Share

Tall And True Short Reads

Audio Fiction

Tall And True Short Reads is an audio fiction podcast featuring original short stories from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by your host, Robert Fairhead.
Latest Episode1/25/2021

The Al-Rabie Hotel

Season 1, Ep. 12
The photograph is gloomy, and the colours are fading. But it was twenty-five years ago. I'm sitting in the high-ceilinged inner courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Old Damascus, catching up my travel journal. My wife calls out from the first floor. I stop writing, look up and wave for the camera.The Al-Rabie Hotel is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in November 2020, based on an encounter he had at the Al-Rabie in Damascus in 1995.The show notes include links to The Al-Rabie Hotel on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Al-Rabie HotelThe Al-Rabie Hotel is the short story I wrote in November 2020 for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly Furious Fiction writing competition. For November, the 500-word story:Had to take place at a HOTELInclude a PHOTOGRAPHAnd the words: COLLAR, GLOOMY, POLICE, RHYTHM, and SAPPHIRE.I was working on a travel piece when the brief arrived, based on ten days I spent backpacking in Syria in 1995. In addition to my travel journal from that period, I had pulled out photos to use in the piece. And one was of me sitting in the courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Damascus.My journal had an entry about meeting a well-travelled American in the hotel courtyard, whom I'd described as a "know-all". But I’d also noted we had a good conversation when I steered it towards "subjects on which he had knowledge as opposed to those where he had an opinion".There was also an entry about another traveller who had offered to write a letter for me to give a hotel manager in Amman, Jordan, to claim a book he'd left for safekeeping.I used the photo and journal entries to create a mystery short story set in the Al-Rabie Hotel. As for the words from the brief, did you hear them in the story? Here’s a tip: I used each word once.I'll leave it to your imagination what Klaus's envelope may have contained. However, it’s worth mentioning, the black market and security forces were ever-present during my time in Syria in 1995.I hope you enjoyed your sho rt stay at the Al-Rabie Hotel. You can read the short story and my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace, at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to listen to earlier short stories.Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. And please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on your favourite listening app.Read The Al-Rabie Hotel at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-al-rabie-hotel.Also, my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace: tallandtrue.com.au/travel/syrians-love-peace.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Woman’s voice: https://freesound.org/people/pyro13djt/sounds/365613/Birdsong: https://freesound.org/people/Dre83/sounds/180876/Fountain: https://freesound.org/people/Tritus/sounds/202915/Loud voices: https://freesound.org/people/PhonosUPF/sounds/488163/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
1/25/2021

The Al-Rabie Hotel

Season 1, Ep. 12
The photograph is gloomy, and the colours are fading. But it was twenty-five years ago. I'm sitting in the high-ceilinged inner courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Old Damascus, catching up my travel journal. My wife calls out from the first floor. I stop writing, look up and wave for the camera.The Al-Rabie Hotel is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in November 2020, based on an encounter he had at the Al-Rabie in Damascus in 1995.The show notes include links to The Al-Rabie Hotel on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Al-Rabie HotelThe Al-Rabie Hotel is the short story I wrote in November 2020 for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly Furious Fiction writing competition. For November, the 500-word story:Had to take place at a HOTELInclude a PHOTOGRAPHAnd the words: COLLAR, GLOOMY, POLICE, RHYTHM, and SAPPHIRE.I was working on a travel piece when the brief arrived, based on ten days I spent backpacking in Syria in 1995. In addition to my travel journal from that period, I had pulled out photos to use in the piece. And one was of me sitting in the courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Damascus.My journal had an entry about meeting a well-travelled American in the hotel courtyard, whom I'd described as a "know-all". But I’d also noted we had a good conversation when I steered it towards "subjects on which he had knowledge as opposed to those where he had an opinion".There was also an entry about another traveller who had offered to write a letter for me to give a hotel manager in Amman, Jordan, to claim a book he'd left for safekeeping.I used the photo and journal entries to create a mystery short story set in the Al-Rabie Hotel. As for the words from the brief, did you hear them in the story? Here’s a tip: I used each word once.I'll leave it to your imagination what Klaus's envelope may have contained. However, it’s worth mentioning, the black market and security forces were ever-present during my time in Syria in 1995.I hope you enjoyed your sho rt stay at the Al-Rabie Hotel. You can read the short story and my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace, at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to listen to earlier short stories.Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. And please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on your favourite listening app.Read The Al-Rabie Hotel at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-al-rabie-hotel.Also, my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace: tallandtrue.com.au/travel/syrians-love-peace.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Woman’s voice: https://freesound.org/people/pyro13djt/sounds/365613/Birdsong: https://freesound.org/people/Dre83/sounds/180876/Fountain: https://freesound.org/people/Tritus/sounds/202915/Loud voices: https://freesound.org/people/PhonosUPF/sounds/488163/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
1/10/2021

Her

Season 1, Ep. 11
It’s a warm, sunny day and I'm strolling along Brighton Promenade during my lunch break. Seagulls are circling and squawking, and sunlight shimmers on the blue-green English Channel. I look away from the bright horizon and see her walking towards me. Twenty metres and twenty years separate us.“Her” is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote in England in 1992.The show notes include links to “Her” on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into “Her”I was living in England in 1992 when I had a dream that felt so real it reminded me of the 3rd Century BC Chinese philosopher, Chuang Chou.One night, Chou dreamed he was a butterfly, “fluttering hither and thither, enjoying itself to the full of its bent”, unaware he was Chou.When Chou awoke, he was himself again. But after that, he observed, “I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”I've never dreamed of being a butterfly. But I have had vivid dreams of flying (unaided), sitting on a bus (naked), and standing dumbstruck on a stage (because I didn't learn my lines). And I've also dreamed of visits from departed family and friends, even a dear old dog. The experience always feels real and evokes real emotions.It was the same for my dream 1992. When I woke, I was confused about where I was and whether what I had dreamed had happened. Was it a dream or a memory?At the time, I was experimenting with form in my writing. And I used the dream to write “Her”. It's part reality, I lived and worked in Brighton, and part fiction. I was thirty when I wrote “Her” and any relationship from twenty years ago would have been a school ground romance. But mostly, “Her” is a surreal interpretation of my vivid dream.It's unlikely Chou was a butterfly who dreamed he was a philosopher. And I’ve never followed an old flame into the English Channel.I hope you enjoyed my short dream. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier short stories.Read “Her” at tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/her.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Shingles: https://freesound.org/people/dickiedrummer/sounds/368390/Crowded beach: https://freesound.org/people/Sheyvan/sounds/476099/Waves: https://freesound.org/people/amholma/sounds/376802/Underwater: https://freesound.org/people/SRJA_Gaming/sounds/545205/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
12/22/2020

Escape to the Beach

Season 1, Ep. 10
The golden sand squeaks in protest as Megan presses her body more firmly into the beach towel. A gentle breeze carries a salty scent and chills the sweat glistening on her sun-toasted skin, as gulls crawk and waves break in a relaxing rhythm. Megan licks her lips and sighs. And then a phone rings.Escape to the Beach is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story which he wrote in 1991.The show notes include links to Escape to the Beach on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Escape to the BeachI wrote a version of Escape to the Beach in 1991, when I lived in England, as the entry requirement for a local tutor-led writers' circle.The tutor panned my short story as "too vague". And looking back, it was vague and flowery and had an unbelievable premise. In the original version, the forsaken wife, Megan, had remotely dispatched her philandering husband, Edward, by using medieval magic, which she had studied at evening classes!Setting aside the silly storyline, almost thirty years on, I still loved the contrast between Megan's dream and her response to the phone call. And so I re-worked my short story, and with middle-aged insight, added her desire to shut out reality and escape to the beach.I hope you enjoyed Escape to the Beach. Please subscribe to the short story podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes.Read Escape to the Beach at tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/escape-to-the-beach.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Waves: https://freesound.org/people/amholma/sounds/376802/Phone ringing: https://freesound.org/people/robotjay/sounds/275163/Switch: https://freesound.org/people/EricsSoundschmiede/sounds/457410/Phone hung-up: https://freesound.org/people/DrNI/sounds/164035/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
12/13/2020

The Cruise Ship

Season 1, Ep. 9
Should have done this years ago. But don't tell Pearl I said that because she's been on at me for ages to do a cruise. I kept telling her I didn't want to be stuck on a floating hotel with a bunch of strangers. I'd rather spend our holidays towing a caravan around Australia, where I know the score.The Cruise Ship is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in September 2020.The show notes include links to The Cruise Ship on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Cruise ShipI wrote The Cruise Ship in September 2020 for Furious Fiction, a monthly 500-word short story competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre. September’s brief was:• The story had to be inspired by the photo of a ship deck• Begin with the letters SHO• And include the words SCORE, SLICE, SPRINKLE, STAMP and SWITCH.The ship deck photo had me thinking of cruise ships, and that led me to write another COVID inspired story, based loosely on the Ruby Princess debacle in Sydney, in March 2020. I know someone who travelled on that cruise with his wife. And while thankfully neither of them got sick, his Facebook photos of the Captain’s farewell party made it look like a germ factory, even without coronavirus!The letters SHO gave me the first word SHOULD, as in, “Should have done this years ago.” As for the other words, did you hear them in the story? Each is mentioned once and in the order, SCORE, SLICE, SPRINKLE, STAMP and SWITCH.The 55-hour submission deadline for the #FuriousFiction competition ends at midnight on the first Sunday of the month. Although I had a fair idea of what I wanted to write, thanks to the usual weekend duties and distractions, and inevitable short story edits, I submitted my September entry with only one last furious minute left on the clock!I hope you enjoyed this short journey with The Cruise Ship. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes.Read The Cruise Ship at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-cruise-ship.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Ship horn: https://freesound.org/people/monotraum/sounds/208714/Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Bar ambience: https://freesound.org/people/lunchmoney/sounds/380200/Bottles chinking: https://freesound.org/people/LampEight/sounds/259671/Slot machine jackpot: https://freesound.org/people/JoannaLuna/sounds/448842/Dance music: https://freesound.org/people/cgoulao/sounds/431538/Waves: https://freesound.org/people/amholma/sounds/376802/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
11/30/2020

Splendid Views

Season 1, Ep. 8
The trip app listed the hotel as an "Exotic Getaway" with "Splendid Views". After the year-long anxiety of COVID-19 and lockdowns, it looked perfect. I tapped BOOK on my phone, entered my credit card details, and texted Sally: "Pack the bags. We're off to the mountains for the weekend."Splendid Views is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in August 2020.The show notes include links to Splendid Views on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Splendid ViewsI wrote Splendid Views in August 2020 for Furious Fiction, a monthly short story competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre. The brief for August was that the 500-word story had to contain HUMOUR, and include the words DIZZY, EXOTIC, LUMPY, TINY and TWISTED. And a SANDWICH.Much of my writing contains humour, so I thought this would be the easiest part of the brief. However, I soon discovered the difference between doing something naturally, say writing a humorous scene, and being forced to think about a punchline. Also, having written four previous Furious Fiction entries in and around lockdown, I wanted to set this story in a more joyous post-COVID time.Thankfully, the idea of an exotic weekend away in the mountains and "Fawlty Towers" false advertising about splendid views came to my rescue. And offered an alternative use for SANDWICH! As for the other words from the brief, did you hear them in the story?I hope you enjoyed Splendid Views. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads, The Cruise Ship, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes.Read Splendid Views at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/splendid-views.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Text message notification: https://freesound.org/people/katjajansen1997/sounds/538006/Driving car interior: https://freesound.org/people/devy32/sounds/439252/Keys jangling: https://freesound.org/people/anational/sounds/443956/Female laughter: https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/33658/Male laughter: https://freesound.org/people/Eneasz/sounds/119459/Opening curtains: https://freesound.org/people/BiancaDrey/sounds/543570/Australian birds: https://freesound.org/people/mooncubedesign/sounds/402690/Restaurant Ambience: https://freesound.org/people/lunchmoney/sounds/380200/Bottles chinking: https://freesound.org/people/jawbutch/sounds/344401/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
11/18/2020

The Dark Web

Season 1, Ep. 7
Kevin caught the news in a chat room on the Dark Web. NASA had detected an unidentified object on a collision course with Earth. He wasn't surprised NASA had kept the news secret from the public. It was further proof of a plan by scientists and elites, backed by billionaires, to create a new world order.The Dark Web is a short story from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides a writer’s insight into the story, which he wrote for #FuriousFiction in October 2020.The show notes include links to The Dark Web on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Dark WebThe Dark Web was my October 2020 entry for Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly short story writing competition. The rules for October were:• Each 500-word story had to include someone or something being CAUGHT• It had to include the words: OBJECT, WOUND, BAND, and ELABORATE• And the final two words had to be THE MOON.The final words, THE MOON, set me thinking of space and NASA and conspiracy theories. And this led me to write a story about a man who spends too much time in the dark alternate universes and truths of the internet and not enough time in the real world with his family.As for the other words, did you *catch* them in the story? If not, listen again and here’s a tip: each is only mentioned once and in the following order: CAUGHT, OBJECT, WOUND, BAND and ELABORATE.I didn't win October's #FuriousFiction. But once again, I enjoyed furiously working my imagination around the criteria and writing the short story in 55 hours, albeit a darker one than my previous entries.I hope you enjoyed The Dark Web. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads, Splendid Views, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes, Five Meet On Zoom, A Moving Sculpture, Too Late Lenny, A Song on the Radio, The Cat in the Trunk, and A Jittery Journey.Read The Dark Web on tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-dark-web.Podcast Theme Music and Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Glass bottle chink: https://freesound.org/people/LampEight/sounds/259671/Woman laughing: https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/33658/Quarrelling voices: https://freesound.org/people/therover/sounds/463804/Pouring liquid: https://freesound.org/people/FillSoko/sounds/257957/Sipping drink: https://freesound.org/people/Sheyvan/sounds/471078/Acast Podcast Supporter Page
11/9/2020

A Jittery Journey

Season 1, Ep. 6
JITTERY. 16-down, “Nervous or unable to relax (7 letters)”. Loud voices in the street drown out the TV. I put down my crossword, walk to the front window and part the curtains. They're at it again, the neighbours across the way. I can see them pointing and shouting at each other under the pale street lights.A Jittery Journey is a short story from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides a writer’s insight into the story, which he wrote for #FuriousFiction in June 2020.The show notes include links to A Jittery Journey on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into A Song on the RadioI wrote A Jittery Journey for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly 500-word short story competition, #FuriousFiction, in June 2020. The FIRST and LAST WORDS of the story had to begin with a “J”, and it had to include a GAME BEING PLAYED, and the phrase MISSED THE BOAT. A crossword puzzle provided me with the perfect device for my first and last words and the game. And I used our jittery COVID-times to tell the journey of an older person living alone under lockdown, while the neighbours argue. As for missing the boat, who wouldn’t wish they’d missed boarding a “COVID Princess” cruise ship?Once again, I didn't win or make the short or long lists for Furious Fiction. But I enjoyed the challenge of writing my short story in the 55-hour deadline. And I took great comfort in the knowledge June’s winning entry also featured a crossword.I hope you enjoyed A Jittery Journey. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads, The Dark Web, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes, Five Meet On Zoom, A Moving Sculpture, Too Late Lenny, A Song on the Radio and The Cat in the Trunk.Read A Jittery Journey on tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/a-jittery-journey.Podcast Theme Music and Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org.Background TV: https://freesound.org/people/o_ciz/sounds/475477/Quarrelling in street and slammed door: https://freesound.org/people/therover/sounds/463804/Angry man: https://freesound.org/people/rachyray/sounds/273710/Glass bottle: https://freesound.org/people/LampEight/sounds/259671/Sips: https://freesound.org/people/Sheyvan/sounds/471078/Acast Podcast Supporter Page