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Gossip and Whispers

Psst... listen... John McCarthy considers the pleasures and perils of loose-tongued talk - how sharing secrets can reinforce the intimate bonds of friendship, or break them.

Psssst ...listen ... John McCarthy considers the pleasures and perils of loose tongued talk.

Gossip is one of the ways we make connections within our social groups but it can be hurtful and isolating for those being gossiped about. The sharing of secrets can reinforce the intimate bonds of friendship - or break them. And rumours, as they fly from ear to mouth to ear, can shift shape to become monstrous or hilarious.

The programme includes readings from works by Ted Hughes, Jen Hadfield and Elias Canetti and music by Tracey Thorn and The Inkspots.

Readings by Peter Marinker, Stella Gonet, Ted Hughes and Jen Hadfield.

Produced by Natalie Steed

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 7 Dec 2014 23:30

Music Played

  • Laura Gibson

    Where Have All Your Good Words Gone?

    • Beasts Of Seasons.
    • Souterrain Transmissions.
  • Tracey Thorn

    Oh, The Divorces!

    • Love And Its Opposite.
    • Strange Feeling.
  • Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra

    Well, Did You Evah?

    • High Society (Motion Picture Soundtrack).
    • Hallmark Records.
  • Pierre Certon

    La, La, La, Je Ne L’ose Dire

    Performer: Joshua Cooter. Performer: Angus McPhee. Performer: Mimi Doulton. Performer: Joe Bolger.
    • Private recording.
  • George E. Browne (Young Tiger)

    At the Coronation

    • London Is The Place For Me: Trinidadian Calypso In London, 1950 - 1956.
    • Honest Jon's Records.
  • Fisher, Doris/Fisher, Frederick William

    Whispering Grass

    Performer: The Ink Spots.
    • Whispering Grass.
    • Hallmark Records.
  • Trad.

    Auld Swaara

    Performer: Chris Stout.
    • Devil’s Advocate.
    • Greentrax.


Title: Siren Song

Author: Margaret Atwood

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Title: Poem (Lana Turner has Collapsed!)

Author: Frank O’Hara

Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; 2nd edition edition


Title: extract from The Tongue Set Free

Author: Elias Canetti

Publisher: Granta Books


Title: extract from Midas, from Tales from Ovid

Author: Ted Hughes

Publisher: Faber & Faber


Title: Lichen

Author: Jen Hadfield

Publisher: Picador