The Devil and Daniel Johnston

So last night I went to a nightclub to watch a film about a manic depressive. And it was great!

Cargo – tucked away under the arches of Rivington Street in Shoreditch often shows films on midweek nights when nothing much is going on but this was the first time I’ve ventured over there – I suspect I will do it more often in future. It’s a great little venue – and even better when it’s almost empty and you feel like the leather sofas and candles are all there just for you.

The screening room is the back one – where I saw Akira the Don many months ago now…
and we managed to grab a couple of the bean bags down the front.
Coupled with 4 for a tenner Tiger beers we were well away.

Now neither of us could be called big followers of Johnson’s music – and the quality of most of the recordings on show didn’t exactly make me want to rush out and invest in the back catalogue, but having said that he had a gawky charm and presence that made it difficult to dislike what he was doing.

As the story developed and the tales of him descending into madness increased the sympathy for him waned a little – the story about him causing a woman to jump from her window because he had forced his way into her house and tried to exorcise her demons was a worry.
The best, and most unbelievable tale was that of him returning in his fathers plane from a successful SXSW performance when in a manic episode he pulled the key from the ignition and threw it out the window. The plane had to be crashlanded in a forest and amazingly they survived unscathed.

So an interesting film, but not an amazing one – the novelty of going out to watch it in a nightclub on a Monday though made it an enjoyable experience


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