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Indie Documentary Review – Tramps!

Read Time:3 Minute, 16 Second

It often happens that you see something and it dawns on you that Doctor Strange And The Multiverse Of Madness wasn’t so unusual after all. One of the first articles I wrote for RunPee was a documentary about a skateboard park and the people who were still using it forty years after it was built. It was called Rom Boys: 40 Years Of Cool and the reason I was thinking of it was that I was a young teacher working across town from that park and surrounded by every teenage boy in the school carrying a skateboard. 

Recently I was sent another documentary, set around the same time, and set around the same place. While I was watching it I was thinking “I know that place” or “I remember them” and similar things. The documentary was called Tramps! and tells the story of the movement known as the New Romantics. Now, despite what it might at first sound like, I was never a real follower of the New Romantic movement. Anyone who knows me will know that I struggle to make the effort to shave more than once a week; there’s no way that I would be applying Mondrian themed makeup.

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I Just Packed A Bag…

I did go out to clubs; back then I was a regular on the dance floors of many West End and Central London venues. I was more enthusiastic than competent but I was young and virtually indestructible. I would combat the inevitable hangovers with a call into the local newsagents. I’d pick up a copy of The Guardian, a pint of milk, a can of full fat Coke (diet hadn’t been invented back then), and a packet of Marlboro. All four would have been sampled by the end of the bus ride to the school I was working at and I was approaching normality. 

I won’t deny that being early twenties, doing a reasonably well paid job, and living in a big city was a hell of a life style and there are plenty of times when I’m reminded of those days and have to have a quiet five minutes reminiscing. Did Tramps! encourage any of those periods of reflection? To be honest, not really. But the reason why is that it showed me that there was a lot more to the New Romantic movement than I’d realised. As I alluded to earlier, it wasn’t really my scene. I knew some of the music and thought that was it. 

…And Legged It To London

It turns out that the music was more of an effect of the movement rather than the cause of it. People like Boy George, Marilyn, and Steve Strange were all pivotal in the New Romantic movement way before anyone had heard of Culture Club, Visage, or any of the other bands who were on the periphery of the scene. The root of the movement was art, fashion, and design. Early days saw the burgeoning popularity of a Tuesday night “Club For Heroes” mean that Steve Strange and Rusty Egan had to open a larger venue in Covent Garden called Blitz; one of the early names for the movement was The Blitz Kids.

Steve Strange was the doorman at Blitz and he had a strict policy of refusing entry if you weren’t dressed creatively or subversively enough to blend in with the people he’d already allowed in. This was also a period of grant assisted university education; everyone had the right to higher education. Thanks to this, I was the first person in my family to get a degree. Other people went to the various art colleges which were popping up in London, it seems a lot went on to form the aesthetic that became the New Romantics. Kevin Hegge has made a fascinating and informative film. 

Movie Grade: A+

Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Androidor iPhone) when you go to the movies. We have Peetimes for all wide release films every week, including Drive Away Dolls, Madam Web, One Love, Argylle, I.S.S., and coming soon DUNE part II and many others. We have literally thousands of Peetimes—from classic movies through today’s blockbusters. You can also keep up with movie news and reviews on our blog, or by following us on Twitter @RunPee. If there’s a new film out there, we’ve got your bladder covered.

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