Both Sides of the Story - Introduction

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.’

Both Sides of the Story is also a collection of short stories written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. Written initially for a UK writing competition in 1994, the collection contains four self-contained vignettes and a fifth piece that ties together and resolves the threads from all five stories. 

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 is presented in six instalments, an introduction, followed by the five vignettes. At the end of each vignette episode, Robert provides insight into why and how he wrote the 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

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.’

In February 1994, I started working on a short story for the Ian St James Awards. It was my third submission to the then annual awards, at the time, the UK’s biggest fiction prize for unpublished writers.

The idea for the story came to me while working out in a gym. The news at the time was full of items about people for whom the public (including me) had little sympathy. I watched Collins’ Both Sides music video on MTV in the gym, and it set me thinking: Could I show both sides of the news in a short story?

In November 2019, I re-read the yellowed printout of the short story and still felt proud of it. The protagonists in the four vignettes remained unsympathetic, as the news would have portrayed them in 1994. And the fifth piece linked and resolved the story as I had planned, as well as paying homage to Collins’ song.

So, twenty-five-plus years after I wrote it, I decided to share and showcase Both Sides of the Story on the Tall And True writers’ website as a five-part series. Westminster, Bosnia, A Council Flat, and The Gym are the vignettes. And Bad News is the fifth and final part.

Having shared Both Sides of the Story as a series, I decided to publish it as an eBook and make it available online. One of the joys of publishing the final piece, Bad News, was reading all five parts of the short story on Tall And True. I hoped the reader would enjoy a similar experience with the eBook collection.

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 first vignette from Both Sides of the Story, Westminster, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your 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 tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. 

The ebook version of Both Sides of the Story is available from Amazon Kindle and Kobo.

Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound Effects

Royalty-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:

Clock Ticking: https://freesound.org/people/gecop/sounds/522119/

Dot Matrix Printer: https://freesound.org/people/azumarill/sounds/345054/ 

Pub and Glasses Chink: https://freesound.org/people/16FPanskaSoldat_Martin/sounds/505330/

Production Notes

Tall And True Short Reads is produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.

The podcast is recorded in Sydney, Australia, on Eora Country.

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