Tall And True Short Reads

All Episodes

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. 

Season Four Episodes

“In my introduction to Season Three in September 2022, I observed how I’d realised I was producing storytelling episodes, whether based on short stories or blog posts, fiction or nonfiction, or tall and true tales. Season Four starts with a multi-part episode, a longer short story I wrote for The Big Issue Fiction Edition in June 2023, Some Things Change.” ~ Robert Fairhead, Season Four Trailer

Different Journeys

Episode 93 (27 May 2024)
Teresa’s first thing in the morning text message was a punch in the guts. “Sorry, Colin. I love you, but we’re on different journeys. Let’s stay friends.” I blinked twice to clear my eyes and was about to respond, “Are you serious?” but threw the phone against the bedroom wall instead.

read more

The Lost and Found Story

Episode 92 (10 May 2024)
I’ve lost a few things over the years but never imagined losing a story! I only realised I’d “lost” A Window Table when I started working on a blog post to mark my fourth anniversary of writing Furious Fictions. However, when I found and read a copy of the story, I didn’t recognise its plot or characters.

read more

A New Jack

Episode 91 (18 April 2024)
Less than forty-eight hours after receiving her online order, Third Age Cybertronics delivered Jack to Daisy, a sprightly centenarian who purchased the Advanced Companion Droid to help her with household chores and carry her bags when travelling.

read more

A Good Story

Episode 90 (1 April 2024)
My first “published” writing was an Enid Blyton-Famous Five-style adventure story, Sand Island, in 1972. I wrote the story and illustrated it with coloured Texta markers. My aunt, the only one in our family with a typewriter, typed up the manuscript. And my father helped bind and cover the book. I was ten.

read more

Moving On

Episode 89 (14 March 2024)
Eighteen-year-old Hugo glanced up at the train station clock. It seemed time had stood still, with the minute hand barely moved since he’d last checked. He confirmed the time on his watch and then looked at the departure board, breathing a sigh of relief. His train was running on schedule.

read more

Finding Inspiration

Episode 88 (29 February 2024)
While sorting through storage boxes at home, I found an old notebook belonging to my son. It wasn’t a school exercise book but something he’d jotted and doodled in as a twelve-year-old. Among its random pages was a short story he’d written in 2014 about a father who doesn’t have “great ideas”.

read more

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

Taking a Bow

Episode 78 (31 August 2023)
I fell in love with live theatre when I saw my first London West End play as a newly-arrived backpacker in 1987. Over the next eight years, living in Brighton and Windsor, I attended countless professional and amateur productions. But I didn’t think in 1987 that one day I’d be up on stage, too, taking a bow.

read more

My Dreams

Episode 77 (8 August 2023)
I’m in the middle of a dream, though it might be nearer the beginning or end. Who can tell with dreams? I’m on a rocket, and the final countdown’s begun. “10, 9, 8 …” Then I look down at myself strapped in the seat and see I’m wearing pyjamas. “It’s only a dream,” I reassure myself.

read more

My Most Memorable Wimbledon

Episode 76 (14 July 2023)
I was weaned on Wimbledon in Australia. Year after year, I’d stayed up half the night to watch the finals on TV. And here I was in the northern hemisphere, able to witness the match in broad daylight for the first time, with an Aussie in the final, for goodness sake, and Mrs B wasn’t interested in tennis!

read more

Past Demons

Episode 75 (25 June 2023)
Dylan woke with jackhammers pounding in his head and a tongue so furry it felt like it needed waxing. “Last time,” he croaked, rolling onto his back and resolving to quit drinking again or, at least, to stop bingeing. He stared up at the low ceiling of his studio apartment and replayed the office drinks.

read more

Writing True Sentences

Episode 74 (7 June 2023)
The brief for October 2021’s Furious Fiction was to set the short story in a COURT, include a character who measures something, and the words BALLOON, ROCK and UMBRELLA. So recalling Ernest Hemingway’s advice to write one true sentence, I wrote, “The policewoman at the front of the Court is trying to catch my eye.”

read more

Family Reflections

Episode 73 (9 May 2023)
Mum’s up first, though she doesn’t like looking at her reflection nowadays. She splashes her face and turns away from me with a towel. Over her shoulder, I watch Mum gaze out the bathroom window. And when she turns back, Mum’s wearing her pained expression again, like she’s failed to solve the riddle of life.

read more

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.

read more

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.

read more

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!

read more

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!

read more

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”.

read more

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.

read more

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.

read more

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.

read more

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!”

read more

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!”

read more

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.

read more

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?”

read more

Contact Us