Get naked, lash on a pillow, take a photo: pandemic pics, and four other things making us smile

Halle Berry’s #PillowChallenge, Maser’s painting raffle, dancers’ spirit-lifting moves

#PillowChallenge: Halle Berry’s entry. Photograph: Instagram/halleberry

#PillowChallenge: Halle Berry’s entry. Photograph: Instagram/halleberry



Whatever about peak pandemic, this is surely peak silliness. And peak look at me. Or even peek, look at me. The pillow challenge involves photographing yourself naked except for a pillow lashed to your front with a belt, and posting the result on Instagram with the hashtag #PillowChallenge. Those who’ve done it include the actor Halle Berry, Nadia Sawalha of Loose Women and Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Holly.

Shut up and dance

Tune into some spirit-lifting moves with this pick of the best routines made in lockdown, ranging from alfresco freedom with the New York City Ballet dancer turned Broadway star Robbie Fairchild (who’s dancing on his Manhattan rooftop) to a lockdown edit of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations and stars of Russia’s Mikhailovsky Theatre offering a domestic take on some of the great ballets.

There’s lots of virtual dance about. This video is still lifting us: the Irish band Jiggy, who meld Irish trad, world rhythms and dance grooves, have followed up their video Silent Place with a great montage of clips from round the world during pandemic, dancing to The Road to Errogie.

Or push yourself a bit and learn a solo dance, one of the modernist master Merce Cunningham’s physical tongue twisters. Twist, bend, reach, step: maybe not as difficult as you think (or so the New York Times says). Patricia Lent of the Cunningham Trust shows how in a new online series, where she breaks Cunningham’s solo 50 Looks into digestible slices.

Win Maser’s newest painting

The Irish artist Maser is raffling his newest painting, Homebird, in aid of the Mater Foundation, to support frontline staff and patient care during the Covid-19 outbreak. Leaving your name when you give any amount through his Go Fund Me page will enter you in the draw, which takes place on Maser’s Instagram on Friday, May 1st, at 3pm. Al Maser observes that “homebird” usually describes “a softer side to people” but now indicates “group action and strength towards positive change”. He says: “With this painting, I wanted to encapsulate the positive power of group effort through individual actions. To illustrate a feeling of strength, a feeling of Irishness, and most importantly, a feeling that we all in this together.”

Homebirds: Maser is raffling his newest painting in aid of the Mater Foundation
Homebirds: Maser is raffling his newest painting in aid of the Mater Foundation

Airbnb’s post-pandemic optimism

Amid speculation about when and how we will be able or feel comfortable to travel again, Airbnb is banking on a post-pandemic travel boom – the notion of a home-sharing website during a deadly viral outbreak has been a little problematic. Brian Chesky, one of Airbnb’s founders, is upbeat that customers will be willing to stay in other people’s homes after all this. “I’m betting on the idea that when social distancing is over, people are going to eventually want to connect,” he says. The plan is to focus on part-time hosts more than the professionals who increasingly came to the fore on the site.

Welcome drizzle

Today’s Kitchen Cabinet recipe is a cinchy lemon-drizzle cake. Janice Casey-Bracken of Dunbrody Country House Hotel says it’s so easy the kids can make it. Minimal ingredients, maximum flexibility: she suggests swapping her lemon and thyme for orange and cardamom, or nettle cordial, or whatever you have to hand. What’s not to like?