One of the biggest challenges of working from home during lockdown is making sure you have the best background possible when talking to friends, family members or work colleagues on a webcam.
Although services like Zoom allow you to be transported to exotic and far-flung destinations via fake backgrounds, we all know that people actually want to snoop on their colleagues' homes which they usually wouldn't get to see.
This is probably especially true of figures like celebrities and politicians. It's like a poor man's version of MTV Cribs, but absolutely fascinating to see what books they have on their shelves or just how tidy their houses are.
Politicians are more exposed to this inadvertent advertisement of their lives as they are consistently on television answering questions about how they are dealing with Covid-19 and what steps they are taking to stop the spread.
Of all the UK MPs, perhaps Matt Hancock has shown his house to the world more than most, as he is, after all, the health secretary. Like many politicians, he has been conducted the majority of interviews from what appears to be his personal office. Let's take a look.
The, errr, 'red room'
Here is a good view of the room during a discussion with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain.
'We were one of the best prepared countries in the world.' Health Secretary Matt Hancock tells @piersmorgan the UK… https://t.co/2d8UrhJ7JF— Good Morning Britain (@Good Morning Britain) 1587023377
Now, we're hardly Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen but the environment that Hancock has in this room doesn't look the most productive.
Cluttered and messy selves, an abundance of picture frames, what appears to be a Newcastle United football jersey (the team he supports) hanging from a wall, no discernable point of entry and don't get us started on the red paint, which has reminded many of 50 Shades of Grey.
Of course Matt Hancock has a 'red room'. https://t.co/X3e8pfSMjq— Cathy 💙🕷️ (@Cathy 💙🕷️) 1587033990
Matt Hancock's home office seems to double as his red room of pain... https://t.co/ekOP7tBkbQ— Martin Atkinson (@Martin Atkinson) 1587019187
How does Matt Hancock get in and out of this room? https://t.co/Q6vvGumoIm— Chris SL (@Chris SL) 1587022463
Here is an alternative view of the room and we can confirm that it is a bit of a state.
Following medical advice, I was advised to test for #Coronavirus. I‘ve tested positive. Thankfully my symptoms are… https://t.co/clScNOG1oy— Matt Hancock (@Matt Hancock) 1585313800
The one with the picture of the Queen
There was an even bigger revelation today when he invited Sky News and BBC cameras into another room into his house and... oh God, what is that?!
Of course Matt Hancock has a massive picture of the queen in his house https://t.co/JQ394gNjcp— JAM🍒 (@JAM🍒) 1587116268
WTF at Matt Hancock’s artwork in his house 😱 https://t.co/YkUtKGLolF— Joyce Gibson (@Joyce Gibson) 1587116328
Got the Health and Social Care Committee hearing on in the background. It works quite well with members joining in… https://t.co/hfC8tl4U6O— Claire Hardy (@Claire Hardy) 1587121004
Matt Hancock has this totally normal giant picture of the queen in his house. https://t.co/Fd3iweVnYB— Ned Simons (@Ned Simons) 1587116224
We might have already established that Hancock has questionable taste in decor but let's assume this isn't actually his house but somewhere within a government building, given the painting is by the acclaimed but divisive British artist Damien Hirst, who donated this 2014 portrait of the Queen to the government in 2016.
Although it only made its television debut today, the painting has popped up in several videos that Hancock has released on Twitter.
On World Health Day, we’re thanking all those in health services across the country fighting #coronavirus to save l… https://t.co/piGDVAUxeF— Matt Hancock (@Matt Hancock) 1586283138
I’ve been responding to your questions on #coronavirus here: https://t.co/KYJn5IO9LX https://t.co/cG3oilX2kJ— Matt Hancock (@Matt Hancock) 1586438595
NEWS: Everybody going from hospital into social care will be tested for #coronavirus & isolated whilst the result c… https://t.co/JeD2xBDQhs— Matt Hancock (@Matt Hancock) 1586936021
The disturbingly sparse white wall
Yesterday Matt Hancock appeared on a giant projector to "open" Birmingham's new Nightingale hospital, and gave us yet another glimpse into his lockdown surroundings.
The fact that he was clearly standing against a bare wall with the camera super zoomed in was weird enough, but the size of the projection was even creepier.
Big Hancock in hot water https://t.co/KLsbXgGQBj— Jo Fewings (@Jo Fewings) 1587049831
Don't think much to the new Apple ad. https://t.co/TRG4k5pahb— Chris Addison💙 (@Chris Addison💙) 1587048133
And while not strictly to do with his interiors, the positioning of the screen right under a hot water pipe just added to the weirdness.
“Make everyone stand far apart” “Of course” “Put my head on a massive terrifying screen” “Small would be more calmi… https://t.co/Xm824ZxL5t— James Felton (@James Felton) 1587047781
Those hot water pipes above the giant Matt Hancock look rather menacing. Is he threatening to hose them all down wi… https://t.co/d5Uu7ODEmX— Paul Sweeney (@Paul Sweeney) 1587051464
The surprisingly mundane outside of his house
Here is a brief view of him clapping outside, of what we have to presume is his house, which gives us a better overall perspective of what his humble abode is like... basically, a very ordinary residential street.
So important to come together as a nation and show our appreciation for our brilliant carers. 👏 👏 👏💙 #ClapForCarers https://t.co/WrEE08lNGF— Matt Hancock (@Matt Hancock) 1587068223
All we can hope for in however long remains of this lockdown period is a glimpse into the houses of other politicians. Who wouldn't want to see Jeremy Corbyn's overwhelming horde of jam jars or Jacob Rees-Mogg's haunted mansion straight out of a Daphne du Maurier novel?