Karaoke and Corona: The lockdown diary of a bored Hiatt Baker flat

We’ve traded in our Fila stompers for slippers in the kitchen, and I don’t even mind it

On the afternoon I moved into Hiatt Baker, I didn’t even have a chance to put a sheet on my mattress before my flatmates were ordering an Uber to the Black Swan. Now, myself and my flat are trying to make the best out of being locked up in halls.

With our newfound freedoms that accompany the first year of uni stripped away from us, we now find ourselves reminiscing on that week of kitchen raves, sit down events and drunk conversations with anyone in the mobs that swarmed Badock and Hiatt Baker.

But with most of the blocks locked down, and the sad strips of LED lights across our kitchens not being used at their full potential, I can tell you what life looks like from the inside. Well, at least for my flat.

Kitchen Karaoke 

You’re a fresher. You’re imprisoned in your flat. It’s Friday night and you’re ready to get on it. If you’re wondering how that works, think back to when Italy first locked down, and won everyone’s hearts as they sang the national anthem across balconies to come together and boost morale. Well, picture that, except with old school Jason Derulo, a bit of Abba, and the guy from K block’s Soundcloud mix.

As the night goes on, the pathways of Hiatt Baker develop a Red-Light-District-esque atmosphere with drunken dancing in kitchen windows. Yes, parties aren’t quite what they perhaps should be, but we’ve traded in our fila stompers for slippers in the kitchen and I don’t even mind it. 

You have DMCs 24/7 with just about anyone

Wanting to make friends in the first few weeks at university is just part of our human nature, and the residents of Hiatt Baker have certainly proven that confinement can’t get in the way of that. The public declaration of snapchat usernames from the ground floor to the girls four floors up makes for unusual fraternising – but hey, at least more people can add you up. 

Lockdown has shown that privacy and conversation are mutually exclusive in this case. The cheeky blem and a chat from your bedroom window with the fella opposite means that just about anyone in the vicinity can hear what you’re saying – but it’ll have to do for now. I’ve also learnt that we really haven’t come far from our ancient ancestors in developing systems of visual communication. Rather than smoke signals however, our human interaction consists mainly of multicoloured post-it notes.

Boujie food box deliveries 

I’ve also admired how well people seem to be finding joy in the little things; with limited options that’s all you can do. The infamous cardboard boxes provide seemingly endless excitement: from the free One Meals (actually served in prison, and surprisingly nice) to the actual box itself, as an outfit, a makeshift surfboard, or even the materials for a den. 

Bristol have absolutely firmed it with the ridiculously overly boujie contents: Grissini breadsticks and Dorset Cereals just to name a few. Instead of the usual freshers wristbands and club stamps, our memorabilia consists of extra long life milk and COVID test receipts as a fitting ode to the unusual experience we’re all sharing.

Clapping for the box delivery people

Also, the clapping for our box delivery people as they walk past is an unconventional, and certainly “unprecedented” (that beloved COVID word) part of the fun. In the spirit of making the most of things, those devoid of taste/smell, have provided excellent entertainment as they gnaw through onions, chillis and spoons of garlic paste.

Corona coming to visit

Coming to the end of our isolation period, luckily most people in my flat’s symptoms have gone away by now. But the first few days of isolation saw competitive coughing fits and a fair few migraines. As to whether the “fatigue” I felt was a COVID symptom or a result of 5am bedtimes, I’ll never know.

Getting bored of getting pissed in the kitchen

One thing I’m surprised by is how fast time passes. It feels like I wake up and before I know it, it’s dinner. That may have something to do with the fact that it’s often about 2 when I get down to the dump that we call a kitchen. Unlike cleaning though, my flat have been quite good at getting on top of work – there isn’t much else to do in the daytime. After about 4 days in a row of getting pissed in the kitchen, it starts to verge on depressing, so it’s  definitely scaled back as time’s gone on. We’re preparing ourselves for (hopefully) freshers round 2 to kick off when everyone emerges from their lockdowns.

My flatmate chomping on an onion

But despite it all, the best part is the feeling of unity bringing us all together. Yes, we may not get to experience the bus down to Lakota in sexy outfits or you know, go to any lectures or even for a pint, but we will forever be the COVID freshers. An unparalleled, never-before-seen experience that few will ever know. 

I think we’ve all had to learn to live by the insightful words of Wes Nelson: It is what it is. And with that in mind, I’ve certainly discovered that young people will always find a way to have fun. Regardless of the circumstances, if you put a group of 18-19 year olds together some sort of madness is bound to arise. 

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