Thursday, June 21, 2012

Musical Bingo, 20th June

Why did we think a fourth bottle of wine would be a good idea? Whose arm was around me as we danced on stage? Where did my jacket go? These are the kinds of questions you will be asking yourself when you go to the crazy party that is Musical Bingo.

If you’re at all familiar with bingo, you’ll pick up Musical Bingo in no time. You get a card and on it is a grid with nine song titles. When they play your song you cross it off. First prize is one line, second prize is two lines, third prize is three lines and then you carry on until someone gets a full house. Each round also has a different theme. The first one was British music, the second was love (aaaahhh) and so on. 

 This was Musical Bingo’s 5th birthday so we knew they were going to pull out all the stops. There were some pretty decent prizes on offer – the grand prize being tickets to Leefest, but also bottles of wine, and decent bar tabs/free meals for Concrete and Pizza East which were the host venue for the evening. Each round was compered by a hostess. And for the first time ever, all three hostesses were sharing the stage! 

[Poor] Photographic evidence of the landmark occasion
These saucy minxes obviously didn’t have to call out numbers, but kept the party going and, all important, faciliated deciding any tie breakers. You see, if you got a line (or two or three) you raced to the DJ booth to get your card checked. But what if more than one of you reached bingo at the same time? I thought it might be a case of first come first win, picturing cut-throat races to the DJ booth, people tackling other people out of the way. But no. In the case of a tie-break, however many people were claiming victory were ushered onto the stage to compete for the prize. Such contests included a hula hooping competition, a limbo contest, and rock paper scissors. Being the grand exhibitionist that I am after a few glasses of wine, I was mortally disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to try my hand at any of these, as I didn’t win a single game. I think in the whole night I managed to cross off only one measly line (way after the chance to win that had passed). But as you might guess, it didn’t mar my enjoyment.

Lola Hi-Rola

The night was sold out – you have to book a table in advance by email for £7 per person. We were shown to our seats by Johnny and had time to get some drinks in before the bingo started at about 8. At first me and my more competitive teammate found the going a little slow. There was absolutely no chance of someone being too lethargic to miss their song, miss their chance to cross it off and thus boost our chances of winning, as they played each song in full. We were raring to go to hear the next one, in a hurry to be the first to win. But then, after a couple more glasses, that urge wore off and we were enjoying listening to the music. Starting to groove along and dance in our seats even. They were playing some cracking songs – ranging from The Buzzcocks to Stevie Wonder (the Happy Birthday song of course!). Soon, if they cut the song short to move onto the next one, we were disappointed. Slowly but surely, the impending chaos crept in. People started not only dancing in their seats, but standing up to jig about. Then, (no doubt inspired by miss Lola Hi-Rola gallivanting on the benches), others were getting up onto the benches and tables to dance (and swiftly being told to get down by the bouncers). Until, as soon as you’d crossed off your song, or realised you didn’t have it, people were moving to the area at the front to dance between songs. I had my moment in the sun when my friend and I, who need little to no encouragement, were taken by the hand and pulled onto the stage. Now it was all about the dancing – me just hopping off stage to cross off a song before jumping back to continue dancing. It all culminated with circles breaking out and strangers’ arms finding strangers’ waists while we kicked our legs and swung around to Zorba the Greek. And I haven’t even mentioned the conga line – or the gambling your prize for the chance to win . . . who knows! Something amazing, or maybe just a Justin Bieber mask. Utterly exhilarating and fabulous fun – I really can’t wait to go again. They have just started a new night called Last Man Standing and if it's anything like Musical Bingo, it deserves a place on my List.

Bobbing for marshmallows to win the team free shots

Unfortunately there was a bit of a bum note towards the end – while we were gallivanting on the stage either an overzealous bar person, or a sneaky bingo player relieved us of the half a bottle of wine we still had. And I couldn’t find my jacket when we left at the end of the night – if anyone took it by mistake (or even on purpose), can you please return it? 

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Please feel free to add your views, or maybe suggest somewhere I should put on my list!