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Love, pain and lying: The radio show exploring what makes us Deeply Human

Robin Ince has no problem believing that the ability to lie is a fundamental part of being human as he reveals his radio picks of the week

Parents excitedly note their child’s first step, first word, first potty poo and, in my case, the first time they swore in front of their grandparents. The most recent episode of Deeply Human said we should also jot down with pride the first time our child lies.

When we are young, even if we have learned to lie we often can’t tell when others, particularly adults, are lying or just making up fibs for fun. My dad has no memory of telling me all blue foods were poisonous, probably to put me off an expensive lolly from the ice cream van. He also told me all guardsmen at Buckingham Palace were pigeon toed (some London pigeon dad joke, I presume). The programme has reports of beautiful lies told by adults, including the uncle who told his nephew that at night trees turned upside down and travelled into space.

Lying is an oh so human achievement and, according to some, vital. As one commentator stressed, lying is an important part of a happy life, as “no one will like you if you tell the truth all the time”.

Deeply Human is a new series fronted by Dessa, a rapper and writer with a degree in philosophy. In compact but laden 23-minute shows she explores what makes us human, those issues that don’t seem to be such issues for the other animals. In previous weeks, the show has explored the limited vocabulary for pain, how to build love rather than always just trying to find it, and the latest episode explored our ability to lie. The more frequently we lie, the less emotionally painful lying becomes for us.

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If you saw the government minister who appeared on breakfast TV explaining that Marcus Rashford had no effect on any changes in policy over free school meals, it may worry you to know that this was most probably delivered painlessly. Deeply Human is dense with stories, an immaculate glide through information and ideas that stick.

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The more I find programmes like Deeply Human, the less time I have for the news. There are too many damn hours of it and so much of it has nothing to say, perpetual regurgitation with all the joys of acid reflux.

Instead, I listen to Jon Holmes’s The Skewer. It is the week’s news as a fever dream. I imagine Holmes as the increasingly unhinged surveillance expert played by Gene Hackman in The Conversation. It is a sound collage taken from interviews, news shows, pop culture snippets and possibly a vinyl copy of the BBC Essential Death & Horror Sound Effects Volume Two. It makes as much sense as reality presented to us by current affairs programmes that will take up far more of your time.

My other favourite noise highlight of recent weeks was Stuart Maconie handing 6 Music’s Freak Zone over to Chelsea Wolfe for an hour. Her work is described as gothic doom folk metal and her playlist delivered all of that. Highlights included Bite The Leash (Burn) by High Tension and a wonderful Patti Smith-like reading of Dolly Parton’s Jolene by Lingua Ignota, whose vocals would drag vengeful heartbroken ghosts back out of the sea.

Also, it has been a while since I have banged on about BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction. If you hurry, you’ll still be able to hear the episode featuring Nubya Garcia’s mixtape, which goes from Kenyan industrial grindcore to Swedish pipe-organ playing inspired by a 16th century Italian garden. If you know where else you can find this stuff, please tell me.

Oh, and everything I told you today is true, I’ll save my lies for my next column.

Deeply Human, The Skewer, Freak Zone and Late Junction are all on BBC Sounds

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