Regulations for the Gathering and Dissemination of Gossip
(malicious and otherwise)
within the Village Environment / Torver / Cumbria.
Owing to several recent failures in the proper dissemination of malicious gossip within the above community, and respecting the inalienable ‘scandal-mongering’ rights of all residents, the village Grapevine Oversight Committee (G.O.C.) has voted to revise the regulations pertaining to whispering (practice and procedure) throughout the parish.
1. Where a potentially Juicy Piece Of Gossip (J.P.O.G) is suspected by a resident, a full report, must be delivered ‘behind-the-hand’ to the G.O.C. within 15 minutes.
2. Where the full import and/or graphic details of the potential J.P.O.G. are not readily apparent, the Committee will appoint an Authorised Nosey Parker (A.N.P.) with special powers of inquisition, whose duty it will be to make all relevant enquiries necessary to ascertaining the said details.
3. He/she will be authorised to eavesdrop below window sills, around corners, behind coat-racks etc. or in any place of concealment approximating to the likely source of the said gossip.
4. He/she will be further authorised to ‘ear-wig’ any conversation, enter any premises and rummage through any dustbin where he/she suspects that such action might elicit useful intelligence pertaining to said gossip.
5. The A.N.P. will be required to thoroughly examine all material elicited during his/her search and make whatever adjustments he/she deems necessary to ensure that the malicious nature of the particular gossip is fully realised. He/she may exaggerate, embellish, misrepresent or falsify any information received in the interests of achieving maximum dramatic effect. Strict adherence to the truth is positively discouraged.
6. The A.N.P. must under no circumstances reveal the names of the parties involved in the J.P.O.G. He/she will be permitted, however, to make proper inference to particular persons involved through the careful use of ‘hints’ and ‘nudges’. i.e. “A certain senior villager who recently wrecked his Landrover” or “A popular local wall-builder who rides a bike” etc. Special attention is drawn to the need for clarity in all such hints/nudges.
7. The A.N.P. will report, with his findings, to the G.O.C., by appointment, behind the bus-shelter, after dark, following which an appropriate whispering campaign will be organised and launched.
From the Summer 2004 issue of Nobbut Torver magazine