Author Archives: Generation Plymouth

Opinion: The More We Know

By Megan Dibben

Each day we hear about new wars, weapons and wins on every media platform available. Growing up in a society that is prone to such things is devastating. In the eyes of a teenager, a young girl who has been told we live in a big, bright, beautiful world repeatedly, these events are inexplicably disheartening.

We all soon learn, however, that with age comes understanding, and with opinion comes backlash. A protest is happening on every corner of every street defending or promoting new beliefs each day. And as days, months and years pass, we are exposed to increasingly explicit content, destroying our innocence.

But why were we ever innocent in the first place? Is it because we were children, unable to comprehend violence or anger – an emotion we all naturally experience from a very young age? Indeed, wars cannot be justified by suggesting that anger is a natural human emotion. It is common knowledge that violence should never be praised, but is hiding our children, the children of the new generation, ever going to change what they see and learn?

For example, the age range for owning gaming consoles is lowering every day. There are primary school children playing video games, which is contributing to their knowledge on conflict, even if it is fictional. So, my question is: how can we allow an eight year old to play games where the actual aim is to kill as many people as possible, but at the same time restrict them from learning about the Sudan Crisis? Surely, if they can accept the violence and gore on their screens daily, they can handle a story about real life issues in the world they live in?

It’s a completely contradictory society, especially with the debate over who should learn about conflicts and who shouldn’t. And although many may argue that children are unable to cope and will be overcome with worry if we do expose them to such content, have you ever met a fully grown adult who didn’t worry about current issues in the world? Why do you think they hide this information? Because it scares them just as much as it would scare any child.

On the other hand, perhaps exposing children to this kind of content through fictional games can be used methodically to prepare them for when they eventually do hear about real life wars and conflicts. While we are allowing them to have fun playing video games, we may also be helping them to understand that the things on their screen also happen in real life.

While the Xbox version may not be real, it’s based on real life issues. This may help reduce shock or confusion when real events are explained to them – majorly decreasing the risk of being traumatised. This may also spark an interest in learning about current issues, expanding their knowledge as they get older. This in turn may open up career options or simply help them to become activists for what they believe in. In my opinion, it is important to stand up for what you believe in – even if you are reprimanded for it.

Whichever side you choose to take, someone will have an opinion on it. But in a society of people with many different beliefs, we should not expect our children to go through life oblivious to what is happening in the world around them.

It happens too often, even carrying on into a child’s teenage years. For me and many other 15/16 year olds, we are now expected to have an opinion on politics, which is something we have never been taught about. The majority of people my age have no say in the future of our country – but what does it matter? We have no idea what is going to happen anyway because we don’t have the knowledge – not even the basics for many. From a personal opinion, I wish I knew more about the world. But, should we trust that adults are protecting us for as long as they can?

So, my final question is – should we be protected or taught?

The Life of a Cardiac Physiology Student

By Katie Stote

Imagine being an undergraduate student, in your second year at university, operating technology which is crucial to a live operation happening on a real patient. As a second year undergraduate Cardiac Physiology student, that is just one of Kayleigh Slocombe’s day to day responsibilities while on placement at Derriford Hospital. As a humanities student, I had never even heard of ‘cardiac physiology’ before meeting Kayleigh. When Kayleigh begun to tell me about her course, specifically her role on placement at Derriford Hospital, it quickly became clear to me that this undergraduate course deserved more recognition. To find out more about the life of a Cardiac Physiology student at the University of Plymouth, Kayleigh was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview.

“Being on placement in my first year was quite different to second-year. In the first year, the placement was a lot shorter than second-year, so the main thing I was doing was ECG’s (a test which measures the electrical measure of your heart to check it is working correctly) and shadowing. Now in second year, there is a lot more responsibility and one-on-one time with the hospital staff. My responsibilities this year include: making sure the defibrillators in the Cath Lab (where tests and procedures regarding the heart, arteries and veins are conducted) are working, ensuring the emergency trolley is all stocked, including emergency temporary pacing boxes (so that if a patient’s heart stops beating we can put in a temporary pace maker), and I also make up pressure bags which are used to take pressure from inside the blood vessels and heart.”

“When the patient comes in, I put an ECG on them and a SATS probe to check their oxygen saturations. Throughout the procedure in the Cath Lab, I’ll be watching the screens, making sure nothing is going wrong, noting all the medications and equipment used, whilst one of the qualified cardiac physiologists observes me. Outside of this, we also lead a variety of other procedures to test heart physiology and function. These include equipping patients with monitors, which are like ECG’s but will stay on the patient for 24 hours or a week. When the patient brings their monitor back, I analyse the data to then hand on to the doctor. I am also responsible for calling the emergency arrest number if the doctors are unable to get a patient out of a cardiac arrest, to get another team down to help with the patient”.

Despite the struggle of leading a very different lifestyle to her friends whilst attending her placement, Kayleigh has not let this stop her from making the most out of her experience. She has even decided to base her dissertation research on a live trial which is starting at Derriford Hospital in July, which could reshape the future of stent implantation by creating more effective and efficient treatments for patients with narrow arteries. Kayleigh explained, “What’s good is that this does need researching, so my research will actually be useful to the hospital. It’s a good feeling that with the everchanging services that the Derriford Cardiology Ward offers, even as a student I can be a part of that and potentially make a difference.”

Finally, Kayleigh told me what inspires her about her course and her future career: “I think my course is a hidden gem, because it is a really specialised, specific course but at the same time you have loads of different pathways and opportunities you can take after graduation; you aren’t just tied down to one career path. As science and technology is advancing, cardiac physiology can only grow. Our specialism is technology and diagnostics, so with all of these technological developments it is so exciting, we have no idea where this area could grow from here.”

Introducing Virina Flower

By Keiran Potter

Though the UK is considered one of the most accepting countries in the world in regard to the LGBTQIA+ community, it is important not to ignore the fact that there is still so much work to do. Until every single queer person feels at home in their own skin we cannot rest. 

That’s why I reached out to several Plymouth Queer nightlife personalities, in order to highlight how Pride has no opening hours. The fight goes on long into the night but so does the fun. Here’s an insight into a drag queen’s perspective of Pride in our city.

Virina Flower (@VirinaFlower), 23, grew up in Ukraine, and takes drag inspiration from their relationship with her/his Mother. Virina represents the unifying power that queer arts have. Drag performance in particular invites people from all walks of life, all abilities, all races, all genders, to inhabit the same space. A space where we’re all just people; the way it should always be.

When asked what advice she would give to queer youth in Plymouth, Virina said, “Be you. I know it sounds cheesy but be openly you. The queer scene here is rising and now that I have the residency at OMG Plymouth I feel like I have a responsibility to encourage people to be free and open. We will always have homophobia/transphobia, but you will never live forever.”

The LGBTQIA+ community in Plymouth is accepting of everyone and has room for a diverse group of performers and queer artists; a family that is ever growing. Virina explains that this includes, “Femme queens like Dixie Macarbe, Trans queen/king Casenovah, a lyric writer and cabaret act like Dex Amfetamine, and even some burlesque representation such as Lady Shakira Diamond.” The list does not stop there however. Plymouth is also home to “Beauty gurus like Arabela ( Jonathan), and of course the traditional British cabaret style Mary Hinge, who also happens to be the current mother of the scene”.

Virina adds, “Each day [in Plymouth] I meet more and more people. If they are confused and they don’t know about the community, then I take my time to make sure they feel comfortable speaking about the LGBTQIA+ community and our struggle. Usually the results are positive.”

So, if you’re feeling invisible, need some support and can’t seem to find it, look no further than the rhinestone doors of OMG Plymouth and The Swallow, where people will call you family no matter who you are.

Virina wants to be a voice for the queer community and do what they love full time. She explains that it is important to be visible, as for every queer artist that is being recognised and celebrated, there are hundreds of non-queer artists. She says that the queer youth of this generation deserve representation, and I couldn’t agree more.

I thought it was important to mark the end of Pride Month by emphasising that we need to celebrate ourselves every single day for the rest of our lives, not just for 30 days. We deserve to be heard loud and clear all year round. So, if you’re a young queer person reading this: find your tribe, be seen when you’re ready. You have a safe space wherever you are, if you are surrounded by likeminded people. Now be proud, you are incredible. 

Pride in Plymouth is coming up in the next month. This will be a time to celebrate the beautiful queerness of Plymouth. I’m sure Virina and many more amazing people will be there, so why don’t you head up to Plymouth Hoe and say hello? Whether you’re queer or just want to show your support for the community, it’ll be a beautiful day to celebrate.

I’ll let Virina close this article, as she solidifies the importance of Queer art. She says, “Pride to me is a feeling. I try to take pride season as an opportunity to be visible. Maybe one day when I’m walking in town in full drag, a kid or a teen or maybe even an adult will look at me and think, ‘Look at him being himself and happy! Maybe it’s not all that bad.’ Be proud! This is our season and our time!”

Happy Pride!

Under (Social Media) Pressure

By Affinity May

Scrolling through social media is one of the most popular pastimes of today’s generation. The concept of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat make them a perfect way for companies to grow in popularity, in addition to creating platforms to share knowledge and art with the world. However, are these websites merely creating entertainment for today’s youths, or are they putting pressure on young woman and creating unnecessary expectations for us to try and adhere to?

The pressure to be presented as ‘perfect’ is increasing day by day. There seems to be an unwritten rule about how you should look and act. With young girls exposed to this on a daily basis, consequences such as insecurity, low self esteem and limited confidence often occur. 

I spoke to a group of women in Plymouth about their perspectives on this topic, and the answers were devastating. Amie Marie, aged 16, stated, “I feel the constant pressure to change myself to be a better person or to be accepted by society’s harsh rules/expectations”.

Kayleigh Smallest, aged 15, said, “Personally I have felt society’s pressure by the way people comment on things like skin , hair and most frequently the expectations of having ‘perfect’ teeth”.

Megan Symons, aged 17, stated, “I feel like everyone has this (…) ‘if you don’t look like this or don’t do these things, then you are bad’ attitude. It does affect me personally and I know that I need to find ways to combat these negative feelings”. 

Harriet Rogers, aged 16, said, “ I have experienced this pressure on more than one occasion and it has led to me feeling like I’m not good enough, that I’m not pretty enough, not skinny enough, haven’t got the perfect bum etc. As I’ve grown older I’ve realised that it’s not as big a deal as I made it out to be when I was younger, but I know that I’m not the only girl who’s felt this and I definitely won’t be the last” 

Of course social media is not the cause of all vulnerabilities towards young woman, but it is a reason that so many of our young teenage woman are feeling pressure to be presented as perfect online.

Plymouth Youth Climate Protests

By Tobias Chalcraft

Friday 21st June saw dozens of Plymouth locals take part in a protest to raise awareness of climate-related issues. This was part of the youth protests taking place by schoolchildren across Europe, pushing for more action from elected representatives to tackle climate change.

Organisers say that approximately 1.5 million children in over 1,600 cities will be taking part in the ‘Fridays for Future’ school strikes.

We spoke to two protestors, Hazel (19) and Brendan (20), to get more perspective into the protests taking place in the city. These active citizens argued that their demonstration would provide a good platform to spread awareness among Plymouth residents and put pressure on local businesses and the City Council to take further steps towards helping the planet.

Unsurprisingly, demonstrators said Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist making headlines across the world for pressing elected representatives to move towards greener policies, was a driving factor for increasing turnout in these protests.

In addition, various protests carried out by environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion were seen to inspire some of the older protestors taking part. Brendan also referred to campaigner SustainaClaus, who harnesses the joy of Saint Nicholas to help spread awareness of sustainability.

When asked about the efficiency of Plymouth MPs’ fight against climate change, Hazel gave modest praise to the green efforts of Luke Pollard (MP for Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport). This included his recent proposal to have decommissioned nuclear submarines held in Plymouth recycled.

It wasn’t all applause for Pollard though. Hazel went on to highlight that the MP’s role as Shadow Fisheries Minister adds some hypocrisy to his environmentalism, as fishing contributes to the increasing depletion and pollution of our oceans.

Another protestor, who was excused from school to attend, was happy to present some of the signs created by herself and her peers. One poster displayed 10 key reasons for why these young people were motivated to strike, including a reference to the UN’s recent climate report giving us just 12 years to half emissions in order to avoid global catastrophe.

These inspirational young people had multiple recommendations for readers seeking to contribute towards a greener world. These included mutually beneficial fixes for day-to-day life, such as using more public transport. For more green recommendations, check out Generation Plymouth’s article Plastics are Suffocating our Oceans.

Beard and Bones: the Plymouth-Based Beard Cosmetics Company

By Lily Smith

Bubblegum, candyfloss, pineapple and watermelon: all unique and fun beard balm and oil scents developed by entrepreneur Dan Henders, 23, for his men’s beard care company Beard and Bones.

Beard and Bones was set up in Plymouth in 2018 with the aim of providing men with exciting new beard care cosmetics that stepped away from traditional woody scents.

The eye-catching packaging can’t be missed. ‘We wanted to be different’, says owner Dan, ‘We also wanted to be environmentally friendly which is why we use glass skulls as packaging for our oils’.

The beard products ‘look cool in hessian bags with oil tags’, says Dan. Not only does this create products that are beautiful to display, but the glass bottles and hessian bags also greatly reduce plastic use, which is one of the company’s targets.

The business has grown quickly, hitting four thousand Instagram followers (@beardandbonesuk) in the short 8 months they’ve been around. As a result Beard and Bones have expanded their range to include beard shampoos, beard and body butters and, more recently, hair styling products such as pomades and clays.

The range can be found in several barber shops across Plymouth, including City Gents, Study 28 and Luka’s Barbers. Beard and Bones’ beard oils and other products can also be bought through their website, with oils starting at just £7.99 for a 15ml bottle.

With their online sales quickly becoming global, the company has set itself the target of becoming a “one stop shop for all men”, in addition to plans to start a female range in the future.

Visit the Beard and Bones website here: www.beardandbones.co.uk/

Cereal Cafe Coming to Plymouth

By Abi Purvis

At the end of the month the newly opened Kawaffle bar is expanding its horizons, as Sofie and Kieran Taylor open a cereal cafe in Plymouth Market.

From Banana Cream Frosties to Marshmallow Mateys, Sofie says they want to stock ‘great looking (and unusual) cereal from all over the world, and a menu explaining possible combos you may like to try.’ If you’re after something a little different to the standard milk and cereal combination, the cafe will also offer banana milk, strawberry milk, milk alternatives, and yoghurt to make your breakfast even more delicious.

But it’s not only cereal. There will also be ‘a few other simple breakfast options like Pop Tarts, crumpets and toast, and even boiled eggs with soldiers’.

It all sounds rather nostalgic. If you are looking to relive your youth through your breakfast (or your afternoon snack), this will be the place to go.

Inclusive of all diets, there is no excuse not to visit. Kawaffle seeks to cater for all, including gluten free, lactose intolerant, vegan and the Nutella obsessed. Sofie says, ‘We source both popular and unusual items from all over the world, to accommodate both the adventurous and those who only choose what they know they love’, so there will undoubtedly be something for everyone.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, or rather your bowl of cereal, Sophie and Kieran are aiming to open the cereal cafe on the 28th June. Keep an eye on their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kawaffle/) and Instagram (@kawaffleplymouth) for updates.

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