Lawrence of Belgravia, by Lenzie Moss
I got to see 'Lawrence of Belgravia' on Saturday at Jim lambie's poetry club in Glasgow. The film was followed by a Q&A session with Lawrence, then by an opening of a visual collaboration between Lawrence and Jim and a live set from Go-Kart Mozart. It was among the best gigs I've ever seen. It was up there with The Clash at Barrowlands, Queen at Ingliston, Julian Cope at King Tuts and Thin Lizzy at Glasgow Apollo.
The film was at times sad, hilarious, depressing and uplifting. Listening to his interviews on the film and his Q&A afterwards brought home the innocence, honesty and purity that has run through all of Lawrence's work from the first Felt record to the latest Go-Kart Mozart, 'On the Hot Dog Streets'. He's known for being misanthropic - he is also very funny. You're not always sure if he knows he's funny but a slight, knowing smile every now and then tells you that he does and that he loves the reaction.
I'm sorry to say that I pretty much dismissed Go-kart when their first album, 'Instant Wigwam and Igloo Mixture' came out having been a fan of all his previous work with Felt and Denim. I had heard that he had become a junkie and that Alan McGee had basically given him a publishing deal to help him get his life together (all of which is alluded to on the record). It felt to me that there was one good song on it and the rest was someone noodling on a synth and taking the piss out of their audience. I dug that album out again this morning and have been listening to it all day. Hearing it now - it's filled with classic Lawrence songs - brilliant tunes with witty and poignant lyrics. And some of the ridiculous moments pre-date 'Nyan Cat' by 15 years. I had an epiphany too - never again will I dismiss an artist because they make a radical departure from their previous direction just because it's not what I expected or thought it should be. These are the very times when it is most important to listen to what they have to say - these are life changing moments for the artist and the listener - what art is all about.
Seeing Go-Kart Mozart live in that setting (The Poetry Club is an incredible venue) was a life changing gig too - like all live music at it's best. It was always a big regret that I missed the chance to see Felt at their last ever Scottish show in Greenock. What struck me was that once again, Lawrence has surrounded himself with great musicians. It made me think of Michael Jackson saying that the secret of his artistic success was that he only ever worked with the best. Another result of Lawrence's obsessive perfectionism.
It was particularly powerful having seen Paul Kelly's wonderful film earlier in the evening. As I said, it provokes a whole range of emotions, including joy. One of my favourite moments of the film is the cinematic use of Denim's 'Osmonds' in the soundtrack. He cuts scenes of Birmingham city centre in time with the final glorious 'I - ii - IV - V' chord progression that we get at the end of the song - one of the most uplifting moments in pop. It stands along side some of my other favourite cinematic musical moments such as Sophia Coppola's use of MBV's 'Sometimes' driving through Tokyo at night, or Vincent Gallo's use of 'Beautiful' by Gordon Lightfoot in his road movie 'The Brown Bunny'.
The art show was great too. Images from Lawrence's scrap books over the years with the human elements blacked out with a big inky in true Lambie style.
I had forgotten how much music and art can change you in an instant - even though your teenage, responsibility-free days are well in the past. These moments are so rare. A truly inspirational event.
Feb. 26 2013
taken from http://lenziemoss.tumblr.com/post/44029009662/lawrence-of-belgravia