David Lynch's new dance-synth single dropped today. Just keep re-reading that sentence until it sounds absolutely wonderful. Seriously, though, the A-side, "Good Day Today" is great in that weirdly minimalist way that all of Lynch's non-feature-film output has been. It's a simple little beat, an autotuned voice pleading for good days and angels, and the occasional sample of a gun going off. If I saw a pair of 20somethings doing this in the basement of a north Brooklyn bar at 2 AM, I wouldn't be shocked or surprised. Hell, if someone told me this was a Crystal Castles b-side, I wouldn't be much surprised either. Speaking of b-sides, the one for this single isn't great. It's called "I Know" and has this odd spooky-country/Residents sound that I just don't care for. So here's "Good Day Today":
Sir Patrick Stewart was knighted today. I really don't know which living actor deserves this honor more than Sir Patrick Stewart, but I may be saying this due to my deeply personal affinity for him. I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation constantly while growing up; it was comforting sight when, as a kid, I would be left alone in the apartment for hours on end. To this day there are few things I enjoy more than kicking back with some TNG. Certainly Sir Patrick has much, much more to his name than Star Trek, but Jean Luc Picard was a constant presence during my formative years, and that is how I remember the actor best. We should all be lucky that, unlike Sir Alec Guiness – who could not have done more to distance himself from Obi Wan Kenobi – Sir Patrick has embraced his role in pop culture as much as “serious” acting. Now, I know you're going to see the following video on every blog mentioning this story, but I can't resist:
I've had the honor of seeing Sir Patrick as a stage actor, not doing Shakespeare, sadly, but that's in the works. About six years ago, I was lucky enough to see him on stage in a Broadway production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker. I was a David Lynch fanboy at that point – well, a bigger one, anyway – and in the midst of slogging my way through the second season of Twin Peaks, and was thus more excited about seeing the show's co-headliner: Kyle MacLachlan. Sir Patrick stole the show, naturally, but it took me a few years to sincerely appreciate his performance. His character was a booming homeless man prone to swinging between grandeur and hopelessness. The fear and mental damage he projected was palpable, and yet the furor and strength it was covered up with seemed just as real. It's been years, so I have trouble recalling all but the emotions attached to the performances, but few stage actors have ever hit me on a gut level in the way he did that night.
Also, I hadn't realized until now, but that performance was a Dune mini-reunion! Sir Patrick and Kyle MacLachlan played Gurney Halleck and Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib in David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel:
Congratulations Sir Patrick Hewes Stewart, OBE.
Considering it was on while I was supposed to be at school, I'm not exactly sure how I've watched as much Kids in the Hall as I believe I did. Perhaps it is the fault of the speeding-up of time due to aging. What was a few sick days from school here or a weekend-long Comedy Central marathon there all gets lumped in together as a quasi-false memory of spending my formative years watching the show regularly. The KITH memory that stands loud-and-proud in my mind is first encountering the “Sausages” sketch.
I can actually pinpoint when I first saw this. It must have been around my junior year of high school as that was time when I received a bootleg copy of Eraserhead off eBay. This was before broadband and filesharing was a Thing, so I had to pay upwards of $30 for a copy of a VHS copy of the Japanese LaserDisc. Anyhow, the point is that I saw “Sausages” and immediately connected it with David Lynch (or, rather, Eraserhead, which was the only Lynch film I had seen at that point.) Something about the pitch-black almost-humor, the collapsing industrial setting, the dreaminess of it all screamed of Lynch's intentional obscurity. When I discovered the plethora of KITH videos on YouTube and informed my Eraserhead-loving best friend, she immediately demanded to watch “Sausages,” affirming my connection. If you've never seen Eraserhead here's a trailer so you can compare.:
Comparing the two side-by-side, I've noticed a few direct references. There is definitely an overlap in the scoring of the two; most of the background noise is composed of industrial drones raised to foreground volume levels. Both films contain unconsummated love affairs, and both feature infirm older characters. Finally, there's the overlap between these two shots, which I refuse to believe is any sort of coincidence.
You can actually watch the entirety of Eraserhead on YouTube if you so desire. I suggest against it, but I realize not everyone has access to Netflix or indie theaters. So, this user seems to have the entire film in even better quality than I first witnessed it. But I urge you, if it is ever playing at a midnight showing at the local college or revival house, go see it. It's one of the best experimental films to have ever come out of the United States. And always remember what David Lynch has to say: