How to Open Your Mind in Times of Lockdown: Some Ideas

I’m probably not the only one who needs cheering up as the lockdown continues. Anyone who likes music, museums, partying, or enjoying the sunshine in your local park will feel the strain caused by being stuck indoors. It’s all for a good cause, of course, but it can be hard to keep a positive mindset in challenging circumstances.

Fortunately many institutions and individual enthusiasts have started to share culture online, or had already started to do so long before we had even heard of Covid-19. If you’ve had enough Netflix to last you a lifetime and the thought of a jigsaw puzzle makes you cringe, here are a few places you can access from home to open your mind.

  1. Nerdwriter 

Monthly video essays (and the archive is huge). Topics range from Bernie Sanders to Toy Story. The innovative visuals never fail to amaze me.

  1. Pulp Librarian 

Also known as “a library of the mind”.  Frequent bite-sized introductions to counterculture, art, music and film.

  1. Project Gutenberg 

The website looks boring, but this is a treasure trove of public domain texts. Most of them are older, some are more interesting than others, but I always find something exciting here.

  1. Adventures in Sound

Rare and obscure music. Great if you like retro or quirky stuff.

  1. Dust 

Short science fiction films, often by indie film makers. Quality varies but I’ve discovered some real gems too.

  1. British Library Digital Collections 

The building is obviously closed at the moment but the digital collections are exquisite and worth a look. Some are freely accessible, others require a subscription, but there’s plenty to enjoy for casual browsers.

  1. Tate Online

Many museums and galleries offer online information about their collections but the Tate website is one of the best. Includes gallery workthroughs, podcasts, and a dedicated kids area.

  1. This American Life 

I don’t like podcasts but I make an exception for this one. Always interesting, unexpected, educational, and narrated by one of the most soothing voices known to humankind.

  1. Karate Nerd

Want to try something new and get fit at the same time? Accessible, fun videos explaining the basics of karate, along with more advanced techniques for experienced martial artists.

  1. Tik Tak 

This show, first aired in the 1980s, is aimed at very young children (and beloved by many Dutch and Belgian people of my generation) but it’s also great for older ones. Trippy, retro, colourful, confusing: it’s like taking acid without the acid.

Image my own – Memories of Holkham, Norfolk, UK

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