10 Mythical Creatures Attending a Zoom Meeting.

Zoom meetings, both personal and professional, have become a prominent part of most people’s lives over the last year.

One of my favourite zoom meetings is a weekly writing group that I attend with some of my improv friends in Liverpool.

Improvisers are great people to write with as they are amazing at taking a base idea and expanding it into a myriad of different possibilities. This creative ‘hive mind’ is one of the things I love the most about improv as it tends to result in the creation of characters and scenarios that I never would have conceived of on my own.

A great example of this happened a couple of weeks ago when I came to the meeting with an idea for a cartoon that I wanted to run past the group. I wanted to take the character of Medusa out of ancient mythology and into modern day lockdown life by having her turn to stone after checking out her own face on zoom.

My friends assured me that the joke worked and we then went on to have a full on idea splurge about how various monsters and mythological would conduct themselves on zoom. 

I’ve included some of the results from this session below. Turns out humans aren’t the only ones struggling with communicating through online video conferencing software…

Unlike Medusa, Dracula is completely unable to check out his own face.

“Alexa, who is the fairest of them all?”

Troll doing what he does best.

Werewolf hasn’t shaved in months.

Frankenstein’s monster just wants people to hear him out.

Hades’ dog is causing mayhem in the background.

Dead man zooming.

Signal starts getting a bit dodgy once you’re past the upper atmosphere.

Mermaids have finally been accepted as part of our world.

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My Lockdown Diary Entries

I started writing a diary in March 2020.

I was struggling with my mental health at the time and thought that writing down my thoughts would help me gain some perspective on how I was feeling.  

The escalation of the coronavirus situation also made me feel like I was living through history and I quite liked the idea of documenting life in the pandemic like some sort modern day Samuel Pepys. I imagined people in the year 2500 discovering my diary and lording it as a priceless historical artifact, offering profound insights into life at a time of international crisis – a relic of a bygone time.

I recently read back through the my diary entries from the last year. This somewhat derailed my ambitions of becoming an iconic 21st Century diarist.

Firstly, the entries are generally too short and sporadically written to provide a cohesive account of what happened over the course of the pandemic. Secondly, some of them are so melodramatically emotional and swear word ridden that they make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

As a result, I decided to put together a compilation of a few of the more legible, lighthearted entries on here in an attempt to make some sense of my lockdown experience:

19th March 2020

Things have gone completely mad. Everybody is freaking out and panic buying supplies. People are raiding the aisles like they’re on some sort of dystopian version of Supermarket Sweep.

Saw a video on Instagram of two women fighting over a packet of toilet rolls as if their lives depended on it. It was a bit like The Hunger Games but in Asda.

23rd March 2020

So Boris has put us in quarantine. Feels like we’re all straying into unknown territory. Bear Grylls will probably be in talks with the BBC about producing a show on how to survive.

1st April

Grandad rang today and said that he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He told us that it had been much harder for his parents in the war. I told him that just because something is more bad than another thing doesn’t stop the thing itself from being bad. He told me that I was being ridiculous and that I’d understand someday. I wanted to see things from his perspective so I visualised myself as an old lady telling my grandkids how hard lockdown was.

I guess it is a little less impressive than surviving two wars…

10th May 2020

Boris just made a lockdown exit speech where he effectively told people to go out to work but also stay at home which is, quite frankly, a paradox. Honestly, watching his speech was like watching two separate versions of Boris from different parallel universes being merged into one and talking over each other. But maybe that’s going a bit too Rick and Morty on the whole thing.

15th May 2020

Spent all day in a minion onesie. I feel like I would have judged myself for that in the past. I mean is a minion onesie even an acceptable thing for a 26 year old to own? You know what? Fuck it. Society’s closed. If I want to wear a minion onesie then I bloody well will.

Some day in May (I’d lost all concept of time at this point)

Had a breakdown today which was weird because I’ve been feeling pretty emotionally numb all week. It’s a bit like all my feelings have been put in lockdown and every now and then my brain decides to relax the restrictions and I ended up crying hysterically into a packet of Doritos.

5th June 2020

Played sims today. Moved my family to the beach and they had a welcome BBQ with all the neighbours. For some reason,  I suddenly started feeling really really jealous of them getting to socialise so I put them in the pool and removed the ladder. Afterwards I sat down and analysed my feelings and realised that my actions were unnecessarily harsh and impulsive. Felt bad about the whole thing in hindsight but I’d already pressed save so there’s no going back.

21st April

Did pilates today to try and be more aware of myself in my body. Don’t think the awareness I achieved was the type of awareness I was originally going for.

17th July 2020

Listened to another one of Boris’ addressing the nation speeches – poor guy had no idea what was coming when he took the PM position on. I reckon the smuggest people in Britain right now are the introverts and Teresa May. Probably triumphantly running through a field of wheat as we speak.

12th September 2020

Saw a middle aged man dressed in a full superman costume riding a Segway down the prom whilst blasting the Superman theme out of a speaker. Probably would have judged him in the before times. Now it’s like, you know what mate, it’s a tough time and if that’s your coping mechanism, go for it. You do you.

29th October 2020

Mum told me that she was standing in a queue today and the man behind her wasn’t wearing a mask.  She asked him to wear one and he told her that he was a human person and if he decided not to wear a mask than that was his prerogative. Wonder if when he said human person, he actually meant total dickhead?

10th November 2020

Trump was trumped by Biden. What a relief, almost makes up for how awful that Trump pun was.   

19th December 2020

Government just announced that London is going into a Tier 4 lockdown two days before Christmas. I feel bad for Londoners but even worse for the kids of the future sitting history exams on the Government’s response to COVID-19 and having to memorise like a billion different things.

24th December 2020

Mum came into my room today whilst I was getting in touch with my inner zen (meditating) and asked me to contribute to the housework. I told her that unfortunately contributing housework would be destructive to my relationship with my inner zen. She told me that my lack of cooperation was disruptive to her inner zen and also the Feng Shui of the house. I told her she could always ask Santa for some Feng Shui if she liked it that much. I am a terrible daughter.

30th December 2020

Played Catan today with my brothers. Got into a massive fight with Robert about ore supplies after I built a settlement on an ore hexagon that he had wanted to build on. He said that I had completely screwed him over with my ‘total dickhead’ of a move to which I replied that he could always trade with me if he wanted to increase his ore supplies. He said I could take my ore supplies and stick them up my arse. Nothing like a nice family board game to lighten the mood.

4th January 2021

We’re in lockdown again. Sigh. Feeling much calmer this time round. Resigned to my fate.

6th January 2021

A load of Trump supporters marched straight into the capitol today. I guess some small deluded part of me though that we would leave the shitshow behind in 2020 but it seems the series of unfortunate events is continuing into 2021. Feel like I’m living in a Lemony Snicket novel.

This was my penultimate diary entry. Now, you would assume that the final entry would have a thoughtful concluding comment, some sort of witticism to up the whole coronavirus experience in a profound way.

Instead, when I turned the page, I found something that looked a lot like this:

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I Think I Might Be A Background Character In My Own Life…

When I was younger, I used to have a very vivid imagination and spent a lot of time immersing myself in fictional worlds.

When I watched films like Lord of the Rings, I always identified with the main protagonists – I thought I’d be brave and courageous like Arogorn or Legolas or loyal and determined like Sam.

I guess I assumed that when a great crisis came along that threatened the entire world, I would grow up to be one of the heroes at the centre of the action, facing the threat head on.

However, as I’ve progressed into adulthood, I’ve come to realise that the person that I perceive myself to be doesn’t always match up with the person who I actually am in reality.

For a while now, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I might actually be one of life’s generic background characters and, if anything, the coronavirus pandemic has served to confirm this.

Nowadays, I’ve drastically lowered my expectations.

If I were a character in Lord of the Rings, I wouldn’t be Frodo or SamWise Gamgee – I reckon I’d be one of the bog-standard Hobbits that sat on my arse in the Shire whilst shit went down, progressively making my way through multiple meals a day with no real idea of what was going on.

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This is a more accurate representation of how I’ve spent my days in this time of national crisis.

Sitting at home with my thoughts is challenging in its own way.

Whilst I may be feeling powerless to change external circumstances, at the beginning of April I decided I could still adopt the mindset of a hero and work on myself so that I would exit lockdown feeling more physically and mentally robust than when I entered it.

My childhood protagonist complex kicked in again and I had visions of myself effortlessly holding my body in strenuous yoga positions like Luke Skywalker in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

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However, if you’ve read my previous blog post, you will know that my attempts transform myself into a zen yogic goddess weren’t particularly successful…

As the days and weeks have melded into one long strange expanse of time, my self-disapline has run off with my sanity, leaving me with a physical and mental state that more closely resemble Jabba the Hutt and that weird crazed rat creature that hangs out with him.

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My Lockdown Yoga Experience

I have been finding social isolation quite challenging mentally so I recently started doing yoga in the hope that it would help me to reduce my anxiety levels.

It is quite easy to do yoga from home – the internet is full of videos featuring yoga instuctors serenly moving their bodies into various positions whilst radiating inner calm.

Unfortunately, these yoga instructors recorded the majority of their videos before March 2020 when the future seemed as solid as their core muscles.

After two months of lockdown, I have neither the abs nor the sense of security to replicate such serenity.

For me, ‘developing a practice’ has consisted mainly of manically jerking my body through each position in a vain attempt to restore some semblance of inner zen.

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It turns out that praciticing yoga under lockdown conditions isn’t easy.

I think that yoga was probably designed to be practiced in the mountains or other areas of vast natural beauty whilst listening to the sound of the wind moving through the trees or the waves rushing up against a pebble beach.

It is slightly more difficult to conjour up a sense of profound internal peace in a 4×3 metre room in your parent’s house the middle of Liverpool to the sound of your brothers using the nearby toilet and your mum playing a particularly intense game of Words With Friends in the opposite room.

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That being said, yoga has helped me become more physically attuned to myself and more aware of how my body relates to the space around me.

However, this is predominantly because my room is too small and untidy to accomadate pretty much every single yoga move and my ability to enter into a state of seamless yogic flow is often compromised by inconviently positioned items of furniture. img_0553

I guess I hoped that my body and mind would blend together in some sort of peaceful holistic spiritual cocktail.

Unfortunately, my spiritual cocktail seems to be one of those cheap mixers you buy on a night out at uni – you’re not sure exactly what’s in it but you end up downing it anyway whilst your flatmates chant at you.

All in all, I would like to say that lockdown has transformed me into a fully fledged zen yogi but, if I’m honest, I have pretty much resorted to repeating postive mantras to myself from my favourite position of all. img_0550If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

If You Look For It, I’ve Got A Sneaking Suspicion That Loo Roll Actually Is All Around…

One month into quarantine and self-isolation is really starting to get to me.

I know this because this weekend I found myself watching classic Christmas romcom ‘Love Actually’ in April.

You know you have too much time on your hands when you find yourself watching a young Thomas Brody-Sangster legging it across an airport whilst crying into a bowl of Doritos because you’ve got bugger all chance of finding yourself in an airport departure lounge for the foreseeable future.

I’m finding romcoms quite difficult to watch in general at the moment because they really drive home the fact that my own love life has taken a massive nosedive since lockdown started.

Finding true love is hard enough in regular life, let alone when your search has been somewhat impeded by the fact that you’re confined to your house 24/7 and spend the majority of your time in sweatpants and your old school leaver’s hoody from 2012 – needless to say, I’m not exactly exuding irresistible goddess vibes at the moment.

Times just aren’t as exciting as they used to be but I suppose we all have to remain mindful and make sure that we’re still appreciating the small things in life.

For instance, we currently have an adequate supply of loo roll in the house, something that would have seemed inconceivable this time last month.

After all, in the words of Hugh Grant, if you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspiscion that loo roll actually is all around…

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.