Pandemic Survival 6: Pubbing on the Couch

Specifically, this couch:


The pandemic and its lockdown necessities has certainly set many people on some steep technological learning curves.

Teachers, students and parents alike have had to learn about new apps and software and how to recreate lessons in purely online and electronic settings including, in this household at least, how to conduct an English exam through remote learning.

Those who have never had to work from home have had to see how that can work and to make it work. Admittedly, this now has possible positives in giving employees ammunition to argue for more family-friendly flexible working arrangements. (“See, I can do the work from home, so how about I do that two days a week from now on?”)

Restaurants have turned themselves into gourmet takeaways or suppliers of meals to essential workers.

And in the world of Arts and Entertainment, creatives have courageously embraced the technology available to make it Happen. From filmed stage productions being shared on various platforms to casts of musicals getting together to record songs via isolation to books and plays being read by all manner of celebrities all the way to small community outfits doing whatever they can to share their creativity.

As someone for whom singing forms a key part of my wellbeing, I have survived this pandemic and the inherited income adjustment in a number of ways.

Firstly, let me just say how grateful I am for streaming services and YouTube that provide a plethora of musicals to watch and join in. As a lover of and previous performer in many musicals, this has been an easy and inexpensive way to have a sing when I feel like it. (And yes, even if I wasn’t such a big Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar fangirl, joining Disney+ would have been worth it just for Hamilton.)

Secondly, I was lucky to be offered work in my role as a casual special education teacher despite schools being closed to all but the necessary. Singing is a big part of my teaching so getting to sing every week with some very special students kept me upbeat day after day.

Thirdly, my bar choir of which I wrote not long before the shutdown, scored some funding from a local government to offer Back Bar Choir Iso-style. This was conducted over Zoom every Thursday night for 6 weeks for free. Because of the time delay in the program, we all had to be muted other than the lovely Anna and Kate but even though you couldn’t hear the others, just seeing their happy faces on the screen made you feel like you were singing with a group of people. And, when restrictions eased a bit, I was able to turn my little she-shed into a bar for two. Singing Aussie classics like Horses and You’re The Voice in full throttle with a special friend in person and a collection of yet unknown ones on the screen in front of me whilst enjoying a glass of wine was enough to fill up my week with joy.


One of those cupboards may or may not contain the ‘bar’. πŸ˜‰

And then, just recently, fourthly, I joined Pub-turned-Couch Choir because you can never have enough of pub singing. Pub Choir was started in Brisbane by the lovely Astrid Jorgensen and just before the pandemic hit, had become an international sensation with a tour of the USA underway. (My local Back Bar Choir is obviously based on the same model, something of which Astrid is supportive as long as it isn’t called “Pub Choir”.)Β  Rapidly closing borders caused Astrid, Waveney and the Pub Choir team to cancel the rest of the tour and hightail it home. Not to be squashed (Astrid seems a very upbeat type), Pub Choir launched Couch Choir as shown in this short documentary:

The procedure follows the usual pattern – learn one song in parts and sing it. Only, this time, Astrid teaches the parts via video and participants firstly learn their chosen part and then record themselves singing it. This recording is then sent to Couch Choir and through the monumental magic of video editing (thank you, Paris), all of it is put together to form one sensational performance. You can check them out here. I’d recommend the David Bowie song Heroes. Six thousand people from around the world submitted a video including many of our health workers. It’s quite moving.

But at the very least, check out the one below – the most recent one – because you may spot a familiar blogger. Mind you, with more than 1500 singers from 30 different countries, you’ll be hard pressed to find me (you’ll need a magnifying glass and a quick eye) so if you do manage it, I will send you a packet of Tim Tams.


It’s an incredible feeling to be part of this stunning community collaboration in a love of singing. I’ve wanted to participate in Couch Choir since I first found out about it through the documentary but it always takes me a while to convince myself I can do something and the usual three day turnaround just wasn’t enough time. For this song, we had a week to prepare and submit a video so I was able to spend a few days telling myself I could do it, then spend a day learning my part and then another recording and uploading it. What a fabulous reason to spend an afternoon in my shed and sing!

This pandemic has certainly stretched us all in a myriad of ways and I’m so happy people have discovered new means of sharing their skills and art for us all to enjoy.

Have you managed to find ways to pursue your joy?

50 thoughts on “Pandemic Survival 6: Pubbing on the Couch

  1. That’s pretty cool! I’m glad you were able to join the choir. The video is amazing. I’m keeping busy with projects outside, but I don’t sing very well, so I try to keep it down for the benefit of the neighbors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn you, H ! – I spent the whole song with my little eyes swivelling ’round and ’round ..
    Alas, I didn’t find you.
    Looks like I’ll have to buy TimTams (if I want ’em).
    Still love you but.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have been improving my cigar box guitar playing skills and trying to sing whilst playing … tortured catawauling and no timing … damn Punk music has been and gone.

    Plus finally learning to cook

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh Heather, what a wonderful way to begin my day, listening to all of these beautiful voices come together. Although I didn’t spot you, I am picturing you belting out this beautiful song. Thank you for sharing.πŸ’•

    P.S. only one cupboard with booze?πŸ€”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw the new video was up a couple of days ago and wondered if you had joined in. It’s such a wonderful initiative and I get a bit teary watching the videos.

    I intended to join in with Heroes, but had some teccy problems and left it a bit late. Maybe next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same on the teariness. And she picks such great songs. I didn’t even know this one but I love it now.

      Heroes would have been amazing. I only saw they were doing it the morning it was due in which is too quick a turn around for me.

      Queensland is opening up (except to Victorians πŸ˜•) but we’re a long way from 1500 people in a room so I have no doubt there will be more Couch Choir opportunities. I’ll see you at the next one, Su!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes; great songs and a wonderful, inclusive project. I love The Killers, and I’m less fond of the choir’s arrangement of this song than the others they’ve done, but I’ve still watched it half a dozen times if only to see how much the singers are enjoying themselves. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I remember seeing the very first video and thinking about how much time went into its creation. This must bring so much joy to so many people. I looked for you but didn’t see you. It’s so quick. Well done for joining in.

    Did I tell you I’m going to be a grandmother in October? I’ve been busy making a beautiful baby quilt, which is nearly finished, and now I’ve started on a crocheted cotton baby blanket. It’s a Brisbane baby so no warm things will be needed for a while. We were finally able to visit a couple of weeks ago and I felt some tiny baby kicks. So wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I definitely wanted the prize but sadly I could not find said blogger. what a super cool concept and I am delighted you have been able to find such joy. yesterday our provincial government gave the green light to outdoor vocal presentations.
    I would say we are finding joy in the little things. No more far flung adventures. However seeing the world thought the eyes of our grandchildren has certainly given us a new perspective on joy. We are thankful to be near the mountains to hike and cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My appearance is super quick and small so I’m not surprised you didn’t see me. I just thought I’d set it as a challenge and it deserved a prize if anyone succeeded. πŸ˜€

      We’ve certainly been forced to live a smaller life but I think it does make us appreciate the small things and what is really important. I’m glad you’ve got little ones and nature to bring you joy.


  8. SOOOO much to love in this post! I watched each video and admittedly cried during each. Choirs do that to me in general, but these particularly so.

    The guy in the shower was priceless though πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The pub choirs are soo much fun and Astrid is such a fun inspiring teacher. She taught my daughter and she is of Danish background ! What is not to love!
    I liked how they have found a way to continue the choir but was too shy to send in a video. I am glad you did do it. Nice to see the fabulous finished product. It sounds awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You mentioned knowing Astrid when I wrote my Bar Choir post and I think that’s what pushed me to pursue it. 😊 Is it selfish of me to say I’ll be sad when Couch Choir comes to an end and it goes back to being Pub Choir? Astrid is so lovely and Brisbane is so far away…

      Do the next one, Amanda. There’s so many faces, you’re almost anonymous anyway. 😁


      • I thought I had mentioned the pub choir before but my short-term memory is too erratic to rely on! No it is not selfish – I do understand. Whilst there is a wonderful feeling of the vibrations of a few hundred voices in harmony around you, and being there in person, there are advantages to being able to do it at home.
        I doubt that I will join in, although it would be fun.
        I think the concept may continue in both forms even after Covid.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Endlessly cheery
    How dreary are you?
    Still Master of all
    When there’s nothing to do!

    Get off that happy hobby horse and climb down here in the ennui debris with the rest of us. You are making us look bad. We almost feel guilty enough to stop streaming season 3 of Dark.

    Enjoyed your video much. Favorite part, even more than the singing, though, was actually hearing the quick kiss the one mom gave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OB!! So great to hear from you! Gosh, you make me laugh! I had a friend who made a similar observation once when I was on an overseas holiday with my husband and kids and was sending back missives of what we were up to. She told me stop being so damn cheery. So I wrote back and told her about contacting my mother to pick up the youngest from the airport and threatening to walk off a train and leave them all.

      So, for you, obviously I have my down days but right now, as a friend just said to me tonight, I’m probably the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time. Mind you, it’s taken a happy pills prescription and a year of therapy to get there but here I am. It’s not perfect but I’m celebrating. I hold no judgement for anyone managing these dark days in whatever way they can. I’m just lucky that the pandemic lockdown has actually worked in my favour.

      How cute are the kids? I’m seriously considering borrowing my outlandishly cute great-nephew to join me in the next one. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for dropping in, OB. It’s so wonderful to see you pop up in my comments. I know things are pretty bad over the Pacific and I hold you all in my thoughts every day. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s good to see you are singing through this pandemic. There have been many virtual choirs over the last few months and they are all lovely. I’m glad you were chosen to be in one and I shall try to look closely for you when I take my next work break.

    My joy has been the bicycle and local trails, and planning for retirement. (Check out my last post.) I am simply grateful that I’ve stayed healthy and able to work from home and enjoy the weekends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know you’re not a fan of Tim Tams so if by some miracle you do find me, we’ll come to an agreement about a suitable alternative. Maybe some local artisan dark chocolate. 😁

      I think most of us have become grateful for the small things. I’m glad you’re able to get out and about. I’ll check out your post this evening. (Off to work now.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m good with dark chocolate. My roomie and I have been ordering 12 bars at a time online…kind of like Covid hoarding or feeding a habit. I tried looking for you, but there were just too msny faces. πŸ™‚πŸ˜ΆπŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜―πŸ˜„πŸ€¨πŸ₯΄πŸ™ƒ


    • I have no idea how we would have coped in this pandemic without the wonders of technology. Given what a gift they have been to people all around the world, I wonder if Pub Choir will continue to offer Couch Choir options after they’re allowed to go back to gatherings?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Pandemic Survival Answers | Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

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