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Scotland the sick

Young Scotland applauds the crude, aggressive scenes of "Trainspotting." Respectable, middle-aged Scotland is at ease with anti-English xenophobia. Kenneth Roy wonders what has happened to the rough decency of the working class culture of his youth and yearns for a gentle, civilised nationalism

By Kenneth Roy   June 1996

The possibility that there might be something wrong with the Scots-that we might be mentally unwell-occurred to me, not on the day of the Dunblane murders but several weeks earlier in the darkness of a cinema. It was suggested by the sound of laughter.

The audience in our local Odeon for Trainspotting, a film about Edinburgh drug addicts based on a novel by Irvine Welsh, was predominantly young, heterosexual and fashionably dressed. Judging by the buzz of conversation, it was also of reasonable intelligence. People held hands in a sweet, old-fashioned way and devoured huge quantities of popcorn. All in…

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