This past year has been a mammoth test of our ability to stay upbeat. Even the peppiest of people, the Leslie Knopes of the world, have felt the tedium take its toll. Enthusiasm, it seems, snoozed his alarm at the beginning of the semester and rolled back over, murmuring something about trying again in September. We are left then with his old sparring partner, ennui, and whilst this new bedfellow, sounds sexier, he is undeniably less fun.

The good news is, we are on the final stretch! (A reason to be cheerful in itself- so there’s one on the house for you). But, whilst we are all still stuck inside the house, here is a list. A list to cure lockdown listlessness. Five lighthearted, serotonin-boosting recommendations to get you out of your bed, out of your funk, and dancing, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

1) Reasons To Be Cheerful pt.3 – Ian Dury and the Blockheads

When you inventively find yourself questioning, why don’t I get back into bed? Look no further than Ian Dury and the Blockheads for a pick me up, both funny and funky in equal measure. The iconic 1979 hit single is quite literally a list of reasons to be cheerful. If you’re not smiling after Dury’s lyrical witticisms, Davey Payne’s saxophone solo will blow you, and your cobwebs away!

2) Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords describe themselves as ‘New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based dingy-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo’. Between the two of them, Bret McKenzie and Jamaine Clement boast an HBO TV Series, an Academy Award, and an iconic performance as the villainous coconut crab in Disney’s Moana. Their deadpan comedy, gentle surrealism and gorgeous Kiwi accents are the perfect antidote to the all too serious times we find ourselves living through.

3) Who’s On First? – Bud Abbot and Lou Costello

This vaudeville comedy sketch from the 1930s was named the best comedy act of the 20th century by Time Magazine.  Abbot and Costello’s carefully crafted patter routine revolves around the simple question; what is the name of the man on first base? Or is who? I don’t know! But its simple, ingenious wordplay never gets old.

4) Think About Things – Dadi Freyer

Think About Things, by Dadi Freyer was Iceland’s entry for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Despite the competition’s cancellation, the song became a viral hit this summer. The joyful lyrics are even more heartwarming with the knowledge that they were written about Dadi Freyer’s experience of becoming an actual daddy to his new baby girl.  (Extra serotonin points to be claimed by dancing along to their music video.)

5) A Grown-up Guide to Dinosaurs – Audible

When was it, during the messy process of growing up, that we stopped asking what a person’s favourite dinosaur is?  After listening to this fun and informative six-part podcast: I have been taught fascinating things about the Dino-world, learnt many something-a-saurus names that I will never be able to spell, but most importantly I have discovered the perfect fun-fact for those dreaded zoom introductions. Hi, my name is Aya. And my favourite dinosaur is the Diplodocus.

Here is a playlist of these ‘lighthearted lockdown listens’ with some other tremendous tracks thrown in for good measure: