Since last week, a Mr. Henry Brookes has reportedly been living in solitude in the Library’s Safe-pod. Mr. Brookes, a 4th year English student believed to be in the middle of his dissertation, was discovered last week hiding in the pod by a member of staff. The staff member was responding to a complaint from an unnamed IR Ph.D. candidate who, on attempting to access the pod, was allegedly told to “piss off and find your own” by Mr. Brookes.
The Safe Pod was installed in 2015, and the idea behind it is to provide members of the University with access to a private location where they can securely access data provided via the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN). However, since Mr. Brookes has taken up residence, the service has been unavailable to other students. There have been multiple attempts to remove Mr. Brookes from the site, however his story has gained an impressive online following and groups have spoken out supporting his actions. As of Friday night, Mr. Brookes was issued a final warning to vacate the pod or be removed by force, however following the announcement hundreds of students protested inside the Library (in silence of course – show some goddamn respect) in solidarity with Mr. Brookes.
The Salvator was lucky enough to be granted an exclusive interview with Mr. Brookes, or as he's become dubbed on the streets, 'Henry the Hermit'.
Here we offer you a rare glimpse into the life of St Andrews’ infamous library recluse.
What made you decide to want to live in the Safe Pod?
A culmination of things really, where to begin. Have you not read the papers or been on Facebook recently? The world is a mess. First Brexit, then the collapse of the Great British Bake-Off, and now the probability that Donald Trump, the human racist satsuma, might become President. What if he starts a nuclear war, huh? I'll be ahead of the game, then you'll all be begging me for a piece of the pod.
What finally pushed you over the edge?
I’ve been toying with the idea for a while now, I was just not sure when to take the plunge. My mind was made up last week though when I saw fellow students selling Christmas Ball tickets for extortionate prices on Facebook. At that point, I suffered a profound loss in humanity and decided people are, generally speaking, absolute bastards. You know, the world could be such a beautiful place, if only we stopped being dicks for like 5 minutes. I knew the time had come to bid farewell to modern life, and live like a monk in the secure confines of the pod.
Some are describing your stunt as a “Social Experiment”, a way of returning to your primal roots. Would you agree?
In a way, perhaps. It has been a real test of my emotional stability. Some respite from the real world was all I was looking for. Things just got a little bit too much and I decided that was it. Now I’m in 4th year, the endless drone of my parents harking on at me about applying for Graduate Schemes or Masters has begun, and it’s tipped me over the edge. Life is too short for LinkedIn.
According to my personal philosophy, if “life gives you lemons, send the lemons straight back with the guarantee of a full refund and your statutory rights intact.” Then calmly return to the safety of the pod.
What about giving back to society and assuming your adult responsibilities?
Balls to adult responsibilities and council tax! Viva la revolution, Viva la pod!
How long do you intend to stay in the Safe Pod?
If things carry on the way they are, I full well intend to live out the rest of my days in the pod.
But how do plan on surviving long term on your own in the pod? Are you not worried you’ll get bored?
Well if I get lonely, I’ve got Siri on my iPhone to keep me company. I’ll be just like Joaquin Phoenix in that film Her. In terms of supplies and food to keep me going, I’ve been raiding the vending machines in the dead of night. So far I’ve managed to get 3 Snickers, 1 Mars Bar and a bag of Mini Cheddars for free. Some fellow students have actually been leaving me food and supplies outside of the pod, for which I’m very grateful. They should last me until the end of the week, although the human body is surprisingly adaptable to change.
Are you not worried you’re taking away a key learning resource from other St Andrews Students?
Not at all. My mental and physical needs come before their academic needs.
Now piss off and leave me be.
Update: Since the Salvator met Mr Brookes, he has reportedly not been sighted outside of the pod for some days. He has requested via various social media platforms that people respect his privacy at this over-whelming time.