The new Twin Peaks

IMG_2564.JPGHere is a shot I took of “The Great Northern” back in 2010 


It was a slow, but very transfixing experience. (I remember warning Conan that it would be slow.)

Nothing was intensely bizarre, or frustratingly oblique — except for that scene in Space. And everything seemed to be flowing towards something. It had a narrative!

It also had plenty of nods to the fans and quite a few laughs. But I got the distinct impression these first episodes won’t have the beautiful re-watchability as the 90s TP had. But of course this wasn’t a reboot of Twin Peaks — it wasn’t a brand new soap opera or an “Invitation to Love.” This was a big, bad “What Happened Next.”

The credits were incredible. As much as drone-filmography have a bad rap, they really do get some amazing vistas and the shot over the falls was just incredible. Like what a poetic death-plunge would look like. Very symbolic. And yep – I was ready to dive right in.



So I was due to watch this all at Bri and Tim’s place. Also coming were Conan, Susan and Ben (And Laura eventually). Just barely north of beer-o’clock.

I arrived super-early having tried to engage everyone I could about the momentousness of today: a) the guy in the boozer — no idea. b) The woman at the donut stand — completely oblivious. And the taxi driver tried his best as I piled into the cab with all my bits. But again, no hint of any idea what Twin Peaks was. Sigh.

As I came in Bri was putting the finishing touches on her cherry pie. But there was music in the air and soon Conan swaggered in with an equal sense of nervous expectation. Tim was doing exercise and the dog Arrow was so cute he had a way of getting onto the balcony by magic. (The dog door in another room was later revealed to me.)

Susan arrived with wine and then Ben with cigarettes. We watched the last episode of season 2 and then a little mashup before Bri suddenly announced it had dropped a few minutes early. I was so nervous it took me a while to relax enough to actually sit down. I noticed Susan spent the majority of the 4 hours of viewing on the edge of her spot on the couch, leaning as close as she could to the screen. (Bri and Tim have a projector so we got to see it almost cinematically).

There was silence in the room for the first 50 minutes. It was all business. The ground rules had been laid before. No chit-chat, but laughing and crying and gasping were acceptable. And there was all of that. Including the tears at Margaret — the Log Lady’s final scenes. (Heartbreaking). Bri lost it apparently. She had tubes going into her nose and we all know they were totally legit.

Then we had an accidental break at 50 mins and we could all grab some air, use the facilities, get some more refreshments and do a tiny debrief. It had been pretty intense up to that point. We all agreed it was compelling. But we needed more!

Steadily the party got looser and I got in trouble for talking (see below). Conan kept looking at me with that “eek!” look in his eye and any time there was a “Blue Rose” mention — Bri and I had a little nod at each other. (That was the name of our trivia team at GOMA and BLACK [BEAR] LODGE).

Conan gripped my thigh quite a few times at intense moments. I jgnored it and just kept sinking another beverage. I got quite wasted by the end and started talking about how the cosmic background radiation has a cold spot and that was evidence of another universe with just might be connected to the black lodge. Ugh.

Luckily it was time for episode 4 and I was forced to shut up.



That’s where things really clicked. Apparently they (Showtime I imagine) were only going to “drop” the first 3 episodes on May 22, but it seemed they realised that would be a mistake and they needed a lighter, funnier, more traditional episode to keep us all keen.

By this stage the whole world was trying to hit this stream and Stan kept freezing or going low-res or pausing for buffering. It was almost imperceptible if it wasn’t for the spinning “loading icon” at the centre of the screen. We got used to it and decided to plough on.

What made this episode was it had a great deal of old characters. Heaps of Good Cooper just coming to sense with the real world. Then more Hawk and “Sheriff Truman.” (Is this the real Truman re-cast by Robert Forster or is it Truman’s brother?) In Ep1 one was “sick” and the other was “fishing” according to Lucy. And this one was the one “fishing”. I think Bobby calls him “Frank”. Just before he says: “I gotta take a leak so bad my back teeth are floating!”

So I think we have that issue sorted. LOL. Then we get Wally (Michael Cera) confirming that. Sick Truman was his godfather. Wally is paying his respects. But also saying goodbye. (I think he will be back.) He talks about Lewis and Clark. (Just like in the Secret History book by Mark Frost).

The biggest laugh of the afternoon came when Wally is trying so hard to be profound: “My shadow is always with me. Sometimes ahead, Sometimes behind. Sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right. Except on cloudy days…or at night.”

Then Sheriff Truman walks away and does a quick shake of the head.

Bobby says that Cooper was the last to see his dad Major Briggs. But of course this insinuates that Bad Cooper killed Major Briggs and covered it up in a fire.

And we get some Naomi Watts. Our Naomi Watts. Brilliant.

Oh god Lucy and Andy are just the same and it is bloody, bloody incredible. And Ched is a dick! Go have a word with your pine-cone douchecanoe.

Mike puts it down saying that Good Cooper was tricked and that now one of them must die. Battle lines are drawn. Good vs Evil.

Cooper looks at his reflection again and it seems like he is beginning to know he is real again. Cooper has a great thumbs up with “Sonny Jim.” Coffee can save him!

Tammy is going to be a real force in the next episodes.

I really suspect that the body (without a head) in the Ruth Davenport crime scene is actually Major Briggs. EEK.

And who is the woman that Rosenfield and Cole need to talk to to expose the fake Cooper? Cannot wait.





There were so many threads. Here are the few I can just about note down:

1) Dr Jacobi and his mission to paint several shovels in gold.

2) Ben and Jerry had a welcome joust early on. It seemed these eccentric characters had turned out in their old age (25 years later) just like they would have IRL.

3) Bad Cooper (And Darya + Ray + Jack’s conspiracy) [and Otis and clan]

3.1) Bad Cooper and his link to the death of Ruth Davenport (Obviously he had Bill Hasting’s wife [“Phyllis”] under his spell).

3.2) Bad Cooper’s plan about NOT getting pulled back into Black Lodge. (And what Gia Carides’ “Hannah” has to do with that). See pt 10.

3.3) Bad Cooper vs Agent Rosenfield and Gordon Cole. (And what role with Agent Tamara/Tammy [Chrysta Bell] play?)

4) Who is the “rest” of Ruth Davenport’s “body”? (And who is that “burnt man” in the jail cell next to Bill Hasting that promptly evaporates?)

5) Hawk and the clue that Margaret (Log Lady) left. Plus all the other stuff linked to the Sherrif’s office.

6) The clues the giant gave Cooper in scene 1: “4.3.0.”, “Linda and Richard”, “Two birds with one stone”

7) What’s the deal with the “Billionaire” with his glass box. And who/what was released just before that ripped Tracey and Sam to shreds. (In the credits it lists “Carel Struyckenn – ??????”)

8) Mr Todd (and Roger) in Las Vegas. Someone makes Mr Todd do bad things.

9) James! and his motorcycle accident. His link with Shelly? And then there’s Balthazar Getty (“Red”) and his connection. Also in that scene (according to the credits) is a new Renault: “Jean-Michel Renault” played by Walter Olkewicz who played “Jarques” back in 90s TP. More interesting than intriguing.

10) The THIRD “Cooper”? oh boy. His name is “Dougie Jones”. And he had the ring. It seems that Bad Cooper can’t be in the real world at the same time as Good Cooper. Someone had to go back to the Lodge so that the real Cooper could come back. (Was he the bad Cooper’s decoy? — this is Susan’s theory). Like the ring made him appear to be the Bad Cooper the Lodge wanted back. (Aside: Loved how Bad Cooper vomited cream corn.) ‘Something is wrong,” Mike says in the episode before. And then, “Someone manufactured you.” So I think there is no real third Cooper — just something Bad Cooper tricked the Black Lodge with. But then there is this gold ball that keeps coming up. We shall see. I think Susan is spot on perfectly right here. (Oh and what is the deal with the assassins trying to kill “Dougie” (Trick Cooper).


And finally:

10) Good Cooper! Cooper was pretty much the only thing I really paid attention to in the original series. And although his storyline here is really frustrating — by episode 4 it seems he is getting somewhere. Someone who has spent 25 years in the Black Lodge is going to behave a little (I mean “LOT”) weird in the real world. I do need to mention that that bit in space with the woman whose eyes have grown over is silly! But maybe beautifully silly?


Loved how they had genuine bands playing at the Roadhouse at the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th episodes. (Au Revoir Simone!) But otherwise music is quite sparse. There appeared to be a Trent Reznor song during Bad Cooper’s drive through the woods to Otis’ house. But it took until over 7 minutes into episode two (apart from credits) for any of Angelo’s original score to get an airing. And even then it was painfully brief.

The Cactus Blossoms are the band in ep3.



I am thoroughly convinced that Laura is going to get out of the black lodge and kick ass in the real world. She says to Cooper, “I am dead. Yet I live”. Then she gets sucked into some vortex and disappears.

From what I knew at the time I was 15 talking to girls who were totally into TP, Laura’s story really affected them. She was almost an “everywoman” to certain people. A woman in trouble and everyone knew it — like Bobby screams at the funeral.

While I identified with Cooper, plenty of women saw Laura as just as much. She had insights into what it was like to be a girl. I read Laura’s diary and someone said to me she almost felt I shouldn’t be reading that because it contained secrets only girls should know. Laura hit nerves. I just saw her screams and how she could instil terror in me. But she was much more than that.

While we were watching EP2 when “contemporary” Laura (2017 Sheryl Lee) appeared I instinctively predicted what was about to be said I got a very firm, “Shut up!” from Susan. I imagine this scene, although pretty predictable to me, was truly important to her. And then Bri said after all 4 episodes were watched: “There needs to be more Laura.”

It’s a thing. Laura NEEDS to come back just for closure or just because it will make a supreme difference to many, many people. (Me included!)



Fuck yeah.

It was amazing and if everything goes to shit from here I will know that at the very least I had an amazing time on Monday with great mates and it was a total experience. Genuinely one of the best days of my life.

And upon the second viewing I am even more excited for what’s to come.

It won’t be as magical as the original, but it will have a different kind of magic.


If “The man from another place” (the actor Michael) refuses to get on board, he can be replaced by a talking brain-tree with and some lightning effects. Genius.

A 30ish year old Kyle MacLachlan made up to look 20 years older (in 1990s TP) looks older than the nearing 60 Kyle in 2017 Twin Peaks. Just saying.

That was Ronette in the “Space Scene”. (Credited as “American Girl”)

Bobby Briggs is a police officer. God that was a perfect arc. Major Briggs was such a special character and Bobby was such an antithesis — but you just knew they were always on the same page. (Briggs had that dream he told Bobby about in ep8).

Chocolate Bunnies get a shout-out! (“It’s NOT about the bunny…Is it about the bunny? No, It’s not about the bunny,” Hawk says.

Michael Cera is just perfect. Bri had predicted this and it just makes so much sense. And it looks like he might be a Bookhouse Boy – or trying to be one. The look of supreme “proudness” on Andy and Lucy’s face is priceless.

The moose head gets a new day in the sun!




So Friday I spent the morning with our gardener-dude clearing up the absolute mess that was these fallen palms.

It was fucking hardwork. I was laden with sweat by 8am. I thought I was fit but all this bending over and chopping stuff and lifting and throwing was way more exhausting than I assumed.


My dad’s ute was filling up pretty quickly with the log parts of this beast that was maybe 10 metres tall. The picture above is only about 30% of what we got on there. Dave — the gardener — had to slash around the tray to rip shit up like a blender to crush and pack stuff down.

Once finished the ute looked like this:


And then it was a miraculous effort just to get the ute out of the driveway. Our drive is fucking steep and slippery in dry conditions. But with all this wet and the grit on the concrete the car’s wheels started spinning out. We had to ask the tradies working on the house across the road to move their car so we had a huge audience in this endeavour.

There was smoke and the smell of burnt rubber everywhere. The guys across the road were having a ball watching this drama. Three attempts later and Dave just had to mash it up in that, “drive it like you just stole it” vibe. And he drove a perfectly straight line and up and over the lip into the road. Phew.

The fallen palm-clump is perhaps a blessing. I am now determined to turn that space it once occupied into a vegetable patch and perhaps the level blow and above it. See there was not much light there before — but as you can see from the photo below it gets a lot of sun now and to be honest — the garden looks no less awesome to me (obviously after a decent clean-up). So Dave and I made a pack to meet up in a month and get the vegies growing. Stay tuned.



When I was younger I was obsessed with the TV show Burke’s Backyard. It was on just before the footy (on a Friday night) and it was about a life that I was at least fascinated by, but something I also perhaps aspired to. A simple life with animals and trees and nature and growing your own food and generally being closer to our collective-agricultural heritage.

So one day Don advised us all to get a “pedometer” and the very next day I did. And in those days they were only sold in Tandy stores and this device brought about my very first love of personal stats. It was the original Garmin.

And at Christmas, struggling for stuff to ask for from Secret-Santa — I requested a pedometer. And it was awesome. But then it was lost during the floods. One of those epic walks I did in the rain and wind and not really paying attention because there was so much else to worry about. So I bought a new one this week and it is crazy-awesome just tallying your movement. And it doesn’t register cycling so it is genuinely about my steps. Indeed this new device won’t start counting until you have done 5 steps in a row — just to avoid accidental “steps” or knocks to the device being included. Obviously I am aiming for at least 10,000 steps on days I am not on the bike for 5 hours.


This is from our dirty river on Wednesday (I think). Barrels are kinda cute — don’t you think? And this one is particularly pretty and almost compliments the colour of the water.Image

On Saturday night Liss and Michael came over for drinks and chats and Thai food at “Thai on Earth”. Here they are bonding with the cat. They also got to know our chooks and loved them and started thinking they might need some too!Image

Speaking of the chooks — they are much more adventurous now and will come into the house if you leave the door open for them. It is quite a surprise when you suddenly see them clucking around on top of some furniture. But they poo everywhere and they make a bit of a racket when you are trying to concentrate on TV.Image

A crop of an instagram pic I took on a muddy ride to work this week:Image

And finally today I did a lazy 30ks around the river and it was tough. My legs feel like they have been scrambled by those cramps I had yesterday. Ugh.Image

The time I asked Shaun Micallef a question


A book review of sorts.

Back in 2010 I went to the launch of Shaun Micallef’s first work of fiction — a novella called ‘Preincarnate’ — at the Hi Fi in west End (hosted by Avid Reader). I’d been a big fan of Shaun’s ever since his show on the ABC in 1999. This piece of comedy gold I think it is fair to say — changed my life.

Anyway, there was a question and answer session and after two very bland and useless questions I decided to speak up. Crucially, I had a belly full of beer, which may or may not have influenced the fact I asked — a little bit too confidently — “So Shaun, you’re such a great guy — what’s your secret?”*

And I intended the question (that most extreme of sycophantic arse-licking) as something playful that he could deal with in that ‘character’ he assumed so often — demonstrated so amazingly in the clip above. Except he took the question quite seriously and seemed almost embarrassed. He then bumbled through a rambling, overly-humble and not-quite-funny response. Oh well. I still love you Shaun.

And so because I am genuinely lazy, forgetful and pretty much a philistine, it has taken me until last night to actually complete reading it.

And it’s quite a mindfuck of a book. I guess that’s the point of a novel dealing with time travel and revivification and soul-transference — and that’s all pretty much lumped on the reader just in the first chapter. And each chapter jumps back or forwards in time and leaps from character to character, I imagine to establish some deliberate state of confusion — something all the characters seem to be feeling at the same time you do.

See I like to think time travel in fiction is best dealt with in the Dr Who sense — which mostly ignore those paradoxes. And if you are going to go into paradoxes and conundrums, and talk about it and muddle over it — you’re best off doing it in a simple and illustrative way like in Back to the Future.

Someone once told me (and I have no idea if this is true) that there was this screening of Catch-22 and the theatre got the reels the wrong way around and played reel #1, then reel #3 and then reel #2. But no one complained and no one seemed any wiser.

And so this book is a bit like that screening.

Another element that fucked with my head was the proliferation of characters — obviously chucked at the reader for comedic value. And there’s also so much detail — again in the pursuit of gags (most of which are well worth the rabbit hole you get sucked into). But at the same time this was one reason I actually didn’t latch on to the narrator (who is not named —at least I don’t think so) until well into the book. And that was a bit tough on me — me being just a little Queenslander. About 100 pages in I was so bewildered I re-read the last 20 pages and was still perplexed.

It also didn’t help that I read it over two or three weeks – like 5 pages at a time. So I guess I have myself to blame for a fair chunk of that head-scratching.

But in saying all this — the story-telling and the gags were all fantastic. I actually finished it too — which says a lot — unlike the bookmark halfway through The Island of the Day Before which still sits in my bookcase either like a monument to my lack of perseverance or a telling critique. (Probably the former).

Thankfully it does all make sense at the end — kinda.

A solid 6.5 out of 10.

* I have a feeling Rob Sitch asked this of Peter Costello on the Panel once. Wha?

Two on the Great Divide – A review

I’ve been watching this show for the past three weeks and have been enthralled, but it seemed like I should see it all before I made a judgment. So Two on the Great Divide was screened on the ABC and if you hurry (and live in Australia) you will be able to see all three episodes.

The “two” in the title are John Doyle, a “comedian” to the general populace, but to me: an all-round-dude. And then there is Tim Flannery — a scientist, a geologist, plus a few other bits of paper he gives to his grandma to frame on the wall – and I think a one-time Australian of the Year. I guess you could also call him an environmental commentator too.

Two very different people at a dinner party. At least at a boozy, no-holds-barred dinner party I would hold. At that setting, I would much prefer John Doyle. If I was out hiking or riding in the wilderness, perhaps I would pick Tim. But then again, I would probably drag John along – just so we could bitch about Tim.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Tim, I just don’t really want to know him personally. And I certainly wouldn’t want to spend how many weeks it took to film this series in such close confinement with him.

I would describe Tim Flannery as quite drunk with excitement about certain things, but then incredibly sober when you want to just ramble and talk about poo.

The first part, the drunken enthusiasm – may seem charming. But Tim does this in a way that makes you cringe. For example: he uses your name a bit too much when addressing you. Personally I find that a bit subversive. I know from my humble psychology — PY101— background that if you want to endear yourself to someone you mimic their body language, you mimic a few of their actual key spoken words and you drop in their name a few times during conversation. Tim does the ‘name-drop’ thing so much you want to throttle him the next time he does so. He is also just too “decent”.

This is where John was conceived in Lithgow – I love that he would share that with us.

John, on the other hand, is just perpetually drunk. He might not be actually intoxicated, but he has a swagger about his prose. It is sometimes affectionate and considered, but then he will throw a grenade into the conversation. And sometimes you will think he is playing a diplomat — but then he says, or makes it impossibly clear — what he thinks. With a fantastic bluntness.

Plus John Doyle is crazily funny. And perhaps there’s a great wisdom in his words.

Anyway – the characters make this series. I might have actually grown to enjoy the fact Tim was a bit of a dip-shit. And then the actual main character — the Range — is, you know, spectacular.

The Gold Coast which Tim thinks, due to its geology and massive population, is in great danger of a disastrous storm-surge in the near future.

The Great Dividing Range is a strip of mountains that stretches from Melbourne up through the Snowy, across to the Blue Mountains in NSW, north to Barrington Tops, then New England, Mt Warning, over the Queensland Border at Lamington, then up to Toowoomba (where we are riding on Saturday) and then Carnarvon Gorge and Mt Bartle Frere and all the way to Weipa and across the Torres Strait to Dauan Island – only 7km from Papua New Guinea.

And crucially, ALL rivers to the west of the Divide (above Lithgow) flow west, and rivers to the east, flow east to the sea.

But the other thing that makes this series is the totally obvious FACT that our recent mining boom is raping our landscape. It is so omnipresent in this tiny strip of our nation. The Great Divide must only take up 10 percent (if that) of our country – but the influence of that activity is extreme. The point they keep drumming in is that there is a literal great divide amongst Australians, not just a big mountain range (which is quite pathetic — let’s face it, by world standards).

This is Toowoomba (where I was conceived incidentally) and where we are riding to – and back from – on Saturday. Toowoomba is where the Divide split into the great escarpment and the Divide.

We also get to see how the Brumbies of the Snowy are literally trampling other indigenous- species into oblivion (yet fools think that is cool), we don’t get to see poker machines at the Penrith Leagues Club (cause filming there is banned), but we do see how the club indoctrinates the next generation with skill-testers. We see the coal-seam gas debate in Queensland and how that has brought farmers and environmentalists together and John Doyle’s genius when he says that he thinks the Greens are at fault in being so bloody-minded and “black and white” when attempting (and failing) to reach out to rural Australia.

One of the big bits of infrastructure that coal-seam gas has generated. (pun intended).

We also see that the view from the highway is probably amazing, but just over the ridge, beyond any casual inspection, there will be a big, fat, hole in the ground that stretches for miles around. A scar on the earth’s crust at best or more likely a massive gaping wound on the once beautiful landscape.


I had many “favourite” TV shows when I was a kid, but right now i am just saying — and don’t tell any of my other favourite childhood TV shows — but Press Gang just might be at the top of the list.

And if we’re calling Press Gang my favourite TV show just amongst us friends, then this is perhaps my favourite episode. I’ve ripped it and uploaded it, just to show you all how fucking good it was. Just try and argue different. Just try.


And you will see Kenny Phillips, the impossibly-nice but luckless, and badgered assistant editor, with his bad hair, his bad clothes and his sensible shoes not quite visible (but you knew they were there) – coming home from the maelstrom of Junior Gazette newsroom, where he has just spent hours trying to smooth over all the damage the editor (Lynda Day) had created. All without any appreciation. And he comes home, slunks into his room and picks up a guitar and suddenly sings a song – a good song, a song the actor (Lee Ross) actually wrote.


At this point it is safe to say – I LOST MY SHIT.

So Press Gang was produced in the late 80s, early 90s and was written by Steven Moffat who has gone on to do other TV and movie wonders (like the current Doctor Who) but in my opinion he never really ripped shit up like he did during the Press Gang series.



Lynda Day

She’s the main character and straight away she’s almost entirely un-likable. She’s a megalomaniacal control-freak — a horrible bully, perhaps with serious ISSUES. But of course she was entirely likeable once you saw her “heart of gold” underneath – mostly exposed by her hopeless attraction to Spike (Dexter Fletcher). Lynda was played by Julia Sawala who some of you may know as “Saffie” from Absolutely Fabulous.


Spike Thompson

Played by Dexter Fletcher of “Lock, Stock and Two Barrels” fame – Spike is the crazy, wise-cracking tough guy at school. On the surface he’s one of those “random American characters” shoved into a show so it can be sold to foreign audiences. But he becomes more than that and his nationality is used quite effectively as a plot device. “Will he fall for Lynda, or will he go back to the States?”


Kenny Phillips

I think I’ve already covered Kenny, but he’s not just a foil. In other episodes his character does have a few luckless affairs with women and he gets to lose it on more than a few occasions.


Sarah Jackson

Sarah is a bit like Kenny, but I suspect a lesbian version. She does have “boy” problems in the early episodes, but then she evolves. Sarah is fucking smart, determined and one of the only ones that can stand up to Lynda – even though Lynda kinda wins in the end. Always. Poor Sez. She is also quite righteous and the perpetual “VOICE OF REASON”. By the way, I want to call my next band “Voice of Reason”. So I trust you guys not to steal that.


Colin Matthews

Colin was the entrepreneur. The schemer. He was an ultra-capitalist and had no (apparent) soul. He even had no interest in women, until something happened…and that was an amazing episode too.


Fraz Davis

And finally Fraz. He was the token “dumb” one. Comic relief. But of course we didn’t realise he was just silently wise and totally awesome in a different universe which future episodes proved. He was always of course so horribly sweet and seemingly oblivious to any bad stuff. Oh fraz.


I am not sure if there are any other kids shows that are comparable – but to me Press Gang treated kids like adults. Anyway – hopefully you will understand once you see this episode. And here it is, the youtube settings mean it is JUST FOR YOU! I hope you enjoy, and if enough of you say so, I’ll upload the second episode of this saga.