Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Devil And Daniel Johnston

For those of you looking for an interesting documentary to watch, and have already seen Hype! and The Year Punk Broke, I highly suggest The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Daniel Johnston is an artist/musician originally from Sacramento, and if you have not heard of him, allow me to explain a little. He is comparable, in a way, to Syd Barrett. He possesses genius masked by madness and sickness. He has been in and out of mental institutions, and is infamous for his obsession with the devil, most notably with his attempts to attack Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) on the streets of New York because he feared the devil had possessed him, when in reality Shelley was afraid Daniel would hurt himself or someone else and tried to send him home to his parents. This event is detailed in the film, but I must warn you, the film is a bit of a sad one. Watching it gave me a sense of what it must have been like for the guys in Pink Floyd to watch Syd Barrett slowly be consumed by his own demons. You are literally watching a person's mind decompose and sink into madness, and there is nothing you can do. It made me feel a little sad to know that someone with so much talent could be so tortured with mental illness, but it appears that in the last few years he has shown big improvements, and is even touring and promoting his artwork. Anyway, check it out, as it is an interesting film and it helps shed a little light on this underground legend.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

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