Saturday, August 14, 2010

My hero / David Lynch by Paul Murray


David Lynch

My hero: 

David Lynch by Paul Murray


'He's violent and original, but most of all he's brave'

Paul Murray
Sat 14 Aug 2010


I
was 15 when Twin Peaks, David Lynch's surreal murder-mystery-soap-opera, first aired on TV. Until then, I'd found the suburbs of Dublin where I grew up almost terminally boring. They were art-proof; there was nothing interesting you could say about them – or so I thought. Lynch's dreamlike vision of suburbia uncovered the violence, mystery and dark magic of a world that I, in my naivety, had dismissed. Spectral white horses appeared in living rooms, detectives practised Zen; in the bravura opening sequence of one episode, a terrifying journey down a network of fibrous tunnels was revealed to be a close-up of an ordinary ceiling tile. Everything held an unknowable secret; for me, that was an invaluable lesson.


Beneath the surrealism, Lynch's work abides by fiercely held principles. While in some ways he is an old-school romantic, with a fondness for beautiful ingénues and the kind of clean-cut heroes you find only on the screen, his films are defiantly unconventional. For all our postmodernity, we remain quite traditional in our regard for logic, and a film such as Lost Highway, whose antihero, without explanation, turns into someone else halfway through, is genuinely shocking.
Look Lynch up on YouTube and you'll find a polite, soft-eyed man with a carefully swirled quiff and a dark suit, probably making a speech about Transcendental Meditation. I don't know much about his life, but he seems a good example of Flaubert's dictum about being regular and orderly in your life so you can be violent and original in your work. He's violent and original, but most of all he's brave. It takes real courage not to make sense. The scariest thing about making art is that you don't know what you're doing; the temptation to fall back on established forms is a strong one. Lynch has the ability to trust in nothing but his vision, and for all its weirdness, that vision is one of great beauty – the expression of an almost childlike fascination with and love for the world.


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Hilary Mantel / Comma



C

o

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m

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 by Hilary Mantel





    • The Guardian, 
Knee
'It was a summer that had bleached adults of their purpose'. Photograph: Regine Petersen
I can see Mary Joplin now, in the bushes crouching with her knees apart, her cotton frock stretched across her thighs. In the hottest summer (and this was it) Mary had a sniffle, and she would rub the tip of her upturned nose, meditatively, with the back of her hand, and inspect the glistening snail-trail that was left. We squatted, both of us, up to our ears in tickly grass: grass which, as midsummer passed, turned from tickly to scratchy and etched white lines, like the art of a primitive tribe, across our bare legs. Sometimes we would rise together, as if pulled up by invisible strings. Parting the rough grass in swaths, we would push a little closer to where we knew we were going, and where we knew we should not go. Then, as if by some predetermined signal, we would flounce down again, so we would be half-invisible if God looked over the fields.
Buried in the grass we talked: myself monosyllabic, guarded, eight years old, wearing too-small shorts of black-and-white check, that had fitted me last year: Mary with her scrawny arms, her kneecaps like saucers of bone, her bruised legs, her snigger and her cackle and her snort. Some unknown hand, her own perhaps, had placed on her rat-tails a twisted white ribbon; by afternoon it had skewed itself around to the side, so that her head looked like a badly tied parcel. Mary Joplin put questions to me: "Are you rich?"