Comment: Video call chic and the doomed quest to achieve it

Not everyone has their video call backdrop styled to perfection like this lot. Picture: Getty Images

Not everyone has their video call backdrop styled to perfection like this lot. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Struggling to set a non-awful video call scene has been something I’ve battled with throughout lockdown, so this week’s feature couldn’t have come a moment too soon.

I’ve struggled to find a suitable place to host the said calls, given my house is so short on space and full of children.

Generally the only daytime space without anyone else in it is my bedroom, but a lack of desk means I have to position myself carefully against the one clutter-free, bed-free backdrop, laptop wobbling atop a pillow, and hope for the best.

I tried to have one evening chat with friends from the shed, aka my husband’s home office, as it was the only place I could talk freely about my children without them tuning in. Essentially an outhouse, it has one wall painted white to make Zoom calls look less overtly sheddy.

When dusk fell, I was faced with a motion sensor light that plunged me into regular darkness – no bad thing for me, given how sick I’ve become with the sight of my own face gurning back at me – but a bit distracting for everyone else.

Then there are the inevitable tech fails. My son hijacks my Zoom account daily, and I’ve only just worked out how to change my username from Gacha Fire Lord or Galaxy Cheetah, but switching the virtual backdrop from a wall of donuts remains beyond my capabilities.

Indeed, my children have messed up my attempts at video call chic in more ways than one. While we’ve missed having visitors during lockdown, no guests equals no one to tidy up for – so tidy up we haven’t.

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Sadly, having kids armed with iPads means the full horror has been broadcast on their friends’ feeds for any eagle-eyed parent to enjoy.

My hope when all this is over is that video calls can be forgotten and we can return to using the much less complicated phone – no need to worry about backdrops and if your house is a tip no one will every know.