Kieran I want...
One of my first replies aside from writing a blog post on my ‘Kieran I want’ idea which you can read about here was ‘Kieran I want you to come to the Bingo for my Birthday’. To recap I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list
Kieran I want…(your suggestion here)
Here are some thoughts on the first
Kieran I want you to come to the Bingo for my Birthday
What ever happened to:
Two little ducks, legs eleven, made in heaven, you and me, Clickety click and all those other old school bingo calls made from a revolving metal wheel. When I used to play bingo with my Nan along the seafront on a typically stormy British day in Bournemouth there was a sense of the ridiculous to the game which made it so appealing.
Not now. Wednesday the 23rd February as part of my list of ‘Kieran I want’ challenges Kat asked that I go with her and friends to Bingo. With images of quaint frivolity I readily agreed.
But what greeted us was an intensity that I’ve never experienced. With casino lighting, no clocks on the walls, slot machines lining the walls and serious expressions normally reserved for a jury we brought our tickets for the 7.30pm game and found seats in the packed out gladiator arena that is the bingo hall.
And wow it’s fast, furious and slightly intimidating. As soon as the caller starts; silence. A silence you wouldn’t even get in church overcame the room. I don’t deny with six cards per game to mark off I lost track on a number of occasions as my mind started to wander. Everyone is eyes down and locked in concentration, and with some big money to be won there is no messing around. A few false calls electrified the room with excitement as a few games had to be re-started and the link up for major money gripped everyone.
In my naivety I half expected it to be A. empty for a Wednesday eve and B. Filled with little old ladies perhaps with a selection of blue and purple hair rinse.
Neither of which it was. It was filled with people of all ages and I mean filled. It was packed out. I don’t deny it was fun but with no talking during games and the need for extreme concentration it brought out the hot sweats in us. One of our group struggled with breathing due to the need for fast thinking; having to hold his breath during games turned him a lovely purple colour throughout. Plus I’m not sure any of us would have even had the temerity to call out Bingo if we had a line or full house as the majority of players seemed to be regulars who were intimidating in their intensity.
But it’s when you catch sight of the few people cutting a lonely figure, sitting on their own that you remember it’s gambling through and through, basically scratch cards in disguise with its own associated addictions. Computerised and efficient, even the ‘Bingo’ call sounded stunted and unenthused. It’s not like on the old sea front days when a win was greeted with cheer and a pat on the back (excuse the nostalgic recollections I’m sure it was as serious back then) but now it’s tut tut, an envious look and cards thrown down that hails the winner.
Next time I think a birthday meet up might revert back to the usual meet for a drink so that we can actually talk. I don’t think we will rush back to the fabled full house.