I can’t lie, I’ve done a whole lot of nothing the past few days. I’m over two weeks into isolation and it’s got to the point where each day pretty much slides into the next. There is routine and rhythm, but not an awful lot of red hot content to share with you.
Yesterday I found a lot of joy in WhatsApp. My ten year old niece now has it to keep in touch with her school friends. When I was overseas we used to video chat using Skype, but she was a lot younger then and probably doesn’t remember it. Since then, we’ve only really talked in person. Yesterday she started by sending me a riddle. We chatted back and forth most of the day sharing jokes, riddles and pictures of what we were up to. I love how children’s brains work and the links between our talking points were pure joy. I showed her a picture of a pet hawk that was on the lose in my neighbourhood (as if we didn’t have enough to deal with). She asked me if I know that penguins had knees and shared an x-ray with me. I did not know this information. I asked if she had seen owls legs, because they are really funny. She had and we laughed a lot about them. Then she said maybe owls are really aliens. I suggested they may take over while we are in lock down. She agreed, and said they were likely in cahoots with the goats that have taken over in Llandudno. We decided we should try to assimilate as soon as possible. I said if I think hard enough, I’m sure I could grow horns. Then we decided to start a YouTube channel called ‘Think Yourself A Goat’ staring Goaty McGoatface and the Kid. It was such a lovely way of keeping in touch and it warmed my isolated heart right up. If you have a ten year old in your life you can WhatsApp with, I’d highly recommend it.
Another thing that has kept me entertained this week is the TV. In particular, The One Show. If you normally watch it, you’ll know it’s a live magazine show at 7pm on BBC1. There is usually a live studio audience, all sorts of guests and a small about of off the cuff humour. But let me tell you this, The One Show during lock down is pure comedy gold. Due to Covid-19 and social distancing measures, the entire show has been stripped back. There is no studio audience, no hair and make up, just two co-hosts and a simple camera and sound set up. The co-hosts have to sit on opposite sofas. They are allowed one real life guest who is forced to sit on a footstool six metres away from them. Gareth Malone was on this evening talking about his Home Malone Choir. We also had one of the Strictly dancers talking about her dancing she’s doing at home (spot the theme). Other guests pop up via video chat on a giant TV screen between the presenters. But the thing is, none of the guests have anything to talk about. Everyone is on lock down. There is also a time delay on the video chat which is the perfect comedy device. We’ve had Mel and Sue (split screen, separate houses) rummaging around in their lofts for no reason whatsoever. David Walliams reading a story to promote the fact he’s going to be reading a story. Matt Lucas singing about a baked potato. And tonight for God only knows what reason, a four way split screen of Little Mix, mixing cocktails. Except they hadn’t mixed cocktails at all. They had each just lashed whatever they had in the cupboard into a glass. They didn’t even try to pretend either, they were pulling out bottles of spirits that hadn’t been seen since 1989. The last one of them to talk just owned the situation and said she was having a glass of wine. We also had astronaut Tim Peak telling us all about living in space and comparing it to isolation. He did this without any acknowledgement of the irony from his garden that was seemingly bigger than most massive fields.
I’m sure live TV is a massive challenge for everyone involved at the moment and I’m not knocking them for trying. But The One Show has become my favourite thing to laugh at during lock down. The 5pm briefing, the daily death count, the 6pm news it’s hard to take it all in sometimes. If you’re struggling with the enormity of it all I’d recommend getting a daily dose of madness on BBC1 at 7pm.