There's more to Skins generation than just alcohol and sex

PUBLISHED: 11:05 19 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:55 11 May 2010

ONE OF the joys of being a journalist is that you get sent a lot of press releases. Every day when I come in to work my inbox is clogged up with e-mails from over-enthusiastic PR companies extolling the virtues of a new tinned food that is going to revo

ONE OF the 'joys' of being a journalist is that you get sent a lot of press releases.

Every day when I come in to work my inbox is clogged up with e-mails from over-enthusiastic PR companies extolling the virtues of a new tinned food that is going to revolutionise the way we eat, or a "fresh and exciting" development in loft insulation technology, or some other totally useless information that has me reaching for the delete key.

But one press release came in this week which did catch my eye. It concerned a new band who are about to set out on a tour. "Citing their main influences as alcohol and sex, they are the perfect soundtrack for the Skins generation", the band's publicist says, referring to the Channel Four drama Skins which features a group of teenagers whose lives seem to consist of one long party.

This strikes me as a pretty damning indictment of young people today, but it is sadly reflective of the wider attitude society takes to the younger generation.

We in the media are guilty of often portraying a very negative image of young people: If you believe what you read in some of the papers, all they're interested in is getting drunk, having casual sex, starting fights, and getting up to other kinds of unspecified mischief.

I had the pleasure of meeting a group of sixth form students from the Meridian School this week who are carrying out a project in conjunction with Royston Stroke Club to develop communication passports for stroke victims.

They have apparently been visiting the club for a number of weeks now.

"The members get a lot out of their visits, and the students really seem to enjoy it too," said Mandy Byrne, chairman of the stroke club.

Of course there are plenty of teenagers who get up to no good, but I think that often too much emphasis gets put on what teenagers do wrong and not enough on what they do right.

This particular group of students I met are a great credit to themselves, their school, and this area in general.

Certainly there is a lot more to the Skins generation than just alcohol and sex.

I spotted a story this week which warmed my young (ish) yet cynical heart.

A shopkeeper in Bristol received a letter of apology and a cheque for £100 from a former drug addict who stole from his shop in 2001.

The unnamed thief, now a reformed character, said: "Dear Sirs, I am writing this letter to make amends to you for something I have done in the past.

"About seven years ago, I was walking past your shop late one night when I noticed that someone had broken into it. I used this opportunity to enter your shop where I stole 400 cigarettes. The money enclosed (£100) is to pay for those cigarettes which I stole from you."

Last week in The Crow we featured the sad story of thieves who raided a farm shop, stealing a Remembrance Day collection box in the process.

The box contained only a small amount of cash, but as Maureen Huffer, owner of the shop, said, "It's the principle of the thing."

Wouldn't it be nice if the raiders followed the lead of our anonymous friend from Bristol and returned the money so that it could be passed on to such a worthy cause?

We can only hope that their consciences prompt them to do the right thing.


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