I’m working on my next documentary, and it’s called "Clamped"
“Clamped” is about clamping, the same way “Tickled” was about tickling. As in... not very much. It goes down the rabbit hole.
I told you that sometimes I’d use Webworm to write about what I’m currently working on, and this is one of those times.
Working as an independent journalist and filmmaker, you’re actually working on lots of things at the same time. And most of those things are pretty boring to talk about.
For one thing, I’m often still researching and figuring the story out. Plus, heaps of ideas don’t even turn into anything. You should see the big box of documents, scribbled notepads and Google Docs that never saw the light of day.
It’s quite depressing — but it’s also fine, because sometimes those stories come to life years later. It’s all about timing.
Anyway. This one I’d like to share with you, as you’ve kindly followed my work.
I’ve been digging through boxes and boxes of court documents for this film… so it’s nice to come up for air.
You might remember a while ago — back in 2016 — I wrote about the incredibly weird tale behind Bashford Antiques. It told the story of a New Zealand antiques store that became quite obsessed with clamping cars. It created such a kerfuffle it hit the 6pm news down here.
The reason it got out of hand is that people were being charged up to $760 to have their cars unclamped. Which is quite a bit of money for half an hour’s parking.
Now, if you’re not from from New Zealand: we had this weird legal loophole here, where if you parked on private property (say, a store’s car park), the business owner could put a clamp on your car, then demand whatever they wanted before they’d take it off.
Obviously, that law existed to discourage people parking in parks that weren’t theirs, but charges of $760 showed the system was being abused.
I wrote about the whole saga, drawn into a truly bizarre world of shadowy figures, alleged royal lineages, legal threats, court, and — to sum it all up — a bunch of weird shit… all leading back to one guy:
It’s the story people ask me about the most (followed by questions about Zach, the fake medical AI that tricked New Zealand doctors). As in: “What the hell is going on with Bashford Antiques? And is there more?!”
Well, yes, there is.
Because after my initial reports into Bashford Antiques, I was suddenly privy to more information about Michael Organ that opened up a very dark rabbit hole.
With that new information at hand, I’ve been digging deeper still — and have been quietly working away on a documentary about the strange machinations going on that stretch back decades.
And it all involves Michael Organ, also known as Count Michael Andrassy-Organe, who is also known as Prince Michael Organe-Schirinksi.
I like strange stories, and this is one of them. This is so much more than a story about clamping.
Why am I telling you this?
Well - I wanted you to know. And I suppose I’m also curious to hear any stories related to the alleged prince, Michael Organ — and the clamping, and anything else that I might not know about yet.
He’s moved with the antiques to the sleepy town of Whanganui.
If you have anything, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here, confidentially: [email protected].
I’ll keep you updated on Clamped in this newsletter from time to time, so subscribe if you haven’t already, and want updates.
I look forward to sharing it with you. It’s been four years since Tickled, and I owe you another very specific sort of weirdness.