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

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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Some Things Change – London, England, 1992

Episode 80 (4 October 2023)
It’s a chilly winter morning, and the central heating has barely warmed my flat. I’m rugged up in a jumper and Ugg boots, and the kettle’s boiling. There’s a knock at the door, and I know who’s there without checking the peephole because I’ve learned to mark events on a calendar to help remember things.

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Some Things Change – Perth, Western Australia, 1979

Episode 79 (26 September 2023)
It’s a hot summer afternoon, with no sign of the Freo Doctor. Despite the heat, I’m climbing the tree in Gran’s backyard with my brothers and boy cousins while our girl cousins chat in a circle in the shade of the back veranda. Like the other boys, I’m in shorts with no shirt or shoes. Our tomboy cousin’s up here, too. And though she’s wearing a dress, she’s also barefoot.

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Introducing Season Four

Introducing Season Four (19 Sep 2023)
Season Four will start with a multi-part, longer short story I wrote in June 2023, Some Things Change, consisting of three vignettes set in different locations and times but with a common thread: a pair of cousins from Perth, Western Australia, exploring Australia’s troubled history and relationship with Indigenous peoples.

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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

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!

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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.

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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.

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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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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Performance

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.

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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.

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The Choice

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.

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