O Greg Hill, Where Art Thou?
A personal journey into the heart of Homerton’s hero.
The gym’s entrance, nestled at the heart of Queen’s Wing, at last lay before me.
The cool metal handle was all that lay between me and the ultimate truth; the forbidden fruit of Homerton.
It is strange to think that only now, almost two years since his mortal form last graced Cambridge, The Tab should finally begin to unravel the persona, the myth, the illustrious example that is Greg Hill. At least, he used to be all those things. You see, it has come to the attention of his followers that the gym-building deity as he once was, the stalwart of The Tab, is slowly becoming a mere memory, with the calls for a return of his ineffable commenting prowess echoing through the chasm of the Tab’s comments section.
It looks as if it’s time for me to ask the question that few have dared voice until now: where is Greg Hill?
Our investigation must begin at the beginning: the genesis of Greg Hill’s saga. It is perhaps fitting that I be tasked to find the source of the man’s magic, seeing as our fates have in many ways been intertwined. I had the honour of meeting the man during my first year at Homerton, when he served as HUS president. This of course, was before he transcended mortal bounds; before anyone could even dream of his crowning glory, his temple: his gym.
Few then could have known how far he’d come, with his latent gym-building talents remaining concealed even to those nearest to him. Greg Hill was a key figure in the mighty Homerton IV 2012-13 campaign, and yet when I asked one of his former teammates about the man all I got was a cold stare followed by “He played left centre-back. Sometimes right.” It was obvious that the Greg Hill we came to love is not the same as the one who first appeared in the public eye on the 27th of February 2013, in the very place many would later consider his home.
Beneath his photograph, it read: “My name is Greg Hill and I’m running to be CUSU President. I read history and I’m currently the Homerton JCR President.”
He continued, “Having been on a Sabbatical this year, I’m aware of how much an opportunity it gives you to make changes. My proudest achievement has been winning the Living Wage at Homerton, previously one of the worst colleges for paying it. I’ve also established a new common room and a college gym.”
His first foray into The Tab went by largely without fanfare, with most of the comments focusing on the other candidate’s expansive forehead. Keen-eyed fans may notice, however, the first elegantly simple plug of his gym. At what point exactly he evolved from everyman CUSU candidate to what some, including himself, would revere as a demi-god, crafting his college’s gym with only his bare hands and Herculean strength, remains largely a mystery; a mystery locked deep within The Tab’s website cache. Indeed, after the shift to Disqus as the primary comment system in February 2014, all of Greg’s opus up to that point is incredibly hard for his disciples to track down.
Indeed, he began 2015 with a stormer, simultaneously bringing New Year’s joy to hundreds of fans and cementing his place as a Tab staple, holding his own against their writers:
In pitting himself against The Tab, albeit in jest, he came to invoke a phenomenon that many of his silent supporters now blame for his recent departure from the public eye. As harrowing as it may seem, Greg may have become too big for the tastes of others, leading to a spike in impostor accounts, all vying for a moment in the limelight. Greg Hill himself once accused the Tab editors of proliferating these profiles “to dilute the impact of [his] true words in a kind of twisted poison pill scheme”. This conspiracy theory has since been disproven, with Greg simply having underestimated how tactless the general readership can be. Perhaps it was this disillusion with his audience that eventually led him to lose faith in his purpose, which was, is and always will be to promote the glory of his gym.
Indeed, my journey of discovery eventually led to his shrine to physical excellence that hides behind the blank façade of the Homerton gym. I must confess that prior to this investigation I had never brought myself to enter his hallowed halls, where I am informed that members of famed Homerton punk band Sports Team can often be seen “bulking”. I came in expecting a transcendental experience, hoping to finally see what up until then had been blinding me in my search for Greg.
What I saw inside chilled me to my very core and provoked a crisis of faith of the kind I thought would never come. In reality, it’s not what I saw that terrified me, but what I didn’t see. I needed a sign that a Homertonian like myself could have once ascended into the ranks of the gym-building gods. Alas, it began to dawn on me that the gym was simply ordinary; as soulless as its induction video had once led me to fear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so_zulGVH8s
Before all hope was lost, however, my sullied mind was struck by a flash of truth; a vision of one of Greg Hill’s most righteous comments. A comment which only after having seen the gym first hand now began to gleam with previously unknown meaning.
“Till man has built a finer gym,/Greg Hill shall never leave the tab!” Those final lines echoed in my ears, now more attuned than ever to the secrets of Greg Hill. O Greg, how did I ever doubt you! I may have lost faith in the Homerton gym, yet Greg himself remained a champion of truth. He had prophesised his departure months before anyone could have known. Of course there was a finer gym, and that’s why he left us.
The golden age of Greg is over; the age of Homerton heroes and their anonymous comments. He will be missed, and even after the Tab next resets its comment system, his legend will live on in his work and in the Homerton gym in which a legend was born.
* * *
Tab editors nationwide will surely let out a sigh of relief now that this mystery is solved. They were probably rightfully scared that some could attribute Greg’s boycotting of the site to the new Disqus update, which bars all those not logged into a recognised account from upvoting comments. In cutting it off some could argue that it was The Tab that killed their favourite commenter. Then again some people also thought that Greg loved paralepsis.
Now as we look towards The Tab’s future, Greg’s online presence as an anonymous commenter remains as elusive as ever. Whether the writer of the comments above will ever come forward and write a ridiculous piece ultimately about himself remains to be seen. After all, it could be anyone.
It could even be me.