Tall And True Short Reads
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
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.
The New Fifty
Episode 66 (16 January 2023)
Eighty is the new fifty, or so I’m told. But my back wasn’t this dodgy when I was fifty, and my knees lasted longer than a circuit of the park with the dog before seizing up. And I wasn’t caught short so often that I needed to memorise the location of the nearest public toilet for emergency pit stops!
Kris Kringle – Xmas 2022
Episode 65 (22 December 2022)
I’m taking a short break from writing and podcasting over the Xmas/New Year holiday period. But as a special treat for podcast listeners, I’ve put together a Kris Kringle collection featuring three “festive” episodes from the Tall And True Short Reads archive: The Gift, The Special Tree and The Spirit of Xmas.
Memories and Imagination
Episode 64 (12 December 2022)
The writer John Banville observed, “Memory is imagination, and imagination is memory. I don’t think we remember the past, we imagine it.” I have vivid memories of my early childhood (I believe they’re memories, not imagination), which is why the #5YearOldSelfie hashtag challenge on social media caught my eye.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The People Were Happy
Episode 46 (18 Feb 2022)
A long time ago, poverty, floods, droughts, famines and war blighted a pale-blue planet. But the people endured the hardships and were happy. They believed life in the Here and Now and Ever After was predetermined and fixed like the stars in the sky. And the people found solace and solidarity in their faith.
The Winner’s Toast
Episode 45 (7 Feb 2022)
“And the winner is–” Zoom freezes on my laptop. But I don’t care. From the gallery director’s opening comments in her awards speech, praising this year’s portraits, it’s clear my landscape has not caught the judges’ eyes. Again! However, I’ve learned to channel disappointment into creative energy.
Writing Can Be Lonely
Episode 44 (26 Jan 2022)
Writing can be lonely, especially if you’re living on your own in a cramped flat, in another country, far away from family and friends. So when I lived in Brighton in the early-1990s, I volunteered to work one afternoon a week at an Oxfam op shop. I needed to get out and meet and mingle with people.
A Free Spirit
Episode 43 (12 Jan 2022)
Nadine lies on her mattress on the floor of the attic. She stares up at the naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling and the moth circling it. Wind gusts through cracks under the doors and windows, whistling down hallways and upstairs, carrying with it the storm-muffled moans of Paul and the new housemate.
The Spirit of Xmas
Episode 42 (28 Dec 2021)
When I was a boy, I thought the spirit of Xmas was receiving: from my overflowing Santa Sack and gifts under the Xmas tree. Then I grew up, and for me, especially after I became a dad, it’s giving. I like choosing gifts for family and friends, which is why I say bah humbug to the modern Kris Kringle.
Episode 41 (19 Dec 2021)
The shitstorm hit the Twitter fan overnight. Deeman had thought his followers would laugh at his sarcastic tweet. He’d watched a news clip about refugees from a COVID ravaged continent. And before setting aside his phone for the night, he’d retweeted it with a tongue-out emoji, “Let them eat COVID. In their own country. LOL!”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
Back to School – Chapter Three
Episode 20 (18 Apr 2021)
Charlie took another deep breath to calm himself. “Well, Mr Hamilton, it was the weirdest dream I’ve ever had. It was more like watching TV than a dream. Only, it was me on the TV.” Scenes started replaying through Charlie’s head as he recounted his dream to the headmaster.
Back to School – Chapter Two
Episode 19 (10 Apr 2021)
The headmaster tapped his pen on the punishment column in the discipline file. “I’m waiting, Edwards. Why do you want to come back to school next year?” Charlie’s mouth still felt dry. “Because I want to sit my exams, sir.” “Yes, but why?” “Um, err—” Charlie struggled to find the words.
Back to School – Chapter One
Episode 18 (4 Apr 2021)
The wooden bench in the hallway outside the headmaster’s office was hard. It made you squirm. But once you’d sat on it, you daren’t wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, old Heavy-Handed Hamilton would look up through his glass office door and note your fidgeting.
Episode 17 (24 Mar 2021)
Three minutes into the performance, and I stifled a yawn. Crammed in the front row with a clutch of fellow bored hacks, I hoped no one had noticed. However, the acclaimed actor and playwright and recently appointed head of NATS, Barry Lazarus, turned and fixed a beady eye on me from centre stage.
Three Minute Microfiction
Episode 16 (10 Mar 2021)
By its definition, the key to good microfiction is brevity. There is no time for plot and character development; every word must count. The writer plunges the reader into the story and wrenches them back out, leaving it to the reader’s imagination to reflect upon what they have read.
Episode 15 (27 Feb 2021)
We hit the road at sunrise. Anna complained about packing the bikes in the pre-dawn dark. But we had to make up for the kilometres we’d lost yesterday to punctures and her mishap. Our reward was a crimson landscape when the sun crested the horizon. I rode ahead, and Anna fell behind, as usual.