The James Clayton Column: David Lynch - full of beans

News James Clayton 15 Apr 2010 - 11:09

How about buying a David Lynch signature cup of coffee? James has suggestions for how other directors' favourite cups could turn out, too...

I am a tea man. Tea is my beverage of choice when I need a warm drink, instant liquid stimulation or something to keep me awake through the saggy bits of old war flicks. Yes, Mad Hatter I would like another cup of tea. T'would be lovely.

Aligned with the chi, coffee, on the other hand, isn't my cup of tea (you know what I mean). I personally don't like the taste, plus I've heard the horror stories about caffeine-induced cardiac arrest. I've got visions of someone sitting in Caffè Nero and having a freakout like something out of The Thing after downing several espressos and an overpriced raspberry muffin. Drink too much coffee and you end up like a twitchy extra in a spaghetti western.

If anything can change my mind, though, it's the intervention of an infamous film industry figure stamping their good name over the unappealing article in question. Consequently, the man who may be able to make me give the java bean a go is David Lynch. He's already successfully screwed my mind beyond repair. I'll never be able to forget the trauma of watching Blue Velvet for the first time. Without doubt, the curious quiff and the unnerving intellect that exists beneath it could make me reconsider coffee.

We already knew that the director of Eraserhead, Dune and Mulholland Drive likes transcendental meditation and Twitter. Now we also know that, when he's not capturing disturbing images on camera to make film students the world over raise their eyebrows, he's enjoying a good cup of organic coffee.

His special signature blend, The David Lynch Signature Cup, can now be purchased on the auteur's personal website. You can choose ground or whole beans and opt for decaf if you're worried about hitting the ceiling or having a heart attack that looks like something out of The Thing.

In terms of flavour, there are Organic French Roast, Organic House or Organic Espresso ranges available. Altogether, it's clear that the Blue Velvet director cares and the brand slogan lifted from Inland Empire - "It's all in the beans... and I'm just full of beans" - is testament to his enthusiasm for authentic coffee. Even if Lynch being "full of beans" sounds like a particularly sinister outtake from Eraserhead, the concept has captured my imagination.

Even as a tea junkie hostile to the java bean, I'm inclined to buy some of the signature blend for the sheer value of having a cult piece of movie-related merchandise. A box of Lynch's signature blend would also, no doubt, make a nice kitchen decoration and conversation starter at dinner parties.

The website, marketing and impassioned motivation is there, but the proof of the cup of coffee is in the drinking. The key issue is whether anyone would want to cough up $11.95 for an 8-ounce package of product from the man who began his film career by showing us a bawling mutated baby. What, I wonder, does Lynch's special brew taste like?

I'm no coffee connoisseur, but I fear that drinkers of the David Lynch Signature Cup will get a disorientating experience similar to Mulholland Drive. It all seems sweet, frothy and wholesome, but next thing you know you have a nauseous feeling and no idea what the hell you're ingesting. It's dark, suffocating and you're not sure if you like it. All you know is that your throat is dry, it tastes like something has decomposed between your lips and you're left with lingering bad dreams.

Alternatively, the whole experience could be closer to Eraserhead, with the drinker left in a horrendously disturbed state, hair on end, ears ringing and cheeks puffed out like the Lady in the Radiator.

Perhaps David Lynch isn't the best person to allow their own signature beverage. If the obscure auteur's beans have the same kind of impact his movies do, then it probably isn't healthy to indulge in a cup of his signature blend.

Nevertheless, there's a coffee chain on every corner and caffeine-crazed movie geeks thirsting for more.

Because there are, apparently, no new ideas in Hollywood and because filmmakers know a lot about coffee, seeing as it keeps them going through those long shooting days, I'd say that a different director could easily be found and crowned the Coffee King of Hollywood.

To the beanfreaks and craven coffee corporations looking to cash in on the Auteur Theory, here are my pitches for some alternative filmmaker signature ranges that may be safer than David Lynch's...

Alfred Hitchcock

From the director of Dial M For Murder and Vertigo comes a full-bodied blend of class and creamy elegance. Praised as a high-quality hot drink of British heritage, the truth is that its side effects linger on and on with drinkers left highly strung for days on end.

Peter Jackson

From the director of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and Heavenly Creatures comes a cup of coffee that seems to only offer a hairy splattering of heat on first taste. Give it time to mature, however, and what eventually emerges - in part thanks to New Zealand-based production utilising cutting-edge technology - is immense grandeur and fantastically frothy goodness.

Sam Peckinpah

From the director of The Wild Bunch and Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia comes a hard and heady brew with a sharp, violent edge. An ugly exterior and suspect ingredients don't detract from the fact that this raw and traditional blend has a sweet streak of sentimentality at its heart. The taste of the Old West - dusty, rough and comforting.

Wes Anderson

From the director of The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited comes an unusual bittersweet blend, independently produced and composed of colourful handpicked ingredients. It looks light and tastes detached, but upon savouring, the drinker realises something quite profound and heartwarming. The recipe probably has Kinks, but that's not a bad thing at all.

Quentin Tarantino

From the director of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction comes a mix of obscure exotic ingredients mixed together into an energising blend presented in a kitschy cup. Topped with Jackie Brown chocolate sprinkles and prepared with intelligence and enthusiasm, side effects are allegedly violence and talking and talking and talking for hours on end. Accept no substitutes.

Put the faces and signatures of those directors all over the box and I might consider coffee. Otherwise, forget about it. March Hare, could you please pass the teapot?

James' previous column can be found here.

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