LEN AND THE ART OF MOTORWAY MAINTENANCE is a full length road movie which crosses the English coast to coast, Hull to Liverpool, and traverses the musical tastes of our times.
It’s the story of a family of three – LEN (father), VAZ (son) AND JENNY LOOSE (daughter) who make a trip to their musical Meccas in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool along the length of the M62 in a bid to heal their musical and personal differences. LEN is not just a travelogue but maintains a dramatic tension which is driven by a strong character base with strong needs and desires.
LEN – the father, hippie poet of 50 whose spiritual home is Liverpool. Into solstice lines and paranormal phenomena. Protested against Leeds becoming the Motorway City of the North in the 60s and still refuses to use the ring road. VAZ – the son, a punk ranter, 25 at ease in Bradford. Bash the rich, via Blair via pets lib. via digging tunnels via boredom. Deep in the vegan underworld. JENNY LOOSE – the daughter, a new romantic-industrialist, no-one’s too sure about her gender. Searching for Ian Curtis from Joy Division who she thinks didn’t really die, he just took up sharing a flat in Hulme and can’t find his way out.
In LEN, the family are saddled at the beginning with an unspoken and unacknowledged source of grief which is resolved by the end of the film.
Inspired very loosely by the Robert M. Pirsig novel ZEN, AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, LEN… is intended not only as paying a humorous and quirky tribute to the ‘motorway that never freezes’ but also sees the journey along the M62 as a metaphor for the family’s healing and reconciliation.
Whilst there have been both many American films of the genre (Wild at Heart; Natural Born Killers; Thelma and Louise)and German films predominantly directed by Wim Wenders (Kings of the Road, and Paris, Texas) a successful British Road Movie has still to be made: Len and the Art of Motorway Maintenance could just be that film!