Clueless, quizzes, and arts & crafts: Ireland's reaction to #SocialDistancing has been something special
Regular life has changed since the coronavirus outbreak.
One week of social distancing feels like a month. One day of working from home feels like an age.
One hour of sitting staring at your device desperately wondering when the next piece of worrying and deeply unsettling news is going to push through feels like a lifetime.
During these uncertain times, being glued to our phones can sometimes be a futile exercise. It's stressful, it's overwhelming, it's one of the reasons why so many of us are feeling so anxious.
But social media can also be a source of comfort - a means of switching off from the madness, turning our attention to something else and being a little more, well, social.
Since the coronavirus outbreak truly kicked off in Ireland and social distancing measures were put in place, certain aspects of every day life that we once took for granted have been removed.
Gym classes, business meetings, and frequent cinema trips have, for the time being, been put on hold. But just because we can't do them out and about, doesn't mean that we shouldn't be able to do them online.
In a bid to tackle the inevitable boredom, loneliness and isolation that comes with, well, being isolated, Irish people have done what Irish people do best: brought entire communities online and had a substantial laugh while doing it.
Viewing parties, live stream gigs, online quizzes, and yoga classes - you name it and the chances are somebody has done it online over the past week or so, raking in audiences of hundreds as they go.
One of the most prolific online events that has essentially dominated social media over the past week or so has been Twitter's CovideoParty.
Started by comedian Alison Spittle right as social distancing recommendations kicked off, the nightly event is an online watch-along comprised of some of the best and most iconic movies... that also happen to be available on Netflix.
Over the past week and a half, users have been hitting up the #CovideoParty hashtag to watch everything from Beetlejuice to Legally Blonde to Clueless.
Each day, Alison polls her followers on what they want to watch. That evening, usually around 9pm, hundreds of them come together to watch the film, have a laugh, and curb the loneliness that often comes with self isolation.
People even dress up - because why not?
— Alison Spittle (@AlisonSpittle) March 16, 2020
"The response has been brilliant," says Alison. "The dressing up element has been the most fun for me. People really go all out with their outfits and snacks.
"It's been nice to be a part of a community, it can be lonely so I'm thankful to the people who participate in CovideoParty. They're very funny."
While the CovideoParty has very much taken over Twitter in the evenings, others are turning their attention to the likes of Facebook Live, TikTok, and YouTube.
Comedian David Reilly has successfully cornered the latter - when it comes to table quizzes, that is.
His aptly named Not In A Pub Pub Quiz kicked off last Wednesday, March 18. In a bid to keep himself busy while his regular gig as an MC is on temporary hold, David expected 15 or so teams to join the online quiz.
Rather, 120 did.
"Obviously with all of this going on the club is on hiatus, so I wanted to do something in place of that, to maintain some sort of routine," he says.
"I was properly taken aback [by the interest.] It was pretty chaotic, trying to correct answers and host, and ensure the stream wasn't crapping out."
*ONLINE PUB QUIZ TONIGHT*
- 8pm GMT
- Five rounds of eight questions.
- Answer sheets submitted after every round.
- We're all online, so don't be a dick and cheat.
- Streaming from 7.45pm.
- Yes, there will be a music round.
- Link here: https://t.co/kQqAW5eBpF pic.twitter.com/hHYj0XXcoP
— Davey Reilly (@DaveyReilly) March 18, 2020
Comprised of five rounds with eight questions each, David's 'Mastermind Yourselves: Not In A Pub Pub Quiz' is hosted live on his YouTube channel.
Answers are submitted and corrected through Google Forms, with just one team emerging victorious at the end. Entering the quiz is entirely free, though donations are welcome.
"People seemed to really enjoy the whole thing," says David. "I'd say watching me trying not to lose my mind was only some of the appeal."
For a less chaotic coronavirus party - and one that probably carries fewer stakes - people have been turning to Instagram Stories.
While some users have been sharing their own cook-along videos or going live with their mates from the comfort of their own homes, others have taken a more novel approach to calming content amid the outbreak.
For illustrator and Gaff Goddess author Laura de Barra, it's been life drawing. Or rather, it's been an online life drawing class that she can host from the comfort of Instagram Live. Wine optional.
View this post on Instagram
🎨Lockown Life Drawing! Class is tomorrow, Sunday on instagram live. 2:30PM. Dress code: Fucking fabulous. Subject: I will be chatting through what you can draw at 12:30PM. In brief; a person, a pet or you can put together a chic arrangement (living). We will then have two hours to get ready, dressssss upppp, pour ourselves a drink, fix our lipstick and then gather to take our seats. I am DYING at the thought of us all getting ready at the same time. DYING! We will be drawing to Donna Summer and other queens, wine optional, fun and forgetting a MUST. In the words of Rupert Holmes… come with me and escape, L x Stage one: 5 pieces of paper. Doesn’t need to be nice paper, can be newspaper, wallpaper cut offs etc This is just to loosen up, let go of fear & overthinking about what is going on to the page… so don’t waste the good stuff! You can also use back and front of pages for this exercise if you’re finding it hard to get your hands on some! You will need 3 different colours of whatever you are using. Dont worry about having the right supplies here, a black, red and blue pen will see you through. If you don’t have 3 colours and will be using just the one, I’ll have a trick for you also. If you have them, charcoals, pastels, markers and heavy pencils are great for this warm up as they allow you to move more freely. I will be using sugar paper & charcoal. Stage two: 4 pieces of paper. Remember anything goes, A4 sheets from the printer, pages ripped from notebooks (if your pages are tiny why not tape some together to make bigger sheets?). If you have a sketchbook or large sheets, then stunning! If not, you’re grand! Supplies for these can be the same as warm up, however you will have more time to work on the pages in this part so paint can be really fun! *if you have no access to paint, henny, I’ve put a highlight up on how to make some from kitchen cupboards. Grab a make up brush and you’re good to go. I will be using large sheets of cartridge paper & black Indian ink. #lockdownlifedrawing
"I've always used drawing to switch off and get away from things so I thought it could be a good idea to get a few of us to do it together and treat it like a night out!" she says.
Laura hosted her first Lockdown Life Drawing class on Instagram on Sunday.
Encouraging her followers - and whoever else felt like joining - to get dressed up for the occasion, she spent a solid part of Sunday afternoon blasting tunes and teaching people how to draw plants, people and pets.
The result was about 100 or so users tuning in - all with the intention of switching off.
"It was so much fun," says Laura. "Best lockdown lewks, a glass of wine, and some good music!"
Got a fun, comforting, or hilarious social distancing event that people should know about amid the coronavirus pandemic? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.