passive viewing of content. 


Fast forward ten years

Living in the past is a straightforward fall back procedure. It’s a place that seems familiar and comfortable. 

When Trainspotting came out in 1996 I was living in west London. 

It was the year before I moved to The Netherlands. 

I’d been teaching five years and I was 27 years old. It was the year I became a vegetarian. 

In 1996 In the UK Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales get divorced and Mad Cow Disease hits Britain (BSE) causing the mass slaughter of Herds of Cows and new laws to stop beef being sold on the bone. A severe Meningitas Epidemic occurs in West Africa. In technology DVD’s are Launched in Japan and the number of users on the Internet exceed 10 million. This is also the year Ebay and Ask Jeeves is started and the first ever cloning of a mammal Dolly the sheep. Fifteen children were killed in a Dunblane primary school. John Major was prime minister. (

In the 20 years in between many things have happened. In 1996 I would have hardly been able to imagine publishing my thoughts in a public space. Yet today I am doing exactly that from the comfort of the couch. 

The internet reached a million users in 1996. But that internet was flatter and content based. It was a library of information not one of authorship. 

Ten years later the concept of Web 2.0, which had been coined in 2004 presented a very different story. 

To become a web author is straightforward. Tweeting, facebooking, blogging, vlogging and instagramming are all familiar concepts. They don’t frustrate the spell check. They are common terms just like ‘Google it.’

Modern day T2 character, Spud, has found a new addiction #spoileralert -he’s a writer. 

This made me contemplate the modernization process. Although T2 is based loosely in a book set ten years after the original story and then brought to 20 years, it seems the screen play of Irvine Welsh’s book has missed a trick. It seems to me Spud should’ve become a blogger. 

“Why would I blog?” 

This very common question is answered by this example. Spud needs a voice. In fact he has a voice. Yet his thoughts, ideas and concepts are stifled by circumstance. He needs to organise them and write them down. His medium is note paper and complex notes. 

 In the book version, when he has written his ideas he approaches publishers. They dismiss him.  
Being able to write changes Spuds life and his outlook. He gains a great deal. Self respect, clarity, purpose and hope. 

Yet his ideas go unread. He is still isolated and alone. When he finally finds a reader he is liberated. 

If the context of 2017 were available to this man of 1997 I believe he would have blogged. He would’ve gained a following. He could’ve become an internet sensation. 

It’s interesting that for some Web 2.0 created anxiety and a worry yet it has provided a creative channel that holds anything but anxiety. 

These are aspirations for a potential blogger today. 

If you need a voice or might find one

If you want clarity or purpose

If you need feedback 

If your thoughts could be shared

…… then blogging may provide.