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‘Hi My Name Is Jonny Polonsky!’ is the most entertaining documentary we have seen in ages and is a love letter, childhood dream and reality check in one

Otto-Jan Ham brings one of his rock idols to Belgium for a short tour. Only he takes Jonny Polonsky into his house too, he does that without discussing it with his girlfriend beforehand and there is hardly anyone else who knows the rocker. This beauty of a documentary by Woestijnvis and Studio Brussel can be viewed until 6 February via VRT NU.

The record that Otto-Jan fell in love with.

The named Jonny Polonsky is apparently a rocker that Otto-Jan accidentally heard a record of when he was 18 that pleased him enormously. Polonsky was allowed to tour with Black Francis and ended up in the studio with Rick Rubin, but afterwards Otto-Jan heard nothing of what started promising.

One evening he googled the man and it turned out that he was still alive and even making records. The fan in Otto-Jan took over when he messaged Polonsky on Instagram. The American rocker answered with the question whether Otto-Jan did not know anyone who could give him some gigs. Otto-Jan started calling and in a crazy mood decided to set up a tour for his idol through Belgium and – to keep costs down – to take the rocker into his home for two weeks.

VRT / Desert Fish

Spread the message

That idea alone is an expression of great love, because there is a kind of missionary in every music lover who wants to spread the message. “Listen to this! You’re going to like this! ” Otto-Jan wanted nothing more than to bring his idol to the people. It is the beginning of a film that is a boy’s dream, road movie and love letter in one, but which clashes with the harsh reality that is the music tubeness. In other circumstances, Jonny Polonsky could have played with Pixies or been a big rock star herself, but it won’t be for this life. And even Isolde Lasoen and Frank Vander linden cannot change that.

VRT / Desert Fish

We sometimes felt sorry for Otto-Jan himself – especially during the rehearsals for the show in Het Depot – but it did provide him with a lot of entertaining stories for dinner with friends and a wonderful film and we are the music of it Continue to look up Polonsky.

Polonsky himself remained on the flat all the time. We didn’t get to know him: he was at work and not always with the same enthusiasm, but he’s kind of a hero too: whether people want to hear him or not, he keeps making records. For whom? For himself, because there is simply no plan B for his life. And you can only have a lot of respect for that.

Finally, the film is also an ode to small performances in squalid clubs where you can sometimes make musical discoveries. The film was dedicated to anyone who works on, in front of or behind a stage. “Long live the live music!” finally lit up on the screen. We have very little to add to that.


This documentary can still be viewed on VRT NU until February 6. You can find the film via this link.


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