In The Guardian’s Guide on Saturday, Jacques Peretti wrote about sheds, apparently flavour of the season in the worlds of fashion and style (it’s entirely possible this article is on the site somewhere, but I couldn’t find it). This reminded me of something from Lynch on Lynch (US, UK) that I’d read only the day before. A hidden, dark and terrifying side to David Lynch…
Chris Rodley: What else were you doing at the time [after Eraserhead], besides writing?
David Lynch: I was building sheds, and whenever you can build a shed, you’ve got it made.
That’s probably a very personal thing, I’m not sure!
Well, they’re small houses and they can be used for storage, and they can be used for little places to be. As soon as you capture some space and design how the shape of it is, moods start occurring, light starts playing on the wall, and just to see it happening is unbelievable! [Laughs.] I like to build things, and I like to collect things. And when you collect things, you need a place to put them. I built a very elaborate little studio shed out of found wood. But you never have the right tool for the job, and that’s always been a frustration. I wish I could build everything on my movies, but that would take for ever. Like Eraserhead. But I’m such a frustrated shed builder!
My landlord, Edmund Horn, was also a collector of wood. He was a very strange guy. He was a concert pianist and travelled with Gershwin. He started playing when he was three — a child prodigy — and he came out here in the thirties to California and started buying up real estate because he had all this extra money. So he became a very eccentric millionaire, and he would walk everywhere he went and he would dress like a bum. The bum in Eraserhead is wearing one of Edmund’s sweaters, filled with holes. And he would shave his armpits with rain water! He would watch colour TV in his kitchen at night under the light of a forty-watt builb. Every other light in the house was out. He was a real miser, and he would collect wood from trash around and he developed, over the years, huge piles of really good wood, which I talked him into letting me use for my sheds.
And then my paper route took me through two different zip codes and Wednesday and Thursday nights, say, were trash night, and people throw away a lot of good wood. And to me a stick of wood was like a stick of gold, it was so expensive. I had a rack on my car four feet by eight feet and I had tons of rope so I’d just strap it on and off I’d go. It was hard for me to stop, because I’d try to get my route down to under one hour, but all this wood was extremely important. I could plan to build things with what I had. Since then, all my sheds, Edmund’s house and my little bunglaow in back have been bulldozed and it’s just a vacant lot.