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David Lynch interview: 'There is something so incredibly cosmically magical about curtains'

Celebrated film director David Lynch talks about his love of curtains, coffee and photographing derelict factories

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'Untitled (Łódź)', 2000

© Collection of the artist

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'Untitled (England)', late 1980’s/early 1990s

© Collection of the artist

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'Untitled (Łódź)', 2000

© Collection of the artist

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'Untitled (England)', late 1980’s/early 1990s

© Collection of the artist

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'Untitled (Łódź)', 2000

© Collection of the artist

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'Untitled (Los Angeles)', 1980

© Collection of the artist

Cinematic surrealist David Lynch is more than a director, musician and coffee connoisseur: his debut photography exhibition opens in London this week at the Photographers Gallery. The rarely interviewed renaissance man tells us ten things you didn't know about his life and career.

He was a Londoner... but only for a year.
'I was working in London on "The Elephant Man" for a year almost to the day. My lasting memory is of Gun Wharf and the London docks. But within a year of finishing, they started tearing down so many places we had shot in. Urban renewal meant that all the old places - which had this tremendous mood - were just disappearing. It was a big, big sadness for me, but that's the way it goes.'

Crispy-fried seaweed floats his boat.
'During post-production of "The Elephant Man" I moved to Twickenham and I would go to the local Peking Chinese restaurants. I was in seventh heaven every time I had the crispy-fried seaweed: one bite of that and you leave your body.'

Everyone could wake up to a David Lynch coffee.
'The "David Lynch Signature Cup" blend of coffee is really good: that's what I drink all day. Whole Foods Market in the US has started stocking it, but only in 20 stores on a trial basis. So go to your Whole Foods store and say: "Listen, Jack, I want you to sell the David Lynch Signature Cup." That would be a real help.'


Curtains are a big draw for him.
'I don't know where it came from, but I love curtains. There is something so incredibly cosmically magical about curtains opening and revealing a new world. It resonates on a deep level with people.'

'Nightclub designer' is on his CV.
'I had a part in the interior design of the Silencio club in Paris. Its name was inspired by "Mullholland Drive". But truthfully, I'm not a club person at all - I don't like to go out at night. I like to stay home.'

Despite releasing two albums, he's no musician.
'I'm not really a musician even though I play. I would be petrified to perform in front of people. I have so much admiration for great musicians who can play the same thing over and over and it's still beautiful - they're born for that. I'm in more of a studio band: we build music. It's a different thing.'

Taking pictures gets him high.
'Still photography for me grew out of filmmaking: you see this thing through the lens and you just get filled with euphoria. It's an amazing art form: I especially love William Eggleston, Joel-Peter Witkin and Diane Arbus.'

He sees beauty in derelict factories.
'I grew up in the north-west of America where there are no factories at all - just woods and farms. But my mother was from Brooklyn, so when I was little we used to go there and I got a taste for a certain kind of architecture and a feeling for machines and smoke and fear. To me, the ideal factory location has no real nature, except winter-dead black trees and oil-soaked earth. Time disappears when I'm shooting in a factory, it's really beautiful.'

Lucky Londoners will be the first people to clap eyes on his images.
'It's the first time these photos have been shown publicly. This Photographers' Gallery show grew out of "The Factory Photographs" book.'

He's a regular box-set fan just like the rest of us (rumours suggest his seminal 'Twin Peaks' will be released on Blu-ray this year).
'It's true. I love "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men".'

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