Somewhere on the Island, there exists a huge, faded, 1980's folly that existed only to engage ladies of a certain age and a certain class.
The Bingo Hall played on their heightened sensibilities and offered them a release from the relentless drudgery of 1980's old-lady-life. Post Office, supermarket, Trisha, Good Morning, Post Office, supermarket, Trisha, Good Morning, Post Office, supermarket, Trisha, Good Morning, Post Office, supermarket, Trisha, Good Morning, Bingo.. .
En masse they would descend on the 'hall, babbling in their incoherent, false-toothed manner, 'EEDORISDIDYOUHEARWHATHAPPENEDTOARRMIRIAM SHEHADAPROLAPSEDFUFFSHEDID ANDWHATABOUTARTHURBEINGARRESTEDFORINDECENTEXPOSURE"
hobbling in, walking stick or walking frame, alternately pissing themselves and drooling.
And, as the vista unfolded, a silence would descend like a French Airliner. They'd gape up at the gilted cherubim adorning the mezzanine, elaborate curlicues, the doric columns, the fluted columns, the ionic columns, the Romanesque, the Corinthian. The huge, stained glass dome.. . The ranks of tables, laid out in perfect militaristic fashion. On a raised dais, a lectern. A lectern and a wondrous machine of pure, unalloyed, transcendent beauty. The Bingomatic. A gigantic ball made of gilded wire and a steam-driven engine of such complexity and wonder that the creator went quite mad, and killed himself.
And there, arms outstretched, the Messiah in a bow-tie; the caller.
"Eyes down for a full 'ouse" would come the call, and, in perfect unison, hundreds upon hundreds of the old; the frail; the gibbering would turn their eyes card-ward and, dobber in hand, begin their ritual.
Obviously, with the re-advent of reality TV, and the decision by Endemol to start to only put old people in the Big Brother House saw the demographic move away from its dobber and card, and move away from interacting with, not only one another, but also the Messiah in a bow-tie.
And the Bingo Hall died.
Became faded in the occasional bright sun-light. Paint peeled from the columns. The whitewash became stained with seagull shit. The gilt took on a transparency brought on by neglect and age.
And above all, the dust. Above, inside, on top of.. . Underneath, outwith, around.. .
Until, moderately recently, an old man opened the door, with a key that had been given to him by a friend of a friend who had owed someone a favour. This old man pushed and pushed and eventually forced his way through a century's post, dust and pigeon crap and stood, hands on hips, regarding the place.
"Aha!" thought the old fella, "this'll do nicely for us."
And the rest, as they say, is the future. 1)