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Think You've Had a Bad Zoom? Not Like This One

UK council meeting features tech issues, yelling, toilets flushing, and a Britney Spears reference
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2021 1:06 PM CST
Updated Feb 7, 2021 11:00 AM CST

(Newser) – By this point in the pandemic, everyone's probably been on multiple Zoom calls, and likely experienced at least one bad one. But it's a Zoom meeting out of England that CNN has dubbed the "greatest, most ridiculous thing to come out of the past year," after everything that could go wrong did. The nearly 90-minute call among members of Cheshire County's Handforth Parish Council, which took place before the holidays, kicks off with someone muttering what sounds like "F--- off' after someone else asks when the meeting will start (you can hear that in this condensed version of the call here). From there the call devolved into a chaotic smorgasbord of technical glitches, screaming, laughing, phones ringing, people getting booted from the meeting, toilets flushing, and general anarchy.

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When things start getting heated, one of the members yells, "Read the standing orders. Read them and understand them!," eliciting a gasp from someone off-screen, and a response from Jackie Weaver, the chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils. "Appalling behavior!" she retorts. When another participant labeled himself as "clerk" of the council, even though he's not, Weaver said, "Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on." The call has since gone viral, thanks to comedian Steven Morgan's highlight reel, and Weaver has become a star of sorts. She tells the BBC that such meetings are usually "less exciting," admitting of this particular one, "I'm not absolutely sure who was in charge." She says since the world has seen what happened that fateful day in mid-December, she's received "nothing but positive support." (Read more Zoom stories.)

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