The locked-down world has become divided. The cause? Virtual pub quizzes. There are those for whom knocking out a few rounds on Zoom has become a way of life. They’re logging two, three quizzes a week, prepping questions in spreadsheets and wearing sunglasses on calls in case they give away answers with their eyes.
Then there are those who now wait in fear that someone will mention ‘finding a good emoji round’ in the WhatsApp group. Or who are suddenly doing virtual yoga classes at 9pm on Friday nights just to avoid quizzing. Fatigue has set in. ‘We won't be taking questions at this time’ they cry aimlessly from their flats. But what the hell else are you supposed to do with your friends? Talk to them?! Here are five tried and tested, fun, non-quiz-based activities to do with loads of mates via video conferencing.
1. ‘Stars in Their Eyes’
The makeovers, the performances, the banging theme tune... ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ was where ’90s TV peaked. And you can recreate roughly 1 percent of the glitz and glamour of the show right from your laptop. The best way to do it is by not strictly staying true to the show (please don’t @ me ‘SITE’ fans). There is a presenter. They decide the running order. They announce each contestant. That person turns off their camera and has just five minutes to change into a costume, made up of found items from their house. Then, while the camera’s turned off, they give the presenter clues about who they’re going to be, say the famous words ‘tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…’, turn on the camera and do their performance. The sillier the better. At the end everyone ‘votes’ for their favourite by texting the presenter. (In the picture above you can see wonderful makeovers into the likes of the Beastie Boys, Elton John and Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne.)
Before we started getting our glimpses of celebrities houses via Instagram Stories, we had ‘MTV Cribs’. The show (first broadcast 20 years ago) featured famous people giving us mere normal folk tours of their mansions, from the walk-in wardrobes to the cinema rooms to the ‘place where the magic happens’. Use the Houseparty app on your phone to do your own version of the show for your mates. Take pals on a tour of the inside of your fridge, the washing that’s drying in your living room, the bathroom with the mould problem and more – just make sure you open your tour at the front door, saying ‘welcome to my crib!’.
3. Desert Isolation Discs
One of you pretends to be Kirsty Young and interviews the others about songs that mean something to them. They play the songs (the best way to share music you’re listening to is by clicking ‘share audio’ on Zoom) and everyone has a little dance. Play the ‘Desert Island Discs’ theme music between each person for added authenticity. A good idea with this one is to make the song categories either meaningful to the group you’re with or guaranteed to reveal an embarrassing story. Think: song you were last drunk together to, song that reminds you of one of the group-chat members, song that reminds you of being a teenager.
Spend the night pretending you’re drinking slush cocktails and singing your heart out at Rowan’s when you’re actually screeching at your computer screen alone. <3 Here’s how: set up a Google Hangout for all your mates (so you can see each other) then join a Watch2Gether room (so you can all view the same YouTube videos at the same time). Then search for karaoke versions of songs you love on YouTube. You want clips with the background music and words flashing up. Use the Hangout chat function as a karaoke requests box. Then your most organised friend does the cueing up.
5. Virtual life drawing
A great one if you really, really don’t like talking to your friends. And who does, to be honest? They’re all absolute losers. This time around one of you is the ‘model’. The others are the ‘artists’. The model can be nude if you’re all very open minded. Or if you’re an awful prude who doesn’t want to see their platonic friends naked for some reason, they could be wearing wacky clothes or even normal clothes, shocking as it sounds. Everyone else spends ten minutes sketching them. Show your drawings at the end. Watch the sketches get increasingly rogue as you all get drunker (if you’re drinking, if not they might improve as you go along?!).
Here are 80 fun things to do at home. Go on, treat yourself to some good times.