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Back in the day, I used write a regular film review column for Wellington’s free community newspaper Capital Times. My intention was to review everything released theatrically in the city and – from 2006 to 2013 – I did just that. Except, for some reason, Beverley Hills Chihuahua.

It was a pretty popular column, winning the readers’ choice award for Best Capital Times Writer three years in a row.

All of those reviews – and lots of my other work for FishHead Magazine and RNZ – are archived at funeralsandsnakes.net.


Despite having a decent platform and audience when I appear on New Zealand’s public broadcaster, RNZ, I have missed writing those weekly columns. And I haven’t seen anyone doing anything quite like them.

So, I have decided to use this here Substack platform to bring Funerals & Snakes back to life.


Every weekday at about 3.15pm (NZT) subscribers will receive an update from the site.

The Friday edition will be the big one, resembling those Capital Times columns of old.

Monday to Thursday will be a brief recommendation: Something to watch tonight. And, maybe some links to new free content of mine on the RNZ website. There will be no updates on weekends or public holidays.

I hope not to bombard you with emails and will do my best to never outstay my welcome. Access to your inbox is a privilege, not a right, and I take that privilege seriously.

Paid or Free?

Eventually, these updates will be for paid subscribers. The rules around what is free and previewable versus paid are largely set by Substack but I have opted for the cheapest monthly subscription rate that they allow – NZD$6 per month

I hope that people will think that is value for money – 30c per post.

Rancho Notorious

Rancho Notorious was a podcast that I produced and co-hosted between 2014 and 2022 that for a time was part of the RNZ stable of podcasts and series.

I would love to bring a version of it back from hiatus and make that free content for anyone but I don’t want to do that unless I can reimburse contributors for their time. Hence, paid subscriber numbers have to reach a certain level before that is feasible.

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To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

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Reviews you can use. Lovingly handcrafted screen opinions made from the finest all natural ingredients. Guaranteed GPT-free!


Dan Slevin

Gentleman of Silverstream, etc.