I saw a busker in Cuba Mall today.
He looked like Daniel Johnston. Didn’t
sound like him at all – because no one did.
He had his kid
with him too – so that didn’t help. But it was
enough to remind me that not a day’s gone by in the
last week that I haven’t thought – often – about Daniel
Johnston and his music. The art. The life. It meant so
much to far more than just me.
But this is my life and
certainly my poem…
I’ve been waking up thinking about those lines from
the song Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Your Grievances,
a good way to start each day.
I’ve been thinking about how he took McCartney’s line
about taking a lucky break and breaking it in two – and how
DJ did it better, used it well – made it feel like a line he did
I’ve been listening to those early records. And it feels like
eavesdropping – and on far more than just the music.
I’ve been thinking – for months now – about how I must buy a new
copy of the documentary film The Devil and Daniel Johnston. I owned
it – and loaned it out so long ago that I don’t remember to who, and I don’t
mind that it’s gone. But now I need it for a project I’m working on, and
then on the day when I’d heard Daniel had died I wanted to sit and watch
that film. Probably good that I didn’t have access to it or I’d have watched it
on a loop.
I’ve noticed a copy at the video store just down the road. (I’ll buy it tomorrow).
Daniel Johnston’s song King Kong is better than Peter Jackson’s movie King Kong.
Daniel Johnston singing My Life Is Starting Over Again always made me smile.
And now I want to cry.
Daniel Johnston singing Story of an Artist is everything. Nearly the world to me.
Oh lord it really brings me down
About the devil town
Daniel Johnston’s song Devil Town is in my mind most days now. Maybe
it always was.
But as I walk around I hear “I was livin’ in a devil town” over and over, and
have to catch myself from belting out loud:
“And all my friends were vampires
Didn’t know they were vampires
Turns out I was a vampire myself
In the devil town”.
Tomorrow I’m going to sing that. Loud.
And the next day too.
If I see that busker again I’m going to give
him $10. And tell that vampire to take a hike
to some other devil town.