Fictions/Selection/Dan Shea





The Monolith Cocktail has coaxed a number of guest spot contributions from the impassioned and adroit musician/writer Dan Shea during the year. Roped into his family’s lo fi cult music business, The Bordellos, from a young age, the candid but humble maverick has gone onto instigate the chthonian Vukovar (currently working through a trio of ‘greatest hits’ packages here) and, with one part of that ever-shambling post-punk troupe, musical foil Buddy Preston, the seedy bedsit synth romantics Beauty Stab (who’ve just this week released their second single ‘French Film Embrace’, here)

An exceptional talent (steady…this is becoming increasingly gushing) both in composing and songwriting, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is also a dab hand at writing. For his debut, Dan shared a grand personal ‘fangirl’ purview of major crush, the late Rowland S. Howard (which can be found here), on the eve of Mute Records appraisal style celebration reissue of his highly influential cult albums ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ and ‘Pop Crimes’. This was followed by an often difficult, unsettling, potted with dark comedy, read on Dan’s friend and foil Simon Morris (of the Ceramic Hobs infamy; the piece can be read here), who took his own life last year.

Now, from his lockdown quarantine, Dan has been providing us with a weekly series of ‘imaginary film screening jukebox’ selections come loose horror and increasingly unfathomable Lynchian, cloaked autobiographical, fictions.



PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love

 

I often wish I was PJ Harvey. Less now than when I was a teenager but every time I play this album I find myself wondering what it must be like to exist as that androgynous thug femme fatale archetype. Could any man, woman or anyone else resist me if I could step into that role? This Southern Gothic fog clotted with lust that spills out of my speakers. 

 

I played it to Ronnie and she looked back at me blankly, a dog being taught a card trick. This was the first time she was alive. That mask of canine indifference infuriated me. This was the beginning of the cracks forming in our relationship.

 

I played it to Gretchen, sorry, Gersten. We danced in monochrome around the living room. Very slowly. I remembered just now. She’s not been in touch so I have to put matches out on myself. It’s not as satisfying a burn as cigarettes but I’m not buying cigarettes just to put out on myself. That’s a step too far.

 

“You know he’s gonna be here”

 

The voice cracks and strains. I close my eyes and imagine a mountain range. She atop it, undulating. She could cause an avalanche.

 

Selfish, Little folds her hands and the world disappears. She yawns in slow motion and lullaby chimes hang all around us. I bat away the weaponised nostalgia the monkey in my back clawing at my veins. 

 

Endless futile arguments, drunkenness on trains.

 

The holes in the sky and the holes in my arms bleed out imagined futures but our bodies always lie.

 

The world was growing too loud for us. We had to escape into our record collections and the books we swapped between each other like holy texts. On a rainy afternoon, March 7PM, the world was ours.

 

Bring you my love”

 

I dreamt of Simon last night. I was on my way to a fetish shoot in Brighton. I stopped in a pub in London and sat down with a pint of something dark and fruity (like me, hohoho) when he came over and nudged me, getting in my face in that way of his.

 

“Fancy seeing you here”

 

Tears pricked Dan’s eyes in the dream as he pointed out that Simon was dead. Simon offered a characteristically long winded and nonsensical explanation before bringing us over another drink. We had a few, chatting about the future of some band he’d been working with called Vukovar.

 

Oh yeah I know the singer too Simon

 

We also talked about Kate McCann’s book among other things. He gave one of his reading lists then said “I’ve got a short cut to where you’re going follow me!”. So we walked out the back of the pub down an alleyway and stepped into the back garden of the woman I’d intended to meet. I turned around to thank him and he was gone.

 

It’s another one of those dreams I prefer to my waking life. 

 

6

2

1



HTRK – Rent Boy

 

An overhead shot of us, a rotating ceiling fan pan. My hallway, you should see it.

 

She’s next to me, head slumped on my shoulder. She sees only static but I’m watching the movie I told you about it even with my eyes open. She encourages me to dream with my eyes open. Saviour. Supplanter. Your film noir heroine, cock sucking seraphim. 

 

Ellroy Steers was a good man. He’d worked for the Farrow corporation since school and had worked his way up in this Kafka-esque organisation to be head of pencil sharpening.

 

Pulaski told him about the incident. He’d found a cassette tape in a fridge in the alley behind his flat. He would transcribe the contents for Ellroy to feed back to Farrow.

 

A strange look of fear came over the older man’s face. He expressed an interest in having the contents delivered as soon as possible. He knew what was on the mixtape but he never let on. I couldn’t place the actor playing him but he looked an awful lot like Harry Dean Stanton. The same soulful crags in his hangdog face.

 

As soon as Pulaski left, Steers placed a pencil up each nostril and head butted the desk. It was to send a signal to Pulaski not to mess with forces he didn’t understand. The holes in the sky grew wider above a canine population and no one stirred at all.

 

Even though she couldn’t see the action onscreen G was enthralled. Damn, I’m a lucky man. I swear I REDACTED SUPPLANTER could give the whole thing up for her.

 

pause the film and kiss her, the blood rushing in my veins. Like our lips were molten. My hands in hers. I want there to be tenderness in this. Not like it is with our clients or when we have an audience. My lips and tongue trace a map of desire over her milk white skin. I whisper my name into the depths of her. This is golden, this is molten. I want to melt into her.

 

It’s always going to be a little sordid. Do I want to be her or do I want to fuck her? It’s both as it is, for me, with most women. I want to purge myself of some of my toxic masculinity, but I feel every time we collide I sap some of their beauty from them. Their minds contain many rooms and I paint as many of them as I can. As Ellroy’s blood spills out of my TV and pools on the carpet I am whole.

 

I was telling you about the ritual last week, wasn’t I? Well to be exact that I don’t remember it. Just the whole incident when I was walking walking walking naked through a nightmare. Well I awoke in an invisible pool outside the HACK DOOR. Muddy fingerprints on the handle and a peculiar ashen scent. I turned and stepped in and there she was, sat in the living room. The prized forsaken angelangel returns.



Brian Eno – Sparrowfall

 

R was sat peacefully gazing at the switched off TV with a blank expression I read as a smile. No definition I can find

 

“But you’re dead. I’d dreamed of this. Are my dreams becoming my life? Did I succeed when I last tried? There must be more to that than this.”

 

She looked back at me. That same blank look that used to drive me nuts. I missed it. I gathered her up in my arms and held her to my somehow still beating heart and begged her never to die again. At least not until I had. I cried and cried a whole ghost. I missed her more than I understood and now she was back. I didn’t see the sense in her leaving the first time around and for her to return was more than any mortal mind could bear. 

 

But then I looked at her and took in the dim light in her eyes like the light from distant ships. She smelled of ash, coagulant phlegm from eyes that may be my own, and stank of the second hand regret seeping from her pores. Towards the end how I’d resented her weakness.

 

She was my super hero. She had saved my life many times over. Held my hair when I was throwing up, soothed the knife point pain and helped remove the sting of the abuse I’d suffered. I hated her for needing help when she was the one I always turned to. I had nowhere else to turn.

 

“I can’t control these feelings if I tried”

 

My hand formed a fist in her hair. Her voice pure blurred sound. I think she said it yeah yeah yeah but how could you even tell the fucking difference? She just looked back at me not fully comprehending. But how I’d missed that body. No flesh but hers. No flesh but hers. Viva la muerte. 

 

She could never respond properly, the dumb pony soldier. When she was alive it was apathy. Now it was a mute acquiescence but I’d made a vow. When I said til death do us part I’d meant mine not hers. Why else after she went a second time do you think I went after another woman who looked exactly like her?

 

The lullaby chimes spill from my unvarnished marble heart, out of the holes ever widening. They pulsate convey fluid through the infant city. Blood will wash blood away. Gemma, baby, how did we fall so far? The lack revealed is what gets me going. The humiliation of the aggressor, splayed open, begetting the dull rhythmic thud of masturbation. 

 

“She would do something like this”

 

A colonialist simper. One finger in his mouth the other finger circling his nipple. Halting middle class closet case tones as he tells his beard wife all about the new breakthrough in the next quarter, that’s, like, rilly rilly good as I fantasise about garrotting him and sending a picture of his corpse to the idiot kids he spawned. I picture a piss stain spreading across his expensive beige slacks. Blood money. 

 

“She would do something like this”

 

Where being rich and white is a license to go and fuck kids overseas. In the evening you all bathed each other’s kids. Your letter was only the start of it. One letter and now you’re a part of it. To the pure all things are pure. Images scroll through your head of the perfect little paper stitch twat torn apart.

 

You would say that about your own daughter you pig you waste you whore yawning for your price.  

 

I hope come the revolution someone eats your stupid fucking useless eyes out of your “living” face while you’re still defending white supremacists and transphobes “valid concerns”. I hope your husband chokes on the dick of the next Grindr hookup behind your back and is deposited neatly on a dark street, just another hit and run. A punch in the face that smashed through to the other side, sculpting the play dough form into another vignette of my toxic masculinity. I’m ashamed of being ashamed. 

 

Sha la la la man. Why don’t you slip away?



Rosie & The Originals – Angel Baby

 

30 years old her first hangover. I introduce her to the concept of the hair of the dog over a fancy veggie breakfast in Manchester. For once she’s drinking and I’m not. I’m a bad influence on this girl as she is to me: but she only got me into different strands of BDSM and ambient music and I’ve got her into something that rots your liver. I feel like I don’t deserve her but I feel that way about women most of the time. Men on the other hand – scum. I’m such a homophobe that I have in the past subjected gay men to the torment of being in a relationship with me.

 

Note – bisexual erasure is not just a neat phrase to describe the way bi people are treated but to describe the band Erasure. 

 

Angel Baby is one of those solid gold pop records you can play on a loop and weep to with what is neither joy nor sorrow. It takes me to that diner on Ronnie’s 30th. The quiet booth in the corner where she’d tenderly take my hand and reassure me as the world kept growing louder. The concept of having fries with breakfast seeming impossibly decadent to my provincial Northern mind. The record wasn’t playing in the memory but as I write it it was. I dunno what was really playing I prefer to remember things my way.

 

There’s something romantic to me about impersonal concrete structures, the kind of rain you only really get in the North and the unpleasant humidity that subsides when you step into her bedroom and slide into her bed. You’ve earned the solace of her arms now. There’s no nobility in it but you can dream. You can even imagine yourself to be the Oscar Wilde of Fetlife.

 

When the vinyl warps and cracks through that ancient system I’m in Gonesville. The dreaminess of Rick singing Lonesome Town, Elvis singing Blue Moon or Barney singing Dream Attack. These are the songs that saved my life.



Kanye West – FML

 

First of all this is one of the biggest pop stars in the world sampling Section 25. That’s something.

 

Second of all, it’s one of the biggest popstars in the world discussing being bipolar. “You ain’t seen nothing crazier than this n***a when he off his LexaPro”.

 

This has nothing to do with Lynch just given my reference to him last episode I wanted to continue my support. Of this multi millionaire. Sickening. Nothing dates like sincerity.



Fad Gadget – Ideal World

 

Oh yeah. The blood spilling out of my TV wasn’t so much of a worry. Worse things happen. I mean I’ve seen the much resented woman of my dreams disappear down a plug hole. The first time she left I knew she must have hated me.

 

You know I just found her. She didn’t even leave a note. Used to be she left a note if she just was going to the shop. So I know at that late stage she despised me. I don’t blame her. I was a waste of skin and teeth. She was in a better place so why did she return just to SPIDERCRAWL leave me again?

 

Me and her second incarnation watched Blue by Derek Jarman and ripple echoes of the old her I felt them. She always loved Jarman. She identified a lot with gay men. She loved queers like me. Her gaze at the ceaseless blue became less spectral. I looked into her eyes and l saw my own reflected in hers. Eyes. It’s always about eyes.

 

Sat in a field before I resigned from that job. I was very handsome. A grinning dog disappeared into a summer haze. A yellow dog with huge, ostentatious teeth. I don’t believe I hallucinated that disappearance into undergrowth. The yellow dog trailing the black dog. I finished my veggie burger and went back to the call centre I worked in that resembled a prison complex. 

 

Back to the afternoon with the Mute book. Some very attractive Irish girls sat with me. I saw myself, handsome but childlike and non threatening, the way I did. Truth be told I envied the bench the blonde one was sat on. Then I went home and pissed Rotten sorry Ronett off.

 

I enjoy the hallways of buildings like that at night. The suicides they sweep under the rug echo back at me. I feel the whisper of the axe and the voices of dead I have loved. I smile at you, vacant. Ingratiating. Watch me jackknife the moon as I smile shaking into your breast. No one is unforgettable. But in a piss stinking basement in June 2018 we overturned the world. 



Mr Bungle – Pink Cigarette

 

I’m going to see this woman in Blackpool and I don’t know why. I’m sat next to a very pretty red haired twink and thinking “I’d rather be hooking up with him”. Looking across the carriage there’s a guy who looks like a low rent low res Francis Bacon Pope, and as he gets off at Poulton le Fylde all those connections are made and I realise why. 

 

I’m nodding off, day drunk on day dreams but he’s here. He’s the man behind the screen pulling the strings. If only he could offer me a shortcut out of my nightmares into someone else’s. Me and Dan the boyband singer met up again. I think he’s in love with me. How embarrassing for at least one of us. Handsome guy but he smells weird.

 

Imagine a version of Back To The Future where Marty McFly went back in time and molested himself as a teenager. Is that just masturbation? How do you punish the crime without blaming the victim?

 

If all Mike Patton’s back catalogue sounded like Pink Cigarette he’d be my favourite person. He does the Double R diner atmos really well. I slow danced with Gersten to this as well. Then a client showed up and my soul died a little more. I’m in negative equity as regards my soul at this point. 

 

So I can’t help but see the parallels: Pulaski discovered a cassette in a fridge behind his flat and I did as well. It’s almost as if someone is watching me. Man, I need to block the windows and cover the mirrors again clearly. Wrap up the knives as well. Nothing reflective can be trusted.

 

“She would do something like this”

 

I’m. Not. A. Misogynist. 

 

“Can you tell what it is yet?”

 

I’m just fashionably late. 

 

“Your letter was only the start of it”

 

5

4.48

0.52

 

It ends when three reduce to one. 

 

Pulaski and Sam walk off in the direction of a warehouse. Sam, prone to hand dance gestures and the chimes the chimes the chimes has no idea what’s in store for her. They walk past a disused Christian book shop. The continent is burning. The witnesses are burning. The world sighs, steeple red and blood dark.Precious Selfish Little yawns and me I’m in this dream place. 

 

Imagine her spider crawl along YOUR ceiling. Would you be happy? Or would you lose your mind as I have? 

 

Lingering in the Tragic Life Stories section of WH Smiths. The newspapers releasing artfully cropped photos of true depravity. They leave the rest to “their” imaginations. The sickest pornography you can buy in a petrol station or pick up for free on a bus. To the pure all things are pure. They are aware of the audience they garner, never forget these sick fucks run the country.

 

I‘m not tranquil. I am tranquilised. This rage will never cease. Let the animals tear themselves to death. 

 

Blood oozing softly with a sub-bass pulsated from the bullet hole in Pulaski’s head after the shooting in the school. The snow fell, covering the nightmare. His head lay in the beloved lap of the man who would one day go looking for him.

 

I’ll let her speak with my voice. I’ll let her see through my eyes. I’ll devote the remains of me to ensuring I prevent as much harm against the innocent as possible. I would give it all up for her. Even if I have to die for it. 

Previous Episodes


Part One

Part Two

Part Three


FEATURE/SELECTION/Dan Shea





The Monolith Cocktail is ecstatic and grateful to have coaxed a guest spot contribution from the impassioned and adroit musician/writer Dan Shea. Roped into his family’s lo fi cult music business, The Bordellos, from a young age, the candid but humble maverick has gone onto instigate the chthonian Vukovar (currently working through a trio of ‘greatest hits’ packages here) and, with one part of that ever-shambling post-punk troupe, musical foil Buddy Preston, the seedy bedsit synth romantics Beauty Stab (who’ve just this week released their second single ‘French Film Embrace’, here)

An exceptional talent (steady…this is becoming increasingly gushing) both in composing and songwriting, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is also a dab hand at writing. For his debut, Dan shared a grand personal ‘fangirl’ purview of major crush, the late Rowland S. Howard (which can be found here), on the eve of Mute Records appraisal style celebration reissue of his highly influential cult albums ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ and ‘Pop Crimes’. This was followed by an often difficult, unsettling, potted with dark comedy, read on Dan’s friend and foil Simon Morris (of the Ceramic Hobs infamy; the piece can be read here), who took his own life last year.

Now, from his lockdown quarantine, Dan furnishes us with the first of his ‘imaginary film screening jukebox’ selections come loose horror fictions.



Surrender – Suicide

 

A Kenneth Anger motorbike gang, gay greasers checking their hair in the switchblade reflection. Using semen as Brylcreem. The homecoming queen dumped like so many empty bottles and cans.

Vega as Vegas.

The backing vocals drift in from a malt shop that was burned down by some queer bashers pre Stonewall and no one flinched. In a world where high school sweethearts go to a drive in to sneakily and fumblingly attempt autoerotic asphyxiation together as they watch Jayne Mansfield crash in slow motion.

When Vega sings, “I surrender to you”, it could be sex or God or just the voices shrieking through the tinfoil mirror of our synapses but aren’t all those things the same? Lynch would play this behind beehived girls in tight red sweaters first lesbian tryst behind a doughnut shop ran by Anton LaVey and Ricki Lake.

 

Which Way To Turn – Bryan Ferry

One of weird uncle David’s mystery blondes in trouble smiles from a smashed picture frame, a Stepford femme fatale. All the memory I can dredge up is here. Artfully hung and shot drapes blow in a late summer breeze. A heatwave desire and hungover regret. Blood on your lips, lipstick oozing out of your wounds. The plastic rum cups Mike gave us in the bar are overturned.

“I can’t control my feelings if I tried” sung with all the hauteur this high society Frankenstein can muster. Ferry is often spoken about as some style icon, ignoring how goofy he has frequently looked. See the Manifesto red leather suit, the Top of the Pops Jealous Guy Alan Partridge outfit or his giant shirt in The High Road. For ages I thought something was lost when he became the figure he started out parodying yet yearning to be on the first Roxy albums but that’s a lazy cliché.

This period is one of straw etching your initials in coke on a mixing desk, high-class session musicians playing three notes then disappearing. Some of my favourite stuff he did. The powder lasts an hour but the regret lingers eternal.

 

Lou Reed – Coney Island Baby

 

Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans

 

The personal connections are all but overwhelming here. I band these two together as Lynch used Lou on a soundtrack and Lana IS Dorothy Vallens and Frank Booth and Sandy and Jeffrey. She’s not just the mystery woman in trouble but the architect of your demise. Lou, he’s the man behind the curtain. Whispering these tracheotomy hymns through a straw, through a hole in your wall into your sleeping mind.

I’d put these back to back to dehydrate myself: Lou’s choked murmur of “I could give the whole thing up for you” will never not crumple me. Send this one out to Lou and Rachel, the romantic ideal of my nightmares.

 

Lydia Lunch – I Fell In Love With A Ghost

 

should’ve learned the lesson from Pet Sematary and Vertigo. I’d done all I could but she came back wrong. 

She didn’t reply to anything I said, other than as a series of strangled groans. I heard “yes” where I wanted to hear yes. The first time I caught her crawling spider like along my ceiling, mournfully unaware how she got there should’ve been the tip off. Or the way there was nothing behind her eyes. But even though she’d died and she was now just a beautiful empty vessel, she looked the same. I imagined her side of our conversation the way I did when she was still dead. 

Then she was in the bath. This was progress. She was able to wash herself. I supervised, to keep her safe and because I wanted to. She kept turning the hot tap. The bath water was boiling, smoke was rising and she was crying out pathetically. Water spilling over the edge of the bath. The screams got louder. I tried to turn the hot tap off and she lunged forward and head butted me with a force that sent me unconscious SPRAWLED. 

I came around in a pool of bloody water in time to watch the love of my life disappear down the plughole.

 

Cocteau Twins – Musette and Drums

 

Dylan and Patrick meet in a side street. The snow is still falling lightly, flakes landing on their black leather jackets. They embrace knowing this is truly the last time. The sound of traffic is all but overwhelming but there is not a car to be seen. 

They kiss and blood oozes from Dylan’s lips. He turns, walks away and disappears entirely into thin air. He is dragged out of the sea by trawlers, his arms tied behind his back and his eyes pierced by emeralds: “natural causes”.

Smoke enshrouds us as we reach the clearing. I take your hand and we kiss. The world is ending, the tiny grey pinpricks in the sky are opening up. Remember when I first told you I saw them? Be quiet, the ice is melting. 

 

Xiu Xiu – Botanica de Los Angeles

 

Gersten Hayward is turning tricks now and I want her for her mind as much as her body. That’s okay. I’m turning tricks as well. You get a discount for hiring us as a couple. If you look like a young David Lynch then I don’t charge. 

Her love is free to me and as for the whoring it keeps us in whiskey and hash browns. We watch Mulholland Drive together. She freezes, but not at the scene in the diner. Something suddenly clicks in her. 

“Dan?”

“Yes darling?”

“I’ve got the incredible feeling that I’m not real”

“Gersten I’ve been dreading this conversation. It is true that you are fictional. I am unsure if I am also fictional.”

“How did my mother birth a fiction?”

I show her the clip from The Return where she is cradling her ODing boyfriend and gently tell her that because he was never born he can never die. This is why I am largely anti natalist. Then a client comes by.

 

SSQ – Anonymous

 

The party is over and we watch the nightlife crop itself shorter still through a haze of smoke. A mute TV shows static, like pictures in the fire I just about make out the image of a screaming man watching an emaciated woman disappearing down a plughole. He is entirely naked and smearing his genitals with lipstick. 

Thankfully you / she steps in my way. A cigarette dangles from your drunken lips. You don’t even smoke. You in that black velvet dress. You turn around and bid me to unzip it, smiling at me. 

Then I wake up in their living room. Where I first heard this record. I thought it was a synth pop revivalist record. Something like the Chromatics where it’s so fetishistically close to that mid 80s sound you think it could only have been made in the last ten years. No. It’s actually from the mid 80s and prefaces her hi NRG records.

The girl is real but she wants nothing to do with me. She probably doesn’t even own a black velvet dress. Gersten hasn’t been returning my calls. Maybe I should try ringing her number.

 

Scott Walker – Jesse

 

It’s a shame Lynch and Walker never worked together as this always makes me think of Episode 8. The slow motion Jailhouse Rock chords make me imagine the earth opening itself up to weep. The Penderecki strings that have ran through Scott’s work since as early as Plastic Palace People or It’s Raining Today.

The 50s he dreams of never happened. They are an autistic reflection in a fish bowl. Elvis was weirder than anything you could ever dream up. We don’t deserve rock’n’roll.

I dreamt you were crawling through a tunnel looking for me. My stuck needle entreaties and iconoclast drag. I watch her crawl across the ceiling. I, your supplanter. 

Now I’m day drunk on daydreams on a train and an Indian man is shaking me. “We’ve terminated mate. The train is over”. My psychic next of kin I’d know you in my sleep. I, Supplanter.


BOOK REVIEW
Words: Dominic Valvona


Monolith Cocktail - The Secret History of Twin Peaks Novel


Mark Frost   ‘The Secret History Of  Twin Peaks’

Bridging the 25-year gap and obviously drumming up suspense and anticipation for the third series of Twin Peaks in 2017, Mark Frost’s unconventional “novel” seems to suggest the writer secretly hankered for a job on The X-Files during the fallow years in which the story lay dormant. Expanding the original show’s remit, which he co-wrote and conceptualized with David Lynch, Frost has elaborated on the history of the town, its characters and their backstories. But most notably he’s weaved an ever-larger cobweb of intrigue and conspiracy; all threads leading to the cover up of what might or might not be extraterrestrial activity.

Speculation has run riot, as it inevitably does; cast members announced, plotlines and narratives drip-fed over the Internet. We do know this for certain. The story will revolve around an unearthed mysterious purpose-built container and its archival contents; handed over to female FBI agent Tamara Preston along with all of agent Dale Cooper’s notes on the murder – that sparked the whole sorry tale – of Laura Palmer. Sanctioned by “Coop” and Preston’s superior Chief Gordon Cole (played by Lynch himself in the series), our investigator must pour over the rich display of concatenate notes, scribbling her own footnotes in the margin; authenticating, alluding to more information or admitting they’re plain stumped as to what the hell is going on. All the time we the reader must wait until the final reveal; kept guessing as to both the author’s identity and the person who added their own narrative and stored these files in the first place. The reader then, is a mere observer, a voyeur; this report on a report only ever meant for a selective few.


Monolith Cocktail - The Secret History Of Twin Peaks


Transcripts, cuttings, reports, letters and various clues all pieced together in a chronological timeframe feature a loose plotline by this mysterious guiding hand. Written as a quasi alternative history, Frost manages to embrace every one of the central tenants of the conspiracy theorem: the obligatory assassination of JFK, the Roswell UFO crash and, in this case, the centuries old struggle between an altruistic Freemasonry and its malcontent counterpart the Illuminati (incidentally symbolized by the owl) all make guest appearances. Tracing a psychogeography style story that stretches right back to the birth of America and pulls in the legendary explorers of the country’s undiscovered West, Lewis and Clark, real events are weaved into an intriguing tapestry; all of which originate from the unassuming Washington State pine wood hideaway of Twin Peaks.

Events of the last century however are more or less tied to the shady fortunes of Colonel Douglas Milford, one half of the incorrigible Twin Peaks Milford brothers. Fans of the series will have last seen poor Douglas sprawled out with a smile on his face after suffering a fatal heart attack on his wedding night. His betrothed, the extremely young intoxicative temptress Lana Budding (the “Milford widow”) if you remember kept the town’s menfolk in jaw-dropping awe, yet her backstory was never really explored; other than the fact this southern belle was probably on the make, her motives remained obscure, but after reading this novel may have been a lot darker. From a brush with a strange owl-like figure in the woods as a scoutmaster in the 1920s to placing him at the scene of near enough every recorded and unrecorded “close encounter” and alien abduction, Douglas Milford crosses paths with the Aleister Crowley apprentice and important rocket fuel scientist Jack Parsons and the Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. A sort of investigator, prober and as it would turn out chronicler of these meetings, the outsider role that Douglas took on propelled him into the confidence of Richard Nixon, which opens up even more clandestine portals into the mind-blowing chasm of secrets. Without spoiling the novel’s outcome, let’s just say Douglas is tasked with a deep cover assignment that eventually brings him back to his hometown: where it all began. The baton is passed on and destiny seems to anoint a successor, who will in turn take on the duties of manning the mysterious alluded to “listening post Alpha”.


Monolith Cocktail - The Secret history of Twin Peaks


As you’d expect, Frost builds an even greater expansive conspiracy; answering a range of longstanding queries and questions but posing a whole set of new “what the fucks?” Fans however will discover just why the log lady, Margaret Lanterman, is so attached to her miniature pine chum; just what the hell did happen, back in the woods, with Major Briggs; the entire sorry saga of the PackardMartellEckhart intrigues; Dr. Jacoby’s penchant for Hawaii and the purpose of those ridiculous red and blue tinted glasses he sports; and the fate of femme fatale Audrey Horne – last seen handcuffed to a bank vault door in protest as Andrew Packard, the aged eccentric bank-teller and Pete Martell unlock a safe deposit box only to find out it contains a bomb; the resulting explosion may or may not have leaving survivors. Which brings us back to the events that triggered all this, the brutal murder of Laura Palmer, killed in the end but molested throughout her life by her father Leland Palmer’s evil malevolent spirit “Bob”. Here it is a mere sideshow, the original supernatural, fight between good and evil forces, driven plot moving on to even bigger and far-fetched conspiracies. Agent Cooper, previously leaving the second series on a cliffhanger after his doppelganger escapes the “black lodge”, leaving the real Coop in perpetual limbo, is mentioned only briefly, his whereabouts remaining an enigma. To be fair, Frost is leaving this strand until the third series itself airs in 2017, as it was confirmed early on that Kyle MacLachlan who plays the beleaguered FBI agent is making a welcome return.


Monolith Cocktail - The Secret History of Twin Peaks


In amongst the “Bookhouse Boys” reading list, the Double R laminate menus and Dr. Jacoby’s credentials (which stack up most impressively), Frost taps into the conspiracy theory phenomenon. Fact and fiction entwine, the lines blurred to regale a good yarn. Misdirection is of course key: for instance, being led down the garden path with another elaborate cover story for an even more disturbing secret. Suffice to say the author has further muddied the waters.

Extremely clever and adroit, Frost’s changing prose and style fits a myriad of character’s voices. Ambitious, intriguing, it promises a whole lot of hokum, but enthralling hokum nonetheless.


Monolith Cocktail - The Secret History of Twin Peaks


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