Lynch dogs

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Last year I decided that rather than watch the new series of Twin Peaks via whatever dubious downloads were available, I’d wait until the whole thing was released on disc. Last weekend I finally pressed “play” on the first episode, but prior to this I’d spent the past couple of months working through David Lynch’s filmography, from his earliest shorts to Inland Empire. I also watched a couple of episodes from the first two seasons of Twin Peaks (the pilot and the final episode of season two).

Watching a director’s collected works used to be a difficult thing without an obliging repertory cinema or TV channel. In the days when the BBC and Channel 4 (UK) still treated cinema as an art form we were given seasons of films by Orson Welles, François Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Altman and many others. When was the last time a (non-Swedish) television channel showed all of Bergman’s films, I wonder? It was memories of watching an Altman season that led me to spend the summer of 2016 watching all of the director’s films from That Cold Day in the Park (1969) through to A Prairie Home Companion (2006), 33 films in all. I then followed this with a viewing of nearly all the Hitchcock films that are currently available on blu-ray. Watching a director’s oeuvre in this manner makes you notice things that seem less obvious when the same films are viewed in isolation: the recurrent use of actors becomes more notable, while themes, obsessions and directorial tics make themselves more apparent.

David Lynch shares shares with Altman and Hitchcock a compulsion for using the same actors from one film to the next, but I’d not noticed before how often dogs appear in his films. So that’s what this post examines, some of the canine moments from his feature films. Since I didn’t watch the whole of the first two seasons of Twin Peaks they’re omitted from this listing (unless you know of a dog in any of the episodes) while some of  Lynch’s minor works such as the short-lived On the Air series, and one-offs such as The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1988), I either haven’t seen for years or haven’t seen at all.

The Grandmother (1970)

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The Grandmother not only introduces the elderly woman/suited boy pairing that recurs later in the Twin Peaks mythos, but it also establishes the canine theme when the boy’s parents are shown mewling and barking like dogs. Whatever other qualities dogs may possess, Lynch is drawn to the disturbing and often threatening nature of the sounds they make.

Eraserhead (1977)

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The potential for threat is reinforced in Eraserhead when Henry is startled by barking dogs on his way to visit Mary. The only dogs that appear before the camera are the puppies and their mother on the floor of Mary’s home.

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Weekend links 378

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Outward Journeys, which will be released on November 3, is the second album on the Ghost Box label by The Belbury Circle (Belbury Poly with The Advisory Circle). As before, John Foxx is a guest vocalist, and as always, Julian House provides the graphic design.

• Music non-stop: Geeta Dayal in 2012 talking to Rebecca Allen about the challenges of turning Kraftwerk into computer animations.

• At the BFI: Jon Towlson on the sublimity of Close Encounters of the Third Kind; and Stephen King’s favourite films.

Bookogs is the Discogs concept applied to books. Stupid name (Bibliogs would be much better) but there it is.

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Julian House goes 8-bit. More artwork for The Belbury Circle.

Iain Sinclair‘s farewell to London. Sinclair talked to Alan Moore about his book earlier this month.

• At Dangerous Minds: Paul Gallagher on the occult art of Austin Osman Spare.

• The places where Cold War numbers stations broadcast spies’ secret codes.

• Rodney Brooks on the seven deadly sins of predicting the future of AI.

Nadja Spiegelman on the peculiar poetry of Paris’s Lost and Found.

• At Wormwoodiana: The rise of secondhand bookshops in Britain.

• RIP Grant Hart and Harry Dean Stanton. (And Dirge Magazine.)

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 618 by Tara Jane O’Neil.

• An introduction to Conny Plank in 10 records.

Reoccurring Dreams (1984) by Hüsker Dü | Canción Mixteca (1985) by Ry Cooder | You Don’t Miss Your Water (1993) by Harry Dean Stanton