A high quality reconstruction of the chainmail's original owner Miranda Evans

Turn over the cobblestones of Cambridge, and you’ll find some strange creatures squirming below. This rare Cantabrigian species, encompassing a cluster of curiosities at the furthermost poles of the Cambridge spectrum, is often more interesting than the rest of the student body combined. I have found myself living with one such individual this year, and feel we could all benefit from a brief case study of this man – here is a summary of what I have learned so far.

In first year, Rob was known for two things: his deep-rooted love of hot sauce and his possession of chainmail. The former passionate and spicy affair was rapidly terminated when he nearly blinded himself during Freshers’ Week. Truly unique, I feel that Rob represents the Cambridge conundrum at its most extreme: the man topped Tripos (having turned up late to one exam, and having suffered from explosive diarrhoea throughout the other) and yet he can’t work a washing machine. Here we have the oxymoron of Cambridge life wrapped up in one freakishly bright yet frightfully incompetent Scotsman.

Rob was known for two things: his deep-rooted love of hot sauce and his possession of chainmail.

So what made him the way he is today? According to Rob (and probably his therapist), he was born in Aberdeen but made in the Cadets. His experiences there must have constituted a dark time in his life, but may explain his infatuation with the word ‘sigma’, his quirky tendency to whip out his belt in situations involving conflict, and sightings of him snorting pre-workout powder off a desk in the library.

Intrigued, I questioned a fellow former cadet chum of Rob’s who commended his noble attitude to extreme pranks: “Tie him up and throw him out the window, he’d be fine with it.” I asked if this happened often. “Yes. Yes it did.” The not-so-noble Cadet compared their time there to Lord of the Flies, and alluded to a tradition called “Robbie Cage” involving bedframes, nudity and a broom, the details of which I would rather you figured out for yourselves.

Perhaps some of his natural charisma (and dictatorial aspirations, made known in the playground, age eight) can be traced back to the speculation surrounding his paternal lineage: there is significant evidence to suggest that Rob is the love child of Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union. This would make a lot of sense, especially considering his desire to decorate his room with a Napoleonic musket. As his neighbour, I think I speak for the entire staircase when I say I’m relieved the College rules forbid muzzle-loading firearms. Between Cadets and Gorbachev, it is safe to say that both nature and nurture play a role in shaping Rob into the man he is today.

There is significant evidence to suggest that Rob is the love child of Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union.

Another key constituent of young Robbie is his morning routine: immediately upon waking, he chugs a two litre bottle of Irn-Bru to remind him of his roots. (Thankfully he saves the vodka, from his other set of roots, for evenings.) This allegedly does wonders for his attention span, although possibly not his arteries. For context, doctors have identified an unprecedented level of ADHD in this man, to the point where scientists question whether he actually has an attention span. His ADHD manifests itself primarily in flipping his phone with one hand, a motion that makes him easily identifiable from some distance away. I was recently informed that Rob is now on his eighth phone: “I broke the last one by biting it.” What can I say? It happens to the best of us.

Having hosted Rob over summer, I can confirm that he is a true believer in plausible deniability. His response to any accusation or unwanted inquiry is simply: “I dunno.” Simple but masterful. However, the security guard at the ball pit club in Edinburgh didn’t take this answer so well in response to her asking him if he was strangling our friend beneath the balls. (He very clearly was.) He also excels in the field of heckling, displayed when I took him to the Fringe. He proceeded to sit in the front row of every stand-up show we went to and steal the show from each comedian in turn. One guy started with: “Firstly, a confession: I’ve not had sex in two years.” Rob responded to this with: “Try nineteen, mate.” Really, where do you go from there? The next performer was discussing the comment section of PornHub, and directed a question to Rob – Rob said: “Come again?” The audience roared. Not to condone it, but Rob’s advice to anyone who wishes to become a better heckler is to give into intrusive thoughts and, in his words: “Lower the inhibition.”

Since returning to College, this man has asked to borrow my knife – and not just any knife: my largest knife – every day for a week. He still hasn’t told me why. Safe to say I live in constant fear of reliving the Psycho shower scene. He’s already made a trip to A&E, and a multipurpose one at that: he stabbed his hand (with my knife) while playing the aptly named ‘Stabby Knife Game’ and conveniently banged his head (not once, not twice, but three times) on the same day, once by falling down several flights of stairs. I can’t wait to see what the remainder of the term brings for our staircase – hopefully fewer encounters with Rob’s head.


Mountain View

Be not afraid of an unplanned Parisian layover

Living among such a high concentration of charismatic and quirky – sometimes diagnosably quirky – beans is a privilege, whether or not you approve of their musket-wielding, Irn-Bru ingesting ways. I suggest we appreciate them while we’re here.