In a brief article on the huffingtonpost website, David Lynch recently professed his obsession with coffee. Not only does he drop the fact that he drinks seven large cups of coffee each day, but he also talks about how, for him, coffee fuels the creative process. In some ways this isn't terribly surprising. Artistic types have often fallen back on drugs of some sort to bring out their creativity. The recently passed away Christopher Hitchens endorsed alcohol as a means of easing the writing process, and there are no shortage of musicians from the 1960s that professed that one drug of another inspired their music. Besides, the British Empire pretty much ran on caffeine from coffee and tea to keep their soldiers alert and productive as well as cigarettes to suppress their appetite.
The article did get me thinking about Lynch as an auteur. As he mentions in his article, coffee plays an integral part of several of Lynch's works, most notably Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive. Part of the appeal of David Lynch as an artist is that when we go to see his films, we also feel as if we are seeing David Lynch himself splattered up on screen in all his messy glory. There are few directors, and even fewer American directors, who can conceivable be defined as true auteurs. That is, directors who, according to auteur theory, break through the studio system to provide a truly personal, idiosyncratic vision.
For an auteur to last long in the public eye, the individual director must be as intriguing as his or her films. Lynch's long list of serial obsessions allows him to keep his audience on their toes. What's more, there's probably as much an audience for Lynch the man as there is for his actual movies. It's because of his shifting, inscrutable nature that people haven't gotten bored of Lynch. It has allowed him to move in and out of making films, giving him time to profess his belief in meditation, record a pop album, and create his own blend of coffee, of course. And yet in interviews and articles it's hard to know whether Lynch is an actual person or merely a blend of idiosyncrasies. After all, who can really be that weird? It's hard to tell where Lynch the man ends and Lynch the trickster carnival barker begins. He's as much Alfred Hitchock in his self-promotion as he is Andy Kaufman in his ambiguity.
Like many, I have a special spot in my heart for the old man with the crazy white hair. So, here's the great espresso scene from Mulholland Drive. Please enjoy it with a find cup of joe.