Talking Tales #4 Presents: Speakeasy Round-up – 24th October 2015

Our fourth Talking Tales was a bit of a special one, as it also doubled up as the Bristol Festival of Literature closing party, or ‘Speakeasy’. This meant our usual storytelling programme was interspersed with live music, an interview with a local writer, and more! Excitingly, it also meant that the event was held on a Saturday night instead of our usual Monday slot – allowing our performers and audience members to really let their hair down.

All of this made for our most popular night to date, with so many people cramming into Left Bank that some people were even sitting on the floor. See?


So, without further ado, let’s look at who performed at the Talking Tales Speakeasy:

Part One

The night began with a special word from Festival Director Jari Moate, thanking all of us for being involved in this year’s successful event. Three cheers all round!


First on, we had veteran Stokes Croft Writer member (he left us to go study in Oxford, but was back for the weekend and willing to make a special guest appearance!) Andy Melhuish, reading a whimsical piece of flash fiction called ‘Eloquent Bear’s Locked Door Mystery’.


Second was Joe Smith reading a dark little tale called ‘Sketches of Jealousy’.


Third up was Mark Rutterford, performing a bittersweet story called ‘Still & Always’.


Stokes Croft Writer (and compère for the night) Christie Cluett then finished off the first half with a lively rendition of her hilarious ‘52nd Birthday in Bed’.


Interview with local writer

After the break, Jari was back on stage to interview local writer Tracy Alexander about what it’s like writing fiction for young people, and to ask her about her latest novel Hacked, which tells the tale of a teen who inadvertently crosses the line from cyber-geek to cyber-terrorist. You can buy it online here.


Finish the Lines

Next, Christie announced the winning Finish the Lines submissions.

In second place were:

  • “In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father always said to me, ‘The monsters under the bed – they are real. Sleep quietly and deeply or they will eat your toes clean off.’
  • “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was turbulent, obviously.”
  • “Bob loved jelly but didn’t know how to contain the wobble in his big, round belly.”

And in first place were:

  • “In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father always said to me, ‘Son, get her on the pill. It feels better.’ (true story)
  • “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was my birthday and I was completely alone. Placing the 99 candles on my cake was a chore, but they burned bright.”
  • “Bob loved pretending to be middle-class but didn’t know how to put creme freche on a ordinary meal and deem it a ‘dish’.

As always, incorporate one of the winning lines listed here into a story and read it at a future Talking Tales – and we’ll buy you a pint!


Part Two

After that we were back to stories. Kevlin Henney was up first, reading ‘Possession’.


Next was Anita MacCallum with the haunting ‘Cold Concern’.


And finishing up was Stokes Croft Writer Christopher Fielden, impersonating an old lady to hilarious effect in ‘Death of a Superhero’.


Live Music

The night was polished off with some live music from local acoustic duo Long for the Coast, who were lovely! You can listen to them here.



The entire event was recorded live, and is now available on the Talking Tales podcast here.

You can subscribe to the Talking Tales podcast here or in iTunes, or simply keep in touch using Facebook or Twitter.

Next Event

The next Talking Tales event will take place on Monday 14th December, so put that in your diaries now. If you’re interested in performing your own work, contact Stokes Croft Writers at

Photo credits: Mel Ciavucco

Words by Leah Eades


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