Premium

How joyful to see resourceful 'Covid-fluencers' usurp our remote celebrities

The Body Coach Live PE Lesson
What on earth is a Covid-influencer, I hear you cry. Credit: Getty Images Europe

With their endless sermons on climate change and privilege in 2019, it’s no surprise that celebrities haven’t got the tone of Coronavirus right.

It could be said that they have, in fact, managed to inspire levels of popular resentment not seen since the French revolution. What was the public supposed to make, after all, of actress Gal Gadot who has been widely mocked for recording a version of John Lennon's Imagine in collaboration with fellow celebrities to promote solidarity during this global pandemic. It was an a capella abomination; a standalone in the “oh-my-God-what-is-this” stakes, topped only when Madonna posted a film of herself in a rose-filled bath. Coronavirus is “the great equaliser”, she declared.

Equaliser, indeed. It turns out that when the world is ending - or feels like it is, at least - people don’t really care about the musings of A-listers. Coronavirus, for all its evils, has made us more circumspect about our hopes and dreams - what we neglected in the fast-paced life of yesteryear. And Covid-fluencers are riding the wave.

What on earth is a Covid-influencer, I hear you cry. I, myself, was at first confused, having chosen self-isolation to read Jane Austen (my existence now practically the same as Mary’s from Pride and Prejudice). But on Youtube a growing breed of influencer is educating people around the globe in new skills. A self-improvement revolution is underway, it seems.

While some have joked that self-isolation will see us all get larger in terms of waistlines, on the contrary, fitness has been the hottest topic on Youtube, with personal trainer and cook Joe Wicks streaming his classes to over one million.

There have also been huge increases in educational content, with teachers offering lessons to the tens of thousands, as well as massive global audiences for cooking shows. Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura has been showcasing his talents every night at 8pm, the videos streaming hundreds of thousands of times.

There are other indications of self-improvement sentiment; Waterstones has announced that its sales have increased by 400 percent week on week, with longer novels and classic fiction being snapped up. Already online reading groups are starting to grow.

Yes, reality is miserable right now, made all the worse with scenes of shoppers fighting over loo roll. But is this Covid-fluencer trend not a spark of happiness? It’s a testament to human ingenuity; that even when we must sit still, our minds are restless - curious and longing to create. We are tremendously lucky, too, that the web and its connectivity affords us this.

While I cannot promise I will learn how to cook - I’m dreadful and no one ever believes me that couscous with cheese is delicious - I am already thinking about areas I neglected over the years. Music, languages (ever neglected, to be fair), art.

All is uncertain, and one feels indulgent to ponder what instrument to play in a time of crisis. But let us take some comfort that life has constants: the human propensity to learn and do, a big one.

Charlotte Gill is Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome