The extinction of the Glasgow NED
News of a Trainspotting 2 has perked exciting amongst Scots’ up and down the country.
Despite its bleak depiction of Scotland's drug problems, Danny Boyle's original 1996 movie adaptation still holds a soft spot with us Jocks, having been voted “the best Scottish film of all time”.
Whilst reminiscing about the antics of Begbie and co, it dawned on me the gradual deterioration of the Glasgow NED over the same time frame. An icon of the nineties and early noughties very little is heard nowadays about the non-educated delinquents who once plagued Glasgow's culture.
In recent times, we have witnessed the birth of a more streetwise, presentable NED hybrid – The kind who moonlight as respectably dressed individuals, but still drink Buckfast and listen to Happy Hardcode tunes in private. Private is the key word there. Which begs the question; why has the Glasgow NED become such a shameful association for the modern youth?
A key influence is the city of Glasgow's redevelopment. The Commonwealth Games journey up North brought with it an infusion of cash, which was put to good use restoring and improving what had become a rather rundown, ugly looking Glasgow.
You would be hard pushed to find a Glaswegian who would argue that this makeover was not a positive modification to the city. With its gardens preened and its streetlights beaming, Glasgow soon established itself as an attractive location for prospective business owners and chains. A wider variety of places to eat, shop and socialise opened up a new array of tastes and experiences to the NED generation. They became more cultured; more adventurous. The McDonalds Big Mac meal that had been a staple diet addition for the last 20 years now looked pathetic in comparison to a home-cured Aberdeen Angus burger served on a brioche bun from the latest hipster burger joint in town.
Speaking of hipsters, the revolution of the hipster movement has also played a part in eliminating NED culture. Pop-up events can be found on almost every corner of Glasgow, leaving very few free spaces in the city for the traditional NED to do their thing. This influx of bohemian trendiness has meant that NEDs now find themselves trying to adapt to the ways of the hipster in order to fit in.
Old habits die hard though. There are of course still NEDs out there who have retained their original style. Their determination to keep the NED spirit alive is somewhat admirable. These traditionalists are normally middle-aged, having maintained their NED persona all the way from adolescence into adulthood. They still wear Berghaus Mera peak jackets and use tipex on their trainers to disguise any scuff marks. They are veterans of the 80s/90s acid house dance scene, who frequent the Savoy nightclub at weekends. They cried along with us all when Dino's pizzeria closed its doors but rejoiced when World Buffet set up shop on Bath Street.
As a rehabilitated former NED myself, I now struggle to understand whatever inspired me to hold such a title. Now 10 years since my recovery, I still get anxious when I walk past JD sports on Buchanan Street, as it drags up the buried memories of my Bucky swiggin’, Fred Perry wearing days. They say style rotates, though, so who is to say that the NED look won't make a comeback at some stage? I hear Urban Outfitters are already stocking Ellesse and Diadora merchandise! I think I'll hold onto my sovereign rings for now just in case...