Thoughts on: “The” Nine Inch Nails, Twin Peaks: The Return, & Not The Actual Events


One of the main reasons I decided to watch Twin Peaks: The Return was due to the advance notice that Trent Reznor would be amongst the cast. I’m a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, bigtime, I own 90% of the halos(look it up). I was spoiled on the fact that NIN appeared, as I binge-watched the episodes after it concluded on-air, but hot damn what an episode for the band to appear on! Episode 8 is the shining star in a season that has been incorrectly compared to The Wire and The Sopranos, when it can stand alongside Berlin Alexanderplatz and Dekalog. It claims a rarefied legacy that is absolutely justified to my eye.

It has been confirmed that “She’s Gone Away”, performed by “The” Nine Inch Nails in Episode 8, was written at the behest of David Lynch. This lends major credence that possibly a good deal of the album from which the song originates, Not The Actual Events, is about Twin Peaks: The Return also. The lyrics ‘I can’t remember what she came here for/I can’t remember much of anything, anymore/She’s gone/She’s gone/ She’s gone away’ are clearly about Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper. We learn in Episode 8 what Laura “came here for”; to be a force of pure light to counter evil. The ultimate horror of the first nuclear bomb detonation birthed BOB, which is one of the most spectacularly confounding and engaging sequences ever shown on television. Agent Cooper is the one who “can’t remember much of anything, anymore”. Cooper’s imprisonment in another dimension has caused him to forget himself(Bad Cooper and Dougie) and any knowledge he had of Laura’s purpose. Up until the very last moment of the series, neither Laura nor Cooper can remember “much of anything, anymore”. Their collective trips through alternate dimensions have degraded their memories to the extent that they are different people who arrive in a skewed replica of Twin Peaks.

Other possible allusions to Twin Peaks: The Return include the lyrics from “Branches/Bones” of ‘Feels like I’ve been here before/Yeah I don’t know anymore/And I don’t care anymore/I think I recognize’. Sweet, silly Dougie fits these lyrics as he’s a space case yet does view MIKE’s superimposed image while in the Las Vegas house. The lyrics in “Dear World” of ‘Dear world, I hardly recognize you anymore/And yet I remain certain there is an answer in you’ speaks to Cooper’s drive to suss out the answers to Laura’s fate despite not being on the same plane of reality that he used to exist. The lyrics ‘Oh and if I start to tell you anything, please don’t pay attention/That’s not really me in there/I would never do that/Just go back to the idea of me’ from the song “The Idea of You” could refer to Bad Cooper’s violent actions and how they are diametrically opposed to the honorable heart of Agent Cooper.

If my assertions of the symbolic connotations echoed in the lyrics of Not The Actual Events to Twin Peaks: The Return are slightly accurate, what an excellent treat that David Lynch and Trent Reznor cooked up for the audience. NIN knew that a few of the overly attentive in their fan base would start picking apart the words to find parallels to the show. David Lynch knew that not only would NIN look super badass on stage but that they’d deliver a song that would elevate Episode 8 sonically. The deliberate plodding of the drums, the repetition of the bass line, the affected wailing laugh of Trent Reznor are hypnotizing before the complete jump into nuclear hell. Leave it to Nine Inch Nails to sing us into the emergence of ultimate atomic destruction.








Duran Duran: Unstaged by David Lynch


With the concert film Duran Duran: Unstaged (2011) David Lynch produced a true movie theater experience.  This is not a film to be watched on a tv; this deserves a space which brings people together, as a live concert would. On September 10th, 2014 the film was shown theatrically for one night only and the reception at the Tivoli Theater in Kansas City, where I viewed it, was electric. Never before have I been to a film in which the audience danced, sang along and clapped like it was a live show. I went in as a Lynch fan and left incredibly impressed by Duran Duran’s musical prowess and their legions of devoted fans.

The first thing I noticed which was different from other films was crowd noise pumped into the theater previous to the movie starting. Lynch specifically had the murmur of a live audience playing as people were taking their seats, to set the mood like an actual show would have.  Then the lights went down and the film came up with no previews. The beginning showed Lynch filmed with a swaying camera and him speaking about having many dreams about Duran Duran. Then he said something to the effect of “When I snap my fingers, the concert will start”. He snapped and then the fun began; the stage filled with the members of Duran Duran and the concert started.

The show itself was a very tight set featuring guest artists joining the band(Beth Ditto, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and Kelis) and Lynch superimposed images over the band and sometimes completely obliterating them, showing the images alone. This sounds like an easy and cheap concept, yet it worked splendidly. The Duran Duran fans were super stoked and literally sang along with every song. I, as a casual Duran Duran listener, was mesmerized by the images, the music and the enthusiastic audience reception. Before the film, I thought it would be a bit of a goof; within one song I was totally convinced that this was a great idea.

The images which Lynch used were sometimes very literal and sometimes completely absurd. During the song ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ illustrations of wolves were flashed on the screen. During ‘Ordinary World’ a stream of blue exhaust cascaded from the side of the screen over the band. This was very simple, very fitting for such a lovely song. During the interstitial pieces when Simon Le Bon would banter with the audience and his band mates, fire was often superimposed over his talking. What the symbolism of fire over Le Bon talking is, I have no idea, but that was not the wackiest image of the film. The high-point of the film was when the band played ‘Come Undone’. If you recall the music video, well, Lynch’s interpretation was leagues away from that. I believe he took the lyrics “Can not forgive from falling apart at the seams” literally. The images which were placed over this song included a charcoal barbecue grill, filled with hot dogs, being methodically hit with a spatula. Also stuffed animal mice and other puppets mouthed the lyrics. Those images surely do lend themselves to the idea of ‘coming undone’ mentally and were unexpected and highly amusing.

I am pleased that I was able to experience this film with a theater full of people. David Lynch and Duran Duran created a unique theater experience; something that will not be replicated ever again. Truthfully, since I am not a Duran Duran super fan, I would have watched a little on DVD and probably would have become disinterested after a few songs. With this special event, I was drawn into the joy of the fans and also the quality picture and sound design.  It was as near to a real concert as one can get (minus the obligatory can’t-handle-their-drugs collapsing fan) plus the added absurdity of Lynch’s vision. A strange and unusual pairing David Lynch and Duran Duran may have seemed, yet it sure did turn out to be a whole lot of fun.

Happy Friday: New NIN video by David Lynch & First Look at Nymphomaniac by Lars von Trier

What a happy Friday it is!  Two very exciting releases have been made by two major film autuers.

David Lynch has decided to pick up a camera again.  He has teamed up with Nine Inch Nails to film their new video Came Back Haunted. There is a seizure warning at the beginning.  Oh David! 😉

The first trailer from Lars von Trier’s upcoming film Nymphomaniac debuted today. I am so hyped-up about this film, you have no idea. I love Lars, love him a lot.

Chapter 1 – The Compleat Angler