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Lena Dunham Dancing on my Own Girls
Lena Dunham dancing to ‘Dancing On My Own’ by Robyn in HBO’s Girlscourtesy of HBO

The online parties and streaming sessions to feel less alone in isolation

Clubbing from your bedroom, Netflix seshs, and drag performances – being at home during the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to be boring

Although the UK hasn’t quite gone into coronavirus lockdown yet, most people who can are enforcing social distancing and self-isolation. While this is, obviously, the right thing to do, it can also be very, very boring.

With gigs and festivals postponed, and venues and shops closed, there wouldn’t be a whole lot to do even if you could leave the house. So, in an attempt to keep you entertained, a number of companies, artists, venues, and festivals have launched streaming services, giving you a much-needed cultural fix and creating a sense of community.

Below, we list a few of the best ones to keep an eye out for.

NETFLIX PARTY

Probably one of the only companies to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic is Netflix – with everyone stuck at home, the streaming service is bound to see a boom in business. Although this might seem like the perfect time to binge the series you've been dying to watch, it can get lonely watching back-to-back episodes of BoJack Horseman all by yourself. That’s where the platform’s Google Chrome extension comes in; called Netflix Party, the extension enables remote users to watch the same show simultaneously. If that wasn’t enough, for those of us to love to interrupt other people’s enjoyment by talking, viewers can also join a group chat which allows everyone to comment on the show in real time.

QUARANTUNES

Livestreaming multiple times a week, new YouTube channel, Quarantunes, aims to sustain “the creation of live music throughout the COVID-19 pandemic”. Enabling viewers to comment in real time as artists play from the confines of their homes, the channel is recreating a sense of community temporarily stolen by social distancing. As well as this, Quarantunes wants to create “opportunities for artists to recoup lost earnings from cancelled dates through donations from fans”, and encourage “new experiments in sound and music”.

THE SOCIAL DISTANCING FESTIVAL

Launched by Toronto-based playwright Nick Green, the Social Distancing Festival is “a site for celebrating artists and the work that has been cancelled/delayed/disrupted” due to coronavirus. As well as collecting artist submissions, including clips from rehearsals, webcam performances, and archive workshop footage, Green has also collated a list of upcoming live streams – think: trivia nights, opera concerts, poetry slams, and live performances. Green hopes that the festival will help artists get their work out to the world, and maintain “a sense of artistic community, even from our living room”. The site also provides a list of global arts organisations that users can donate to.

COVID ROOM

Inspired by Boiler Room, the newly-launched – and aptly-named – Covid Room is here to bring you your isolation music fix. The group plans to utilise webcams to bring people together in a “collective mosaic”, where each viewer can see musicians playing, as well as other users listening, watching, and dancing. According to its manifesto, Covid Room – created and supported by young artists – “believes in co-operation, the power of art, the desire to celebrate, and the need to socialise”, and wants to be “the first movement of artistic expression, aesthetic entertainment, and remote crowding”. Despite launching on Friday (March 13), the group hasn’t hosted a live stream yet, but has seemingly confirmed five artists to perform. Watch this space.

YOUR FAVE ARTISTS’ INSTAGRAM LIVESTREAMS

As it turns out, isolation is the perfect reminder that your fave stars are actually normal human beings like the rest of us. While we’re all working from home and driving our housemates or families mad, so are Charli XCXChristine and the QueensPatti Smith, and basically every other artist you love. In order to pass the time for all of us, a number of these stars are planning livestream shows. Following the first installment of her daily livestreams yesterday (March 16), Christine and the Queens will be joined by Charli XCX later today (5pm GMT), where the pair will “have an open emo conversation about all the things we’re feeling right now… about being creative… about being lonely… about music… about whatever you want to hear us talking about”. 

Patti Smith is also getting in on the action, livestreaming a performance with her daughter Jesse yesterday. Writing on Instagram, Jesse said: “Thank you to everyone for doing your best in these wild times. It has been really special to stay connected through these different sources and platforms. You can watch our little video on my story now, and much more to come.”

Coldplay’s Chris Martin started the #TogetherAtHome hashtag, encouraging artists to livestream performances to their fans. After being tagged in Martin’s video, John Legend shared his own live video, with the caption: “Social distancing is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. I did a little at-home performance to help lift your spirits.” Legend tagged Miguel and Charlie Puth, encouraging them to join next. 

CYBER DISTANCING DRAG FESTIVAL

Heralded as “New Orleans first online drag festival”, Cyber Distancing is encouraging viewers to log in and watch local drag performers from the comfort of their own homes. The group’s Instagram suggests that initial performances will take place daily on video app Zoom from March 26 to 28. Like with Covid Room, there’s currently little information about Cyber Distancing, so keep an eye on their social media for updates.

LONDON’S SEXY HOUSE PARTY

Miss the sweaty, thumping vibes of a house party? Well, New Cross-based student Harry Gay and his housemates have got you covered. The group are planning a ‘SEXY HOUSE PARTY’ this Friday (March 20), which will be livestreamed from their living room in south east London. “We’re doing this so everyone can forget their worries for an evening and have a bit of a laff and a boogie,” the group wrote on Facebook. “Life in isolation is gonna be hard, but social distancing is the most responsible way to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our society stay safe during this crisis. Just because we’re staying inside doesn’t mean we can’t PARTY.”