Not enough Mutch

A Lindsay Mutch tribute site

This weekend only … The Lindsay Mutch Zing Thing!!!

leave a comment »

This came in today from the Kiwiwriters website folks and they are dedicating their Zing Thing for July to Lindsay, which is a beautiful thing.

That Mutch kid, aged about 18. A menace to society and to pool tables.


Hello Kiwi Writer,

Inspiration never ceases, creativity is all around us and there should always be a challenge out there to keep our imagination having boundless fun. That’s what you signed up for and that’s what Kiwi Writers will provide.

*Zing Thing*

The July Zing Thing is dedicated to Lindsay Mutch and begins 5pm this Friday.

Pick a genre, any genre and shape the following ingredients into a story that’s all your own. The challenges closes Sunday at midnight. Sign up now!

The and chatroom are open for your discussion.

Opening Line — “It’s not going to end well for the ostriches.”

Setting — New Zealand

Character Name — “Amber is a girl’s name, not a bloody colour.”

Silly Thing Seen — “I was nearly killed by a freak Mexican wave.”

Random Object — “Vanity thermometer.”

*The End Is Nigh*

Wouldn’t it be a relief, a celebration, an amazing feeling to reach The End on one of your writing projects in August? We know it would and that’s why The End Is Nigh. Reaching the end closes one door but can also allow us to step through to something else, to a new beginning, a new project. Sign up now and make sure you’ve stepped through that door before it closes. Post your own progress thread in the forums, nab yourself a participant icon and pop in on the chatroom to get all the support and encouragement you’ll need.

Join Us!

Kerryn Angell


Written by billoby

July 21, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Qantas award winning piece.

leave a comment »

Still tidying up a bit around Lindsay’s desk at the DomPost, and yesterday I found an envelope with three of the stories that won Lindsay a Qantas award when he was writing for the Timaru Herald.  This is the first of them.

Published in the Timaru Herald,  9/10/1999 under the heading:

Scintillating Scarfies – Director spot on with home-town movie

Scarfies is one of New Zealand’s most successful films. Its 15 prints have pulled more than $1 million from the country’s box offices in just two months. Timaru Herald reporter Lindsay Mutch spoke to director Robert Sarkies about the country’s film industry, learning the trade, and the importance of failure.

Robert Sarkies’ first movie cost $40. He has comparatively been doing more with less ever since.

But that will probably change with the success of his first feature, Scarfies, a comedy-thriller about the lives of some Otago University students.

Its images flickered across Timaru screens for the first time yesterday  – the print’s arrival delayed by its popularity elsewhere.

At the age of 10, Sarkies destroyed the model of a Dunedin building. Filming the event was the first addictive step on a long road of celluloid. At school he saved his lunch money to finance film projects and later won the Spot On film competition.

But a steep learning curve lay ahead. It was called Peter’s Story.

“It’s a forgotten film . . . and I’m doing my best to keep it that way, ” Sarkies laughed.

The 24-minute work examines a courier driver’s relationship with his son.

“It was really through the experience of making Peter’s Story that I realised you can’t make films that mean something solely for you. You have to make them for an audience, otherwise no-one will see them.”

But, he said, you learn more from failures than successes. A fact, fortunately, that Dunedin’s infant film industry could grasp. Forgiveness abounded.

Peter’s Story was a big project for the time. The city had not really seen anything like it and the young director received a reasonable amount of funding. Money entrusted to second-year varsity students.

“The great thing about making films in a place like Dunedin is that you have the room to fail. It’s a nurturing place. It has nurtured a lot of young musicians and was very nurturing to me as well.”

Sarkies and friends grew with each other in the film business, while nurturing their own business, Nightmare Productions (so named for various reasons). They stayed together for Scarfies, though more experience was called in where needed.

The mandate was to make the feature “our way”. It worked with the short films. There was no reason to change.

Scarfies was actually technically easier to make than 1996’s acclaimed short Signing Off –  a comedy about a 1950s DJ’s last day at work. It won a Silver Spike award at Spain’s Valladolid festival in 1997.

Scarfies, at 97 minutes, was shot in a real house and on a specially-built rooftop. Signing Off, at 15 minutes, had 18 locations around the city. The short took a month to shoot. Scarfies took six weeks.

Now with an all-important feature film under his belt, Sarkies is eyeing up his second. Something of similar length to the first, but with those Signing Off complexities.

Details of the new project are firmly under wraps, though it will probably be filmed in Dunedin too. There is immense support for the home-town lad, he can move cast and crew around easily, there is a diversity of scenery and the extras are not difficult to find or expensive.

“I know Dunedin because I’m from Dunedin. Audiences can spot a fraud a mile off. As a Dunedin film-maker who makes films in Dunedin, I am definitely not a fraud. But if I was making an Auckland nightclub epic I’m sure I would be spotted.”

Asked to describe the depth of the South Island’s movie infrastructure, Sarkies said simply: “There isn’t any.”

Film is a location medium and modern equipment is designed to be portable. So South Canterbury, for example, has the potential to attract film-makers. It needs just one thing.


“I don’t think people make films in particular places because of anything but good stories.

“Certainly South Canterbury has all the scenery you could want for shooting commercials. But if you want to see a South Canterbury feature film someone needs to come up with a really strong, intrinsically South Canterbury story.

“It will happen. I’m sure of it. Hopefully Scarfies will make the idea of making films down south cool.”

If film-makers were coming to live in South Canterbury there would be more local films.

New Zealand has had a raft of city-based films recently. Most, including Scarfies, being low budget.

“We just decided to spend our low budget somewhere other than Auckland or Wellington.”

Now, at 32, the director struggles to explain his motivation for making films.

“Certainly the process of making films is painful . . . and horrible, and incredibly stressful. So the glamour of it doesn’t motivate me.”

But pleasing an audience does.

“That is what gives me most satisfaction  – sitting in a cinema and hearing an unbiased audience laugh is enough motivation for me to go on to the next one. It’s the biggest factor.”

He has joined Scarfies audiences more than 10 times. He has seen the film itself “a few too many times. I’m hoping not to see it anymore”.

There was satisfaction in having cynical buyers laughing in the right places at Cannes. But the real thrill was showing it to people who appreciated the subtleties and Kiwi-isms infused in the script.

“You can’t get any more satisfaction than screening the film in front of 1800 home-town supporters who are crying `Ota-a-a-go!’ before it starts.”

A similar cry signalled the Wellington premier.

“It’s great. People are really getting into the spirit of where the film comes from.”

If Scarfies achieves international success, Sarkies will take Peter Jackson’s initiative and remain in New Zealand. Bring Hollywood here rather than moving over there in the steps of such ex-pats as Roger Donaldson and Geoff Murphy.

“I don’t see any possibility in going to Hollywood as long as I can keep making films here and hopefully attract American money to New Zealand in the same way Peter has.”

Such a scheme is a long way off. But the dream is there.

“If Matrix can be made in Sydney and Lord of the Rings in Wellington. Then why can’t Lethal Weapon 8 be made in Dunedin?”

He hastens to add: “I’m not saying I want to make Lethal Weapon 8.”

For now he will push Scarfies. A film which, if not the cream of the Cannes crop, was certainly not lurking in the bottom three-quarters of the bottle. For Cannes had 600 movies shown and 300 premiered. The competition was enormous.

“In order to stick out you need either a marketing army or to adopt guerrilla tactics. We did the latter; generally by painting our faces and racing through the streets making idiots of ourselves. We did that to get the film noticed both in Cannes and back home.”

It worked. The bonus being that attention came not just from the marketing. Scarfies received excellent reviews.

The film has already sold to Germany and Spain, with smaller sales to Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and various territories throughout Europe. It will be dubbed into the appropriate languages.

“Europe tends to buy films first. They’re prepared to take more risks and I guess are more interested in buying films from this part of the world.

“America buys films last. North America is a very difficult nut to crack. They want to see that your film can be successful everywhere else before they think of picking it up.”

Because of Scarfies’ success in New Zealand it will probably secure releases in the United Kingdom and Australia.

“It’s not Once Were Warriors or What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, but it surpassed what most New Zealand films do in their entire season in its first two days, so that’s a really good sign.”

One criticism doing the rounds was that former Otago University students do not feel Scarfies accurately portrays what life as a scarfie is actually like.

“That’s probably true, ” Sarkies conceded. “But it’s not a documentary.”

“Its audience goes well beyond ex-scarfies. Some of the reviews say it reflects the transition people go through from innocence to adult while they’re a scarfie.”

It has elements of scarfie life, “but it goes well beyond that. I think if we made a film that accurately reflected what it was like to be a scarfie then scarfies would have loved it and everyone else would have said `oh yeah, tell us something we don’t know’.”

Written by billoby

July 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Dave Cannan writes …

leave a comment »

Toyerism - From the Little Book of Generally Ultra-Modern Sexual Perversions

Dusted off my priceless copies of Lindsay Mutch classics tonight – Home Before Breakfast (Aug 1991), Dispirited (Sept 1991), Every Tom Dickens and Harry (Dec 1992) and the undated, hilarious The Little Book of Generally Ultra-Modern Sexual Perversions – all given generously by the author to me during the Timaru Herald years (1991-1995).

Farewell Lindsa, one of the funniest and most talented writers I’ve had the pleasure to know. Sorry for being so shit at keeping in touch. “Davcan”

Written by billoby

July 14, 2010 at 5:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Mutch on death

leave a comment »

Lindsay sent these words to colleague Carolyn Enting when her grandmother died.  She read them out at the funeral.

Hey Carolyn,  Death is never easy to cope with. Hell, you’d know that. I don’t know what you believe about death etc. The most cynical view I’ve ever heard was William S Burroughs “Time is where Death grows things before it kills them”. The most practical: “We all owe God a death”.

The fact is, we are essentially selfish creatures, and it’s bloody unfair when someone we love is abruptly removed from our lives. It leaves a nasty little hole in the emotional state. But death is an important part of life; if we didn’t have it to look forward to we simply wouldn’t appreciate or understand any aspect of life. It would be like eating dessert at every meal.

 But this isn’t helping. All I can say really is what I console myself with; that even in death we remain a part of this world. Without life our bodies simply move on to take part in other projects Earth has on offer. We lose our thoughts – which hurts the most – but we live on in those who loved us.

Written by billoby

July 14, 2010 at 2:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Cindy’s blog tribute (an extract)

leave a comment »

He was funny, brilliant, quirky, quick-witted. He had a natural talent, and could spew forth the most outrageous, ironic, philosophical stuff, in an instant, too, whereas I always had to work at it. Oh, I remember many times searching the internet for help with a word or saying so I could write a funny comeback to something he had just said, only to discover that by the time I came up with something somewhat worthy, he had already moved on to something new and equally outrageous.

Written by billoby

July 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Fashion Fernangle (A lost Dr Seuss poem)

leave a comment »

One of Mr Mutch’s many roles in the Supplements Dept of the DomPost was being the  fashion sub editor.

He was co-opted by friend, colleague and fashion editor Caroyn Enting to write headings, sub copy, write caption kickers about all manner of  styles, cuts, celebrity tastes, brands, smells and  fabric information that is bread and butter to the rag trade. Obviously it all got a bit too much for Mr Mutch as one day as he sent this poem to Carolyn, who read it out at his funeral as part of her tribute.

Carolyn Enting.

It needed a bit of a multimedia to make it work, so she got Steven Qian, another friend and colleague, to print out the punchline on card which she held up … FCUK YOU    (Which, for the record,  stands for French Connection U. K.)

The Fashion Fernangle    (A lost story by Dr Seuss)

 Near the turbid lands of Swatch,

Beyond the blooming Benetton trees

In a Playtex house with Prada leaves

By the light of a pernicious wax candle,

Lived the vicious Versace Fernangle.

A creature bemoaned from any angle,

Was the bitter Versace Fernangle.

A beast with whom you dare not tangle,

Was the bitter, twisted Versace Fernangle.

A monster who couldn’t handle the jandal,

Was the menacing, bitter, twisted Versace Fernangle.

And when the moon rose full and Joop,

The night Lacroix, the darkness Gucci,

The Fernangle went a little loopy.

It raised its maw to the Fiorelli stars

Which shone like distant racing cars

And in a loud voice, Dior clear and true,

It cried to the heavens: “FCUK YOU!!!”

Written by billoby

July 9, 2010 at 12:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A tribute from Phil Barclay, and the Timaru Herald crew

leave a comment »

My name is Phillip Barclay. I’m a former colleague of Lindsay’s from his Timaru Herald days, who also moved to Wellington.

My words today are collective remembrances on behalf of his many Timaru friends and Timaru Herald family who are unfortunately unable to be here. As always, such an unexpected death has come as a shock. Not only have we lost a friend, it is an understatement to say that the world has lost an immensely talented writer, poet, blogger, a unique mind and a more than slightly warped sense of humour.


The Timaru Herald got to know Lindsay when he hit up the then editor for a job from behind the counter of a fish and chip shop. He was one of the last reporters to come through the cadet system of on-the-job training. He was soon to become Lindsa. The Y in his name went missing when the Herald introduced the Atex computer system, and logons could be no longer than six letters. So Lindsay became Lindsa, and for his Timaru Herald friends, he will always remain so.

Lindsa was a rock in the Timaru Herald newsroom. Unflappable, affable, generous with his knowledge, he would pass on his skills to young reporters as they came through. He was a natural teacher. Patiently he would correct spelling, suggest better intros, and explain the finer points of grammar, and always, always with a sense of humour. We were all better journalists because of him. Hopefully we are better writers too.

He never stopped sharing that knowledge. On reading last year that police in Canterbury were seeking a fugitive who had “fled up the Rangitata River”, Lindsay couldn’t contain himself. The reporter who wrote the story received an email asking whether we’d notified the world that Jesus had returned to walk on water once more. Perhaps, he inquired, the reporter meant that the fugitive had fled up the riverBED?

Of course, Lindsa being the character he was, we all know that the concept of Jesus’ second coming occurring in the Rangitata would have appealed. This was, after all, the bloke who once described his beard as making him look like “Osama bin Laden had swallowed Santa.”

Aside from the qualities that made Lindsa such an excellent and fun bloke to be around, you always knew when he was onto a quirky idea – there was always a twinkle in his eye, and a sly and despicably cunning grin on his face. You were always keen to stick around and see what might happen next. One Christmas feature he wrote examined the bureaucracy Santa would have to deal with, and remarkably, every department he asked, played along – from Customs, to Biosecurity, to the Civil Aviation Authority. The Police even played along, creating somewhat of a traffic snarl up, pulling over Santa’s sleigh on State Highway One to breathalyse Santa for the photo.

Another Christmas feature examined drink driving in greater detail. Lindsa was one of a crew of reporters who drank an afternoon away in the police bar, getting breathalysed at regular intervals. At the end of it all, Lindsa was the only one legal to drive – barely – but knew he’d had enough. I’ve always remembered the intro to the story, which Lindsa wrote, because it was typically brilliant. “Right now I’m legal to get behind the wheel – personally I wouldn’t trust myself to drive a nail home”. Lindsay knew he was hammered, but as normal, he nailed it. And that’s the biggest compliment that we, as writers, can pay Lindsa – that we, as writers, rated his writing.

Others clearly rated him too – and highly, at that. The Herald published an obituary on Tuesday, and the response clearly showed that the high regard in which Lindsay was held went far beyond the Herald’s newsroom. Policeman, fireman, probation officer, councillor, museum director, entertainer – all shared their shock and sorrow. Other newspapers too, with which Lindsa was involved after he left the Herald, are also mourning his passing, including those who worked with him, but never actually met him. Those who only met him online, are mourning him in the same way.

Lindsay would probably not have expected that sort of response. He never rated himself as highly as those around him did. But he rated his friends highly, and to be Lindsay’s friend was a privilege. He was generous with his time, with his wit, and with his talent. Writing may have been his job, but it was also his recreation, and it played a big role in his friendships too – in typically quirky fashion. In boxes, in bookcases, on top of chests of drawers all around Timaru and further afield, are pieces of Lindsay. Gifts of his work – his poems, his short stories, his random observations of life – have been treasured by many.

“I want to draw pictures on your pantyhose” began one poem to a friend. For a photographer friend: “She captures echoes of life – on a polished mirror – of ritual dreams”. Funny poems, thoughtful poems, silly poems, poems to make you feel better, beautiful poems. Poems that took words from the English language, turned them inside out and upside down, and tricked them into thinking they should have been like that all along. Many are in a book of poetry, Speech Insediment, recently fossilised poetry, published in 2000.

Short stories, longer stories, The little book of generally ultra-modern sexual perversions’. Whiling away long, sometimes tedious, hours covering court provided Lindsay with the opportunity to let his imagination run riot. Some might say it ran a little too far. There is the – as far as I’m aware – still unpublished novel which examined the many, varied and quite random implications of an evil spirit taking up residence in an inflatable doll.

Lindsa was a joker too, and appropriately for a joker, his poker face proved invaluable when playing pranks on workmates. In the newsroom one morning, a colleague mentioned her cat had been stealing goldfish from someone’s pond. She returned from the regular morning call to the police station ashen-faced, having been told that a neighbouring property had reported the theft of several expensive Japanese koi carp. Lindsa had been quick to pick up the phone and involve the police in a classic set-up.

Kind-hearted and generous, those stuck working Easter weekend would usually find chocolate Easter eggs had appeared on their desk. It was never admitted, but was nonetheless widely known Lindsay was the Easter Bunny. Lindsay loved movies and music, the bizarre and the unusual. His general knowledge was enriched by an extensive collection of off-the-wall information, making him an invaluable pub quiz team member and the sort of person you’d actually want to be stuck in a lift with.

Lynette, Sheryl, Kaylene, Rachelle. Please accept our sincere sympathy. Your brother was a much-loved and respected friend and colleague. We feel privileged to have known him, to have worked with him, learned from him, laughed with him, and to have shared his friendship.

Go well Lindsa, and knowing that you will be missed. It’s appropriate to end, not with our words, but with some words of yours:

Tomodachi (Japanese for Friends)

And with my friends goes my soul.

I entrust to them each a silver-plated shard.

They take it with them to polish from time to time;

let it tarnish on occasion too.

It is priceless and worthless,

old and strong,

young and vibrant.

Pasted neatly in the scrapbooks of time,

or thrown hastily in a dusty cardboard box of fond memory.

Written by billoby

July 8, 2010 at 5:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized