Ah yes… It’s that time of year again, where students from around the country flock to their prospective University and settle in for the inaugural O-week. Some of which, have chosen our fair city to call home for the next three or so years, whilst they slog it out in the world of Tertiary education. I always find O-week oh so fascinating, but I think this year really topped it for me. On Wednesday evening, I attended a gig at the Hamilton Station Hotel, to catch some local legends (and friends who are basically locals), play some incredible tunes and soak up the dim lighting as I sipped my beer. Sometimes I forget about Wednesday night being student night, as I’m much more of a fan of the industry Monday or the casual Thursday Night Live soiree, but I was definitely reminded last week. At around 9pm I walked into the Hamo only to be faced with a sea of glitter, giggles and vodka raspberries as it seemed the members of one of the female dorms on campus, were knee deep in their first annual pub crawl.
Approaching the door, I saw a group girls, looking worse for wear, and whilst I was greeted with a “welcome back mate, haven’t seen you in a while” and an open door, this select group were enjoying a much needed “too fast too soon” time out on the damp pavement, nursing a glass of water and patiently waiting for their squad to crawl to the next designated pub. “It was the tequila that did it…” One of them mumbled to the other, “you should just stick to beer”. I then commented with a sly smile, “that’s red-hot advice my friend” I laughed before heading to the bar for a beer. It got me thinking though, about that instinctive need to place judgment between generational gaps. Before more words escaped my mouth, I took the time to think. Eight years ago that would have been me, slumped against the wall of a pub with mates holding my hair back and telling me (for the 50th time) that tequila does not in fact make me flirty it just makes me forget that my legs can hold my own weight and that I really… really… cannot dance.
I think this notion of judgement across generational gaps applies to more then just the way we spend our free time. Take town progression for example. I do not envy the local politicians, battling each and every demographic when they are hoping to push our town forward. Progress and change is incredibly subjective, I mean, I was one of the people protesting the removal of the fig trees on Lamen Street, but I’m also one of the people who can appreciate the effort the council put in to try and revitalise the area. As much as I miss the fig trees, I would hate for my opinion to hinder progress.
As I’ve mentioned before, I live in a little bit of a microcosm. A very strange bubble in the middle of the city, dwarfed by modern apartments with undercover parking and lobbies, overlooked by the Police Station and wedged between history. To see these iconic Terraces demolished for yet another corporate high-rise building would be a disaster, and I hope that it never happens. But… I think what I am trying to say is, Newcastle in itself, is constantly fighting the battle between supporting growth and change, and maintaining deep tradition. It’s a fine line to walk along, and once again I am very glad that it’s just my job to report not make decisions in local council.
Back to my original point about the influx of new University students... On my orientation day, I was told that someone in this room would be my boss one-day. That someone in this room would start up a publication that I would be fighting to work for, and I know for a fact they are right. I’m just not the boss type, but I will work hard for something and someone I believe in, to create positive change, regardless of the generation they belong to. So, though we all may have a giggle at the 18 year olds taking advantage of the joys of living out of home for the first time, they will evidently be the generation to move this town towards the next step. Progress and potential, through generational change. That’s definitely not something to giggle at.