Losing my Bongo’s Bingo Virginity

Bongo’s Bingo was something that I heard about from week one of Leeds. Throughout my first year, friends went and insisted it was one of the best nights they’d ever had. When I asked ‘why?’ the only answer I’d get was ‘you had to be there’. At the time it annoyed me to no end. I thought how good could bingo truly be? Did I really have to be there to understand this apparent diamond of a night out?

I did. You do too. You have to be there to understand why shouting expletives at yet another moron for calling a full house when they’ve not even got one line can be so cathartic, all fuelled by the desire for that sweet win.

When I finally managed to get hold of tickets for Bongos, more than a year after hearing about it, I was pumped. Me and five other mates got appropriately trashed before hand – a must, by the way, going as a group and being hammered before you arrive – with all of us getting that feeling that can only be described as waking up on Christmas Day as a kid as our taxi arrived.

Straight away you’re hit with the cheese. A loud of rowdy students making fools of themselves and people walking round in ole German traditional outfits despite it being the 21st century in a warehouse near Leeds train station. But don’t get me wrong. It’s a good kind of cheese. A cheese that you savour and enjoy and just pig out on because no one’s watching you at 2am ramming your fingers into the camembert to get every last morsel. This is what Bongos is. It’s cheesy. It’s messy. But god, is it satisfying.

It’s the thrill of the chase that keeps you focused. It would be well to easy to get lost in the sweet experience of dancing on tables and throwing your stein around but the hammering of numbers out keeps you engrossed. Whether it’s monetary gains to allow you to eat something other than pasta and drink something else than frosty jacks, a 10inch dildo, or a life-size cut out of Ainsley Harriot, all the prizes are of equal worth and want. Plus, the longer you last the less people there are in for the count because far too many weaklings are culled by their booze intake and head home.

Believe the hype you’ve heard about Bongos. It isn’t no typical Bingo. This isn’t counting numbers with your nan and her mates as you waft down that overly milky cuppa’ tea. This is something entirely new. Entirely fantastical. You really do just have to be there.

Christopher Tobin