The Inertia Variations
The Inertia Variations

The Inertia Variations 15

Doc'n Roll Festival


Please note: This was screened in June 2018

Johanna St Michaels
Matt Johnson, Johanna St Michaels, Tim Pope
85 mins, 2017, Sweden | UK

This moving documentary gives meaningful insight into the life and work of The The's Matt Johnson as he struggles with creative inertia whilst facing the challenge of writing new work.

Matt Johnson of post-punk band THE THE, known for his intensely personal and political songs, has remained silent as a singer-songwriter for the last 15 years. Conflicted by creative inertia, he has observed from the sidelines as corporate state propaganda has swamped the cultural airwaves.To try and purge his feelings of disenchantment—and to attempt to relocate his mojo and muse—Johnson decides to challenge the narrow media consensus through his own radio broadcast.

A long-term listener of shortwave radio, Matt launches Radio Cineola, his conceptual version of this romantic medium, via a live midday to midnight marathon. The show includes not only live music and poetry, but also interviews and discussion about where local, national and international democracy now stands in the 21st century featuring guests ranging from geo-political analysts to local activists, from students of mind control to semiotics experts, from teachers to healers. However, sudden grief and a promise to his ex-partner Johanna St Michaels (the director of this very documentary), to write a new song for the broadcast reveals Johnson's old demons of inertia and bereavement.

With an introduction by Colm Forde, Doc'n Roll Festival Programmer