Tag: bingo

The Underground Bingo Academy will transform The Vaults underneath Waterloo station into a new, exciting and unforgettable bingo experience for all Londoners. A chance for would-be bingo enthusiasts to come out of hiding and to craft their bingo skills, the night will take place every Thursday - Saturday this April. Set to be a night of fun and games, eager bingo-ists will be taught the best ways to dab numbers, traditional and new-age bingo talk, and the various types of bingo they may have to face. Kicking off on 5th April, tickets start at £5. For more information on the Underground Bingo Academy and Bingo Academy, please visit their website

Following the success of the Camden Bingo Academy at the start of this year, the Bingo Academy will take over The Vault's in Waterloo for a month-long popup for a bingo boot camp like no other.

The bingo revolution is in full swing, and those previously scared and intimated by bingo halls are now ready to face the challenge with the Underground Bingo Academy ready to teach.

Visitors can expect to be taken through their paces, with the complex rules of bingo and advanced dabbing techniques before competing in a range of real-life bingo games to fully prepare for future bingo scenarios.

The Academy has all bases covered with tuition in dabbing numbers to bingo language old and new.

The Underground Bingo Academy launches 5th April and will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a month. Tickets start at £5 and available here.

bingo 2_14_14Fancy some bingo? Course you do. A new bingo night has come to The Breakfast Club, London.

For £5 a ticket you get 3 games of Bingo, free shots, happy hour all night and chances to win lots great prizes like a pancake breakfast for two, all this hosted by the comedy character Anne Hiking. Sounding pretty good hey?!

Dates and locations for the Bingo Club at the Breakfast Club are below.

Angel - Tuesday 14th October, 11th November


Battersea - Tuesday 21st October, 18th November


London Bridge - Wednesday 29th October



@structuredfun & @thebrekkyclub

bingo balls

Bingo is very proud of its tradition. And rightly so. It has been one of the most popular and quintessentially British games for decades and its players are fervent supporters of keeping the game tied to its roots. However, in recent years bingo has drawn an unlikely crowd. While bingo is still associated with old, grandiose halls, mature and homely players and phrases like “tickety boo”, “legs eleven” and “two fat ladies”, a smattering of alternative bingo nights have sprung up across the country - and in some unlikely destinations in the world - which the old guard see as offenses against bingos established mores.

Bogan Bingo
Created by two Aussie bingo-calling talents, Tom Major and Trevor Sinclair have transformed bingo from urbane sensibilities to bourbon frivolities. Bogan Bingo nights have popped up across London in recent years and have been a playground for number-loving revellers. Classic ‘80s pub rock tunes, air guitar competitions, bad haircuts and more denim and flannel than a Nirvana tribute gig, Bogan Bingo is an incongruous mix of bingo fanaticism and comedy routines. Be prepared for raucous singing, short denim shorts and a night of yelling “bloody bingo” at the top of your lungs. For the uninitiated, a bogan is the Australian equivalent to the British “chav”.

Underground Rebel Bingo Club
If your idea of bingo is traditional halls and a crowd circa 1924, then you have not been to Underground Rebel Bingo Club. This is bingo with balls. Held in secret locations all over the country, the Underground Rebel Bingo Club started following a drunken night among friends in Farringdon, London, and has transformed into one of the hippest, loudest and strangest events in many twentysomethings' calendar. With over 400 people at each gathering, it is basically a massive party, with bingo held between live DJ sets. This hardcore covert bingo society has recently taken there bizarre mix of bingo and decadence to Ibiza, party capital of the world. Held at the Ibiza Rocks Bar, the game features bikini dancers, huge prizes, live DJ sets and more washable marker pens than the stationery section at WHS Smiths.

Musical Bingo
For the mathematically challenged, a current trend is to call songs instead of numbers. A musical twist on bingo, players have to identify the song, check it off their list and then call “bingo” when they have completed enough lines to win. While this sounds significantly more relaxed than both Bogan Bingo and URBC, the game can vary from small, intimate gatherings to huge, live-musicals where players mark off their cards listening to hip hop, ‘80s music and film soundtracks.

Gringo Bingo
Many backpackers and travellers have come back with stories about bingo being played on long-haul bus trips in South America. Ranging from quiet, local affairs to three-hour-rambling-drunken sessions, bus bingo has proved very popular with unexpected backpackers who see it as a great way to waste some time on the road. Obviously, you need to have a basic grasp of the Spanish language otherwise you may end up yelling bingo every five minutes, or worse, not yelling at all. In addition, intrepid-bingo-lovers will have to get used to the fact that bus bingo is the entire card and not just a single row.

There are, of course, two sides to the coin. The traditionalists want bingo to retain its understated charm, where house-wives and the aged can relax, mingle with friends and gamble in a moderate and social way. This, in their minds, is the real bingo; where the game’s history and traditions are respected and upheld in civil surroundings. However, there are those who argue that bingo must evolve and that the days of centenarians, Antique Road Show watching players and archaic phrases must come to an end. These new shades of bingo bring new emphasis on fun, excitement and enthusiasm understood only in 21st century lingo, totally at odds with bingo’s atavistic upbringing. To them, bingo has been severely maligned. Regardless of their somewhat uninhibited intentions, the new guard has shown that bingo can be relevant to the adrenaline fuelled, gadget-loving, bacchanalian youth who would have scoffed at the mere mention of bingo a few years ago.

This article is brought to you by Pick Me Up Bingo.

Bingo social club michael hess

At 1 pm, every day, nearly 600 bingo halls across the UK open. Michael Hess tells Jack about the fascinating characters he found on his recent photographic project, Bingo and Social Club.

A few days ago we announced that Michael Hess would showcase a selection of his images from the recently published book, Bingo and Social Club at The Book Club, Leonard Street. Since then we have caught up with the photographer to ask him a few questions about the work and exhibition. Michael is Germany born but moved to the UK in 2003.

Why did you decide to be based in London?
I lived in Southampton for a few years and, though I loved being near the sea, and the pace of life down there, I wanted to be in a more creative environment and absorb what's going on in the arts scene in London. It's one of the best in the world and there's no better place to get inspired and stay inspired. Having said that, I'm off to Berlin soon for a couple of years.

What made you take an interest in the British pastime of bingo?
Curiosity really. There was a bingo hall near where I lived in Southampton and I always used to wonder what went on inside. It was a big old converted cinema covered in neon signs and peeling paint, and there were always groups of women standing outside smoking. I loved the faded glory of the place. Bingo isn’t something that goes on much in Germany beyond weekly community hall bingo sessions so maybe I saw it with different eyes to most people. One night myself and my flatmate went and played bingo there and I just fell in love with the characters and the old world charm.

Who was the most interesting character you met whilst capturing the Bingo and Social Club images?
There were so many, every bingo hall has its characters. Felix in Beacon Bingo in Cricklewood who wears bicycle lights on his hat and toots a horn when he wins. Belle in Newcastle who’s 100 years old and still plays every week. But one who'll always stick in my mind is Eddie. He’s a 70-something stalwart of Liverpool's Paradise Island and is truly the life and soul of the party – always laughing and joking with everyone and taking ladies up to dance. I have to mention Jack too, the bingo manager from Newcastle who features throughout the book. Of all the managers I met, he was the most interesting, with an enigmatic Humphrey Bogart aura about him.

Bingo social club michael hess

Were you made to feel welcome in the social/bingo clubs?
Very. The main difficulties I had were before I visited, getting permission to photograph. Once I was in the hall I was made very welcome, and usually given free food and drinks. I was always introduced before each session, usually with a joke like, “if you’re MI5 or wanted, you better hide now”. But the main thing was that everyone was given the option not to be photographed. To be honest though, most people didn’t mind, and even enjoyed it. I found older people to be more relaxed about the presence of a camera than the younger ones. Only one hall turned me away when I arrived because the manager said, on second thoughts, the women’s husbands might not know they’re there and didn’t want to be caught out.

What did you look for for each of your images?
I focused mainly on finding the strong characters in each club; the people you can immediately tell have got something special about them. As time went on I began to find the little details too, like lucky charms and the box of glasses that one club kept by the door in case someone forgot theirs. Overall though I was looking for nostalgia, perhaps with a 1950s American touch. Most of the clubs in the book are small, independent  clubs that have been running since the 60s, and little has changed since then. They were full of character, and characters, that a lot of the Meccas and Galas just didn’t have.

Do you play bingo yourself?
I was looking through my wallet the other day and realised it's full of bingo membership cards! I played once or twice. Maxine, the writer, played much much more than me, while I was photographing. She won £7 in Newcastle – you can see the winning ticket in the book.

Where was your favourite or most recommended venue visited?
Jack's will always remain close to my heart, but Paradise Island in Liverpool had something special. They were incredibly friendly and had a fantastic sense of humour. In fact, we spent last New Year's Eve there. We also have some fond memories of Roman Bank in Skegness. It's not much to look at but the characters really make the place. Bill, who runs it with his wife June, is 93 and still works behind the bar – and they help give it a very family feel. Actually the previous New Year’s we spent at one of their customer’s houses. Which is one of the reasons I love photography. It gives you access to people and places you’d never be able to reach if you didn’t have a camera in your hands.

Bingo social club michael hess

Howdy cowboys an' girls. To celebrate the release of the western classic True Grit on Blue Ray DVD on 7th February by Paramount Home Entertainment we are running a super special competition. The winner will get not just an exclusive "What Would JW Do?" T-shirt (stand out from the crowd in fashion week), but also two tickets to an exclusive True Grit event.

The True Grit event in Kings Cross next Wednesday 9th February will feature a screening of the film, whilst playing John Wayne bingo- striking off classic actions, moments and phrases from special bingo cards designed for the film to win a special John Wayne prize. Also provided will be a special themed buffet with whisky, beans and Rooster Cogburn's favourite corn dodgers available on the night.

The question is:

If you could hang out with John Wayne for a day what would you do?

The best answer emailed to adam@whos-jack.co.uk wins a pair of tickets to the exclusive True Grit event on Wednesday and a limited edition 'What Would JW Do?' T-shirt. The competition will close at 12pm on Tuesday and the winner will be notified by email.