Both Sides of the Story - Bosnia
(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.
Both Sides of the Story is a short story collection written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. Written for a major UK writing competition in 1994 and inspired by Phil Collins’ 1993 hit song, the collection contains four self-contained vignettes and a fifth that ties together and resolves the five short stories. Westminster, Bosnia, A Council Flat, and The Gym are the vignettes. And Bad News is the fifth and final piece.
Robert shared Both Sides of the Story on the Tall And True writers’ website in 2019 and published the ebook collection in 2020. The podcast version consists of six instalments, an introduction, followed by the five vignettes. In the earlier podcast episode, Both Sides of the Story - Introduction, Robert explained how he wrote the short story collection. And at the end of each vignette, he provides insight into that episode’s short story.
The show notes include links to Both Sides of the Story on Amazon and Kobo and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.
Copyright notice: Both Sides of the Story song written by Phil Collins from the album Both Sides (1993).
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Writer's Insight for Both Sides of the Story - Bosnia
In February 1994, I wrote a short story for the Ian St James Awards, inspired by Phil Collins’ 1993 hit song, Both Sides of the Story.
At the time, the news was full of stories about perpetrators of crimes for whom the public (including me!) felt little sympathy. But one night, I watched the Phil Collins-Both Sides music video on MTV, with its juxtaposed scenes of violence and backstories. And I wondered if I could similarly show both sides of the news in a short story.
I wrote Both Sides of the Story as four self-contained vignettes and a fifth that ties together the pieces and resolves the “larger” short story. Bosnia, set in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, is the second of the vignettes. And the material for it came from the news I read in the daily newspapers and saw on the evening TV back then about the war taking place in Bosnia.
As I stressed in the earlier Introduction episode, my intention in writing this short story in 1994 was not to be an apologist for the characters or their actions. Then, as it is now, my goal was simply to follow Phil Collins’ lead and try to imagine both sides of the story.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Tall And True Short Reads. You can read all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.
The next episode and third vignette from Both Sides of the Story, A Council Flat, will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your podcast feed for other short stories. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.
And finally, please support this podcast by telling your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.
Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound Effects
Falling stones and grit: https://freesound.org/people/tomi_slav/sounds/465811/
Footsteps on hillside/track: https://freesound.org/people/SpliceSound/sounds/218304/
Distant Church bells: https://freesound.org/people/ivolipa/sounds/266525/
Muffled explosion: https://freesound.org/people/NenadSimic/sounds/149966/
Bouncing football: https://freesound.org/people/13GPanska_Lakota_Jan/sounds/378355/
Men playing football: https://freesound.org/people/fi2lcallpeace/sounds/542615/
Football crowd: https://freesound.org/people/habbis92/sounds/206003/
Kids playing in street: https://freesound.org/people/MariaDelCastillo/sounds/442545/
Football kicks: https://freesound.org/people/padpad/sounds/515908/
Girls laughing: https://freesound.org/people/LoreLya/sounds/377137/
The podcast is recorded in Sydney, Australia, on Eora Country.
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