An Underground Institution

Life before Tramp

The year is September 2006. TV rock / Seany B’s ‘FLAUNT IT’ has us all in a tizz, St Kilda is the red hot party spot, pink ‘Stevie’ tees are annoyingly everywhere and the mention of going ‘clubbing’ to king street pretty much involved a car full of thugs and a baseball bat surprise for ‘Stavros’.
It was also a time for a new breed of ‘members only’ mansion-style clubs to emerge across the city. They were drinking wine. They were red carpeting the line and fashionistas were quickly replacing footy stars in a city-wide transformation. Was it really that hot? We were having a good time. I guess. But dressing down was a crime. And if you didn’t know the new breed of intelligently dressed model-type, ‘door host’ who cowered behind the thug lines, we were knocked back. Pushing up their fake Clark Kent specs with their freshly manicured man nail they’d exclaim ‘sorry sir we have a no white socks policy’ ‘oh I’m sorry sir, is that a speck of ginger in your beard, not tonight’
Great. If daddy had a Porsche, mummy had miniature Shetland ponies, your name was Bianca and you hailed from Toorak. Hello darling. More Dom?
From Silk Road to the glorious cloak of Baroq, to the Long Room, Spice Market and a flux of fake prohibition / bespoke style houses, soon the daggy city ‘clubs’ had gone from the dark and erotic to near extinct – and in there place a fuck load of money, Fake smiles and a champagne lifestyle no one could really afford. But it’s ok, They looked great on Facebook. As did their sparkling new iPhone 3, Collins St tit job and their membership to the MCG.
Chandeliers replaced disco balls, Beyonce replaced bass and 100k carpets and enough marble to give Franco Cozzo a semi had replaced our dance floors.
‘That’s not a dance floor – it’s a wog shrine’. we complained as we danced awkwardly and air kissed because everyone had a runny 30-something left nostril and snot was a big no no. Oh and what’s this. Going home early? But why? Because summer days was no more but in its place 100 new festivals, led by falls – and it was here, not there where your money went if you really really wanted to repent and get bent.
Yes Bent? Spent. Dance like a Kent. Roll in the mud.
Was it a trend? Nope. It’s still going.
And just as all fucking hope of ducking the velvet rope and leaving life behind to properly unwind and ‘lose yourself’ was lost to the newly famous insta fakes, along came a little song called Tramp.
A love child called TRAMP
‘Stupid name. Tramp. Pft. They have no idea. No one will go….’ They mocked
‘King Street?’ ‘Are we going to the strippers?’ ‘where the fuck is King Street?
No chance’ they slatted.
Meow indeed.
We heard it all. And we listened. And we latched onto this beautifully natural deterrent.
After all, we were clutching a licence for just 200 patrons – it wasn’t for everyone. It was going to be our little secret. We had plans for a club where everyone knew each other and although it was safe, if you managed to get in, this bitch was dangerous. She had her foot firmly pressed on the gas and was going all the way. Still, polite enough to impress your mother, but wild enough to help us forget life behind the doors. ‘Let loose’ we said. ‘Let’s drink’ we barked. ‘Bring a toothbrush’ we yelled. We wanted you for the long haul. And we wanted to hang with you all night. The location was just right. Dark enough to discourage the free loaders. Sleezy enough to attract the new breed of wild child.
Perfect we thought. Because TRAMP is not for everyone. And with a strategy for a ‘no Promotor’s’ policy, no name for three months and a sneakily unmarked back lane entry, from the outside looking in, we were set for a whole bunch of fails.
But we knew something you didn’t.
In 2006, shortly after pushing open the dusty ex-jazz club doors and wiping down the abandoned scotch cellar, the two Owners glanced at each other in disbelief. Not because Matty had tried to light a fart but tripped on a mop and headed butted the bar top, but because his business partner Steve had seen something on the wall. Gather round children. Oh my. Its..it’s a 24 hour licence.
Open disgustingly late for all the right people‘ read our statement. ‘Tramp. It’s a little bit fancy’ read another. We are realists. Where others would gloat, we floated the idea of something very different. ‘Let’s tell everyone it’s crap here’. Bad name. Potty mouth statements. The real us. If they come, it will be for the love of the music…not because it’s cool. Because we ain’t cool. We don’t drive Lamborghini’s. We don’t do VIPS. And we don’t forget to say please. And thank you. Truth is we are you. And you are me. And this … this little club of love is how it’s meant to be.

Welcome to the underground.

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