“I’ll tell you how much I admire David Lynch as an artist, and how influential I consider his work to have been – not only for me personally, but also an entire swathe of Western culture. However, first let me give you a snapshot of the jejune Self coming face to face with his creative hero. It was 1989, in Notting Hill in London, in a gaff called 192, the wine bar of the moment (yes, such a concept still obtained in those matte-black days). Think cocaine as a near-novelty, think shoulder pads, think conical white sconces and shirts buttoned to the collar (a style Lynch himself still affects). I was dining with friends, I was recently married, I’d yet to publish a book and had a day job in a publishing company.
“I seethed with the injustice of it all (there was, in point of fact, no injustice). Then Lynch walked in: tall, blondish hair en brosse, apart from the whistle, and the buttoned-up shirt, looking every inch the Boise, Idaho farm boy he kinda … sorta was.
“I nearly fell off my three-legged designer chair I was so overcome with reverence and the Lynchian serendipity of all – for at that very moment my friends and I had been discussing the unalloyed brilliance of a new series that was being screened on hokey old British TV, a series called Twin Peaks – a title at once prosaic and enigmatic – that had been made by none other than the man who now stood just feet away from me.
“And there, in a nutshell, is my understanding of what it is to be truly influential: creating a body of work so powerful, so possessed of its own quiddity, and yet so resonant of the world, that the adjectival form of its maker becomes a given. (Franz) Kafkaesque, (Francis) Baconian – both are adjectives that Lynch himself admires, and can be applied to his own work, but Lynchian has an X factor – it is more than the sum of these, or any other parts.
“Did I go up to him and introduce myself, say how much I’d admired his work over the years since I first saw Eraserhead in 1977, while huffing amyl nitrate in the old Classic 1-2-3 Cinema on London’s Tottenham Court Road? Did I hell – I cowered under the table.”
Read the rest of Will Self’s interview with David Lynch from December 2008, now available on the GQ website here.