Gone with the Weird

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“We were a twisted pop band. We heard the pop: most of the time everybody else would just hear the twisted.” — Andrew Meier (aka Hat), Squirm drummer #1

Director: Simon Ogston
Year: 2011
Country: New Zealand
Running time: 48 mins
Censor Rating: M - offensive language, nudity
Genres: History, Music

Producer/Photography/Editor: Simon Ogston
Additional photography: Toby Conway, Phil O’Donnell
Sound: Al Kincaid
Music: Squirm

With: Brett Lupton, Andrew Meier, Darryl Kirk, Heath Te Au, Vaughan Watson, Michael Brasell, Simon Maclaren, Ken Mexted, Martin Henderson, Chris Matthews, Arnie Van Bussel, Rob Haakman, Lee Trusttum, Hannah Trusttum

DigiBeta

Founded by friends Virgil Reality and Mike Hex, alternative rock band Squirm stalked the Garden City of the 90s leaving behind an EP and two albums of fantastically drugged-out art-punk before fading into obscurity. Simon Ogston’s documentary is an affectionate tribute to both an unknown band worthy of rediscovery and to the fertile punk underground that spawned them. Christchurch was home to a vibrant and innovative music scene throughout the 90s and Gone with the Weird fingers many of the culprits: featuring interviews with Squirm’s contemporaries such as Loves Ugly Children, Pumpkinhead, Ape Management and The Bats as well as Squirm’s surviving band members, including their Spinal Tap-like succession of drummers. We meet Virgil Reality reflective in middle age, paying homage to Mike Hex who died of complications from pneumonia in 2004 and ruminating on their heavy drug use during the band’s heyday. With Virgil reforming the band to complete an unfinished third album, Ogston’s reintroduction to a group we never knew couldn’t be more timely. — MM