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Tuesday, 23 May 2017


TWIN PEAKS is back and it's super weird, even by Twin Peaks standards. God knows what anyone trying to go into it cold must make of it. In many ways it feels like The Greatest Hits of David Lynch (staged acting, uncomfortable edits, droning soundscapes, nighttime roads, screams, distorted faces, sentient meat, lounge music) and by goodness it's fantastic.

25 years after Agent Dale Cooper visited the Black Lodge, he's still stuck there (wherever 'there' is) and Bob (BOB?), the malevolent force once at large in Twin Peaks, is now walking around in Cooper's body wearing reptile skin shirts and gazing at the world through soulless shark eyes. For whatever reasons, we don't spend a lot of time in Twin Peaks itself to start with, as we're shown a New York building housing a giant glass cube and another small American town, where a high school principal is arrested in relation to a murder he claims to know nothing about. There are clues and hints as to their places in the story, but since Lynch famously employs dream logic and time loops, who knows where it will all lead.

What I like most about Twin Peaks returning after all these years is that (apart from the thematic heft of actually doing what a character promised [ie. returning 25 years later]) it'll likely hook a new generation on the work of a filmmaker who's been away from films for around ten/eleven years, in much the same way he hooked myself and some friends in the mid-90s:

LOST HIGHWAY was my first actual experience of 'proper' Lynch. I'd heard his name before, seen clips of his work, and even caught a few episodes of Twin Peaks at some point, but never had the chance to actually watch any of his films (this was small-town England just as the internet was becoming a reality). I honestly can't remember if I bought the soundtrack before seeing the film, or simply saw it, thought 'a film with this much cool music in must be decent' and then picked up the film on VHS. Whichever way I did it, both the film and score/soundtrack blew my teenage mind and instilled in me a love of time loops and nightmare Americana.

Honestly, BLUE VELVET is probably my favourite Lynch film (though MULHOLLAND DRIVE is either tied or an extremely close second) due to its mundane start that gets stranger and stranger, but LOST HIGHWAY was a truly singular experience. A jazz musician who gets reborn in a different body, and is haunted by a pasty-faced giggling gent? WHAT.

And it's true that the soundtrack - something filled with people I'd heard of but never actually heard - acted as something of a gateway drug to weirder music (Hello, Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities! Hello, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble!) that has ensured it's remained a solid album worth revisiting even twenty years(!) after it's debut.

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