Tallinn via Helsinki with Agent Dale Cooper

If the world seems a little strange from Estonia, director David Lynch may bear some small measure of responsibility. I have had the pleasure of visiting that remote little country several times – in 1989 when it was still a disgruntled republic of the USSR, and in 1991 when independence was still a few months away, but the nationalist banners were certainly flying. While this nation of a mere 1.3 million languished under the same drab monolithic Soviet culture as everyone else, they had the advantage of being able to pick up Finn television broadcasts from across the gulf.

I spent one particularly arduous evening watching Twin Peaks in Finn, struggling to remember the English dialog and interpret the action in my poor Russian, and struggling with even greater difficulty to explain why what was happening was happening to my hosts who had never been outside the Soviet Union. Humour translates only with difficulty; Lynchian oddness is a much taller order.

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