The Twin Peaks UK Festival 2017 – We Live Inside a Dream Come True

I have spent the majority of my life waiting for these moments and I didn’t even know it.

Last weekend I attended my first Twin Peaks Festival. It has never been possible for me before, what with having a young child too precious to leave for a few days and last years Fest being on his birthday which I would never miss.  This year though it was just perfect timing, what with knowing that The Return would have aired in its entirety by the time the Fest arrived, it felt like this was the most beautiful way to end the Summer of Love. I have admittedly been somewhat excited about this way before I bought a ticket. I was terrified that it wouldn’t live up to expectations and I also knew full well that once it was over I would have to deal with the reality of Twin Peaks being over.  Again.

It has been without a doubt a difficult few months for me. The only thing keeping me going was Twin Peaks – and not just the show, but all the friends I made online.  Much like many other Twin Peaks fans, I don’t know anyone in ‘real life’ who loves the show as much as I do, so talking in Facebook groups and Twitter is the way I got to share my thoughts – in fact I wouldn’t be here today, and you wouldn’t be reading this if I hadn’t taken to Tweeting.

I originally intended to go to the Fest alone – I was nervous but in no time at all I was welcomed into the fold of Fest regulars. A momentum started to grow, inspired by the joy of The Return and the ever-increasing, spectacular Guest List! Some of my dearest friends (that I had never met) decided to join me, from all over the UK and America.

The day finally arrived and I kissed my family goodbye and headed off to London where I met my dear friends (thank god we got on as well in reality!). We’d already arranged to meet up with a whole bunch of other fans in a pub in Crouch End that night, we were of course a little nervous but within seconds we knew everything was going to be just fine. “Welcome to the family!” were some of the first words spoken that night. Those folks would end up becoming our greatest pals for the whole weekend, and if  I was a betting girl, they will be for many, many years to come.  And relax.

Saturday came and off we headed to the venue where we bumped into our new friends, this time though now many of them were in disguise. Upon entering Hornsey Town Hall we were welcomed with a blue rose each (nice touch!) and some awesome merchandise then we stumbled our way, much like Dougie-Cooper, to COFFEE – much needed after perhaps a few too many beers the night before. David Lynch coffee was the order of the day. Being a VIP ticket holder I could have had 4 cups free every day but I actually only needed one.  That one cup kept me alive and amplified all day. Damn good coffee. And hot!

Hornsey Town Hall is a huge building, sprawled over several stories, it had been transformed for the Fest. The dulcet tones of Rebekah Del Rio rang out through the corridors, there really was always music in the air.  Chevron floors led to the main hall, and inside the bar area was The Glass Box. This was a genius idea, the perfect photo opportunity and icebreaker for everyone.  Seeing Jerry Horne and ‘not his foot’  in there was a personal highlight.

jerry

JJ as Jerry Horne – Saturday’s costume competition runner up

The itinerary was jam-packed, so after checking out the very Charlie’s House-esque VIP Bar we headed down to watch some of the Lynch Inspired Short Films.  First up was also my personal favourite, ‘The Summer House at Pearl Lakes‘, by Thor Amli.  This film is the perfect balance of creepy and beautiful, and Thor managed to get on film exactly how I imagined the moment BOB took Leland as his host when he was a boy. If you haven’t seen this brilliant film for yourself, now is your chance:

The Summer House at Pearl Lakes – Thor Amli

What I really loved about the Fest is that fan creations are so celebrated.  There was art work displayed along many of the hallways. It was wonderful seeing Blake Morrow’s beautiful photographs in real life. The talent of fans really is remarkable.

return to twin peaks

Photo Art from ‘Return to Twin Peaks’ by Blake Morrow

Straight after the films we all got to  listen to Sabrina Sutherland, Executive Producer talk to host Tom Huddlestone about her time working with David Lynch over the years and in particular about Series 3. Some particularly interesting tidbits:

  • Mark Frost wrote Series 3 via Skype with David Lynch but had nothing to do with the Production – he did visit the set though.  As soon as he finished writing he headed off to write The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and possibly some of The Final Dossier whilst Series 3 was being filmed.
  • They did get in contact with every original actor from Series 1 and 2, but some of them chose not to return. No names were mentioned, but it’s obvious who they are, and this was an answer to a question about Donna.
  • David Lynch checked every single frame of film before it was released. If there are inconsistencies, glitches or whatever you want to call them, it’s certain they are intentionally there.
  • The delays in filming and the hitches between Showtime and Lynch were not about money for Lynch, it was about having enough money to do it as he envisaged and that it could not be done in the 9 episodes Showtime had planned – 18 episodes had not been stipulated by Lynch, but he just knew it was more than 9. It took a while to get that vision understood by Showtime but they got there in the end and it was all hunky dory.
  • One of the most touching stories was that Catherine Coulson was supposed to film in Washington. David and Sabrina had not realised just how unwell she was at first,  but Catherine was determined anyway. They even arranged a medical plane for her to travel as she was on Oxygen, but she was too ill to fly. Instead they rapidly assembled and sent a film crew to her for her scenes.  She died 4 days after filming.
  • David Lynch has NOT RETIRED from Directing. No word was given on whether there would be any more Twin Peaks but this was as big a hint as any that there would be something else, either a film or another series. If not Twin Peaks, he would still be working. Excellent news indeed!

Sabrina Sutherland is a fantastic woman. She calls herself the police and she really is, buy she’s most definitely a good Cop. She knows absolutely everything that goes on, what can and cannot be spoken about and everything us fans do, what we talk about online, every theory, every meme.  After seeing some pictures of The Return turning up online during filming and way before release she had an emergency conversation with David and Mark, Mark tweeted about it begging people to #KeepTheMysteryAlive and she said she was amazed about how the fans really did respect that, and many of the photos were taken down straight away. She thanked fans and groups for keeping the majority of the internet spoiler free even after episode leaks – and I must admit that this felt like a special thanks as we had spoken to her personally at the signings about working as Administrators at the Facebook group Twin Peaks 2017 – and how it was a pleasure to help keeping the community spoiler free.

sabrina

There literally was not a minute to spare even to eat on Saturday, thankfully the coffee kept any hunger pains at bay and weirdly over the entire weekend I only consumed one donut and one slice of cherry pie!  Both absolutely delicious I might add. There were donuts galore of all shapes, colours and flavours literally everywhere, a policeman’s dream!

donuts

(Photo by Emilie Declerck)

Sadly I missed the ‘Call of the Owl’ – a live show with real owls, but heard that it was a highlight for some folks, especially those from Countries where owls are not that common, Lindsay Bowden the Fest Producer really does think of everything.

After a short break it was time for us VIP ticket holders to go and meet the cast. In our merchandise pack we had photos of all the Guests, and there was the option to buy more signed items if you so wished.  All of the cast members were just so great.  Sean Bolger who played the Detailer (the guy who finds the key to room 315 in Jades car) was an absolute star! Very funny and you could tell he was absolutely thrilled to be in the show no matter how small his part was. He interestingly informed us all during the Q&A that before The Return he’d only watched the finale episode of Series 2 of Twin Peaks, on magic mushrooms!

Jake Wardle is a dream, a true star in the making. Lynch had seen his viral YouTube accents vid online in 2010 and loved it. He asked Sabrina to track him down as he wanted him in one of his projects.  They Skyped on and off for a few years. Then in 2014 Lynch asked him if he’d seen Twin Peaks, he hadn’t! (To be fair he wasn’t born until the year Fire Walk With Me was released in cinemas, so you could certainly forgive him). Lynch said that, “It doesn’t matter, I’m making a new one, and you’re going to be in it!” He was going to play a guy called Freddie, who was a cockney and he was going to have a magic green glove with super strength.  Jake’s reaction to that? “Cool. I think its fair to say that Jake won the hearts of everyone at the Fest. He’s sweet, funny and very down to earth. You can tell he really gets how important this show is, and his part to play is even more than just ‘the lad who destroyed BOB’ – though that’s pretty impressive – he was as surprised as all of us that he’d be The One!

He filmed the Roadhouse scenes and was so nervous, but James Marshall took him under his wing. This was his first acting role and he made quite an impact. He had a lot of dialogue to deliver in his few scenes and did a great job. He deserves to go places.  He told us that he didn’t have a script for his scenes on the day he ‘killed BOB’ and for him it was the first day he’d met most of the other cast. Lynch directed every punch and they put cushioning around the camera and a protector over the lens. Lynch kept telling him to “smash it! harder!” (Jake does a great Lynch impression!) until he smashed the protector lens into pieces. And BOB was dead.

freddie vs BOB

Next up at the signings was Amy Shiels – again what a wonderful woman! So funny and sweet, unbelievably beautiful but with no airs or graces at all. I bumped into her in the ladies loos on the Sunday and whilst I was powdering  my nose she took time out to talk to me about my makeup brush (apparently its a very good one, I was oblivious!).  Amy is another star who forced her way into making Candie a bigger part than she was intended to be. She may not have said too much but her presence on the screen will stick in our minds forever. During the Q&A she relayed the story of how nervous she was when she first started filming and how every time Lynch spoke to her she would giggle with ‘an ugly face’ which is where her ‘ugly crying face’ may have stemmed from! Her crying scenes were a hard slog. She did a marvelous job.

arm wrestle

The most perfect shot taken at the Fest for sure! Amy Shiels photobombing Mr C (Mario Juengling) and Thomas Kaiser’s arm wrestle – by Emilie Declerck

James Marshall was hugely similar to James Hurley, so sweet and kind and told me he was nervous about playing his gig that evening. He needn’t have been, he absolutely blew it out of the park!  He is a hugely talented guitarist and he and Damion Champe played surprisingly well together considering they’d had pretty much no time to practice.  He played some Hendrix which was right on the money.  Then something happened I never thought I would ever witness. Michael Horse joined them on stage to sing. It was magical, I was completely astounded, not just by the music, but the emotion they put into it. Hearing his Native singing voice was really quite powerful and I am not ashamed at all to say I shed a tear. I think the whole audience realised they were watching something really special and unique.

 

When I met Michael Horse at the signings I was truly awestruck and I couldn’t really speak. I just didn’t know what to say to him, so I told him I couldn’t speak! (Ever the professional). He was so kind, he gave me a cuddle and talked to me instead, his voice so soothing, he was as excited to meet us as we were him. It’s a good job he uses his powers for good as I am pretty sure he could be a cult leader if he wanted to. I could listen to him speak all day and night.  He spoke of how happy he was to return to Twin Peaks, he only wanted a cameo and was surprised and so happy with the part he got to play.  Returning to the woods was special to him, he say’s there are little people living in those woods. I believe him. He’s a man so in tune with everything you couldn’t possibly argue the case. Like he said, the Native Americans knew all about atoms and molecules, that everything was alive, way before any scientists did.  He is full of wisdom.

me and hawk

Me – speechless – with Michael Horse

Then there she was, Ms Sherilyn Fenn. The queue to see her was long! but that was because she spent so much time really talking to everyone. I was again a little bit star struck but she was so sweet and we talked about her journey to the UK and somehow we ended up talking about the Moors Murders of all things. She’d watched a documentary in the hotel the night before and it had unsettled her, bless her soul. She made everyone feel special and seemed to be really interested in the people talking to her. She wears her heart on her sleeve, she’s fighting to survive. There was a slight air of controversy during the Q&A, a feeling that she may slip up and say something she shouldn’t because she is just so honest about how she feels. She told the audience that unlike Michael Horse she wanted more than a cameo. She wanted to be in every episode and she was vocal about it. Her loyal friend Sheryl Lee, had told Lynch she should be in every episode. “I had silly child-like ideas that I’ll do Twin Peaks and I’ll live happily ever, seriously!“. She was so happy to re-live it and thanked all the fans for being so amazing – her sacred family.

sherilyn

(photo George Teed)

All the while the signings were happening, ‘The Roadhouse’ was host to some really great bands, Aloha Dead, Polyanna Valentine, The No Sorrows (Tom Huddlestone, the hosts band) and Prom Queen who were unfortunately the only band I got a chance to see.  They were really brilliant.  I knew of them before the Fest mostly because of their Stranger Things/Twin Peaks mashup – Stranger Peaks’ (though this isn’t a good representation of their sound in reality) so I was very keen to see them and they did not disappoint.  They looked fantastic too. Their new album, ‘Doom Wop’ is out now.

Prom Queen – Blonde

prom queen

Prom Queen with Lance McCormack as a brilliant Gordon Cole

Some of the cast that couldn’t be there made films for us all which was fabulous!  James Grixoni (Deputy Jesse Holcomb), Alicia Witt (Gersten Hayward) said a hello,  Ian Buchanan (Dick Tremayne, a Fest favourite)  and then the superbly funny John Piruccello (Chad) and Kimmy Robertson (Lucy) had a little spat where she kicked him out of her house for eating and drinking and using her furniture for firewood. Cute! Even Madchen Amick (Shelly) stopped by on the set of Riverdale to wish everyone love. Then we were all given a special little treat. It’s a secret though so I can’t say too much, but what I will say is that during and afterwards the whole room was filled with emotion.

Then it was the costume parade! There were two, as you could buy single day tickets there was a chance for everyone who attended to participate. Many of the weekend ticket holders had two different costumes, and my god they were truly inspired.

Saturday’s winner was Eleanor who was an absolutely perfect Naido:

naido

Then it was James Marshall’s gig which filled the room with joy.  Watching Michael Horse sing was incredible, then of course he HAD to do ‘Just you and I’.  He had a very special backup singer – Amy Shiels, which just made it even more electrifying. You can’t really prepare for moments like these as a fan. I just kept looking at my friends sort of bewildered and elated.

amy sings

I definitely needed a drink after that so headed off to the bar. I had been looking forward to seeing David Lynch: The Art Life, had purposely avoided watching it earlier, wanting to take it all in at the Fest. So what did I do? That’s right I found myself in The Roadhouse at Quiz time. Now anyone that knows me knows that I get just a little bit competitive (think Monica Geller) when it comes to quizzes, and I have never been able to answer questions on my favourite topic before, so that was it. With teammates Stewart Gardiner, Mark O’Brien and George Teed, we formed the Chester Desmonds. We won. Oh yes we did. Every question and bonus question correct. I’m dining out on this glory forever – well at least until next year when we will attempt to retain our title as Kings & Queens.

So I totally missed the Art Life – it’s on my Christmas wish list now instead.  Saturday was done – I was awash with joy! Absolutely shattered but my mind buzzing from the days events. So much, almost too much to take in.

Sunday came round in what felt about 5 mins. We headed off to Hornsey Town Hall again, but a later start this morning. Blue Diamond ticket holders went on an open top bus tour around London, where The Elephant Man was filmed. I believe that Sabrina Sutherland joined in too.

Sunday was definitely quieter, and I needed it to be. The morning was chilled, The Elephant Man played in the main hall, but we decided to just rest and eat cherry pie at the VIP Bar. There we met with friends and for the first time in my life I sat around and talked to people, face to face, about Twin Peaks. I don’t think I have felt so at home in my life. Some of the most wonderful moments of this weekend were just talking to people, laughing, drinking strange blue drinks and coffee liqueur shots far too early in the morning. Memories were made in those few hours that will stay with me forever.

(cherry pie by Emilie Declerck, VIP room by me)

We had missed the Train Car Re-enactment on the Saturday but were able to join in on Sunday instead. It’s truly an experience.  You are led into the pitch black train car by Ben Louche, boss of the Double R Club, along with his wife Rose Thorne. There is a heady smell of perfume in the air. In torchlight comes BOB, with Laura and Ronette, wrists bound with rope. My friend Cheryl (write here at 25yl) and I gripped our hands together tightly. We watched as Laura looked into the mirror, the moments before her death. ‘ angel appeared to her and she got away. BOB beats and stabs Laura, screaming, “Don’t make me do this!” as she dons The Ring. All the while he was pretty much on top of our feet, Cheryl and I both commented afterwards that we wanted to kick him, stop him from hurting her, but we learned from Cooper that it’s not always good to mess with the timeline! It was quite a profound and harrowing moment.  Everyone left in an air of silence. Bravo.

train car

We headed off then for some entertainment in the form of The Double R club cabaret and burlesque show.  Benjamin Louche opened the show with a mimed version of ‘My Prayer’. We were treated to a striptease from Eliza Deelite, Diane the Secretary getting off one being bossed about by her Agent Cooper and Julee Cruiseship gave a hilarious cabaret performance of her hits. The Woodsman seemed a little confused, he just wanted to crush heads. Then Em Brulee sang ‘Shadow’ by The Chromatics and ‘Sycamore Trees’ by Little Jimmy Scott and completely blew us all away. Her voice rang out in the great hall echoing through our souls. What a performance!

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Next then was Sunday’s costume competition and once again there were some blinding efforts!

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And the winner was Adriano as Julee Cruise who was just spectactular!

adriano

Then came the Q&A with the cast. Every single one of them were thrilled to be there, to be involved in something so incredible. Michael Horse said he always knew that Twin Peaks would blow all other television out of the water and that Series 3 would too.  When he saw Kyle dressed as Mr.C on set he knew it was going to be good.

Debbie Zoller the makeup artist for the new series was there, she has worked with Lynch and Sabrina since Lost Highway. Debbie was responsible for creating Naido and The Drunk in the cell, she had a lot of fun with him and was thrilled to see so many people dressed up as her creations. She did not create the Frogmoth though, that was all Lynch. She also let slip, much to Sabrina’s hilarious frustration, that there would be a behind the scenes section of the Blu-Ray and DVD of Series 3 to be released in December, so we may see a lot more of how all our favourite weird characters were conjured up.

Michael Horse spoke of his sadness at losing his friend Catherine Coulson.  He didn’t film any of their scenes with her, he filmed his part after her passing, but he made sure that he honoured her. It was his way of saying goodbye.

Sabrina revealed that it was always going to be Lucy that shot Coopers Doppelganger and that she and Andy are very special. Make of that what you will!

Sherilyn was asked about her thoughts on Audrey’s dance and she said that it was awkward, but it was always awkward! But that it was also nice that after everything she had been through she had a place where she felt safe, that she could escape to into her own world. Her views were just her own but that she couldn’t play the role without trying to understand some part of it. She felt Audrey’s story paralleled reality in that we are living in a world that is so difficult right now and it feels like the flame is turned up and its more intense than it has ever been. That we have a lot of prisons in our own mind, whether we create them, or society or how we grew up forms them – she completely related to Audrey. For her the most revealing thing was her reflection in the mirror, “Who am I? Where am I?”.

James Marshall revealed that ‘Just You’ came about as Lynch heard that he was a musician/guitarist and wanted him to play in the show. They decided to do a 1950’s style number in falsetto, James was not a singer so he struggled with it, and he felt it was cringeworthy – it is cringeworthy! but it is beautiful and it fits.  When Lynch told him that he would sing it again for Series 3 he was so excited to be able to sing it at his normal pitch, then Lynch revealed it was going to be exactly the same version as the first time, his face dropped and turned white. Poor James! Haha!

Sabrina was asked what the first and last scenes filmed were.  The first was Doc Hayward (Warren Frost with) with Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) over Skype at the Sheriffs station.  Presumably because Warren’s health was deteriorating, I am glad that he got to film before his passing. The last scene was in Paris, the ‘Monica Belluci Dream’.

cast crew

It was wonderful to hear from them all, they felt like friends. They were of course given a standing ovation at the end and you could see Michael Horse’s eyes twinkling with tears.  They left the hall but still managed to take time out for photos in The Glass Box.

cast in box

My girlfriends stayed on in the hall to watch Fire Walk With Me – for them watching this on the Big Screen gave them some closure after the difficult open ending of Series 3. It’s all part of a puzzle, but we know that Laura gets to see her angel, that is the true ending.  It may just take a while for Cooper to find the right path to that particular destiny.

Instead of watching the film, I went off to play Twingo! (that’s right Twin Peaks Bingo!) Alas I didn’t win anything this time, but it was a game of chance, and luck is not often my friend. It was brilliantly and hilariously hosted by Ben Louche and Rose Thorne of the Double R Club.

DJ Yoda played The Roadhouse next – a set with music from Lynch which was superb and got everyone up on a swaying dance floor. Somewhere during this hazy period (too many blue drinks and coffee liqueur shots I’d imagine) I ended up inside the Black Lodge. Here I stumbled across my new pals re-enacting scenes from that very place. The Evolution of The Arm peered over us unapprovingly.  I can’t remember laughing this much in a very long time and after the last few months it was exactly the tonic I needed.  So I would like to say a massive thank you to every single one of you that made this weekend better than I could ever have imagined. I was so sad to say goodbye, but there’s always next year!

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With love and thanks to Cheryl Lee Latter, Jeannie Valentine, Christian Hartleben, Andreas Halskov, Emilie Declerck, Mario de Filippo, Blake Morrow, Thor Amli, Noah Saftig, Luke Shaw, Stewart Gardiner, Mark O’Brien, George Teed, Mario Juengling, Jess Purser, Veronica Dyreng, Frank Gronogue, Mirella Derks, Kerstin Tietz, Thomas Kaiser, Fluffy & JJ, Scott & Jennifer Ryan and of course Lindsey Bowden the Producer of this incredible event, and all her Team who worked so hard to make this a roaring success.

2 Replies to “The Twin Peaks UK Festival 2017 – We Live Inside a Dream Come True”

  1. Awww, thank you so much for writing this detailed report. I couldn’t be there and now I feel like I was a little bit. I definitely want to make it next year and it feels good to know that people are inclusive towards people who come for the first time. I already know some people through Twitter now #Bookhousebabes, so hope to meet you all next year!

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  2. Great post! I really enjoyed the festival too. Like you, it’s been a difficult year personally and Twin Peaks has been something to hold on to and look forward to, and going to the festival was the perfect way to top that off. I bought my ticket very last-minute, and I’m so glad I did. It was only really on the second day that I got chatting to other fans (people seemed less approachable the first day, maybe because I came with a friend), and that was really great. I actually felt pretty overwhelmed (in a good way) by the end of the second day. I felt like I’d been wrapped up in this lovely warm, welcoming cocoon and I didn’t want it to end! I’m definitely going to do my best to go next year and make it a tradition, and I’ll book early and go for the VIP ticket, as that seemed like better value for money than the regular ticket (once you add in the cost of signings, etc).

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