The Glory of ‘Stereo Stories’

As the next performance of “Stereo Stories” draws closer, I begin preparing for my brief role in the show: re-visiting my piece, reading it aloud, and even briefly casting my mind back to the events which inspired the story. And I recall the times I have read the story in front of an audience – a real, live audience. For when I suggested to Vin Maskell – creator and curator of Stereo Stories – that I might have a yarn suitable for publication on the website (, never in my wildest dreams did I envisage how my short tale of a doomed teenage relationship would give me such a great rush every time I took to the lectern to share it.

If you are unaware of Stereo Stories, I suggest you delve into the site and immerse yourself in the stories which run the gamut of human emotions: alternating from bleak, to angst-ridden, to humorous, to  whimsical. But always deeply personal, as suggested by the catchphrase “A Song. A Place. A Time.” The concept is simple: writers sharing a story about a place and song in their life. Writers well-known (Anson Cameron, Andy Griffiths, Brian Nankervis, Rijn Collins) and maybe not so (Maria Majsa, Lucia Nardo, Zoe Krupka). The live shows are a wonder to behold, as the writers’ words are given greater depth and clarity by the excellent Stereo Stories band. I am eternally grateful for the support and encouragement that the other writers, the band, and Vin have offered.

I remember the first time I presented “Before Too Long”, backed by singer/guitarists Stephen Andrew and Jack Gramski, and the thrill it gave me that the crowd laughed in all the right places and that the applause was warm and generous. I recall the build-up to my first reading of the story at the Williamstown Literary Festival in 2015: the rehearsals with the band at Vin’s place, and the nerves as the crowd in the Williamstown Town Hall kept building.

How many times have I read it? Well, there was that afore-mentioned debut at the Willy Library; there have been two Willy Lit Fest shows, a late night show at Victoria University, readings at the Newport Folk Festival, and a memorable gig at the new Geelong Library earlier this year. It has also been read a couple of times when I have been unavailable. Vin even read my story on Lindy Burns’ ABC show, when he and Jack went on air to promote the Willy Lit Fest show. Of all the wonderful stereo stories, he read mine! I was grateful if only to see the pride on my wife Margaret’s face.

For the final live show of the year, the Stereo Stories troupe is returning to the Geelong Library on Sunday November 20 as part of the “Word For Word Festival”. (If you have not seen Stereo Stories live, I suggest you add it to your bucket list). Will this be the last time I read this particular stereo story? Maybe. But if it still gets a chuckle, and someone in the audience still gets something out of it – who knows?


About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Thank you, Smokie, for those very kind words. We also read your story at our Albury gig in September, with our drummer, Shorty, stepping out from the drum kit and doing a very fine job.
    Almanackers, you can listen to Smokie’s story on Soundcloud:

  2. Lucia Nardo says

    Thanks, Smokie
    I feel the same way. Stereo Stories has given me the chance to be part of a fantastic group of writers and musicians. Most importantly, it’s brought a new dimension to my connection with Dad’s music and given him great joy to be involved. It’s wonderful to see the simple idea of “A Song. A Place. A Time” grow the way it has and reach so many people.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great work Vin, Smokie and the Stereo Stories crew. Keep the wonderful stories and songs coming !!

  4. Terrific summary Smokie and great gig. If you haven’t been to a show Almanacers you really have to do yourself a favour. You will love it. And get involved. Share your own stories.

  5. Stephen Andrew says

    Great to hear what it’s like from behind the lectern, Smokie. Nice to know that the readers/writers get nerves like we musicians do. I think your story pleases the punters because it’s, poignant, funny and passionate. And because it’s read in a way that is authentic and engaging.
    I’m off to practice the guitar solo in “Before Too Long”!
    See you Sunday.

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