Twin Peaks, Sgt Pepper turns 50, Jackie

What we’re reading

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to live mindfully in the moment? That’s because our brains naturally focus on the future, according to Martin Seligman, best known for his work on positive psychology. Our capacity to contemplate the future —prospection — is the feature that sets us apart as a species and is our dominant mode of processing information and making sense of the world. In this article he explains why you are wise to keep looking ahead.

Maciej Ceglowski (pronounced MAH-tchay) is a painter and ‘computer guy’ who comes from Poland but now lives and works in San Francisco. He writes occasional essays on subjects that catch his attention and posts them on his blog, Idle Words. They are invariably riveting. This one outlines the threat to civil society posed by Big Tech and what can be done about it. Sounds apocalyptic and heavy we know, but his original perspective makes you take notice and think. Highly recommended reading.

Nicholas Dawidoff thinks ‘A Day in the Life Of’ is a perfect song. You may or may not agree, but his alert analysis of the song’s construction certainly reveals its joys and complexities.

What we’re viewing

Over the last 25 years we’ve seen some magnificent TV shows — The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Breaking Bad, Top of the Lake and, more recently, The Crown and Big Little Lies. Without doubt, the original Twin Peaks from 1991 heralded this glittering era. It was compelling, shocking, confusing …

David Lynch and his original writing partner, Mark Frost, are back to their old tricks in Twin Peaks: The Return. I don’t understand any of it, but I love every minute. It’s rare to see such artful, surrealist filmmaking, stunning both visually and aurally. The best bit? Being astonished all over again by those tremelo bass notes of Angelo Badalamenti’s theme music.

Reacquaint yourself here with the soundtrack.

Twin Peaks: The Return is now streaming on Stan.

What more is there to say about Jacqueline Kennedy? The question becomes irrelevant in Pablo Larrain’s feature film, Jackie. Noah Oppenheim’s screenplay provides a fractured narrative that’s concentrated into poetic moments almost like a ballet. Natalie Portman’s intense stare suggests the rage and desolation buttoned up in elegant suits. A bold and unsettling film.

The film’s composer, Mica Levi, is a young Brit. I heard her first score a couple of years ago to the strange feature Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson. Levi’s music is naturally discordant and other-worldly. A clever choice here. Her use of a simple descending glissando theme throughout Jackie makes you shiver.

Listen here to Mica Levi’s soundtrack.

Jackie is available to rent on iTunes.

What we’re listening to

It was 20 (well, 50) years ago  today (well, 26 May) … still guaranteed to raise a smile …

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  is 50 years old this northern summer, so it’s a fitting moment to lend your ears again to that audacious slice of music, songwriting and record production that both articulated and propelled into existence a change in cultural consciousness.

Listen here on Spotify. Better still, find someone with a vinyl copy and listen to that!

And finally to our latest Strange Loops mixtape. There’s Alt-J, Dan Auerbach, the National, Asgeir  and the War on Drugs. Then there’s a previously unreleased 20 year old tune from Radiohead. And there’s DMA’s brilliant Cher cover. And finally there’s a gorgeous 70s Brazilian classic from Elis Regina (thanks G!).

Strange Loops is a blog that celebrates the mysterious power of words, music, dance and the moving image. Each month or so we present a roundup of the best of what we're reading, what we're viewing and what we're listening to right now.