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

A Knock at the Door

Episode 86 (18 January 2024)
“In space no one can hear you scream. But what if you’re deep in the backwoods, in an isolated cabin on a dead-end trail?” Karen set aside the book. A horror story was not ideal reading for the off-grid log cabin Peter had booked for their thirtieth wedding anniversary weekend, especially as she was alone in bed, listening to wind from a storm whistle through cracks in the doors and windows.

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Kris Kringle – Xmas 2023

Episode 85 (22 December 2023)
I’m taking a short break from podcasting because I’m going on a long road trip with my son from Sydney to Western Australia to spend Xmas and New Year with our WA family. But as I did in 2022, I’ve put together a Kris Kringle collection featuring three episodes from the Tall And True Short Reads archive: Too Late, Lenny, Stuck in Time and Family Reflections.

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In Her Head

Episode 84 (9 December 2023)
Cassie lay perfectly still in bed, staring at the shadowy shape on the ceiling overhead. A bulky body and eight legs, a spider, but this wasn’t Incy Wincy. It was a huntsman with long hairy legs, needle-sharp fangs, and a jump so powerful that if human, it could win gold at the pole vault without a pole.

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Tall And True Microfiction Anthology

Episode 83 (28 November 2023)
I discovered microfiction when I reviewed Loopholes by Susan McCreery in 2017. By definition, brevity is the key to good microfiction. The stories in Loopholes range from several paragraphs over one or two pages to only three short sentences. With no room for plot and character development, every word must count.

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A Better Poem

Episode 82 (13 November 2023)
“Roses are red, violets are blue, I spend my day, thinking of you.” Davey reviewed the poem in his exercise book. “Thinking” is what you did at school. It wasn’t romantic enough to attempt Mission Impossible with the girl of his dreams. That’s it! “I spend my day, dreaming of you.”

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Some Things Change – Perth, Western Australia, 2023

Episode 81 (22 October 2023)
It’s only early spring, but I’m starting to sweat in Mum and Dad’s back garden. I wore my dark English suit for Dad’s funeral, and if etiquette permits at wakes, I’d like to slip off the coat. Looking around the garden for guidance, I struggle to recognise elderly aunts and uncles or my fellow middle-aged cousins. And I have no hope of placing their children and grandchildren.

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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

My Good Dog and Muse

Episode 72 (19 April 2023)
I met Harry when he was six months old. He was the last of his litter, hiding under a kitchen table. And when the breeder dragged him out, Harry flopped his head on my leg and looked up at me with worried, brown eyes. At that moment, a bond formed between us, which lasted for just over twelve years. 

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Episode 71 (5 April 2023)
Jennifer swivelled her chair away from the laptop and stared at the lights receding into the distance beyond the high-rise office window. Her eyes had welled up reading Stephen’s unexpected emailed demand, and she reached for a tissue to dab at the tears. “Twenty years,” Jennifer exhaled softly, wiping her eyes.

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Two Visits to the Berlin Wall – Part Two

Episode 70 (16 March 2023)
After living and working in England from 1987, my wife and I returned to Australia in 1995, overland. Michael Palin’s 1991 BBC series, Pole to Pole, inspired our journey and route, travelling from north to south for eight months. And along the way, we revisited Berlin, as I recorded in my travel journal.

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Two Visits to the Berlin Wall – Part One

Episode 69 (3 March 2023)
In 2019, approaching the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I found a timely book in a secondhand bookshop: The Berlin Wall, 13 August 1961 – 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor. The book inspired me to write about my two contrasting visits to Berlin as a backpacker in 1987 and 1995.

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The Magical Lamp

Episode 68 (13 February 2023)
Handcuffed in the police car, I wished the lamp hadn’t been magical. “That, sir, is a genuine antique,” the stallholder had asserted when I’d stopped and inspected it at the secondhand market. The oil lamp looked like a prop from Disney’s Aladdin. But though tarnished, I thought the embossed metal would polish up nice and shiny and earn me a tidy profit.

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Alice Nannup and my Nan

Episode 67 (30 January 2023)
Henry Rollins said, “A great way to learn about your country is to leave it.” And I learned a lot about Australia while living overseas from 1987 to 1996. Books like Alice Nannup’s When The Pelican Laughed (published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press in 1992) helped my education. And from her memoir, I learned about the Stolen Generation and a connection with my Nan.

Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned this podcast episode contains the names and words of people who have passed away.

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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.

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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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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A Night Out

Episode 49 (26 Mar 2022)
Their eyes locked across a crowded room at the cocktail bar. He looked well-heeled and handsome, and his brazen gaze told her he knew it. But she was his equal with pert features and confidence. They raised their glasses to each other and soon found themselves shoulder to shoulder at the bar.

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Episode 48 (14 Mar 2022)
The policewoman at the front of the Court is trying to catch my eye. I have a thing for women in uniform. It’s what attracted me to my wife. That night we met at the pub across the road from the hospital where she worked as a nurse. I couldn’t stop fantasising about the front zip on her uniform.

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Memories of Tuesdays with Morrie

Episode 47 (4 Mar 2022)
I post a #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage series on Instagram as @tallandtruebooks (formerly @tallandtrueweb) featuring fiction and nonfiction from my bookcase. Sharing the posts has brought back fond memories of dusty books I haven’t read in years. And I recently shared a favourite tear-jerker, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.

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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 – 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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Back to School – Chapter Six

Episode 23 (9 May 2021)
The headmaster sighed and shut out the old memory. He leaned forward on his desk. “Edwards, your marks and behaviour this year have been poor enough to earn expulsion several times over.” Hamilton watched the boy’s chin drop. He shook his head and sighed again.

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Back to School – Chapter Five

Episode 22 (1 May 2021)
Hamilton leaned back, tapping the tips of his fingers together in contemplation. “An interesting dream, Edwards. What do you make of it?” Charlie shifted nervously from leg to leg. “Well, sir, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought since last night, and I think it was a premonition.”

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Back to School – Chapter Four

Episode 21 (25 Apr 2021)
Hamilton held up a hand. “You mean to tell me, Edwards, you dreamed about the house where you live with your parents?” The boy shook his head. “No, sir, I’ve never seen this house before, but in my dream, I knew it was mine. And I’m not married, sir, and I don’t have any kids.”

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