I’ve never been to one of these events before, even though apparently they are all the rage! I’d never even heard of it…although ‘dirty bingo’ does ring a few bells!
Well at 11.30am today, a friend and I decided we’d go and see what it was all about, so we turned up at the Peoples Park Tavern in Hackney. I’m not sure why I was so pleasantly surprised by it’s modern, quirky but spacious interior – I think I was expecting more ‘spit-and-sawdust’ but nah, it’s lovely in there. They even allow dogs and Oscar was welcomed into the event like a VIP member of the Bottomless Brunch Crew! (He got a bit of fried egg for behaving himself ).
The room was pretty much packed. Mostly of people in their 20’s and 30’s but that was no issue at all. The only problem I clocked straight off were a large table of about 15 young people who appeared extremely strait-laced and restrained. Although it became clear that they were at the right event, they were a bit restrained. I wondered if they shouldn’t have gone to something less juicy.
Throughout the morning, you could fill up on endless filter coffee and toast (white and brown bread) on tap with a huge range of spreads. On arrival you could choose between a small carafe of Bloody Mary or a Mimosa, followed by a full English (with veggie option). In between the food and drinks, SuZanna GonZo (aka Katie O’Brien), the host who could have been Dolly Parton if you squinted a little (even speaking with a southern USA drawl), mingled with the audience making jokes, impromptu asides and astute observations. She did a great job keeping everyone entertained between mouthfuls of sausage(!) and kept the event moving seamlessly. The morning sped by.
In case I haven’t made it clear, the event is an innuendo filled afternoon of fun and games. It’s a ‘Carry On’ version of well known party games and Bingo, of course. It is harmless fun and you aren’t expected to do anything that you’d spend nights sweating over, in case your employer sees it on Facebook. It’s just good old adult fun. If you’re a bit sensitive, self conscious or prudish , I would say don’t go. The atmosphere is definitely ramped up by people who are game for a laugh and will join in. Abstainers definitely put a dampener on proceedings. Don’t be alarmed though – it really is quite tame, just cheeky!
4 games of Bingo later, a cheeky game of pass-the-parcel, supermarket ‘kiss’ (think supermarket sweep but with lipstick), drawing competitions (you wouldn’t let your children join in though), twerking dance-offs and glute control challenges, 2pm arrived and the party had to come to an reluctant end.
All I can say is, try it. If you’re not easily offended, it is one of the best ways to ease into a Saturday afternoon that I’ve ever experienced! I really haven’t laughed so much in a long time.