Stay tuned for a Twitter takeover by @intothemelwoods talking about her pandemic love letter to karaoke:… 1/14
Hi everyone! I’m @intothemelwoods, here to tell you the story behind my article about what we all lost when the pandemic shut karaoke down. 2/14
First of all, I LOVE karaoke. In the “before times,” every few weeks, you could find me at Funky Winker Beans, in Vancouver, doing my very best Alanis Morissette impression on the main stage. 3/14
Last January, I sang “Rock Lobster” at a packed karaoke bar in Berlin. Afterward, an impromptu train-station karaoke after-party popped up. Little did I know, it would be one of the last times I sang karaoke’s sweet sweet song. 4/14
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything shut down. And, while many services and activities have come back in one way or another over the past year, karaoke has yet to fully return. 5/14
Karaoke is obviously a no-go during a pandemic. Shout-singing respiratory droplets like a viral firehose onto everyone around us is the last thing we should be doing. Add in germ-caked song lists and packed bars and it’s a BAD IDEA. 6/14
Some Canadian operators tried to do COVID-19-safe karaoke over the summer, complete with sanitized microphones and six-foot space regulations. But even those got shut down, “killing any dream of coming back,” one karaoke host told me. 7/14
Many popular karaoke spots have shuttered completely. My beloved Funky’s still has yet to reopen in any capacity in over a year, and another Vancouver institution, Pub 340, recently announced it was closing permanently. 8/14
But karaoke devotees say it needs to come back in our postpandemic world. Karaoke is a vital hobby, one that’s about more than just singing ABBA covers—it’s about self-expression, community, and joy. I miss getting to sing with my friends. 9/14
You aren’t judged on your talent but rather on your ~conviction~. For four minutes and thirty seconds, I get to leave gender at the door and feel like I actually am Bruce Springsteen. 10/14
Karaoke hosts say they’re willing to do anything to make the hobby work in a postpandemic world. “We will do whatever we can to get back to just sitting in our seat and waiting our turn to sing a song,” Vancouver’s Virginia Lynn told me. 11/14
As for what song she’ll sing on her first night back, Lynn says a big Whitney Houston ballad is definitely on the table, “just to belt it all out.” 12/14
When karaoke does come back, you’ll know where to find me—vaccinated, microphone in hand, sing-shouting B-52s lyrics in front of all my favourite people. That moment truly can’t come soon enough. 13/14
That’s it from me, @intothemelwoods. Thanks to @thewalrus for sharing their Twitter account. You can read my story here:… 14/14

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More from @thewalrus

9 Apr
British Columbia’s old-growth forest battle is heating up. @hmrustad, a features editor at The Walrus, will take over @thewalrus account to explain more. For a backgrounder, here’s his story from 2016:… 1/9
Hi everyone, this is @hmrustad. My 2016 article was about a single Vancouver Island tree that was saved by a logger. Big Lonely Doug is a twenty-storey-tall Douglas fir and is estimated to be 1,000 years old.… 2/9
It’s been thirty years since activists blockaded roads near Clayoquot Sound and Carmanah Valley, both on Vancouver Island, in protest of logging old-growth forests. In Clayoquot, nearly a thousand protestors were arrested.… 3/9 Image
Read 9 tweets
8 Apr
Early in the pandemic, @anne_theriault scrolled across some plush toys being sold online. But they weren’t teddy bears; they were plague doctors, and they're popular. Are these kinds of toys helping people navigate discomfort around death and disease?… 1/6
“After admitting to myself that I wanted one,” writes @anne_theriault, “my main misgiving was that the producers of the toy, a US-based company called Squishable, might be trying to profit off of the mounting COVID-19 death toll.” Read the story here:… 2/6
The plushies are created by @squishable, a company known for its quirky designs. Squishable typically releases a few limited-edition designs a year. In the case of the Mysterious Doctor Plague, it has already been restocked several times. More here:… 3/6
Read 6 tweets
7 Apr
Today is #WorldHealthDay. Over the past year, health care has been top of mind for everyone around the world. And it has been no different for the team at @thewalrus. Here are some stories, talks, and podcasts that we’re thinking about (thread ahead!)
Early in the pandemic, The Walrus team started Record of a Pandemic, which includes stories of what everyone is going through during this unusual time. Check out the series here: #WorldHealthDay
In the #SlaightPrize–nominated article “Your Brain on COVID-19,” science writer Carolyn Abraham explains why our minds are not designed to process threats like the coronavirus pandemic. #WorldHealthDay…
Read 11 tweets
7 Apr
The term “fake news” entered the public lexicon circa 2016, during the US presidential election, when the internet was flooded with inaccurate information. Now, as @vivianefairbank explains, fact-checking is on the rise. More here:… 1/7
In 2014, there were fewer than sixty initiatives around the world focused exclusively on checking others’ claims. Today, there are more than 300. Read about the rise of fact-checking here:… 2/7
The growing instinct to fact-check isn’t particular to journalists either: it’s part of a growing cultural movement of revision and debunking. Podcasts like @revhistpodcast and @yourewrongabout get listeners to think of well-known stories differently.… 3/7
Read 7 tweets
6 Apr
When the first-wave lockdowns happened in March 2020, writer @KBabstock was kept afloat by financial assistance from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Then, suddenly, the government demanded the money back. More here:… 1/5
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wanted proof that @KBabstock’s 2019 income had been more than $5,000 to confirm eligibility for CERB. But it refused to count the arts grant he had received that year as income and asked him to repay $10,000. More here:… 2/5
Like many writers, @KBabstock was already financially precarious. Then, COVID-19. His University of Toronto course was cancelled. Three residency/fellowship opportunities: cancelled. His next book: bumped from spring to fall. Prospects looked grim.… 3/5
Read 6 tweets
5 Apr
From the shared microphones to the passed-around laminated song lists caked in stale beer, a karaoke bar is a hotspot for viral transmission. Many jurisdictions have banned most karaoke-like activities. So when will karaoke be back? More here:… 1/6 #COVID19
Before the pandemic, @intothemelwoods would rarely go two weeks without a trip to a karaoke bar. Belting out songs can be both “a stimulant and an antidepressant” for some, or a means of self-discovery.… 2/6
But multiple studies have shown exactly how bad of an idea public singing is in this moment: when a person projects their voice, they also project those pesky respiratory droplets that can carry the coronavirus. Read @intothemelwoods’s article here:… 3/6
Read 6 tweets

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