When you hear 3000 inebriated, giddy people shouting ‘Henry, Henry, Henry f*cling hoover’, in unison to the soundtrack of The Prodigy, you know it’s going to be a good night and nobody was more excited about the possibility of winning ‘Henry’ than me.
To provide context, this was Bongo’s Bingo. If you’ve been, you know. If you haven’t been, get yourself some tickets. It is without a doubt the best night you’re likely to have in a long time.
My friend and I got tickets for our birthdays. Neither of us had been before and my friend had never heard of it but I convinced her it was a good idea when I explained that Kelis was doing a set afterwards. Yes, the Kelis. She brought the milkshake and I can confirm it definitely still brings all the boys (and girls) to the yard. I felt a bit sad that Kelis had been reduced to playing Bingo halls but that was made even worse when a large number of the crowd left before she even started. Presumably they were under 25 and didn’t want to watch some ‘old’ woman in cycling shorts parade about the stage. The jokes on them, she was amazing and looked incredible.
The bingo itself was hilarious. The prizes were way better than I imagined and the atmosphere was electric. When we arrived at the G-Mex ( as it was formerly known) we couldn’t believe many people were there. As soon as the doors opened, we poured in and quickly found ourselves a bar. The drinks were very pricey, so my friend and I did the only sensible and frugal thing we could. We bought bottles of prosecco. It was the cheapest way to drink. Honest.
The venue mise en scene was inspired by The Greatest Showman, with acrobats and swaths of red and white striped material draped from the ceiling, giving the illusion of being in a Big Top, and once the spectacle began, there were dancers and Johnny Bongo dressed like Hugh Jackman. It was a pretty epic opener.
My friend looked a bit shocked. ‘What have you brought me to?’, she asked, a bit daunted. When you don’t get out often, 3000 people calling someone ‘d*ckhead’ for having called out that they’ve got a line, only to find out it was wrong. No matter how big the prize, I would’ve kept my mouth shut for fear of that camera coming round and my wonky face popping up on the big screens, mortified when I realised I was wrong.
After a drink though, we settled into it and tried to keep up with the number calling. I’m not joking, it’s tense. The numbers fly at you at a million miles an hour and everyone around you is talking and shouting things like ‘what number’ or ‘is it one line or two?’ and it’s really hard to concentrate. But it’s funny AF (as the kids say).
Bongo’s Bingo isn’t limited to Manchester. It takes place up and down the country (or so I believe) and I highly recommend you grab your mates (male and female) and go, although perhaps go easy on the prosecco or else you’ll lose a day. Like I did.