London Calling….: Our Review of ‘Tramps!’ (2022)

Posted in Theatrical by - July 16, 2023
London Calling….: Our Review of ‘Tramps!’ (2022)

There is something truly special and inherently satisfying when watching a documentary on a subject you know almost nothing about. And with that, walking away feeling like you have a general understanding and grasp on the subject especially when it’s so vast in its subject matter. That is exactly what Kevin Hegge sets out in his documentary Tramps! And the results are nothing shy of touching, emotional, and downright eye opening especially if you knew/know about the fashion industry and the age that the doc drapes itself in.

There are wide generalizations of what the fashion industry was in the late 70s into the 80s. But Tramps! decides to focus on something that never gets addressed enough. And that topic is the punk movement that created the New Romantics movement. Some in Briatin also call some of its members the Blitz Kids. The Blitz Kids helped really launch the broader and more umbrella term of the New Romantics. And it focused on the styles of bands like Duran Duran and Boy George furthering its cultural impact into the music industry as well launching a rather global movement. However, it is not just this that Hegge sets out to tell in his documentary. He continuously refuses to just focus on the scene’s glitz and the glamour side and pulls the curtain fully back.

It would be easy to glaze over a lot of things that occurred during this fashion movement. A simpler documentary it makes for less of a compelling watch that way but also makes it an easier watch. Thankfully though, nothing has to be easy and quite frankly, easy is boring. And so, deep diving into the politics, the underground-ness of the world, and refusing to fit into a social climate that had dominated up to that point is what makes Tramps! so engaging and interesting throughout. The archival footage combined with some new interviews truly breaks down some walls. The film also shines a light on this movement that seems to have been rather shocking.

Some of the subjects in Hegge’s documentary consist of Scarlett Cannon, Princess Julia, Stevie Stewart, Judy Blame, Duggie Fields and John Maybury. The movement of the New Romantics/Bitz Kids rages on during the 80s. That’s when the scene is hit with mass tragedy with the AIDS epidemic inserted itself into the scene. The subjects, then, break down about the countless friends they’ve lost on the way. There is nothing inherently easy to digest in Tramps! I works because of how it refuses to let the audience breathe easy. Tramps! demands the attention these artists created. And it refuses to let you just indulge in their creations but experience the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their work that the world has enjoyed and consumed for now decades.

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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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