Getting Emotional


Fago- with Bilal Zafar

Season 3, Ep. 5

The act of caring for someone is important, brave, and selfless. It requires love and compassion, sure, but sometimes it's also inspired by pity and vulnerability of the other person. You're doing it all whilst knowing that it can't last forever; maybe they'll get stronger and not need you anymore, maybe they'll pass away, or maybe you'll leave them.

All these factors come into play in this emotion: fago. It's a mixture of feelings that build into a broad combination of love, compassion and pity, and result in the act of caring for someone. It was first found to be described by the Ifaluk people on a remote island in the Pacific; their peaceful and sharing culture prizes fago as a deeply desired emotion and state of being.

So for this feeling, I spoke to excellent comedian Bilal Zafar, who's written a whole Edinburgh Fringe show about the year he spent working in a care home. He tells me about what it was like having responsibility for residents with dementia, how he coped when they found out he was a comedian, and how it affected his point of view in his current career.

You can find Bilal on twitter, at @zafarcakes, or on Twitch, at And I'm on twitter too, @getemotionalpod, plus instagram, @gettingemotionalpodcast.

Also, as a side-note: this podcast was nominated at the British Podcast Awards last week! It's up for the Bullseye Award- a bit like the best small/niche podcast, so keep your eyes peeled in case we manage to nab a victory!

More Episodes


Uhtcaere- with Stig Abell

Season 3, Ep. 3
You're lying in bed, awake. It's 5.45am. Your mind wanders. Should you get up now? Is your packed lunch ready? Will you go to the gym? Have you paid your rent? All of these things play into the feeling of 'uhtcaere'- lying in bed, worrying about the day ahead before it's even started. The emotion comes from an Anglo-Saxon poem, The Wife's Lament, where a woman is bereft without her beloved. Although the poem is fantastically vague, we know it's about a woman looking for her partner. And most of that worry, it seems, is 'uhtcaere'- in the pre-dawn moments. So for this emotion I got incredibly geeky about Anglo-Saxon history (honestly, I had to hold myself back) and discovered more about literature from this era. I even read a very saucy riddle about an onion, but the less said about that the better. Then, I spoke to Times Radio's Breakfast presenter Stig Abell- because who knows early mornings better than a breakfast radio presenter? He told me what time he gets up, how his show is planned, and what he does to keep the show on the road while avoiding uhtcaere for himself and his listeners. We eben invented a few new emotions along the way, including 'sockdread'. (You'll have to listen to find out more.)So, when youre lying in bed worrying about the day ahead, I hope you're not worrying about which podcast to listen to. Because it's this one, obviously. Oh, by the way, you can find me on twitter @getemotionalpod, and instagram @gettingemotionalpodcast. And: Journey in the New World by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.

The Ick- with Aaliyah Harry

Season 3, Ep. 1
You might know it from Love Island. You might know it from Ally McBeal. You might know it from feeling this way about a Tinder date last night. It's the ultimate in turn-offs, The Ick. This feeling is a gut reaction. A sudden and sharp revulsion, a feeling that the person you're romantically attached with has suddenly become...well, icky. This normally occurs relatively early on in a relationship, and the causes can be anything- from the way that person crosses a road, to the way you imagine them filling their car with petrol. (Yes, both of these are real-life examples of why The Ick struck.) The Ick seems silly and fun, but actually there's a little more to it than I- and maybe you- realise. Perhaps you're feeling it because of a fear of commitment, or fear of intimacy, or because your previous relationships have been so dysfunctional that this one, by virtue of being healthy, seems wrong. Perhaps this behaviour from your date is one that society has forced you to think of as embarrassing, and you don't truly believe that yourself. Or perhaps, y'know, they just breathe really loudly and it's INCREDIBLY ANNOYING.Either way, I discuss it with Grazia writer Aaliyah Harry, as she is someone who has both felt the emotion, and written about it for the magazine. So she has lots of fun examples to tell, and some 'on the ground' thoughts about why, and how, it's occurred to her previously. Oh, and if you want to get in touch, find me on twitter @getemotionalpod, or on my new instagram account, @gettingemotionalpodcast.