One of the ways Flow Communications is keeping our team of more than 50 Flowstars connected during the national Covid-19 lockdown is by having brief company-wide meetings every morning. A highlight of these meetings via Google Meet is a new insert: Culture Club.
Every day a nominated Flowstar spends a few minutes sharing what has really impressed them from the smorgasbord of books, and from online offerings, often free of charge, from artists, museums and theatres across the world.
We’ve decided to share some of the best with you.
The UK’s National Theatre Live portal started National Theatre At Home when the UK’s lockdown began, and is definitely one to check regularly.
Back on South African soil, several Flowstars have enjoyed a colleague’s suggestion to watch Thabang, a documentary about South African trail-running champion Thabang Madiba. Madiba grew up in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, and became the first black South African to represent his country at international trail-running events. Wandering Fever’s documentary is available on YouTube.
Netflix’s and Showmax’s wide range of offerings have allowed Flowstars to reveal their diverse interests, from RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality show in which the famous drag queen searches for America’s next drag superstar, to Chef’s Table, a documentary series that looks at what makes some of the world’s top chefs tick, to Unorthodox, a limited series that looks at a young woman’s escape from the confines of ultra-orthodox religion.
For edge-of-the-seat entertainment some Flowstars are watching the series Anne with an E, based on the Anne of Green Gables novels; Fargo, a spin-off from the Oscar-winning movie; The Magicians (a sci-fi Harry Potter for adults); and Kingdom, which was described as “Game of Thrones with a kung-fu vibe, and zombies”. Others are giggling at the antics of the once-wealthy Rose family in Schitt’s Creek.
Vox on YouTube has provided infotainment for some of our colleagues, while others have been entertaining their little ones with the animated series Shaun the Sheep (Netflix) and Simon’s Cat (YouTube). The fascinating documentary series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman has also kept Flowstars enthralled.
Meanwhile, nature-loving Flowstars have enjoyed BBC Earth’s Seven Worlds, One Planet, on DStv, in which the inimitable Sir David Attenborough reveals the extraordinary wildlife stories and unseen wilderness of our seven unique continents, with an environmental message.
The movies Cold Mountain, a love story wrapped up in a war story; The Lunchbox, a film about what happens when a young wife tries to rekindle the romance between herself and her husband by cooking him delicious meals and sending them via Mumbai’s famous tiffin system; and Single Moms Club are on Flow’s must-watch movie list.
There were crows of delight when Australian author Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief was recommended. It might be 15 years since this book about doing the right thing even when it costs you was first published, but a classic is a classic. (Perhaps The Book Thief isn’t old enough for this epithet, but we bet it will eventually earn it.)
Also recommended was Michelle Obama’s 2018 memoir, Becoming, an intimate look into the former US First Lady’s life before, during and after her time in the White House with her husband, former US President Barack Obama; and Alexandra Fuller’s latest memoir, Travel Light, Move Fast (although this book focuses on Fuller’s emotions after the death of her father, it is often funny and uplifting).
The Italophile Dianne Hales sets out how she fell in love with the Italian language in La Bella Lingua, which sounds like an intriguing read for language lovers.
Thank heavens for the internet. Some Flowstars have used it to explore one of the world’s most moving monuments, India’s Taj Mahal, while others have enjoyed museum exhibitions from the Vatican’s virtual tour to the British Museum’s virtual tour that uses Google Street View to take you through the London museum’s labyrinthine halls.
And then there’s the Google Arts & Culture homepage, the result of a collaboration by Google and more than 1 000 international cultural institutions.
Still others have enjoyed listening to classics such as Jane Eyre and My Antonia via streaming services such as Audible, and podcasts such as the eight-part Wind of Change podcast from Pineapple Street, Crooked Media and Spotify. The podcast tells the startling tale of how the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency – better known as the CIA – may have written a rock song to expand its power against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
As so many of us have said so many times: lockdown might be difficult at times, but the internet does make it easier.