Lockdown 2.0: What’s different this time?

Yesterday, towards the end of my last working day for at least a month, an avalanche of gloom crashed over me as I anticipated Lockdown 2.0. It was the strangest feeling. Up until that moment, I thought I was prepared; “we’ve done it once before, so we can do it once again”, to quote every brand, celebrity and influencer comprising our Instagram feeds. Up until that moment, when asked “what are your plans for this lockdown?”, I would confidently respond: “you know, play more Animal Crossing, write more blogs and invest more time in myself”, as the previous lockdown. If I was so confident, then, what triggered that avalanche of gloom to crash so abruptly last night? What’s different this time? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I guess that’s the point of this discourse: to decipher what it is exactly that has made me and many others feel so despondent this time around.

Image description: “COVID-19” written on a black background

With that, let’s backtrack to March: it was during this month that a 12-week long national lockdown was ordered, encouraging non-essential workers and the like to “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”, as the mantra back then quite rightly communicated. The vulnerable received letters, text messages and special mentions to shield from that of anybody other than those they reside with and have somebody else acquire their needs. Key workers – again, quite rightly – received praise for their astonishing efforts in continuing to prosper during such an unusual time. Although we were fighting a global pandemic, a sense of unity flooded the nation in that we each played our part to combat the virus.

As our time at home progressed, many of us engaged in virtual pub quizzes aplenty, explored our creativity through the likes of cooking, painting and writing and spent hours on end developing our own island paradise on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This way of life inevitably became, in familiar terminology, the “new normal”. Notwithstanding, the tail end of Lockdown 1.0 saw the plethora of virtual pub quizzes convert into cliches, the lack of socialisation induce frustration and the yearn for a return to normality grow stronger and stronger.

Back in March, the prospect of a lockdown was entirely new to us. We’d never done it before, so we weren’t so sure as to what was in store (rhyme unintended). We’d never engaged in so many virtual pub quizzes. We’d never baked so many cakes, painted so many walls and written so many blogs. We’d never had so much time to devote to a video game. For this reason, lockdown was almost satisfying for many; it opened an abundance of avenues of artistry. On the contrary, it was also very difficult for many; some more so than others. Going so long without seeing family and friends, journeying to our favourite cities and accepting this reality was detrimental to a lot of us, both physically and mentally.

Come June, when many workplaces reopened for business and social distancing rules relaxed slightly, many – for the first time in three months – felt a fragment of relief. That’s right: just a fragment. Though it was relieving that we could return to work, reunite with loved ones and revisit some of our favourite locations, we all still felt a strong notion of uncertainty. Though social distancing measures were still encouraged, they were often flouted. Though you could not yet book a facial, you could get your beard trimmed. Though we were finally “allowed” to leave the house, the vulnerable and those living with them still felt obliged to stay at home. I related to the latter in particular given that my fiancé is deemed vulnerable; I did not yet feel safe to return to my usual position which, luckily for me, my employer was very understanding of and worked to cater to those of us in such situations.

Upon my return to my usual position in September, I quickly adapted to the second edition of the “new normal”; mask-wearing, social distancing and accepting that the pandemic was ongoing. In fact, I believe this was the case for a lot of us; following Lockdown 1.0, conversations typically derived – and still derive – from the topic of coronavirus because it’s happening. It hasn’t stopped. Every day, I receive notifications from the BBC App on my phone regarding “your morning/evening coronavirus update”. The reality is that people are still being affected by this horrendous disease. Hence Lockdown 2.0.

To answer the question at the outset, I think I’ve deciphered what’s different this time is that, although many of us explored creative outlets old and new during Lockdown 1.0, we were all impacted by the cliche of virtual pub quizzes, the lack of socialisation and the yearn for a return to normality; when businesses began to reopen and social distancing rules were relaxed, we were finally reunited with familiarity. Now Lockdown 2.0 has arrived, we know what’s in store, and we know that the implications can be detrimental. So, let’s focus on the good that came out of Lockdown 1.0 and implement them in Lockdown 2.0; book in those Zoom catch-ups with your family, friends and coworkers; bake those cakes you didn’t get to the first time around and play those video games to your heart’s content. Remember: this lockdown is necessary to help stop the spread of this cruel disease and, one day, this will all be a distant memory.

Stay safe!

Love,

Little Pav ♡

Running out of ideas for your next virtual pub quiz? Here’s some inspiration

The virtual pub quiz has seemingly taken the world by storm amid the coronavirus pandemic. As families and friends across the globe have gone weeks — even months — without seeing each other to help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many have turned to hosting and/or engaging in virtual pub quizzes over the likes of Zoom to keep in touch and spark a little joy during what is such an uncertain time. While they might have become a cliché now, I for one can certainly say that virtual pub quizzes have helped me to stay somewhat sane, especially being on furlough. As an extrovert, I’ve confidently jumped at the chance to host a virtual pub quiz on a few occasions now however, though I had many ideas for rounds the first few times, I was stumped the last time (a mere 24 hours ago); alas, I turned to Google for the apparently highly-searched “virtual pub quiz ideas”. In light of my virtual pub quiz brain fart, I’ve amalgamated some ideas for rounds from quizzes I’ve previously created, participated in and/or discovered amongst Google’s abundant responses for those who might be stumped for ideas for their next virtual pub quiz, too.

Image description: A neon sign that reads “Cocktails”

1.    Name That Musical

In the first virtual pub quiz I hosted, my first round was inspired by a quiz I’d come across among one of my casual Facebook strolls; a Name That Musical quiz. Similarly to this quiz, my version merely included still images from 12 different classic musicals on one PowerPoint slide for everybody to examine and cry “argh, I know that one!” as they tried to jog their memories or inadvertently confuse Les Misérables with The Greatest Showman. A simple Google search will generate plentiful musical names and images to inspire this round. Or, if you want to make it a little more interactive, you could include or play clips from classic musical numbers and ask your participants to name the iconic musical, song and even artist for some extra points, too.

2.    Celebrity Couples

One of the most fun rounds I’ve created for a virtual pub quiz is a Celebrity Couples round whereby I listed 10 celebrity couples, past and present, but eliminated the vowels from their names. For instance, for Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie brdptt & nglnjl, for Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman tmcrs & nclkdmn and Sophie Turner & Joe Jonas sphtrnr & jjns. This can be really fun for your participants as they may be able to identify one name but struggle to remember the other half of the couple. It’s especially funny if you hear them muttering them to themselves, too, but that can actually help! (Say brdptt and tmcrs aloud and they ~ almost ~ sound like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, right?)

3.    The Noughties

The idea for a Noughties round is a particularly fun one for both millennials and previous generations alike; it emits a sense of nostalgia for you as you gather the questions and your participants as they take themselves back to a time where the likes of Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue and Destiny’s Child were plastered all over MTV and playing on every radio station. With questions like Which Outkast song contains the lyrics “Never meant to make your daughter cry, I apologize a trillion times?”, Which female singer partnered with Nelly to release Dilemma in 2002? and In which year did Kylie Minogue release the single Can’t Get You Out of My Head?, you’ll be sure to witness your participants scratching their heads.

4.    Warner Bros.

I won’t lie, I was quite proud of myself when I thought of Warner Bros. for a round. Rather than your typical Disney round which – don’t @ me – I’m not too much of a fan of myself (don’t get me wrong, many Disney films I love, but anything Disney Princess I’ve never particularly enjoyed), I thought: why not Warner Bros. instead? Similarly to The Noughties, a Warner Bros. round can make you feel very nostalgic; questions like Which 1996 hit single featured on the Space Jam soundtrack? will remind you of easier days. Plus, it allowed me to ask a Friends-related question which everybody was expecting from me in my first quiz: What is the title of the famous Friends episode where Monica and Rachel lose their apartment to Chandler and Joey? (if you know, you know).

Gif description: Monica from Friends saying “That’s not even a word!”

5.    Finish The Lyric

Instead of the all too familiar “listen to this and name the song and artist”, you can switch up a music round by asking your participants to Finish The Lyric. This idea for a round for my second virtual pub quiz was inspired by a video that went viral of a lady being asked to finish the lyric by the videographer who sang a lyric from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Shallow. I provided 10 lyrics from 10 different songs in a list format, again on a PowerPoint slide, and asked them to simply provide the following lyric as an answer. You can make it even harder by merely reading the lyrics as opposed to singing them; your participants might recognise the lyric but forget the tune, making it more difficult for them to do as the round asks.

6.    Social Media

In a world where virtual pub quizzes over Zoom have become the norm for occupying time as “non-essential” workers are imperatively staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s highly likely that your participants will be familiar with some facts on Social Media. To some, social media still sounds like a relatively new concept, but questions such as In which year was Facebook launched? and Which early social network was bought by ITV in 2005 for £120m? will soon make them realise that social media has been around for a lot longer than they might think. And, for those of us who have been using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the like since or soon after they launched, they will be a breeze.

7.    Catchphrase

During a Zoom catch-up and virtual pub quiz with my linguigals (my group of friends who I talk about in this blog which, coincidentally, unfolds my pandemic experience so far), one of my linguigals was hosting and included a Catchphrase-like round (‘like’ referring to the Catchphrase TV show). It was quite different from your usual quiz round as, much like the TV show, we were shown a series of images which referenced common catchphrases, and the first to “buzz in” and shout it out earned the point. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I stole the idea for my next virtual pub quiz (thanks, G!). You could even, like a colleague of mine did, create a game show-themed quiz, including the likes of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Price is Right and Family Fortunes as rounds.

8.    Logos

Does anybody else remember when an app called The Logo Quiz was all anybody could ever talk about circa 2010? Yes? No? If so, this one’s a bit like that. A Logos round essentially requires you to display an array of brand logos, but excluding obvious details such as the name or an iconic symbol (you can find loads of photoshopped logos on Google). Or, rather than asking your participants to merely identify the brands, you could also do a this or that and display two images of the same brand beside one another but, again, with minor details changed like the orientation of a symbol or the order of the colours. Since it’s been a good decade there or thereabouts since The Logo Quiz was prevalent, this one was fun for me to do.

9.    Album Covers

Another friend of mine in their virtual pub quiz created a round which included a number of photoshopped images of famous Album Covers; similarly to the logos as explained above, obvious elements like the album or artist’s name were edited out. Admittedly, on her version, I didn’t recognise any of the album covers until they were revealed (obviously), making me question my music knowledge which is usually pretty good – or so I thought. Again, these images can quite easily be found on Google for you to include in your next virtual pub quiz. This idea for a round is a fun way to test your participants’ music knowledge (or lack of) and perhaps even decipher the kind of music they’re into, too.

10.   TV Show Sets

Another good idea for a virtual pub quiz round is to show your participants an abundance of images of popular – or, if you want to spice it up, more obscure – TV Show Sets. With the likes of Netflix also having conquered many households across the globe over the last few years with their variety of television series, dramas and movies, this will – similarly to the album covers round – unveil how much (or how little) TV your participants watch. This round is again quite unusual; instead of the identify the theme song or who said this quote in which television series?, you can utilise the screen-sharing function on Zoom to display such images and get your participants thinking.

Bonus Round: General Knowledge

It’s worth mentioning that you can’t go wrong with a General Knowledge round (I usually leave this round till last). These rounds are always a success for both you and your participants as you can ask any burning questions that didn’t fit elsewhere in your quiz and it’s a fun way to test your family and friends’, well, general knowledge. If you’re unsure on what kind of questions to ask, there are millions – and that’s probably not an exaggeration – just waiting to be searched on Google.

As per, I hope you found my tips useful and, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask below or by contacting me via social media or email (you can find my contact details here).

Stay safe, stay home and enjoy your next virtual pub quiz!

Love,

Little Pav ♡