Bristol is known for its high presence of homelessness, and the accompanying high levels of studentness inevitably create ongoing interactions between these two demographics, most of which are empathetic and understanding.
Breaking the mould is Henry McGerny, a second year Geography student who, when asked if he could “spare some change”, shook his head theatrically and announced that the shivering helpless man at his feet would “only go and spend it on drugs.”
The Whip caught up with Henry as he lurched mechanically along Whiteladies Road clutching a bundle of £10 notes in a pale clenched fist. After walking parallel to him for about three minutes tapping him on the shoulder and screaming his name inches from his sunken vacant face, he eventually registered our existence, and abruptly swung around to face us with the momentum of his pendulum jaw.
As his eyes darted erratically between us like a faulty slot machine, we asked him to explain the logic of his condemnation of the homeless.
“My aggressively hedonistic drug use is both purely recreational, and middle class. It’s important that we remember that it is therefore fine. I’m not part of all that horrible criminal underworld stuff. It’s not like I lie down in a puddle in the street and inject filth; I do my drugs indoors and stood up.”
It was at this point that Henry descended into a monstrous coughing fit, and as an elegant cascade of indeterminate powder from Henry’s eroded nostrils began showering the pavement at our feet, it began clear that that was all we were going to get out of him that day.
After asking us for a Rizla and then walking into a lamppost, he staggered off into the sunset to purchase a harmlessly recreational sack of 15% cocaine from a hooded man in a dented Fiat Punto.