Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Creatures of Habit

Readers John Paul Connolly and Shiloh Coke explore habitual behaviour - good or bad, logical or absurd, healthy or otherwise.

Can you quit, change your habits, follow those New Year Resolutions? Readers John Paul Connolly and Shiloh Coke explore habitual behaviour through poetry and prose. With music by Bach, Steve Reich and This Is The Kit.

The subtle stings of misfortune have James Whitcombe Riley reaching for his pipe, Alain de Botton observes the way our love of the familiar shapes our relationships, Beckett’s Molloy takes habitual behaviour to a compulsive extreme, and Amy Lowell is troubled by a hauntingly persistent idée fixe. But good or bad, logical or absurd, healthy or otherwise, – where would be without these repetitive quirks of behaviour that shape our identity and order our world? And so, when Allen Carr offers you a pain free path to quitting – will you take it? Perhaps the poet knows best the fear of the blank page and the power of routine to conquer it. And so we return to habit and to the setting down of words.

Producer: Laura Yogasundram

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Sun 6 Jan 2019 17:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    David Diamond

    Little Rounds for String Orchestra: I. Allegro, molto vivace

    Performer: Indiana University Chamber Orchestra (orchestra), Arthur Fagen (conductor).
    • Naxos 8.559842.
    • Tr1.
  • Allen Carr

    Extract from Allen Carr’s Easway to stop smoking, read by John Paul Connolly

  • Mark Haddon

    Extract from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, read by Shiloh Coke

  • 00:00

    Harold Fraser-Simpson, A.A. Milne

    Halfway down the stairs

    Performer: Robin the frog.
    • Walt Disney Records 0946 3 58693 2 3.
    • Tr12.
  • Carl Denis

    Habit, read by John Paul Connolly

  • 00:00

    Hildegard von Bingen

    O Euchari In Leta Via (You trod The Old Way)

    Performer: Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano).
    • HELIODOR 4765970.
    • Tr1.
  • James Whitcomb Riley

    I Smoke My Pipe, read by John Paul Connolly

  • 00:00

    Arthur Honegger


    Performer: Andrew West (piano).
    • HYPERION CDA67204.
    • Tr9.
  • 00:00


    Ei! Wie schmeckt der Kaffee süsse (Cantata No 211)

    Performer: Emma Kirkby (soprano), Academy of Ancient Music (orchestra), Christopher Hogwood (conductor).
    • L'OISEAU LYRE 417 621 2.
    • Tr2.
  • 00:00

    Horace Silver


    Performer: Horace Silver (piano), Art Blakey (drums), Doug Watkins (bass), Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone),.
    • Giants of Jazz CD 53131.
    • Tr15.
  • Edgar Albert Guest ?

    Habits, read by Shiloh Coke

  • 00:00

    Kate Stables

    With Her Wheels Again

    Performer: This Is the Kit.
    • MIC CD 023.
    • Tr5.
  • 00:00

    Erik Satie


    Performer: Woody Schabata (vibes), Roman Schwaller (tenor saxophone), Lauren Newton (voice).
    • HATOLOGY 560.
    • Tr9.
  • David Mason

    Disturbed Paradelle, read by Shiloh Coke

  • Samuel Beckett

    Extract from Molloy, read by John Paul Connolly

  • 00:00

    Steve Reich


    Performer: Theatre of Voices (ensemble), The Steve Reich Ensemble (ensemble), Paul Hillier (conductor).
    • NONESUCH 7559794302.
    • Tr1.
  • 00:00

    Amy Beach

    Hermit thrush at morn Op.92`2 for piano

    Performer: Joanna Polk (piano).
    • Arabesque Z6704.
    • Tr5.
  • Amy Lowell

    A Fixed Idea, read by Shiloh Coke

  • Alain de Botton

    Extract from The Course of Love, read by John Paul Connolly

  • 00:00

    Harry Warren, Al Dubin

    You’re getting to be a habit with me

    Performer: Betty Carter (voice), Wynton Kelly (piano), Peck Morrison (bass), Specs Wright (drums).
    • IMPULSE GRP11142.
    • Tr4.
  • Leonard Nathan

    Surprise, read by John Paul Connolly

  • 00:00

    Purcell, arr. David Rees-Williams

    Dido’s Lament (When I am laid in earth), arr. for piano, bass and drums (extract)

    Performer: David Rees-Williams Trio.
    • Late Junction BBCLJ30032.
    • Tr5.
  • 00:00

    Emin Dede

    Pesrev in maka Bayati (extract)

    Performer: Kudsi Erguner.
    • UNESCO D8108.
    • Tr5.
  • Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

    My Worst Habit, read by Shiloh Coke

  • 00:00

    Buddy Kaye, Ben Weisman

    Change of Habit

    Performer: Elvis Presley.
    • RCA 07863 66601 2.
    • Tr31.
  • 00:01

    Brian Eno

    Ambient 1/1

    Performer: Brian Eno.
    • EG EEGCD17.
    • Tr1.
  • Al Young

    Kicking, read by Shiloh Coke

  • Stanley Kunitz

    The Round, read by John Paul Connolly

  • 00:01

    Traditional Sicilian


    Performer: Montedoro, Palm Sunday.
    • UNESCO D8108.
    • Tr6.
  • 00:01


    Prelude and Fugue BWV 898

    Performer: Glenn Gould (piano).
    • SMK 52595.
    • Tr17.


The hidden history of plant-based diets

The hidden history of plant-based diets

Forget social media influencers - the meat-free movement started with the Victorians.

Books website

Books website

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.