The last time I bounced through the doors of the Albert Hall, armed with a bingo dabber and pint, was around three years ago when Bongo’s was just in its infancy.
I had been warned that I should prepare myself for ‘carnage’, but like anyone who has partied hard in Manchester, I wasn’t fully convinced. Obviously, I was wrong- as I discovered the next morning, frantically trying to scrub my ink-stained skin and alcohol-drenched hair clean, before stumbling into work still half-cut.
Ah, memories! Fast forward a couple of years, and there I was- walking through those glorious doors again last Tuesday, prepared for an evening of debauchery- and by God, what a feeling it was!
When I was asked if I fancied going to the Bongo’s Bingo, Basshunter special, I didn’t hesitate to say yes: after all, who hasn’t danced around to ‘All I Ever Wanted’, wearing a hideous tutu and some colourful leg warmers?!
If you’ve never been to, or heard of Bongo’s before, it’s what it says on the tin: a game of Bingo. But, imagine Bingo on Acid – that’s literally the only way to describe it.
The evening consists of five games that are made up of three rounds. The first round is simple: get one line and win the first prize; in our case it was an extremely luxurious bottle of good old Apple Sourz or Glen’s Voddy.
During the second round, if you manage to get two lines within the same box, you’ll win something mint like a box of Disney Barbie dolls or a life size cut-out of Phillip Schofield (ultimate bae). And then of course, the third round requires you to get a full house; the prize being what everyone really wants – cash monies.
As we took our seats and the game began, I was quickly reminded of Bongo’s’ quirky rules. If you dare to make a false call – prepared to be shunned by a hall full of angry pissheads who will forever brand you as a ‘dickhead’ till your dying breath.
If you don’t like dancing, then don’t bother buying a ticket, because in this game, there’s always an excuse for an impromptu musical interval or rave.
And finally, if you just so happen to call ‘Bingo!’ at the same time as someone else, you’ll be forced to take part in one of Bongo’s best games – their notorious dance off’s.
Now, at my first visit a few years back, they were pretty PG. There was a lot of ‘chicken dancing’ being thrown around; perhaps the odd ‘Dab’- nothing out of the ordinary. But this year, I felt like I was in dingy strip-club, because every bugger decided to strip off into their knickers, in an attempt to bag the cash prize.
Half the audience loved it, the other half cringed (moi), but if you do like the idea of strangers getting their tits out on stage for shit and giggles, head to Bongo’s, because nothing is too outrageous. And that’s why I love it.
However, what made Bongos extra special this time was the arrival of everyone’s favourite Club Land DJ (debatable), Basshunter. Stumbling onto the stage, it became apparent pretty early on that he’d been enjoying his own little party back stage- and didn’t we love him for it and who could possibly resist the iconic purr of ‘All I Ever Wanted’ and ‘Now you’re Gone’? I know I couldn’t.
It was like being at a school disco again, but this time, everyone was wankered and the room wasn’t segregated into girls on one side, and boys on the other.
What I love most about Bongos, is the way people leave their morals, insecurities and cares outside the doors, and embrace the experience in the best way possible. Not giving a s*** and releasing the inner child.
The weirder, crazier and more shameful you are, the better- which is why this event has now made a name for itself across the world. Luckily for you, there’s no need to travel to a different continent to experience the magic- its on every Tuesday in Albert Hall, and is even hosting a wild Halloween Special ft. Fuse ODG!
But don’t bother bringing a camera guys, you won’t need pictures to remember this night!