Side A: Goodnight, Portland
In America, eccentric folk are avoided. “Trainspotting Extras” is about losing that bad habit. On one trip home hanging out in Portland bars, I became fascinated and annoyed by one bartender who was regaling everyone with the plot of her movie script and I had a feeling she was making it up. There was something intriguing about her desire to pontificate and I found myself at the edge of my seat waiting to hear more about her zombie apocalypse, or whatever. I think I was rooting for her. Talented, charismatic, maker of mean Bloody Marys, she seemed complacent. I hope she wrote that script, but instincts told me she ditched and probably formed a band. So “Goodnight Portland” questions if the bartender is a working class hero or arts community poseur. It’s about realizing I spend too much time thinking about success and not enough appreciating the moment. Why did I rush to see the Trainspotting extras’ names in the credits? Is it because I didn’t believe them? What a pity. Listen here.
Side B: Trainspotting Extras
Living in Edinburgh, I frequented many pubs. During the week I wrote in coffee shops and pubs chosen for available power sockets, lighting, wi-fi and cheap coffee. On weekends, beer selection and friendly faces mattered more. Though Edinburgh’s a tourist town in spring and summer, in winter pubs shut the larger rooms and locals take their bar seats back.
I based my weekend tours of Edinburgh’s pubs on bus schedules and not facing an uphill walk back to my flat: The Castle Arms, Deacon Brodie’s, The World’s End, Middleton’s and Teuchter’s (in Leith). I befriended regulars at The Castle Arms who had been extras in Trainspotting. It was the debut, climax and denouement of their theatrical careers. They all traded stories from “on set” experiences and recalled that Ewan MacGregor was a “nice fellow”. Why were the regulars at The Castle Arms when Middleton’s (the pub location in the movie) was right down the road?
Illustrations by Ryan Eyestone.