Butlins have recently updated their slang terms for bingo numbers. Robert 'waiting for one number" Meddes waves goodbye to Tom Mix et al.
Tom Mix - number 6 of course: noted silent actor and still able to conjure up images of lantern jawed cowboys in bingo players of a certain age, usually 90+. Consequently, to a lot of people today, Tom Mix is about as well known as whoever it was that won last year's Big Brother. It's because a lot of these bingo terms are lost on today's dabber- wielding punters, that professor Charlie Blake has updated the slangy parlance of Butlins' denizens, to incorporate more modern terms. So, instead of 'half a crown' for 26 (i. e. two and six) we now have Hans Blix. Number 8, formerly garden gate, is now preceded by Pop Idol hamster-boy Gareth Gates. In place of two little ducks (22 quack-quack) we're left with Tom Cruise. Now, I can get away with Hans Blix for 26, Gareth Gates for number 8, hmm .. But Tom Cruise, 22? Piss off. I've never heard such an imperfect rhyme since Ronan Keating tried to couple 'kissing' with 'condition'.
The old Bingo Lingo is almost a snap-shot of post-war Britain with its casual sexism ('7 and 6, was she worth it?' 7 and 6 being the price of a marriage licence) and under-the-counter naughtiness. There's no definitive list of calls - with varying rhymes and allusions for each number - but wherever you look there are hints of sex. Legs eleven (11) and dirty Gertie (30) both have a dash of slap and tickle about them as does 'the Brighton line' (59) with its air of stolen weekends away in the countries romping capital. I prefer these subtler suggestions of sex to professor Charlie Blake's update which thrusts 'J-Lo's bum' to the fore (41- another imperfect rhyme unless you're from Nottingham). And I suppose 'never been kissed' (17) has been replaced with 'two kids and another on the way'.
Its only a matter of time before the powers that be realise that, like the Conservative party, their core audience is increasingly ageing and so try to re-brand the whole package. I for one am not relishing the desperate attempt to lure the hip r'n'b crowd wit the promise of a quick game of Blingo.
From The Crack, NE England Student Magazine