Everyone’s favourite fresher is back, and Thomas Rees has no plans to slow down
The Tab chats to Thomas Rees to find out how Freshers’ Week has been treating him
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you will have seen UEA fresher Thomas Rees’ heroically cringey ‘introductory’ video.
At The Tab, we like to make dreams come true, which is just what happened when the video went viral. You swarmed in your thousands as you applauded this courageous saint of a student for his boldness.
We caught up with Tom to hear how fame is treating him at university.
Tom says that the response from the video has changed his life, with a “tenfold increase in Youtube views, quadrupling of Twitter followers and an interview by BBC Radio Norfolk.” Tom’s Twitter following has now increased from his pitiful 50 to (still abysmal) 188 followers, and his biography claims he’s ‘The Best Fresher in Existence’. We feel like proud parents.
But Tom says he isn’t going to let the fame get to his head just yet: “I wouldn’t call myself super famous; it’s just been like regular life but with more hordes of people pulling me aside for selfies.”
Despite this, news has reached his parents, and Tom says “it’s horribly mortifying and now the subject is taboo lest I asphyxiate from intense self-consciousness.” Oh bless.
The video now has over 25,000 views, which pretty much means he’s the biggest BNOC UEA has ever been proud to claim as its own.
He also revealed that he didn’t think he would be as popular as he is now if he hadn’t made the video, and has no regrets.
“It has helped massively. I wouldn’t say I’ve made a ton of friends, but that’s more because I’m a picky chooser (so if I call you my friend, congratulations, you’ve passed the entry exam). Half of them seem to be called Tom/Thomas, though that’s not a pre-requisite.” Talking to yourself in the mirror or watching you own video doesn’t mean you’re your own friend, Tom…
He’s even influenced people to stop drinking by finding other activities that don’t involve alcohol. In his spare time, he revealed that his hobbies vary “from musical jam sessions in my room with flatmates to a karaoke/dance party in the kitchen. We’ve found stuff to do. Now other people are drinking less! My tendrils of influence are spreading…” We hear the livers of freshers everywhere blessing Tom’s existence.
Tom’s having a wild time with his karaoke sessions (every fresher’s favourite activity), but what about his desire for a female mate?
Rumours circulated that Tom’s new-found fame had helped him bag a lady friend on the first night. Sadly, Tom revealed, this was not the case.
“Well I don’t recall this incident, and considering I don’t drink I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this is because it didn’t happen. Sorry to the gossipmongers.”
Female attention hasn’t been totally non-existent though. “I’m getting positive attention in the form of having nice things said to me by people who happen to be female. Does that count?” No, not really, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the five Ls at UEA will be completed before the year is out.
Tom’s even revealed that he wore the infamous Golden Fleece around campus on his first night out, though this may have been one step too far as he tells us “It didn’t get recognised.” Ladies, what are you thinking?! Wearing your boyfriend’s coat could never look so sexy.
But what do Tom’s flatmates think of him and his video? “It’s just a footnote now; after all, they have to live with me, and I don’t think it looms large in their minds any longer – which is fine, since it means we’ve transcended what was, after all, merely an introduction.” How poetic.
And what’s next for Tom to ensure his fresher’s fame doesn’t begin to wane?
For diehard fans of our favourite hero, we have some exciting news to share: “There are a series of videos in the pipeline! And I’ve written the first one. It’ll be a (fictional) semi-tie-in to the Introduction video.
“As I said in the last article, it follows the misadventures of a ‘superhero’ called Beta Bloke and his arch nemesis Alpha Man. Without wanting to spoil it, I’ll give you three teasers from episode one (entitled ‘Beta The Clock’): ‘cranberry’; ‘banana’; ‘pillow’. Now I just have to assemble a team to make it, so it may be a few weeks off premiering.”
Of his interviews, he said: “I saw BBC Radio Norfolk tweet that they’d been talking about me, and then they asked if I could phone them up for a live interview. It’s a good job I’m early to wake!” Must be all of the non-drinking he’s been taking part in.
While Tom seems to have settled into university life well, he did tell us he’s missing one thing more than most: “I do miss having a wider selection of food than I do here. Typical how I’m led by my stomach.”
Tom’s heroic status continues to grow, and The Tab hopes that this tale of bravery and strength against the prejudices of Facebook trolls, and general not giving a shit about what people think inspires more people to be a little bit more Tom.
And yes, we have just created a verb.