Once bingo seemed to be in terminal decline, but this national pastime is holding its own against austerity, online gambling and the smoking ban. There’s even a new breed of youthful card-dabbers knocking back Jägerbombs as they play
Saturday night, Camden, north London, and a massive queue has formed outside an industrial-looking building down a side street. Fashionable young people in their 20s mostly, some in their 30s, dressed up for a night out, energised and excited. Two queues, in fact – there is another smaller one heading the other way: for the guest list. A club? Too early, it’s only 7.30pm. Must be a gig then. Who’s playing? Actually, everyone is. Playing bingo.
What! Well, it’s Rebel Bingo – bingo reinvented for a new generation, for the 21st century, with bells and whistles, but still unmistakably, undeniably, bingo. There are cards and callers, numbers to be crossed off or dabbed, lines and full houses to be had, winners in waiting. We’ll come back to Camden and Rebel Bingo.