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notdaniel
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2007, 01:36:06 AM »

In "Some things last a Long Time", at the end of the song, he says "lifetime" instead of longtime. I got such chills the first time I heard it, because it really changed the gravity of the song, and I knew he was an iceberg 90% hidden.

That song continues to be problematic as far as people picking it as a "favorite Daniel Johnston song" and such. Once again: Daniel wrote the music, but JAD FAIR wrote the lyrics. That said, the specific twist you refer to is definitely textbook Daniel -- I would place good odds on him being responsible for that one particular lyric.

Come to think of it, I've been present at least once when, in the process of recording a song, Daniel made the decision to change exactly one word towards the end of a song to achieve an effect similar to the one described above. (Also, I'm sure that Jad would've allowed, and in all likelyhood actively encouraged, Daniel to alter his lyrics to whatever extent he felt appropriate).

  - notdan

BTW - some good quotes relating to this discussion were in that interview that just got linked here today:

Q: What have been your career highs and lows?

A: Well, itís been pretty high the whole time just to have records out, you know, it was a lot of fun just thinking that I was entertaining people with my music or something, you know, and so I just ó itís been for the longest time, I havenít worked since 1986, and now Iím earning a living from it, so, you know, itís a lot of fun.

Q: What traits to you most like and most dislike about yourself?

A: Well, I just donít seem to have enough time to get into my music. Iíll play, but not enough. Iím trying to get back into it like the old days, and I know I will, but it just takes ó Iíll start playiní and then Iíll, you know, stop, you know, so Iím just trying to get back into the groove again. And in the meantime I have enough songs for three or four albums unrecorded yet. But I wanna get back into writing because thatís my joy, you know, and once Iím doiní it Iíll get back into it.
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They laughed when I sat down at the piano.
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When I got back up and carried it away...

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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2007, 02:04:07 AM »

Yet again I've introduced myself to the world wearing a pair of hobnail boots.

My beef is with the makers of the programme because I think it could have achieved so much more for so many people who are suffering today. 2 hours was enough time to get over Daniel's life story  and message in full with ample time spare to provide the balance I think it lacked. If they had only at the very end just said "don't try it quite like this at home folks" it would have been an improvement.

Remember, no movie is made (or really CAN be made) under the oppression of the thought that every possible angle of the story must be covered and noone else will ever cover anything that is left out. The filmmakers had a particular, focused idea of what film they wanted to make, and followed through with that idea. It is unfortunate that the movie cannot be all things to all people, but the fact is that a more "shotgun" approach would've resulted in a film full of information -- that nobody would want to watch, which dopes no good for anyone.

PS: Just a reminder that allowing your footwear to dictate your philosophy can be dangerous. Think about this: if you had been wearing "flip-flops", would you have been constantly changing your mind instead?
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They laughed when I sat down at the piano.
They didn't think that I could play.
But their laughter turned to amazement,
When I got back up and carried it away...

  - DJ (message left on answering machine)
andya
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2007, 03:55:35 AM »

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"So in celebrating his work and "creative genius" we are all in a way encouraging him to remain ill"

I realise that was a controversial thing to say and I want to largely withdraw that comment now though perhaps not completely just yet. It was very much how I felt when I wrote it and based solely on the documentary. I have been reading about Daniel from other sources now and I'm guessing his life now is much more balanced than what was depicted in the early days of his illness without perhaps some of the awful extremes he has suffered. If my comment applies at all then for me it would come from that early period.

I also really need to see the documentary again and tried to find it in my local video shop last night. They didn't have it so we all ended up watching Kill Bill instead! I've made the mistake of comparing my experiences with Daniels and there are many similarities. Judging his life and any decisions made by him or those around him on that basis though is fairly
presumptious.

I have yet to get into his music and I certainly won't try and force myself to. I will definitely explore it further because of my fascination with Daniel. I will be ordering a copy of the DVD and can't wait to get my hands on one of his T-shirts. When I decide where to start with† his music I'll add a CD to that too.

Also I 'd like to put some of my comments into perspective by sharing a bit more of my experiences. As I've mentioned I had 2 breakdowns in my mid 20's. Know one knew what the hell was going on the first time most of all me. I had a severe manic episode and being the 1st time it took a long time to get me into hospital to get the treatment I needed. I pretty much managed to completely humiliate myself in my local community by tearing around the countryside in a totally manic state for a few months before I did end up in hospital. In the end I went voluntarily and the local police were even kind enough to
give me a lift to the hospital!

So there I am on day 1, not on a section but very close to it. I don't know what a section is in the US, but basically you can be sectioned in the UK if you're a danger to yourselves or others. The mental health authority then have complete control over your treatment and you no longer have any choices. It's another way of being arrested I guess for the mentally
ill. Anyway so there I am in an acute psychiatric ward wondering what the hell I was doing in the company of all these nutters. I was aware that this was just another situation that had to be dealt with and I'd talk my way out of the place by the morning. They didn't see it that way and a nice man kept following me round with a little pink tablet in a beaker. Little did I know it but I was about to get introduced to the wonderful world of Haloperidol. Anyone who's been in a similar situation will know how persuasive and relentless these people can be and I relented and took the tablet. WOW did that decison have implications. It certainly knocked me out and I spent most of that 1st week in bed and boy did it take me to some scary places. What was the effect of the drug and what was my own mind I couldn't tell you but to suffice to say it wasn't nice. When I was up and about I was introduced to what we patients affectionately called the "Haloperidol shuffle"

You basicaly walk around in a manner similar to a Thunderbirds puppet, your bottom lip drops and if I remember rightly you salivate a lot. In other words you look mad. After a week I'm getting used to these people that are going to make me better and I'm already becoming institutionalised. Then came a day that changed my life. I'm laying on my bed pretty much knocked out and I started to feel my arms and legs going stiff. It really didn't feel right and got progressively worse till I couldn't really move them. When I started to feel a similar thing in† my torso and my facial muscles had locked up completely so I couldn't talk I decided it was time to press the panic button by my bed. I can't explain it because I couldn't move my arms but with what felt like a superhuman effort I managed it. I haven't since come across another button that been so aptly named, compounded by the fear that I may have been interrupting one of the psyche nurses coffee breaks! They do a lot of that.† As luck would have it two of them did kinda stroll down and take a quick look at me from a distance. They obviously decided I was fine and went back to their coffee. The problem was I couldn't speak or move so I was totally helpless. They just saw a guy laying quietly on a bed so obviously no problems there, whilst I am the most terrified I have ever been in my whole life. It's fair to say I had a bit of a dilemma to deal with.

Anyway a few minutes passed and I couldn't tell you exactly how long and my condition worsened. I could now feel my whole torso seizing up from the outside in and it's heading for my heart. I'm ****ting bricks and somehow again with a superhuman effort that I can't expain I managed to hit the panic button. This time a the charge nurse turned up, a much more experienced guy and one look at me and his face turned immediately to shock and horror. I will never forget that look. He quickly explained my options, a hypo in the arse which would be real quick or a tablet which would take much longer. Without in anyway being able to communicate other than my eyes he instantly knew I wanted the injection. He ran back to the drugs cabinet, was back within an instant, turned me over and gave me the injection. Within a few minutes I was fine.†

I don't know how close I came to dying and what would have happened if that particular nurse hadn't been there that day. 17 years later I don't really want to explore it too much further but it really felt like I was on my way out and it's still painful now to think about it let alone write about it. What was even more painful was to learn that they could administer another drug with Haloperidol but it was expensive and they liked to see how badly you were affected first. It's humiliating to live in a supposedly civilised society to find out that way just how much you're worth. If anyone wants to know more about Haloperidol try googling "haloperidol death"

Anyway at the risk of boring people I'll stop it there for now other than to say they did after 3 months make be better (not cured) and I got to continue with my life. I still have some very fond memories of my stay on that ward and met some amazing people both staff and patients. 17 years on there's a lot more to tell and it isn't all painful though I guess a lot of ppeople might not see it that way.

Perhaps now I can get to my point. They needed to do what they did and I needed to be in that bed. Despite that experience I've had a lot of other medication over the years and it has helped me. At the time my meds were changed to chlorpromozine/largactyl and it worked fine for me albeit with some difficult side effects. I'd take it again today if I needed to. If however someone tried to get Haloperidol inside me they really would have to kill me first so it would be fairly pointless. Despite that Haloperidol still helps people today. The hospitals mistake was the casual manner in which they dispensed drugs like Smarties and not monitoring me closely enough.†

I mentioned earlier that the local police were kind enough to give me a lift to the hospital. Well no-one got hurt but if I hadn't been admitted that day it remains a possibility and a lot of lives could have been affected far worse than they actually were. I'm very fortunate to have a much better understanding of manic depression nowadays and live a good life.

There has been a lot of pain to get here but I'm happy with who I am. I can't say I won't have another serious breakdown, it's 3 major ones so far with a lot of "episodes" in between. I'm currently not on any meds and am aware that there is a risk associated with that. At the moment it's not a big risk and I feel I have developed sufficient insight into my
condition to make that assessment. One of the reasons I can do that is that I have fully accepted my condition. I'm sorry to use bold there but it is a really important point for me.

A lot of people the world over are coming to terms with mental illness as we speak. Someone somewhere right now is getting hurt possibly killed by someone who needs help and for whatever reasons won't accept it. There may well be good reaons for them which are justifiable to others as well, particularly with some of the barbaric ways mentally ill people are treated.

Are we liable for their actions in celebrating Daniel's genius? Of course we're not and it would be preposterous to even think that way. Is it fine to celebrate Daniel's triumph over adversity without considering all of the implications? Of course it is. I'm fine with the idea if someone wants to profit in any way from his work either emotionally or financially without a second thought for how his inspirational story could affect others.

That however doesn't work for me personally. Daniel's story needs to be told and I don't doubt it has been inspirational for thousands of people.† It works brilliantly if someone has accepted they have a problem but there are many people out there right now who have yet to come to terms with that part of the struggle for their health. There will also be many more to come. What if I had seen the documentary on the very day I was admitted to hospital and how would I have taken it. Would I have accepted the help I so desperately needed that day. I by the skin of my teeth got to make that decision myself, who knows what would have had to have happened before that choice was taken away from me. What about the emotional turmoil suffered by countless people around me in trying to get me admitted in the first instance, how much worse could that have been.

So yes let's celebrate Daniel in whatever we want to and I'm all for that. You already know a lot about Daniel's life, more about my life than perhaps is healthy and a whole load probably about how he's changed your life. Have you seriously considered what the implications could be for someone you will never know. Is it therefore fine to celebrate genius that stems from a serious psychological condition or anyone who stopped their meds, got a bick wacky and created some inspirational art.† Again yes of course it is.

All I want people to be aware of is that inspiration can come at a very high price. I'm not even going to begin to suggest what that price should be.

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If I could write words
Like leaves on an autumn forest floor,
What a bonfire my letters would make.
If I could speak words of water,
You would drown when I said
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andya
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2007, 04:05:41 AM »

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Just a reminder that allowing your footwear to dictate your philosophy can be dangerous. Think about this: if you had been wearing "flip-flops", would you have been constantly changing your mind instead?

That's a very good point and I'm fully aware that Daniel's documentary has affected me in a way that it wouldn't others. I don't expect people to accept my stance and I happy for it to be contested and disproved. What I would like though is for people to understand the passion I feel when I put my hobnail boots on. Maybe for this thread to develop further and to be truly helpful to people I should consider a change of footwear. I'm not sure I'm ready for flip-flops just yet and I don't own too many pairs of shoes anyway. But I will dig around in my shoe collection and try some others on before I post again.

I have already changed my mind on being in a position to comment on Daniel's life. I don't know enough about him. But I do feel suitably qualified to comment on how a documentary about him has profoundly affected me.
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If I could write words
Like leaves on an autumn forest floor,
What a bonfire my letters would make.
If I could speak words of water,
You would drown when I said
"I love you."
Spike Milligan
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« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2007, 08:07:02 PM »

Ok, so Daniel didn't write "Some things last a Long Time". Are there any other songs that we have been led to believe are his, that are, in truth, not his songs? Anything else we need to know? I am not only embarrassed but a little upset... I didn't realize I needed to research every song to confirm what he wrote, or how much of a song he wrote. Seems like the omission is benefiting some people, and leading the fans down a false path. What of that??
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Billy Castillo
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« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2007, 09:21:26 PM »

He didn't write the lyrics, but the music IS his!

Quote
Just a reminder that allowing your footwear to dictate your philosophy can be dangerous. Think about this: if you had been wearing "flip-flops", would you have been constantly changing your mind instead?
What if he had been wearing bunny slippers?  grin j/k
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2007, 01:28:54 AM »

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Remember, no movie is made (or really CAN be made) under the oppression of the thought that every possible angle of the story must be covered and noone else will ever cover anything that is left out

I wasn't talking about every possible angle, just a balance that's all. I also tried the flip-flops theory too and it don't work. The documentary is an irresponsible piece of work and cashing in on a sensational story without enough thought for the effects both good and bad it could have. So I say again that many people in enjoying Daniel's work are celebrating madness more than they are perhaps aware. He just isn't that great a talent. People are merely mesmerised by a candid insight into a troubled mind and when told he is a genius go looking for it in his work.
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If I could write words
Like leaves on an autumn forest floor,
What a bonfire my letters would make.
If I could speak words of water,
You would drown when I said
"I love you."
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2007, 02:57:33 AM »

Do you think Daniel is worse off now than he was a year before the documentary was made?
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andya
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2007, 05:21:09 AM »

No not at all and what the documentary has done for Daniel is admirable. But I come across people all the time in the early stages of  mental illness and it's the toughest part. It's an extremely difficult time for the person afflicted and we shouldn't forget the emotional turmoil caused in the people around a mentally ill person.

I hope it's plain from my experiences that I already have enormous compassion for someone like Daniel without having to reiterate that on here, but that compassion extends to anyone suffering mental anguish.

So I'll keep on banging on about it, the documentary could have achieved more without the creative team behind it being under any pressure. 
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If I could write words
Like leaves on an autumn forest floor,
What a bonfire my letters would make.
If I could speak words of water,
You would drown when I said
"I love you."
Spike Milligan
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2007, 11:12:52 AM »

He just isn't that great a talent. People are merely mesmerised by a candid insight into a troubled mind and when told he is a genius go looking for it in his work.

Well, I had no idea the first 6 months or so that Daniel was mentally ill, I just heard these amazing melodies and intriguing stories. So that's not true at all what you're saying. Anyone who claims something like that doesn't know anything about great music and what it's about. When Daniel played Beatles songs like "I will" on Songs of pain, he's songs were equally good and that says alot. He's songwriting is as good as Ray Davies or Paul and john. That's how good he is. Anyone who really takes the time to listen through all those cassettes from the 80's would have a hard time ignoring that.
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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2007, 02:09:50 PM »

I myself was informed of Daniels music through the film... However, upon hearing the first song in that film, I was hooked. The vulnerability in the voice, mixed with the simplicity of the chords and words...and brutal honesty. Nothing to do with his "madness" whatsoever...

The same way Cobain evoked chills, with the (four or five) chords of "Where did you sleep...", I enjoyed the music... The same way I enjoy the simplicity of Bob Dylan, or John Lennon... The blues solos of BB King over Yngwie Malmsteen's guitar wankerisms.

I do not "celebrate" his madness in the least...

It seems you may not see his artistic "merit", and that is cool... But without an appreciation of his merit/talent, the film could be seen as somewhat tasteless...
I do however, IMO, don't see this as doing anything but painting an honest portrait of mental illness.... it doesn't glorify his illness, and you do see the impact on family and friends. Namely, his parents as they discuss the more painful aspects of Dan's life... I noticed they found some solace in Brian Wilson's book, which described his own illness'...  I can't understand why this film wouldn't do the same for others.

just my opinion. 
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Billy Castillo
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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2007, 03:12:47 PM »

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I myself was informed of Daniels music through the film... However, upon hearing the first song in that film, I was hooked. The vulnerability in the voice, mixed with the simplicity of the chords and words...and brutal honesty. Nothing to do with his "madness" whatsoever...

Same here. Also, by the fact that I recognized the frog mural from pictures my wife took when she was going to UT 10 years ago as the one in the shirt worn by Kurt Cobain.

Quote
I noticed they found some solace in Brian Wilson's book, which described his own illness'...  I can't understand why this film wouldn't do the same for others.

And that's the one issue I have with the film, as it was NOT written by Wilson; rather, it was penned by Todd Gold with help from Wilson's controversial shrink of the time, the late Gene Landy. There was a lawsuit over the book, and its been proven in court that Brian had absolutely no involvment whatsoever. Most of the bookwas in fact plagarized from books by David Leaf and Stephen Gaines.
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« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2007, 12:20:25 AM »

The debate re Daniel's music will go on and on I'm sure, but I would really like to see someone tackle my central question regarding the negative effect the documentary could have on some people and the implications.

I have to say I've looked at a few other forums concerning Daniel and though the quality of the comments isn't as good as I've found on here the  balance in the arguments is far better. I think this is a good place to come if you are in awe of the "Daniel phenomenon" but there are better places to get more rounded opinions.
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If I could write words
Like leaves on an autumn forest floor,
What a bonfire my letters would make.
If I could speak words of water,
You would drown when I said
"I love you."
Spike Milligan
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« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2007, 07:26:12 AM »

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The debate re Daniel's music will go on and on I'm sure, but I would really like to see someone tackle my central question regarding the negative effect the documentary could have on some people and the implications.
One only has to visit the the IMDB boards to see that. There are some comments made on there that have made me as angry as a one-legged man playing trying to play hopscotch blindfolded.

I think the documentary did a good job showing the effect  Daniel's condition has had on his loved ones, although to be honest I think it was a little too focused on his condition and not enough on his music. Also, seeing  the pain on Mr.Johnston's face when describing what happened on the plane was heartrending to the point where I actually had to pause the dvd and get a tissue. Knowing that I was heading down that same path a decade ago before I suddenly and inexplicably got better really made certain scenes uncomfortable.

One thing though is that although there is not a "happy ending" per se, things have continued to improve in the time period since filming ended, apart from Dan's late 2005 illness.
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« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2007, 07:39:38 PM »

Myself, I don't see how differently the film could've been portrayed. I think it was an honest depiction of mental illness... you did see the "personal" effect it had on Daniel, his family and friends. As was mentioned, Bill and Mabel welling up with tears, and the pain in their eyes... is something I'll never forget.

I don't see the how the film makers 'exploited' Daniel's illness, & I don't see how they glorified it at all... nor do I see the 'negative implications'. I think they offered a balanced and subjective approach.

The movie ends and there's Daniel, in his 40's, living at home with his parents, doing his art... is this giving people the wrong idea? Is this 'glorifying'??

Andya, I'm not sure what your expectations are, or what your jist is... everytime people make comments regarding the "negative effects" you ignore them, and use them as an opportunity to vent your personal issues... Which is totally fine. I think though, you are taking people a bit for granted here, or over-simplifying us as "Daniel phenomenonists"... If there was ever a message board which would be sympathetic to the plight of people who suffer mental illness... this would be it.

This is not intended to be rude, or overly forthcoming... It just seems you're looking for something that's not appearing, and it also seems like you're 'baiting' us with accusations of 'worshipping mental illness', or again, being "Daniel Phenomonists"

To quote one of my faves, Hunter S. Thompson... "your line of questioning, makes you seem like a lawyer with a grudge..."

That being said...

I do not objectify Daniel because he is ill... I respect him as an artist.

I do not regard this film as doing anything but bringing more awareness to the subject of mental illness, something I myself feel needs to be brought into the light a little more... this is even illustrated in the lengths you discuss your own experiences, it's like you need to talk about it... and you should. You should feel comfortable talking about it, that's the way it should be.

I ask this... how can this film be doing harm, when, this film was the reason you sought this board out... this board allowed you to be honest and open about your own experiences, and share. Which is a very healthy process, I think. 

I applaud your honesty, and bravery... cheers.
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