Tall And True Short Reads

All Episodes

Season One of Tall And True Short Reads launched in September 2020 and featured short stories written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. In Season Two, the podcast expanded to include Robert’s blog posts and other writing from the Tall And True writers’ website.

Season Three Episodes

“When I introduced Tall And True Short Reads in 2020, I called it an “audio fiction podcast”. But two seasons on, I’ve realised I’m producing storytelling episodes, whether they’re based on short stories and blog posts, fiction and nonfiction, or tall and true tales.” ~ Robert Fairhead, Season Three Trailer

Are We There Yet?

Episode 63 (22 November 2022)
“Are we there yet?” Milly whines from the back seat. “I’m bored,” adds Tyler. “Oh, for goodness sake!” I snap, eyeballing the pair in the rear vision mirror. “It’s only been two hours.” Kids nowadays! The drive has been smooth and fast compared to the narrow, windy roads of my childhood family holidays.

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Timeline Memories

Episode 62 (8 November 2022)
I dread mornings like these when Facebook floods my timeline memories with posts and photos of Jas and the kids. On social media, we’re still a happy family. Whereas in the real world, I live alone and only see the kids on weekends. But that’s not Facebook’s fault. It’s just an algorithm.

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Council Clean-ups and Recycling

Episode 61 (16 October 2022)
One fine mid-October Sunday, I returned home from the morning dog walk to be greeted with the news our annual council clean-up was on Monday. After previous clean-ups, I thought we had nothing left to throw out. And I looked forward to a long productive day of writing … until I checked the attic and shed!

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Kurd Friends in the Mountains

Episode 60 (4 October 2022)
My wife and I visited Turkey in 1988. We had endured our first English winter and spent two weeks hugging the coastal sites and sunny beaches. We returned in 1990, venturing far from the coast to the mountains of eastern Turkey, where Kurds befriended us, and we learned a little of Kurdish culture.

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Once Upon A Time

Episode 59 (16 September 2022)
This story begins at the end. But my time spent observing your planet has taught me you humans like to process events and information in an orderly, if not entirely predictable, sequence. So forget the first sentence, and I’ll serve you a linear tale. Just don’t skip to the end and spoil it.

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Tall And True Short Reads – Season Three

Season Three Trailer (9 Sep 2022)
Tall And True Short Reads is a storytelling podcast featuring short stories, blog posts and other writing written and narrated by Robert Fairhead from the Tall And True writers’ website. Launched in September 2020, Season Three starts in September 2022 with a “story that begins at the end”, Once Upon A Time.

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Season Two Episodes

For Season Two, in addition to short stories, Tall And True Short Reads expanded to include blog posts and other writing by Robert Fairhead from the Tall And True website.

My Marxist Philosophy Class

Episode 58 (28 August 2022)
In February 1998, I started an eight-week evening college course, Introduction to Philosophy. I was in my mid-thirties, and while I was aware of philosophers, I hadn’t read their works and knew nothing about critical thinking. Our text was Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. And our tutor was a Marxist.

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Thanks Ian St James Awards

Episode 57 (8 August 2022)
In their heyday, the Ian St James Awards offered the biggest fiction prize in the UK and Ireland. Launched by the thriller writer Ian St James in 1989 to encourage new writers, the awards were open to 5,000-10,000 word short stories by unpublished writers.

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The Lost Hour

Episode 56 (26 July 2022)
You know what it’s like when you lose something. It’s always in the last place you look. So I write down all the possible places the lost thing could be and work through the list in reverse order. But how do you find a lost hour? It’s not like it can slip down the back of a sofa like coins or keys!

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Cloudstreet by Tim Winton – Omen or Inspiration

Episode 55 (10 July 2022)
In May 1992, the Sydney literary news was full of Tim Winton’s success and his novel, Cloudstreet. And I thought it an omen. Winton was thirty-one, and I was thirty. He’d grown up in W.A., and so had I. He’d just won his second Miles Franklin Award. And I was having a second crack at being a writer!

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Stuck in Time

Episode 54 (22 June 2022)
It’s 1997. I’m fifteen, and Dad’s delivering another lecture on my poor prospects: “If you carry on like this, son, you’ll end up in prison.” I won’t admit it, but he may have a point. Because today on the drive home after catching me shoplifting again, the local cop issued a “last warning”.

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Six Weeks in Teal

Episode 53 (31 May 2022)
In 2018, I shared a blog post about My Week in Politics, handing out how-to-vote cards for Dr Kerryn Phelps, an independent candidate for Wentworth. Kerryn won that by-election but lost the seat in the 2019 Federal election. Three years later, I spent six weeks in teal helping another independent, Allegra Spender.

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The Special Tree

Episode 52 (8 May 2022)
The tree stood in front of a vacant block at the end of the street. It had thick, leafy branches and was easy to climb. It was Matty’s special place. And then, one day, he saw a sign on the tree. Matty couldn’t read the big words and went to find his sister. Jess was a school captain, so she’d know what the sign said.

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Departure

Episode 51 (24 Apr 2022)
Airports are the same the world over. Full of frenetic activity, people coming and going, joyful reunions and teary-eyed farewells. Though not in the middle of the night. And apart from the passengers sprawled across and under the international airport’s departure terminal chairs, it was empty and silent.

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Milestone Reflections

Episode 50 (11 Apr 2022)
My parents separated in 1967 when I was five, and my younger brother and I went to live with our grandparents. Nan looked old to my young eyes, and leathery Pop ancient. But born in 1907, Nan was only sixty when we moved in, a cause for reflection when I reached my milestone sixty in March 2022.

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Season One Episodes

Season One of Tall and True Short Reads launched in September 2020, featuring short stories written and narrated by Robert Fairhead from the Tall And True writers’ website.

Both Sides of the Story – Bad News – Part Two

Episode 32 (23 Aug 2021)
Bad News – Part Two (England, 1993): I woke in the middle of the night with a full bladder from the beers and more than a little aroused from a dream I’d just had. As I sat in the bathroom, waiting to pee, the dream replayed in my head. I was glad my wife was asleep. She’s a mind reader, and I’d be dead if she knew what I’d been dreaming.

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Both Sides of the Story – Bad News – Part One

Episode 31 (12 Aug 2021)
Bad News – Part One (England, 1993): The evening news was depressing—all bad as usual—and the weekend weather looked just as gloomy. I got up and went to the kitchen. “Do you want another wine?” I called back to my wife. No response. I’d swear she’s going deaf, but she hears everything I mutter under my breath.

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Both Sides of the Story – The Gym

Episode 30 (27 Jul 2021)
The Gym (England, 1993): “Come on, Winnie, push.” Winston arched his back and strained against the bar. “Push!” The muscles in Winston’s arms and chest burned. He closed his eyes, let out a primal roar and fully locked his arms. The weights rattled for a moment before Winston steadied the bar. “Yes!”

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Both Sides of the Story – A Council Flat

Episode 29 (14 Jul 2021)
A Council Flat (England, 1993): The sound of the twins fighting in the bedroom filled the flat. Their screams drowned out the drone of sport on the TV and the sizzle and bubble of dinner on the kitchen cooktop. ‘For Christ’s sake, Ruth,’ Stu bellowed over the TV, ‘shut those bloody kids up, will you!’

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Both Sides of the Story – Bosnia

Episode 28 (1 Jul 2021)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993): The roar of explosives devastated the peace of the valley. Tibor had covered his ears with his hands before Milo flicked the detonator switch, but the thudding explosion set off the bells in his head again. He dropped his hands as dust and grit rained down on him and his men. When the dust cleared, it revealed the shattered shell of the century-old farmhouse.

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Both Sides of the Story – Westminster

Episode 27 (23 Jun 2021)
Westminster (England, 1993): “Madam Speaker, I —” Baxter groaned and lifted the pen. He stuck the end in his mouth and sucked on it, searching for a better opening line. He crossed out the first words and started again. “Madam Speaker, the —” His pen froze again. “Damn it, why won’t the words flow?”

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Both Sides of the Story – Introduction

Episode 26 (13 Jun 2021)
Phil Collins released Both Sides of the Story in October 1993. It was a catchy song, but I remember it more for the music video. Scenes of homelessness, domestic violence, military patrols on streets and a ghetto kid mugging a white man, juxtaposed with Collins crooning, ‘We need to hear both sides of the story.’

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Signs of the Second Coming

Episode 25 (31 May 2021)
At primary school in Perth, Western Australia, in the 1970s, I had a teacher who was also a lay preacher on the weekends. Before schoolwork, he started the day at our (supposedly) secular state school with the Lord’s Prayer and gospel readings. And his favourite scripture topic was Signs of the Second Coming.

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Memories and Marshmallows

Episode 24 (19 May 2021)
The sky-blue swell pounded the breakwater at Borthel on Sea in a steady rhythm. John gazed out at the mountains across the broad bay and drew a deep calming breath. The anxiety that had built up and wracked him in recent months and on his spontaneous long drive from the city eased its intensity.

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