Tab Tries: Rebel Bingo

Thought bingo was just for your gran? Think again!

Proving bingo isn’t just for grannies, Rebel Bingo has grown from the basement of a church to places as far away as Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro.

However, if you’ve never been, it’s difficult to understand exactly why people go. Perhaps some see the giant disco-balls and LED-speckled umbrellas up for grabs and hope to win big.

Maybe others just like the idea of drawing on each other with felt pens. My main concern was trying to get my head around the oxymoronic combination of ‘Rebel’ and ‘Bingo’.

We were promised a night of debauchery, eroticism, alcohol, felt-tip pens and bingo balls. Arriving at Thekla, there wasn’t a grandparent in sight amongst the flock of paisley-shirts and Topshop-skirts.

For one night only the ship became the Mecca (Bingo) for hipsters. One wonders whether or not the irony of it all was lost on them.

Displayed above the stage was a countdown, the only real sign of the impending horrors. As it reached zero, Alan, our roguish, porn-star-moustachioed host of the evening, bellowed ‘Let’s play some Rebel-fucking-Bingo!’

That’s when shit got real.

Projected onto a screen on stage was a picture of Gladys – a grey-haired sweetheart from the old regime; a relic from Croydon Bingo Club. Alan ordered a ‘fuck you Gladys!’ and we obeyed readily. It was a revolution. We were toppling the bingo-bourgeoisie.

Soon after, the lights dimmed and the gritty trap music faded to be replaced by something from the soundtrack of a 70’s porno. On stage appeared a scantily-clad duo of burlesque dancers.

Not your gran’s bingo callers

Between slinking around to the sultry backing-track and grinding on a panda soft-toy they took the time to pluck bingo-balls from a spinning cage.

‘The age I broke my hymen – 5!’ one of them announced, triggering the demise of every ‘5’ on our sheets and all political correctness.

By the second game the crowd had gone feral. An English student named Sophie turned to me and announced ‘I’m going to go take a piss, see you later.’ She never came back, perhaps a victim of the night.

“When you fuck me make it dirty…number thirty!”

Meanwhile a three-way tongue-licking session was breaking out by the bar. In an attempt to escape the nightmarish hedonism I fled to a secluded, indoor seating area, only to find a couple of old-timers trampling on the smoking ban.

I then felt a stranger’s hand forcefully grab my crotch. I looked up to see a face composed of nothing but nonchalance and indifference. Yes, she’d violated me. Did she give a shit? No.

I then realised that this was what Rebel Bingo was all about whether I could hack it or not. We were embracing bingo in its natural, bestial state. I gave in and suddenly it felt great.

Manners and etiquette were flung out of the port-holes into the river below. All my bingo prejudices were gone.

By 10.30 the prizes, which included an LED-speckled umbrella, a giant disco-ball, a ‘Rebel Fucking Bingo’ t-shirt and the aforementioned panda, had been fought for and won.

Aside from the battered bingo cards strewn on the floor and the bodies strewn across the streets outside, there wasn’t a sign anything had happened.

We had woken up in a brave new world.