Cactus Conor: ‘I will avenge the death of my cactus’

He made the fatal error of taking them to Monkey’s last night


Conor Cooke became an instant BNOC when he posted on the RHUL Student Message board asking for someone to look after his three cacti over Christmas. 

Unfortunately, he made the fatal mistake of bringing them to Monkeys Monday last night – and one of them didn’t make it home. We got in touch to find out what happened, and why he needs a babysitter for his cacti this Christmas.

First things first – did anyone actually agree to look after them?

Yes! The fabulous Amanda Brauninger slid into my dm’s (direct messages) after the post went up and kindly offered to take care of my babies, keeping them at her accommodation to sit on a window sill (as God intended) over the festive holidays with a couple of her own cacti – what more could I ask for?

Tell me where it all began…When and why did you get them?

Pedro and the gang came to me during my A-level exam revision season, they kept me company and provided a great deal of motivation for me. Through thick and thin they stood there photosynthesising. They were my metaphorical rock.

Why a cactus? I’ve always liked things out of the ordinary that stand out, so a cactus was quite fitting. How many plants do you know that you’re scared to touch? I reckon if not a cactus I would have gone for a Venus fly trap, those things are pretty dope.

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Squad goals

Do your cacti have names?

I have three cacti and they all have names (of course). Although the catch is I never really put much attention into remembering which name was assigned to who or remembering what the name is, so when asked I just blurt out three very generic Hispanic names – so lets just say they’re called Pedro, Miguel and José.

My condolences after the death of one of your cacti last night. How are you coping with your loss?

First of all thank you, your words mean a lot during this time. I am struggling to come to terms with the loss of my cactus Pedro, his passing has hit me hard and a moment doesn’t go by without my thinking of that little green guy. Like many students today, I’m taking the day off from going to lectures to show respect to the recently deceased.

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Mourning his loss

What’s your favourite thing about cacti?

It has to be to the spikes. This has to be the one plant people get nervous around purely because it can seriously mess you up. Mad respect to a plant that can make a grown man cry like a little school girl.

Why aren’t you taking them home with you?

There are many reasons why this man must leave behind his cacti for winter break. The main reason being if I did take them with me I would have to carry them by hand all the way home as they would inevitably fall over or get crushed (but it appears someone beat them to it, RIP). In addition to this risk factor I would also be known as “that guy with a cactus” on the train – that’s only cool on campus.

cactus boy

But surely they love tequila?

Are cacti your favourite plant?

It’s a toss up between cacti and a venus fly trap, they’re both pretty unique.

Have you ever been to a desert?

I went to a pretty hot beach in Spain once and that’s pretty much the same thing, right? Although I think it would be cool to go a desert, I’ve seen you can do sandboarding and stuff and that looks pretty “gnarly”. I could also look for a new cactus and name them “Pedro the second”, so yeah that’s on the to do list now.

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In retrospect, not the best idea

So how exactly did Pedro die? Are there any words you’d like to say to the girl who killed him?

Unfortunately, Pedro was brutally massacred last night as he was stamped into the floorboards of the Monkey’s Forehead after being flung from his pot of safety. I am returning to the scene of the crime today to collect the other cacti and what is left of Pedro.

It must be pointed out here that, upon his attack, I ran after him and grabbed what I could of him off the floor and stuffed him back into the plant pot. My hands suffered a multitude of prickly injuries, but you gotta do what you gotta do when your cactus is facing certain doom. Pedro has lost about half of his body but hopefully we can rebuild from this point onwards.

To the young lady who committed the offence: I may not be able to remember your name but I do remember your face. I suggest you protect your potted plants as I am vowed to avenge my cactus.