Miles loved Daniel Johnston. He introduced me to Johnston’s music years ago. I am so glad he did. I found out later that Johnston grew up in my dad’s hometown, New Cumberland, West Virginia. He went to Oak Glen High School. I updated the high school’s Wikipedia page to include this important information.
Miles and I both appreciated Johnston’s homemade music. Johnston originally recorded his songs at home on a cassette player in Austin, Texas, and distributed the recordings by selling them on the street. Johnston did not have much, but he used what little he had to create beautiful songs. Johnston is also burdened by significant mental illness. The documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston is about his life and career and it documents his gifts and his problems.
I think Miles felt guilty for his relative privilege. We are not wealthy, but he was aware that he had many advantages that helped put him in a position to succeed, advantages that other people with perhaps greater talent and more ambition but fewer opportunities could have used. I think Miles did not just like the music, but also admired the musician for how much he had to overcome to succeed so beautifully.
“Flaws are what make us beautiful.”