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"One of the best nights out I've had this year."

None of us having been to Bongo's Bingo before, The Glasgow Guardian team - Rosie, Jamie, Kim, Luke and I - were extremely excited to have been invited along. We'd heard the rumours about what could be in store, and yet still couldn't quite picture the intersection of bingo, Christmas, and SWG3. Peacefully ignorant, we didn't realise that what we had in store for us was potentially one of the funniest nights out we'd have had so far.

"...we didn't realise that what we had in store for us was potentially one of the funniest nights out we'd have had so far..."

Told to turn up promptly, we got there early; the queues were long but moved quickly, and soon we were inside, wristbands on, bingo books and red felt tip pens taken, and being led to our table, situated directly front of house. Ordering drinks to match the masses, the table was soon dotted with Venoms - £10 a drink! - tactically placed so as to not destroy our bingo books too early on. 

The first hour let everyone find their seats, buy their drinks and get in the mood, with music blasting across the hall. The venue was split by about four or five long rows of tables, with benches either side that could carry surprisingly more weight than you'd expect; something we found out from jumping onto them periodically throughout the night. 

"LET'S PLAY BINGO!" boomed across the room, and suddenly two glamorous, 6-foot-seven, stocking'd entertainers appeared on stage, hosting skills not too offset by their questionable dancing. Alongside them, our bingo caller - Bongo - for the night. Briefed on the rules, with the allure of promising prizes, we began. One line, call bingo. Two lines, call bingo. Three lines: full house. 

Credit: Lucy Dunn

Our table - despite hearing the rules  - still managed to obtain differing interpretations of how to play bingo. Luckily we were saved by the minority who actually knew what they were doing, and as the numbers were called out, a few of us looked like we were approaching success. Someone a few rows down stood up, declaring their victory. This was followed by some swift booing - surely not enough numbers had been called yet? - and shortly after that, confirmation that they were, in fact, wrong. 

"Our table - despite hearing the rules  - still managed to obtain differing interpretations of how to play bingo. Luckily we were saved by the minority who actually knew what they were doing..."

Why the fuck you lying? Why you always lying? Stop fucking lyinggg filled the hall, and the disgraced candidate returned to their seat, making way for the actual winner who went up only one number later. Helped up by the naughty elves/Santa's little helpers/Mrs Claus lookalikes or whatever our lovely hostesses were trying to emulate, winner number one found out quickly that it wasn't just a matter of receiving a prize - no, you had to dance for it. 

Before this I had never understood the pull of bingo. At SWG3 though we got more party than playing - which I think was definitely preferable. Only an hour in and the energy was already at an all-time high; a couple of tables down from us jumped up, dancing on their seats, enough persuasion for the entire room to follow suit. 

"Only an hour in and the energy was already at an all-time high; a couple of tables down from us jumped up, dancing on their seats..."

If there was one downside, it was that we didn't win anything - no dolls, no hoovers, and no money. In fairness, given Bongo's had taken our full table's bingo virginity that night, it was no real surprise. The mix of drinks, dancing, and paper bingo books also posed an interesting dilemma: how could you cross out numbers when your booklet had somehow managed to magnificently soak itself into the table? 


We left, covered in Coco Pops, slightly tipsy, and extremely elated after such a fun-filled, feel-good night. I feel comfortable speaking for all of us when I say it was an absolutely brilliant time. Bongo's Bingo is hilarious: it's fun, sociable, and endlessly entertaining. Their Glasgow presents Winter Wonderland was a night out with a twist, and as one of our group said afterwards, "one of the best nights out I've had this year".


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