Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trainspotting

The cast of the new Trainspotting film were on the Graham Norton show last night and it instantly struck me quite how era-defining the original film had been for my generation, right down to its music. I can't hear those two iconic chords from Born Slippy by Underworld without being transported to 1997, when I was 22. I think it's no co-incidence that the coming-of-age film for my generation was about listless drug addicts struggling to find a sense of identity. Lack of identify is the quintessential problem for Generation X. We didn't come of age in a blaze of Rock n Roll, New Romanticism or Punk. We were the generation whose pop stars were Neighbours and Eastenders cast members and the first manufactured bands. Victoria Beckham from the Spice Girls famously went on a twenty-year voyage to discover what it was that she was actually good at but, in the mean time, we still accepted her as a celebrity. We're all in our early forties these days and yet we've still not offered any truly iconic figures to the world. In my view, a lot of the problem originates in the fact that we grew up the children of Thatcherism, watching cycles of boom and bust where no-one cared about society and everyone cared about money. I haven't really thought about the issue a great deal more, but something awoke in me when I saw the cast of Trainspotting, and I think it and I think it was a sense of anger for my generation!

I learned yesterday that Westminster Council has decided to start penalising the drivers of diesel cars. From now on, parking in the Borough is going to be twice as expensive for diesel vehicles. Diesel has been utterly demonised of late and it seems everyone is jumping on this particular hate wagon. Ironically, we bought a diesel car because, at the time, it was meant to be better for the environment. Plainly this is no longer the case. Someone from the council was interviewed, and he was really hard line, "we want to make people think twice about their decision to buy vehicles which pollute the environment." That's me told.

The problem is that you're taxing the poor. Wealthy people don't care how much it costs to park. They just park. It's people like Nathan and me, who can't afford to replace our diesel vehicle, who will be shafted by this new rule. Apparently we're to expect a massive hike in what we pay to enter the congestion zone as well. I'll look forward to that.

I assisted Abbie at a quiz in a Synagogue last night. Every time I sit in a reform Synagogue, a sense of great calm wafts over me. It shouldn't matter, but it matters enormously to me that this is one of three British religions which supports gay marriage. Walking into a religious space where homosexuality is not just tolerated, but genuinely celebrated, always has a profound effect on me. I love visiting a place of worship where there's no sense that someone's going to come out of the woodwork and try to convert me. That's the joy about Judaism. There's no agenda of this description.

Abbie played the theme from Schindler's List as part of a "name the film" question. I was proud of her for doing so, particularly as the other assistant felt so strongly that she shouldn't have. People get so embarrassed by the concept of cultural faux pas. It was more than a little moving, to sit in a Synagogue listening to that particular piece of music. Aside from being one of the most beautiful pieces of film music ever written, it's also extraordinary to watch a group of people, happily taking part in a quiz, and think that, even in this country, in this era, anti-semitism still exists. It's always so depressing to go through so many high steel gates just to get into a place of worship. Imagine that in a church?

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