Very bored, extremely weird and incredibly extra: music’s great and good are smashing self-isolation

Cardi B charged into Jenga. Liam G sang a song called 'Wonderwash'. What is going on?

Did anybody else watch Boris Johnson’s address to the other evening – y’know, the one in which unprecedented restrictions on movement which haven’t been seen since the second world war were announced – and find themselves almost totally unmoved by the knowledge that we’re not really allowed to leave our houses anymore?

A mere week and a bit into this strange new era of social distancing, and our frames of reference for virtually everything have shifted into unknown territory. It’s destabilising for everyone, but especially, it seems, our beloved celebrities. Are they… OK?

After retreating to a “little cabin” in Montana to wait out the crisis, as you do, Kelly Clarkson found herself in a mundane predicament earlier this week. When her cabin’s plumbing system was quickly overwhelmed by frost, Kelly – overwhelmed by the urge to wee – resorted to using her toddler’s potty as a make-shift receptacle. Oh, the humanity of it all!


“And just like that I have no pride or shame!” she wrote. Hunched over on my sofa like a gremlin as I contemplated the ethics of eating cold baked beans straight from the tin because cooking = effort,  I could only nod in sage agreement.

Robbie Williams – who already has proven form in this department; remember when he performed a set for his wife when she was in labour? – has also risen to the occasion. How? By treating everyone to a 90-minute live karaoke extravaganza on Instagram Live, and mustering all the verve and energy of an uncle flossing during the later stages of a wedding reception. He even did a cover of ‘Wonderwall’, which is funny because Liam Gallagher has been reworking Oasis classics as – ahem– ‘Wonderwash’ and ‘Soapersonic.’ Biblical.

On a temporary hiatus from scaring her chat show guests with sloths, clowns, and other assorted surprises, Ellen Degeneres has aggressively pivoted to Lego to fill her days. Mariah Carey has taken to singing atop a crossfit machine that she’s doused in Lysol disinfectant spray. Nicole Kidman spent a solid half-an-hour dancing around a barren warehouse as Keith Urban played an actually quite vibey country-rock set for the internet. Gal Gadot and her gaggle of famous mates struggled to choose a key for their ‘Imagine’ cover. And Miley Cyrus wrestled with patchy wi-fi during a split-screen conversation with Demi Lovato.

Yesterday Christine and The Queens stopped in the middle of a streamed gig to reset her router. Cardi B has started headbutting a giant version of Jenga. It is utter carnage, wherever you look.

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Don’t count me out yet, LEGO.

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The absolute pinnacle from this whole saga is a series of prank videos: footage of Italians singing to each other from their balconies has been overdubbed with a number of songs from various pop stars. Shawn Mendes, Cheryl, Madonna and Katy Perry have all fallen for the hoax – in a now deleted tweet, Katy Perry paid tribute to the locked down people of Italy singing along to ‘Roar’.

“You cannot break the human spirit,” she wrote. “We are one in this.” For unclear reasons, she concluded this message with a Hungarian flag emoji.

Maybe Madonna had a point after all (even if it wasn’t the point she was actually trying to make) when she claimed that these strange times are serving as “the great equaliser.” The super-famous may have the benefit of roomy mansions and petal-laden bathtubs for the duration of the lockdown, but it turns out that nobody is immune from cabin fever. It all feels strangely levelling.

The super-famous invest a lot of energy into insisting that they’re normal, just like everybody else – until now, I never really believed them. It’s amazing what difference a week of watching A-Listers stutter their way through a live-stream, while cack-handedly stabbing at their phone screens and swearing under their breath at the slow broadband, will do to remedy that.

It turns out celebrities are just like us after all when it comes to long periods on their own: very bored, slightly frightening, and incredibly extra.