Falmouth has always valued itself as a safe and friendly place to study. But a recent attack in a late-night fast-food restaurant has brought a worrying trend into sharp focus. Natasha Gallimore, a third year student at Falmouth, gives her take on the growing unease for the town’s night owls.
From prior pub-crawling experience, I find that the odd heated exchange acts as a fixture, almost as essential as the end of night kebab. The occasional slur and a firm word off a bouncer often go unnoticed. However, in recent weeks, there has been a sense that the Falmouth nightlife has been changing. On Tuesday, there was report of a serious assault outside Falmouth’s post night-out landmark Cod on the Corner, leaving one man with multiple facial fractures. Another incident, which has caused uproar at the university, revolves around the explicit and offensive content written on the back of high-vis jackets worn by members of the Camborne School of Mines on a night out.
Coming to a seaside town from the middle of nowhere in the Cheshire countryside, knowing there was a Weatherspoon’s on hand for two-for-one pitchers, was enough to persuade me that Falmouth had a night life. The themed nights, cocktail bars and highly-esteemed Club International were just added bonuses and put more strain on my bank balance. You’d think that the fact my front door was a simple step (or stumble, depending on the events of the night) off the high street was almost too convenient. However, the regularity of random men crowded outside my front door and using it as a urinal made the prospect of walking home make me feel queasy. I have, rather embarrassingly, felt the need to be guided home, preferably by a male chaperone.
For me personally, over the past year I’ve found that lad culture and overall ‘laddy-ness’ is a prominent element of a Falmouth night out. More often than I care to admit I’ve found myself in Club I, stamp on one hand, drink in the other, and on the outskirts of a dancefloor brawl as a result of which, due to the small capacity of the club, you found yourself shoved, squished and showered in your own vodka lemonade.
On your more than average occasion, a night out has been situated firmly in a terraced house belonging to students who have thrown a party with no obvious celebratory cause. It’s in a location such as this that drugs and drink are rife. Even if you can’t see them physically, they’re there in the form of diluted pupils and the inability to string a sentence together. I’ve attended a party before where one individual, having been sick in an unconscious state, had been taken away in an ambulance. The party still continued regardless. The venue continues its gatherings on a termly basis, with the guy who went home in an ambulance still making his appearance.
Although I’ve become immune to the presence of drugs on a night out, their popularity hasn’t subsided. I’ve been asked if I want it, have it or have taken it and before now have felt very much the odd-one out. On occasion, I’ve left friends and acquaintances due to feeling uncomfortable, with my evening out coming to an impromptu end and in bed before 12.
Since first year, this has only become more of regular occurrence and with my £400 a month double bed only round the corner, the desire to go home seems irresistible. Back all those two years ago, the novelty of a night out was still present and the inclusion of drugs was new and intimidating. Now, it’s in every conversation and brought up every Thursday.
As I hang up my dancing shoes next July, graduate and use my £1 club entrance for something a little more practical, I can only hope the spirit and enthusiasm a group of chanting CSM lad’s remains. The rowdiness and violence, however, needs to be left behind. To start a fight on anyone other than the boxing machine in Club I is intolerant and that’s not just from the bouncers who are getting paid to pull these people apart. While you may think the fight is only between you and that person who looked at you funny, you’re wrong. Everyone around you has to play witness to your attempt to prove a point and everyone has to try and continue their evening regardless of the fact someone has just been assaulted in front of them.
Rather than questioning my safety on the nights I’ll be reminiscing on in 30 years’ time, I want to be enjoying the overdraft I’ve spent and complaining over my aching head the next morning.