In-depth | COVID-19

The pandemic gift box

By - 05.01.2021

The lockdown treasures that will help you get through the winter blues.

What to do if

  1. You’ve got the virus 
  2. You’ve been close to someone with the virus 
  3. You don’t want to get the virus
  4. You’re recovering from the virus

Or is it just a miserable, gray wintry day, it feels like midnight at 4:30 p.m. and you can’t go anywhere anyway thanks to the curfew. 

It’s a duvet day kind of winter. 

But even as the hopes around 2021 begin, the pandemic continues on and many of us will be spending more time at home. 

So how to make it a bit better? We at K2.0 offer you a gift box of goodies we discovered in our own lockdowns to send you into this new year and beyond with a bit of joy, enlightenment, company and hope for a shot in the arm.

We asked our staff for their personal special choices: What they listen to, read, play and watch when they can’t get out. And we put their music selections into our very own K2.0 playlist. Then we asked our colleagues to tell us why they chose, what they chose.

So stay safe, stay home and have fun. When you go out wear a mask and keep the distance. 

Happy New Year from Kosovo 2.0!

 

Tringe Sokoli, Editor 

As much as I tried to explore new creative content to consume this year, not all of the books, TV and music I discovered were through my own volition. Not for lack of time (I have a pandemic to thank for that), but who can resist a gleaming recommendation on the Netflix front page after a long day on the couch? 

And how else to mentally escape on locked-up nights than by going on nostalgia trips with your favorite authors? 

So I compromised and along with “comfort food” for my mind, this past year I tried to see the world through the works of new (to me) and diverse authors. While I hope that in 2021 we’ll be able to see a bit further than the end of our couches, maybe some of these suggestions will catch your attention on leisurely days when you want to enrich your perspectives on the world. 

Series:

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown 

Stateless 

Veep 

Normal people 

Call my agent 

Derry girls 

Music:

Shkodra Elektronike

Lockdown sessions with Laura Marling

Tame Impala — The slow rush 

Books:

Tregime bashkëkohore në gegnisht, editors Rozafa Shpuza & Gazmend Bërlajolli — Fryma 

 Bernardine Evaristo — Girl, woman, other

 

Nidzara Ahmetasevic, Editor K2.0

I picked a Spanish series that makes you forget the entire world we live in and hope there is a different way to live. Probably for the same reason I put Money Heist on the list I am also putting this Elif Shafak book. 

Both books and films, for me, have a possibility to take me far away, to push me to dream more, and to let me be who I am, if I want to. So, I guess these two go into it. 

And it’s not my kind of music, at all, but it made me dance throughout the pandemic. During these months, I have been dreaming of a different world we can build, if we learn lessons from the past. And, as Emma Goldman famously said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

Series

Money Heist

Books

Elif Shafak — 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

Music

Dua Lipa  — Future Nostalgia. 

 

Iliriana Banjska, Managing Editor 

Even though this should probably be as light and uplifting as possible, my recommendation might not be exactly that. Set in a rural North Brabant, The Netherlands, this book grabs you by the throat in the first few pages by surprise.

And what do you get when you mix jazz and hip-hop? Soul warming music to listen to when it’s cold. Robert Glasper collaborates with some of hip-hop, R&B and neo-soul giants on his 5th studio album, making this record sound like the most refreshing thing you’ve heard in a while. 

Music:

Robert Glasper — Black Radio

Book:

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld — The Discomfort of Evening 

 

Atdhe Mulla, Photography Editor

As the new lockdown is in place all over the world, Video gamers seem not to be worried too much as new games have or will be released at the end of the year. Some of them featured here will provide more than 160 hours of gameplay scenario or more if you’re playing online!

You can decide to get tied to your sofa and joystick or keyboard and dwell into imaginary scenarios that the campaigns of these games will provide! 

“The Last of Us” is a post apocalyptic scenario of dad and a daughter surviving zombies, which I think will keep you entertained while surviving these catastrophic sci-fi scenarios like the “Walking Dead” series. You get to use chemical weapons and deal with mystery viruses.

“Assassin’s Creed/ Valhalla” is set in 9th Century AD. If you loved the “Vikings” series on Netflix this is the game you should be playing.

Video Games:

The Last Of US II, Release date: June 19, 2020

Trailer: 

Assassin Creed  — Valhalla, Initial release date: November 10, 2020

Trailer: 

 

Jack Butcher, Deputy Editor

As someone who can get a little over-competitive in most walks of life (from sports or work to making sure I beat my fellow pedestrians to the far side of the zebra crossing …), the idea of being shut away indefinitely without friends to defeat was my idea of personal hell. Enter the online lockdown games …

Like so many others, many of my evenings in the early weeks of the pandemic were filled with the bright colors and arcade noises of Ludo King, which had the appeal of not having to exercise my brain — other than to work out which preprogrammed insult to hurl — at a time when everything seemed a little overwhelming. In a bid to keep in touch with UK friends, I also subjected myself to the ritual humiliation of a weekly “lockdown quiz” — rounds of homemade questions over Zoom on topics ranging from Soviet Aerospace Accomplishments to Best Farmyard Animal Impression!

Over the many months since, I’ve been through a whole range of online games, but my current personal favorite is Codenames (available for free at horsepaste.com). In a cross between Battleships and Articulate, each team’s “Spymaster” has to give one-word clues linking together specific words (or “agents”) as their teammates try to tune into their way of thinking and guess correctly. Meanwhile — in my favorite part of the game — opponents are free to try and confuse and distract by offering up suggested answers of their own. If you stumble across the “assassin” the game’s over.

The game has recently been made available in different languages, including Albanian (although it seems to simply use Google Translate). If you’re more about pictures than words, check out Skribbl.

Games:

Codenames available at horsepaste.com

Skribbl

 

Aulone Kadriu, Program Manager.

After spending the first thirty days of lockdown without watching anything, I finally gave in. I was trying to read as much as I could thinking it wouldn’t last. Little did I know that I would have all the time in the world. There is nothing picturesque about my lockdown really. Just a boring and disturbingly reflective time. But good movies, music and series can go a long way — so they somewhat made this time less unbearable, which I am thankful for.

The movies I have chosen, although substantially different, have something in common — complex stories and truths, told in simple and yet non-reductionist ways. Precisely how I believe any story should be told.

The books are a combination of a pre and during pandemic selection. I’d never leave Kadare out. I visited his house this year and you can’t not go back to “The Doll” after that experience. bell hooks is harsh and straight forward in smashing patriarchy. Also, her take on love is so unconventional and tough to come to terms with. Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart) — not someone I was particularly interested in initially, but also someone that took me places and countries while reading, which I deeply valued at a time of isolation.

The series are suspenseful, an element that I cherish. Something to keep your excitement high, while the world is so unexciting.

 Movies:

Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always — Eliza Hittman 

The Trial of Chicago 7 — Aaron Sorkin

Amour — Michael Haneke

Series:

The Queen’s Gambit

When They See Us

Unbelievable 

Unorthodox

Books:

bell hooks — All about love

Ismail Kadare — The doll

Haruki Murakami — Sputnik Sweetheart

 

Dina Hajrullahu, videographer

The whole year has been an emotional roller coaster so I tried to make a selection of movies, books, and music of different moods that have helped me go through this pandemic and 2020.

While isolated during lockdown, movies like “Baraka” and “Samsara” would let you experience a meditative voyage around the world exploring life in different dimensions. As difficult as it was to choose movies from a really long list of greats, “Network,” “Victoria,” and “Roma” are also definitely some of my favorites.

It has also been a year of musical explorations of new independent musicians and bands, as well as having new releases from favorite projects. There were too many to list, so I chose to mention some online radio stations where you can explore your own music based on your favorite genres. You can check them out and find endless mixes curated by some of the best emerging DJs and musicians.

Also I had the time to finally read some really great books that were waiting to be read on my bookshelves and that includes some works by Henry David Thoreau. Writing about enjoying the real values in life free from material things, appreciating nature, living by your ideals and taking action, etc., I can’t think of a better time to start reading his work for everyone who hasn’t done that already.

Movies:

Network — Sidney Lumet

Victoria — Sebastian Schipper 

Baraka — Ron Fricke 

Samsara — Ron Fricke 

Roma — Alfonso Cuarón 

Series:

Our Planet

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage           

Music:

Online Radio 

NTS Radio

LYL Radio

Swissjazzradio

Books:

Henry David Thoreau — Walden

Henry David Thoreau  — Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

 

Lirika Demiri, translator

Life narratives and graphic novels dominated my lockdown reading list. The details of the characters’ everyday lives, mundane and yet extraordinary, contrasted with the day-to-day sameness of the lockdown while at the same time feeling familiar, indulging, and animated. Luckily, some of my favorite musicians (for now!) released new tracks during the pandemic, just enough to keep my mind calm and curious, my voice humming, and my body moving.

Books:

 Kate Evans — Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxembourg

 Miroslava Malešević — Didarja: Rrëfimi Jetësor i një Prizrenaseje 

 Art Spiegelman — Maus I and II: A Survivor’s Tale 

Music:

Enver Muhamedi — Letter to K (album)

Moses Sumney — grae (album)

Lianne La Havas — Lianne La Havas (album)

 

Edita Pozhegu, translator:

To face the weirdness going on all around us, I’ve indulged in some quite bizarre fiction during this time. I’ve been exploring topics from madness to loss, addiction, great human advancement and the exploration of our universe. I think characters in such stories are the best example of human resilience in difficult situations, albeit, with many struggles, they are a guide to our ability to adapt and overcome anything. 

Movies:

I Lost My Body  — Jérémy Clapin

Enter the Void  — Gaspar Noe

Coco  — Pixar

Breathless  — Jean Luc Godard

Chungking Express — Wong Kar-wai 

Books:

Roald Dahl — Madness 

Oliver Sacks — The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Alain de Botton — The Course of Love

Sayaka Murata — Convenience Store Woman

Isaac Asimov — Foundation Series 

 

Bronwyn Jones, Editor

These are just a few of things I’ve been consuming this pandemic that have given me a lift or taken me away from all of this. I think most of all we need something that helps us keep putting one foot in front of the other every day.

Movies:

The Forty-Year-Old Version — Radha Blank

Small Axe: Lovers’ Rock — Steve McQueen

Coup 53 — Taqi Amirani

White Riot — Rubika Shah

Series:

I May Destroy You

The Last Kingdom

Ethos

The Bureau

Spiral (Engrenages)

Music:

Megan Thee Stallion  — Savage

Sault  — Untitled (Rise)

Roisin Murphy  — Murphy’s Law

SlowThai, Disclosure  — My High

Nas  — Ultra Black

Books:

Hilary Mantel —The Mirror and the Light

Sally Rooney — Conversations with Friends

Aleksander Hemon  — My Parents: An Introduction / This Does Not Belong to You

Ian Bancroft  — Dragon’s Teeth: Tales from North Kosovo

Elena Ferrante  — The Lying Life of Adults

 

Feature image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.