David Lynch is the YouTuber 2020 Desperately Needs

In this dark and twisted year, filmmaker and artist David Lynch has turned to YouTube to inform and baffle in equal measure.

You don’t need me to tell you that 2020 is a terrible year. It sucks. And thankfully, it’s almost over. Yet there have been some bright lights in the darkness, and at the top of my list of the year’s much needed wholesome endeavours is something I never thought I’d see: David Lynch as a daily YouTuber. The filmmaker’s YouTube channel “DAVID LYNCH THEATER” had previously been used as an archive for some of his short films, but starting this past May, Lynch has been posting at least two videos a day, becoming my favourite YouTuber in the process.

During these trying times of pandemics and lockdowns, consistency is vital. You need a schedule. Something to stop the days rolling into one another and time itself losing all meaning, as we’re occupants of the Red Room or confusedly asking “what year is this?”. Lynch has given me this each day with a weather report for a city half the world away and a random number plucked from a glass jar. As with most of Lynch’s projects, you’re left pondering the why of it all, but I think that David is not only creating these videos for us eager fans, but to create some work and consistency for him too.

I live very far away from Los Angeles and yet, each day, I crave Lynch’s weather reports from the ‘City of Angels’. Lasting usually around a minute, he describes the weather conditions (often “blue skies and golden sunshine all along the way”) in his unique tone and lovable style. Often, he’ll recommend a song, or describe a nostalgic musical encounter, of which he has many. Maybe Lynch will offer a veiled comment on the US election or place a specially painted ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign in the background, but he never lingers on world events that would distract from his precise temperature measurements.

Soon after, Lynch will upload his second video of the day, which offers a contrast between a locked script and a random number. I’ve watched every ‘episode’ to date and speak the words along with David. “Here we go for today’s number. It’s (insert date here). Ten balls. Each ball has a number. Numbers one through ten. Swirrrlll the numbers. Pick a number. Today’s number is…” And then he picks today’s number and the video ends. I don’t know why it’s so addictive and reassuring but it is. I’m desperate to know what today’s number is, and then desperate to know what tomorrow’s number will be when the video ends. Why is Lynch picking a number? What does the number mean? I have no idea and it doesn’t matter.

It’s a joy to see David Lynch bring his singular brand of eccentricity to YouTube, as well as his charm. I’ve always felt that Lynch is the right level of self-aware and these videos confirm it. He knows his perception by fans and the public at large but he doesn’t play into it too much. It’s all genuine. Watching and commenting with fellow fans of all things Lynchian is also part of the fun. While it’s silly and useless, it’s difficult not to read too far into things and obsess over minor details. He has a stray hair today! My God, he’s started wearing a new hat! What does it all mean? Is it a subtle clue to another return to Twin Peaks? The answer, obviously, is always no. But such minor things as logic and facts won’t stop us hypothesising. Even his bloopers when he forgets a step in picking a number and laughs are under scrutiny, and hilarious.

The comment section was also the location of “The Great Wes Saga of 2020”. As David continued picking numbers each day, the absence of the number seven became a noticeable mystery. This prompted a now fabled commenter named “Wes W” to type “Man if tomorrow’s not a 7 I’m going to lose it” every day until a seven was picked, garnering hundreds of likes each time. On that fateful day, weeks later, Lynch himself said “By golly Wes, it’s a seven” when he plucked the number out of the jar for the first time. And yet, Wes never responded. He hasn’t commented since. We don’t know what happened to him or whether he ever saw that ball marked with a seven rise from its glass prison. Maybe he did actually lose it or Lynch’s mentioning of him was too much to handle. David acknowledging the comments was a big deal. Although, I find it hard to believe he actually reads them, and especially hard to think Lynch edits and uploads the videos himself. I imagine that’s his producer Sabrina Sutherland’s doing.

These videos, as well as his occasional DIY escapades, have helped enormously with the struggle of lockdown and will tide me over until Lynch’s next major project, which is rumoured to be a Netflix series titled “Wisteria”. It’ll be his first original series since Twin Peaks back in 1990. For now, I’m content with his next weather report and whatever today’s number will be. I’m guessing it’ll be a three. What say you?

Are you a subscriber to David Lynch’s YouTube channel? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.

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