An evening with Tim Lawrence

In the December of 2008 I sent an email to a contact I was meeting at work to let him know that I wasn't going to be able to make the meeting we had both set on a Thursday afternoon as I was booking annual leave. He replied with the same response advising that it was OK as he needed to book leave that day too. We cancelled, and rearranged with no further thought afterwards. That same Thursday morning I got on a flight to Berlin and through a strange set of circumstances, I was sat next to the person I had cancelled the meeting with. He looked at me, I looked at him and we both responded with the usual cliches of it being a bit odd and how small the world was. 

Stranger still, we were both heading to Berlin for a weekend of partying and there was joint agreement of making plans for him, our friends and I to head to the Watergate and Berghain club. As we flew to Germany he introduced me to a book he was reading, it was ‘Love Saves The Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979’ and how he had also been heading to The Lucky Cloud Sound System parties in London to hear David Mancuso play music. He was deeply evangelical about the quality of music selections, the parties and how the sound through the Klipschorn speaker system at Lucky Cloud was the best he had ever heard. I was interested in his stories but admittedly more so caught up at the time in the bass and kick drums of House and Techno music of that period.

I had been familiarised to David Mancuso through reading Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton's Last Night a DJ Saved My Life where I had been captivated by the stories of The Loft in NYC and how Mancuso had sort and found what seemed to be a true immersive dance floor experience through his dedicated efforts in working tirelessly to construct gatherings of people who found themselves collected through music, togetherness and dancing. 

I got back to Birmingham after that weekend and purchased Love Saves The Day due to the recommendation and in doing so fell quickly into a Pandora's box type novel of nocturnal musical journeys through DJ's, dancers, outsiders, believers, night freaks and forward thinkers. Tim set out shop and provided a detailed examination of the era by weaving these moments in time through providing accounts, analysis, photos and interviews including lengthy discographies of how this culture had become Disco amongst other things.

Ten years later, last year whilst scanning social media, I noticed Tim was doing a book tour for his book 'Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83' which was his sequel to Love Saves The Day. I innocently asked him if he was interested in coming to Birmingham after noticing that he had been in Glasgow talking about the book. Tim kindly came back to me and said that he was keen to come to Birmingham and offer the same talk on his books which also includes his official biography of Arthur Russell - 'Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92'.  For all of it's hindrances with social media, the ease of contacting someone had been very useful and thus the below evening was born: 

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Through hearing about about a book on a flight to Berlin it is incredible how things just work out. So, with the support of my friend Steve Thornton and our friends at Cafe Artum, next week we shall be hosting an evening with Tim Lawrence where he will come to Birmingham to talk about his books and again weave his stories and research together.

The evening will be licensed for drinks, Local DJ and personal favourite DJ Rob J will also be sharing the brilliant music from this period of time.

Anyone passing through Birmingham that weekend or coming in through the city, do come to Cafe Artum on the 28th. It’ll be great to see everyone there.