Bollocks to Blue Monday!

Published

Credit: Bongo’s Bingo

Bethany Woodhead
Editor-in-Chief

Blue Monday – the supposed gloomiest, most depressing day of the year – fell on 20 January this year. It earns its title due to the sorry combination of cold weather, dark nights, post-holiday blues, and a lot of overdue debt. It’s around the third week of January when the hopefulness of new year’s resolutions begin to die and motivation sinks into a deep, dark hole. To help combat the misery of Blue Monday, Bongo’s Bingo hosted four special events in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and London to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing (and give some of us sorry sods a cracking night to combat the most depressing day of the year).

The event was specifically in support of CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably – which according to a spokesperson, “has always been a charity very close to our hearts at Bongo’s Bingo. We’re really proud to be supporting them through raising money and awareness with these special ‘Bollocks to Blue Monday’ shows.” In total, Bongo’s Bingo managed to raise a whopping £10,000 across the four UK shows, which will contribute to the funding of at least 1,250 potentially life-saving calls on the CALM helpline.

“We recognise that mental health and the suicide crisis is a year-round thing, not just something that should be paid attention to on one particular day, which is why we chose to say Bollocks to Blue Monday! […] So a massive thank you to everyone who managed to get out and party with us on a Monday night.”

I’d never been to a Bongo’s Bingo event before this and they certainly showed me what they were made of on this spectacular night. SWG3 was the perfect setting, with the main warehouse space being transformed into a half-club, half-bierkeller scene. The normally cool, charcoal, concrete walls were drowned in hot pink light and strobes, and there were multiple rows of wooden tables and benches stretching right from the back of the hall to the stage at the front. I was in a group of around 20 to 30 people, but as everyone was sandwiched together along the great benches it was the perfect place for party-goers to merge and make friends, whether they came in couples, small groups, or chaotic hoards like myself.

The DJ-cum-commentator was an energetic Irish man who really got the crowd going, poking fun at his own accent and playing some amazing tunes. It’s important not to show up too late for a Bongo’s Bingo event as they take you through the rules at the beginning (although as the drinks keep flowing and the music keeps playing most people are bound to make a mistake, resulting in false “Bingo” calls and hundreds of people erupting in cheers and chants to Nicholas Fraser’s Why You Always Lying – our very own Deputy, Andrew, was subject to this walk of shame and subsequent torture from our group!)

The giveaways are impeccable, ranging from cardboard cut-outs of David Attenborough, to Henry Hoovers, to £750 in cold, hard cash; all given away by two very enthusiastic (and very scantily clad) male dancers.

Amongst the drunken dance-offs between competing “bingoers” and the rave intervals between rounds (which sees everyone jump on top of their tables and party like it’s 1999), I must say that even the process of actually playing the game (albeit drunkenly and quite badly) was truly phenomenal and definitely diminished any signs of the January blues. What more could you ask for on Blue Monday than a wholesome games’ night with friends, tangled up with some drinks and plenty of dancing?

Overall Bongo’s Bingo achieved something great, raising money and awareness for a vital cause and providing me and my similarly tired and financially-crippled friends with a fabulous evening to forget our sorrows.