In October 2014, it was announced that David Lynch and Mark Frost would be returning to the world of Twin Peaks, the television drama series which followed the intuitions of FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigated the death of high school homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Twin Peaks is the name of the small northwestern town where the murder takes place, and is home to a community of eccentric personalities and troubled figures. First aired in 1990, Twin Peaks become a cultural phenomenon that spanned two series and a feature-length film (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, 1992). The show secured David Lynch lasting mainstream recognition, and the show has influenced countless television series since.

Lynch and Frost’s continuation of the story in Twin Peaks: The Return, aired by Showtime, has offered some of the most boldly audacious television of the twenty-first century. The series has been ingenious in its use of timing and dialogue to generate mystery, suspense, and humour, and the writing and performances have been superb throughout. I found the two-hour finale confusing for a number of reasons, but I also found it appropriate to the story Lynch and Frost were telling: for me, it was haunting and deeply moving. (more…)

British writer shares what motivates him to create fiction, and how he came to write and publish his debut novel, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas
Daniel James
Daniel James

When did you first decide to become a writer?

I honestly can’t recall a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. It was less of a conscious decision and more of a realisation about my own nature. I think the only real question was what kind of writer I wanted to be. When I was young, I loved books, cinema and comic books equally and I dreamed of writing stories for each of those mediums. I used to draw and paint a lot as a child and the idea of writing and illustrating my own graphic novels always appealed to me. Similarly, the visual storytelling inherent to cinema, as well as using light and sound to bring different worlds and atmospheres to life and create an end to end sensory experience for people to get lost inside, seemed to map to the way my brain worked.

When I’m writing, I’m often visualising the story unfolding and simply describing what I see in words or hearing the characters inner thoughts and dialogue and transcribing it. This was certainly the case in my debut novel. It was almost as if the story already existed somewhere, out there in the darkness, and was being transmitted into my brain. It’s more than just words and images however. It could be an atmosphere that I sense, like a feeling from a waking dream, that I want to recreate and share in a story. (more…)

A few interesting pieces have caught my eye over the last few days. Not least among them is David Collard‘s piece, ‘Déjà lu: On the pleasures of rereading’ from one of the April issues of the TLS:

“Apart from books I’ve conscientiously read and re-read for review purposes, the novels I’ve read several times include Beckett’s Murphy, Isherwood‘s Prater VioletMoby-DickMadame Bovary, Lolita and perhaps a dozen others.”

Books2A more recent issue of the TLS has published an edited version of an article written by Virginia Woolf on Henry David Thoreau back in 1917 • New York’s Tyrant Books has published three (very) short stories by Lydia Davis • Electric Literature offers ’10 Great Novels of the Rural’, courtesy of Michelle Hoover • John Lé Carre discusses why we should learn German to help build bridges in today’s political climate • Open Culture shares 1977 footage of a young David Lynch discussing his iconic début feature length film, Eraserhead • The Wire reports that Robert Mugge’s 1986 film Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus is to be rereleased on BluRay and DVD

I recently had an opportunity to see David Lynch: The Art Life, a wonderful documentary about the American filmmaker David Lynch, directed by Jon Nguyen. The film offers unparalleled access to Lynch, and cobbles together a series of telling anecdotes about Lynch’s childhood in the suburbs, and his early days as a painter. ‘The Art Life’ refers to a lifestyle choice that Lynch adopted after reading Robert Henri’s book about painting, The Art Spirit: “The art spirit sort of became the art life, and I had this idea that you drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes, and you paint, and that’s it.” (more…)

Jason Bailey (Flavorwire) has alerted my attention to Amazon Prime’s recent acquisition of David Lynch: The Art Life, a feature-length documentary about the artist and filmmaker from Missoula, Montana. The film is now available to stream to all Prime customers residing in the United States, but for many in other regions the wait continues:

“‘You drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes, and you paint… and that’s it.’ That, in his youth, was David Lynch’s notion of “the art life,” right around the time he decided that was the life he wanted to lead – that nothing was more important to him than being an artist, no matter how long it took to make it as one. “I knew my stuff sucked,” he recalls, “but I need to burn through. I had to find what was mine. And the only way to do that is to keep painting.” This moody and informative documentary from directors Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm is solely interested in those early years, with particular interest in his Pacific Northwest upbringing (“My world was no bigger than a couple of blocks”), and how all that suburban normalcy gave birth to his darkness and peculiarity – the way flashes of dread and strangeness would invade this idyllic childhood, and alter him forever. Lynch is, as ever, a fascinating figure, full of great stories, odd turns of phrase, and disturbing images; this unconventional documentary does right by its subject, which is no mean feat, and serves as a valuable guide to the psyche of the man who’s currently blowing our minds every Sunday night.”

Source: The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Okja,’ ‘David Lynch: The Art Life’ – Flavorwire

Saul Anton (Frieze) is watching David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks: The Return, and offers what he calls  “a rudimentary sketch of the motley tableau of Americana that Lynch strings together into some of the most mesmerizing, bizarre, and funny television I can remember.” [Read More]

David Lynch at work at his home, the Beverly Johnson House in the Hollywood Hills, CA. Photograph: Patrick Fraser
David Lynch at work at his home, the Beverly Johnson House in the Hollywood Hills, CA. Photograph: Patrick Fraser

Spent some time yesterday afternoon touring the Universität Basel in Switzerland. Aside from walking the city streets and dipping my feet into the Rhine, I’ve been devoting some time to reading. As I mentioned in previous posts (1, 2), I am enjoying Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I am also slipping back into the world Twin Peaks, which has reignited my fascination with all things Lynchian. Here are a few of the articles that have caught my attention over the last day or so:

LA Weekly has posted a fantastic gallery of David Lynch shooting locations, with accompanying stills from Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire • “[A] heady whiff of Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton” — Tom Huddleston recaps episodes 5-6 of Twin Peaks: The Return • German image-maker Michael Wolf‘s first retrospective exhibition shows urban living at its most extreme • Listen to the history of rock music before and after Radiohead‘s OK Computer • Ali Smith on meeting W.G. Sebald • The pros and cons of the digitized Walt Whitman and his “lost” novels • Miroslaw Balka and Joseph Rykwert discuss how art and architecture shape the politics of memory around conflict • Why American modernism is older than you think

In a conversation published by VultureDavid Marchese asks artist and filmmaker David Lynch about the reboot of his cult 1990s drama:

After being away from the world of Twin Peaks for so long, was it hard to find your way back into the atmosphere of the show and the minds of the characters?
It was just like rolling off a log.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
It’s a very good thing, David. It’s hard to stay on a log. It’s easy to roll off.

You could hit your head, though.
That would be bad, David. I mean to say I know the world of Twin Peaks. You get Douglas firs in that part of the Pacific Northwest rather than ponderosa pine. I love vertical-grain Douglas-fir plywood. I love that world and all the characters from the original series. It feels like only a moment ago we were working on the original and then, a moment later, we’re stepping back into it. It’s just like that.

Lynch also shares his favourite topic of conversation (hint: it involves sitting quietly) and speculates on the importance of television since the decline of arthouse cinema.