Saturday, September 02, 2006

"I've two tickets for Mecca Bingo, baby"

"I've two tickets for Mecca Bingo, baby"

We're just going to have to gloss over the fact that this blog clearly indicates that I've been to Bingo for the second time in just over a week. Rock and roll, ok?

You've undoubtedly seen the adverts for Mecca Bingo. A group of glossy haired women go for a night out, disco music plays in the background, they throw their dabbers in the air and still manage to catch them before, in the supreme moment of joy, one of their group wins the jackpot. The subtext of the advert is pretty clear : come to bingo. IT'S FUN and not something which only people in their eighties do. You too will have glossy hair, catch your dabbers and win money.

Whilst the rain had pretty much put paid to any thoughts of glossy hair we had the dabbers, we could make our own music and none of us was reaching for a Bus Pass. This was just going to be like the advert, especially since at least one of us was going to win all of twenty pounds.

Three hours after arriving at the Slug and Lettuce for a quick cocktail we finally stumble into the Bingo Hall and D and I commandeer a set of tables right at the front of the hall. Get Ready, oh baby, tonight, we're gonna make this a night to remember -

We're gathered, books and dabbers at the ready. One. Two. Three. We're off.

"I've had every number so far!"

"Well, you will do, you get every number between 1 and 90 on the page!"

We're doing quite well. I'm even feeling like a bit of a pro because I'm using the screen rather than listening to the caller. Get me. Bingo Queen.

Of all the numbers to be called out it had to be - 69. And, low and behold, everyone's 12 years old again and sniggering in my direction. Gits.

There's some over-enthusiastic dabbering going on now. And it shouldn't be funny, but it is. Even I've got the giggles.

S's arm collides with D's during an over-enthusiastic move and D manages to hit the wrong number completely. This is obviously the most hilarious thing in the history of hilarious things. Ok, so maybe you had to be there.

One of the Bingo Helpers [Assistants? Ushers? Is there a technical term?] comes over to us: "I know this is probably one of your first times at Bingo but could you be quiet as you're disturbing other people"

This takes a moment for me to process. And then it hits. We've been shushed. At Bingo. And we weren't even trying to throw our dabbers in the air. Those glossy haired women who are laughing and drinking and singing along to disco songs - they don't get shushed. Two words: False Advertising.

First session over. None of us have won. And we've been shushed. This is not how it's supposed to be.

"How come she wins? She gets her rent paid, heating allowance, free tv license, a free bus pass and a pension. What's she going to spend the money on? More bingo and a zimmer frame with LEDs on it?"

Chips are consumed. We moan about the shushing. A lot. The second session starts.

I need one number for the house. One number. This is going to be it.

I still need one number. This is getting silly. It has to be the next number.

Come on, one number.

Sh*t someone else has got my money.

69. Surely it's not still amusing. But oh yes, it clearly is.

The second session ends and we still haven't seen a return on our investment. Though at least we've been deemed to be behaving appropriately.

"We need to focus - eyes on the prize"

We all nod at L.

"C'mon - do your stretches"

And because I think it perfectly normal to approach any competitive game in this manner, I find myself stretching my right hand.

"All hands in the middle"

We pile our hands together in a manner more appropriate for a team sport. S dabs us all so we have blue splodges on our hands.

We throw our dabbers in the air and you know what? We actually catch them. This is it. We're going to win the jackpot.

The final session begins. Someone squeaks and makes odd noises on what turns out to be a false call. Because we are mean, mean people we find this very, very funny.

L's doing well, D points out she needs only 33 for the line at the same time that we hear the Bingo Caller announce "33". There's a moment of utter confusion where we're all suspended in space. We squeak in what is possibly the most feeble call of the night. The shame.

L's winnings come back in an envelope. Just how exciting is this?

And what's that? Yes, 69. Even I laugh this time.

I'm nowhere near winning so much as ten pence. Ah, well.

The main session ends. We make the decision to go and lose money by giving it to a bar as opposed to the Bingo hall. Everyone in our immediate area breathes a sigh of relief.

Conclusion: Bingo is not like the adverts. You will not have glossy hair or be able to make noise. You most likely won't win. Twenty-somethings will still find the number 69 amusing. You will, however, get excited when your official bingo membership card arrives in the post.


Nik said...

you're clearly making a habit of getting shushed. and you know the best bit? i wasn't there, which means the other times that i was, it was clearly your fault :P

val said...

Ok, I have to ask...what's a 'dabber'?!

gayle said...

Tsk tsk Val, really (it's the big marker pen thing you use on your card, I think). Hmmm, maybe I should start going to bingo, I seem to know far too much about it.

Nik said...

i want to go to bingo. bet i could shout 'bingo' well loud as well ;)

cat said...

Val! how can you have survived this long on the planet without knowing what a dabber is? I find myself getting Bingo-envy, can I come next time please?

Corinne said...

Firstly, Val - I'm shocked ;-) Gayle is indeed right, you get one free when you join up! Secondly, Nik - bah :-P.

We should have an ND Bingo Night - competition + cheap alcohol + the possibility of winning thousands = a good night out for us.

[and Cat, D's offer still stands ;-)]

gayle said...

Oh yes definitely, I can see Team Griffin storming to an all-time Bingo record! I just hope it doesn't involve procuring anyone's underwear...

Nik said...

that's not fair if we keep the same teams :( i shall make up my own team consisting of just me, and elect myself captain :P

gayle said...

Every woman for herself eh?!

Nik said...

well if you ask nicely gayle, i may consider being on your team, but i think corinne and i just generally end up on opposing teams. i'm never sure how that happens either...