The Future of Fun

Source: Pxfuel

Out with the new, in with the Old?

Georgina Hookway

At the start of the year we found ourselves gathered together, packed around small tables in pubs and cafes, crammed into overcrowded clubs and concerts, yet as the end of the year closes in on us, all of these memories feel distant and the mere idea of crowding into these places now seems surreal.

Before the pandemic hit, society was already beginning to seek entertainment in the old-fashioned, with vintage being deemed as “cool” and the past no longer being perceived as undesirable.

The pandemic forced society to revert back to many forms of fun that we would now consider to be old-fashioned; board game nights became a daily occurrence instead of an occasional affair, knitting and painting once again became the nation’s favourite pastimes, and homes were soon filled with the entrancing scent of banana bread as people embarked on their lockdown baking careers.

Outside of our homes, with concerts, pubs, theatres, and clubs now no longer being viable entertainment options, we saw the rise of the of the drive-in cinema.

This old-fashioned American concept never properly took off in the UK, however lock-down seemed like the perfect opportunity for it to finally propel into British mainstream culture. With numerous screenings taking place over the nation this summer, the number of drive-in cinemas in the country has increased from just three all the way to over forty. Over lock-down, the concept evolved and a festival bearing the name of Nightflix was born. The nine-night festival in August featured an evening tribute performance followed by a film screening.

The drive-in concept was taken even further when Live From The Drive-In, a drive-in concert series, came to fruition in August.

The concert series was cancelled however, due to difficulties surrounding the localised lockdowns that came into effect. After seeming like the ideal solution to the monotony of life in lockdown, it appeared like the drive-in concept wasn’t actually the perfect answer.

Despite the shift towards more old-fashioned methods of entertainment during the pandemic, the internet still remained a central part of society, resulting in lots of these ‘vintage’ activities being modified to fit today’s culture; pub quizzes, for example, have been around since the 1970’s and are still immensely popular, however the pandemic has forced them to move online, modernising them. Going to the theatre is another archetypal old- fashioned activity but, with the pandemic, attending the theatre was no longer a viable option. Theatre companies, such as The National Theatre, instead opted for uploading weekly plays online, giving the whole venture of visiting the theatre a modern twist.

We have not entirely had to resort to new methods of fun, however; streaming service usage increased massively during lock-down, with Netflix obtaining 16 million new members, YouTube garnering massive increases in viewer numbers, and the quantity of Spotify users swiftly rising.

As we move into a post-pandemic world it bides the question of where entertainment will head next; will these old-fashioned activities prevail or are will we just return straight back to what we previously called normality?