Mitch is an Ex-man. No, not a member of the super hero group of mutants and friend of Hugh Jackman, but an ex-wrestler, ex-publisher, ex-con chair. He’s been in and about the Australian sci-fi/fantasy fandom scene for twenty years.
He was the first (and only) Gratuitous Interstate Guest of Honour at Swancon 25 in 2000.
He published four volumes of his vainly titled Mitch? anthologies, collections of short stories, one of which even won a Ditmar in 2002.
In 2006 he (with STP co-host Ian Mond) co-chaired Continuum 4: Retrorama.
Mitch now seems to exclusively exist via podcasts; you can find out about them here if you are interested:
1. Although your blog hasn’t been updated since 2009, indicating a distinct lack of online presence (Twitter is the best place to find you, it seems), you are co-hosting not one, not two, but THREE geeky podcasts, Shooting the Poo, GeekDudes and the MA Podcast. How the heck did this happen, and how do you find the time?
Yes, I pretty much fail at social media. I am only just OK at re-tweeting on Twitter and sharing on Facebook.
It’s that whole writing or typing of words. Takes too long and opens yourself up for criticism, judgment and trolling. Ain’t nobody got time for that. That’s why I podcast so much.
How’d it begin? Well for that I think you will have to blame @mondyboy. A few years ago now podcasts were slowly becoming my biggest form of entertainment consumption. Listening to Podcasts was something I could do Sitting at the computer at work, driving, cleaning the house and even mowing the lawn. I found I was running out of episodes of podcasts compared to the time I had to listen to them so I was constantly trying new podcasts based on random searches.
I think the first podcast I heard was from somebody I actually knew was Terry Frost’s Paleo-Cinema. He got into the ‘casting game very early indeed. He was quite the pioneer. The next local ‘cast would have been Galactic Suburbia closely followed by good friends @fearofemeralds and @mondyboy with their Writer and the Critic podcast.
I think Mondy was on a podcast high because he spoke to Dave Hoskin and myself separately about us all doing a podcast together. We all hung out often anyways and our discussion generally got heated and what we thought of as entertaining, so why not record it and share with the world?
We had a meeting at a Borders one night discussing the podcast over a frappuccino, discussing what it would be about, the format it would take and what we should call it. I can’t remember any alternative titles but Mondy suggested Shooting the Poo. I didn’t have a problem with it and I don’t remember Dave saying anything against it at the time. He has said plenty against it since. He hates the name, as does our producer Kirstyn, and just about anybody else who knows about the podcast. I still don’t have an issue with it but to try and appease people I have tried to rebrand the show the STPcast, but it’s still Shooting the Poo to me.
Cut to a short time later and we are piggy backing Writer and the Critic. Just the three of us sitting around talking shit with Writer and the Critic co-host Kirstyn McDermott as producer (and might I say thank god. If it wasn’t for her and her big stick to keep us (mainly Mondy) in check and her magic turd polish to edit the heck out our show to make it sound good…)
While this was happening, a friend of mine Chris Fresh from my old wrestling days was doing a podcast called Fresh Factor Online, which was a lot more of an entertainment/gossip based podcast, very much in the vein of Chris’s hero Howard Stern. When the Fresh Factor had run its course and finished up, Chris and I for a period there were walking once a week to try and lose some weight, and during the walk we would chat all things geeky. This went on for a while and one day Fresh said he wanted to start up the podcasting again. I asked if he was bringing back the Fresh Factor and he said no, he wanted it to be like the Fresh Factor but all about the geeky stuff we like, so from that the Geek Dudes was born: a fortnightly round table with @chrissfresh, the Bravest of all Daves, Producer Paul Jones and myself (who somehow got the moniker ‘dirty uncle Mitch’ on the show…I don’t get it myself) breaking down all the geek news from the previous two weeks. There are plenty of reviews, heated discussions and wild speculation. It’s not for the faint of heart. The STP cast earns its explicit tag on iTunes; Geek Dudes generally take explicit to a new level. We don’t try to be explicit and we aren’t proud of it, it just kind of happens.
The final podacst I do is the Massive Attack podcast or the MApodcast for short (not that it’s that much shorter). This is a podcast I do with my best mate and is not to dissimilar from the Geek Dudes except we travel down to wrong town a hell of a lot less and it’s just the two of us. We record monthly and basically chat about what we like, TV, movies and computer games. We discuss what we have been doing, watching, reading and playing. It’s essentially what we do on a regular basis at each others house anyway; the only difference is we record it.
If you want to listen to me in particular, I would suggest the MA podcast as I say a lot more in that than the other two.
2. I know it’s like asking you which is your favourite comic, but you can tell us… who is your favourite co-host?
Favourite comic would have been easier. I’m not sure I can answer that. It’s pretty tough. They all have their own things that make them special and bring so much to each show. One is funnier, one cleverer while one is more generous and another is more entertaining. Then you have one that is scarier and another that is more impulsive while one is temperamental and another is more emotional. I’m not going to say who’s who. They can stress over what they think they are amongst themselves.
If you had to force me to choose though, I would have to say Joe from the Massive Attack Podcast, and that’s only because he lets me speak more than anyone else, so that plays into my vanity the most.
3. You aspired to publishing once upon a time – any thoughts in that way these days?
Not really. I mean sure, I would with unlimited funds and time. But to make a project really successful you need to not just produce a book but to sell them all and pay the contributors appropriately and I am just not in a position to do that properly right now. I think podcasts is scratching the itch of producing something for others to consume. What I like about it is the delivery system is well established, it’s very cheap to produce, and free for the end users. I’m not finished with podcasts either. I am not saying I have another one coming out or anything but it wouldn’t take much to convince me to do another one. Who knows, maybe I’ll just become a producer and create an empire of podcasts and be the new Chris Hardwick with his Nerdist empire…
4. Are you reading or listening to anything Aussie that you love?
Not reading a lot at the moment but what I am reading is whatever Tom Taylor is doing. He is kicking goals in the comic industry at the moment and has been shaking up the DC universe with Injustice and Earth 2. Earth 2 also had Aussie Nicola Scott on art duties doing some great work. Tom also has a great creator-owned all-ages comic called The Deep that you should check out. Big news of last week was that Tom has just jumped ship to the Marvel universe and is writing a bold new direction of Marvels current it-guy, Iron Man. I’m looking forward to that.
I am always dropping old podcasts and looking for new ones to take it’s place and find I am partial to Australian podcasts. Here’s a few that are currently on my playlist:
Terry Frost has two podcasts; Paleo-Cinema and Martian Drive-in are great movie podcasts, even if he is totally wrong on every level about the Star Wars films. Paleo-Cinema is a show produced by Terry by himself, and he thoroughly researches two films per show and talks at length about each one. They are all films of Terry’s choosing and he has one stipulation; the film has to be at least 20 years old.
Martian Drive-in is similar to Paleo-Cinema but the films are more of the sci-fi bent and can be from any era, no time limit stipulation, and from time to time Terry gets in a guest which mixes things up nicely.
The Action Figure Blues podcast is exactly what it says on the packet; a podcast about action figures and toys from guys with way too much money. Seriously, the amount of stuff these guys buy on a regular basis is ridiculous.
Hell is for Hyphenates is “a film lovers podcast”. The hosts Paul Anthony and Lee Zahariah (from ABC TV’s The Bazura Project) are joined monthly by a different guest each episode to discuss recent viewings of films and explore the career of a particular filmmaker of the guests choice. It’s can get pretty high-brow with its chatter, which is never a bad thing. It has definitely expanded my knowledge and appreciation of certain films and their makers.
Non-Canonical was a fantastic Australian comic review podcast that included some choice interviews with some great names in the industry. They produced 208 epsiodes before calling it quits as a regular weekly show a few months ago, but have sworn it’s not over and will be back with specials in the future. I am hoping for to this be true.
Two of the hosts from Non-Canonical were obviously not ready to give up yet, as Lucas and Larry decided to keep going by starting up a new podcast called Radioactive Lounge. It’s obviously not the same dynamic without the other hosts but they are more that capable of filling the void Non-Canonical left. They record a live show from the Melbourne Comic shop All-star Comics once a month with a live band, which adds a very different dynamic,
Something Wonky podcast is a left wing weekly satirical look at news and politics. Thank god they are funny otherwise it would be pretty depressing.
Empire of Enthusiasts is a great little week in geek round up with a bunch of Melbourne comedians. It’s actually a YouTube show they release as an audio podcast. I like the show but find the audio version so much easier to throw onto my phone and listen at work or driving.
Finally there is Radio KAL, the official podcast of the Superman homepage. It’s a weekly news show related to all things Superman and with the new movie not far away they are never short of things to discuss. Not an Australian podcast exactly but one of the co-hosts is an Aussie so I think it counts.
5. What do you think you might be working on in spec fic five years from now?
Hopefully still podcasting. I am digging catching up with my mates on a regular basis and passionately talking about things I love (and hate) and while we are all still enjoying that and it’s not imposing on us time wise or financially, I don’t see why we can’t keep it going. Who knows? Five years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would be doing three podcasts so anything could happen. Look out for me on TV or something!
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at: