“Are the doors locked? Is the coast clear?” the crowd is asked. We look around. Well yes, I believe it is. We are all here to attend Brighton’s ‘Class in Social Etiquette’, and from the look of the crowd, my God they need it. I fear I might catch something from merely taking a breath. As for beer on tap? No chance. Each attendee of this ‘class’ has been given a coloured pen and a set of numbers on a card. One assumes they are for some kind of test at the end of this class. But these young ruffians have used said pen to draw all kinds of provocative graffiti over each other’s bodies. If you were to replace milk with absinthe in schools, this would be the outcome. However, it’s encouraging they have taken it upon themselves to seek help for this ghastly anti-social behaviour.
But wait. What am I saying? The doors ARE locked. The coast IS clear, and as the geek on stage strips his geek attire off down to his t-shirt and skinny jeans underneath; he announces what the crowd are secretly here for. “WE’RE NOT HERE TO LEARN SOCIAL ETIQUETTE! WE’RE HERE TO PLAY SOME REBEL ******* BINGO!”
Everyone who purchased a ticket was warned via e-mail the day before the event, ‘The old school bingo community don’t like us -- they think we are ruining their boring game -- they are old and angry and they are out to get us so we have to keep these meetings undercover’. With that in mind, like bingo ninjas, we all got into the secret venue unnoticed. Phew.
As the first numbers are called by two 50’s Winehouse style burlesque girls in a beautifully crass manner, “Cum on my tits, 66”, the crowd roars in ecstasy, over a game of bingo…yes bingo. But this isn’t the bingo you see in films and TV ads, packed with soulless Eastenders cast types, oh no. This is the Underground Rebel Bingo Club. It came about in the basement of a church hall, where a bingo machine was discovered and a drunken version of the classic grandma game was born. Despite its ‘Fight Club’ secrecy, the club now stretches from Manchester to Brighton; even down to Ibiza and across the pond to New York, LA and Las Vegas, proving its global popularity.
Not only is this possibly the only platform where you can freely draw all over complete stranger without getting punched, the prizes are as impressive as the moustache I drew on a girl called Olivia. From Kigu’s to iPod speaker docks, (even a walk on keyboard, bringing back ‘BIG’ memories) you can find yourself getting quite abusive to anyone who calls ‘Bingo!’ before you. (If you won the panda Kigu and you are reading this, I would like to apologise for the disgusting abuse you received that night… heat of the moment n’all)
As the URB club says, ‘If you don’t like drinking, dancing, loud music and shouting, don’t come. We know it’s wrong. But it feels so right. And they can’t stop us. But don’t tell anyone. Shhhhhhh! Yeah?’
Buy tickets for Underground Rebel Bingo, now taking place accross England and America
The Harker provides a platform for young (unpaid) writing talent.
Underground Rebel Bingo Club Promo