Do you hear the whispermen? The whispermen are near…


When I was a schoolboy one of the classroom games we were allowed to play was Chinese Whispers, in which you’d sit in a circle and one person would whisper something into the next child’s ear, the next child would then whisper what he thought he heard into the next’s ear and so forth until the last says it out loud. You can get some funny results…

The downside is that rumours get started and spread in a particularly similarly way with embellishments and misunderstandings added to the pot to create a new story only vaguely related to what happened.  To crib Duke Ellington people should “Do Nothing Until You Hear From Me” and a lot of nonsense could be avoided.

Another interesting thing about Chinese Whispers is that is a good way of explaining the lawsituation constantental shift, how languages changes, hard sounds softening etc, the Doctor Who story ‘State of Decay’ uses it as a minor plot point in regards to character names and elsewhere in both Who and Blake’s 7  Terry Nation picks up on the idea when creating character names, Roj Blake being the most obvious one. That is a logistical way to think when naming characters in a future setting as gives a future sound without resorting to ridiculous made up sci-fi sounding names with bits of punctuation in the spelling  (Sara!vah indeed).


3 thoughts on “Grapevine

    • Well it is certainly what we called it in the UK circa 1990, I remember talking to my friend Andrea who is American and apparently she called it ‘Telephone’. Telephone might be more PC but I think it doesn’t (no pun intended) the same ring to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 25 – “The Ghost Of A Burden To Oblivion” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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